Germany Announces New Medical Cannabis Program

Germany has joined the growing number of countries, states, cities, and towns across the world who choose to reconsider cannabis and grow their understanding of the plant, to acknowledge that cannabis has both medical value and appropriate medical use. German officials estimated that new federal legislation would be introduced in the spring of 2017, roughly a year from now. CNN reported Germany’s Federal Health Minister, Hermann Gröhe, spoke to the spirit of their motivations by saying, “Our goal is that seriously ill people are looked after to the best of our ability.” Unlike the current situation here in America, top level German officials are working to ensure that cannabis fits inside the existing health care system. To that effort, the medical cannabis legislation will include provisions to ensure this new medicine flows through existing channels in typical pharmacies, and insurance companies will cover patients’ costs.

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Taking a strictly medical approach, the new program will have strict entry criteria intended to focus the implementation away from recreational use. One of these requirements from the German Health Ministry would be that the patients had already tried typical medical avenues, and are turning to medical cannabis only when they “have no therapeutic alternative.” The spirit of this requirement may be a result of residual fear on the topic of cannabis as medicine, as officials are trying to force patients to suffer through ineffective treatments to prove they need medical cannabis. By creating a medical cannabis program, Germany is acknowledging cannabis has medical use, and forcing patients to unnecessarily suffer only quells the fear of those who are still on the fence about medical cannabis. In typical politics it is said that half the pie is better than none of the pie. This first slice of the medical cannabis pie by Germany will surely be followed by more slices, as fear on the topic evaporates.

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