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Europe: Dutch to Extend Medical Marijuana Program for Another Five Years

The Dutch Health Ministry announced Wednesday it would extend Holland's experimental medical marijuana program for another five years. Under the program, which began in 2003, marijuana grown by government-licensed growers is sold by prescription in pharmacies.

But the prescription weed got few buyers. In Holland, where cannabis possession and limited sales are illegal but tolerated, patients found they could buy marijuana at coffee shops for one-third the price of prescription pot. As a result, the Bureau for Medical Cannabis is running a $200,000 budget deficit this year because it is overstocked with unsold medical marijuana.

Still, the Health Ministry said the program should continue because of the possibility of research advances in cannabis-based medications. In a letter to parliament, Health Minister Ab Klink said one Dutch company, Echo Pharmaceuticals, was making progress in getting a cannabis-based drug approved and needed more time to succeed.

"This development track will take years, but it can yield scientific evidence and give insight into the balance between safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis," he wrote. "By making medical marijuana available as a raw material for five years, I want to give this track a serious chance."

A spokesman for Echo, Geert Woerlee, told the Associated Press that his company will be starting trials next year on a pill that contains THC, the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana. The Health Ministry hopes the drug being developed by Echo will eventually replace marijuana in pharmacies.

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THC in pill Form?

Isn't that called Marinol? And hasn't it proved to be not as effective as the plant itself and cost 2 to 3 times as much as the real thing? I know medical marijuana is much more effective in controlling nausea and vomiting from the 2 diabetic neuropathic diseases I have that both effect my digestive system, leaving me in a constant 24/7 state of nausea which, if not controlled, leads to 12-24 hour long vomiting sessions leaving me so dehydrated and weak I can't even take my daily meds. Marinol is effective in controlling nausea if only the insurance companies would pay for it. I am only allowed to get the lowest possible dose 60 2.5mg pills a month. Which my 2 doctors say is just not enough to be effective. Don't get me wrong I could legally get a 90 10mg Marinol's a month, which is closer to the dose I need for it to be effective. However I would have to pay for it myself and I just do not have an extra $1,200 a month for a Marinol prescription, and that is how much it cost's. So I get the weak dose and supplement it with marijuana, either eaten or smoked that I'm forced to buy illegally, which means the quality is never the same and I must deal with the black market. So from personal experience I say either give all people access to the right amount of Marinol to do the job or you will suffer from the financial problem the Dutch have, an overstock of an ineffective drug and a large financial defecit. America should either put marijuana laws in a lowest priority, like the older more wiser Dutch Government, or else legalize it and tax it & sell it like we do Alcohol and Nicotine. Why is alcohol & nicotine legal and marijuana illeagle in the USA? Because we haven't had a good housecleaning in congress for a long time. It is our duty to vote out those who oppose legalization and vote those in who are educated and realistic knowing that smoking marijuana is not hazerdous (quite the opposite it is a very theraputic and safe drug) to your health and the psycohactive effect of marijuana goes away in a short time leaving no negative effects/results. Just look at how healthy Willie Nelson is and he has been smoking cannabis for over 50 years or more. I can testify that after smoking marijuana every day for 27 years straight I up and quit cold turkey because I was bored with it. I suffered NO withdrawal effects at all, nothing. My sleep cycle wasn't even disturbed. How do you explain that King George II, the King of America. The puffed up king with more sinful pride than common sense. How do you explain that and maintain a straight face in approving the DEA to raid and arrest (or kill by fear from SWAT Team drug attacks) the terminally ill and those with life long diseases that reduce there quality of life dramatically. They, like me, are only trying to raise our quality of life and Cannabis is the answer. For it controls the symptoms of our disease's without causing any other health problems, not even cancer from smoking it. So just remain positive for marijuana will eventually be legalized taxed and sold like booze, for it is the "Will of the People." Just look at what the voting public wants. Polls prove that 75 to 80% of Americans want medical marijuana made legal and laws against marijuana growth, distribution and use of marijuana changed or placed in "Lowest Priority" in regards to our local police enforcing the out dated and prejudical reasons they put Cannabis in a schedule 1 catagory in the first place. Vote Ron Paul, he is a breath of political fresh air, if there is such a thing. Peace be with you.

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