Europe takes another step forward as Germany looks to reform its medical marijuana laws. Those in need could see easy and free access from as early as 2017.
There is some great news for the medical cannabis users of Germany, and the cannabis community as a whole: new drug policy will see medical marijuanabecome readily available to those who need it, at no cost to the user!
It is tremendous news, and a step towards ensuring everyone has access to the weed they need. Under current law, medical cannabis can be used in Germany to treat a set number of serious illnesses. However, the patient must apply to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medicinal products to be exempt from normal law, and pay for any cannabis out of their own pocket – with costs being in the region of €15/g. When the new law comes into place – estimated to be early 2017 – patients with the same serious illnesses will no longer need to gain an exemption status, and they will be able to get a prescription of cannabis using their health insurance – keeping money in their pocket. According to the German Health Minister Hermann Grohe, this will ensure “seriously ill people are looked after to the best of our ability.”
Of course, this doesn’t open up medical cannabis to everyone who can benefit from it, only the seriously ill who have “no other therapeutic alternative.” However, if the trend of legalisation has shown us anything, progress is made in baby steps. By properly legalising medical cannabis for the seriously ill, it could be speculated that it is only a matter of time until other illnesses will be added to a qualifying classification for a prescription.
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There is a catch to this access, but not necessarily a bad one. Anyone who wishes to get gain their medical cannabis paid for through health insurance must be willing to participate in medical research regarding the therapeutic uses of cannabis. There are potential avenues for abuse here, depending on how strict this part of the law is, but on the face of it, an increase in government-sanctioned research focusing on the medical uses of cannabis is not a bad thing. According to the German government, it is a necessity, as much more reliable research is required for the scheme to be expanded.
The news comes at a time when countries across the globe are relaxing their cannabis laws. 24 American states already allow the use of medical marijuana, with a couple even legalising on a recreational basis. Here in the EU, Italy is easing up on weed for medical patients, and Switzerland is looking to reform. They are but a few examples, with the call to change outdated cannabis laws growing in volume. Slowly, but surely, we are seeing a cannabis revolution.