Germany’s Medical Marijuana Program is Booming Despite the Massive Legal Obstacles Suppliers and Doctors Face Each Day
The German medical cannabis industry, though commendable, is filled with several legal debacles. The process of getting a permit from the federal government to dispense, manufacture or import medical cannabis into the country is rigorous.
Foreigners are most times awed by the twists and turns involved in every stage of securing a cannabis business license. Some of these unique procedures have been said to defy logic.
Medical Cannabis Industry In Germany
The German medical cannabis market has leaped beyond expectations since it was established in 2017. It has gone on to become the largest medical cannabis market in Europe.
The strategies utilized by the German federal government and other stakeholders have created one of the most appealing markets for investors and other large-scale medical cannabis companies. International cannabis companies have flocked to the German cannabis market because of its favorable policies and heavy demand.
Currently, Germany is solely responsible for pushing cannabis cultivation plans through locales with optimal temperatures and which require less labor cost. Germany had been able to domestically produce, source, and export medical cannabis products to consumers in European countries and other far-flung countries. The country’s medical cannabis industry is indeed one of the best and largest in the world today.
Things to know
Germany has a pharmaceutical infrastructure in place to meet the dispense needs of medical cannabis companies. Unlike most people’s first assumption that these infrastructures have a clear-cut and easy path to navigate, the pharmaceutical system put in place is complex.
The reason for this complexity is that the federal law of Germany defines cannabis as a Controlled Narcotic Drug.
All distributors in the German cannabis market always have to find a way around this federal classification of the drug as a narcotic.
In October 2020, the European Union decided to include low THC hemp, however, this decision caused a lot of backlashes. A series of lawsuits and embarrassing occasions followed within the medical and non-medical levels of cannabis commercial sales.
When the federal government approved the use of medical cannabis, cannabis as medicine became a part of the system. The system merely allowed the importation and registration of cannabis strains and brands. All these alone do not generate the high sales that are seen daily.
In the United States of America, the advertisement of cannabis drugs to potential customers or patients is prohibited. Meaning sales cannot be generated through that medium.
What Germany and the U.S do to generate sales of medical cannabis Is divided into a three-step process. This is an expensive process that ensures patients are prescribed cannabis drugs. The process is commonly known as ‘doctor education.’
The steps involved in starting medical cannabis prescriptions for patients are
Identifying a supplier
This is the first pre-step that is fairly difficult for new distributors that have no experience in the industry. Jumping into the cannabis specialty business is not easy. Before anyone can obtain their permanent permit and other required approvals, they must first be affiliated with a qualified supplier. It is hard to find companies that wish to work with nascent distributors. The presence of only one distributor in the country for domestically grown cannabis also makes this situation worse.
Some years ago, potential distributors located Canadian companies that had plans to expand into the international space, specifically Europe. Others can also choose to go to Bedrocan which is right across the DACH border. Currently, Bedrocan has limited the number of new distributors it is keen to work with.
The Gulf Of German Cannabis Prescription
The real struggle for a distributor begins after the supplier has been chosen, with all the necessary paperwork put in place.
For a distributor’s products to be sold in German medical dispensaries and pharmacies, they must be ready to educate the doctors about their product.
After completing the ‘doctor education’ task, patients can be found to help advocate for their product whenever therewith cannabis prescribing medical doctor.
Privately insured individuals do not have to go through difficult and dichotomous situations before they can obtain their German medical cannabis prescription. The process gets easier in larger cities. Having private insurance means you’re ready to pay out of pocket for the consultation visit and well the cannabis that would be dispensed to you.
Pain clinics are popular centers that are run by doctors who are thoughtful about the welfare of their patients. The patients that visit this establishment already have a probable and pre-diagnosed condition. The doctors at Schmerz Zentrums can go ahead with treatment methods rather than starting afresh.
The lengthiest route to getting cannabis prescribed is taken by a resident with public health insurance. The first challenge is locating willing doctors. After which, the patient must work hand-in-hand with the doctor to sort out forms and get approval from the region. Patients are sometimes allowed to ask for their preferred brand of cannabis, once prescribed to them, they can send the prescription to a specialist pharmacy.
Distributors go through several methods to reach the prescribing doctors and their patients. Some of these methods include free press, sponsoring pharmaceutical or health events, and hiring representatives in the pharmaceutical industry.
Another complication that affects distributors is the inconsistency in the availability of doctors as well as their willingness to prescribe cannabis medicine in the various states in the country.
In Hesse, doctors who work with public health insurance patients usually deal with only two cannabis patients at a time. While the Frankfurt city agency has refused to disclose the names of newly trained cannabis doctors.
Distributors in Germany have an online patient outreach program. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Zoom, etc are used for spreading information on a regular supply of drugs. They are also used to run guided adverts on newly sourced drugs.
The hardest challenge yet to be fully crossed is how to fully secure yearlong prescriptions for cannabis drugs for insured and non-insured patients.
There are still a bunch of legal woes to be worked through for the dynamics to change. The statutory reforms would also have to be improved for better marketing strategies to be implemented.