How cannabis patients despite the prescription are harassed by the police
Aug 25, 2017, 12:48 pm
Symbolfoto: imago Christian Mang
Anxious doctors, skimpy coffers, inexpensive grass, empty pharmacies. The medical cannabis legislation: a first gloomy conclusion.
Glockenbachviertel in Munich, a sunny spring day in May. The 31 year old Christoph sits with two girlfriends on a meadow on the Isar. “Somehow I had to take my medication,” says Christoph. Its medications are joints. He has ADHD. A few minutes later four civilian policemen are standing around the group. “One of them immediately took the joint away and they began to search me,” recalls Christoph.
He tells the policeman that in his left handbag he finds his prescription for cannabis . “After they finally looked at it, a policeman imprisoned me for prescription.” The policemen then search his companions. Christoph asks for the reason for the search. “One of the policemen just said, ‘Other junkies have knives and syringes.'” Then the policemen let him run. For Christopher, however, the case is not finished. He lodged a complaint “on the grounds of unlawful and disproportionate police action, damage to my property, and insult to my person by police officers 21”. The policeHas answered him that the Bavarian LKA is now checking whether the police have acted illegally, and whether Christoph is entitled to compensation. It is the normal normal madness for German patients, who since March cannabis can get by law as medicine.
This is how a prescription for medical cannabis looks (Photo: private)
Alone at the Barmer, the AOK and the Techniker Krankenkasse asked nearly 6,000 patients around cannabis on the prescription and a reimbursement, writes the star . Christoph has been using a cannabis recipe since April. “I am hyperactive and very sensitive to the sound,” he says. “During the day, I need the THC to be able to focus, but I’m tired in the afternoon because of my basic activity.” Unlike the current ADHD drug Ritalin – which Christoph took since his 13th year of age – cannabis has no side effects. The new cannabis law would actually help him – if he came to his medicine.
“Since I have my prescription, the varieties that my doctor has prescribed for me are not available,” says Christoph. “Since June there was nothing left, so I had to wait three weeks.” Substitutes such as the oral spray Sativex had been incorrectly dosed. Christoph earned his money as a software developer. “I have to go to work and can not be on such a downer means, where I run around in the afternoon like a zombie.”
“The supply bottlenecks for physically prescribed cannabis exist nationwide and can theoretically occur in each of the approximately 20,000 pharmacies,” writes the German Association of German Pharmacists (ABDA) on demand from VICE. After all, “Some retailers will probably be available again from September.” German pharmacies are still ordering cannabis in the Netherlands and Canada until next year’s production is due to start. “For four or five weeks, we are witnessing the first big supply bottleneck, but there will probably be bottlenecks again in the future because demand is constantly increasing,” explains Deputy Managing Director of the German Hanfverband (DHV), Florian Rister. There are further problems with the bottlenecks.
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Since March 10, patients should be able to get cannabis – actually. “It is still unclear for the patients whether the health insurance funds pay because the law was so spongy,” says Rister of the hemp association. Because there is no exact definition of disease images, the cash desks themselves can decide whether to pay or not. Barmer, AOK and Techniker Krankenkasse, according to their own data, granted only about half of the nearly 6,000 applications.
Another problem: since the law change, the prices of medicinal cannabis blossoms have doubled . This price explosion included, among other things, the fact that cannabis has to be labeled as a prescription drug and not as a finished drug , and pharmacies can make a 100 percent purchase price. “The prices are currently 24 euros per gram for private individuals, who have to pay themselves. For the coffers, such a price explosion is also a burden,” says Rister. The high prices also deter the doctors. “While many doctors have never been involved in cannabis, other people are afraid to break their practice budgets with these high costs and to be reconsidered .”
Because many patients do not find a doctor, one of the leading German specialists for cannabis has been in hunger for a week . Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen wants to draw attention to the criminalization of cannabis patients. “The law is a great step in the right direction, but many patients still have to provide their medicine illegally,” says Grotenhermen to VICE. He calls for a change of law. “The prosecution of patients who have a doctor certified the need for a therapy with cannabis must be terminated.”
Christoph, despite the bottlenecks in pharmacies, has not yet returned to a dealer on the road. He was lucky and managed to get last doses of cannabis blossoms at pharmacies in Munich. Even if his health insurance does not pay his ten prescribed daily dues. Christoph, however, also knows of patients who had to get their medicine different because of the bottlenecks. If they are caught, they are threatened with an advertisement. At the Deutscher Hanfverband, other patients who, like Christoph, were searched or arrested by the police, despite a prescription for cannabis use. “Personal injury, house searches, insults” are the accusations against the officials in at least four cases, which the DHV Munich collected so far.
Icon image: Christoph is not the only cannabis patient who is criminalized by the police (Photo: imago | IPON)
In an open letter to the Minister of Health and the Drug Commissioner, The Left Party already drew attention at the beginning of June to pimpling coffers and the price explosions for cannabis blossoms. The federal government stated in a reply that it had requested a report to the top association of statutory health insurance (GKV). However, because the Federal Government did not set any time limits, the problems could be protracted. “The government needs to cut prices by law in the interests of patients,” the Frank-Tempel drug spokesman said on the website of his party , “We need short-term solutions and can not wait any longer.”
Just a week ago, the Federal Government’s Drug Commissioner, Marlene Mortler (CSU), published the sobering drug and addiction report 2017 . In it, the passionate grass-adversary warned against a trivialization of cannabis and demanded an active anti-cannabis policy in the federation. Specialist Franjo Grotenhermen says he would like to talk with Mortler about the dangers. “I would like to invite her, but she would never accept anything like this.” Mrs. Mortler would look embarrassed if she would talk to me because she can not do anything but “Drugs are dangerous.” He does not believe in a quick solution. “At the moment I am simply desperate and try to draw attention to the failures with this hunger strike.”
Christoph also hopes for change. Since the incident with the police, he is careful, he says. “I was pretty done now, I’m always watching where I can take my medication every day.” After all, ten doses a day – ten joints – were prescribed for him. “Should I hide, so that I may be well? That is not the point.” Yet he believes in the law. “I would be glad if it finally helped us,” he says. “I just hope I get the right drugs soon, pay my health insurance and I do not have to be afraid of the police.”
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