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Home > English (en) > News > 2012 > GERMAN PATIENTS MAY GROW CANNABIS
Published on 21 December 2012  by encod

GERMAN PATIENTS MAY GROW CANNABIS

Press release of Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin (ACM)

Source: Deutsche Hanfverband

20 December 2012

By: Maximilian Plenert



All the versions of this article: [English]





German patients may grow cannabis, Supreme Administrative Court rules

Under strict conditions severely ill Germans may be allowed to grow cannabis at
home, the Supreme Administrative Court of Munster said in a judgment of 7
December 2012. The reasons have now been published. Patients for whom no other
therapies are available or effective, but may have medicinal benefit from
cannabis, can make an application to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical
Devices (BfArM) in Bonn, so that they can treat themselves with their own grown
cannabis, accompanied and monitored by their doctor. Previously, all such
requests were refused by directive of the Federal Ministry of Health. This
practice is illegal, the court stated.

"This ruling is a milestone on the path to a better supply of German citizens
with cannabis-based medicines," said Franjo Grotenhermen, chairman of the German
Association for Cannabis as Medicine. "Cannabis products from the pharmacy are
unaffordable for most patients. Legalized growing of the plant at home opens up
for them for the first time an affordable alternative." Health insurance
companies usually refuse to reimburse the costs of a treatment with cannabinoid
medicines. "It is unbearable that many patients have to rely on illegal sources
or illegal self-cultivation of their medical need," Grotenhermen said.

Patients whose health insurances cover the costs of a treatment with
cannabinoid-based medications, however do not get a permit for self-cultivation
the court made clear. In the particular case of a plaintiff suffering from
multiple sclerosis the judges ruled in favour of the Federal Republic of
Germany, which had denied him an approval for self-cultivation. The plaintiff
had not been able to convince the court that the cannabinoid dronabinol, which
is reimbursed by his health insurance, has not the same medical effect as
cannabis cultivated by himself.

The arguments of the BfArM for a general denial of approvals for
self-cultivation by patients were completely rejected by the court, however. The
ruling clarifies: "If an affordable treatment option is missing, a license for
personal cultivation of cannabis has to be taken into consideration - at the
discretion of the BfArM." The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices
could not require applicants for self-cultivation that strict safeguards against
theft, as are required from pharmaceutical companies. The provisions of the
Narcotics Act as well as the international drug control treaties would have to
be interpreted in a way that the granting of permission to private individuals
is possible.

The attorney for the plaintiff, Dr. Oliver Tolmein from Hamburg said that
lawmakers are required to act after this decision: "If the Ministry of Health
does not want patients to grow cannabis for self-therapy, is has to be made
absolutely clear in the law on health insurances that they have to reimburse the
cost of cannabinoid-containing medicines or medicinal cannabis for otherwise
untreatable patients."
A medically supervised treatment with cannabis or single cannabinoids in Germany
is currently possible in two different ways: first, dronabinol, the synthetic
THC derivative nabilone and the cannabis extract Sativex may be prescribed.

Secondly, the medical use of herbal cannabis from the pharmacy imported from the
Netherlands is possible. This however, requires a special permit from the
Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices.
The ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court has not yet become final. Before
the Administrative Court of Cologne more complaints by seriously ill patients,
to whom the Federal Ministry of Health denied permission to grow their own
cannabis, are pending.





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The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies, is a pan-European network of currently 160 NGO’s and individual experts involved in the drug issue on a daily base. We are the European section of an International Coalition, which consists of more than 400 NGOs from around the world that have adhered to a Manifesto for Just and Effective Drug Policies (established in 1998). Among our members are organisations of cannabis and other drug users, of health workers, researchers, grassroot activists as well as companies.


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