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Europe: Dutch Supreme Court Says Patient Can Grow Marijuana for Therapeutic Use

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #552)
Politics & Advocacy

The Dutch Supreme Court Tuesday upheld an appeals court ruling allowing a patient suffering from multiple sclerosis to grow marijuana for therapeutic purposes. The high court found that while marijuana cultivation is illegal in Holland, patients could use what amounts to a medical necessity defense to avoid prosecution.

California medical marijuana bags (courtesy Daniel Argo via Wikimedia)
"An illegal scheme can be justified when committed out of necessity," the court ruled. In the case of the patient, the "exceptional circumstances" of his illness could get him out from under Dutch cannabis cultivation laws. "The state of necessity is established," the court held.

The court upheld an October 2006 ruling in the case of MS sufferer Wim Moorlag and his wife, Klasiena Hooijers, that the couple could grow marijuana for use in alleviating his illness. In trial court, the pair had been convicted of marijuana cultivation and fined $350. But the conservative Dutch government challenged the appeals court ruling, saying it set a precedent that could endanger the country's tolerant approach to marijuana.

Moorlag and his wife argued that they needed to grow their own because marijuana available in Holland's famous coffeeshops could contain fungi and bacteria harmful to MS sufferers.

It is not clear what impact the decision will have on other Dutch medical marijuana patients. But after the 2006 appeals court ruling, Moorlag's lawyer said the decision meant that other patients, such as people with AIDS, would also be able to legally grow their own medicine.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

Half the worlds population smokes cannabis it´s not legal because the authorities won´t make money off it! we´ll just grow it ourselves! Cigarettes kill thousands if not millions and they don´t care, Drunk driving kills thousands more but thats ok too! but you can´t grow a plant! They pump deadly toxic fumes into the air we breathe but we can´t choose what we want to smoke? Goes to show just how free we are today.
Just comes down too a lack of good young people in power.
Yeah Hiv patients are going to die anyways right let them smoke. No-one fights for what they want anymore people just tend to bend over or go with the flow. Too many old farts with power and don´t even know what to do with it. Go start another War and kill more good young men! that´s legal right!

Sun, 09/28/2008 - 5:31pm Permalink

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