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Germany’s CanG Comes Into Effect, France’s Medical Cannabis Pilot Officially Ends, & Jersey Signals Potential Crackdown On Prescriptions

Germany’s cannabis decriminalisation takes effect

On April 1, 2024, Germany’s long-fought CanG bill came into effect, seeing thousands of supporters of the reform gather at Brandenburg Gate to smoke in celebration.

Adults are now allowed to possess up to 25 grams of cannabis on their own and cultivate up to three plants at home, where they are allowed to keep 50 grams of cannabis legally.

Smoking in public is now also permitted, though there are strict and complex restrictions on where this is allowed, with consumption banned near children, schools, playgrounds, daycare centres, pedestrian zones, and sports fields during the day.

Law enforcement agencies tasked with policing this new change are already raising concerns over the complexity of the rules and the lack of detail provided by the current legislation.

Federal Deputy Chairman of the German Police Union (GdP), Alexander Poitz, told local media recently: “Conflicts are inevitable. We are sure that due to various ambiguities and a lack of legal definitions, there will be clearly noticeable dissatisfaction, insecurities, and mistakes among everyone involved.”

With a number of months until the rollout of cultivation associations comes into force on July 1, and little detail available regarding the progression of Pillar 2 of Germany’s cannabis project, attention has now turned to ironing out the details of the new framework.

A working group put together by the Federal Ministry of Transport has recommended increasing the limit of THC allowed in the blood when driving.

According to LTO, the report suggests that at 3.5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood serum, it is no longer guaranteed that people can safely operate their vehicles in traffic. This is significantly more than the previous limit of 1.0 nanograms.

Frances medical cannabis pilot officially ends

France’s three-year medical cannabis pilot programme officially came to an end last week (March 26) as the scheme shifted into its ‘transition period’ ahead of full generalisation, which is set to be launched no later than January 01, 2025.

This transition period is designed to provide a ‘continuity of treatment’ for patients currently accessing free cannabis medicines through the pilot scheme, while allowing the government time to establish the details of what full generalisation will look like.

As Business of Cannabis reported last month, the French National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) confirmed that flowers will not be included in the generalised medical cannabis framework, forcing around 100 patients to move to an alternative treatment.

The move also came as a disappointment to many European cannabis businesses, which will be distinctly aware of the dominance of medical cannabis flowers in markets across Europe.

While many questions remain regarding what this permanent system will look like, more details of the incoming transition period are beginning to emerge.

The government released formal details regarding the conditions, pricing, and registered products of the transition period.

In the decree published on March 28 in the ‘Official Journal Laws and Decrees’, the pricing for the six available products ‘used during the transitional phase’ has been listed.

It is understood that these reflect the prices that were paid during the pilot project after it was extended and companies were no longer required to provide their products for free.

In regards to reimbursement, while the five conditions listed should be fully reimbursed under the national health care system, its expected that this will not be the case, though details are still thin on the ground.

Furthermore, the registration process has now opened for companies hoping to bring new products into the market before the deadline expires in December, 2024.

According to Paris-based cannabis consultancy Augur Associates, there will not be the need to present established preclinical and clinical data as you would during a normal market authorisation process.

The process is also going to be quicker than usual because its most likely going top involve products which already have market authorisation in other EU countries.

More details are expected to emerge over the coming weeks.

Jersey pushes back on medical cannabis

Medical cannabis clinics in Jersey, a UK Crown Dependency largely considered a haven for cannabis businesses, could soon come under increased scrutiny.

According to the results of a new audit into the small island’s medical cannabis industry, which examined monthly returns from pharmacists for a nine-month period in 2022, around 6.08% of the working-age population is now being prescribed medical cannabis.

This is significantly more than the 0.05% of the population currently being prescribed in England.

Of the 4,139 patients issued 18,990 prescriptions during the period, around 30 reportedly received prescriptions from two or more prescribers.

This reportedly came as a concern to Environment Minister, Steve Luce, responsible for the regulation of medicinal cannabis, who noted the ‘significant differences’ between Jersey and the UK.

He said: “The audit also suggests that some people are receiving multiple prescriptions at levels which may be harmful to their health, this is of significant concern.

“I am, therefore, committed to developing the legislation necessary to regulate and inspect cannabis clinics in Jersey.”

It comes just weeks after Jersey lawmakers passed new legislation which is described as a ‘step towards’ the decriminalisation of possession of small amounts of cannabis and other Class B and C drugs.

In a vote on Wednesday 7 February, the Jersey States Assembly unanimously approved an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Law that allows those caught for repeat possession of small amounts of Class B and C drugs to avoid criminal prosecution.

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