Germany has joined the list of countries that will legalize medical cannabis in the near future. Currently Italy, Chile, Uruguay, and the Czech Republic allow medicinal use of cannabis. Mexico is on the fast track toward legalization, as well. According to the German Health Ministry, seriously ill patients with no “therapeutic alternative” who have consulted with a physician may be prescribed medical marijuana beginning sometime in 2017.
Germany’s Current and Future Medical Cannabis Laws
People living in Germany with AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, or multiple sclerosis have been previously able to access cannabis for medicinal reasons, but only with special permission and approval – and the cost of cannabis fell on the patient. The new law in Germany will allow for cannabis flower and extracts to be purchased in pharmacies along with other medications, and Germany’s public health system will cover the cost of patients’ prescriptions. Hermann Gröhe, Germany’s Health Minister, stated that “Our aim is that seriously ill people are treated in the best possible way.” The best possible way apparently includes medicinal cannabis, as proponents in many other countries have also realized. It seems very possible that a public health system such as the one in place in Germany might actually save money with the introduction of medical cannabis prescriptions for its patients.
How Will Germany Legalize Medical Cannabis?
Germany’s government wants to use supervised cannabis plantations to grow medicinal weed in the future, but for now the country will import it’s marijuana for patients. According to Whaxy, Germany’s government approved the creation of an oversight group for medicinal cannabis in January of this year, spearheaded by Marlene Mortler, Germany’s Drug Commissioner. Mortler has been working since 2015 to allow seriously ill patients access to medicinal cannabis, and it seems her hard work has finally paid off. Mortler’s opinion was bolstered by a 2014 survey of Germany’s public, which showed an 80 percent approval rating for patient access to medical cannabis. If you’re a cannabis grower or entrepreneur in the Netherlands, Germany might help you produce your next cash crop – literally. According to Die Welt (you might want to translate this page), Germany gets its cannabis from the Netherlands currently, and this trend will probably continue until the German government’s cannabis farms are up, running, and producing medicinal cannabis. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) will be replaced by the new pro-cannabis organization in Germany’s government. This new organization will decide the procurement, supply, shipping, and service contracts for the German government’s new medicinal cannabis plantations.
How Will Cannabis Be Distributed in Germany?
Germany plans to sell the medicinal cannabis to patients directly through its new cannabis agency or organization. Then, it plans to sell the cannabis to wholesale manufacturers of medicine and pharmacies. The cannabis agency will determine the sale pricing for the medicinal cannabis, which German insurance companies will have to pay – the agency will take some of this profit for operating costs, according to Die Welt. The main purpose of allowing medical cannabis to be available from the state is first to prevent suffering in seriously ill patients and secondly to prevent the “quantity and quality of home-grown cannabis [to] easily evade state control.”