Recreational Cannabis in Colombia – Coming Soon?

In the last few years, Colombia has been shaping up its legal cannabis policies, legalizing medical cannabis and quickly joining the global medical cannabis market. Now, new legislation climbing its way through Colombian Congress, means that recreational cannabis in Colombia is one step closer to becoming a reality.

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Colombia and drugs in general

Before getting into the specifics of cannabis law in Colombia, and whether recreational cannabis in Colombia will happen, it’s important to understand the situation that Colombia is in with its drug trade.

The first thing to know about Colombia and drugs, of course, is that Colombia is the biggest global hub for cocaine production, and has been for quite some time. It’s estimated that in 2019, approximately 70% of the cocaine consumed in the world, came from Colombia. It’s also estimated that in that year, approximately 18 million people consumed the drug worldwide. Because of the constant infiltration of law enforcement, most of the coca grown in Colombia is grown in more remote areas. Law enforcement, for its part, has been attempting to eradicate fields over the years, by enforcing crop substitutions and even spraying toxic chemicals over fields where coca plants are rumored to be grown. Despite these efforts, its estimated that in 2017, 1,379 tons of cocaine were produced in the country. Efforts of law enforcement to stop the trade cripple the 130,000 families that subsist from farming and selling coca.

To give an idea how much money is made off the cocaine industry, it takes about 125 kilos of coca to produce one kilo of cocaine. This costs a local drug lab about $137.50. Once this is converted into actual cocaine, the value is increased to $2,269. Once it gets to where its going, that same kilo can bring in approximately $60,000 in revenue in a place like the US, or even more in other locations. This is a massive trade in Colombia, and its led to massive amounts of violence.

Colombia cocaine trade

When looking for the ‘all told’ measure of this violence, it’s extremely difficult to find actual death tolls. While there are a few random and varying numbers out there, none of them are direct or verifiable, and while we are all aware of the tremendous destruction of this trade, no one seems to be able to say how destructive. In fact, when questioned about it in light of the Netflix drama Narcos, and a statement made on the show about one kilo of cocaine costing six lives each, former DEA head of intelligence in Colombia, Elizabeth Zili stated, “I really couldn’t give you a number, but it was extremely high. We never totally trusted the statistics we were getting from the [Colombian] government. One never does, no matter where you are.”

The same BBC article did some math to try to figure out if the six people per one kilo made any sense even in 1992, and found the number to be extremely high, even when looking at total global deaths. It established at that time a Colombian murder rate of approximately 80 per 100,000. Even though the murder rate has been cut in half since that time, Colombia still has one of the higher murder rates with approximately 25 murders for every 100,000 people in 2019. This can be compared to the US where the rate in 2018 was 5 per 100,000.

But the funniest part about all of it? These massive cocaine trafficking networks that have been used over the years, started as pathways for the trafficking of – you guessed it – marijuana. In fact, prior to its foray into cocaine, Colombia was providing the majority of cannabis to the US in the 70’s.

Colombia and cannabis

When it comes to cannabis, much like Uruguay, Colombia has been a bit more lax than other places, but a lot of this has been directly to combat issues of drug violence. In general, cannabis is illegal for commercial sale and use, however, unless a person is committing a major cannabis crime, the punishments aren’t that dire. In 1994, around the time of Pablo Escobar’s death, Colombia decriminalized both the personal use and possession of cannabis and other drugs. This was further expounded on in 2012 when it was established that a person could have up to 20 grams without being prosecuted. It was even expanded on further with a Constitutional Court ruling in 2015 which then allowed personal cultivation of up to 20 plants.

In 2018, this was gone back on when president Ivan Duque put forth a decree saying cops could, in fact, confiscate even small amounts of cannabis, and while this didn’t apply criminal penalties to offenders, it did institute a fine of up to 208,000 pesos. It also put a ban on people being able to carry small amounts of cannabis, something that the Constitutional Court already ruled was okay. Consequently, the following year (2019), the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled that parts of Duque’s decree were unconstitutional. This didn’t get rid of the cops being able to search and confiscate drugs, but it did mean no consequences for up to 20 grams as related earlier by the Constitutional Court ruling.

Sale and supply crimes are most certainly illegal, and having more than 20 grams is considered possession with intent to sell. The maximum prison sentence is up to 20 years, surpassing the punishment for a rape.

Colombian drug war

If it needs to be said, being caught trafficking any drug in Colombia is going to get you in some pretty hot water. Here’s the basic breakdown for what’ll happen to you if you’re dumb enough to transport illegal substances across borders:

  • 10+ kg of cannabis, 2 kg of cocaine, 60 grams poppy-based drugs (like heroin) = 10-30 years in prison.
  • 1000+ kg cannabis, 5kg cocaine, 2 kg poppy-based drugs (like heroin) = 23-30 years in prison.

Medical marijuana and how to get in on it

At the very end of 2015, President Juan Miguel Santos signed legislation for a regulated medical cannabis market. He stated, “This decree allows licenses to be granted for the possession of seeds, cannabis plants and marijuana.” On July 6th, 2016, Colombian Congress approved law 1787 to create a regulatory framework, which was itself enacted in 2017 through Decree 613. While much is written about the investment opportunities that have been opened up through this, the ability to actually obtain cannabis medications for locals seems to be hindered by supply issues, misinformation, and limitations in development and research. The four licenses that can be applied for to enter the legal medical cannabis market are the following:

  • Manufacture of cannabis derivatives – Allows the production of cannabis-derived products for use and scientific research domestically, and for exportation. Interested parties can check details and pricing here.
  • Use of cannabis seeds – Allows sale and distribution of cannabis seeds, as well as use for scientific purposes. Check links for details and pricing.
  • Cultivation of psychoactive cannabis – Allows the cultivation of cannabis as a crop, the production of cannabis derivatives (along with the first license mentioned), use for scientific purposes, storage of cannabis, disposal of cannabis, and production of cannabis seeds. Details for this license can be found here.
  • Cultivation of non-psychoactive cannabis – Allows the production of cannabis seeds for planting, the manufacture of derivatives, industrial uses, and for scientific purposes, as well as storage and disposal. If interested, check for details here.

So…what’s the deal with recreational?

What should be noticed is that Colombia is not the most stringent country when it comes to cannabis laws, and has been updating at quick speeds to allow for more freedoms. So, what about the final legalization for recreational cannabis? While it’s not quite there yet, it really doesn’t seem to be far off, with legislation already starting to make its way through the channels of government. Here’s what’s going on right now in terms of recreational cannabis in Colombia:

recreational cannabis

1st initiative for recreational cannabis in Colombia – Approved on September 16th by the first committee of the Lower House by a vote of 18-17, allowing it to move forward in the Lower House. It was, unfortunately, not able to make it past the next debate in the Lower House, and is being shelved for now. This initiative was led by opposition legislator Juan Carlos Lozada, and if it passes (in the future) it would amend Colombian Constitution article 49 which currently states, “the carrying and consumption of narcotic or psychotropic substances is prohibited unless prescribed by a doctor.” The amendment would therefore have lifted this ban and legalized cannabis for recreational use, and would actually be in line with previous rulings of Colombia’s highest court, the Constitutional Court. To become law, the bill faced eight debates, four each at the Lower House and Senate. It did not make it through this time around, but I keep it here to show what has been happening, and what could come up again in the future.

2nd initiative for recreational cannabis in Colombia – This includes 38 lawmakers led by center-right and opposition parties, initiated by two senators, Gustavo Bolivar and Luis Fernando Velasco. This bill aims to regulate the production and consumption of marijuana, in essence creating a legal framework for its recreational use. The initiative does expressly ban marijuana use for minors, its promotion and advertisement, as well as establishing specific sites for adult use. In order to become law, this bill must be approved by the end of next year, but as it is a separate bill and not an amendment to an existing law, it only requires four debates to pass. The first debate had been set for end of October, moved to Mid-November, but doesn’t seem to have happened yet. While governments have been moving slower in light of the Coronoavirus pandemic, the bill is still very much alive. Those pushing this bill point out how Uruguay diverted around 40% of business from cartels, established 500 jobs, and received €100 million in investments by 2018. They have also pointed out how prohibiting consumption has never led consumers to not be able to access the drug.

Conclusion

Uruguay had a similar problem to Colombia, though not nearly as intense. In order to cut down on the black-market trade of cannabis, it legalized it and established a government-run system to regulate it. Colombia has already done a lot to limit drug violence, decriminalizing many drugs in an effort to thwart it, and the cartels that promote it. A recreational legalization would certainly go in line with this, and I expect that if the current bill doesn’t pass, the next one to be introduced will. It might very well be that with Uruguay, Mexico’s impending legalization, and recreational cannabis in Colombia likely following suit soon, south of the border will be the place to go for legal marijuana.

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Resources

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New Zealand Voted NO to Cannabis Legalization

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
Uruguay Was The First Country to Legalize Cannabis – How Are They Doing Now?

Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Legal for a Day – The Mahashivaratri Festival and Nepal’s Changing Cannabis Laws
Will Mexico Become Biggest Legal Cannabis Market?
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Paraguay Grows it, Brazil Takes it… Will New Cannabis Laws Change Anything?

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020. Cannabis Election Results – Why Israel Is (and will continue to be) A Global Leader in the Cannabis Industry
Mexico Still Waiting on Its Promised Cannabis Legalization
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Uruguay Was The First Country to Legalize Cannabis – How Are They Doing Now?

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Lebanon Legalized Medical Cannabis, 1st in Arab World

It’s always interesting when a new location breaks stride and changes laws. We saw it with Thailand in Asia, with Uruguay in South America, and with Lesotho in Africa. With ranging reasons as to why to open these industries, the Arab world has now put forth its own example. As of the spring, Lebanon legalized medical cannabis.

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It would be untrue to say that Lebanon is the first Middle Eastern country to legalize cannabis in some form. It’s neighbor to the south, Israel, has been a central location for the study and cultivation of cannabis for decades, pushing through its own medical legalization originally back in the 1990’s. But Israel stands apart from its Arab neighbors when it comes to many beliefs and ideologies, so Lebanon’s entrance into the legal cannabis game is still very much a first for that part of the world.

A bit about Lebanon and cannabis policy

Cannabis is illegal in Lebanon to possess or use. There are no personal use laws so even small quantities are considered a criminal offense. Regulation of the system and punishment is done through the Narcotic Drugs and Psychoactive Substances Law 673, which states that any narcotic use without a medical prescription is subject to a prison sentence of three months to three years, along with a fine. Individuals are permitted a certain amount of leniency if not involved in the drug trade, and showing of generally good character.

Lebanon legalized medical cannabis

Sale and supply crimes are illegal. Offenders found guilty of these crimes face heavier sentences than for possession and use, and do not qualify for any sort of leniency. Personal cultivation is also illegal, with no individual-use amount applicable. Cannabis seeds are not legal in Lebanon and cannot be bought, sold, or possessed.

When it comes to CBD, Lebanon makes no differentiation between the cannabis plant, and the individual parts, like cannabinoids CBD or THC. This makes CBD just as illegal as a standard marijuana plant, regardless of the lower THC content. For this reason, it is illegal to sell or use the oil in Lebanon, although the country’s recent medical legalization could certainly change how CBD is used there.

As far as industrial hemp

Prior to new legalizations this year, it was illegal to grow hemp at all in Lebanon, although this didn’t stop it from happening. The Bekaa Valley is the center of the hemp region, which provides rich, healthy soil for cultivation. Over the years the Lebanese government has worked hard to eradicate the hemp fields of the region, which has had an incredible monetary impact on local farmers, forcing many into poverty. Despite these efforts, cannabis is still grown en masse, with cultivation mainly controlled by powerful clans and Hezbollah, which has caused much conflict over the years between farmers and police. As of just a few years ago, the UN cited Lebanon as the 3rd biggest world supplier of cannabis resins.

The legal framework changed earlier in the year when Lebanon legalized medicinal cannabis, including the now-legal farming of cannabis for medical use.

Now legal for medical use

In 2018, Lebanon’s house Speaker, Nabih Berri reported to US ambassador Elizabeth Richard, that Lebanon was in preparations to begin legal cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use. The idea of legalizing cannabis in Lebanon gained a bigger following after the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. sent the Lebanese government over 1,000 pages of economic recovery information which included creating a legal cannabis market.

Lebanon parliament

On April 21st, 2020, Lebanon legalized medicinal cannabis, when legislators approved a law that allows the cultivation of cannabis for industrial and medicinal use. Hezbollah representatives provided opposition to the bill, which was still able to pass anyway, as allies of Hezbollah – including President Michel Aoun, and Speaker Nabih Berri – were still in support of the legislation. Of course, Hezbollah’s reasons for opposing the legislation probably have to do with the group’s current control of much of the cannabis cultivation in the country, particularly the Bekaa region, and the possibility of having a chunk of its revenue stream diverted to the government. Criminal organizations don’t usually appreciate these legalizations.

It bears pointing out that Lebanon legalized medical cannabis during the most globally locked-down period of the Coronavirus pandemic. While other governments were temporarily closing-up shop, or tabling cannabis legislation for the future, Lebanon was getting it done, showing, if nothing else, a very strong desire to really make this happen.

What did McKinsey & Co. say?

McKinsey & Co. is a global management firm, which in 2018 gave a longer than 1,000 page macroeconomic report to the Lebanese government which focused on ways to make short-term gains in order to stabilize a politically unstable, debt-ridden economy. McKinsey & Co. made several recommendations for ‘quick wins’ in different areas like wealth management, tourism, and construction, but of more interest was the company’s recommendation to legalize the already buoyant cannabis industry of the country, and turn it into a legal export. The recommendation did make international headlines when it was first presented, but political infighting and the inability to form a functioning government eight months after the previous election, led to delays.

The report was actually made public to the media the following year, when Economy and Tourism Minister Raed Khoury, released it in an effort to regain waning attention on the matter. While it didn’t get as much attention the second time around, a clearer picture was put out to the public of a country in very dire need of help, fraught with economic mismanagement, with deficits in every sector. One of the revelations of the paper, for example, showed a GDP slip from 9.2% in the years of 2006-2010 to 1.3% over the next seven years.

cannabis medicine

The report offered a total of 160 initiatives. These initiatives were based mainly on reinvigorating the five sectors that were acknowledged as being most-likely to help jump-start the economy, including: tourism, financial services, industry, agriculture, and knowledge economy. The recommendations provide for the projected addition of approximately 200,000 jobs in these sectors, and $11 billion incrementally added to the GDP by 2025.

What comes next?

As we already know, simply passing legislation is not enough. Once passed, a law needs to be implemented, and it needs a regulatory framework to do so. According to officials, the idea is to have a state-run system, with licenses issued to private companies for the farming, production, and sale of cannabis products, through a regulatory authority. No statement has been made on the approximate cost of these licenses, nor has information been released on licensing requirements, or if local farmers will be afforded any protection from larger international companies. The idea is to attract new investments, create a new revenue stream, and raise generated tax revenue, so it’s probably a very sad ‘no’ to the last point.

While Lebanon legalized medical cannabis, it didn’t say much yet about what it means to its own citizens. When a set of laws to govern the industry come out, it will be more clear how the people of Lebanon will benefit from the actual idea of cannabis medications, or if this legalization is really only a vehicle to enter the global medical cannabis market.

According to Alain Aoun, a senior MP in President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, the only reason for the decision is economic motives. He explained to Reuters, “We have moral and social reservations but today there is the need to help the economy by any means.” This attitude might be great for Lebanon’s economy, but it probably won’t do as much to help ailing patients in a medical system.

Conclusion

Sometimes change is good, even when the reason for it isn’t quite what it seems. Some medical legalizations come as the result of wanting to provide medications to sick people. Some, like Lesotho, and now Lebanon, are not only more driven by economic reasons, but possibly only driven by those reasons. In the world of medical cannabis today, the medical cannabis industry and making money off of it, often trumps the idea of how valuable this medicine is, and all the wonderful things it can do. Sometimes change comes through the backdoor. Let’s hope Lebanon really makes the most of this new industry, and that the people of the country get the chance to benefit from it, both monetarily, and medicinally.

CBDtesters is your #1 spot for all cannabis-related news. Come by regularly to stay up-to-date, and sign up to our newsletter so you never miss a beat!

Resources

Germany Leads EU in Cannabis Oil Imports…and Exports
New Zealand Voted NO to Cannabis Legalization

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
Uruguay Was The First Country to Legalize Cannabis – How Are They Doing Now?

Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Legal for a Day – The Mahashivaratri Festival and Nepal’s Changing Cannabis Laws
Thailand is 1st Asian Country to Legalize Medicinal Cannabis and Enter Global Market
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Customize Your Cannabinoids – Now You Can Mix’ N’ Match

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020. Cannabis Election Results – Why Israel Is (and will continue to be) A Global Leader in the Cannabis Industry
EU Beat France, CBD Legal Throughout EU
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Is Lesotho Selling Out Its Own Citizens to Ride the African Green Rush?
Customize Your Cannabinoids – Now You Can Mix’ N’ Match

The post Lebanon Legalized Medical Cannabis, 1st in Arab World appeared first on CBD Testers.

Germany Rejected Its Recreational Cannabis Bill

The people of New Zealand just voted down a measure to legalize cannabis through a referendum. New Jersey just legalized it recreationally also through its own referendum. Germany didn’t put the question to its people, but last month the government of Germany rejected its recreational cannabis bill.

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A little about Germany and cannabis

As per the title, recreational marijuana is not legal in Germany. In fact, possessing it at all can garner a person up to five years in prison according to the German Federal Narcotics Act, though conversely, it’s not technically illegal to use it, since there is no stated law against it. If caught with small amounts, offenders are usually put in a program over anything more serious, at least for first-time offenders. The term ‘small amount’ is not very well defined, though, and can mean anywhere from about 6-15 grams depending on where in Germany the possession takes place. Plus, the amount is judged by quantity and potency over actual weight, meaning the THC content helps define the amount in the end.

Sale and supply crimes are predictably illegal, and offenders can receive up to about five years in prison. This sentence goes up from 1-15 years depending on the circumstances of the case. Cultivation on a personal level is also illegal and garners the same punishment as sale and supply crimes.

Germany rejected recreational cannabis

In terms of CBD, while Germany already had been permitting it, the recent decision of the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union) in the case of France vs the EU, makes it that much more clear. EU standard has now been found to trump local member state laws when it comes to the import and export of CBD between member states. As per EU standards, Germany does not allow more than .2% THC in CBD oil preparations.

Technically, the medical use of a cannabis drug has been legal since 1998 in Germany when dronabinol was rescheduled. It wasn’t until 2017, however, that Germany further legalized medicinal cannabis. As of 2017, new legislation opened the door for more disorders and sicknesses to be relevant for treatment.

What about Germany’s market?

The thing about Germany is that it already has one of the biggest cannabis markets in the EU, and even in the world, though right now it’s all a medicinal market. In 2019, for example, Germany was the biggest importer and exporter of cannabis oil in the EU. Though the country can’t compete just yet with the US in terms of imports – the US for 2019 imported approximately $893 million worth of cannabis oil making it the clear leader, Germany did get the #2 spot with $240 million worth of oil imported that year. When it comes to exports, Germany led the EU with about $230 million worth of cannabis oil exports, but that was only 4th place in the world. Topping the export list was China, sitting pretty with just under $1 billion worth of cannabis oil exports that year.

Cannabis oil is only part of it. Most of the legal cannabis world still revolves around dry flowers, and Germany just happens to have a massive cannabis flower market as well. And one that is only looking to grow and expand out more. In July, Germany released data on its medical cannabis imports for the first two quarters of the year. While Q1 showed an increase of 16%, Q2 showed a massive 32% increase, and this at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic measures being taken all over the world. To give an idea of what this means via comparison, in 2018, Germany imported about 3.1 tons of cannabis flowers, this was increased to 6.7 tons in 2019, and it looks like it will go much higher than that by the end of 2020. During this time, Germany had such an issue with supply problems that it requested extra cannabis flowers from the Netherlands to help close the gap. Part of the reason for the need for more medical cannabis is simply the increasing number of Germans receiving it as treatment. As of June 2019, about 60,000 Germans were registered with the medical marijuana program in the country, and that number is sure to be way higher by now.

parliament vote

Up until recently, Canada and the Netherlands were Germany’s two biggest and main suppliers of cannabis flowers. However, more recently, it looks like Germany has received flowers from Uruguay (through a secretive back-door move using Portugal to import), and Spain via Linneo, a Spanish cannabis producer. Canada, however, is still the main importer to Germany, with several new companies opening shop in Germany, or planning new exports to the country. To give an idea of how out-of-whack prices have gotten in Germany, consider that the current retail price of a gram of cannabis is about €20. Then consider that this is a medical price, not even a recreational price.

What’s the deal with recreational?

Everything so far should give some idea of how big Germany’s cannabis market is, and how quickly it’s growing. As the biggest market in the EU, it’s not that surprising that the question of a recreational legalization would come up, since, obviously, Germany is pretty okay with use of the plant. However, this sentiment did not come through as a recreational legalization as last month Germany rejected its recreational cannabis bill.

Germany has six main political parties. The Left (holds 69 seats and is in favor of legalizing), the Social Democratic Party of Germany (about 152 seats, technically in favor of legalization, but voted with coalition partner instead – the Union, which includes the Christian Democrats led by Angela Merkel), the Union (two parties making up 264 seats, against legalization), the Greens (67 seats, and in support of legalization), the Free Democratic Party (holds 80 seats, but did not vote on the measure), and Alternative for Germany (somewhere in the neighborhood of 89-94 seats, and against legalization).

On October 29th, the proposed bill for an adult-use recreational cannabis market in Germany was firmly rejected in parliament, despite having plenty of support from different factions of Germany’s parliament. One of the big reasons for this is the coalition between the Union and the Social Democratic Party of Germany. The Union is itself is a coalition between the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (led by Angela Merkel) and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria. The Social Democratic Party of Germany, which though technically is in favor of cannabis reform, tends to vote with its coalition partner, the Union. Together they hold enough seats that any initiative will fail without at least some of their support. In this way, by having the two parties paired together, Germany rejected its recreational cannabis bill squarely.

recreational marijuana

In a way, the coalition is a strange one. The Union, is known as a center-right party associated with Christian movements. The Social Democratic party is center-left. Technically, the two groups have very different stances, and while they might overlap on some issues, they actually seem quite at odds when it comes to cannabis, making their vote together a bit of a headscratcher. Nevertheless, by being joined together, the Social Democrats voted with the Union making for an unbeatable force.

What’s next for Germany?

In the wake of the fact that Germany rejected its recreational cannabis bill, it’s hard to imagine what the next step will be. Unlike with a country like New Zealand, it was not the people of the country who voted the measure down, but rather, parliament on its own. This means the people of Germany are not necessarily on board with this decision, and that could mean new measures arising in the near future. It is, after all, already one of the biggest cannabis markets in the world. The step to legalization gets smaller and smaller as Germany gets more and more saturated with cannabis. Personally, I expect something will happen very soon that will tip the balance in the other direction.

CBDtesters is your hub all cannabis-related news. Visit us regularly to stay in the know, and sign up to our newsletter so you never miss a beat!

Resources

Germany Leads EU in Cannabis Oil Imports…and Exports
Mexico Still Waiting on Its Promised Cannabis Legalization

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
Recreational Cannabis is Legal in Georgia – But Who Knew?

Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Legal for a Day – The Mahashivaratri Festival and Nepal’s Changing Cannabis Laws
German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Customize Your Cannabinoids – Now You Can Mix’ N’ Match

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020. Cannabis Election Results – Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020
EU Beat France, CBD Legal Throughout EU
THC Isolate Explained – Everything You Need To Know
A Complete Guide To CBN Isolate (Cannabinol)
Get EU GMP-Certified Cannabinoid Isolates and Distillates

The post Germany Rejected Its Recreational Cannabis Bill appeared first on CBD Testers.

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode

Germany has the largest legal medicinal cannabis flower market in the EU, and it’s about to expand out even further. With imports coming from Canada and even Uruguay, the German cannabis flower market is, indeed, ready to fully explode.

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Germany has been growing its medical cannabis market in the last few years. According to worldstopexports for 2019, Germany imported $240 million worth of cannabis oil – or 7.8% of all cannabis imports for the year, making it the second largest importer behind the US. In that same time period, it also exported $230 million worth of cannabis oil – or 8% of the market for the year.

Now, the emphasis is more on cannabis flowers, and Germany sure isn’t slowing down. In July, Germany released data on medical cannabis imports for Q1 and Q2 of 2020. Q1 showed an increase of 16%, while Q2 showed an increase of 32%. It should be remembered that Q2 of 2020 was when the coronavirus was at its worst, and lockdown measures were strictest.

Prior to this year, Germany imported approximately 3.1 tons of cannabis flower in 2018, and 6.7 tons in 2019. During this time, Germany requested additional imported cannabis from the Netherlands to help with supply shortages it was experiencing. The increase this year in imports is related to the rise in new patients in Germany, as well as the addition of new cannabis exporting countries. Approximately 60,000 Germans are registered to use medical cannabis as of June 2019. That number has likely risen substantially since that time.

A little about Germany and cannabis

german cannabis flower market

Possession of cannabis is still illegal in Germany, despite the growth of its medicinal market.  German law does allow for residents to have a ‘small amount’ of cannabis, but this amount is not consistent and can vary between 6-15 grams depending on location. Sale and supply crimes are predicably illegal, with prison sentences of five years or below for more standard cases, or up to 15 for more severe cases. Personal growing of cannabis is also illegal.

On the other hand, medicinal cannabis was legalized in 2017 in Germany, and since that time Germany’s medical cannabis market has become the largest cannabis market in Europe. Up until 2019, supply for this market came strictly from abroad as Germany was not cultivating its own cannabis. Now Germany is working to supply its own market, but still requires imports, en masse, from other countries.

New market for imports

Up until recently, the only suppliers of cannabis to Germany were the Netherlands and Canada. However, Germany didn’t want to be beholden to such a small number of suppliers, and (BfArM), the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, authorized Germany to receive imports of cannabis flowers from other countries like Spain, Portugal, and Denmark. In fact, Germany now works with at least 30 cultivators, which has greatly improved Germany’s supply situation, and greatly increased the German cannabis flower market.

Germany isn’t just looking to European countries and Canada for supply though. In late 2019, Portugal received an initial shipment of 1,000 kg of cannabis flowers (high-THC). The shipment was very secretive in that the final destination for the product, and the buyer, were kept private, while the shipment itself was actually done legally. According to the customs documentation, the exporter was licensed producer Fotmer Life Sciences, and the deal was for $3.2 million including all related costs. The final destination didn’t seem to be Portugal though.

As it turns out, more recent news has pointed to Germany being the final buyer. Apparently, Tilray, a Canadian-based producer which now operates in many countries, started offering Germany high-THC flowers as of September 30th of this year. Tilray’s director of government and public affairs in Europe, confirmed to Marijuana Business Daily that the shipment was indeed grown by a 3rd party in Uruguay, that it was imported through Portugal via Tilray’s subsidiary in that country, processed there, and then shipped to Germany.

importing cannabis

Part of what makes this story interesting is that the supplier – Fotmer Life Sciences, is not EU-GMP certified, meaning it is possible to import non-EU-GMP certified products to Germany through the right avenues. In this case, processing through an EU-GMP certified facility in Portugal made it possible to pass onto Germany. It also makes it look like Germany will go to some interesting lengths to import more flower (maybe particularly high-THC), and that it’s willing to bend the rules to do so.

Who are some of the big players?

Right now, Canada is home to the biggest companies to export to Germany, or run facilities under subsidiary names there. Tilray is a big one, with name value the world over. It operates in Germany along with Canadian-based Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, Maricann, Northern Green Canada, and Cronos Group.

One of the newer companies to join the Canadian satellite cannabis team is Aphria, which claimed to make its first shipment of dry flowers to its subsidiary in Germany, CC Pharma GmbH, earlier this month.

Clearly Canada has a good hold on Germany, but imports do, indeed, come from the Netherlands, Uruguay – apparently via Portugal, and Spain, through Spanish producer Linneo, which provides cannabis flowers to Germany as well as Israel and the UK, though under different names. Medical cannabis producers in other countries are also trying to get in on the German cannabis flower market. Producers in countries like Colombia, Australia, Lesotho, Malta, Greece, and Denmark are also looking to get their products into Germany. How much money these companies can make in the future, might create a challenge though.

What about wholesale pricing in Germany?

So, how much does cannabis cost in Germany wholesale? In November of 2019, the German Federal Government agreed to buy no less than 650kg of medical grade cannabis flowers from local cultivators at the price point of €1.5 million per quarter of product. This, in turn, sets a standard for average wholesale pricing at €2.3 per gram. This low price is an indication that medical cannabis companies probably won’t be able to attain the high margins that such companies have been seeing, prior to this designation being made. It also means that theoretically, prices should be kept low for German citizens.

To give an idea of the difference… retail prices for medical marijuana in Germany are as high as €20/gram right now. This is mainly due to a mandated 100% markup by pharmacies, not enough global suppliers that meet EU-GMP standards, and a domestic cultivation license that was only finalized after many delays. The new price point, along with bringing in new exporters, is important in bringing this price down.

price of cannabis

Who will grow domestically?

Three different companies were picked to locally cultivate this cannabis for the government. Aurora Produktions GmbH – a subsidiary of Aurora Cannabis, Aphria Deutschland GmbH – a subsidiary of Aphria, and local Germany-based Demecan GmbH.

Pricing in medicinal markets is generally much lower than recreational markets where larger taxes are added on. But it does beg the question of how enticing the market will be for domestic growers (and importers), if they can’t inflate their costs to bring in more money.

The three companies that won the contracts to grow for the government will provide packaged cannabis flowers to BfArM. The German government has indicated that it will institute an application process for distribution in the future. What this means is that domestic growers and producers won’t be able to actually sell directly to pharmacies, even with established distribution channels. They will instead require a distribution license.

Weirdly, this just slows down domestic products hitting pharmacy shelves, and promotes Germany importing more. The German cannabis flower market, in fact, is expected to continue relying on imports to cover demand, which makes the aforementioned license for distribution for local cultivators…a little strange. Almost like Germany would prefer to import.

Conclusion

Germany’s medicinal cannabis market, and specifically the German cannabis flower market, is getting bigger every day with tons of countries vying to get their products through German borders and onto pharmacy shelves. Germany wants to import so badly, that it even seems to be going through semi-sketchy means, sending non-EU-GMP certified product through other EU countries in order to access more flowers!

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Resources

Will Legal Synthetic Cannabinoids Take Over Cannabis Industry? (And the differences between natural and synthetic cannabinoids)
Synthetic Cannabinoids (Are they synthetic cannabinoids safe?)
The Endocannabinoid System Explained (Why Cannabis Is Good for Our Bodies)

What are THCV Flowers, and How Are They Different from What You’ve Been Smoking? (Why THCV flowers are unique)
Everything You Need To Know About CBD Isolate (a deep look into hemp extracts)

Cannabinoids 101 – Spotlight on CBN (Cannabinol)
Your Complete Guide to EU GMP-Certified CBD Isolate and Distillate – Spotlight on the regulated EU market

Everything You Need To Know About CBG Isolate
Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Cannabis Cosmetics: What’s Allowed, What’s Not, and Where to Find Them (What is the latest regulations in Europe and which products are allowed)
Grey Market and Black Market in the World of Cannabis (Read this before investing into a legal cannabis business)
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
The Legal Landscape Of CBD Hemp Flower In Europe

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc)Regulators Go After Smokable Hemp Flower – What Does The Future Hold?
Investing in Delta 8 THC Flowers – Is It The Right Move For Your Business? (All you need to know about the latest hot trend: Delta-8 THC)

The post German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode appeared first on CBD Testers.

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The post Breaking the stigma: how cannabis got a bad reputation appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.

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