Specialized associations criticize the lack of prevention in the second…

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Berlin The Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) missed the opportunity to urgently strengthen addiction prevention with its project to improve the Cannabis Law. Medical and psychotherapeutic associations, as well as drug addiction support associations, unanimously criticized this situation when the bill was heard today. Federal Health Committee.

The new bill emerged from the minutes with which the federal government tried to respond to objections from state governments in the run-up to the vote on the cannabis law in the Bundesrat.

In essence, the project mainly foresees changes in the regulation of so-called cultivation associations. The goal is to give states more flexibility in addressing these issues and give them the opportunity to adapt the granting of licenses to cultivation associations to local or regional characteristics.

Furthermore, the already planned evaluation of the effects of cannabis release should be expanded in order to obtain initial results as soon as possible, and an additional training program from the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) for addiction prevention professionals to support countries’ efforts to strengthen addiction prevention.

We consider it positive that prevention is now being more thought about and addressed, explained Miranda Lee, from the Federal Medical Association (B.K.). What we see, however, is that BZgA’s offering is valuable, but it occurs mainly online. But we need prevention in place.

More lifeworld-related prevention by specialists is needed, taking place in schools, clubs and the like. And we don’t see this being adequately addressed in the amending law, she complained.

She has received approval from the Federal Association of Pediatricians and Adolescent Physicians (BVKJ) and the German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Neurology (DGPPN).

The BZgA offer is already useful, explained Simon Hilber, speaker at the BVKJ: What we also want to suggest is that peer education could be strengthened through the BZgA offers. DGPPN board member Euphrosyne Gouzoulis-Mayfrank admitted that additional preventive measures through the BZgA’s planned training program should be seen positively, but in our opinion they are not enough.

Implement concepts across the country

The BZgA does not need to reinvent the wheel, emphasized Maximilian Plenert of the Federal Association for Labor Acceptance on Drugs and Humanitarian Drug Policy (acceptance). There are already very good concepts in the professional world, but they are not being implemented across the country, he said. We need work that reduces harm because there is a huge gap with cannabis.

Additionally, an increase in consumption, especially among minors, is expected as a result of the controlled release of cannabis, Hilber emphasized. It is quixotic to believe that 18 year olds would abstain from legally consuming cannabis because young people 17 and under are present.

We must recognize that normalizing cannabis use among the public will have an impact, he emphasized. However, the federal government’s communication is also partly to blame for this normalization when it legally announces its project in youthful language with slogans such as Bubatz.

In this regard, major preventive efforts are needed, he said. However, this was already the case before the Cannabis Act was in favor of expanding alcohol and tobacco prevention;

BK and DGPPN also assume an increase. If we expand the market and thereby increase the availability of a psychoactive substance, this will naturally lead to greater consumption, Lee noted.

This will result in increasing pressure on the medical profession due to the consequences of risky cannabis use. We know from health insurance data that the need for treatment increased significantly from 2012 to 2022. “We expect there to be a further increase in consumption,” she explained. More capacity is now needed, especially in the area of ​​rehabilitation.

We also know from other countries that have approved cannabis as a recreational drug in recent years that approval is associated with an increase in use and therefore the need for treatment, even if results from different countries are inconsistent.

She considers that the four-year period foreseen for the evaluation is too short to demonstrate serious effects. Furthermore, the evaluation should come to nothing. If it presents serious consequences, the consequences must be withdrawn immediately. Here too there was an agreement with the BVKJ and the DGPPN.

Cannabis industry experts and associations considered a possible indirect health risk due to the more stringent requirements for cultivation associations. The proposed law aims to prevent clubs from sharing cultivation areas or even using the same building, and restrict services related to cultivation.

This is intended to avoid commercial business models based on large cultivation areas with service packages for growing associations, according to the bill. Regulations must guarantee the non-commercial and local character of growing associations for members’ own consumption.

However, this could be counterproductive, emphasized economist Justus Haucap. Because merging and scaling would help produce more easily and economically. “I’m very afraid that this will end up fueling the black market, making it very difficult to obtain legal cannabis,” he said. The easier it is to obtain cannabis legally, the smaller the black market will become.

The managing director of the cannabis industry association (BVCw), Jurgen Neumeyer. There are also investments in technology: for larger, growing associations it can quickly reach six figures and I don’t know of any bank that will provide a loan for this to a growing association.

Federal Cannabis Cultivation Associations Working Group Modeling (BC Ave) came to the conclusion that the new regulations could lead to a reduction in legal quantities of cannabis by 50 percent, explained BCAv deputy coordinator Peter Reinhardt. This will also lead to fewer opportunities to influence prevention offerings. © lau/aerzteblatt.de

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