Pubdate: Tue, 02 Sep 2003
Source: Abilene Reporter-News (TX)
Copyright: 2003 Abilene Reporter-News
Author: Anthony Deutsch
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Marijuana went on sale Monday at Dutch pharmacies to
help bring relief to thousands of patients suffering from cancer, AIDS or
multiple sclerosis.

About 7,000 patients will be eligible for prescription marijuana, sold in
containers of 0.16 ounces at most pharmacies. The drug will be covered by
health insurance for the first time.

Canada, Germany and Australia already allow restricted use of medicinal
marijuana or its active chemical, but the Dutch go a step further by providing
the drug and regulating its quality. In the United States, 14 states allow
medicinal use despite a federal ban on the drug.

Dutch patients will be recommended not to smoke the plant, but to use
vaporizers or make marijuana tea. It will be prescribed to those with nausea or
pain associated with cancer, Tourette's syndrome, AIDS or multiple sclerosis.

Two varieties will offer a lower or higher content of the active chemical in
marijuana. It will cost $48 for the milder variant, with a THC content of 15
percent, and $60 for an 18 percent version.

Although marijuana is officially prohibited under Dutch law, authorities
tolerate the sale of small quantities under a policy that distinguishes between
hard drugs such as cocaine and heroine and so-called "soft-drugs" like

Marijuana growers and pharmacies will need licenses exempting them from
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