German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, has placed an emphasis on speeding up the process of legalizing cannabis for recreational use. He said in a press statement that he wants to put a bill to legalize cannabis for recreational use on the summer legislative agenda, instead of pushing it back to the fall.
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Lauterbach said he has changed his mind on the issue over the past two years
“I’ve always been opposed to cannabis legalization, but I changed my opinion about a year ago,” he said. He now believes that the dangers of outlawing cannabis outweigh the dangers of legalizing cannabis for adults.
Lauterbach’s statements on cannabis reform were part of his call for more action on several pressing issues facing the German healthcare system. Namely, the need for more input from German citizens to address the massive shortage of health insurers, as well as the digitization of healthcare infrastructure.
His comments also come at a time when all coalition parties are driving the narrative that the issue of marijuana legalization should no longer be swept under the rug. In the first quarter of 2022, despite the inclusion of marijuana legalization on the Traffic Light coalition’s election agenda, the only thing emanating from Berlin for several months were calls to delay the process. The excuse was both the prolonged pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Even more interesting is that Lauterbach’s comments came at a time when all three coalition partners were beginning to publicly support the idea of home-grown marijuana as part of the initial marijuana legalization bill.
Reasons for accelerating cannabis legalization
There are several reasons that are likely behind this turnaround by leading figures in the new government to suddenly prioritize cannabis law reform this year.
The first is undoubtedly that the medical efficacy of cannabis can no longer be denied. This means that insurance companies will be increasingly pressured to reform their coverage policies – and pay to insure more people.
This was one of the most problematic aspects of the medical cannabis compromise, which was legalized in 2017. Insurers routinely reject about 40 percent of medical cannabis reimbursement applicants. Patients who receive reimbursement cause losses for insurers, and those who do not receive reimbursement must use the black market.
Second, with the full legalization of cannabis for recreational use, patients who are rejected by insurance will at least no longer be criminalized for taking matters into their own hands.
Furthermore, if patients are finally allowed to grow their own cannabis at home, the pressure will be taken off a health care system that has been very sluggish to date.
As a result, after months of delays, there may finally be a push to legalize cannabis for adults, which could even happen this summer – at least at the legislative level.
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First published in Fakty Konopne, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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