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Friday, August 20, 2010

Germany Ready To Legalize Medical Marijuana

By Steve Elliott
From: http://www.tokeofthetown.com/
Photo: DPA.jpeg
Photo: The Local
Medical marijuana will soon be available in Germany, with the center-right coalition preparing to make major changes to the country's drug laws, a government health spokeswoman said this week.

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

Marijuana would also be permitted for use as a pain relilever for the terminally ill in hospices and other health care facilities, making it a legal part of their emergency pain-relief supplies, according to the report.

"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 longstanding struggle between German government officials, doctors and health insurance companies over the use of the proven herbal therapy for treating pain stemming from diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Under current law, only 40 German patients are currently allowed to use prescription medical marijuana, according to the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (ACM). Others using cannabis, even for medical reasons, have until now risked prosecution.

However, law enforcement generally "tolerates" small amounts of cannabis for personal use.

Meanwhile, as pointed out by Mike Meno of the Marijuana Policy Project, patients in 36 of the 50 United States are still treated as criminals if they relieve their symptoms through marijuana, and our federal government persists in incorrectly classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug--meaning it has "no accepted medical value"--while at the same time blocking the much-needed research necessary to move marijuana through the FDA approval process.

"Make sure to tell your elected officials that you're tired of seeing the United States lag behind while other developed nations implement compassionate and science-based medical marijuana policies by visiting MPP's Federal Action Center," Meno said.

Change can come, even when it has recently been stymied. Just two years ago, the conservative Christian Democrats, the FDP and the center-left Social Democrats all voted against loosening medical marijuana laws.

Opponents had used scare tactics in their campaign against medical marijuana in Germany, claiming cannabis had a potential for addiction, and trying to cast doubt on its medical benefits.

1 comments:

Don Marijuano August 23, 2010 at 12:43 PM  

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."

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