VIENNA (AFP) — Austria's parliament has adopted a new bill allowing the cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, under the Health Ministry's control.
The bill, approved by parliament during a late-night session Wednesday, will give the health and food safety agency AGES the exclusive right in Austria to grow the plant, which is otherwise categorised as a drug.
Michael Bach, president of the Austrian pain studies association OeSG, welcomed the new legislation, saying: "Any initiative that makes it possible to develop and provide new drugs for pain therapy is welcome."
"Substances drawn from cannabis have been used for medical purposes more and more in the last few years," he added.
Possession of or dealing in cannabis incurs a 6-month prison sentence in Austria.