Philman's Pharm: "German Quality, California Ingenuity." Est. 1977

German cultivation tender for medical marijuana stopped in its tracks…..and information on the GERMAN PATIENT ROUNDTABLE www.germanpatientroundtable.de


German Patients are Going to be on the Front Lines of This Discussion

The difficulties that German patients have already faced in obtaining a drug that is now legal in their own country for medical use (and even for recreational purposes across an open border in Holland) are legion. While to a certain extent, German patients are in the same boat as patients elsewhere and their problems, in fact, there are still huge access issues that remain. For starters, the drug is much more expensive here, so those without health insurance approval face bills of about $3,000 per month. Why the eye-watering price? All medical grade cannabis is still imported, although increasingly this is now just via other EU countries, not just from Canada.

“One of the reasons we organized the national German Patient Roundtable is to give patients a voice in all of this supply and demand discussion and to help BfArM and others formulate workable solutions for all,” responded Philip Cenedella IV when reached for a response by CIJ. Cenedella, an American expat and the organizer of the Roundtable, a nationally focussed, umbrella group that is kicking off its campaign this year, spoke for many who are far from court and boardrooms where the decisions are being made.

Philip Cenedella
Philip Cenedella, pictured left, at the Deutsche Hanfverband (DHV) conference in Berlin last November.
Photo: @MedPayRx, Instagram

“While there are very talented firms who will now take up this discussion with the government and reissue a response for the tender, what we continue to see on the ground is that patients simply do not have the access granted them in the law which was passed over a year ago,” Cenedella says, with more than a note of frustration. “We again are calling on all government officials, industry executives and patient advocates to band together to immediately establish workable protocols that directly help the patients.”

Indeed, despite the frustration and delay, if not new costs and opportunities that this decision creates, one thing is very clear on the ground here. The current status quo is unacceptable. That alone should also put pressure on the powers that be to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. And via several routes, including widening import quotas or even issuing new licenses as a new solution to domestic cultivation is implemented.

“Patients are not being served and do not have access to a medicine that has been proven to improve lives,” says Cenedella. “Our simple request is for BfArM to finally invite patients into their discussions, to work with patients to formulate workable cultivation and distribution solutions, and we humbly request that this happen now before they go down another dead-end road, ending in another court defeat, and resulting in even more delays to the patients that are still lacking the care afforded them by the German Federal Court’s decision of 2017.”


For more info:



Inside Germany’s New Medical Marijuana Law – by Marguerite Arnold @ Freedom Leaf


On January 19, the German Parliament unanimously voted to legalize medical cannabis. “Critically ill people must be cared for in the best possible way,” federal health minister Hermann Gröhe said at the time. “The costs of using cannabis for medicinal purposes will be met by the health insurance companies if the critically ill, if no other form of treatment is effective.”

The law went into effect in March. Patients are now able to receive up to five ounces per month at a cost of $12 per ounce under public health insurance (which covers 90% of Germans). They can take their doctor’s prescription to any licensed apotheke, or pharmacy, to get it filled. Reimbursement will happen via a special fund set up by the government, with an eye to public health insurers then picking up the slack (probably after the five-year trial also mandated by the new law).

More than 1,000 patients have registered with the program. That number is expected to grow to between 5,000 and 10,000 per year for the next several years, depending on how doctors respond to government education efforts and patient demand.

There’s no list of qualifying illnesses. All patients need to do is get a doctor to write them a prescription. Therein lies the temporary catch. Even the government realizes that finding doctors willing to write such prescriptions is going to be problematic. However, a growing “cannabis doctors” community is eager to put the law into greater practice. Last summer, even before the law passed, legal sales of cannabis in pharmacies doubled—but pharmacies were charging $2,000 an ounce, paid for fully by the patient.

Fourteen cannabis strains are now legally available, all imported and supplied by the Netherlands’ Bedrocan and Canada’s MedCann GmbH. Allowing home growing has been put on a back burner.

As mandated by a United Nations drug treaty, the Cannabis Agency has been established. By May, it had begun to recruit staff members. They will go about implementing the day-to-day details, including vetting the responses to Germany’s first applications for domestically grown medical cannabis.

Ten grow licenses are up for grabs. There are already indications that leading international cannabis firms will have a clear advantage. All they need is an office in Germany and proof they can deliver 200 kilograms of medical-grade cannabis per year by 2019. If domestic crops in the first grow trials fail, it’s possible that imports will be used to back them up.

The Canadian firm Tilray, which began to export cannabis extracts to Croatia last year will likely receive one of the licenses. The U.S. company CW Hemp, maker of the “Charlotte’s Web” strain, which already exports to Argentina, might nab another. In addition, a licensed producer from Israel might partner with a German processor.

The German government wants a steady and expandable supply of cheaper and domestically produced cannabis, probably in the form of extracts, for the majority of patients. That said, cannabis flowers will be available for patients if doctors recommend that.

The biggest uncertainty right now domestically is what the winning combination of producers will look like. With a deadline for proposals to the Cannabis Agency coming in early summer, it’s likely that Germany won’t see its first domestically grown crops harvested until 2019 or 2020. The agency will presumably take until late this year or early in 2018 to screen, test and vet applicants.

While some failures in the early testing process can be expected, deadlines are deadlines. Indoor cannabis, in particular, can be grown with a precision that comes naturally to a nation where the trains usually arrive and depart on time.


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About Marguerite Arnold

Marguerite Arnold is an American expat who moved to Germany four years ago. Since then she’s covered the global development of cannabis reform for numerous publications in the U.S. and Europe and written her first book about reform, “Green.” She has also just completed her EMBA from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and is currently trying to get her weedtech firm MedpayRx off the ground.