‘High Time’ for Medical Marijuana in Germany

“It is our goal that in the future more people in Germany will be able to receive cannabis as medicine than has been the case until now,” Marlene Mortler, the federal government’s drug representative said on Tuesday, adding that plans were in the making for legislation that would see insurance companies cover the costs.

“We want to get this law through the Bundestag [lower house of German parliament]by the end of the year so it can take effect in 2016,” Mortler said in an interview published in the Welt daily.

Medicine and politics – and law

“The case until now” has been that only very few receive cannabis as part of medical treatments. At present, less than 300 Germans are authorized to purchase marijuana in pharmacies, almost exclusively those suffering from terminal cancer, according to the federal health ministry.
Mortler conceded that it “indeed remains not very easy” to differentiate those who are in dire need of cannabis from those who are not. The issue, she claimed, was of a political nature. “Our politicians need to provide clarity here in swift fashion.”

With regard to the accessibility of medical marijuana, however, the issue is more than just medical or political. Last July, three people went to a district court in Cologne to complain they couldn’t afford to purchase medical marijuana from local pharmacies.

Even with explicit authorization, the plaintiffs said they were still not able to obtain the drugs, and they asked the court to be allowed to grow their own plants. In an unprecedented ruling, the court said yes.

For critically ill patients allowed to purchase cannabis in pharmacies, a gram officially costs between 15 and 18 euros, according to Germany’s Federal Chamber of Pharmacists.

– Read the entire article at DW.