The European Marijuana Business News Minute


  • Last modified: December 18, 2020

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Switzerland Working On Wider MMJ Access

Last week, the lower house of Switzerland – the Swiss National Council, sent the go signal for a Federal Council recommendation to make adjustments in the drug laws, making it easier for patients to obtain their medical cannabis. However, the amendment still requires the approval from the Council of States.

Though it’s unsure of when the upper house will take action on the amendment, once approved, it would significantly help broaden access for patients of medical marijuana in Switzerland since their prescriptions will no longer need the exceptional authorization currently required from the Federal Office of Public Health. In effect, a physician and not a government official will be the one making the final decision whether or not a patient gets to access their medicine.

The proposal would not only be beneficial to the patients of Switzerland but would also widen the market. However, the government will still be overseeing and regulating the program. According to Jorg Mader of the Green Liberal Party, the current regulations are “expensive and time-consuming”, forcing many consumers to get their medication from the black market instead.

Massive Electricity Bill Leads Police To Discover 5 Illegal Cannabis Farms In Spain

In October, the Spanish National Police in cooperation with the Dutch Police, the Belgian Federal Police, and Europol confiscated over 34,000 cannabis plants, and 17 people were arrested. This was part of a series of raids that took place in these three European nations.

The criminals who were mostly Albanian citizens, were organizing a criminal network where they would build cannabis plantations in the Barcelona suburbs for a large-scale cannabis production. To do this, they were illegally diverting both electricity and water supply which was needed to grow the plants indoors. When they were harvested, the plants were sent to the Netherlands disguised in pallets, and they communicated with one another through encrypted means.

There was a total of 63 house searches and 14 vehicles that were seized, as well as EUR20 000 in cash. The police also found a loaded gun and several fake ID’s. Europol has been supporting the police teams in the case since December 2019, assisting with the information exchanges among the various countries will helping with intelligence to locate and identify the targets. A member of the Europol team was assigned in Barcelona to assist the Spanish police on action day.

Low Dose Cannabis Becoming More Popular In Europe, But No High Demand In Switzerland

Though it’s no secret that cannabis has been widely consumed in Europe for a while now, it seems that they prefer low-dose THC compared to people in North America, who enjoy consuming high doses of THC. It’s an unexpected trend in Europe, though experts believe that this could play a significant role in the continent’s legalization later on.

In Switzerland, for example, ‘floral hemp’ is all the rage; it refers to industrial hemp that has been grown and is meant for smoking, instead of being made into fabric. It contains under 1% THC, which is legal in Switzerland. Many Swiss cannabis companies are now popping up, selling this low-dose cannabis. Also referred to as “light cannabis”, pot with less than 1% THC has been legal since 2017.

Surveys reveal that most of the users in Switzerland are young, and they enjoy consuming CBD because it helps them with stress and sleep problems, as well as support their overall well-being.

Though it’s catching up in popularity, for business owners, it still isn’t a goldmine. This could be the result of supply exceeding demand, leading to a drop in prices; at least that’s what Stefano Caverzasio believes. Caverzasio, managing director for Purexis which markets and processes hemp inflorescence.

“The saturation of the demand for raw material that we are witnessing in Switzerland reflects a reality that is already well known oversees (in the United States, Canada and some Latin American countries) where more and more companies are slowing or even suspending production, because of the supply of available raw materials has long exceeded demand,” he tells SwissInfo.CH.

United Kingdom Expects Large MMJ Market Growth From 2020-2025

A recent report by Brightfield Group, an international marijuana market research firm, revealed that Britain can expect to see the biggest growth rate in the European MMJ market from 2020-2025. The report, called European Cannabis 2020, states that the cannabis market in Europe is expected to reach $359M this year, increasing 25% from last year and is set to increase to $3.1 billion in 5 years.

“The last few months have seen an acceleration in the place of change in the healthcare industry. As healthcare systems are rebuilt to be more digitally-enabled and personalized, we will reassess the role that cannabis can play in improving a patient’s quality of life,” said healthcare app Alta-Flora’s CEO, Gavin Sathianathan, to Yahoo Finance UK. “Europe’s healthcare systems will be under huge pressure to reduce costs in the next decade, and medical cannabis will eventually play a pivotal role in improving quality of life for millions of people.”

According to Brightfield, the cannabis market grew during the pandemic because using tele-health services became more popular, and “encouraged the medical cannabis enrollment of trepidatious new patients, and in addition, physicians and pharmacists were some of the only entities to keep the doors open during 2020, thereby leaving current and potential patients with registration and renewal options.”

“In addition, supply chains have gone by-and-large uninterrupted, keeping the market well-stocked,” it reads.

“The potential of Europe’s cannabis market cannot be overstated but it operates quite differently to the more mature markets in North America,” said Materia Ventures managing director, Nick Pateras. “It is therefore imperative that investors and entrepreneurs take the time to study the complex regulatory frameworks that govern cannabis in Europe, as well as the critical success factors that will drive the continent’s future growth.”

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