Danish companies queue to grow cannabis

Cannabis legally cultivated in the Netherlands Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Danish companies are hoping to legally cultivate cannabis

Companies have begun applying to Denmark's medicines regulator to grow cannabis plants ahead of the drug becoming legalised for medicinal purposes next year, it's reported.

Some 13 companies have already submitted applications for growing cannabis plants to the Laegemiddelstyrelsen, so that they can help treat Danes suffering from painful illnesses such as cancer and multiple sclerosis.

From January 2018, the drug becomes legalised as part of a four-year trial and patients in the country can obtain cannabis on prescription, the Copenhagen Post reports.

But parliament is still working on the specific details of how the scheme will work, meaning that some horticulturalists, including Jorgen K. Andersen of the Dansk Gartneri firm, have chosen not to apply.

Mr Andersen tells the fyens.dk website that his company is put off by what he foresees "will be a very complicated set of rules" to grow the plant.

Some companies, however, are hoping to cultivate a Danish cannabis industry and export the drug to other regions where it is legal, to help drive down costs for domestic patients, Danmarks Radio says.

Currently, it would cost some 6,000 krone ($935; £715) a month to adequately treat an average patient, Lars Tomassen, director of Danish Cannabis tells the radio.

With permission to export, "we are aiming to at least half the cost," he says.

Reporting by Alistair Coleman

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