Life in Berlin: Georg Wurth On Legalized Medical Marijuana

In einem auf dem Blog "Life in Berlin" des US-amerikanischen Radiosenders NPR in Berlin veröffentlichten Beitrag spricht Georg Wurth vom Deutschen Hanfverband über die jüngst vom Bundestag verabschiedete Gesetzesänderung.
Cannabis als Medizin soll, teilweise in Deutschland produziert, von den Krankenkassen bezahlt, vermehrt für Schwerkranke zugänglich gemacht werden.
Der Radiobeitrag kann auch nachgehört werden. Zudem ist ein Portrait von Georg Wurth abgebildet.

“Well there are some patients who won the fight at the courts and got a permission now to grow their own cannabis – two people in Germany now," Wurth tells me.

Georg Wurth runs the Deutscher Hanfverband – the German Hemp Association – based in Berlin.

“One, I think had 16 years at the courts until he got this right. And that was a very big influence on the government decision and the new law because they don’t want the people to grow their own, and so they had to change the circumstances.”

Since 2002, the German Hemp Association has been working toward the legalization of recreational and medical cannabis, as well as promoting hemp as a biological raw material. While about 1,000 people in Germany were already able to legally access medical marijuana, the new law will make the treatment much more widely available. It also, however, restricts those who were formerly permitted to grow their own plants to do so. But they’ll be able, now, to go to the pharmacy.

“If you compare the numbers to some US states, we are talking about 1% of the population, which would be about 800,000 people in Germany. But how fast these numbers will go up I can’t tell you," Wurth explains.

Wurth predicts that patients accessing pharmaceutical marijuana will number around 10,000 by the end of the year. The fact of this being possible at all, he attributes to a shift in public opinion.

“We are not at a majority to legalize cannabis as a recreational drug, but with cannabis as medicine, we see 80 or 90% of the population in favor of ‘give those patients their medicine.’ And that’s something the politicians can’t ignore as they also can’t ignore the individual cases and stories of heavily ill people who are really suffering and telling those politicians marijuana helps, and it’s the only thing that helps.”

According to Wurth, public opinion toward recreational marijuana has a way to go before it reaches that of the medicinal version. However, he sees medical marijuana offering possible positive implications for its general use.

“Marijuana has a very broad impact on a lot of illnesses and many people will be in favor when this law goes into effect – not just the very ill people.”

Right now, Germany’s politicians have agreed that insurance-funded medical marijuana should be available for those suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other serious, debilitating illnesses as well as chronic pain. The new law goes into effect this March.