Where’s It From? The Specifics of Germany’s Cannabis Import Market

As the global cannabis industry expands, different markets are emerging around the world as the biggest contenders in the overall global market. When it comes to Europe, Germany reigns supreme, with a quickly growing, and quickly evolving, medical cannabis industry. Since opening up its list of import countries, this market has grown even further. Here’s a look at the specifics of Germany’s cannabis import market today.

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Important points about cannabis and Germany so far

First and foremost, cannabis is illegal in Germany for recreational use. Possession of the plant can garner up to five years in prison. When it comes to use, ‘small amounts’ have been somewhat decriminalized, though the term ‘small amount’ is actually not specific, and can vary between provinces, ranging from about 6-15 grams. Strangely enough, there’s no specific mention of cannabis use in the German Federal Narcotics Act, which regulates cannabis in the country. So as long as a first-time offender is caught with just a ‘small amount’, there is generally no criminal punishment for use, though this does not necessarily extend to a further offense.

Sale, supply, and cultivation are all illegal in Germany. Such crimes can be met with prison sentences of up to 15 years, depending on extenuating circumstances, though they can start as low as one year. Extenuating circumstances can include things like children being around, or sold to; the amount in question; and if weapons were involved; among other factors.

Germany does have a comprehensive medical cannabis program for its residents which started in 2017. This expanded on a previous legalization from 1998 when Dronabinol was first legalized, and opened up an allowance for more disorders, also creating a regulated market. In 2019, this was expanded on further with the institution of an import/export market. Germany’s cannabis import and export markets are some of the largest in the world at the moment, and this without a recreational legalization.

cannabis in Germany

In terms of how many patients are being treated with medical cannabis in Germany, there has been no exact number released. In an answer to questions from political party Die Linke (the Left) to officials in parliament, on March 4th, 2020, BfArM – The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, which regulates the cannabis industry in Germany, stated that survey results by the agency showed 13,343 complete records. What does this mean? The market intelligence firm that wrote about it, Prohibition Partners, estimated that about 128,000 residents currently receive medical marijuana yearly in Germany.

Back in 2019, Germany was already making its place at the top of the European cannabis world, as the top importer and exporter of cannabis oils for that year. It was actually 2nd in the entire world of oil imports, with $240 million worth imported, and 4th in the world for exports, with $230 million worth of oil exported. At that time, Germany would have only been importing from a couple different countries. As a basis for comparison, in the import category, the US was 1st in the world, importing $893 million worth. And in the export category, China ruled the roost, exporting just under $1 billion worth of cannabis oil.

So how big is Germany’s cannabis import market?

Germany’s medical cannabis import market has been growing by leaps and bounds, with a large part of it due to opening up for imports from more countries. Prior to Germany updating regulation in 2019, all the cannabis used for medical purposes in the country was imported, and from mainly only the Netherlands and Canada. Since 2019 this has been changing, with new numbers showing just how much Germany is importing, and how much from each country.

In the last quarter of 2020, Germany imported 3,264 kg of cannabis flower into the country. Not only did this mark the highest quarter for imports at that time, but it brought the import total for the year up to 9,249 kg. Germany has had 100% year-over-year increases in imports between 2018-2020. The cannabis imported today is now coming from at least 17 different countries, including Portugal, Spain, Uruguay, Israel, and Australia, just to name a few (although a full list of import countries has not yet been released.)

What was released, however, was a response by the federal government to a question posed by Dr. Schinnenburg, a former member of parliament, along with the Free Democratic Party of Germany, which he represented. The response was in reference to 2021 cannabis import quantities into Germany and the countries of export. According to this response, Germany’s cannabis import market saw an 80% increase in just the first half of 2021 in comparison to the same time frame the year before.

Germany imported 8,966 kg of cannabis flowers in the first two quarters of 2021. The first two quarters of 2020 saw imports of about 4,946.3 kg. These numbers relate to cannabis flower to be sold or used as flower, whether for customers or scientific research. In terms of cannabis flowers imported for extract production, Germany imported approximately 980.4 kg in the first two quarters of 2021, whereas the year before it was about 820.3 kg imported for this purpose during the same period. This is a 19.5% increase in the flowers imported for extract production.

cannabis import

Who contributes what, to Germany’s cannabis import market?

So now we know Germany’s got a pretty big cannabis import market, but where is this weed coming from? And which are the leading countries in getting Germany’s business? The information from the government was published here by cannabiswirtschaft, and then reinterpreted a bit more clearly, here by Vice President of Investment Analysis, Alfredo Pascual, of Seed Innovations Ltd.

According to the breakdown, the two biggest exporters into Germany’s cannabis import market, are still the Netherlands and Canada, which were responsible for 22% and 32% of Germany’s imports respectively. Denmark showed itself to be a major contender, however, contributing 19% to Germany’s imports, and Portugal wasn’t far behind either, exporting out 13% to Germany.

Other countries showed lower levels, but have still been getting in on the game. Australia contributed about 5%, Uruguay about 4%, Spain exported out about 2% of what Germany imported, and Austria also provided about 2%. Another 1% came from the combination of several other countries, including Poland, Malta, Lesotho, and Israel.

In terms of what amounts these percentages relate to, here is a list of what the top exporting countries contributed to Germany’s cannabis import market in the first half of 2021. These numbers reflect both flowers imported for sale and use as flowers, and flowers imported for use to make extracts.

  • Canada – 2,998.8 kg
  • Netherlands – 1,989.4 kg
  • Denmark – 1,732.4 kg
  • Portugal – 1,583.1 kg
  • Australia – 746.2 kg
  • Uruguay – 358.2 kg

What’s next for Germany’s cannabis import market?

Germany is interesting because it’s a country with an already huge medical cannabis industry, which is also in the middle of undergoing some pretty intense political changes. In the 2021 Bundestag elections last month, the incumbent party and former leader of the last coalition government, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU), lost seats. This time around it came in second to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), 25.9% to 24.1%. This means the SDP won 206 seats, and the CDU/CSU only 196.

Germany parliament elections

Not only that, but there was an overall strong showing of left leaning parties, with the Green party taking 118 seats, the Free Democratic Party taking 96, and the Left party winning 39. This means that whatever coalition government is built, is likely to made up of at least some parties that are for cannabis legalization. As such, as Germany puts together its new government, its ability to expand its current medical cannabis industry, into an even bigger recreational one, has become a very viable possibility.

It should be remembered that the CDU has been the top party since 2005, forming coalition governments over the years with different parties, but mainly with the SDP. These partnerships affect voting, which means, when Germany shot down a recreational cannabis bill last year, it wasn’t because there weren’t technically enough parliament members who supported it, but more because the SDP voted against it along with the CDU as part of its coalition partnership, even though the SDP generally supports legalization. Without that voting partnership, a future vote of the same nature, could turn out very differently.

Conclusion

Germany has certainly become one of the main countries of interest when it comes to the world of weed. Not only are Germany’s cannabis import and export markets some of the biggest in the world, but with new elections and a new government forming, it could be the first country in Europe to legalize as well.

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s sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Where’s It From? The Specifics of Germany’s Cannabis Import Market appeared first on CBD Testers.

Merkel Is Leaving, Will Germany’s Medical Cannabis Market Expand to Recreational?

Right now, there is no legal recreational cannabis market in Europe (though there is one recreational legalization). Out of all of Europe, Germany’s medical cannabis market is by far the biggest, and quickly growing. Does this growing acceptance of cannabis mean that a recreational legalization is next? A failed initiative from last year was a setback, but with elections at the end of the month, and Chancellor Merkel standing down, a recreational legalization could come sooner rather than later.

Germany’s medical cannabis market is the biggest in Europe, and it looks like a changing political dynamic could lead to recreational legalization. This is good for consumers everywhere, as more legalized countries mean more and better products. Think about it, until the recent cannabis boom, products like delta-8 THC didn’t exist at all, and now this alternate form to delta-9, which causes less anxiety and couch locking, is available all over the place. Interested parties can check out our large selection of delta-8 THC, thcv, thcp, thco, hhc and delta 10 deals along with plenty of other compounds. The world of cannabis is growing, don’t miss out.

Germany and cannabis law

Germany is a recreationally illegal country when it comes to cannabis. Under the German Federal Narcotics Act, an offender can be sentenced to up to five years in prison for possession. This only covers possession, as there is technically nothing stated legally about use, meaning being caught using is likely to incur civil penalties or some kind of program, so long as the quantity is considered a ‘small amount’.

What’s a small amount? This is actually not specified, and is judged not just by physical weight, but by delta-9 THC content. Different regions of the country have their own limits, ranging anywhere from 6-15 grams. Cultivation and suppling cannabis are predictably illegal, and offenders generally receive up to five years in prison. Supply crimes can vary, with the possibility of garnering anywhere from 1-15 years in prison, depending on circumstances.

Germany approved the use of Dronabinol in 1998, officially allowing a small amount of medical use from that time. A full medical cannabis bill passed in 2017, expanding greatly on the original legalization. At this time, all medical cannabis was imported into the country, mainly from the Netherlands and Canada. This changed in 2019, when Germany legalized the production and exportation of medical cannabis products, thereby entering the global medical cannabis market.

Germany's medical cannabis market

Since that time, Germany has had the biggest cannabis market in Europe. The first German medical cannabis company to enter the Düsseldorf Stock Exchange is Cannovum AG, which entered this past May, 2021.

How big is Germany’s medical cannabis market?

On March 4th, 2020, a list of questions was posed by left party Die Linke to government officials in parliament. According to BfArM – The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices which oversees the regulation of the cannabis industry in the country, in regards to number of users, a survey performed by the agency showed 13,343 complete records. In its write-up and translation of the article, leading cannabis market intelligence firm Prohibition Partners estimated there were approximately 128,000 patients a year who received medical cannabis from the government, at that time. The government was not able to give a more specific number.

In terms of cannabis imports to Germany, Q4 of 2020 saw 3,264 kilograms enter the country, which is the highest of any quarter so far. This brought the year’s total to 9,249 kilograms. Germany’s import market grew so quickly that there was over a 100% increase in 2018 and 2019, though only 37% in 2020, possibly due to the corona pandemic. In the past, Germany imported mainly from Canada and the Netherlands.

Germany now accepts imports from Portugal, Israel, Uruguay, Spain, and Australia. It’s expected that countries with lower production costs, like Uruguay and Portugal (and likely the legalized African countries soon), will be major providers in the future. Besides imports, Germany is starting to produce itself, with the expectation of domestic suppliers providing 2,600 kilograms a year, or more. This broadening of countries to buy from has had a big effect on one of Germany’s biggest suppliers, the Netherlands, which saw a decrease in exports of 5% for the year, the first time this has happened.

Prior to 2020, Germany’s medical cannabis market was already very large, with statistics from 2019 showing Germany as both the biggest importer and exporter of cannabis oil for Europe, and being a main contender globally. For imports that year, according to worldstopexports, Germany imported $240 million worth of cannabis oil, second only to the US which imported a massive $893 million worth that year. The next European country to make the list was France, in 5th place, with $152.7 million worth of imports. Germany accounted for 7.8% of all cannabis oil imports that year.

In terms of exports, Germany was still the top European provider, coming in fourth place globally with $229.8 million worth exported. The next European country on the list was Spain, with $190.5 million for the year. Topping the list were China at just under one billion, India at $320.8 million, and the US with 309.7 million. All these numbers apply only to cannabis oil, and do not account for other products like cannabis flowers, other concentrates, tinctures, creams, patches, or capsules.

cannabis exports

Obviously, the flower market should be examined as well, and Germany is not lacking here, either. In July, 2020, according to BfArM, Germany saw increases in imports in Q1 and Q2 at 16% and 32% respectively for that same year. How much do these increases mean in cannabis weight? In 2018, cannabis flower imports totaled about 3.1 tonnes, which went up to 6.7 tonnes in 2019. In 2020, it rose to the aforementioned 9,249 kilograms, or 9.249 in tonnes.

Will Germany pass a recreational legalization?

This is a great question. Germany’s medical cannabis market is huge, but will this help spur on further expansion by way of a recreational legalization? This has actually come up already. On October 29th, 2020, a recreational bill was rejected in parliament, and not because it didn’t have ample support. The rejection was more due to coalitions, than the idea of mass opposition to it. In Germany, there are six main political parties, as well as other smaller ones. Two of those main parties, the Social Democratic party of Germany, and the Union, (which itself is the combination of two parties including the Christian Democrats led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel) have a coalition.

The Social Democratic party holds 152 seats and is in favor of legalization. However, the Union holds 264 seats and is against legalization. The Social Democrats generally vote alongside the Union members, meaning that together they hold enough seats to derail legalization attempts, even though many of those seats are held by politicians looking to legalize, and other political parties also promote legalization. This is what happened to last year’s proposed bill for an adult-use market. It makes for quite the odd pairing considering how opposite the two parties are on many issues, including cannabis.

The thing is, when you see a government that has a large percentage leaning in a certain direction, strategic coalitions will only last so long, especially as public opinion changes. At a certain point, in order to remain in office, these politicians will have to succumb to the will of the people. This is the same thing that can be seen in North Carolina where republicans are now leading the charge for medical legalization with the understanding – stated by them directly, that they don’t have a choice anymore.

Another main party, the Green party, which currently holds 67 seats, has been gaining support and was vying with Merkel’s Union coalition earlier this year for the top spot in opinion polls. This September there are Bundestag Elections, in which the federal parliament is elected. As Angela Merkel will not be running this year as per her announcement in 2018 to stand down as Chancellor and leader of the Christian Democrats, this certainly opens the door for general change.

A lot has changed since 2005 when Merkel first came to power. The German Hemp Association, which has been conducting polls since 2014, saw 30% in favor of legalizing in their poll that year. This number went up to 46% for legalization within just a few years. In terms of decriminalization, 59% backed it in 2018, and no further poll on the matter has been taken since this time.

cannabis in parliament

Co-founder of Cannovum, Pia Marten (the Berlin based-company which just became the first publicly listed cannabis company in Germany), had this to say: “Looking at the General Election I am excited to see what happens, it could introduce some changes in legislation; recreational would have an impact on our business and we are keeping a close eye on this… If we get a government with a liberal approach, it could happen, then it could make way for recreational use.”

Some are more sure of themselves, like cannabis lawyer Kai-Friedrich Niermann, who stated, “We have had medical cannabis since 2017 and we are now preparing for the big cannabis reform in September.  The Federal elections are taking place and we are assuming the Green Party will come into power and legalize cannabis from next year.”

While Prohibition Partners has stated it believes approximately 28,000 people receive medical cannabis a year in Germany, the same firm also believes that there are upwards of four million cannabis users in the country, which means if Germany has a big cannabis market with only medical, it could be massive with recreational. We’ll find out how ready Germany is to embrace this idea at the end of the month.

Conclusion

Many countries are getting closer to recreational legalizations, so its not surprising that the country with the largest cannabis industry in Europe, would be looking to expand further. Germany’s medical cannabis market has been booming since 2017, and with a huge change coming in the political scene what with the end of Merkel’s reign, the former opposition to a legalized recreational market, might finally be taken over by a push to legalize.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Merkel Is Leaving, Will Germany’s Medical Cannabis Market Expand to Recreational? appeared first on CBD Testers.