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European Cannabis Round-Up: Germany’s Adult-use Ambitions And Challenges With The New Drugs Czar And The Business Community

GERMANY’S new Drug Commissioner has spoken at length of the country’s moves to introduce an adult-use cannabis market and how it is set to write a new chapter in European history. 

Social Democrat Politician Burkhard Blienert – who co-authored the ‘Recreational THC Report 2021 for Germany’ which was featured in BusinessCann recently – was speaking in an interview with the RND newspaper.

As a long-standing campaigner for drug reform Mr Blienert says the new Traffic-light Coalition will be at the forefront of a new global movement which will lead to a ‘real paradigm shift in drug and addiction policy’. 

He said: “In my new role, I am concerned with protecting and helping consumers and not with punishment. With the controlled and regulated sale of cannabis in Germany, we will make European history. 

Supporting Addicts

He said it will not be an easy task drafting the new laws but it does have a template in the shape of the Greens’ 2015 proposed Cannabis Control Act.

As well as health protection – keeping children and young people away from consumption, and drying up the black market – he discussed issues such as personal possession, advertising, taxation, domestic cultivation, and moves to change direction on other illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine. 

The 55-year-old, who was a member of the Bundestag in the grand coalition from 2013 to 2017, said: “We must not leave the addicts alone with their problems. 

“Here, I would like the focus not on repression but on protection and help for the addicts. Criminal law is neither medicine nor therapy. We need to empower people and reduce the health risks of addiction.” 

He believes Germany will be at the vanguard of a new movement which will shift international drug policy to ‘health protection and regulation and less on repression’.

Before Next Election

He said it will not make any rash moves on drafting the new laws but guarantees that they will be in place within four years. 

“Before the end of this election period, there should be a law that will make it legal for adults to buy cannabis in Germany, but it will be controlled and safe. That’s what the coalition agreement says, and we’ll stick to it,” he said.

Also in Germany this week the Cannabis Business Industry Association (BvCW) presented its paper – ‘Towards a German Cannabis Agenda’ – highlighting some of the issues regulators need to overcome.

It identified the main ones as follows: product origin, process of creating the market, product properties and quality, prevention, taxation & product access, and strengthening the medical field.

BvCW President Dr Stefan Meyer said: “The implementation of the controlled sale of cannabis to adults is an ambitious and at the same time very sensible concern of the federal government. 

“As the cannabis industry, we want to proactively accompany this process with our expertise. We have summarised the most important aspects of the coming regulation in the 16-page key issues paper entitled ‘Towards a German Cannabis Agenda’.”

BvCW Managing Director Jürgen Neumeyer added: “As the cannabis industry, we of course accept the regulations of politics and would like to participate as economic actors with realistic implementation proposals in advance. 

Little Green Pharma

“In order to build up a controlled market of an estimated 400 tons of recreational cannabis with all the regulations, we need acceptable conditions. Our proposals are primarily characterised by three goals: a) reducing the illegal market as much as possible, b) curbing problematic consumption and c) strengthening the domestic value chains.”

In a quarterly market update Australian firm Little Green Pharma (LGP) highlighted its progress into the European market.

It said: “LGP now has supply pathways into Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Greece, and Denmark, which gives it access to over 265 million EU citizens, representing more than 60% of the EU population, and including four out of the five most populated countries in the EU.”

Following its purchase of Canopy Growth’s Danish cultivation facility it is the only cultivator, with a footprint in the country, to supply flowers to the Danish medical cannabis trial.

LGP says its ‘Billinol LGP 16’ medicinal cannabis flower was approved for sale in Denmark last November making it Denmark’s first locally-produced cannabis medicine since legalisation in 2018’.

It adds: “Prescriber interest in Billinol has been relatively strong given LGP is only one of two suppliers in Denmark, with the first Billinol medicines supplied to Danish patients early in January 2022 and the ramp-up of sales exceeding expectations.”

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