Cenedella.de

Patient Advocate since 1977.


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Kai-Friedrich Niermann has a really good update on the potential for legal cannabis here in Germany…….news on the “Jamaica Coalition” is expected within hours,……..more later. – Phil

https://www.kfnplus.de/jamaica-current-german-coalition-and-cannabis-control-act/#comment-2

Jamaica [Current German Coalition) and Cannabis Control Act

Annotation on practical implementation by Kai-Friedrich Niermann, Attorney, Paderborn [Germany]

Let‘s say the coalition partners part this evening and determine the uptake of coalition negotiations. And let us furthermore assume The Green Party with tie-in of FDP achieve Cannabis liberalisation in full as well as pushing through their Cannabis Control Act in the negotiations going on from mid December until shortly before Christmas. And also let’s assume the Cannabis Incorporate Act is then voted in by Bundestag in May or June [2018]; then Germany will be faced with even more massive changes and the latter in various sectors.

The Cannabis Law includes the option of applications for cultivation licences (farming), wholesale trade licences as well as retail licences such as specialist shops. In addition to this import and export licences can be applied for. Expert prior knowledge is not required and simply personal trustworthiness as demanded within public-houses law is stipulated. Business owners must not have previous convictions.

Assuming a conservative estimate of 10 t of Cannabis per week being consumed in Germany this results in an annual demand of 520 t. The production of Cannabis is deemed to result in a harvest of 440 g per m² within a harvest cycle of 52 days which allows for 7 harvests per year. To cover 107% consumption of Germany an acreage of 180.000 m² would be prerequisite.

Breaking down and allocating these figures to an average municipality such as Paderborn with a population of 140.000 this would result in a required cultivation acreage of 307 m².

With the scheduled Cannabis Control Act tax of 4€/g provided by statute, 1€/g for production costs, 2€/g for wholesale trade and also 3 €/g for specialist shops this results in a price of 10€ in total per gram which is equivalent to the current black market price. It will be a balancing act not to drive the price to high to enable draining the black market effectively as intended.

For Paderborn alone and at this retail price it would amount to a turnover for cultivation/farming of approx. 890.000 €, 1,8 million € for the wholesale trade and 2,6 million € for specialist shops.

However the Cannabis Control Act provides for numerous regulations as to Quality Assurance, protection of production lines, safeguarding of youth protection and prevention. Consequently production facilities must be secured with fences and alarm systems. Transport of Cannabis is governed by specified security restrictions, the specialist shops must train their personnel and deliver proof for consistent follow-up trainings as well as a substantial social concept. Also packaging has to be secured to a high extent and must feature comprehensive warning and reconnaissance information.

It remains doubtful that the current illegal Cannabis producers will meet these requirements in full and step out from illegality. For this reason it is to be expected that capital investors who with their capacity are able to administer the task more economically will edge into the market.

Then within the 2nd half of 2018 the race for the desired licences for farming, wholesale trade, import, export and specialist retailers would begin.

Restrictions as to numbers of licence permits are not scheduled within Cannabis Control Act so any desired number of farming facilities or specialist retailers could operate. Indeed we may assume that the Authorities will initially be totally snowed under and will authorise thoroughly drawn up applications at first which are based on convincing technical programmes and a business plans.

Any potentially interested party striving to be a player in this new and strictly regulated market is to focus on the new situation just in time and develop technical and operational concepts, investment concepts as well as calculations of overall return on investment as well as liquidity calculations. And just in time could „slip into gear“ as from tomorrow morning!

RA Kai-Friedrich Niermann

http://www.kfnplus.de

k@kfnplus.de

+491773108923

Jamaika und das Cannabiskontrollgesetz

English Version

Einige Anmerkungen zur praktischen Umsetzung, von Rechtsanwalt Kai-Friedrich Niermann (Paderborn)

Nehmen wir einmal an, die Jamaika-Koalitionäre gehen heute Abend auseinander und beschließen die Aufnahme von Koalitionsverhandlungen. Nehmen wir weiter an, dass die Grünen im Verbund mit der FDP es schaffen, die vollständige Freigabe von Cannabis zu erreichen und ihr Cannabiskontrollgesetz in den Verhandlungen von Mitte Dezember bis kurz vor Weihnachten durchbringen. Nehmen wir weiter an, dass das Cannabiskontrollgesetz dann vom Bundestag im Mai oder Juni beschlossen wird, dann stehen Deutschland große Änderungen und in vielen Bereichen noch größere Herausforderungen bevor.

Das Cannabisgesetz sieht die Möglichkeit der Beantragung von Anbaulizenzen, Großhandelslizenzen sowie Einzelhandelslizenzen, sogenannte Fachgeschäfte, vor. Ferner können Einfuhr und Ausfuhrlizenzen beantragt werden. Besondere Vorkenntnisse sind nicht erforderlich, es muss lediglich die üblicherweise zu verlangende Zuverlässigkeit, wie im Gaststättenrecht zum Beispiel, vorliegen und beim Geschäftsinhaber dürfen keine einschlägigen Vorstrafen bestehen.

Geht man nach konservativen Schätzungen davon aus, dass pro Woche 10 t Cannabis in Deutschland konsumiert werden, ergibt dies einen Jahresbedarf von 520 t. In der Produktion von Cannabis geht man davon aus, dass ein m² einen Ertrag von 440 g erbringen kann, was bei einem Erntezyklus von 52 Tagen ca. 7 Ernten pro Jahr ermöglicht. Man benötigt also allein 180.000 m² reine Anbaufläche, um dem Bedarf von Deutschland zu 107% zu decken.

Bricht man diese Zahlen auf eine durchschnittliche Kommune wie Paderborn mit einer Einwohnerzahl von 140.000 herunter, ergäbe dies eine benötigte Anbaufläche von 307 m². Bei einer im Cannabiskontrollgesetz vorgesehenen Steuer von 4 €, bei Produktionskosten von 1 €, bei Kosten für den Großhandel von 2 € sowie bei Kosten für die Fachgeschäfte von 3 € pro Gramm ergebe sich ein Grammpreis von insgesamt 10 €, der dem Preis auf dem derzeitigen Schwarzmarkt entspricht. Der Spagat wird sein, den Preis nicht zu hoch zu treiben, um auch tatsächlich, wie beabsichtigt den Schwarzmarkt austrocknen zu können.

Allein für Paderborn ergebe sich bei diesem Verkaufspreis ein Umsatz beim Anbau in Höhe von ca. 890.000 €, beim Großhandel von 1,8 Millionen €, und bei den Fachgeschäften von 2,6 Millionen €.

Das Cannabiskontrollgesetz sieht allerdings zahlreiche Vorschriften bezüglich der Qualitätssicherung, der Sicherung der Produktionsanlagen, der Sicherung des Jugendschutzes und der Prävention vor. So müssen die Produktionsanlagen mit Zäunen und Alarmanlagen gesichert werden, der Transport von Cannabis unterliegt bestimmten Sicherheitsauflagen, die Fachgeschäfte müssen ihr Personal am Beginn schulen und regelmäßige Nachfolgeschulungen nachweisen sowie ein umfangreiches Sozialkonzept erstellen. Ferner müssen die Verpackungen umfangreich gesichert und mit zahlreichen Warn- und Aufklärungshinweisen gestaltet werden.

Ob es für die zahlreichen, bisher illegalen Cannabisproduzenten möglich sein wird, diese Anforderungen in Gänze zu erfüllen und aus der Illegalität herauszutreten, bleibt zu bezweifeln. Es ist daher zu erwarten, dass große Investoren mit größeren Anlagen auf den Markt drängen werden, die allein aufgrund ihrer Kapazität in der Lage sind, kostengünstiger zu wirtschaften.

Sodann würde im 2. Halbjahr 2018 ein Wettlauf um die begehrten Lizenzen für Anbau, Großhandel, Import, Export und Fachhandel beginnen. Eine zahlenmäßige Beschränkung der Erlaubnisse ist vom Cannabiskontrollgesetz nicht vorgesehen, es können also beliebig viele Anbauflächen oder Fachgeschäfte betrieben werden. Allerdings ist davon auszugehen, dass die Behörden zunächst völlig überlastet sind und die Anträge zuerst genehmigen, die vollständig ausgearbeitet sind und denen ein in technischer und betriebswirtschaftlicher Hinsicht überzeugendes Konzept zu Grunde liegt.

Es ist somit allen Interessenten, die in diesem neuen, strikt regulierten Markt agieren wollen, sich rechtzeitig auf die neue Situation einzustellen und bereits jetzt technische Betriebskonzepte, Investitionskonzepte und Rendite- und Liquiditätsberechnungen zu entwickeln. Die Zeit könnte ab morgen früh zu laufen beginnen.

RA Kai-Friedrich Niermann
http://www.kfnplus.de
k@kfnplus.de
+491773108923

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MERKEL GETS RELIGION on the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation project. Legalized marijuana in Germany now on the horizon.

Cannabis Consultant in Germany

Cenedella.DE

October 31, 2017

As many Americans start the day making plans for Halloween 2017, the folks here in Germany have the day off of work to celebrate the 500-year Anniversary of Martin Luther’s project to reform German society. Surprisingly, the newspapers today also announced Chancellor Angela Merkel’s intentions, along with her new coalition partners called the “Jamaican coalition” to consider legalizing marijuana.

Seems an unintended benefit of the AFD’s victories in the last elections, is the CDU ruling party is now more receptive to working with those with divergent views in order to maintain their leadership position.

Could this really be the start of the Reformation of the 20th century drug laws in Germany and beyond?

Has the work of the DHV in Berlin and their partners finally started to pay dividends?

Was the signing of the BERLIN PEACE ACCORDS http://www.berlinpeaceaccords.de , which begins with “We the people of the Year 2017 do…
Hereby declare that it is our inalienable basic human right to have the freedom to grow, medicate and enjoy the plant we call Cannabis, without any governmental limitations.
We demand our plant has no more regulations or limitations than a tomato plant…..” really have been the precursor to this historic moment?

Good questions, time will tell, but for sure our collective efforts as cannabis business executives are starting to pay dividends.

The month of October had started off with over 350 doctors, scientists, investors and industry professionals waking up in view of the massive Cologne Cathedral, which is truly an amazing sight to see in person! The International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines’ (IACM) CANNABINOID CONFERENCE was held in downtown Cologne bringing together experts from Canada, Australia, Germany, and from throughout the world. Their website is http://www.cannabis-med.org and three take-aways were:

The idea that “Marijuana has no medicinal value” was pretty much, fully debunked 😊

The breath and quantity of existing “clinical trials” on our plant is amazing.

Meeting Josh Stanley, whose company has arguably helped more medical marijuana patients than anyone, was a privilege. CW Hemp’s team continues to lead the industry in many ways,…and additionally they are simply very cool people.

Later in the month, the folks from the regulatory and compliance organization ASTM came to Berlin for a 2-day intensive session for their new “Technical Committee D37 on Cannabis” section. You know we are becoming a real industry when 2 days is spent talking only about compliance related issues. Half the group was from Germany, including executives from the first licensed marijuana testing facility located within Germany, scientists from the University of Berlin currently working on marijuana clinical trials, and a few of the leading homegrown companies on the front lines including ABCann Germany, MH Hemp, Pedanois, and two guys who reminded me of what a young Ed Rosenthal would be like. 😊

So as November 2017 begins, many of us will meet in Berlin this weekend for the first annual DHV Convention. Their website is https://hanfverband.de and they are unequivocally the leading organization for marijuana reform in Germany today. This convention will probably confirm these four truths of the marijuana landscape in Germany today:

Canadian firms are kicking butt!
They understand the requirement of GMP certification, their government is supportive of providing qualified companies an export license for their THC-based products, and their executives are damn smart.

German firms are coming of age, are intelligent and committed.
The first DHV convention will be highlighting the work of patient advocates, industry professionals, knowledgeable physicians and forward-looking politicians involved in building this new industry within the German borders.

The European, South American, African, Israeli and Australian firms are all actively making plans to succeed.
Governments, investors, and executives from throughout the world are looking at Germany and making their plans to enter the European market with its 750+ million potential customers. They are forming strategic partnerships, investing in commercial facilities, and making Europe a priority for 2018.

The USA is an abysmal no-show in the game.
America started the war on Marihuana last century, and somehow tries to keep the war alive today. Scientist, Stoners and Society have evolved quite a bit since the 1930s. The Germans have taken note, changed course in their direction, and their people will be better off as a result.

Maybe now it’s time for President Trump get religion and start his own Marijuana Reformation project?

– Philip J. Cenedella


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Germany’s largest legal cannabis plantation – by VICE Magazine

https://www.vice.com/de/article/qvjge5/weed-aus-dem-atombunker-dieser-typ-baut-deutschlands-grosste-legale-cannabis-plantage

http://www.bunker-ppd.de/

Germany’s largest legal cannabis plantation
Tim Geyer
Oct. 17 2017, 3:20 pm
Because of grass dealings, Christoph Roßner had already been in prison for five months. Today he works with Bavarian politicians.

This is not really a loose work place, even if grass is to be cultivated, says Christoph Roßner. The Atombunker, before which he stands, is squeezed between car parks and fields in the Allgäu countryside like a stranded oil tank. Here, from the former Fliegerhorst Memmingerberg NATO would have led the nuclear counterattack, had the Cold War escalated. Today the entrepreneur wants to breed cannabis in the bunker. Green haze instead of black rain – within sight of a federal police station and with the blessing of the Bavarian government. Since the beginning of the year, cannabis is legal on prescription in Germany and Rossner’s sentiment is that of a brewer’s owner after the end of the prohibition: “We have the chance to become one of the biggest players in the international cannabis market.”

Alone for 2015, the German Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Abuse (DBDD) counts almost five million Germans who have consumed cannabis at least once during the last twelve months. The dark figure should be even higher. Activists and businessmen have taken this first step towards legalization. Christoph Roßner is both. And also looks like this: black jacket over black sweater, the gray hair tamed to the horse tail. Business in the front, party in the back.

One of the many lock gates between the individual bunkers
From the war machine to the grass factory

The bunker, a 50-meter-long, 15-meter high colossus, with its aerial storms acts like a medieval fortress. From 1985, the Luftwaffe soldiers of the Jagdbombersgeschwader 34 were sitting here, servicing the control systems for the nearby rocket silos. “This bunker is safer than a nuclear waste disposal site, but we want to grow plants here,” says the 47-year-old. He has previously registered with the neighboring Federal Police Station on the visit of the journalists.

The Panzertor groans aside. 175 tons of hardened steel, eight meters wide, nearly one meter thick. A siren howls like a submarine on a dive. Through the opening one reaches the actual bunker, which surrounds the outer wall as the reactor coherent of Chernobyl. Then another lock door, another 30 centimeters of steel. Later, 15 employees of Roßner’s company Bunker PPD, which he wants to adjust, will change the street clothes against overalls without bags and scan their fingerprints. The few, the income, will be nothing to take with. Roßner leads past former team rooms and the radio center, a five-meter-thick steel-concrete ceiling above us. You go ducked, even though you do not have to.

But no matter how many nights Roßner is working on his business plans, in the end others decide: the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and the Bundespiumstelle, which is subordinate to him. Anyone who wants to produce or use drugs in Germany must either talk to them or seek a good lawyer. But once the TÜV seal of the Panzertür has expired, once the officials discover a tiny mistake in a request: the bureaucrats are editing Roßner, the changing Würgreiz for CSU politicians, so meticulously as if they Franz Josef Strauss’ last will.

Where the radio had previously been monitored, a cannabis laboratory could soon be available
From activist to cannabis entrepreneur

Roßner knows this. For the last three decades he has been working on the legalization of cannabis. Two key experiences are the reason: at 17 he smokes his first joint. He notes: Kiffen helps him to curb his hyperactivity. A year later a steel carrier crushed his left shoulder during his training as an industrial mechanic. Against the chronic pain smokes Roßner cannabis. To this day, now on recipe. “If you like, I’m just tight,” he says. In 1994, a friend of Roßner, who suffers from epilepsy, finds out that marijuana dampens his attacks. Roessner’s sister also suffered from epilepsy. For them, this knowledge comes too late. Two years before, she committed suicide. “I could have helped her,” says Rossner.

From this moment on, he is on a mission: He is worried about marijuana to help others, he says. “Illegal research” he calls this. At that time, as today, cannabis is prohibited by law in Germany. It is only since 1 March 2017 that doctors can prescribe – even without the hard-to-obtain exemption. Although in 1994, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that a small quantity of cannabis can be carried with no prescription – depending on the federal state, between five and ten grams – this verdict does not, however, protect against criminal prosecution. This is what the courts alone decide. Roessner also knew about the risk, especially in Bavaria, When it is rumored that he is running a kind of private hemp pharmacy, more and more people are coming. Rheumatics, neurodermatitis, chemotherapy patients. And some policemen.

If at any time the electricity should fail, Roßner can take advantage of four diesel generators to supply his cannabis lantern with light
Roßner is sentenced: two years and one month. He spends five months in prison and four in therapy. It’s been 17 years now. When he rages, he knocks again at his doorstep. Still, people who have pain are coming. Roßner does not do any illegal business, he continues to believe in the medical benefits of cannabis. Together with the Chair of Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich and the University of British Columbia, he is currently preparing a study to investigate the effects of the most important medicinal hemp varieties and to develop quality standards for them. 150 patients he wants to provide cannabis from his bunker. Will the study and the necessary hemp cultivation be approved, this would be his first decisive step to enter the medical cannabis market. The study is intended to prove that he, the ex-prisoner, is serious.

Politicians, investors and business bosses listen to him

By working with the universities, Roßner hopes that the newly established state-owned cannabis agency will choose him to produce state-certified grass. The agency is to provide patients with marijuana from Germany and is looking for producers all over Europe. In addition to Rossner, other German entrepreneurs are also applying, for example SensHemp from Berlin and Hanf AG from Hamburg. 2,000 kilograms per year, the agency estimates, would have to grow on German plantings in 2021 and 2022 to supply all patients. Roßner believes that German patients need six times a year: over 12 tonnes of grass. If no one has to apply for an exemption, but only needs a prescription, more patients will take this step, he is sure. In addition, it would not be worth it to build a plant worth several million euros. But without permission for the study, he could set up his bunker to a very unpleasant country house.

Plantation air could soon flow through the ventilation towers
Just a strong CSU conservative helps him with his plan. Franz Josef Pschierer, State Secretary in the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, will bring him together with entrepreneurs and politicians from Bavaria in 2016. Roßner tells them about the unused economic potential, possible tax revenues and savings in the police and courts. “Without the help of the Bavarian government, no one would listen to me,” he says. He is now planning his cannabis breeding plant with ThyssenKrupp – and is holding talks with internationally active hedge funds. If they invest in it, the Free State of Bavaria could subsidize its business with about a quarter of a million euros. From tax money. Marijuana sponsored by Horst Seehofer.

In many places in the bunker the soldiers have left something behind
While Roßner sketched his battle plan for the next months, we descend deeper into the airtight crypt. There is neither mobile phone reception nor spiderwebs. Comic paintings on the walls testify to what the soldiers were busy with when they were bored to wait for the Third World War. In one room there are vault chambers, large as overseas containers. Here the mother plants could grow. “Lamps clean, connect ventilation, let’s go,” says Roßner, “more perfect conditions than here you will find nowhere.” A high-security laboratory is to move into the former squadron headquarters. Here, chemists could clone potent cannabis varieties. Next to it stands an industrial furnace, in which former toxins were destroyed at 900 degrees. In the future, the most serious of these will be burned. A few security doors: the space for the cuttings. “We start with 80 different varieties,” Roßner says self-confidently, as if he had the approval already.

In these cabinets Roßner wants to breed young plants
Race with the Dutch

Sometimes Christoph Rossner would ask the same as the early fans of Cherry Coke or anal whitening: When will the backward-looking Germans finally understand what the Americans have long been celebrating? In 29 out of 50 US states , medical cannabis has been allowed or grass has been fully legalized. In 2016, the industry generated sales of 6.7 billion US dollars . Until it is so far in Germany, Rossner will still have to smoke a few blunts on the recipe.

At the beginning of the year, he was sitting with his lawyers to prepare a lawsuit against the Federal Institute for Drugs, he tells us as we step out of the darkness of the bunker. The agency has asked potential medical producers that they have already grown, processed and delivered at least 50 kilograms over the last three years. How is he to apply, if exactly that in Germany so far was illegal, Roßner curses. It is not easy to get a mission in Germany for something that does not really exist at all.

Meanwhile, the authorities want to improve – a small victory, but Rossner is running out of time. The Dutch company Sensi Seeds systematically purchases small cannabis producers in the USA and is now pushing into the German market. Roßner does not want to be bought up. His research project will start in March, followed by commercial operations. He wants to make money himself and make the world a bit better with nothing but a few plants from a Bavarian atomic bomb.

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The Situation With Medicinal Cannabis In Europe – A Complete Overview MEDICINAL CANNABIS

https://sensiseeds.com/en/blog/situation-medicinal-cannabis-europe-complete-overview/

Sativex and Bedrocan are now available in many European countries, and several have infrastructure in place to supply patients with medicinal cannabis. So which countries are moving with the times, and which are dragging their heels? Where are medicinal and recreational users most (and least) free to utilize their drug of choice? Let’s take a look at the facts.

While there is plenty of accurate, up-to-date information online about medicinal cannabis in Europe, finding one reliable source to tell you everything you need to know can be an all-but-impossible task. So we’ve collated hundreds of online resources – news reports, analysis by governments and NGOs, and patient perspectives – in order to create a complete overview of the status of medicinal cannabis in Europe.

We have striven for clarity and accuracy in all respects, but we recognise the fact that legislative waters can at times be murky and misinterpretations can be made. Added to this, legislation is changing rapidly, so we’ll be adding updates every three months or more if necessary. Thus, we welcome any comments, feedback, or corrections – and your input will help us to make this a truly interactive resource that will continue to be relevant for many years to come!

Medicinal Cannabis Legality & Availability In Europe

The Situation With Medicinal Cannabis In Europe – A Complete Overview

This map shows the general state of medicinal cannabis legality and availability in Europe. All countries that have passed medicinal cannabis laws, that have approved whole-plant cannabis or cannabis-based drugs, or that make cannabis/cannabis-based drugs available in some form are marked green.

At first glance, the situation looks relatively good in the majority of European nations. However, we need a little more analysis to really get a clear picture, as medicinal cannabis laws and praxis vary wildly between countries.

Some countries that have passed laws supposedly allowing for the provision of medicinal cannabis do not actually permit anyone to use it; other countries do prescribe certain cannabis derivatives or synthetic cannabinoids, but do not allow whole-plant cannabis, while others have relatively relaxed laws that allow for personal medicinal cultivation, cannabis social clubs that supply medicinal users, and a range of different prescription medications.

Some of the countries marked in green don’t actually have medicinal cannabis laws at all, and haven’t approved any existing cannabis-based drugs, but still make medicinal cannabis or cannabis-based drugs available to certain patients under special access rules. In these countries, the national health authorities usually import the drugs on a strictly-limited, case-by-case basis. Obviously they are not ideal systems, but if laws have been passed or if there are patients receiving cannabis drugs or derivatives in those countries, then they get included in the green section of the map.

If you wish to know more about the cannabis-based drugs that are available in Europe today, please take a look at our post Cannabinoids in medicine – an overview for doctors and professionals, published in March 2016.

Sativex Availability In Europe

The Situation With Medicinal Cannabis In Europe – A Complete Overview

First, let’s take a look at Sativex availability. Although controversial, Sativex has won considerable success in gaining approval in much of Europe and in many other countries worldwide. The reasons for controversy surrounding Sativex are manifold.

Many activists and patients believe that licensing and regulating Sativex while cannabis itself remains illegal (as is now the case in the majority of Europe) is unfair and discriminatory, particularly given that it is a whole-plant extract and thus is essentially cannabis (unlike synthetic, single-molecule drugs like nabilone and dronabinol, which we will discuss later).

These issues are further compounded by the fact that Sativex is prohibitively expensive and inconsistently available in many countries. In the UK, Sativex is only available on the NHS in Wales. In August 2014, the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) recommended that Sativex could be prescribed on the NHS (meaning that costs would be borne by the health authorities with just a small nominal charge to the patient) in Wales for treating MS-related spasticity.

However, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) did not recommend prescription of Sativex in England in their 2014 MS Clinical Guideline “because it is not a cost effective treatment”.

In April 2011, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC – the Scottish equivalent to NICE) also announced that it was unable to recommend Sativex, as it had not received a marketing authorisation submission from GW Pharmaceuticals. Thus, patients in England and Scotland wishing to obtain Sativex must “go private” and cover all costs themselves.

A similar pricing issue exists in France, where authorities approved Sativex back in 2013, but have yet to agree a sale price with GW Pharmaceuticals’ European distributor, Almirall. Sensi Seeds reported in December 2015 that Sativex was still not available in France, and that there was little likelihood that it would be available in the near future.

In Finland, Denmark and Norway, Sativex is available on a strictly-limited, case-by-case basis, and is prohibitively expensive compared to other forms of medicinal cannabis. However, the situation in Finland has improved significantly over the last few years (since medicinal cannabis laws were passed in 2008); the number of patients receiving medical cannabis in the form of Sativex or Bedrocan products rose from just 12 in 2010 to around 200 in 2014.

In Ireland and Malta, Sativex has technically been approved but never prescribed – in Ireland, pricing issues have delayed the release of Sativex, while in Malta, the sole application received thus far was recently rejected by the health authorities.

GW Pharmaceuticals’ near-monopoly on legal medicinal cannabis allows it to profit significantly, while individuals growing personal quantities of cannabis continue to be criminalised throughout much of Europe. Many individuals that grow cannabis in small quantities intended for personal medicinal use do so as it presents the only truly affordable option. That these individuals continue to be persecuted for reasons that appear to be solely economic is a dire failure on the part of the national and supranational authorities of Europe.

Marinol/Cesamet Availability In Europe

The Situation With Medicinal Cannabis In Europe – A Complete Overview

Nabilone and dronabinol, marketed as Marinol and Cesamet (or Canemes in some countries), are two single-molecule, synthetic THC analogues that have also gained approval in many European countries. Generally, they are approved for nausea, vomiting and weight loss related to cancer and HIV.

As synthetic, single-molecule drugs, nabilone and dronabinol are of limited effectiveness, and are also associated with more severe side-effects than cannabis itself. Several countries have allowed use of nabilone and dronabinol while continuing to prohibit use of medicinal cannabis itself, such as Denmark, which has approved thousands of applications for Marinol in the last decade but none for Bedrocan.

Dronabinol and nabilone were developed over 30 years ago, and have never been particularly popular with either patients or healthcare professionals. Although they have been prescribed to many more patients than Sativex at this stage, there are clear signs that Sativex is now taking over in terms of availability, acceptability and popularity. This surely represents a step in the right direction, towards recognition of the superior medicinal value of whole-plant cannabis over single-molecule, synthetic therapies.

In Germany, nabilone and dronabinol are both apparently still available on prescription, but since 1991, they have not been available on the open market as finished medicinal products (i.e. they are not pre-packaged and available for purchase from pharmacies).

Interestingly, dronabinol is scheduled under international law, as it is a stereoisomer of THC, whereas nabilone is not scheduled as its molecular structure differs from true cannabinoids substantially. In Iceland, for example, dronabinol is technically banned, but has been exempted and authorized for use in special cases by the Icelandic Medicines Agency. Nabilone is not subject to a ban – but each drug has only been prescribed in a tiny number of cases, under special access rules.

Bedrocan Availability In Europe

The Situation With Medicinal Cannabis In Europe – A Complete Overview

Countries that permit the use of Bedrocan (or other products from the same manufacturer, i.e. Bediol, Bedrobinol and so on) are much more limited, and in most cases, the medicine can only be imported on a case-by-case basis by the national health authority of the country in question.

As Bedrocan products are whole-plant, herbal cannabis flowers, countries that allow its use would seem to be the more progressive of the European countries with regards to cannabis use. In reality, the situation is a little more complex.

Bedrocan products are considered preferable to Sativex for various reasons, but dissatisfaction among patients remains. In Norway and Finland, for example, Bedrocan products may only be imported on a strict case-by-case basis with approval from the national health authority. They represent a comparatively inexpensive option – in Finland, Sativex reportedly costs €650 for three spray bottles containing 810mg THC and 750mg CBD in total; equivalent total cannabinoids can be obtained from Bedrocan products costing €200 or less.

However, very few individuals actually have access to Bedrocan (in Finland: 123 in 2012, though numbers are likely to have risen since then), and the number of conditions for which it can be prescribed is greatly limited.

Bedrocan in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, Bedrocan became the sole licensed medicinal cannabis producer in 2003, with the implementation of the 2001 law purportedly legalizing cannabis for medicinal use – which also saw the creation of the Dutch Office of Medicinal Cannabis (OMC).

But prior to this, medicinal cannabis (reportedly cheaper and more effective) was available from at least one other supplier (Maripharm BV, a company that is now restricted to making CBD-only products) and utilized by thousands more patients, who were prescribed cannabis by their doctors and obtained their medicine directly from over 1,000 different pharmacies. This situation wasn’t legal, but it was tolerated, and it appears to have been greatly preferable for patients.

In 2001, the OMC was established (according to UN treaty rules, a country must establish an office to oversee medicinal cannabis if it wishes to make it available), and in 2003, the new medicinal policy was implemented. But it may have had the effect of making medicinal cannabis less available to Dutch patients – according to the BSEMC (the Public Interest Foundation for Effective Medical Cannabis), 10,000–15,000 patients used medicinal cannabis each year under the old system compared to just 140 each year between 2003 and 2013.

A study from the University of Utrecht published in 2013 puts the figure considerably higher, at approximately 1,000 per year; we are currently awaiting figures from the OMC itself, and will update as soon as the information becomes available.

Patient concerns regarding Bedrocan products are not limited to availability or cost, however – all Bedrocan products are treated with gamma radiation to ensure pesticides, heavy metals and microorganisms are purged out. This is a requirement of the OMC, but has caused concerns over effectiveness and safety in some patients, and led many to purchase cannabis from coffeeshops in preference to pharmacy products. This video report from the Cannabis News Network goes into great detail on the subject of Bedrocan and medicinal cannabis legislation in the Netherlands.

Furthermore, as Sensi Seeds reported earlier this year, Bedrocan is struggling to provide other European countries with sufficient product. As the sole supplier of medicinal cannabis in Europe, demand for their services is rising rapidly, to the extent that a new production facility was opened in 2015 – but supply bottlenecks continue to occur.

European National Programs For Medicinal Cannabis Cultivation

In a small number of European countries, the national government has taken the stance that state control and regulation of the medicinal cannabis market is the sensible route forward. Ostensibly, these state-run programs have the advantage of offering cannabis to registered patients at a lower rate than currently-available forms.

Presently, the only European nations implementing state-controlled medicinal cannabis production are Italy, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. As already discussed, the Netherlands has awarded the sole license to produce medicinal cannabis to Bedrocan BV. Germany is now discussing plans to implement a similar program, but it is not thought that this will be in effect until at least 2017.

Here, we do not class the UK among countries producing medicinal cannabis, despite GW Pharmaceuticals’ license to grow cannabis and manufacture Sativex, as Sativex is not distributed as whole-plant, herbal cannabis flowers (and is not widely available in the UK).

In the Czech Republic, the logistics company Elkoplast is licensed to produce medicinal cannabis using Bedrocan strains and expertise. According to reports, Elkoplast distributed its first crop of 11 kg in February 2016; the cost of the Elkoplast cannabis is apparently around 100 Koruna (€3.70) per gram (compared to around 300 Koruna/€11 for imported Bedrocan). Elkoplast intends to produce 40 kg this year.

Last year, doctors registered to prescribe medicinal cannabis in the Czech republic (who currently number around 20) supplied cannabis to just 30 patients. It is thought that patients numbers will increase significantly with the implementation of the new system. Medicinal cannabis only became legal in the Czech Republic in 2013, so progress has been comparatively rapid to date.

In Italy, the army recently completed its first crop of cannabis intended for distribution to patients with a doctor’s prescription for medicinal cannabis. The Army plans to grow 100 kg this year – which is reportedly around double the quantity currently imported from the Netherlands, and regional health authorities aim to distribute it for €5–€15 per gram, compared to approximately €40 per gram for Bedrocan.

Interestingly, any doctor in Italy may prescribe medicinal cannabis to a patient – this situation differs dramatically from many other European nations, where cannabis may only be prescribed by specialists such as neurologists and oncologists. Furthermore, numbers of doctors willing to prescribe cannabis appears to be relatively high, and patient interest is rapidly growing.

On the other hand, this latter fact is known partially through the reported high volume of applications to import Bedrocan products made by Italian patients to the Dutch OMC. The Army crop is yet to be distributed, and the process has been subject to several delays thus far. However, Italy is demonstrating a very progressive attitude despite remaining mired in logistical difficulties, and the extent of progress here is highly encouraging.

State Control Of Cannabis May Not Be Ideal
Typically, the element of state control involved in such programs is simply licensing out the right to grow medicinal cannabis to a single producer. This is far from ideal, for various reasons: supply issues such as those experienced by Bedrocan and a lack of competition on price, quality and variety are commonly cited potential problems.

In Italy, state control of the production of cannabis does not exist alongside the right to cultivate personal quantities of cannabis, as is the case in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. It was widely reported in January 2016 that cultivation of medical cannabis had been decriminalised in Italy, but it does not appear that this is entirely accurate.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in January announced a long list of minor reforms, including the lifting of criminal penalties for violations of medical cannabis cultivation rules. However, it appears that this only applies to researchers or individuals “working in the field of medicinal cannabis”, and not to the general public.

Thus, the Italian system has been criticized as just another half-measure, which monopolizes potential profits and deprives patients of choice and anonymity. There are also doubts over whether the amount of cannabis produced by the army will be sufficient to meet patient needs, and as Italy operates on a regional healthcare system, some are concerned that the cost of state-produced cannabis will vary widely between locales. Reportedly, the crop will also be gamma-irradiated, which may raise similar concerns as in the Netherlands.

However, the next few years will continue to see decisive change in Italy. Currently, the Italian Parliament is holding talks on the possibility of implementing further steps towards both medicinal and recreational legalization of cannabis. Talks are still ongoing, and we will update this resource when the results of the discussions become clear.

The Situation With Medicinal Cannabis In Europe – A Complete Overview

Personal Cultivation Laws In Europe

The decriminalisation of personal cultivation is a very useful metric for establishing the level of tolerance a country holds towards the concept of medicinal cannabis.

Cultivation of cannabis by the general public is illegal in all European countries. However, a handful of nations have decriminalised or depenalised personal cultivation or personal cultivation for medicinal purposes; several other countries have taken steps towards decriminalisation or are in the process of implementing recently-passed laws, and several more have established precedents whereby medicinal growers have avoided criminal charges despite national laws.

Another thing to consider is the fact that many European countries have a disconnect between legislation and practice when it comes to personal possession and cultivation. Many countries operate unofficial tolerance policies that are at odds with their actual legislation; this is extremely difficult to assess due to the fact that these policies are unofficial, meaning that records may not be kept, and also that policies may change at any time without necessarily being backed up by legislation.

Thus, it’s very hard to be 100% accurate on the places where you can easily get away with growing a few plants, and we’ve done our best to clarify the picture with the information that we have available.

Spain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Belgium are undoubtedly the most tolerant of cannabis cultivation by the public, and generally have legislation in place that confirms or protects the right of the individual to grow a certain number of plants (in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, up to 5 plants, and in Belgium just one plant).

In Spain, there is no legislation that specifies that cannabis cultivation is permitted, but laws that attest to the right to possess and consume any drug in private, and a substantial set of legal precedents that have mounted up over the last 20 years or so. In 1993, the precursor to what would become cannabis social clubs sprang into existence, using the existing laws on drug possession to argue that collective, private cannabis-growing associations should also therefore be legal. After many years of challenging and disrupting the project, authorities eventually ceased their persecution and allowed the operation to proceed unhindered, opening the door to hundreds more clubs.

The UK is also an interesting case. Home-growing of cannabis is very widespread in the UK, and thousands of individuals grow for medicinal purposes. There have been several examples of individuals being treated very lightly or even escaping cultivation charges altogether after demonstrating medical need, while countless others continue to be criminalized across the country.

This discrepancy partly exists due to the uneven prioritisation of cannabis between different regional police forces – indeed, several UK police forces have reportedly implemented unofficial tolerance policies for cannabis growers due to the undoubted need to free up resources to tackle more serious crimes.

Switzerland has had a somewhat patchy record on cultivation rights – due to a legal loophole, Swiss citizens were from 1995-1999 allowed to cultivate “hemp” with no specified maximum THC limit, and even after the law was amended, shops continued to sell cannabis until at least 2005. Now, the law does not support personal cultivation, but reports of personal growers being prosecuted are extremely rare.

Several other countries have made some steps towards decriminalisation, such as removing jail sentences and imposing fines or administrative charges – such as the island nation of Malta, which recently passed laws decriminalising the cultivation of personal quantities of cannabis. However, it is not clear how these new laws will be implemented in reality.

Lastly, Sweden, Germany, and Bulgaria have all established precedents whereby medicinal growers have escaped prosecution.

Cannabis Social Clubs In Europe

The small number of European states that have decriminalised personal cultivation and also permit cannabis social clubs are arguably the most tolerant of all, although no country is without its problems. For the most part, social clubs have sprung up in countries that already had a strong subculture of cannabis use, and serve as a means of ensuring quality, safety and consistency relative to the black market.

It is important to note that cannabis social clubs are not an arbitrary concept by any means. In order to be recognized by ENCOD (the European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies, which has played a fundamental role in the creation of social clubs throughout Europe), would-be CSCs must meet various requirements.

The club must be a legally registered association, and therefore accountable to local and national authorities. Furthermore, the ENCOD code of conduct for CSCs sets out five basic principles:

The club only produces cannabis for the personal consumption of its members.
The club is health oriented: in production & elaboration the norms of organic agriculture are adhered too.
The purpose of the club is not to make profit, but to support activism that seeks to bring to an end to cannabis prohibition.
The club is transparent to its members and open to dialogue with authorities.
Furthermore, the club has agreed to accept the mediation of Encod should a conflict arise with one of its members or with another CSC.
If a CSC does not meet these requirements, ENCOD will not recognize the club as a legal, official entity. Despite this, there are many CSCs currently operating (particularly in Spain) without official recognition from ENCOD.

In Spain, the original birthplace of the cannabis social clubs, the situation is complex. The system is generally working well, and cannabis is widely and cheaply available, but the country is not without its problems.

Although clubs are meant to be run on a non-profit basis, the potential to make substantial quantities of money has attracted many would-be entrepreneurs that do not necessarily prioritise patient well-being. Furthermore, contraventions of health and safety regulations and similar petty violations have presented authorities in Barcelona and elsewhere with the opportunity to close down hundreds of venues.

ENCOD currently recognises CSCs in just four countries: two in Belgium, seven in Spain, one in the Netherlands, and one in Slovenia. The Slovenia Cannabis Social Club is officially registered with the local authorities, and interviews suggest that they may be supplying their medical patients with cannabis – but Slovenian law does not yet support medicinal cultivation of cannabis by the public, despite a 2014 law allowing for the supply of medicinal cannabinoids.

Other countries are hard at work setting up the foundations of what will become official CSCs as soon as legislation allows it. These countries include the UK, Austria, France and Germany.

UKCSC.co.uk supplies a long list of “official” UK cannabis social clubs, some of which apparently do supply their members with cannabis – but it is important to note that, as the UK laws do not yet support personal cultivation, these clubs are not offically recognized by ENCOD. However, it is an important and rapidly growing network, which provides much-needed support and information to its members, as well as to the media, the government, and the interested public.

So Which Countries Are Most & Least Tolerant?

The Situation With Medicinal Cannabis In Europe – A Complete Overview

As we see, when we account for all the different variables, many of the countries that supposedly make medicinal cannabis available do not in fact do so, and in fact are no more advanced in practice than the countries that have thus far refused to consider the concept at all.

So we’ve rated all the countries in Europe on a scale of most to least tolerant, with 0 as the least tolerant and 24 as the most.

Unsurprisingly, the countries that are clearly the most favourable for medicinal cannabis in Europe are the Netherlands, Spain and the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic is perhaps the most striking in the alacrity with which it has diverged from its Soviet legacy and embraced modern, progressive drug policies which put it at the forefront of Europe.

These three powerhouses are closely followed by Germany and Italy, which are rapidly making progress, and Belgium, which has an inconsistent attitude to cannabis but many patients that are currently able to access or grow their own medicine.

Which Countries Are Most Hostile To Medicinal Cannabis?

Next we have countries that are making some progress, but have not yet made medicinal cannabis available beyond a small number of limited cases, or remain generally hostile to the necessary legislative changes. Such countries include France, Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, the Baltic states, and all of the Scandinavian nations.

Russia persists in its draconian drug policies, despite some recent, erroneous reports to the contrary. Medicalmarijuana.eu and MERCY state that Russia has decriminalised the cultivation of up to 20 plants for personal use, but upon closer investigation it appears that this is not the case: any amount of cultivation may lead to criminal charges, but 20 plants or more is considered a “large amount”.

Greece is arguably one of the most hostile countries in today’s Europe, as it aggressively criminalizes growers of all types, and does not recognise the concept of medicinal cannabis at all. Indeed, but for a few exceptions, the Balkan region remains locked in deeply regressive drugs policies.

Portugal remains surprisingly hostile to medicinal cannabis, despite its famous decision in 2001 to decriminalise personal quantities of all drugs. France too has persisted in hostile and regressive attitudes towards cannabis for years, and medicinal cannabis is very difficult to access.

The microstates San Marino, Monaco, Andorra, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein have made very little movement towards legalizing medicinal cannabis. For residents of Andorra, at least, medicinal cannabis may be easily accessed just a short distance away in Catalunya.

And Which Countries Are A Good Future Bet?

Countries that have made substantial progress, but still need a lot of work put in before medicinal cannabis becomes widely available include Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. Poland is another, but recent reports suggest that the situation is set to improve considerably in the near future.

Malta, which has only just legalized medicinal cannabis in any form, is a surprising candidate. The small island nation has a thriving subculture of cannabis use; personal cultivation has just been decriminalised, and several forms of medicinal cannabis have been made nominally available (although a recent report tells us that they have thus far rejected their sole application (for Sativex) as it was not prescribed by a “specialist”).

Also worth noting here are Eastern European several countries that have only recently begun to diverge from the hardline Soviet attitude towards drugs that still persists throughout the region. Several of these countries – such as Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia and Serbia – are exhibiting increasingly tolerant attitudes towards cannabis, and as such we may see considerable progress in this area in the near future. Croatia and Macedonia have both made headlines this year for implementing medicinal cannabis laws; Serbia and Slovenia have also recently legalized cannabis-based derivatives, although activists have criticised this as a placatory half-measure.

Finally, the UK has a strong base of activists and growers, but has experienced a string of governments that remain surprisingly hostile to cannabis. However, the strong grower/activist base coupled with the comprehensive network of regional cannabis social clubs that are taking shape indicate that change is imminent. On the other hand, uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote may well see the question of cannabis legalisation pushed to the back of the queue, as it has been so many times in the past.

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Nenad
In Serbia the law says minimum 3 years in jail for basically possession of cannabis, smoking in public or similar. I wouldn’t consider that green in any map. Thanks!

12/08/2016


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What Is Going On With Germany’s Cannabis Bid? By Marguerite Arnold

A number of setbacks, controversies and lawsuits keep the German cannabis market in limbo.

Germany is proceeding down the path to officially grow its own medical cannabis crops. Medical use became legal this year, along with a federal mandate for cheap access. That means that public health insurance companies, which cover 90% of Germans, are now firmly on the hook if not front line of the cannabis efficacy issue. As such, Germany’s medical market is potentially one of the most lucrative cannabis markets in the world, with a total dollar amount to at least challenge, if not rival, even California’s recreational market. Some say Canada’s too.

However, before “home grow” enthusiasts get too excited, this legislative move was an attempt to stymie everything but commercial, albeit medical production. Not to mention shut off the recreational discussion for at least another four years.

How successful that foray into legalization will be – especially given the chronic shortages now facing patients – are an open question. Not to mention other infrastructural issues – like doctor unfamiliarity with or resistance to prescribing cannabinoids. Or the public insurers’ so-far reluctance to cover it even though now federally mandated to do so.

Regardless, Germany decided to legalize medical use in 2017 and further to begin a sanctioned domestic cultivation for this market. The decision in the Bundestag to legalize the drug was unanimous. And the idea to follow UN regulations to establish this vertical is cautiously conservative but defendable. Very predictably German in other words.

Since then, however, the path has been far from smooth. Much less efficient.

Trouble in Germany’s Medical Cannabis Paradise
In April the government released its tender bid. And no matter how exciting it was to be in the middle of an industry who finally saw a crack of light, there were also clouds to this silver lining that promised early and frequent thunderstorms on the horizon.

By the time the tender bid application was due in June, it was already clear who the top firms were likely to be In fact, by the end of the ICBC conference, which held its first annual gathering in Berlin at the same time the bid tender was announced, the controversy was already bubbling. The requirements of the bid, for a laughably small amount of cannabis (2,000 kg), mandated experience producing high qualities of medical marijuana in a federally legitimate market. By definition that excluded all German hopefuls, and set up Canada and Holland as the only countries who could provide such experience, capital and backlog of crop as the growing gets started.

The grumbling from Germans started then.

However, so did an amazingly public race to gain access to the German market directly – by acquisition or capital expenditures that are not refundable easily (like real estate or even buyouts). The common theme? They were large amounts of money being spent, and made by major Canadian Licensed Producers who had the right qualifications to meet the standards of the bid. In fact, by the time the tender bid application was due in June, it was already clear who the top firms were likely to be. They were the only ones who qualified under the judging qualifications.

And while nobody would commit publicly, news of the final decision was expected by August. Several Canadian LPs even issued press releases stating that they were finalists in the bid. But still no news was forthcoming about the official list.

Delay, Delay and More Delay
A month later, as of September, and there was still no official pronouncement. Nor was anybody talking. BfArM, the regulatory agency that is supervising this rollout as well as the regulation of all narcotic drugs (sort of like a German version of the FDA) has been issuing non-statement statements since the late summer. Aurora, however, one of the top contenders for cultivation here, was quietly issued an ex-im license by both Canadian and German authorities. Publicly, this has been described as an effort to help stem the now chronic cannabis shortage facing patients who attempt to go through legitimate, prescribed channels. On the German side, intriguingly, this appears to be a provisional license. Privately, some wondered if this was the beginning of a backdoor approval process for the top scoring bid applicants for cultivation. Although why that might be remains unclear.

Whispered rumours by industry sources that wish to remain anonymous, have suggested that the entire bid is still hanging in jeopardy. Late in the month, rumours began to fly that there were now lawsuits against the bid process. Nobody had much detail. Not to mention specifics. But CannabisIndustryJournal can now confirm in fact that there have been two lawsuits (so far).

The summary of the complaints? It appears that two parties, filing with the “Bundeskartellamt” (or regulatory office focusing on monopolies and unfair business practices) did not think the bid process or scoring system was fair. And both parties also lost.

But as of mid-October, there is still no public decision on the bids. What gives?

Whispered rumours by industry sources that wish to remain anonymous, have suggested that the entire bid is still hanging in jeopardy. Even though the plaintiffs failed, some have suggested that the German government might force a complete redo. Others hint that it will likely be slightly revised to be more inclusive but the regulatory standards must remain. If a redo is in the cards, will the German government decide to increase the total amount of yearly cannabis to be delivered? At this point, it is only calling for 2,000 kg per year by 2019. And that, as everyone knows, is far too little for a market that is exploding no matter the many other obstacles, like insurance companies refusing to compensate patients.

What Is Behind The Continued Delays?
There are several theories circulating the higher levels of the cannabis industry internationally right now even if no one is willing to be quoted. The first is that the total number of successful applicants, including the recent litigants, will be slightly expanded, but stay more or less the same. There is a high standard here for the import of medical cannabis that the Germans intend on duplicating domestically.

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA – the often controversial free trade alliance between Europe and Canada) is still in the final stages of approval.The second is that the German government will take its time on announcing the final winners and just open the doors to more imported product. This will not be popular with German insurers, who are on the hook to pay the difference. However with Tilray now on track to open a processing facility in Portugal and Canopy now aligned with Alcaliber in Spain, cross-continent import might be one option the government is also weighing as a stop-gap provision. Tilray, who publicly denied in the German press that they were participating in the cultivation license during the summer, just issued a press release in October announcing a national distribution deal to pharmacies with a German partner – for cannabis oil.

But then there is another possibility behind the delay. The government might also be waiting for another issue to resolve – one that has nothing to do with cannabis specifically, but in fact is now right in the middle of the discussion.

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA – the often controversial free trade alliance between Europe and Canada) is still in the final stages of approval. In fact, on September 19, a prominent German politician, Sigmar Gabriel of the Social Democrats (SPD) made a major statement about his party’s willingness to support Germany’s backing of the deal. It might be in fact, that the German government, which is supportive of CETA, got spooked about the cannabis lawsuits as test trials against not cannabis legalization, but a threat to the treaty itself.

Quality control, namely pesticides when it comes to plant matter, and the right of companies to sue governments are two of the most controversial aspects of this trade deal. And both appear to have risen, like old bong smoke, right at the final leg of closing the cannabis cultivation bid.

Will cannabis be seen as a flagship test for the seaworthiness of CETA? On a very interesting level, that answer may be yes. And will CETA in turn create a different discussion about regulatory compliance in an industry that has been, from the beginning of this year, decidedly Canadian-Deutsch? That is also on the table. And of great concern to those who follow the regulatory issues inherent in all. Not to mention, of course, the industry itself.

Conclusions?
Right now, there are none to be had.

However at present, the German bid process is several months behind schedule as Canadian producers themselves face a new wrinkle at home – the regulation of the recreational crop in the provinces.

It is also clear that there are a lot of questions and not a whole lot of answers. Not to mention a timeline when the smoke will clear.

Marguerite Arnold
Founder
MedPayRx
Marguerite Arnold is an American expat now living in Germany. She has just recieved her EMBA from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. She has a 25 year background in both cannabis reform and technology. She has been covering the international marijuana industry as a journalist and author since 2014. She continues to cover developments in the industry as she launches her own cannabis-tech firm, a company called MedPayRx, which aspires to be the first insurance and banking solution for cannabis patients in the world.


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“10 diseases where medical marijuana could have impact”

Medical reporter Jen Christensen of CNN authored an article “10 diseases where medical marijuana could have impact” detailing the 10 ailments most commonly treated with medicinal marijuana. I have listed them here, exactly as she had written to maintain the accuracy and links she provided.

AIDS/HIV

In a human study of 10 HIV-positive marijuana smokers, scientists found people who smoked marijuana ate better, slept better and experienced a better mood. Another small study of 50 people found patients that smoked cannabis saw less neuropathic pain.

Alzheimer’s

Medical marijuana and some of the plant’s chemicals have been used to help Alzheimer’s patients gain weight, and research found that it lessens some of the agitated behavior that patients can exhibit. In one cell study, researchers found it slowed the progress of protein deposits in the brain. Scientists think these proteins may be part of what causes Alzheimer’s, although no one knows what causes the disease.

Arthritis

A study of 58 patients using the derivatives of marijuana found they had less arthritis pain and slept better. Another review of studies concluded marijuana may help fight pain-causing inflammation.

Asthma

Studies are contradictory, but some early work suggests it reduced exercise-induced asthma. Other cell studies showed smoking marijuana could dilate human airways, but some patients experienced a tight feeling in their chests and throats. A study in mice found similar results.

Cancer

Animal studies have shown some marijuana extracts may kill certain cancer cells. Other cell studies show it may stop cancer growth, and with mice, THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, improved the impact of radiation on cancer cells. Marijuana can also prevent the nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy treatment used to treat cancer.

Chronic pain

Some animal and small human studies show that cannabinoids can have a “substantial analgesic effect.” People widely used them for pain relief in the 1800s. Some medicines based on cannabis such as Sativex are being tested on multiple sclerosis patients and used to treat cancer pain. The drug has been approved in Canada and in some European countries. In another trial involving 56 human patients, scientists saw a 30% reduction in pain in those who smoked marijuana.

Crohn’s disease

In a small pilot study of 13 patients watched over three months, researchers found inhaled cannabis did improve life for people suffering from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. It helped ease people’s pain, limited the frequency of diarrhea and helped with weight gain.

Epilepsy

Medical marijuana extract in early trials at the NYU Langone Medical Center showed a 50% reduction in the frequency of certain seizures in children and adults in a study of 213 patients recently.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. Scientists have looked at THC’s impact on this disease on the optic nerve and found it can lower eye pressure, but it may also lower blood pressure, which could harm the optic nerve due to a reduced blood supply. THC can also help preserve the nerves, a small study found.

Multiple sclerosis

Using marijuana or some of the chemicals in the plant may help prevent muscle spasms, pain, tremors and stiffness, according to early-stage, mostly observational studies involving animals, lab tests and a small number of human patients. The downside — it may impair memory, according to a small study involving 20 patients.

On November 1 at the Hilton Naples MyFloridaGreen.com is hosting an unprecedented Educational Symposium: CANNABIS SPEAKS. Featuring the most sought-after industry experts to discuss the profound benefits cannabis offers for conditions like Cancer, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or Multiple sclerosis.


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“The unjust prohibition of marijuana has done more damage to public health than has marijuana itself.” – former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders

In a new article appearing in next month’s American Journal of Public Health, a number of leading doctors and health experts, including former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, are calling for the total legalization of cannabis.

“The war on marijuana exacerbates poverty, which is strongly correlated with— among other problems—reduced access to health care,” Elders writes. “The unjust prohibition of marijuana has done more damage to public health than has marijuana itself.”

According to Marijuana Moment, Elders has advocated for drug reform since serving as Surgeon General under the Clinton administration. In 1993, she said that she believed that the country would “markedly reduce our crime rate if drugs were legalized.” Twenty-four years later, Elders notes that “times are changing. In 2017, even physicians who oppose legalization generally believe that marijuana should be decriminalized, reducing penalties for users while keeping the drug illegal.”

Elders, along with co-authors Dr. David L. Nathan and former director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration H. Westley Clark, used their space in the Journal of Public Health to make clear their belief that decriminalization alone is not an effective solution to the problems caused by cannabis prohibition. “Although decriminalization is certainly a step in the right direction, [it is] an inadequate substitute for legalization and regulation for a number of reasons,” they wrote.

“Decriminalization does not empower the government to regulate product labeling and purity, which leaves marijuana vulnerable to contamination and adulteration,” the doctors explain. “This also renders consumers unable to judge the potency of marijuana, which is like drinking alcohol without knowing its strength. Moreover, where marijuana is merely decriminalized, the point of sale remains in the hands of drug dealers, who will sell marijuana— as well as more dangerous drugs—to children.”

“Contrary to popular belief, decriminalization does not actually end the arrests of marijuana users,” the article continues. “Despite New York State decriminalizing marijuana in the 1970s, New York City makes tens of thousands of marijuana possession arrests every year, with continuing racial disparities in enforcement.”

The doctors also describe how the prosecution of illegal cannabis growers and sellers constricts the supply chain, increasing the price of illegal cannabis as well as “making the untaxed illegal product more lucrative, the market for it more competitive and violent, and purchasing it more dangerous.”

While legalization is spreading up and down the coasts, decriminalization is still the highest point of marijuana reform for municipalities in states with strong anti-cannabis leadership.

Elders was ousted from her position as Surgeon General in 1994 because of her progressive ideas about drugs and sex, and now, with cannabis closer to the mainstream than ever before and sex-positive attitudes prevalent across American culture, hopefully, 23 years later, the country’s decision makers will finally realize that she’s been right all along.

Published on October 14, 2017
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
https://merryjane.com/news/former-surgeon-general-joycelyn-elders-legalization-support