A protester holds a pro-marijuana sign at the Hanf Parade at Berlin's Alexanderplatz on August 11, 2012, in Berlin, Germany. (David Gannon, AFP/GettyImages)

Germany opens door for medical marijuana in pharmacies

BERLIN — Germany’s Cabinet has approved a bill that will allow patients to get cannabis as a prescription-only medication.

The Health Ministry said Wednesday that the legislation will allow doctors to prescribe cannabis in the form of dried flowers or extracts if there are no alternative treatments. Patients would get the drug from pharmacies.

Health Minister Hermann Groehe stressed that it does not imply a general legalization of cannabis in Germany.

Only the cultivation of medical cannabis will be legal in Germany, under the supervision of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. Until a cannabis-growing program is started, supplies will be covered by imports.

Patients currently have to seek a special authorization to use the drug.

The legislation still needs parliamentary approval.