Cannabis pain patient succeeds in the appellate
court district court: proceedings for illegal cannabis cultivation set – Günter Weiglein takes medicinal hemp against chronic pain
Saturday, 30.06.2018 – 00:00 h
Günter Weiglein from Würzburg suffers from constant pain. As one of the first in Germany, the 53-year-old was allowed to legally buy cannabis for pain relief. Because this financially overwhelmed him, he grew hemp himself, was caught in 2016 and warned in court. He did not want to let that sit on him.
At the appeal hearing, his fight ended relatively quickly.
Weiglein’s ordeal began in 2002. In a traffic accident, he broke several bones. Since then he lives with permanent pain, especially in the left pelvic area. He could walk only 100 to 200 meters, then had to stand a minute, because it hurt so much, he described Appellate Justice Konrad Döpfner at the Würzburg district court.
Relief without side effect
The Würzburger went through all conceivable drug therapies – with significant side effects such as nausea, sweating, restless sleep. The cannabis does not eliminate the duration of pain, but alleviate it without the side effects.
When Weiglein started smoking cannabis, he claims to use six grams of medicinal hemp per day. One gram had cost 15 euros. Today, the prices would be 20 to 24 euros. Too much for the Würzburg, who currently needs eight grams per day and has to rely on the earnings of his wife of around 2600 euros.
To avoid that, Weiglein himself grew hemp. When police stopped by for an ad, they found several cannabis plants with about eight grams usable proportion and seven grams of dried hemp flowers: This Weiglein violated the narcotics law.
Mild judgment in the lower court
In the trial on 30 November 2017, the judge ruled mildly in light of Weiglein’s situation: warning instead of fine, but with punishment. The Würzburger would have to pay 300 euros, he would be caught again. This would be a new criminal case.
Weiglein appealed. It was also about the principle. He was one of three plaintiffs before the Cologne administrative court, the right to self-cultivation. However, the responsible Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices issued no approval, appealed the verdict.
Before it could be decided, the Bundestag adopted in spring 2017 a law on cannabis as medicine. The health insurance companies have to actually pay for it. Weiglein’s hemp cultivation was facing this change.
In front of the Würzburg district court, Weigleins lawyer Matthias Schillo argued that it was impossible for his client to bear the high costs. He had only the choice to endure the pain or to get the necessary drug elsewhere – which was done by self-cultivation.
Although the accused fulfilled the offense under the Narcotics Act, he had not acted unlawfully. He could invoke the protected right to free development of his personality, the right to life and physical integrity. That weighs in the case heavier than the legal provisions.
Cost bears state treasury
Judge Döpfner brought two judgments of the Federal Court, which in principle state that who grows without permission hemp, makes itself punishable. Nevertheless, he stopped the proceedings with the consent of all involved. The cost of the procedure is borne by the State Treasury. For Weiglein a “bearable exit”. Every euro he would have had to pay would have made him feel guilty, he said.
Meanwhile, he and Schillo have reached with his health insurance that she paid him the medical hemp. He also found a Würzburg pharmacy, which supplies him relatively reliably despite general supply shortages. Weiglein still can not grow hemp. That he would do that, if it were not otherwise – he left no doubt on demand.