German Imports of Canadian Medical Cannabis Likely to Continue


Those who feared legalization in Canada could stop the flow of  medical cannabis imported to Germany can breathe a sigh of relief. Germany’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) confirmed it will continue to license the import of medical cannabis from Canada.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Health told Friday, May 4, 2018, the federal government will not interfere with Canada’s medical cannabis program, which remains in compliance with the UN Single Convention.

Regardless of whether Canada will legalize cannabis on July 1 or a little later, legalization will put the country in violation of the UN’s single treaty on narcotic drugs. The agreement prohibits its signatories from growing, trading, and consuming cannabis for recreational purposes.

For example, officials from the United Nations International Narcotic Control Council (INCB) criticized Uruguay in November 2013 for legalizing recreational cannabis, stating that the 1961 agreement had been violated. For this reason, Uruguay is not eligible as a supplier for the medical cannabis market in Germany. The INCB has not done the same for Canada.

As to whether Uruguay’s fate will befall Canada when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau realizes his plan to legalize cannabis in the country, officials pointed to Canada’s medical marijuana practices as the safeguard to continue imports.

“To the knowledge of the Federal Government, the existing Canadian legal framework for the cultivation and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes, under which exports to Germany take place, should be able to remain under the planned new Canadian legislation,” a spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Health announced Wednesday, May 2, 2018, when asked whether the Trudeau government’s plan will compromise the country’s export options. “As far as can be seen, the United Nations International Narcotic Drug Control Board , which is responsible for monitoring compliance with the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, has so far violated the conventions of the regulated and controlled cultivation of medicinal cannabis in Canada and the placing on the market of medicinal cannabis.”

Previously, BfArM, which reports to the Federal Ministry of Health, addressed the same question: “[…] Medical Cannabis may only be marketed in Germany in the case of the cannabis derived from a crop grown for medical purposes under State control in accordance with Articles 23 and 28 (1) of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. We assume that Canada will continue to meet these requirements in the future if the harvested cannabis is destined for export to Germany.”

About Author

Michael Knodt is an expert on cannabis politics and cannabis culture across Europe. Born in North Germany, Michael has been living in Berlin since 1990. He initially studied history and journalism before receiving his certification as a carpenter. Since then, Michael has made regular visits to countries where cannabis is cultivated, such as Jamaica and Morocco. He has worked as a freelancer for Weedmaps, Vice Magazine Germany, Sensi Seeds and numerous German-language cannabis magazines since 2004. From 2005 to 2013, Michael was the Editor-in-Chief of Germanys biggest cannabis periodical. He also is the face and presenter of the most popular program on cannabis prohibition and just launched a new channel called "DerMicha." Aside from his journalistic work, Michael is a cannabis patient, activist, sought-after speaker on conferences and congresses, and a father of two.

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