Thousands of medicinal marijuana patients in France will be a part of an experiment launched next year where they will receive free marijuana.

The French government recently published a long-awaited decree that details how a limited medical cannabis experiment will be carried out.

According to the decree, up to 3,000 patients will be able to participate in the experiment and the first prescriptions are now expected to occur in March of next year.

Participating companies will have to supply the medical cannabis products to patients free of charge, and the products will have to comply with pharmaceutical standards, including Good Manufacturing Practice.

The experiment will be limited to two years starting with the first prescription or March 31, 2021, whichever comes first.

The country’s Ministry of Health and Solidarity is responsible for the execution of the project. The minister along with the opinion of the general director of the French Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM), will decide the characteristics, composition, pharmaceutical form and technical specifications of the cannabis-based medical products. The minister will also decide on the list of conditions for which doctors will be able to prescribe medical marijuana within the experiment and the specific procedures for importing, storing, distributing and controlling the cannabis.

Speaking to Marijuana Business Daily, Nicolas Authier, a university professor and chair of the ANSM scientific committee on medical cannabis, said, “an invitation to tender for the selection of cannabis-based products” will be proposed soon.

Authier believes the suppliers “will probably be foreign … in collaboration with pharmaceutical laboratories established in France and licensed for narcotics.”

“Five more months of work before the first prescriptions,” he added, “but France is now officially committed to access to medical cannabis.”

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