As the leaves begin to turn this year and the days grow shorter, a period also known as Q’3 2020, what and where is the status of the German medical cannabis market?
That is a very good question, in part because of the evolving shape of both the medical and non-medical market here.
In summary, here are the major takeaways:
Nobody Knows How Many Patients There Actually Are: By industry estimates and reports drawn from the public reporting of Germany’s association of public health insurers (GKV), there have been about 100,000 applications so far since 2017 to the major statutory health insurers (who cover 90% of the population). Of these, it is estimated that there are about 60,000 regular patients. The amount of actual patients however is currently unknown.
When one counts the actual number of activist patients, those who are buying and or cultivating in collectives, or who go to the black market out of sheer frustration in getting a doctor to write a prescription (or affording flower in a pharmacy), the pool of real patients in Germany is much, much larger.
Further medical reform here is clearly in the offing no matter how slow. And no matter how delayed German grown cannabis has been here, it is coming – distributed via one specialty distributor in Frankfurt.
A former health minister and vice-chancellor of Germany also just made waves, if not a strong political statement when he recently joined the board of a Swiss cannabis company.
Imports Will Continue To Play A Large Role: There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that exports from the rest of the world (and increasingly, NOT Canada) are entering the German medical market.
This is true of both the medical and not medical market (including industrial hemp and what hemp extract can find its way to market in a variety of tortured routes).
The Hemp Market Is Still Intriguingly Bizarre: The British are setting sail in a new direction on all things hemp and CBD. Brussels, in the meantime, is very scientifically confused, or perhaps just bureaucratically diplomatic. They lose nothing by having their hands pushed by a new UN decree on the status of cannabis now on the schedule for December. The losers, generally, are hemp producers in Europe who are not ready to play the game of hop, skip and specialty import supply chain tactics. There is light in other words, but also clearly a bit of tunnel left to go.
Be sure to book your tickets for the International Cannabis Business Conference next year when it returns to Europe.