On the 9th of September, the company Cannamedical® Pharma GmbH imported the first-ever medical cannabis from Portugal to Germany. This was the biggest-ever shipment of medical marijuana in the EU. What’s more, just a few days later, Cansativa GmbH imported the first-ever medical cannabis product from Australia to Germany.
After the Canada-based cannabis investment firm Elixxer Ltd., formerly LGC Capital Ltd., announced that it increased its ownership of the Australian company Little Green Pharma (LGP) to 40.4 percent in May 2019. Now, LGP, which is the producer of Australia’s first locally grown medicinal cannabis product, has reached a major milestone in the development of the Australian cannabis industry. After commencing negotiations to export to Germany in late 2018, LGP finally became the first Australian company to export a locally grown medicinal cannabis product to Germany.
From LGP’s perspective, this is obviously a big win. This is also true for Cannamedical, however, what does this tell us about the state of the German medical cannabis market? Why does Germany need to import medical marijuana from Australia or Portugal?
The state of the German medical cannabis market
Since the legalisation of medicinal marijuana in 2017, the German medical marijuana market has become one of the fastest-growing medicinal cannabis markets in Europe. However, because of the continually rising demand for medical cannabis in Germany, there are a lot of shortages due to the supply not being able to match the demand.
This is, of course, in part because of the incredibly high demand and the fact that Germany is Europe’s biggest medical cannabis market but also due to the legislation seriously lacking behind.
This is bad for patients and businesses alike. Up until now, medical marijuana was only imported from the Netherlands and Canada, with Germany only issuing the first three licences for professional medical marijuana production not even half a year ago. These three licences were awarded to three major Canadian cannabis corporations, known as Aurora Cannabis, the Wayland Group (in collaboration with the German company Demecan) and Aphria Inc.
However, apparently this was not nearly enough. On the 16th of July 2019, a member of the German parliament, Kirsten Kappert-Gonther, tweeted data citing the Health Ministry’s response to her written question. According to this response, the demand for medical cannabis in Germany is at least twice as big as expected.
Now, within just a few days, Germany imported the first-ever shipments of medicinal cannabis from Australia and Portugal. The medicinal cannabis import from Australia was done by the company Cansativa GmbH, which is a Germany-based importer of medical cannabis. However, this delivery was just for testing purposes, so this doesn’t directly benefit patients at the moment.
Elixxer’s CEO, Mazen Haddad, commented that having ‘certified exports of medical cannabis into Germany, the EU’s largest market, is a very significant step for Little Green Pharma and its plans to expand its sales base outside of the domestic Australian market’.
On the partnership with Little Green Pharma, the Cansativa GmbH Co-Founder and Co-Managing Director, Benedikt Sons, said, ‘this partnership underlines Cansativa’s aspiration to provide security of supply in the German market and is an important step for commercialising Australian cannabis in Europe. LGP will help us to tackle the growing supply problems in the German market and secure the amount of deliveries necessary to meet the increasing demands by patients. This agreement is an important step in ensuring security of supply for patients in Germany.’
German medical cannabis patients finally get medicinal cannabis
But that’s not all. There is also an immediate silver lining for patients in need of medical cannabis. On the 9th of September, one of the leading cannabis distributors in Germany, Cannamedical® Pharma GmbH, imported medicinal cannabis from Portugal, marking the largest ever shipment of medical cannabis from any EU country to Germany. The product is expected to be available to patients within about a month or, in other words, in mid-October.
‘The European market is clearly developing its ability to grow and ship world-class medicinal cannabis products, which is an important step in the development of the EU medicinal cannabis market, which we believe will be the world’s largest’, says David Henn, CEO of Cannamedical. ‘We are proud of the contribution we are making to provide a stable supply of medicinal cannabis to patients in Germany and thankful for our world-class supply partners.’