Patient Advocate since 1977.

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Tommy Chong rumored to be re-appearing at ICBC Berlin

ICBC Berlin - The BERLIN PEACE ACCORDS...putting an end to the world war on Cannabis!

ICBC BERLIN will be held April 12-13, 2018 in Berlin Germany.

Tommy Chong and his CHONGS CHOICE offerings http://chongschoice.us/ were well-received by the international cannabis executives this year and rumor has it he will be there again in 2018.

For more information on this HIGHLY RECOMMENDED event, please go to:


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BREAKING NEWS: GERMAN PHARMACIES SOLD OUT OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA….limited supply not available until September at the earliest.

The Cannabis Shortage Plaguing German Pharmacies

At present, Germany is experiencing massive delays in the delivery of medical cannabis. The supply at most pharmacies is limited to three or four of the 16 available medical strains. More than 10 of Germany’s medically-approved strains originate from the Canadian medical cannabis program, but currently, only smaller stocks of Pedanios’ 18/1 are available — the other five Pedanios Strains are sold out. None of the five strains produced by Tweed are available in German pharmacies.

Due to the lengthy import and export process, Canadian cannabis could return to the German market in September, at the earliest. Shortages from Canada are not the only problem, Dutch producer Bedrocan has not been able to deliver all of its six available medical strains.

On July 17th, medical patients in Germany reported that all wholesalers are currently sold out, posting on self-help network Cannabis as Medicine (SCM) and the German Hemp Federation’s (DHV) forums. Only a few pharmacies that pre-stocked the sought-after medicine can still provide for patients. Patients must, therefore, call their pharmacy before visiting the doctor, ask which of the few strains are available, and then request to have their medicine placed on hold. If a pharmacy can not fill the order of a prescribed strain, the patient’s prescription is effectively invalid. The patient then must revisit the doctor to obtain a valid prescription for an available strain.

The Number of German Patients Has Exploded

The current law for cannabis as medicine has been in existence for four months. In that time, the number of medical cannabis users has risen unpredictably fast. In the case of two of the largest health insurance companies, by mid-July, more than 3,100 patients had applied for reimbursement of medical cannabis prescribed by their doctor. The insurance company Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) published the only concrete figures on these applications.

According to the TK’s reports, 863 applications for reimbursement had been received by July 7, 522 of which were approved and 341 were rejected. Germany’s largest health insurance fund, the AOK, received roughly 2,300 applications by the same date but did not publish figures on approved or rejected applications.

The number of individuals who have applied for reimbursement from the two other large and numerous small insurance companies is not yet known. In view of the total number of insured persons in Germany, experts estimate there are several thousand unreported cases of pending reimbursement applications. In addition, there are no statistics available on patients who have received a cannabis prescription without applying for reimbursement. Maximilian Plenert, a member of the board of directors of the Federal Association for Accepting Drugs and Human Drug Policy (akzept.e.V.), was invited as an expert on medical cannabis to several German Bundestag hearings. On request from Marijuana.com, Plenert said he estimates that on the basis of the numbers and feedback received, about 10,000 patients have obtained medicinal cannabis flowers from pharmacies since the introduction of the law in March.

Due to these unforeseen developments, many cannabis patients are currently confronted with a shortage of supply. The German Hemp Association (DHV) has received numerous reports of affected patients who are currently waiting for their medicine. After all, those affected simply do not need “Cannabis Flos,” but one or more strain varieties, each with a specific active ingredient profile.

Currently, German patients are completely dependent on imported cannabis. They only receive what is not needed by the Dutch and Canadian cannabis programs. The imminent legalization in Canada will only exacerbate this problem, as bottlenecks are already expected in Canada by July 2018. In addition, it is far easier and less bureaucratic for Canadian producers to use the domestic recreational market instead of struggling with lengthy export- and import-licensing procedures.

The German Pharmacists Rejoice

While many health insurance companies continue to oppose cannabis for reasons beyond the exorbitant costs, pharmacists appear to be enjoying their new role. As the Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung reported recently, the majority of German pharmacies welcome the new law. Three out of ten pharmacists said the new law had a positive impact on the demand. However, the additional examination of the medicine represented a considerable effort, and 98 percent of pharmacists surveyed complained. This is probably why they charge almost 10 Euro per gram for the high effort of checking, repacking, and labeling cannabis medicine. The survey found that 30 percent of pharmacists have no opinion on the new regulations, while one in five oppose it.

Home Cultivation Remains a Political Issue

The production of medical cannabis in Germany could begin much faster if the licensing of the producers was a less bureaucratic than the current procedure. According to the recently founded Cannabis Agency, the earliest date to supply pharmacies with medicinal cannabis products is mid-2019. Allowing patients to grow cannabis could mitigate the problem of supply bottlenecks. But this solution, much like under ex-Premier Harper in Canada, is not politically viable in Germany. The federal government still carries out numerous trials against patients who have applied for the cultivation of a few plants to meet their medical needs. If the supply remains inadequate through 2019, the German Health Ministry will continue to losethese trials against cannabis patients.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett


Michael Knodt is an expert on cannabis politics and cannabis culture across Europe. Born in North Germany, Michael has been living in Berlin since 1990. He initially studied history and journalism before receiving his certification as a carpenter. Since then, Michael has made regular visits to countries where cannabis is cultivated, such as Jamaica and Morocco. He has worked as a freelancer for Weedmaps, Vice Magazine Germany, Sensi Seeds and numerous German-language cannabis magazines since 2004. From 2005 to 2013, Michael was the Editor-in-Chief of Germanys biggest cannabis periodical. He also is the face and presenter of the most popular program on cannabis prohibition and just launched a new channel called “DerMicha.” Aside from his journalistic work, Michael is a cannabis patient, activist, sought-after speaker on conferences and congresses, and a father of two.

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Dutch Cannabis Social Club Applies for Legal Cannabis Cultivation – by Michal Knodt

Dutch Cannabis Social Club Applies for Legal Cannabis Cultivation

The Tree of Life, Amsterdam’s first and only cannabis social club, recently filed a request for an exemption from the Dutch Opium Act to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The club applied to grow cannabis for scientific research purposes. The association of recreational and medical users believes this can be accomplished in compliance with the Opium Act because the law states that the production of narcotics can be allowed for “medical and scientific purposes.”

“We want to study the needs of users as they know the composition of cannabis due to it is being listed and labeled,” club president Rosaria Ricci told the Dutch media. “The research is aimed to document the health of its (the club’s) members. We are also curious about the effects of controlled cultivation.”

“Those terms are not defined,” said the club’s legal adviser, Kaj Hollemans. “There is room for interpretation.”

Born Out of Necessity

In 2017, the coffeeshop culture of Amsterdam is merely a shadow of its former glory. Due to numerous toughened rules enacted during the last two decades, Amsterdam’s 1,000 coffeeshops have dwindled to about 200. Due to a lack of competition, prices are often high, and the quality is hit or miss given missing regulatory controls. The reason for Amsterdam’s decline is cannabis-hostile federal governments, which have been in power since 2002. Some members of the country’s conservative political parties, VVD Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie) or CDA (Christen Democratisch Appèl), would prefer to close down all coffeeshops which have been tolerated since the 1970s and long since established in Dutch culture. The VVD- or CDA-dominated governments have constantly tightened the rules for operators and visitors since the turn of the century. A THC maximum of 15%, the constant tightening of the distance rule to schools, a smoking ban in many coffeeshops, and the reduction of the maximum output to five grams are only the most drastic limitations that cannaseurs have endured in the Netherlands. In order to keep away the so-called “drug-tourists,” politicians decided to introduce a buyers-ID for local residents in the southern border regions in 2012. The so-called “Wietpas,” however, was abolished once the cannabis buying scene increasingly shifted to the illegal street dealers. It also spoiled other businesses profiting from the vivid coffeeshop tourism on the borders of Belgium and Germany. In 2008, the coffeeshop trade union (Bond Van Cannabis Detaillisten-BCD) announced that coffeeshop tourists not only invest money in flowers or hash but also in the neighboring infrastructure and surrounding businesses. Regardless of their expenses for cannabis products, due to the BCD in Maastricht, coffeeshop tourists spend between 140 and 170 million Euro in the town annually.

While tourists suffer slightly from the current situation, Dutch consumers have been hit particularly hard. On the one hand, you can buy cannabis in every town, and on the other hand, even the cultivation of up to five plants for one’s personal use is hardly tolerated indoors anymore because the cultivation under artificial light is now generally regarded as a professional operation. Outdoor cultivation of up to five plants is only tolerated when it is not in public view and others do not feel bothered by its presence. Back in 2015, a new growshop law led to the fact that many of the oldest grow shops in the world have either voluntarily close or banished every product related to cannabis, acting as “Hydro” or “Urban gardening-shops” now. While lamps and other equipment are still legal, consulting about cannabis, seeds, growing guides or cannabis magazines has been strictly forbidden in Dutch growshops since 2015.

The Tree of Life: Self Supplied Since 2014

After the quality of cannabis had sunk to new lows for the locals three years ago, 36 cannaseurs joined together in Amsterdam to found the Tree of Life, the first cannabis social club in the Netherlands. At that time, the club’s founding members hoped to enjoy a similar toleration status as the regions’ coffeeshops. The minimum age for members is 21-years-old, with the memberships granted exclusively given to Netherlands residents. Medical patients with a valid prescription may join when they turn 18. The financial report of the club is available to all members at all times. The Amsterdam Mayor van der Laan supported the idea of the club, and initially, the newly founded club was able to act without any interference. The club grows a maximum of five plants for each club member, using neither pesticides nor insecticides. Interested members may take a look at the production site at this time. Just as in the Dutch coffeeshops, the maximum dose is five grams per day, per person, though patients with the appropriate prescription may purchase more. New members are asked about their consumption habits when they enter so that cultivation can be planned accordingly. The gardeners always produce a slight surplus so that bad harvests, pests, or human failure are not detrimental.

In the beginning, the weekly meetings of the club took place in a cozy café where members were given their weekly or monthly allotment of cannabis. A few months after the club’s foundation, the first press reports were published and club president Rosaria Ricci remained confident about not being bothered by the prosecutor’s office. After all, their club was more strict than any coffeeshop in the city and operated without any profits. But in February 2015, the club received a letter from the public prosecutor’s office, which clearly excluded the social club model from toleration. The main reason behind the decision was that the number of five plants tolerated in the Netherlands was being exceeded. If the club continued to operate in public, it had to expect repressive measures. According to this announcement, the Tree of Life was forced to either dissolve or simply give up its common goal of community cultivation. But the members did not want to accept either outcome and decided to change their fundamental strategy. No longer satisfied with the club’s goal of effective toleration, their goal was to grow 100% legal cannabis.

Solid Scientific Background

The Amsterdam Social Club decided to develop a scientific research program on the effects of controlled growing on responsible adult cannabis users. This program enables consumers to rely on accurate information about the growing process, the quality, as well as the chemistry of the cannabis, which will be produced exclusively for the members of the association. “We are also excited to do research on strains and on how we can better classify them based on the chemical analysis and based on members feedback,” the club’s president Rosaria Ricci told Marijuana.com. The research plan was set up in cooperation with the University of Amsterdam (UvA, Institute of Criminology) and the Amsterdam Medical Centre (AMC). Finally, the application for scientific research based on a special exemption from the Dutch Opium Law by the ministry of Public Health was issued at the beginning of July.

“It is important to stress the impact that our experiment could have in other European countries, if successful. It would be a legal alternative to other models still operating in a gray area, like coffeeshops or other Spanish, Belgian cannabis Social Clubs,“ Ricci explained. “We, as Tree of Life, have probably chosen the most difficult way, but this way would make it possible to operate according to high quality standards from the very beginning and give the guarantee of product quality to our members.“

Whether or not it will succeed is still quite uncertain. Despite the fact that cannabis policy is officially a health item in the Netherlands, basic decisions about cannabis policies are still being drawn by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, and not the Dutch Ministry of Health.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

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English translation of Dr. med. Franjo Grotenhermen article in German Hemp Journal – 13 July 2017 –

English translation of:  https://hanfjournal.de/2017/07/13/17722/#comment-14797

From Dr. med. Franjo Grotenhermen

Typical symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder) are concentration disorders, internal and external restlessness (“Zappelphilipp”), sleep disturbances and disturbances of the pulse control with anger outbursts. The most commonly used drugs, such as Ritalin and Medikinet, contain methylphenidate, an amphetamine-like substance. Methylphenidate helps many patients, but can increase certain symptoms, such as sleep disorders, aggression and loss of appetite.


Many people with ADHD have mostly discovered that cannabis improves their ability to concentrate, stabilizes the emotional situation, and has a positive impact on school, career and social life in all respects. Many psychiatrists and neurologists, however, reject the treatment of cannabis products or cannabis-based drugs.

This has two main reasons. First of all, members of this professional group often have a strong, negative impression of cannabis, often at the border of the boredom. The fact that cannabis can also be helpful in psychiatric disorders does not fit this picture. ADHD patients have repeatedly told me that psychiatrists and neurologists do not listen to them at all if they want to tell them about their positive experiences. Second, there was not a single controlled clinical trial of cannabis or THC in patients with ADHD by 2017.


The example of a medical certificate issued to one of my patients recently by his neurologist shows which emotions the subject can cause in neurologists. It states that “as a delegate of the BVDN I participated in the consensus conference on the S3 guideline” ADHD in children, adolescents and adults “last on 8.5.17. Regarding the regulation of cannabis, there was (unanimously) the highest degree of recommendation, cannabis should not be used in ADHD ‘. The guideline is expected to be published in the autumn of 2017. This is probably not necessary for the planned certification. You can save money. A Vo. Of cannabis in their case to the health insurance is definitely excluded. ”

BVDN is the professional association of German neurologists. Guidelines from specialists on various diseases help physicians to carry out a rational and scientifically sound diagnosis and therapy. There are generally valid guidelines for the preparation of so-called S3 guidelines. In the case of an S3 guideline, “systematic research, selection and evaluation of scientific evidence (” evidence “) is necessary for the relevant clinical questions” and “every recommendation is discussed within the framework of a structured consensus finding under neutral moderation And whose objectives are the resolution of open decision-making, a final assessment of the recommendations and the measurement of the consensus strength “.


In the above-mentioned participant, I have come to the impression that there is no neutral attitude towards this Sachthema, but a highly emotionalized one.

The S3 guideline for the ADHD may, however, already be ready for the papertonne or at least as far as cannabis is required before its appearance. On May 30, the first clinical study on cannabis in adulthood was published. The participants randomly received either cannabis or a placebo. The results were conducted by researchers at Kings College London and other scientific institutions in the UK.


Cannabis was associated with a significant improvement in hyperactivity / impulsivity, as well as with a trend towards an improvement in lack of attention and emotional instability. The researchers wrote that “adults with ADHD could represent a subgroup of people who experienced a reduction in symptoms and no cognitive impairment after cannabis use.”

Due to the low number of participants, the results are provisional. However, since they are consistent with experience reports from many patients and also from results from an experiment with an animal model of ADHD, they should be taken seriously. For a guideline this would mean that one is cautious with recommendations on cannabis and ADHD. Concluding recommendations in one or other direction are not yet possible.


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The State of Cannabusiness in Germany

The State of Cannabusiness in Germany

As a cannabis business executive, you undoubtedly have been following some of the significant events happening in Europe and you have asked yourself: “How does this affect my plans?”

It may be the German government establishing a nationwide medical marijuana program, or news about the Canadian companies buying or merging with their European counterparts that has your attention. But you know the times are a changin’ and you might want to benefit from this historic moment in our Industry.

For those companies that already have a strategic international plan in place, the opportunities are boundless.  Germany, a nation with 2.5 times the population of California, is leading the way with the a national, Federal-government approved, medical marijuana law already in place, and numerous regional efforts to establish recreational use are getting off the ground as I write this column.

Having been an advocate in California during the medical marijuana legalization push of 1990s, and now living here in Germany as they build their own regulated marketplace, it has been fun to be involved. I’d now like to share some of the organizations that may be able to help you and your company, if Europe is indeed on your radar.

Das Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte (BfArM) is the German federal government’s  Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and is lead by Professor Dr. Karl Broich. Their website is www.bfarm.de and they are basically the cannabis bureau of Germany, charged with implementing the medical marijuana law.  Interestingly, they will also be the sole purchaser of foreign-produced medical marijuana products, and then oversee the distribution exclusively though licensed pharmacies.

So Germans will be going to their local pharmacy to obtain their medicine, which officially should be paid by their insurance company.  Of course, the details are still being worked out, and I know of at least two lawsuits against insurance companies not paying for their clients medicine.

Last month, the BfArM put out a call for bids for the first ten authorized grow licenses in the history of Germany.  Negotiations are underway and the winning bidders should be announced shortly.  We will keep you updated on this, and all important details emanating from Europe, in future columns.

The Deutscher Hanfverband (DHV) is the German Hemp Association in Berlin and a fantastic resource and advocacy organization. They have been instrumental in getting the country to this point and their website is https://hanfverband.de I highly recommend signing up for their newsletter (which can easily be translated.)  Their next big event is the Hanf Parade in Berlin in August which will bring together over 10,000 advocates calling for open access.

For companies that want to get serious about being in Europe, the best organization I know of is the German Trade and Investment office located in Berlin which is part of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs. Their website is www.gtai.de.

Their knowledge is vast, their connections incredible, and there is no charge for their services. They want to make it easy for international companies in our space to help Germany build their regulated marketplace. They provide advanced research, site-selection, tax information. And.. they are just an email or phone call away.

Of course, there are a total of 51 independent states that make up Europe and 28 of those make up the European Union.  To some degree all of these countries are changing the way they treat medical marijuana and CBD products.

If you are looking for some opportunities in this region, I would suggest looking not only at Germany, but also The Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. Although Israel is not in the EU region, their expertise, leading edge research, products and capabilities are to be noted.

Before concluding, I need to give a shout out to Mr. Alex Rogers and his team at ICBC Berlin who put together one of the best industry events I have ever attended.  Back in April, in Berlin, almost 1000 attendees and exhibitors from throughout the world gathered to share information, make connections and close business deals.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the Cannabis Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, was the keynote speaker and shared stories on his German ancestry, his first meeting with Ronald Reagan, and why legalizing our plant makes sense in so many ways.

Tommy Chong was also in attendance, was way coherent, and meeting him was definitely one of my personal highlights.  Yes, I admit it, I listened to his albums way back in 1971.

So I wish you a productive, successful and fun month ahead as we collectively take the next steps to “Make Cannabis Great Again” here in Europe, and wherever you are reading this in the world.

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ASA’s Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program is now leading the development of international regulatory guidelines, presenting to public health officials and industry stakeholders around the globe, conducting trainings in the US and abroad, and partnering with the University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy on cannabis education.

PFC at Forefront of International Standards Development

ASA’s effort to set scientifically sound standards for cannabis safety and quality has found new partners and gone international. ASA’s Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program is now leading the development of international regulatory guidelines, presenting to public health officials and industry stakeholders around the globe, conducting trainings in the US and abroad, and partnering with the University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy on cannabis education.

Spearheading the effort is ASA’s chief scientist Jahan Marcu, PhD, in his role as a director of the PFC program. Just this past month, Dr. Marcu has crisscrossed the globe collaborating with doctors, scientists and public health officials from Spain to Israel to Mexico and back, plus conducting trainings in Ohio and Florida.

In Spain, PFC certified the country’s first cannabis distributor, worked with a doctor’s office, and conducted a weeklong training attended by representatives from 10 countries.

In Mexico, Dr. Marcu (pictured at right with patients and advocates in Mexico City) met with officials from the Department of Health and presented a talk on medical cannabis at the invitation of the national institute of pediatrics. PFC is translating ASA’s educational materials into Spanish and will be training the country’s health officials through the Cannabis Care Certification program on how to draft and implement sound regulation. PFC has also been asked to work with the governor’s office in Mexico City on drafting health and safety guidelines.

In Israel, Dr. Marcu made two presentations to Cann10, the second international medical cannabis conference in Tel Aviv. The focus there is on matching cannabis varieties to individual patients based on matching human genetics to plants. PFC’s Cannabis Care Certification will be training physicians in Israel, and manufacturing companies there have applied to PFC for certification.

In the U.S., PFC has been offering webinars and in-person trainings, including a CME event in Orlando, Florida for health care professionals and a training in Ohio. Dr. Marcu was also invited to speak about the PFC program at the American Public Health Laboratory conference last month. He will be speaking about the endocannabinoid system this month at the Cannabis World Congress and Expo in New York and presenting on international cultivation standards this month as part of the annual meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS), held this year in Montreal, Quebec.

PFC’s role in developing regulatory guidance will be central, as Dr. Marcu is chairing the ASTM subcommittee of 50 experts developing standards for education and training and criteria for regulatory assessment. These standards will determine how the cannabis industry will function – who gets licenses, who gets trained and how.

PFC’s new partnership with the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy launches next week at PFCtraining.org. This will be the only cannabis training program available through a university online for credit. Going forward, the University of Maryland will be conducting educational trainings, while Dr. Marcu and the PFC staff will handle regulatory issues and compliance.

PFC webinars are being run about every two weeks. Some are free, and those with fees are available to patients on a sliding scale. Interested patients should email PFC ahead of the webinar they’d like to attend.

PFC began with a collaborative effort with the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), but the international nature of medical cannabis research and development has transformed it into a global project.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions – “How To Spot A Stoner”

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