While pharmaceuticals are being used illegally, there’s some good news: everyone’s favourite illegal plant will finally be covered by health insurance. But not that easily.
This month, the German parliament’s new law officially legalising the use of marijuana for medical purposes comes into effect. Weed has been known for centuries for its therapeutic benefits, whether managing chronic pain, easing chemotherapy side effects for cancer patients, decreasing the number of seizures in epileptic people… the list goes on. Before the law, patients could use cannabis medicinally but had to pay for it themselves (around €15-18 per gram). Now, those approximately 1000 Germans, most of whom use the drug for pain relief, will see it covered by public health insurance, be it in the form of raw marijuana or compounds such as oral sprays, pills or oil. For now Germany is importing the plants and products from the Netherlands, but a state-regulated programme for growing medicinal-quality plants is in the works.
So does this mean California-style easy access to prescription-grade bud as soon as you fake a headache? Far from it. The application process will be a lot more laborious than your usual prescription, requiring several approvals from specialists. And then your health insurance company has to approve, following a three-day review of your documents and doctor recommendations. In other words, unless you recreational users are really committed (and what stoner is?), your local park dealer remains the easiest way to toke up.