THE German Government’s refreshingly honest approach to drugs and addiction is being demonstrated with a focus on the harms of gambling, alcohol and tobacco.
On coming into office it signalled its intent to overhaul the continent’s cannabis status quo with proposals to create the first regulated adult-use market.
This, it said, was based on concerns around public health as it highlighted the harmful quality of illicit cannabis being consumed in the country.
Now, it is pressing ahead with further reform which aims to impose tough restrictions on the advertising of alcohol, tobacco and sports betting.
A Paradigm Shift
Burkhard Blienert, the Commissioner on Narcotic Drugs at the Federal Ministry of Health, highlighted how around 150,000 people die in Germany each year as a result of alcohol and tobacco use, going on to say an estimated one in eight adults has a gambling problem.
He said: “We need a real paradigm shift, a change of thinking when it comes to drugs and addiction policy.”
He went on to say that no other European country is as ‘laissez-faire’ when it comes to alcohol and tobacco as Germany.
His proposals include, as a first step, banning all alcohol advertising online, in social media, and on television and radio.
He also suggested that rules allowing children to drink alcohol from the age of 14, if their parents are present, need to be changed.
Tighter restrictions on tobacco ads were also needed, and he called for bans on advertising sports betting on TV, radio and the internet before 9pm as is already the case with online casinos.
Sanity On A Rising Tide
Sanity Group, one of Germany’s largest cannabis companies has inked a deal with premium Canadian retailer High Tide.
The non-binding letter of intent is designed to ‘leverage synergies between both complementary companies and position each to take advantage of potential German adult use legalisation within their respective supply chain verticals’, announced High Tide in a press release.
It continued: “Sanity Group and High Tide intend to work together on go-to-market strategies, identification of quality M&A opportunities, sourcing of high-quality real estate, expansion within European markets, and regulatory compliance topics such as licensing and government outreach.”
Raj Grover, President and Chief Executive Officer of High Tide, said: “We want to be well positioned to bring this success to the German market, should the government proceed with its publicly stated goal to legalise cannabis for adult use.
“This is why we are proud to partner with a top player in the German medical cannabis space like Sanity Group, particularly since our business models are complementary in nature.”
Finn Hänsel, Chief Executive Officer of Sanity Group, said: “We are very excited and proud to lay the foundation for a strong and trustful partnership in case of recreational cannabis legalisation in Germany with a top player like High Tide through this letter of intent.
“High Tide stands for great experience and expertise in building retail cannabis brand strategies like no other player. We strongly believe in the mutual value of this partnership.”
Bedrocan Expands Into Denmark
Over a year since it announced plans to launch a regulated cannabis market Malta has outlined the criteria required for opening a non-for-profit cannabis club.
It says the application process will open on February 28 with a cost of at least €1,000.
Each club needs two founders, who do not need to be Maltese, however the administrators of the club must have been a Maltese resident for at least five years.
Each organisation is responsible for the entire cannabis journey; from seed to sale. And, all growing locations must be protected with a dedicated CCTV system and be out of public sight.
The comprehensive requirements for obtaining a licence are outlined in full in Lovin Malta article.
The article quotes Junior Minister Rebecca Buttigieg and Leonid McKay, of the Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis, as saying that as this is the first first legal framework of its kind in Europe ‘mistakes’ will be expected.
Dutch medical cannabis manufacturer Bedrocan has announced the creation of a new manufacturing facility in Denmark, reports Cannabis Health.
The company says its new GMP-approved facility, located in Køge near Copenhagen, will allow it to expand production capacity to meet the growing international demand for its products.
It currently operates two indoor production facilities, a plant research and development facility, and a laboratory in the Netherlands.
With its Danish site, Bedrocan expects to significantly improve the availability of its products to patients globally, with the freedom to conduct business directly with other commercial entities.
The new facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2023, with around 40 staff on board.
It will begin with the production of known Bedrocan varieties, including Bedrocan and Bediol oil, plus a new high-CBD variety, with products initially intended to supply the European market.
Valcon Medical On The March
Elsewhere in Denmark Valcon Medical has completed the acquisition of fellow Danish company ScanLeaf, a processor and distributor of medical cannabis products.
The ScanLeaf acquisition provides Valcon with processing and distribution facilities in Denmark which it will leverage to support its growing Scandinavian medical cannabis business.
Pete Patterson, Chief Executive Officer of Valcon, said: “The ScanLeaf team brings a level of product knowledge and market expertise that aligns with Valcon’s primary value: a focus on quality above all else.”
Hasse Herlevsen, CEO and co-founder of Scanleaf said :“Not only will the merger create significant revenue and cost synergies for Valcon Medical, but the combined company will be unmatched in capability and reach as a full-scale service medical cannabis operator in Denmark.
“By merging Scanleaf and Valcon Medical we are providing the market with a strong supply chain partner focused on delivering profitable growth while serving the best interests of medical cannabis patients across Europe.”
Valcon Medical produces whole-plant, medical products under EU GMP standards and sold into the global medical cannabis market.
Europe’s Largest Cannabis Plant?
Greece’s first-ever pharmaceutical cannabis production plant has been opened in Corinth by Tikun Europe, a subsidiary of Israel-based Tikun Olam.
Greek Development & Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis welcomed the moves saying it will benefit Greek patients as well as boosting exports.
Tikun Europe CEO Nikos Beis said that the factory is the largest pharmaceutical facility in the industry in Europe.
“A new era is beginning for our country with the operation of our Tikun Europe facility, paving the way for Greece to become one of the main players in the field of production and export of medical cannabis products”.
Tikun has invested over €40m on the six hectare site, which includes 21,000 sq ms of hybrid greenhouses and a pharmaceutical production unit unit of 3,000 sq ms.
UK CBD brand Cannabrew has secured £250,000 of asset finance to fund its expansion.
The Lancaster-based business plans to use the funds to extend its range, expand in the US and Europe, and bring its production in-house, opening its own taproom in March 2023.
The taproom, which will be located next to Lancaster University, will provide “a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for students, locals, and visitors to enjoy our beers and learn more about the benefits of CBD”, said Cannabrew founder Elliot Horner.
Cannabrew is planning a US launch for March 2023, and is currently setting up a distribution network there. It will also begin exporting to the Italian market this year
Cannabrew raised more than £210,000 from crowdfunding in May 2021.
Scottish Hemp Insulation Win
The BBC reports that a Scottish firm has secured £2m to make insulation out of hemp.
The cash will be used to upgrade, and add additional production equipment for IndiNature’s mill at Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders.
The funding comes from the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB).
Co-founder Scott Simpson said the second phase investment was a “big milestone” following its production line becoming operational.
“This investment is speeding up our ability to deliver healthy, low-carbon products at high capacity to the market,” he said. “We’re very much looking forward to accelerating growth this year.”
IndiNature makes insulation out of hemp sourced from farms across the UK.
The new investment of £2m follows on from an initial £3m from SNIB in 2021 which unlocked a further £800,000 in grant funding from Zero Waste Scotland and £250,000 from South of Scotland Enterprise.
It allowed the launch of IndiNature’s natural fibre insulation IndiTherm – which is made from industrial hemp sourced from farms across the UK.
Elsewhere the BBC has reported the growth of the European industry with a feature focusing on the use of hemp in the construction sector.