Access to medical cannabis trumps illegality of Russian man’s stay, says EU’s highest court – Reuters

A Russian man appealing a denial of asylum in the Netherlands on the grounds that he would lose access to medical cannabis if he returned to Russia has won his case.

In a landmark ruling on Tuesday, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the man’s medical treatment with cannabis for a rare type of blood cancer outweighed the illegality of his stay in the Netherlands. .

The interpretation is binding, not only for the Netherlands but for the whole EU.

The Russian national’s case has been assigned to the Grand Chamber, where the most important and legally significant cases – less than 10% – end and where legal precedents are set, a CJEU spokesperson said.

The importance of the case lies in the fact that the right to health takes precedence over all other considerations, said Vincenzo Salvatore, current lawyer and head of the firm’s healthcare and life sciences team. of Milanese lawyers BonelliErede.

“It could be a precedent for other jurisdictions to follow this approach and this interpretation,” Salvatore said.

Tuesday’s judgment is in line with the Court’s previous case law and that of the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights regarding the right to asylum and the ban on returning people to their country of origin. if it would endanger their human dignity.

Although the case concerns access to medical cannabis, the decision applies to any medical treatment not available in the host country.

“A third-country national suffering from a serious illness may not be deported if, in the absence of appropriate medical treatment in the host country, this national risks being exposed to a real risk of rapid, significant aggravation and constant pain. related to this disease,” the court said in a statement.

This requires establishing that the absence of treatment would cause pain “of such intensity that it would be contrary to human dignity in that it could cause him serious and irreversible psychological consequences, even lead him to suicide” . read the statement.

The Russian man, who developed the rare blood cancer when he was 16, previously said stopping his treatment would lead to such intense pain that it would make him depressed and suicidal.

Tuesday’s decision is in line with an opinion given in June by an adviser to the EU’s highest court, Advocate General Priit Pikamäe.

The case now returns to the Dutch court to decide the fate of the Russian man based on the CJEU’s interpretation.

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