The Cannabis Agency has to wait longer than expected for the first deliveries of medical cannabis grown in Germany: In response to a small request from Green MEP Kirsten Kappert-Gonther and other members of the parliamentary group, Sabine Weiss (CDU), Secretary of State for the Federal Ministry of Health, announced. that the pandemic will delay delivery.
It is now clear that “the operational construction projects of the contracting parties under the Public Procurement Act would be affected in partial steps”. The first deliveries to the cannabis agency were originally planned for the end of 2020. The Cannabis Agency is a body of the Federal Institute for the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) responsible for purchasing medicinal cannabis grown in Germany and controlling its cultivation, transport and distribution.
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German production covers only a small part of demand
Even if the harvest and sale of German hemp has started, Germany will remain dependent on imports: BMG’s replies show that a total of 650 kilograms of hemp with different proportions of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) should be produced.
This is a small amount in relation to the ever-increasing demand for medicinal cannabis: in the second quarter of 2020 alone, 2,619 kilograms of cannabis were imported for sale as flowers (a total of 2,349.3 kilograms) and for further processing (269.6 kilograms).
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Although consumption stagnated, German domestic production could only cover 1.6 percent of quarterly consumption for four years. However, demand is constantly growing: the volume of imported flowers increased 18 times between the first quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2020, with a factor of 3.9 for medicinal cannabis.
However, BMG does not see this as a problem: Cannabis prescribed by a doctor, like other drugs, is subject to the free market. Imports are therefore still possible. German distributors of medicinal cannabis currently import a total of 47 varieties from Canada, Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark.
The answer also provides new figures on the rejection rates for medical cannabis claims by statutory health insurers. According to the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds, about 40 percent of applications are rejected – although this should only be possible “in justified individual cases”.
Kirsten Kappert-Gonther says: “Patients who need cannabis as a medicine must finally be taken seriously. The rejection rate of 40 percent of applications cannot be reliably justified. “
The Greens are calling for the release of the CBD
A member of the Bundestag criticized the German government’s hesitant stance on the CBD: it accuses the government of delaying the process of re-evaluating cannabis and its components. In particular, non-psychoactive CBD is rated too strictly.
In fact, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was due to present proposals for reconsideration at its 63rd session in March. The decision was postponed to the next meeting. However, the federal government would ask questions about the CBD decision and not unconditionally approve all the proposals, as the answer states.
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Kappert-Gonther thinks it’s not necessary. “The German government is postponing the WHO process for re-evaluating cannabis instead of continuing in the EU.” The federal government is called upon to force the withdrawal of non-psychoactive CBD from international drug control at its next December meeting, “she said.
In Germany, CBD is in the gray zone: As the substance and the products containing it are considered novel foods, manufacturers and retailers would have to submit individual applications to the EU. Currently, 55 applications are pending. Thus, for all active sellers, at least one administrative offense is a criminal offense.
In February, the European Commission decided that CBD should still be classified as a novel food because no medical effects have been demonstrated.
That should change, says Kappert-Gonther: “CBD for medical use is shamefully neglected by the federal government because only varieties containing THC are intended for cultivation.” In fact, 100 kilograms of cannabis with four to nine percent THC and CBD content can be grown.
The Greens want legalization, the federal government is against it
In addition to increasing cultivation and research funding, Kappert-Gonther and colleagues in the group are calling for controlled cannabis legalization: “Two years ago, Canada decided to introduce controlled cannabis sales. The federal government refuses to recognize that the health benefits can be passed on to Germany, “said Kappert-Gonther.
It reiterated this request in the light of the European report on drugs published yesterday. There, cannabis continues to be listed as a major illicit drug, with a prevalence five times higher than that of all other drugs combined. “The answer to the European drug report cannot be unnecessary repression,” said Kappert-Gonther.
The federal government, on the other hand, maintains a strict separation between medically prescribed dispensing and recreational use: Local model projects, such as those proposed in Bremen and Berlin, are not allowed because they are incompatible with the Narcotics Act.