Germany’s MMJ Program is Facing Overwhelming Demand of the Product

May 22, 2018, Germany

Germany legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes last year. At the time of legalization, the officials didn’t realize the demand of therapeutic strains of cannabis in the country. But now, it seems obvious that it has become very challenging for the authorities to operate the nascent medical marijuana program of the country efficiently. 

Several factors are adding up to make things difficult for all the parties involved with medical marijuana program of the country. 

Insurance Agencies Have Been Burdened With MMJ Coverage  

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With the commencement of the program in March last year, the insurance companies included MMJ coverage in their programs without taking into account the future projections of MMJ use in the country. However, they have experienced an exponential increase in the number of MMJ reimbursements since the beginning of the program, which has gone to whopping 16,000 from 1,100 in just 11 months. After the implementation of new laws, insurance companies are now also obliged to completely cover the MMJ prescriptions.  

Adding insult to injury, medical marijuana treatments are way more costly than the alternative options. Herbal marijuana treatments can cost patients anywhere between $350 and $2,600. This amount is around four times high than any other treatment. All these difficulties haven’t still made insurance companies to exclude MMJ treatments from their medical coverage. A local German Insurer has approved nearly 70 percent of MMJ applications that would cost approximately $2.7 million. 

Shortage of the Plant  

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Apart from the exhaustion of medical insurance coverages, the shortage of plant in the country has also made it hard for the authorities to meet the demand of MMJ consumption. With the start of the program, the Federal authorities have only allowed four companies to take care of the import of medical cannabis in the country. One of those companies, Cannamedical Pharma hasn’t met the required target and therefore the MMJ program is also facing a shortage of the strain. The company maintains that there are not enough MMJ producers in Europe and that has made it very difficult for them to acquire the required amount of medical cannabis strains. 

While concerned parties are trying to find ways to iron out the issue of MMJ shortage, the administration is contemplating to implement a vetting process to ensure people don’t misuse the program. For instance, people who are trying to get MMJ prescriptions without having qualifying medical conditions. 

Manager of an insurance company Techniker-Krankenkasse, Jens Baas, has also emphasized that the supplementary benefits of MMJ must be presented to get the insurance reimbursement for .  

It is not unusual for any new cannabis program to experience few initial glitches before taking off. California, where recreational cannabis has legalized with the start of this year, is also experiencing a shortage of the strain even though the state is able to grow its own crop. So, with time, things will get smooth as administrations will learn how to deal with supply chain issues of the product.   

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