Europe Divided on Medicinal Pot
Chances of unified marijuana policy up in smoke
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2009 6:14 AM CST
A woman smokes a joint in an Amsterdam cafe.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Wildly different laws among the EU's 27 nations mean a unified policy on medicinal marijuana is expected to remain a pipe dream for many years to come. The Netherlands has not only legalized medicinal marijuana, but set up a government bureau to ensure users get top-quality pot. Sweden, Britain, and Ireland, meanwhile, refuse to recognize any medicinal uses for marijuana at all.

"The state realized that so many people wanted to use cannabis, so it said, 'Why not give it to them via prescription instead of them accessing the drug illegally?'" an expert in the Netherlands tells the Wall Street Journal. The Netherlands supplies medicinal marijuana to Italy, Finland and Germany. Patients in European countries with stricter laws are pushing their governments to adopt a more Dutch-style approach, but analysts say the politicized nature of the marijuana debate means they won't likely succeed.