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Cannabis and German politics: A snapshot
Author: Micha  11/05/2018 - 10:25:00

Hopes of a liberal cannabis policy have declined with the CDU/SPD coalition. Nevertheless, cannabis is still appearing increasingly on the political agenda. The German Parliament is currently debating three separate bills. At the same time, the number of cannabis patients continues to grow.

Although, or perhaps because the pro-cannabis Green, Left and FDP parties now sit on the opposition benches, three bills were presented to parliament in January, all seeking liberalisation of the current cannabis policy.

FDP aims to facilitate cannabis pilot projects

The FDP bill seeks to create a legal basis for cannabis pilot projects so that individual Federal States, or cities such as Berlin, Bremen or Münster, can roll out their plans for

The Greens’ bill reverts to the Cannabis Act they put forward three years ago to regulate the entire market, from sowing the seeds right through to sale. The German Parliament is set to vote on the 69-page draft bill during this parliamentary term. The bill made the headlines three years ago as the

According to the Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists (ABDA), there was a continued increase in the number of cannabis patients in Germany in the last quarter of 2017. In a press release, ABDA refers to an almost exponential rise in patient numbers:

“There was an upward trend from quarter to quarter, both in prescriptions and in the number of units dispensed,“ says Andreas Kiefer, President of the Federal Chamber of Pharmacists. In the second quarter of 2017, pharmacies reported 4,615 prescriptions, with over 10,000 units of cannabis buds. The last quarter of 2017 saw 12,717 prescriptions and around 18,800 units.

“Prescriptions for cannabis have thus to some extent become routine,” says Kiefer. The total number of patients may be higher than the above figures suggest, because a separate prescription has to be issued for each strain, and patients who need multiple strains therefore often go to their pharmacist with two or three prescriptions.

The BMG says that cannabis is increasingly being imported from Canada and the Netherlands. In the period from September 2017 to March 2018, for example, import requests for over 2,100 kilograms of medicinal cannabis were approved. That is more than the Federal Government’s annual estimate of demand and commitment for cultivation for the period from 2021. It is an indication of the Ministry’s massive underestimation of demand and shows that the figures need to be revised.

Situation remains unsatisfactory for patients

In January, Germany’s three largest insurers – AOK, Techniker and Barmer Ersatzkasse – announced that they were receiving increasing numbers of applications for compensation. Between March 2017, when the law came into force, and the end of the year, there were more than 15,700 applications.

Many doctors still lack experience in the use of medicinal cannabis, so too many requests are incorrect or incomplete and are consequently refused. Currently, only two-thirds of requests are approved. At a cost of almost 23 euros per gram, rejection of a request spells the end of legal treatment for the majority of patients.

The frequently criticised supply shortages have largely been eradicated. Whereas at the end of 2017 patients regularly had to wait weeks and even months for their medicine, there is now a virtually guaranteed constancy of supply. Of the almost 30 strains currently on offer, many cannot yet be supplied, however. In particular, patients who need high-CBD strains face a long wait for their medicine.

DHV Director Georg Wurth is unhappy with the current situation. He accuses the government of “totally excessive prices, a botched licensing process and arbitrary health insurance” and believes that the Ministry of Health still has some way to go.

The post Cannabis and German politics: A snapshot appeared first on Sensi Seeds Blog.

Original article from sensiseeds.com: Cannabis and German politics: A snapshot

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