Germany will legalize medical cannabis in early 2017, the health minister said.
“Our goal is that seriously ill patients are treated in the best possible way,” Health Minister Hermann Groehe said in a release.
The bill will amend current law to allow very ill patients to have access to medical cannabis in the form of cannabis flower or extracts, dispensed in “controlled quality prescription in pharmacies.”
The health minister called for more research and also indicated that health insurance should cover the cost of medical cannabis if seriously ill patients have few other therapeutic alternatives.
Two weeks ago, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem met to discuss international drug policy. It was the first such meeting in nearly two decades and some world leaders expressed the desire for flexibility when it came to drug laws, especially given the changing international legal landscape with regard to cannabis. In the past few years, Uruguay legalized cannabis for adult and medical use, Canada announced a timeline for legalization, and a handful of countries passed medical cannabis laws.
This below story originally ran on Jan. 14, 2016 under the headline “Germany’s Federal Health Ministry Drafts Medical Cannabis Bill.”
On January 8, the Federal Health Ministry in Germany released a draft bill to allow pharmacies to distribute to chronically ill patients cannabis flowers and pharmaceutical grade extracts.
The cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes will also be allowed in the country, but not by patients. The bill recommends that the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices oversee the cultivation of cannabis and distribution in pharmacies.
The new bill emphasizes reimbursing patients for their costs. This is not allowed for U.S. patients using state-legal medical cannabis as cannabis is still federally prohibited.
As of October 1 2015, 527 patients had a limited permit from the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices to obtain imported cannabis at their own expense (on average, 18 euros a gram). Germany imported 32 kilograms of cannabis in 2013, and 48 kilograms in 2014.
Photo credit: א (Aleph)