Dutch doctors began prescribing marijuana for medicinal purposes this week. Recreational pot smoking has long been tolerated in the Netherlands, but this marks the first time the drug has been approved as medicine. The government has contracted with two local farms to grow the pot, which is used as a pain reliever and an appetite stimulant, primarily for patients with cancer, AIDS, or multiple sclerosis. About 7,000 patients are eligible for the marijuana prescriptions, which can be filled at Dutch pharmacies. Canada, Germany, and Australia also allow restricted use of medicinal marijuana, but the Netherlands is the first country to actually provide the drug and regulate its quality.
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