Germany – Article: Cannabis in the pharmacy: reforms are just around the corner

Apotheke Website in Germany writes..

Berlin – Shortly before the federal election, the topic of cannabis is really getting going again: After the chairman of the health committee, Erwin Rüddel (CDU), admitted for the first time that his party would not be able to avoid compromises in coalition negotiations, the Federal Drug Commissioner Daniela Ludwig suddenly sat down for a nationwide decriminalization of small amounts of personal use. 

But the need for reform is much more far-reaching: There is also a lot to do with medical cannabis in the coming legislative period, as politicians, pharmacists and manufacturers alike made clear at the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) in Berlin.

What happens next with the German cannabis regulation. The plant has established itself as a recipe substance in pharmacies as well as an alternative therapy in doctor’s offices. The enormous growth in import figures proves this: while in the fourth quarter of 2017 – six months after medical cannabis was legalized – 694 kilograms of medical cannabis were imported into Germany, in the same quarter of 2020 it was almost 3.5 tons, as Peter Homberg said, Chairman of the European Cannabis Group explained.

And Germany is not alone in the open – from medical cannabis to consumer care products to food and dietary supplements, Europe is the world’s second largest market after the USA, and the trend is growing rapidly. And Germany is not only the most important market in Europe in terms of size, but also the regulatory pioneer: The USA is advancing state by state with liberalization, meanwhile almost every third American can legally purchase cannabis for recreational consumption. But this is not a one-way street: “Legalization in the US has an impact on international treaties and thus reduces restrictions in Europe,” said Beau R. Whitney of the market research and investment company Whitney Economics. “But the EU sets the standards in regulation,

And with this fine-tuning, many in Europe look to Germany, which, according to Whitney, is the leading country for medical cannabis in particular. But there is a huge problem. Medical cannabis has been available in practices and pharmacies for four years, but the distortions that the previous regulation has led to are unmistakable. The health insurance companies still reject the assumption of costs for around 40 percent of cannabis prescriptions. The condition is unique: patients are prescribed a drug and then have to submit applications for reimbursement to their health insurers – often in collaboration with no less unsuspecting doctors. The topic was a hit for the opposition, who argued on the political panel with representatives of the CDU and SPD about the need for reform in the coming legislative period.


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