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European Round-Up: German Medical Cannabis Fightback, UK Cannabis ‘Colonialism’, United Nations Gets Into Hemp etc…

THE German cannabis industry, patients groups and doctors have launched a fightback against proposals which would have a detrimental impact on the country’s leading medical cannabis programme.

As reported in BusinessCann last month Germany’s Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) – which polices access for the nation’s 73 million insured patients – has proposed a more restrictive cannabis regime.

This would limit the use of cannabis flowers, restrict prescribing to specialists and make cannabis the medicine of last resort.

However in a joint submission to the G-BA a number of organisations have strongly criticised the proposals and called for an urgent rethink.

A Backward Step

They include the German Cannabis Industry Association (BvCW), the German Medical Cannabis Society – which represents physicians and healthcare professionals – the Association of German Cannabis Patients and the Federal Association of Pharmaceutical Cannabinoid Companies.

In a press release flagging up the submission they say the recommendations given by the G-BA ‘contradict’ the goals of the 2017 Cannabis as Medicine Act.

“In the worst case, patients would be pushed into illegality or would have to stop their therapy if access to therapy was made more difficult and they were unable to bear the costs themselves,” it says.

Over the past five years Germany has emerged as a European leader with almost 200,000 patients accessing medical cannabis.

The release adds: “Governments of other countries around the world have been encouraged by Germany’s experience to take appropriate steps themselves. 

“But today we face one roll backwards in medicinal cannabis, while at the same time aiming to make three rolls forward in recreational cannabis.”

Shift In Public’s Cannabis Mood

In relation to the country’s moves towards an adult-use market members of the Traffic-Light Coalition government have petitioned colleagues to press ahead with reform, reports ICBC Berlin

It quotes Green parliamentarian Kirsten Kappert-Gonther as saying that Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach must now draw up a draft law for legalising Cannabis and ‘present it promptly – waiting for the EU and remaining inactive is not an option!’.

A recent poll shows a shift in public opinion with a slim majority now opposing cannabis legalization in Germany – 49% against with 46% in favour.

This is a shift from a year ago when a majority was in favour of legalisation, but still within a margin of error.

Bermuda should use the example of fellow Commonwealth country Canada in its tussle with the United Kingdom over cannabis reform.

Professor William Bogart, the former professor of law at the University of Windsor who has written extensively on drug-related law issues, said the island would be able to point to the example of his native Canada, where ‘the world did not come to an end’ after sweeping reforms liberalising marijuana legislation were enacted.’ 

Rena Lalgie, the Governor, said in September that she had been ‘instructed’ by London not to give Royal Assent to the Government’s effort to legalise the production and consumption of cannabis because it broke Britain’s international treaty obligations.

UN Backs Hemp

On a visit to Bermuda Professor Bogart said: “I think that Bermuda could be reasonably forceful about saying, ‘look, another affiliated country, Canada, went ahead and legalised’.

He added: “There is a critical body of opinion that says criminalisation is not working, the war on drugs is not working.

“When Canada said we are going to stick our head out in terms of just this one drug — cannabis — because, we realise that is the way to go for any number of reasons, one of which is the enforcement is tainted by racism.”

Hemp has the potential to become an $18.6bn industry within five years, says the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD).

In a new 84-page report it identifies the steps Governments need to take to support the industry which is says is currently worth $4.7bn globally, reports Hemp Today.

The Federation of International Hemp Organisations (FIHO) has held its first Annual General Meeting and elected its founding Board of Directors. 

A working group of 20 global hemp organizations joined forces in 2020 and began the process of creating FIHO with a mandate to unite industry leaders; consolidate market expertise; coordinate resources; and, speak with one voice on hemp issues at a global level. 

Reakiro’s Medical Cannabis Debut

Mr Fredéric Vallier the new FIHO Director General is an experienced executive who served as Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions for the past 12 years. 

He said: “My goal as Director General is to build a strong international federation able to influence international policies to support the development of hemp and its derived industrial products.” 

US firm PureTech Health has stepped into the cannabinoid market with a CBD product designed to compete with Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex product.

The London Stock Exchange-listed firm says its product will extend the indications and age groups that Epidiolex currently treats.

PureTech says it will ‘improve on the safety of the incumbent CBD therapy. Other potential benefits include the ability to cost-effectively make a readily scalable, consistent product’. 

A2W Pharma Ltd, a pharmaceutical company based in Malta, and Polish cannabis producer Reakiro have agreed a partnership agreement, which will expand Reakiro’s product portfolio from CBD food supplements and cosmetics into medicinal cannabis products.

In a joint press release Mark Wright, Managing Director, and co-founder of Reakiro, says: ”A sharp focus on innovation has kept Reakiro at the forefront of the CBD industry since 2016, solidifying our position as a market leader in the UK and Europe.

“Advancing into the medicinal arena is a natural progression for our business and an important step on the pathway of industry development.”

Together, A2W and Reakiro will initially target European and Australasian pharmacies, clinics and hospitals with full-spectrum extracts and EU-GMP flower. 

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