Rear Admiral Arthur J. Lawrence
Assistant Surgeon General
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health (Operations)
Dear Dr. Lawrence,
I am the head of the Office of Medicinal Cannabis (OMC), which is part of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The OMC has the function of a national agency for the regulation of cannabis cultivation as required in article 28 of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The OMC has legally the State monopoly on the wholesale, the import and the export of cannabis. It is also the licence granting authority for cannabis. Since half a year we sell cannabis of pharmaceutical quality to pharmacies who can deliver it as a prescription only drug under the Dutch controlled substances legislation.
For medicinal use of cannabis we do not recommend smoking, as you can see in the attached doctors information leaflet (under 4.2 and 4.4). Increasing our knowledge of other methods of administration is therefor of great importance. But as our Office has not much budget available yet for research, we are fully dependant of others willing to take up such research. On the other hand our product is valuable in such research, as it is a high quality and highly standardized product (produced under GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) and GMP, and compliant to the European Pharmacopea)
I understood that you are in charge of the review of the scientific merit of a research protocol with a cannabis vaporizer (brand name Volcano) that has been submitted by Dr. Joe StLaurent of Chemic Labs, Canton, MA. Although my office is not a sponsor of this research project, the planned research is of great value to the Office of Medicinal Cannabis, because the protocol involves one of our medicinal cannabis products. The Volcano device to be investigated is one the most promising vaporizing devices for this purpose. Reasons for this are that the device is fully CE-marked (which makes it suitable and permitted for medical use in the European Union) and, secondly, that it is easy to handle for elderly and disabled people.
This all makes that I would be very grateful if the protocol would be approved, freeing the way for granting an import permit by DEA subsequently. I would appreciate if you could make your decision soon.
If you need more information about medicinal use of cannabis in the Netherlands or about anything else, please contact me for more information. (I will be out of office from March 20 until April 5). You can also have a look at our website; I expect to have the English version operational in one or two weeks.
I would appreciate if you could let me know your reaction soon.
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports
Willem K. Scholten, PharmD, MPA
head, Office of Medicinal Cannabis P.O. Box 16114
NL- 2500 BC The Hague,
phone +31 70 340 5129
fax +31 70 340 7426