The never ending story, depends on whom you ask. While Karl is hoping, the legalization of cannabis is not making progress. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach’s flagship project is currently being stymied by his own party. From the perspective of SPD interior policy experts, details remain unresolved, such as issues related to police checks. Impatience is mounting.
Germany’s cannabis debate is at a critical junction, posing the question across Social Media: Is cannabis a medicinal product or a lifestyle choice?
Removing Narcotics Classification: A Priority
The Association of Cannabis Dispensing Pharmacies (VCA), through its executive director Dr. Christiane Neubaur, has emphasized the importance of removing medicinal cannabis from narcotics legislation. This change is seen as a crucial step toward simplifying the process for both practices and pharmacies, which are currently navigating the complexities of providing patients with necessary treatments.
Pharmacy Perspective: Pharmacies dispensing medicinal cannabis are open to the partial decriminalization and the removal of medicinal cannabis from narcotics laws. Melanie Dolfen, a pharmacist, suggests that even if broader legalization efforts fail, improving medicinal cannabis supply would be a significant achievement by the federal government.
She operates specialized pharmacies serving cannabis patients in Berlin, underscores the potential positive outcome of the ongoing legislative challenges. She believes that if the legalization efforts ultimately lead to an improved provision of medicinal cannabis, then the government’s efforts, even if perceived as failing, would still mark a significant achievement. Dolfen urges health policymakers from all parties to seize the opportunity to make meaningful changes, including eliminating the approval requirement for medicinal cannabis and allowing general practitioners to prescribe it.
A Call for Legislative Clarity
Both Neubaur and Dolfen advocate for a legislative environment that better serves the needs of cannabis patients and healthcare providers. Their comments reflect a broader sentiment within the healthcare sector for more accessible and straightforward regulations governing medicinal cannabis. This includes a call to remove the bureaucratic hurdles that currently complicate the prescription and dispensation of medicinal cannabis, thereby enhancing patient care and potentially fostering a more rational and compassionate approach to cannabis use in general.
Legislative Challenges: The current legislative approach, which separates recreational from medicinal cannabis, is seen as a barrier to a rational, evidence-based drug policy. This division potentially overlooks the larger research potential that recreational cannabis represents, given its significant market size compared to medicinal cannabis, Lito Schulte mentioned!
Societal Reevaluation Needed: There’s a call for reevaluating cannabis use beyond the medical realm, recognizing that non-medical use constitutes the majority of consumption in Germany. This requires a unified legal framework that considers both personal consumption and medicinal use.
Decriminalization vs. Reclassification: The push for reclassifying cannabis for medicinal purposes without also decriminalizing it is viewed as a hindrance to progress.
Adding Gero Kohlhaas’ Viewpoint: Gero Kohlhaas of the Self-Help Network Cannabis Medicine criticizes the notion of a “false compromise” in legalization. He highlights the importance of decriminalizing cannabis consumers, including self-supplying patients, and argues against opposing medicinal cannabis legislation (MedCanG) to recreational cannabis legislation (CanG). Kohlhaas emphasizes that removing cannabis from the narcotics classification could simplify regulations and benefit medicinal cannabis patients and its perception.
The Way Forward: These perspectives underscore the complexity of cannabis legislation in Germany, highlighting the need for a balanced approach that addresses both medicinal and recreational use. The debate continues to evolve, with the potential to shape a more inclusive, evidence-based policy framework that could serve as a model for broader European cannabis legislation.
My Take – Holistic Approach to Cannabis Legislation: The current division between medicinal and recreational cannabis use in Germany does not fully address the complex realities of cannabis consumption within the society. By focusing solely on the medicinal aspect without a parallel framework for recreational use, we risk missing critical opportunities for public health education, harm reduction, and research.
The picture was taken by apotheke adhoc here.