UPDATE 1-Arseus to distribute medical cannabis in Germany

(Updates with legal status of cannabis in Germany)

BRUSSELS, Dec 08 (Reuters) - Medical cannabis will be distributed in Germany by Fagron Germany, a unit of Belgian medical wholesaler Arseus NV RCUS.BR, as of Monday, Arseus said in a statement.

Fagron Germany has an exclusive license for the import and distribution of medical cannabis, or marijuana, in Germany, Arseus said.

It added that Fagron Nederland has been active in the Netherlands’s medical cannabis market since 2003.

An increasing number of German doctors are interested in prescribing medical cannabis to certain patients, Arseus said.

Use of the plant as a medicine is not legal in Germany, according to the country’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices.

However, the Bonn-based regulator has permitted four people to acquire marijuana from pharmacies since August 2007. The exceptions were based on the advice of several doctors and only after it had been established that no other treatment would help.

Proponents of the medical use of marijuana say the plant relieves suffering or symptoms from illnesses which include AIDS, glaucoma, cancer and multiple sclerosis. The drug remains illegal, both for medical and recreational purposes, in most of the world.

Arseus’s product line includes dental chairs, hospital beds, surgical instruments and pharmaceutical ingredients. The company also offers IT services for the medical industry.

Arseus had been a subsidiary of health products distributor Omega Pharma OMEP.BR, and listed on the Euronext Brussels and Amsterdam in October 2007. (Reporting by Anne Jolis; Editing by Rupert Winchester and Sharon Lindores)