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Mark Hillary

Germany’s parliament has voted unanimously to legalize medicinal cannabis use, paving the way for patients with a doctor’s prescription to purchase the drug from pharmacies, Deutsche Welle reports. The measure was strongly supported by Marlene Mortler, a member of the conservative Christian Social Union and the nation’s drug commissioner.

“It’s a great addition for patients who have waited for this a long time,” she said in the DW report.

According to a report from The Local, the new law will expand the country’s current medical cannabis program, which allowed only people with serious medical conditions to use cannabis for self-therapy. Only about 1,000 people were permitted to use the drug under the current regime. Eventually, rules and regulations will be in place allowing cannabis to be grown under the supervision of the state. Private companies will also be considered for cultivation and processing approval, but the requirements will likely be strict.

Under the law, expected to be implemented in March, cannabis therapies will be covered by health insurers when necessary.

“Cannabis as a medicine is certainly not a miracle drug,” Mortler told The Local. “But everyone should have the right to have it paid for when it helps.”

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