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Lawmakers ready to approve use of medical marijuana
Photo: DPA

Lawmakers ready to approve use of medical marijuana

Published: 17 Aug 2010 15:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Aug 2010 15:07 GMT+02:00

Medical marijuana will be available in Germany soon, with the centre-right coalition preparing to make groundbreaking changes to drug laws, a government health spokeswoman said this week.

Doctors could write prescriptions for cannabis, and pharmacies would be authorised to sell the plant once the law had been adjusted, a member of the junior coalition party, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), said Monday.

Marijuana would also be permitted for use as a pain reliever for the terminally ill in hospices and other care facilities, making it a legal part of their emergency pain-relief stocks.

“With this, the sickest people will always have a pain-relieving substance available,” said Ulrike Flack, the FDP’s health policy spokesperson.

The new law will end a long-running struggle between German officials, doctors and health insurers over use of the proven herbal therapy for treating the pain stemming from diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis.

According to the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (ACM), only 40 patients in the country are currently allowed a medical marijuana prescription – even though law enforcement generally tolerates small amounts for personal use.

Almost two years ago, the conservative Christian Democrats, the FDP and the centre-left Social Democrats all voted against loosening medical marijuana laws. Opponents had warned of the drug’s alleged potential for addiction and doubted its medical benefits.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:27 August 17, 2010 by Prufrock2010
This is legislation that is long overdue. Marijuana is NOT addictive, and its pain-relieving benefits are universally accepted within the mainstream medical and scientific communities. No doubt the self-proclaimed moralists will do everything in their power to oppose this enlightened policy shift, as they always do.
20:54 August 17, 2010 by MonkeyMania
Now that would make the €10 Euro Praxisgebühr worth it.
10:37 August 18, 2010 by Joshontour
I have to agree with Prufrock on this. When my Grandma was dying of lung cancer, she became addicted to the narcotic based pain medication she was prescribed. Narcotics are proven to be addictive, they are treated like poison by your body, and have an appetite suppressing side effect...what a triple whammy to terminal patients! Marijuana is not only proven to manage pain, but also is not addictive, not poisonous, and it doesn't suppress your appetite. My Grandma died weighing only 34 kilos. Her body couldn't fight the cancer, and at the same time handle the poisonous narcotics and lack of nourishment all at the same time. I wonder if things would have been different if Marijuana had been available for her.
13:56 August 18, 2010 by NYsteve
This law and allowing euthanasia....2 of the most progressive, modern and forward thinking ideas...little by little here in the US, states are finally allowing medical marijuana....for years the beer and alcohol lobbyists kept the law-makers minds tied up with the "evils of marijuana"...but the voices of intelligent people are finally being heard.......one thing I don't understand tho....I've smoked for 36 years...I have NEVER met a marijuana addict!!!
10:17 August 19, 2010 by Don Marijuano
sorry guys, but this information ISN'T TRUE at all. The German Government just decided to authorize the Pharma-Industry to distribute their products as Sativex in the country.

It is not about Cannabis (medical marijuana) in its natural state (plant)!!
17:50 August 19, 2010 by catjones
As with everything else in Germany, there will be only one flavor of weed to choose from and it will be the same price everywhere. Only the Germans could make marijuana boring.
00:20 August 20, 2010 by Prufrock2010
That's why god created the Netherlands.
18:33 August 20, 2010 by NYsteve
That's ONE good thing about the US...we do have some damn fine munchies/chips/crisps/cooikes/brownies/cakes/etc..etc...etc!!

and yes Prufrock....TGFA....thank god for Amsterdam!!!!!
14:41 August 21, 2010 by Johnny Cash
Oh wonderful. At last in Germany adults might be allowed to choose something for themselves. And you don't smoke it dummy, you bake it and eat it. That way these mediocre (at best) egos on legs, that call themselves our leaders, can never claim it affects your health.Of course no human being should have the right to stop another human being from partaking of what nature provides, it has to be the most basic human rights and maybe any budding law graduates reading this might make a name for themselves by challenging marijuana laws wordwide in the world human rights court on that premiss. If authorities are allowed to carry on this way,what is next`? Sorry carrots are not allowed now,begonias,tomatoes etc
20:34 August 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Actually, I've found the vaporizer to be the best delivery system. Edibles are too inconsistent, and smoking does have some deleterious health effects.
18:04 August 23, 2010 by Don Marijuano
THE FACTS about the misleading information medical cannabis in germany , a statement by Dr.Franjo Grotenhermen:

"There are media reports that the German government is intending to ease the access to cannabis for medicinal purposes. Most of the reports are misleading. The German government has agreed on allowing for pharmaceutical companies to apply for approvals on cannabis-based medicines in Germany. This is necessary to allow the British company GWPharmaceuticals to apply for an approval of their cannabis extract Sativex in Germany. Sativex is already available in the UK and Spain for the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis sufferers,and the company announced in July that applications for this indication have also been made in Italy, France, Germany and other European countries. Approvals are expected in 2011.

No other changes with regard to the medical use of cannabis are intended by the German government. The German Association for Cannabis as Medicine is calling the media reports initiated by the German Government as "misleading", since they suggest that cannabis will be available in Germany soon for many patients,while it is only for spasticity in MS after the approval of Sativex for this indication.

Currently two possibilities exist for a treatment with cannabis based medicines in Germany:(1) Prescription of dronabinol or nabilone by physicians. Unfortunately, the health insurances are usually not obligated to pay for such a treatment.(2) Special permission by the government to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Currently, only about 40 patients are permitted to do so and can buy cannabis in pharmacies imported from the Netherlands."
23:50 August 23, 2010 by Prufrock2010
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, or something to that effect. Sooner or later Germany will enter the 21st century, kicking and screaming no doubt. This is a rising tide that can't be turned back.
18:59 August 24, 2010 by BarryNorton
Why does the English translation of a German news outlet feel the need to use a Spanish word for cannabis?
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