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There’s long been talk of fully legalizing cannabis in Germany, especially in the capital of Berlin. But how close is Deutschland to actually making marijuana mainstream? Here’s a look at the basic facts.

The debate about legalizing cannabis continues in Germany – the Bundestag (German parliament) in January 2017 passed a law to officially legalize medical marijuana.

But that doesn’t make things any more lax for recreational smokers. What else is there to know about the mystical herb in Germany?

1. Who can smoke?

As of the 2017 law, medical marijuana can be prescribed for seriously ill patients, such as those suffering from multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, serious appetite loss or nausea from chemotherapy.

Still, the law didn’t give an exact definition of what ‘seriously ill’ means. It does state that doctors can write such prescriptions when they see a “not so remote chance” of it resulting in a positive effect. Patients should also anonymously submit data about their therapy for further research.

Before this law, only a select few could apply to be granted permission to consume the drug if they had serious medical conditions. Only around 1,000 people had been given this permission when the law was passed, and they had to take on the costs themselves.

2. How is medical marijuana produced?

The 2017 law put the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) in charge of creating a ‘cannabis agency’ to regulate the cultivation, manufacture and sale at pharmacies of medical cannabis. As this is still a work in progress, imported products are to be used.

Pharmacies can sell it in the dried bud form, as an extract, or as an oil from the plant.

3. A year on, has the law helped patients?

In November The Local took a close up look at the law and the effects it had. We found that the drug had gotten off to a slow start in Germany as doctors were still reluctant to prescribe it to patients. Meanwhile insurance companies also often turn down the request for them to pay for the drug, claiming the case isn’t “serious.”

With a shortage existing in the supply of the drug through legal means many patients are still turning to the black market.

1 Comment

  1. Marlen Beer MD
    November 7, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Weed should be legalized everywhere, it just can’t harm anyone.

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