The Cannabis Medical Network reports…..

Kostadin Dukovski, President of North Macedonia’s Association of Medical Cannabis Cultivators, tells MCN about Macedonian policy, economy and future developments.

The Association of Medical Cannabis Cultivators in North Macedonia (MAKKANABIS) was founded last year with the goal of uniting North Macedonia’s medical cannabis industry to campaign for clear, fair policy and promote the industry as a key economic opportunity. Kostadin Dukovski, President of MAKKANABIS, tells MCN about North Macedonia’s cannabis industry landscape.

What is the legal status of cannabis in North Macedonia?

As of March 2016, cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes has been permitted by law in North Macedonia. Legalisation was introduced through amendments to the existing law on control of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Only licensed cannabis cultivators are allowed to grow and sell cannabis oil or finished cannabis products.

Recreational cannabis is prohibited. Even the smallest amounts of possession of cannabis are subject to criminal penalties including prison sentences.

Do you think cannabis policy should be more lenient? How could patients and producers be better supported?

By all means – yes! In order to see benefits for patients, we must see clinical research into the use of cannabis to treat various illnesses and conditions. So far medical practitioners, with rare exceptions, are reluctant in prescribing cannabis for treatments to patients; although the law allows certain types of specialist clinicians to prescribe cannabis for the treatment of HIV; relief of chronic pain; multiple sclerosis and a few other conditions.

There are no Macedonian clinical studies into the benefits of cannabis use. We would be happy to change this situation, and we are pushing for it through the Association of Cannabis Cultivators. We initiated talks with government stakeholders and hospitals in order to develop projects for clinical research of cannabis; and we took steps in forming an institute for research into cannabis for medicinal use. Our hope is that by the end of 2020 we will set up the foundation for these clinical studies and research projects, and that we will then have them up and running in 2021. The real benefit for the patients will become visible in the years ahead.

Have North Macedonia’s economy and industry benefited from licensed cannabis cultivation?

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