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Denmark’s Health Ministry has announced they will launch a four-year trial, costing more than $3.2 million, to assess the possible use of medical cannabis for patients suffering from serious and chronic illnesses, such as spinal damage and multiple sclerosis, the Copenhagen Post reports. Officials plan for the trials to commence on Jan. 1, 2018.

“The goal of the trial is to establish a defensible framework for the implementation of medicinal cannabis in the public health sector so patients with certain treatment indications can be treated with medicinal cannabis prescribed by a doctor,” the agreement states. “Hereby, some of the patients who self-medicate using illegal products can have a legal alternative that can be used within a more secure environment.”

The proposal — which has the support from the Socialdemokratiet, Dansk Folkeparti, Liberal Alliance, Alternativet, Radikale, Socialistisk Folkeparti, along with the government leaders Venstre — is expected to be similar to the model used in the cannabis-friendly Netherlands, who legalized medicinal marijuana in 2003.

Germany, which borders Denmark to the south, has had limited access to medicinal cannabis since a court decision in 2005. In May, Health Minister Hermann Gröhe proposed a law that would legalize the drug for medicinal use in Germany, and allow it to be covered by health insurance.

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