EU top court sides with Russian patient needing cannabis

The European Union’s top court has backed a Russian who is seeking to stay in the Netherlands because he needs a medicinal cannabis treatment which is outlawed in his home country

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's top court on Tuesday backed a Russian who is seeking to stay in the Netherlands because he needs a medicinal cannabis treatment which is unavailable in his home country.

The Court of Justice said the man should not be sent back home even though the Netherlands rejected his asylum requests. It said the lack of proper treatment would expose him such pain “that it would be contrary to human dignity,” among other things.

The EU court reacted to a question from a local Dutch court which sought guidance on how to deal with the issue. It is up to the local court to make a decision on the case, but advice from the Luxembourg-based court is an important factor.

Russia outlaws the use of cannabis and it has become a major international issue since WNBA star Brittney Griner was convicted Aug. 4 after customs agents said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage. The two-time American Olympic gold medalist said she had been prescribed cannabis for pain.

In the Dutch case, the ECJ said that the Russian national developed a rare blood cancer at age 16 and receives treatment that includes cannabis in the Netherlands.

After his latest asylum request was rejected he went to the Dutch district court to demand that he should be allowed to stay in the country since his cannabis treatment was essential.