More and more people are purchasing cannabis in Germany. The country, which only allows the use of medical marijuana for people suffering with chronic illnesses, saw a spike in weed sales in the first half of 2016 compared with the amount of marijuana purchased by patients in the first six months of 2015, according to a statement released by the Federal Ministry of Health, The Local reported Friday.
This comes as Left Party marijuana advocates are pushing the German parliament, known as the Bundestag, to approve a new law Health Minister Hermann Gröhe proposed in May that would legalize medical marijuana for all medicinal purposes, chronic or not.
Use of cannabis was illegal in Germany until 2005 when the Federal Administrative Court passed a measure allowing people suffering from chronic pain and illness to be prescribed the cannabis on an individual self-therapy basis. However, some Left Party members say the process in which patients have to go through to get the marijuana is too difficult and too expensive.
Federal Drugs Commissioner Marlene Mortler announced a plan to allow chronically ill people get get medical marijuana expenses covered by insurance providers in 2015. She said the reform would go into effect in 2016. However, her initiative along with Gröhe’s widespread legal marijuana law – which he hopes to get inducted by early 2017 – has yet to take effect.
While the actual cost of medical marijuana is unclear, on the streets users can purchase the drug for about 12 euro, or $13, per gram. In the U.S., the cost of medical marijuana varies from state to state. A Market Watch report listed dispensary cannabis ranging from Colorado’s cheapest $192 an ounce to California’s $299 an ounce.
Despite the cost, more Germans are trying to get their hands on doctor-supervised marijuana. The industry sold 61.8 kilograms of marijuana in the first half of 2016 compared with 33.8 in the first half of 2015. Officials didn’t have an explanation for the latest spike in cannabis sales, but suggested the rise may be due to the increase in licenses issued to patients in the first half of the year.
Marijuana use of any kind is illegal in majority of countries around the world, but a few have decriminalized marijuana. Some allow complete legal medicinal use of the plant, including Canada, Columbia and Czech Republic. Others places that have legalized marijuana use in all forms, including Uruguay, where residents must be 18 or older and in the government’s registry to purchase cannabis products, have certain stipulations on who can and cannot grow, sell and purchase marijuana.