Majority of Poles Want Legal Medical Marijuana: Survey

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Majority of Poles Want Legal Medical Marijuana: Survey

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Warsaw:  Nearly 70 per cent of Poles favour the legalisation of medical marijuana, according to the first survey of its kind in the central European country published Friday.

It comes after draft legislation on the legalisation of cannabis for medical use was submitted to parliament ahead of a general election slated for the autumn.

A total 68 per cent of Poles said they wanted medical marijuana to be legal, according to the survey by the independent PBS agency conducted July 3-5 on a random representative sample of 1,000 adults.

Of those surveyed, 42 per cent insisted it be accessible only via a doctor's prescription, while 26 per cent favoured unfettered access for anyone wanting to use it as medicine.

Eighteen per cent wanted marijuana in all its forms to remain illegal, while 14 per cent said they had no opinion on the matter.

Sixty-eight per cent also said that denying patients access to medical marijuana was "cruel" and violated their right to access healthcare, while 70 percent said that since "harmful alcohol" is legal, they saw no reason why medical cannabis should be banned.

While opponents cite studies pointing to marijuana as causing lung cancer or psychosis, advocates contend the plant has a range of medical applications including pain relief and seizure management.

Medical marijuana hit the headlines in Poland earlier this year after a doctor at a leading children's hospital imported it from the Netherlands to treat a child suffering from life-threatening seizures after conventional treatments failed. The child recovered.

There has also been public outcry after charges were pressed against a medical marijuana activist who supplied patients with cannabis oil using it to treat various symptoms.

In Europe, the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain have legalised medical marijuana.

In the United States, 23 states and the capital, Washington, have laws that allow medical use of cannabis.

Uruguay in 2013 became the world's first country to fully legalise marijuana.

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