- The Cannabis Act establishes a clear legal distinction between medical and non-medical cannabis by creating separate legal bases for each: the Cannabis Cultivation Act (CanAnbauG) and the Medical Cannabis Act (MedCanG).
- Cannabis will no longer be classified as a narcotic, making it easier for doctors to prescribe medical cannabis (no more BtM prescription) and significantly reducing the administrative burden. However, many aspects of the original Narcotics Act will be transferred to the new Medical Cannabis Act, so it remains to be seen how the prescription will ultimately look in reality.
- A major problem for patients will be the planned ban on the inhalation of their cannabis medication: In particular, the need to maintain a minimum distance of 200 m from schools, children’s and youth facilities, and public playgrounds makes it almost impossible for patients to take their medication in public spaces in urban areas. Legislation must be amended to ensure that patients are not restricted in taking their medication.
- We welcome the fact that the Medical Cannabis Act also regulates the use of cannabis for scientific purposes and that medical, biological and pharmaceutical research is to be strengthened. Unfortunately, there are no concrete supporting measures for this in the text of the law, such as strengthening research funding. Instead, it states that the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) may only grant a permit “in exceptional cases” for scientific or other purposes in the public interest.
- The Cannabis Cultivation Act will regulate the collective cultivation and controlled distribution of cannabis in cultivation associations. Only registered associations are eligible to apply for a permit. The cannabis clubs are to follow a non-profit approach, which is primarily oriented towards voluntary structures with the active participation of the members. Contracting third parties is only permitted for activities that do not directly involve cultivation, e.g. security or laboratory services.
- For private self-cultivation, a maximum of three plants (whether male or female) can be cultivated in parallel at home for personal use, and adults over the age of 18 may possess a maximum of 25 grams for consumption. However, this possession limit counts for both public and private spaces, including possession in one’s own home – it is unclear how this is supposed to be compatible with the amount of potential harvesting of the three plants at home.
Seeds for home cultivation or cannabis clubs can be imported from countries within the EU, e.g. by mail, courier or delivery service. A separate approval from the Federal Plant Variety Office (Bundessortenamt) is not foreseen.
- We welcome the fact that the Cannabis Act aims, among other things, to contribute to improved health and youth protection and to strengthen cannabis-related education and prevention. However, it is a pity that in the recently presented 2024 budget, four million Euros are to be saved in educational measures in the field of drug and substance abuse. Here, too, the legislature can still make improvements.
In summary, the draft law is a first important step toward more destigmatization and decriminalization on the way to a new drug policy. However, one goal of the law, to curb the illegal market for cannabis, will not be sufficiently fulfilled with a limited number of cannabis clubs and the possibility of self-cultivation. It is therefore all the more important that the planned bill for the implementation of scientific pilot projects for the controlled dispensing of cannabis in specialized stores (pillar 2) is presented as soon as possible after the parliamentary summer break.
About Sanity Group
Berlin-based Sanity Group aims to improve the quality of life of people around the world through the use of cannabinoids affecting the endocannabinoid system. In addition to pharmaceuticals, the focus is also on wellbeing and cosmetic products that utilize cannabinoids. Sanity Group, founded in Berlin in 2018 by Finn Age Hänsel, includes Vayamed and avaay Medical (medicinal cannabis), Endosane Pharmaceuticals (finished pharmaceuticals), Belfry Medical (medical products and digital applications) and vaay (wellbeing). Near Frankfurt am Main, Sanity Group also operates a production and processing facility for cannabis extracts. More information can be found on sanitygroup.com/press.
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