DHV – Florian and Georg
A new era has begun for cannabis patients and legalization activists in Germany. On 19 January the Bundestag adopted the new law for cannabis as a medicine. A great success for all those who have been struggling to improve the situation for decades. Now natural cannabis blossoms and extracts in Germany can be used quite normally medically. Here is a summary of the current situation.
Shortly after the law was passed, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) had already first information on its website. The German Federal Ministry of Health has now also followed suit. In addition to the actual law, there is already some information that is available. How some things look in practice, however, will only be apparent from March. Then the law shall enter into force.
What were the changes before the last consultation in the Bundestag?
Actually, in recent weeks, the DHV has seen only improvements to the law. The cost of cannabis should no longer be used only in the case of serious, chronic diseases, but in general in the case of serious diseases. Even people who are under medical treatment for less than a year therefore qualify for it. The health insurance companies are only to refuse to accept the costs for cases of serious illnesses only in exceptional cases and doctors can also prescribe cannabis without the person concerned before trying all conceivable drugs, if this is not appropriate from a medical point of view. These changes will increase the number of people who get their cannabis really paid off the cash register.
For which diseases are there cannabis as medicines?
Basically, cannabis can be prescribed for every illness on private recipe. There are no legal restrictions in this regard, although certain guidelines may still be drawn up within the framework of medical guidelines, but these are not mandatory for doctors. (Edit: This article contains a list of diseases for which the BfArM has already granted exemptions.) For those affected, the key problem is still to find a physician who is able to do so Theme. It is likely to be a bit more difficult to obtain a cost from the health insurance.
When does the checkout cost?
The health insurance is to take over the costs of cannabis in case of serious illnesses. It is only in individual cases that health insurance funds are to reimburse the costs if they are a serious illness. The basic condition for this is a prescription from a physician approved by a physician. Again, there is currently no fixed catalog of diseases, for which admission is possible. Unfortunately, the term “serious disease is not clearly defined, so many disputes between patients and health insurance funds are to be expected. Cannabis helps with many different diseases and so it is very welcome that the doctors at this point were granted wide freedoms.
There were slight improvements in the issue of the treatment. The costs can also be borne if the physician does not consider the allocation of other medicines to be useful. Who will end up receiving the costs and who is not, you can only speculate about it at the moment.
What happens with the exemptions?
The old exemptions will be lost in the course of three months. Patients with exception approval must then have an anesthetic remedy issued by their treating physician. The complicated approval procedure at the BfArM is dispensed with, which makes it much easier for doctors to start therapy trials with cannabis. Therefore, it is to be assumed that the number of doctors working with cannabis will increase significantly. It is no longer appropriate to apply for a derogation from now on. New requests are probably not processed anymore.
What happens with the cultivation permits?
The two farm permit approvals granted recently by the BfArM will be no longer valid at the moment, as soon as the health insurance companies of the affected persons have received the payment of their cannabis from the health insurance from the pharmacy. Nevertheless, it still makes sense for patients to apply for cultivation applications to the BfArM. We believe that there will continue to be patients who will help cannabis in the future, but they will not be paid by the cash office. These people still have the opportunity to do so as before, ie to apply for self-cultivation and / or to plead in the event of a criminal complaint due to self-sufficiency in justifiable emergency!
How to find a doctor?
Not every doctor wants to work with medical cannabis. This will remain so even after the law change. The ability to prescribe cannabis flowers to a prescription will make the procedure much easier for doctors. Therefore, the number of doctors will rise massively. We have good reasons to assume that a larger number of doctors will be publicly known at the start of the law in March.
Where does the cannabis come from?
Currently, several companies are importing cannabis flowers from the Netherlands and Canada. Following the introduction of the law, a cannabis agency is established as a subordinate authority to the BfArM, which will start a tendering procedure for licenses. The BfArM has already published corresponding job vacancies in order to increase its staff accordingly. Anyone interested in working in this area should apply now!
Companies wishing to apply for the tender for cultivation need to be patient. Nevertheless, many entrepreneurs are already in contact with the BfArM, in order to develop a better position. It may be useful to make contacts here.
How expensive is the cannabis from the pharmacy?
There are different theories. Some believe that medicinal hemp will become more expensive in the future than the current 12-20 € per gram, others go from falling prices. In the long term, prices are likely to fall, but in the short and medium term, different scenarios are conceivable.
Is the use of cannabis medication prohibited in public?
No. Smoking of cannabis is, of course, prohibited as well as tobacco smoking in public buildings and non-smoking areas. Apart from this, there are no specific restrictions on when and how to take their medicine.
How can you identify yourself as a police officer?
The previous exceptions are not applicable, so only the BTM recipe remains. Possibly the BfArM or the new cannabis agency will also introduce a card, as is usual in many other countries, which can be used for legitimation against police officers.
Can you drive as a cannabis?
Currently, there is a large Grauzone. Many cannabis patients with exception approval have been driving for years and are tolerated by police and driving license. Some also successfully made an MPU under cannabis influence to prove their cruising. Other patients were worse off, and in recent years there have been frequent driving tests and MPU orders after police checks.
The difference is already present in patients who receive Sativex or dronabinol on prescription. They have THC in the blood, but may drive with the consent of their doctor also car. In the past, problems rarely arose in the past. As soon as cannabis blossoms are prescribed for prescription, the doctor can clarify how long after taking the patient should not drive a car. In principle, it is always possible to drive a car with cannabis when the patient has been stably placed on the drug in consultation with the doctor. See info TÜV Süd .
To whom is this success owed?
This law did not arise through the goodwill of the CDU-led government. It was only written to prevent the increasing legalization of self-cultivation for patients by courts. In April 2016, the Federal Administrative Court of Leipzig had obliged the BfArM to grant appropriate permits. Currently two cannabis patients in Germany have an authorization to grow their own cannabis. These are limited in time, until receipt of a cost transfer by the health insurance funds. That the prevention of self-cultivation is one of the objectives of the real purpose of the law, was repeatedly stated by the Federal Government.
The increasing number of exemptions from the pharmacy, as well as many court decisions on patients who were caught in the cultivation and then released for reasons of justifiable necessity or condemned only to minor penalties, increased the pressure on the government massively. Even these first permits for the possession of cannabis had to be legally fought, the same went on.
The thanks for this law must not be due primarily to the government, the CDU and the SPD, but to the many patients who have fought for their right. Michael F., who succeeded and won it up to the Federal Administrative Court , but also to all the other parties concerned, who did not insist, but insisted on their position, either as plaintiffs or defendants.
The work of Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen, the working community of cannabis as medicine as well as the self-help network of cannabis as medicine was decisive for the success of the individual patients. Through their professional support, the path to the exemption or the application for self-cultivation could be explained to many stakeholders. Politicians and journalists find serious contacts and information on the subject of cannabis medicine. Without these two organizations and the personal work of Dr. Grotenhermen this success would have been difficult to conceive.
What has the DHV contributed?
Since its founding, the DHV has also dealt with the topic of cannabis as a medicine. Since the issue of the first exemption for cannabis possession, we are pursuing the development very intensively. After the millionaire vote, we were able to do much more. So one of our cinema commercials concentrated on the subject of cannabis medicine. On YouTube, this spot was the top spot spot among our three videos and it was played hundreds of thousands of times in German cinemas. The Lindenstraße resumed the theme more than a year later with some very similar pictures and sequences.
In 2014, we supported the donation campaign of the Cannabis Consortium as a medicine “impunity for patients” with € 10,000 and massive donation calls via our channels. Thus, a lot of money could be collected to support the criminal proceedings of those affected.
One year later we supported the petition of Dr. Grotenhermen for cannabis as medicine to the German Bundestag. Many activists from DHV localities collected signatures, prize money for signatures were praised, and in the final sprint we even hired paid forces to sign collecting. Over 30,000 signatures were thus submitted to the Bundestag. Not all claims from this petition are met with the new law, but many.
Through our flyer and our booklet on cannabis as medicine, we were able to enlighten tens of thousands of people. Our employee Maximilian Plenert is organizing a self-help group of patients in Berlin. To this day, we have also helped hundreds of patients throughout the federal state on their way to the exemption. In the last few years, we have hardly had a week in which we did not talk about our cannabis channels as a medicine, and in discussions with politicians and the media, we always pointed out the drama of the situation of cannabis users in Germany. The DHV employees were also heard as experts in the Bundestag on the subject.
How is it going now?
In addition to the official procedures at the new cannabis agency, it will now primarily be necessary to support the self-cultivation of patients. There will probably be further legal proceedings in the future. Otherwise, we will focus our policy lobbying on the full legalization of cannabis. Not only, but also in the sense of the patients! For as long as cannabis is not completely legal, patients will also have to reckon with stigmatization and social problems because of their medicine. Conclude with crime. Cannabis normal!