The legalization of medical cannabis in Germany

The German Health Minister, Hermann Gröhe, announced early last week that Germany will legalize marijuana for medical aims from spring next year. This substance will be offered to seriously ill German patients on prescription at drug stores.

Before presenting to the German cabinet the draft legislation, the Health Minister announced the legalization of cannabis for medical uses. “Our goal is that seriously ill patients are treated in the best possible way,” said Hermann Gröhe.


A medical marijuana dispensary in the US. Credit: AFP

According to Die Welt, the German cabinet has approved this measure but only for those seriously ill patients who satisfied two conditions: the first one is to have previously consulted a doctor and, the second one is not having other therapeutic alternatives. The Health Minister added that if patients cannot be helped in any other way, then, health insurance companies have to cover all the costs.

However, as reported by the CNN, Marlene Mortler, the Drug Commissioner of the Federal Government warned that “marijuana should not be considered completely safe”. She also said that “the use of cannabis as a medicine within narrow limits is useful and should be explored in more detail”, but she continued saying that since cannabis is not a harmless substance, “the aim and purpose” of it is that this substance “is intended for medical use only, not for private pleasure.” Also Gröhe recognised that marijuana “is not an inoffensive substance” and for this reason, he underlined that it would be possible to get it from “pharmacies only on prescription.”

The list of countries that allow the consumption of this substance for medical purposes includes Italy and Czech Republic. According to  the news agency Europa Press, nowadays, people in Germany affected by severe illness, such as Cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis could only have access to cannabis through a special approval, paying it themselves.

The use of “recreational and medical cannabis” is a controversial topic in many countries. On the one hand, there are opponents who “fear crime connected to drug abuse and addiction” and, on the other hand, others claim that its use “could lead to dependence on harder drugs”, says The Telegraph. From its side, the German Hemp Association, a lobby group advocating for cannabis legalization, considered the compulsory participation of the cannabis patients in the research as a condition for reimbursement, suggested by the German Health Ministry,  as “unprecedent and difficult to accept”.

As reported by Reuters,  the German government “is to set up specially supervised plantations to grow cannabis and will import what it needs for now”. Gröhe also stated that “until the government-controlled cultivation in Germany is established, which presupposes cannabis agency, the medical cannabis will be covered by import”.

According to a survey conducted by Infratest Dimap, a German institute and company, the 82 percent of Germans is in favour of the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes. Of this 82 percent, only the 30 percent is completely in favour of the legalization of marijuana, both for simple enjoyment and for medical use.



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