Since March 2017, medical cannabis has been legal in Germany, launching a new domestic industry, and attracting the watchful eye of the global cannabis community.
Previously, the state had only accepted applications from around 1,000 patients who had navigated rigorous regulations in order to legally access cannabis treatments. However, as of March 2018, the number of applications to the health insurance companies has risen to 13,000, with over 60% of requests for reimbursement being approved.
Dutch cannabis laws are not without fault. Since the introduction of coffee shops in 1976, Amsterdam’s cannabis has been supplied by criminal organisations. Additionally, a lack of cannabis cultivation licences, since 2003, has allowed Bedrocan to develop a monopoly. But as the global reform on cannabis begins, the Netherlands are experimenting with cultivation licences in a bid to grow the industry.
France is emblematic of the hypocritical cannabis policies exhibited in Western Europe. More people consume cannabis in France than anywhere else in Europe, but despite recent amendments to the 1970 cannabis law, France is still missing out on a hugely profitable market.
Starting in the 1960s, Finland, like its Scandinavian neighbours developed a history of drug prohibition. However, Finland is too often tarred with the same brush as Sweden’s repressive policies. In reality, since 2008, Finland has legalised medical cannabis and reformed the formerly punitive cannabis policies. Although mainstream politics avoids the subject of full legalisation, youth parties are fighting for reform in the happiest country in the world.
In Sweden medical cannabis use has been considered an aggravating circumstance rather than an extenuating circumstance as many patients have suffered at the hands of punitive state laws. However, as two historic cannabis licences have been granted, Sweden may no longer be able to remain an island in the changing global consensus on cannabis.
On the whole, public policies in the Nordic countries are usually informed by modern science and human rights. Drug policy is, arguably, the notable exception. Current cannabis laws in Norway are not based on any real science of humanism but largely as a result of the fearmongering rhetoric of the 60s and 80s. However, as much of Europe rolls back the embargo on medical cannabis, Norway is looking to differentiate itself from the typically repressive Scandinavian cannabis policies.
Estonia is starkly juxtaposed with the rest of Europe in the medical cannabis space. On one side, the state are surprisingly keen to implement some form of medical cannabis system but on the other, caution and anxiety pervade mainstream public opinion on cannabis reform.
In February 2016, after six months of deliberation, Macedonia has pushed through legislation to legalise the use of medical cannabis. Since then Macedonia has set its sights on European expansion cultivating a cannabis industry of its own, open to investors, entrepreneurs and multinationals alike. But as Macedonia joins the ranks of Balkan states leading the cannabis revolution in south-eastern Europe, some patients are yet to see the benefits.
Romania’s history has been full of rebounds, ebbs and flows of distress and productivity, often playing catch up to rejoin the socio-economic norms of mainstream Europe.
Once a powerful hemp producer, Romania has turned its back on the cannabis plant since the fall of communism in 1989. In the post-soviet era however, Romania has welcomed foreign investment in agriculture and one US company has plans to cultivate medical cannabis.
Luxembourg, nestled between France, Belgium and Germany, has long suffered from the domination of neighbouring countries. The end result is a proud national motto “Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn” which translates directly as “we want to remain what we are”.
However, when it comes to cannabis legislation, Luxembourg is following directly in the footsteps of their Northern neighbours.
This week, we look at the the new 2-year pilot scheme announced in early 2018 and what patients can expect from the Grand Duchy.
Sitting on the fence between the gardens of Europe and Asia, Turkey is still streets away from the more liberal drug policies of its European neighbours. The good news for now is that in an attempt to stop international narco-trafficking, Turkey has begun the process of cannabis legalisation.
This week, Prohibition Partners examines why Turkey, a historically conservative country, has legalised cannabis cultivation for research and development and what we can expect from Europe’s most eastern market.
Cannabis is regularly or occasionally used by 15 percent of Slovenian population and it’s estimated that 30,000 citizens self-medicate using cannabis extracts. However, only 160 patients choose to do so legally - via the legally approved synthetic imports.
As part of the Prohibition Partners European Country Review, we examine why so many Slovenian patients choose to self-medicate and how the state is constraining the cannabis industry in Slovenia.
Serbia is the largest and most populous country of the former Yugoslavia. It is home to a strong pro-legalisation movement which is led by activists, patients and researchers. In this case, that opposing force is spearheaded by far-right parties and conservative medical groups who desperately cling to ill-informed stigmas surrounding cannabis.
As part of the Prohibition Partners European Country Review, we examine what divides opinion on cannabis legislation and how far they have come on the bumpy road to modernisation.
Prohibition Partners is excited to announce the launch of 'Medical Cannabis in Europe - The GMP Standards Guide', in association with Orion GMP Solutions.
If Europe wants to become global leaders in the cannabis industry, ensuring that it adheres to the highest manufacturing practices is essential. Our GMP Standards Guide is intended to be used as a resource by manufacturers, legislators and all involved in the European cannabis industry to educate on best practice and international legislation.
The report is due to be released in February 2018 but you can read a short extract here.
Most European countries have struggled to create highly functional systems for cannabis treatments. It is inevitable that the dismantling of archaic drug laws takes time and experimentation. Some countries push through legislation and expect the medical communities to play catch up. Others demand ‘more time’ to run rigorous tests in state run labs while debating public opinion.
There are deficits, big holes, and the question is, how can the Channel Islands fill them? The solutions are not pretty - voluntary redundancies, compulsory redundancies, new taxes, public sector cuts. Simply put, the archipelago needs more tax revenue and less public spending. Prohibition Partners examines why the Channel Islands need to implement a medicinal cannabis industry.
Austria has one of the most complicated positions on the legality of medical cannabis. The Alpine country has a rich history of hemp production and a burgeoning cannabis industry from Vienna to Salzburg, however, the election of right-leaning conservative, Sebastian Kurz, may spell troubling times for the cannabis community. As part of our European Country Review, Prohibition Partners looks to navigate through the convoluted system of the Austrian cannabis industry.
Historically a country with complex and turbulent drug laws, Prohibition Partners explores any recent changes in Belgian legislation, given the dramatic policy changes sweeping mainland Europe in 2017.
Throughout 2017, Malta has seen a slow but steady shift towards medical cannabis legalisation. Last month, a proposal put forth to the Maltese government that aims to facilitate the prescription of medical cannabis by general practitioners.
Saturday, 18th November marked a historic moment in the progression of medicinal cannabis treatment in Ireland. The Department of Health approved a three-month licence for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for the treatment of severe chronic pain.
With only a limited number of licences available for the recently announced Danish medical cannabis trial, the race is on to submit applications in advance of the deadline on the 31st of December. We explore the process and opportunity.
Europe is set to become the largest legal cannabis market in the world within the next five years.
Our report provides a detailed analysis of the medical, recreational and industrial sectors in 15 key European markets in addition to the various commercial, legal and social developments across the region.
There is currently a tide of cannabis reform sweeping throughout Europe, yet there is still a small number of states who have yet to make any effort on reform. This contrast in approach is reflected throughout Scandinavia - although there is still a long way to go before any of these countries become European forerunners.
Historically, Portugal is regarded as somewhat of a trailblazer when it comes to drug reform. Yet in the 15+ years that have followed, very little progress has been made and so Portugal seems set to remain rooted to its restrictive and inconsistent legal stance.
The New Opium Act was implemented in the Netherlands in 1976, which was to lead the way for the so called ‘Policy of Tolerance’. Initially, the policy was meant as a first step towards full regulation of soft drugs - although here we are 40 years later with very little progress.
Cannabis law reform has been a key talking point in British politics for many years. Yet, as the global attitude towards cannabis becomes more and more progressive, could the UK be left behind?
Israel has been a pioneer in the research and development of medical cannabis for decades and now, it could become a major player in the global legal cannabis industry.
We have seen a tremendous global shift in attitudes towards cannabis so far this year, yet France continues to police its people with archaic (and increasingly isolated) laws.
The Czech Republic has had a complex relationship with cannabis. With the attitudes towards legal cannabis changing throughout Europe, could the country gain a foothold in the emerging marketplace?
A Bill calling for the legalisation of medical cannabis in Ireland was rejected by the Oireachtas Health Committee in July over fears that it could potentially “decriminalise the recreational use of the drug”
Coop, the Swiss supermarket chain, now stocks cannabis cigarettes high in CBD and initial sales have already been incredibly high.
Poland’s lower house of parliament (Sejm) has voted overwhelmingly in favour of making medical cannabis legal “under certain circumstances”.
On June 30th, the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras and Health Minister, Andreas Xanthos announced that Greece is to become the seventh European country to legalise cannabis for medical use.
Following a petition which amassed over 60,000 signatures, the Catalonian Parliament decided to legalise the cultivation, consumption and distribution of cannabis throughout the autonomous Spanish region.
In April, in an effort to develop attitudes towards cannabis even further, The Radicali Italiani Movement announced plans to introduce a bill that proposes the full legalisation of adult cannabis use in Italy.
January 19th, 2017 saw a major development in Germany’s relationship with cannabis. German parliament unanimously voted to make it legal for doctors to prescribe cannabis-based treatments for ‘seriously ill’ patients.
The legal cannabis industry is the biggest potential new market in the world, with Europe’s recreational market alone currently being valued at €18bn. The European Cannabis Report™ from Prohibition Partners is the first major piece that uncovers the commercial opportunity of a legal cannabis market in Europe.