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Austria Imports Record Amount of Medical Weed While Constitutional Challenges Loom

Austria is in an attention-grabbing place relating to the legalization of hashish proper now. The third nation within the DACH alliance in Europe (which additionally consists of Germany and Switzerland) at the moment has no legislative path to leisure hashish reform, despite the fact that its two commerce companions are pushing the boundaries of the dialogue within the E.U.

That stated, gross sales of dronabinol are up, yr over yr within the nation, though none of it’s produced domestically. The Austrian Company for Meals and Well being (AGES) grows a number of hundred kilos of medical hashish flower a yr, although all of that is exported—the vast majority of which has traditionally crossed the border into Germany—to be made into dronabinol then re-imported.

To date, whereas the medical market right here is smaller than the German one, and there may be extra restricted cultivation and no extraction, there are some unlucky similarities. Particularly that sufferers are going through a number of challenges to acquiring insurance coverage reimbursement. The quickest assured path in Germany can be to sue at current, which given the backlog of authorized instances, is simply one other excuse for extra gridlock and delay.

In Austria, there’s a transfer afoot to skip all of this and simply go straight to leisure legalization, even when not through the legislature however by authorized problem.

The State of Hashish Reform in Austria

Austrians will not be allowed to eat, purchase, promote, or develop hashish (besides if not allowed to bloom). That stated since 2016, possession of small portions of the flower have successfully been decriminalized, with punishment within the type of fines about the identical quantity as a parking violation.

Nevertheless, like different international locations which have repeatedly stalled on reform, the difficulty is shifting ahead within the courts.

A Supreme Courtroom Problem Might Change the Sport

There’s a potential game-changing case now pending on the nation’s Constitutional Courtroom which is evaluating a personal petition introduced by a 26 yr previous man, Paul Burger, in Vienna. He was caught with a half-burned joint by two undercover law enforcement officials in 2020. Together with an influence lawyer, Dr. Helmut Graupner, a recognized advocate for civil rights, he stands an excellent likelihood of successful his case. Burger additionally efficiently challenged the nation’s same-sex marriage ban.

Austria’s highest courtroom should now consider whether or not the nation’s Narcotics Medication Act is constitutional. The argument earlier than the courtroom, much like arguments put earlier than the Mexican Supreme Courtroom, is that private consumption that doesn’t hurt others needs to be protected by the correct to privateness and self-determination. The argument can be much like the one behind the legalization of assisted suicide, which has now been allowed in Austria since earlier this yr.

Odd Man Out or Potential Market Chief?

The constitutionality of non-public entry, possession, and cultivation is a matter that has floated by way of the legalization debate in Europe—however not thus far in such a direct manner as within the North American context (see each Canada and Mexico). A authorized problem by Albert Tio in Spain over the entry dialogue when it got here particularly to the golf equipment was refused by the European Courtroom of Human Rights final yr.

Previous to 2017, in Germany, it was clearly sufferers’ authorized challenges which modified the sport, however as quickly as sufferers started to win on a authorized entrance, the Bundestag issued a brand new legislation. Particularly one which mandated that sufferers couldn’t develop their very own—they needed to get hold of the drug by way of a physician’s prescription through a pharmacy, and, so long as the affected person’s situation couldn’t be handled with different medicine, insurers had been required to reimburse.

That mannequin has largely failed, which can be the explanation that the German authorities is now on monitor to cross legalization measures by the top of the yr. Given the truth that the Austrian case is meant to be determined proper across the similar time, it may imply that at the very least within the German talking components of the area, this turns into a authorized and legislative precedent which lastly formalizes leisure hashish reform not solely within the DACH international locations, however the remainder of Europe.