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Currently Germany has the largest medical cannabis industry in Europe

Less than four years after ground-breaking policy change legalised medicinal cannabis in Germany, the sector has soared to the point that Cannovum AG, the largest German medical cannabis company, has become publicly traded on the Dusseldorf Stock Exchange. This now means Germany has the largest medical cannabis industry in Europe.

Despite the fact that Germany is not the only European country where medical cannabis is legally prescribed; its success may have an impact on other European countries considering pilot projects to legalise or improve access to medicinal cannabis programs.

However, while being a fast-growing business, the European medicinal cannabis landscape remains modest in comparison to its North American counterparts. Yet with this rate of growth, it’s expected to reach a market share of €3.2 billion by the year 2025.

Cannovum AG propels Germany's medical cannabis industry forward with exciting new developments

The newly publicly traded company, Cannovum AG, has also just announced a new strategic supply partnership with a European medicinal cannabis provider. Dronabinol, a synthetic cannabinoid initially prescribed in 1998 and currently predominantly used in pain therapy, has been added to the company's medical cannabis portfolio.

By including this well-known drug in its product line, it takes another step toward providing the finest possible patient care. The company stated that “offering a wide range of cannabis medication options is the only way to ensure physicians have the ability to select the best treatment individually tailored to their patient’s specific health needs.” Products will be available starting in August as part of the Cannovum brand, with a supply agreement in place that will last through the end of 2023.

Despite the expansion of the therapeutic cannabis business in Germany, possession of cannabis for recreational use is still prohibited. Residents of Germany are permitted to possess a “limited amount” of cannabis, although this number is not uniform and can range from 6 to 15 grams depending on location.

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Will this unexpected economic boon encourage change in medical cannabis law in England?

According to Prohibition Partners' fourth European Cannabis Report, published in 2019, between 60 and 70 percent of the EU as a whole will have legalised medical and adult-use cannabis by 2023. According to the estimate, the European cannabis market will be worth $136 billion by 2028 if this is the case. Some economists would like the UK to take note of this economic potential.

Despite the reclassification of cannabis in the United Kingdom in 2018, access to cannabis-based products remains severely limited. Patients have little choice but to go to private clinics because these products are rarely prescribed by the National Health Service. Despite the fact that prices for these items are decreasing, patients are nonetheless incurring significant fees for medical cannabis prescriptions. These prescriptions are also only available to treat a very small number of conditions.

With these winds of change in Europe, not to mention their economic windfall, Rick Brar, CEO & Chairman of Brains Bioceutical Corp believes the medical cannabis sector in the United Kingdom has enormous potential. “To ensure that the cannabis sector remains strong, fair, and progressive, we must learn from Canada's and North America's lessons and experiences. This will assist in destabilising the underground market for cannabis and, as a result, protect public health.”

He continued; “More chronically ill cannabis users will choose to obtain cannabis the legal route as long as the options are easy to access and competitively priced. Nobody with health needs should be forced to behave like a criminal. He urged both UK lawmakers and industry leaders to consider medical cannabis a viable commercial sector in the midst of an unstable post-Brexit economy.”

In Summary

Only time will tell if the huge economic gains Germany's medical cannabis industry has made in such a short space of time will signal change in the UK. Brar believes one thing is certain, unless radical, well-thought-out policy changes happen soon, the UK will get left behind in this burgeoning industry.

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Josephine Gibney

Josephine Gibney is a freelance writer from Waterford. She has worked as a lifestyle reporter, a creative copywriter and a communications specialist over the last ten years. Her short fiction was longlisted for the 2020 Sean O’Faolain Prize and she is currently working on her first novel.

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