Pubdate: Tue, 18 Mar 2003
Source: Daily Kent Stater (OH Edu)
Copyright: 2003 The Daily Kent Stater
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Just what the doctor ordered?

Pharmacies may fill prescriptions for marijuana and patients can get the 
cost covered by insurance, according to a law that went into effect yesterday.

Doctors in the famously liberal Netherlands have long recommended marijuana 
to cancer patients as an appetite enhancer and to combat pain and nausea. 
But it is usually bought at one of the country's 800 "coffee shops," where 
the plant is sold openly while police look the other way.

The law also seeks to standardize levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical 
found in marijuana. The percentage of THC in Dutch marijuana has increased 
sharply in the past several years.

The Dutch parliament approved the change in policy by a large majority in 
2001. The law stipulates that patients can get medical coverage for 
marijuana use, though most policies don't yet cover pot.

Kuik said that the Dutch government will license several official growers 
later this year. In the meantime, pharmacies will have to decide for 
themselves where to get the marijuana.
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