Germany Legalizes Medicinal Cannabis in a Growing Global Acceptance Trend

Written by: Benjamin Foster

The U.S. and Germany go to Pot

In the United States, Cannabis legalization is slowly becoming a more common occurrence throughout all fifty states. With Cannabis’ healing properties now available in a variety of forms, from traditional methods such as smoking and edibles to more modern applications of oils and vaping. Along with the introduction of CBDs to the market, the healing, non-psychoactive component of Cannabis, the therapeutic plant is slowly taking over the world and gaining global acceptance. With eight states and the District of Columbia removing prohibition on both medicinal and recreational use of Cannabis, twenty states allowing for medicinal use, and eleven states with legal access to medicinal CBDs, it seems America has embraced the healing properties of Cannabis and all of the plant’s amazing abilities.

The U.S. isn’t the only nation that has seen some major changes in their Cannabis policy, with Germany’s Parliament voting unanimously in favor of a new bill providing for legal medicinal use of Cannabis throughout the country in a May 2016 cabinet session. The ‘Cannabis as medicine’ law will come into effect in Germany in 2017 and will allow people with severe illness that have been proven treatable by the plant, such as Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia, access to medicinal Cannabis. The law was embraced by both parties in parliament and now Germany begins the process of creating a state regulated program to ensure quality and cultivation of medicinal Cannabis.

A statement by Federal Health Minister, Hermann Grohe echoes the feelings of Germany’s Parliament and the nation’s citizens on medicinal Cannabis. After word of the new law broke, Grohe said critically ill people in Germany must be cared for in the best possible way and that costs of medicinal Cannabis will be met by health insurance companies if there is no other viable treatment that has proved effective. While personal possession of Cannabis is still prohibited in Germany, action against small quantities is rarely prosecuted. In passing the historic ‘Cannabis as medicine’ law, Germany has taken a huge step in joining a list of nation’s seeing a revolution in the way they treat Cannabis control and use.

Cannabis Legalization in all Forms is Taking over the Globe

With over half of the United States of America now seeing legalization of Cannabis in some way, and Germany’s medicinal Cannabis measures going into effect this spring, a trend of global acceptance, usage for treatment of illnesses, and recreational use is becoming progressively a common place. Canada has already announced upcoming legislation to begin the process of legalizing Cannabis in hopes of better regulating and ensuring quality of the plant for both recreational and medicinal use. America’s neighbors to the north say the measures will begin in 2017.

The U.S., Germany, and Canada join more than twenty countries currently exploring changes in Cannabis policy. While Canada take lengths to legalize Cannabis, Uruguay legalized the plant for recreational use in 2013 under president Mujica, and Portugal legalized not only Cannabis but all drugs for personal use in a groundbreaking decision in 2001. Meanwhile, across the world, Australia has begun allowing businesses to apply for manufacturing and cultivating licenses for Cannabis products aimed at medicinal uses.

Along with allowing businesses within the country access to produce medicinal Cannabis products, Australia joins Germany, along with Ireland and Jamaica in introducing measures for legal medicinal Cannabis use in 2016. In South Africa, decisions are still pending on medicinal Cannabis legalization. The Director-General of the General-Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies in Libson, Portugal, Joao Castel-Branco Goulao, says the nation served as a social laboratory after the landmark 2001 decision. Goulao acknowledges that while people mix the discussions for recreational and medicinal Cannabis, the benefits of Cannabis, including alleviating chronic pain, muscle spasms, nausea, vomiting, and a multitude of other ailments, are undeniable.

The Growing Medicinal Cannabis Research

As medicinal Cannabis has slowly seen more global acceptance, decriminalization, and legalization, research is mounting on just what Cannabis can do to alleviate and actively cure a plethora of illnesses and ailments. With CBDs, the healing component found in high doses in hemp, which is low in THC, the psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis, becoming more easily available in even the most diehard prohibition states in the U.S. and around the world, medicinal Cannabis use is on the rise in those areas not often associated with the plant. CBDs have proven effective in everything from improving anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, to treating and preventing elliptic seizures which has saved the lives of children suffering from severe forms of the disorder.

Dr. Mike Barnes, a professor of neurological rehabilitation at the United Kingdom’s University of Newcastle, is one of the forerunners in introducing medicinal Cannabis to the UK. Having recently written a report on the medicinal value of Cannabis for Parliament’s Group for Drug Policy Reform, Barnes says it is clearly wrong that Cannabis is categorized as a schedule 1 drug in the country, meaning it is defined officially as having no medicinal uses. Uruguay’s four year old medicinal Cannabis reform and Canada’s newly emerging legalization measures are often cited as examples in government controlled medicinal Cannabis when discussing the UK’s changing policies, in which many hope officials with follow suit in regulating and ensuring the quality of plants used for medicine in the country.

Acceptance and Use of Medicinal Cannabis Becoming Common Place

Though many experts think the progression of recreational use of Cannabis should be taken slowly and through observing the effects medicinal legalization has on global and national societies and economies, the benefits of medicinal Cannabis are hard to deny. Many believe the field is ‘too young’ to see evidence of the benefits of fully legalizing Cannabis, and that observing the wide range of experiments already in effect throughout the world is a necessary first step in overall legalization. Many countries have decriminalized possession of Cannabis for personal use, such as the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the Czech Republic, with a multitude of U.S. states doing the same. With world super powers such as Germany, Canada, and the United States seeing major changes in their medicinal and recreational Cannabis policies, the Cannabis movement is in full effect worldwide.

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