Newsbrief: Medical Marijuana Approved by German Court 12/12/03

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At least some Germans can legally grow and use marijuana for medical reasons after a November 27 ruling by a Berlin District Court judge, the Berliner Zeitung reported. In a case involving defendant Michael Grosse, a Crohn's Disease sufferer who used the herb to alleviate diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal spasms, Judge Michael Zimmerman ruled that Grosse acted out of urgent need and his marijuana use was justified.

Because prosecutors have already announced they will not appeal the ruling, it is now the law throughout the judicial district, which includes Germany's largest city. It is not the first German court ruling in favor of medical marijuana. In May, a Mannheim District Court judge acquitted a patient who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. But prosecutors there have appealed that ruling.

Grosse had earlier been found guilty by another district court judge, who gave him a suspended five-month prison sentence, but a higher court overturned that ruling and ordered the district court to take Grosse's circumstances into consideration. In the second trial, Judge Zimmermann heard testimony from Grosse's family doctor, who said Grosse's health had improved considerably with his marijuana self-medication. Zimmerman also invited two experts, Dr. Rommelspacher, professor of pharmacology at the Free University of Berlin, and Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen, executive director of the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine (, both of whom testified that cannabis could be helpful with Crohn's Disease symptoms.

Grosse, who had been busted with 59 plants, didn't get away scot free, however. That was too many plants, Zimmerman ruled, sentencing him to a fine and probation.

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