EPISODE #15: Cannabis in Germany with Alfredo Pascual from Marijuana Business Daily

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This week we welcome Alfredo Pascual, International Analyst at Marijuana Business Daily. We discuss the state of the legal cannabis industry in Germany, medical cannabis, and some insights into the future of recreational use.

About Alfredo

Based in Germany, Alfredo specializes in international cannabis markets and regulations. He has an academic background in business and public policy and founded Transnational Cannabis, a consultancy firm that focused on cannabis regulatory frameworks in Europe and Latin America. Previously, he did business development for ICC Labs with a primary focus on developing expansion opportunities internationally.


Take away points from this episode:

  • Alfredo Pascual is a renowned journalist and observer within the marijuana industry in Europe and writes for MJBiz Daily which is one of the most trusted new resources within the industry. He is an absolute wealth of knowledge and is incredibly respected within the industry.

  • Originally from from Uruguay, Pascual now lives in Germany, which has one of the most developed Cannabis markets in Europe.

  • In Germany, it is currently illegal to consume marijuana recreationally, although there is a tolerance level - at least compared with other countries. Tolerance varies from state to state, for example the regions closer to The Netherlands and also the capital city Berlin tend to be more relaxed.

  • Attitudes towards recreational use are mixed and reflect attitudes of other European countries.

  • In terms of political parties in Germany, most favour recreational and medicinal use. The Green Party have been in favour of recreational use for a long time along with Die Linke (Left Party) and the Liberals, who have all found common ground when it comes to legalisation, despite disagreeing on other issues.

  • The two largest parties - The Conservatives and the Social Democrats tend to avoid the discussion but are considered to be evolving towards a pro-legalisation approach.

  • Luxembourg, which lies between France, Germany and Belgium has promised to legalise recreational use within the next legislative period. Pilot projects within Malta, The Netherlands and Switzerland are also in progress.

  • Sativex is an example of a registered product. It is a medical cannabis product which has been registered with the relevant marketing authorities and has undertaken clinical trials. It is prescribed on label for medical conditions such as Epilepsy.

  • Dronabinol can be prescribed for cancer patients to alleviate the symptoms fo chemotherapy, and is supplied to pharmacists as a concentrated solution. It can then be prepared according to prescription. It is not a full spectrum product and is always prescribed off label.

  • Full spectrum extracts (whole plant extracts including terpenes and minor cannabinoids) are also available.

  • The CBD industry within Germany is comparable to the UK.

  • Industrial hemp is legal within Germany as long as the THC level is below 0.2% as is the case with most of Europe. Germany also allows the cultivation of industrial hemp.

  • Germany is seen as the most progressive country in terms of medical cannabis and is the leader - selling more medical cannabis than the rest of Europe combined. Although the market is huge - no medical cannabis is actually grown in Germany. It is entirely imported, mostly from The Netherlands and Canada.

  • In Germany, you are not automatically eligible for medical cannabis - you can only get  a prescription if you have a serious disease or condition and have failed everything else traditional medicine has dictated. It is seen as a last resort, as is the case in the UK.

  • Each country in Europe has its own set of unique rules and regulations when it comes to medical cannabis, the use of CBD, and hemp.

  • Germany is almost ‘setting the model’ for the rest of Europe, it is at the forefront of setting domestic frameworks for medical cannabis use.

Quotables

Medical cannabis in Germany is a last resort 23:47

Medical cannabis in Germany has ‘broken the system’ 23:30

The CBD Industry in Germany is very comparable to the UK 13:46