In the middle of last year, the red-red-green government of Berlin angered the opposition by deciding to submit an application for a cannabis pilot project to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, which would have allowed adult citizens to legally access cannabis.
The BfArM rejected the application, which did not come as a surprise, as people in Germany are already used to rejections by the authority in regard to cannabis legalization. In the view of the Federal Institute, the controlled distribution of cannabis as a stimulant would violate the narcotics law and would also be neither medically nor ethically justifiable.
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BfArM says the cannabis pilot project for Berlin is in contradiction with the narcotics law
Berlin’s renewed attempt to bring about a change in German cannabis policy seems to have failed. While it was recognized in the capital that at least once an attempt should be made to find out what change would take place when adults no longer had to buy cannabis on the black market, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices sees no options to grant a permit for such a pilot experiment.
The media quoted the statement from the reply letter to the Berlin health administration that such an experiment would be neither medically nor ethically justifiable, whereas it would already violate the narcotics law in principle. The health administration of the capital did not yet comment on this refusal, but pointed out that the decision mentioned in the reply was not yet final and there would be time to appeal against the refusal.
The aim of the senate – to persuade a limited number of cannabis consumers participating in the study to use cannabis at lower risk and possibly also to reduce its use – is, therefore, obviously not in the interest of the BfArM, which sees its hands tied by the narcotics law.
Ethical and medical reasons are among the concerns of BfArM
On the other hand, seems like granting an exemption – which could override the law – would not be possible for ethical and medical reasons. It remains questionable, therefore, with regard to the foreseeable development, why the prosecution measures and the black market for cannabis, which is partly mixed with harmful substances, should be healthier alternatives according to ethical and medical observation methods.
Furthermore, another question would be why, after years of increasing acceptance (as well as increasing numbers of consumers in all social classes), it is still intended to stick to the daily failing methods of containment attempts. Therefore, the resistance to learning on the part of the BfArM only leads to the assumption that neither ethical nor medical aspects are truly valid, but that only the premises of the misguided prohibition policy are in the first place. The findings that could be gained by means of a controlled and scientifically accompanied pilot project are thus obviously completely counterproductive to this deadlocked view.
On the part of potential participants of full age, a state supply of pure cannabis for testing purposes would finally be not only justifiable from an ethical and medical point of view, but more than desirable. Thus also the contradiction of the Berlin health administration, which would entail a continuation of the reason-based efforts.
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First published in HanfJournal, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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