Is Germany Regulating Recreational Cannabis and Advancing Medical Marijuana?

Germany has been advancing its stance on cannabis, both for medicinal and potential recreational use. In a recent proposal, the German government has suggested a regulatory framework for recreational cannabis. The proposed Cannabis Act would permit individuals aged 18 and over to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis for personal use and to cultivate up to three cannabis plants at their home.

This development follows legislative changes made on March 10, 2017, when an amendment to the Narcotic Drugs Act came into force. This amendment made it possible for doctors to prescribe cannabis to seriously ill patients without needing a special permit and allows for the cost of treatment to be covered by the patient’s health insurance.

Moreover, physicians in Germany prescribing medical cannabis or cannabis-based medicines are required to participate in a noninterventional accompanying survey, which was conducted until March 31, 2022. As of May 11, 2020, there were over 10,000 complete datasets collected from this survey.

The demand for Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in cannabis plants, is also high in Germany, despite the complex legal circumstances. Following the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) reclassification of CBD in European law in January 2019, CBD was included in the Novel Foods Catalogue.

Medicinally, cannabis use was authorized by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices in Germany for specific severe medical conditions, a move supported by the Federal Administrative Court in 2005. Around 300 German patients have been granted the right to purchase cannabis products from pharmacies to alleviate their pain.

Hemp, the non-psychoactive variety of the Cannabis plant, is witnessing a resurgence in the German market. Although it remains a niche product, licensed German companies have started to cultivate medicinal cannabis. However, the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of marijuana for recreational purposes are still illegal.

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The health implications of legalizing medical marijuana have been mixed. In the U.S., such legalization was followed by a significant increase in cardiac mortality rates, although there were also reductions in opioid prescribing and an increase in tobacco sales.

In terms of legal navigation, marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products, including some forms of CBD oil, remain illegal under federal law in the United States unless they contain no more than 0.3 percent THC or are approved by the FDA. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is tasked with reporting any suspected violations of the law.

Medical marijuana laws (MMLs) have removed state penalties for medicinal marijuana use under certain conditions, despite federal classification of marijuana as a substance with high abuse potential and no accepted medical value.

Medicinal cannabis continues to be a controversial topic due to legal, ethical, societal implications, and concerns about safe administration, packaging, dispensing, adverse health consequences, and potential intoxication.

Germany Regulating Recreational Cannabis

For further information on these developments, you can refer to the following sources:
Germany: Government Proposes Act to Regulate Recreational Cannabis
Germany: Medical Marijuana Act Enters into Force
PubMed Report
The German Hemp Market – Hemp Makes a Comeback in Germany
Medicinal use of cannabis in Europe
Hemp Makes a Comeback in Germany – USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
International Perspectives on the Implications of Cannabis Legalization
Medical Marijuana | Transportation Security Administration
Medical Marijuana and Marijuana Legalization
Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology, And Implications for the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Practitioner

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