Article by Reuters via The Guardian
Germany’s lower house of parliament has passed a law legalising the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
People with serious illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis and chronic pain, or a lack of appetite or nausea, could be offered marijuana under the law.
Patients will only have the right to be treated with cannabis “in very limited exceptional cases” and they will not be allowed to grow their own cannabis, according to the bill.
The health minister, Hermann Gröhe, said: “Those who are severely ill need to get the best possible treatment and that includes health insurance funds paying for cannabis as a medicine for those who are chronically ill if they can’t be effectively treated any other way.”
A health ministry spokeswoman said cannabis would only be used as a last resort. She said a scientific study would simultaneously be carried out to assess the effects of cannabis use in such cases.
Until now, patients have only been able to access cannabis for medicinal purposes by special authorisation, making the process complicated. Now they will be able to get a prescription from their doctor and a refund for the upfront cost from their health insurance, she said.