Poland's rapper MP unveils bill on medical marijuana

Polish MP Piotr Liroy-Marzec's bill supports the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal use, such as this cannabis-made product for therapeutic use seen on December 22, 2015 (AFP Photo/Guillermo Legaria)

Warsaw (AFP) - A Polish rapper-turned-politician on Monday presented a draft bill on legalising medical marijuana in an EU nation where two-thirds of people back the idea.

"This draft crowns everything I've said over the years, especially during the election campaign," said MP Piotr Liroy-Marzec, better known by his stage name Liroy, who pioneered Poland's rap scene in the 1990s.

"I promised people I met who were ill that I would do everything possible to table this draft," he said, quoted by the Polish PAP news agency.

The measure does not address the legalisation of marijuana for recreational purposes.

The heavily tattooed 44-year-old made his debut in parliament after a successful bid in October's general election.

He ran on the ticket of the Kukiz'15 anti-establishment party set up by punk rocker Pawel Kukiz that burst out of nowhere to capture third spot by wooing younger, disillusioned voters. The election handed an unprecedented majority to the rightwing, populist Law and Justice (PiS) party after eight years in opposition.

It is not clear whether PiS would back the rapper's draft, which has no chance of becoming law without the party's support.

Last July, a survey by the independent PBS agency showed two-thirds of Poles -- or 68 percent -- were in favour of legalising medical marijuana. Almost one in five people, or 18 percent, wanted marijuana in all forms to remain illegal, while 14 percent had no opinion.

While opponents cite studies saying marijuana causes lung cancer or psychosis, advocates contend the plant can be used for pain relief and seizure management.

Medical marijuana made Polish headlines last year after a doctor at a leading children's hospital imported it from the Netherlands to treat a child's life-threatening seizures after conventional treatments failed.

The child recovered.

The Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain have already legalised medical marijuana -- as have 23 US states.

In 2013, Uruguay became the world's first country to fully legalise marijuana.