New figures show that Germany should grow much more medical cannabis.
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Despite the evident demand for and interest in recreational and medical cannabis around the world, Germany’s Federal Government has under-estimated its need for medical cannabis. A small parliamentary question has shown that Germany will have to grow about twice as much cannabis as the Federal Government planned.
Dr. Kirsten Kappert-Gonther, member of the Green Bundestag, asked the German government how much cannabis was imported into Germany in the first half of 2019 to cover the needs of patients who have a prescription for cannabis. From 2020, this cannabis is to grow on German plantations, with a maximum of 2,600 kilograms per year. At present, the German government has not planned any further cultivation licenses.
It has emerged that demand is twice as high as calculated by the federal government. Germany had already imported 2,498 kilograms of cannabis in the first half of 2019.
Importing was considered a transitional solution. “Until cannabis is available from German cultivation for medical purposes, the demand will continue to be covered by imports,” writes the state cannabis agency on its website. However, the current figures show that we will still have to import medical cannabis even if we grow it in Germany.
In its response to the inquiry, the German government indicates that it doesn’t intend to grow all medical cannabis in Germany. It assumes that cultivation and imports can meet future demand. But that’s a problem, because, as in recent months, the various cannabis exporters are not always able to meet the demand of the German market. This results in supply bottlenecks for patients. It would be easier to control cultivation in one’s own country.
It wasn’t the first time the federal government has miscalculated. As early as January 2018, figures from the three largest statutory health insurance funds showed that 18 times as many people as expected had applied for reimbursement for medical cannabis in the previous ten months.
The federal government had expected 700 new applications when legalizing cannabis on prescription in March 2017. Ultimately, 13,000 patients applied to the health insurance companies within a year to cover the costs of their medicine. One year later, the number rose to 18,000. The federal government should have foreseen the growing demand for cannabis back then.