Europe: Germany Opens Door to Medical Marijuana
Beginning this week, a handful of patients in Germany have approval to start receiving medical marijuana from a Belgian firm that produces it for the Dutch government’s medical marijuana program. Belgian medical wholesaler Arsus NV, whose subsidiary Fagron Netherlands supplies medical marijuana in Holland, announced in a Monday press release that its Fagron Germany subsidiary has been granted an exclusive license to import and distribute medical marijuana in Germany.
Medical marijuana is not recognized by Germany’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (Bundesinstitut fŘr Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte - BfArM), but the regulatory agency has allowed four patients to use marijuana since August 2007. Those exceptions came at the urging of doctors and only after it was established that no other treatments were effective.
Germany is now inching closer to full membership in the medical marijuana club, which is currently limited to a small number of countries, including Canada, Holland, and Israel. The US has its own federal medical marijuana program, but since access to it was cut off more than two decades ago, it will go extinct as soon as the last remaining patients receiving marijuana under it do.
On the other hand, the US is also home to the largest population on the planet living in jurisdictions where states have legalized medical marijuana. Roughly one-quarter of the US population lives in medical marijuana states. But they remain vulnerable to federal interference.