Patients in Switzerland can currently get a prescription for medical cannabis, but it isn’t easy. The Swiss government wants to change that, laying out a proposal on Wednesday that would eliminate a major barrier for those with cancer and other serious diagnoses to use cannabis to treat their illness. 

The proposal would mark a significant change to how Switzerland currently handles medicinal cannabis. Under the present system, patients who would like to use cannabis for treatment are required to apply for an exception with the Federal Health Office; the proposal would allow physicians to directly prescribe marijuana to patients.

A number of countries in Europe have recently legalized medical cannabis. Lawmakers in Portugal approved such a measure earlier this month, while Great Britain did the same last summer. In the U.S., 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of medical cannabis.

Still, medical marijuana has been made available to a number of Swiss patients. The government there granted 3,000 exceptions for those seeking the treatment in 2018. In a statement, the Swiss cabinet said that, along with empowering doctors to dole out such prescriptions to patients directly, the proposal would also allow for “[g]rowing and processing

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