German Federal Minister of Health Hermann Gröhe released a document describing how medical marijuana will be introduced in Germany this year.
On January 19, 2017, votes came in unanimously in favor of Germany recognizing cannabis as medicine. The bill was first approved by the country’s cabinet in May 2016. The new law would allow patients with severe illnesses like multiple sclerosis and cancer to obtain medical marijuana using a legal prescription.
Essentially, Doctors are allowed to prescribe cannabis as a treatment if ti will alleviate chronic symptoms. These symptoms include ailments like chronic pain and nausea. Prescriptions are also valid for those who may see a positive effect on the progression of their disease.
By 2019 Germany will have created a cultivation program much like Italy’s. This will allow them to easily track the consistency and quality of the medicine. Until that program is formulated they will ship in cannabis to fill their country’s medical needs. This product will be shipped from the Netherlands and Canada. A government agency is being created by The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) to oversee these imports.
In a statement, Gröhe said, “Critically ill people must be cared for in the best possible way, costs of using cannabis for medicinal purposes will be met by the health insurance companies of the critically ill, if no other form of treatment is effective.”
With this medical program in place, personal possession will still remain a crime in the country. Although, as previously enforced, a very small amount of cannabis usually constitutes a warning. Patients are also not permitted to grow their own cannabis, but they can grow “pharmaceutical grade hemp” plants. This is to take out the unpredictable nature of medical marijuana grown in a home cultivation setting.
Though this is a huge step forward for cannabis worldwide, many are worried that with this distribution and cultivation process big pharma would take control of the plant. Only time will tell, but this fear can be quelled by getting involved in the government and actively pursuing the best interest of the plant.