|Photo: The Local|
Medical marijuana will soon be available in Germany, with the center-right coalition preparing to make major changes to the country’s drug laws, a government health spokeswoman said this week.
Doctors could write prescriptions for cannabis and pharmacies would be authorized to sell the plant once the law had been changed, a member of the junior coalition party, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) said Monday, reports The Local.
Marijuana would also be permitted for use as a pain relilever for the terminally ill in hospices and other health care facilities, making it a legal part of their emergency pain-relief supplies, according to the report.
“With this, the sickest people will always have a pain-relieving substance available,” said Ulrike Flack, the FDP’s health policy spokesperson.
The new law will end a longstanding struggle between German government officials, doctors and health insurance companies over the use of the proven herbal therapy for treating pain stemming from diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis.
Under current law, only 40 German patients are currently allowed to use prescription medical marijuana, according to the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (ACM). Others using cannabis, even for medical reasons, have until now risked prosecution.
However, law enforcement generally “tolerates” small amounts of cannabis for personal use.
Meanwhile, as pointed out by Mike Meno of the Marijuana Policy Project, patients in 36 of the 50 United States are still treated as criminals if they relieve their symptoms through marijuana, and our federal government persists in incorrectly classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug–meaning it has “no accepted medical value”–while at the same time blocking the much-needed research necessary to move marijuana through the FDA approval process.
“Make sure to tell your elected officials that you’re tired of seeing the United States lag behind while other developed nations implement compassionate and science-based medical marijuana policies by visiting MPP’s Federal Action Center,” Meno said.
Change can come, even when it has recently been stymied. Just two years ago, the conservative Christian Democrats, the FDP and the center-left Social Democrats all voted against loosening medical marijuana laws.
Opponents had used scare tactics in their campaign against medical marijuana in Germany, claiming cannabis had a potential for addiction, and trying to cast doubt on its medical benefits.