Friday October 19, 2018

Germany legalizes the use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes for people who are chronically ill

The draft law says patients will only have the right to be treated with cannabis "in very limited exceptional cases" and patients will not be allowed to grow their own cannabis

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FILE - A variety of medicinal marijuana buds in jars are pictured at Los Angeles Patients & Caregivers Group dispensary in West Hollywood, California. VOA
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Germany’s lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a law that legalizes the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes for people who are chronically ill.

Those suffering from serious illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and chronic pain or a lack of appetite or nausea could be offered marijuana under the law.

The draft law says patients will only have the right to be treated with cannabis “in very limited exceptional cases” and patients will not be allowed to grow their own cannabis.

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“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,” said Health Minister Hermann Groehe.

A Health Ministry spokeswoman said cannabis would only be used as a last resort when nothing else seemed to work. She said a scientific study would simultaneously be carried out to assess the effects of cannabis use in such cases.

Until now patients had only been able to get access to cannabis for medicinal purposes with special authorization which had made it complicated, but now they will be able to get a prescription from their doctors and a refund for it from their health insurance fund, she said.

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She said the law was likely to take effect in March after a procedural reading by the upper house of parliament.

State-supervised cannabis plantations will be set up in Germany in future and until then cannabis will be imported. Other countries that allow cannabis to be used for medical purposes include Italy and the Czech Republic. (VOA)

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Canada Legalizes Recreational Cannabis

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began the push to legalize marijuana across the country more than two years ago

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Marijuana, Canada
Different strains of marijuana are displayed for sale at the Warmland Centre, a medical marijuana dispensary in Mill Bay, British Columbia on Vancouver Island in Canada. VOA

A new era begins in Canada Wednesday when it becomes only the second country to legalize recreational marijuana.

Although medicinal pot has been legal since 2001, Canada will join Uruguay as the only nation where customers can buy it in retail shops.

Marijuana, Canada
An employee inspects the leaf of a cannabis plant at a medical marijuana plantation in northern Israel. (VOA)

The first cannabis store opens at midnight Wednesday in Newfoundland, the country’s easternmost province.

Each of the 13 provinces will set its own rules for selling marijuana. Some will allow private shops while others will only sell it through government-run stores. But mail order sales will be permitted across all of Canada.

Only licensed growers can sell marijuana on the retail market.

Marijuana, Canada
In this July 12, 2018 file photo, a newly-transplanted cannabis cuttings grow in pots at a medical marijuana cultivation facility in Massachusetts. (VOA)

The federal minimum age for using marijuana is 18, but most provinces have set it at 19.

Also Read: New Marijuana Study Poses Question About Mind-Altering Breast Milk

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began the push to legalize marijuana across the country more than two years ago, in part, to shut down the black market and prevent underage use. (VOA)

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