Germany A New Market in Medical Marijuana

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Germany is liberalizing cannabis access for the seriously ill. Both domestic and international firms are vying for a market potentially worth hundreds of millions of euros.

Germany is taking another step to make cannabis available to patients, mandating that health insurers cover the cost of the pain medication in certain cases for the seriously ill.

The new law, which will come into effect this week, will make medical marijuana easier to obtain for patients who suffer from severe pain and for whom other therapies have proved ineffective. About 1,000 patients in Germany currently have the necessary permit issued by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices to buy cannabis for medical purposes. Most of them buy dried cannabis flowers to smoke or inhale the active ingredients.

The law will also open up a new market for companies offering pharmaceutical cannabis, raising the hopes of both German and foreign firms.

“The new legislation is a milestone for us,” said Michael Popp, chief executive and owner of Bionorica, a company based in Neumarkt in the southern German state of Bavaria.

Why it matters

A new law requires health insurers to pay for medical marijuana and will allow government-controlled hemp cultivation in Germany for the first time.


  • The law will come into effect later in March, and cover costs for all cannabis-based prescription drugs.
  • Currently, all German medical marijuana is imported from other E.U. countries.
  • Private cultivation and recreational use of cannabis will remain illegal.
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