Health Minister of France Strives to Maintain Medical Cannabis Access for Patients

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Aurélien Rousseau, the Minister for Health of France, promises to roll out medical cannabis access to patients throughout the country.

Facing growing pressure from various groups such as, elected officials, cross-party parliamentarians, doctors, and scientists, France’s Minister for Health, Aurélien Rousseau, still held his ground and refused making a commitment to rolling out medical cannabis access throughout the country this year (1). However, Rousseau has confirmed that the path to pursue medical cannabis access for patients will continue in the country. He blames the issue on the “lack of commitment” (1) for a fully established medical cannabis program which he believes is in part due to poor “European marketing authorization” (1). Rousseau is hopeful that this could be ready by 2025 (1).

In the European Union (EU), 17 members, including, the United Kingdom (UK) and Switzerland, have legalized medical cannabis which industry stakeholders and medical cannabis advocates aren’t afraid to mention (1). Rousseau was interviewed on this matter during a Social Affairs Committee of the National Assembly meeting that took place on October 11, 2023. Weeks before this meeting, the Social Security Financing Bill (PLFSS) was published by the government. This piece of legislation dictates the up coming year’s budget allocations (1). Individuals involved in the cannabis industry were disappointed to find no references or mentions of the medical cannabis experiment in the PLFSS bill. Parliamentarians will now decipher sections of the bill and vote on amendments before it officially goes into effect.


Going back on his stance of European marketing authorization, he mentions the possibility of it not being granted by 2025. Rousseau offered an idea that the government would “switch to so-called compassionate access”, which is a “special scheme used to enable patients to access certain drugs still in development,” (1).

During the meeting Rousseau assured that the government will support action and “present an amendment so that obviously all the beneficiaries of this experimentation can continue to benefit from it’, thanks to an ‘adapted status that will then allow us to see over time” (1).

Although the air surrounding the medical cannabis experiment is still unclear, it is believed to be able to continue past it’s due date of March 2024.


  1. Stevens, B. France’s Health Minister Promises Continued Access to Medical Cannabis for Patients (accessed Oct 17, 2023).