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On August 17, 2017, I entered an indefinite hunger strike. The objective of refusing to accept any food is to decriminalize all citizens who need cannabis to treat their serious diseases.

On March 10, 2017, a much-debated law on cannabis as a medicine went into effect in Germany. It was the declared aim of the legislature to allow all patients who need a therapy with cannabis medicines to do so. The law, however, proves itself in practice as bureaucratic. Therefore, a treatment with cannabis and cannabinoids is unattractive for doctors who in principle support such therapy. Many patients do not find a doctor who allows them legal access to the needed treatment.

The legislator has taken a great step into the right direction. However, many patients are still dependent on a still as illegal regarded treatment. They face criminal sanctions. This is no longer acceptable. Therefore a basic clarification in the narcotics law must be established. The prosecution of patients to whom a doctor has certified the need for a therapy with cannabis must end.

Already today, the German Narcotics Law allows prosecutors to stop a criminal case in the case of a „minor debt“. This possibility is mainly applied in cases of possession of small amounts of cannabis. I urge that criminal proceedings should in principle also be stopped if accused citizens need cannabis for medical reasons. The need for a cannabis therapy should not be judged by the judiciary, a government agency or a health insurance company, but, as with other medical treatments, also by a doctor.

I also strongly support the uncomplicated access of patients to standardized preparations from the pharmacy. In this respect, it is necessary to improve the existing law. However, the prosecution of the remaining losers of the legal situation must also be ended. I am not aware of a convincing argument by which patients‘ prosecution can be maintained. A corresponding amendment to the Narcotics Act is, therefore, logical and unavoidable.

Franjo Grotenhermen, born in 1957, studied medicine in Cologne. Medical practice in Rüthen (NRW) with a focus on therapy with cannabis and cannabinoids. Grotenhermen is the chairman of the German Association for Cannabis as Medicine (ACM), Executive Director of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) and Chairman of the Medical Cannabis Declaration (MCD), as well as author of the IACM-Bulletin, which is available in several languages ​​on the website of the IACM. Grotenhermen is an associate of the Cologne nova-Institut in the department of renewable resources and author of numerous articles and books on the therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids, their pharmaco logy and toxicology. Among others, since 2008 he has been an expert on debates in the Health Committee of the German Bundestag on the medical use of cannabis products, most recently in September 2016.