Tag: Europe

International Cannabis Business Conference Barcelona 2023

The Global Cannabis Industry’s Increasing Momentum Was On Full Display In Barcelona

The emerging legal international cannabis industry is stronger now than at any other time since the dawn of prohibition so many decades ago, and that was on full display last week in Barcelona where leading cannabis investors, entrepreneurs, activists, policymakers, and industry service providers from all over the planet gathered at the International Cannabis Business Conference on March 9th.

March in Barcelona has largely developed into the start of ‘cannabis event season’ for the international cannabis community in recent years, with the International Cannabis Business Conference partnering once again with Spannabis (held March 10th-12th) to put on the world’s largest cannabis super-event in 2023.

The two events combine for what is likely the closest thing in this world to an international cannabis community reunion, and it’s always heartwarming and inspiring to see old friends connecting (in addition to new friendships being created).

International Cannabis Business Conference Barcelona 2023

The International Cannabis Business Conference is Spain’s largest cannabis B2B event and this year’s installment came at a very crucial time for cannabis policy in Spain, as well as for cannabis policy at the continental level. Lawmakers and regulators in Spain are working harder than ever to pass meaningful legislation that will help Spain’s emerging cannabis industry reach its full potential. The same can also be said about many other parts of Europe right now.

With that in mind, it was tremendously beneficial to bring not only leaders from throughout Spain to one venue to network and discuss cannabis policy, but also leaders from other nations that are either working towards the same end goal as Spain or are farther along in the process and were able to impart their wisdom. Those leaders were able to network with each other and additionally were able to network with industry members, which is important for a multitude of reasons.

Cannabis policy reform is still a relatively new phenomenon at the international level and the global cannabis ecosystem is still largely a patchwork of laws, rules, and regulations, and that patchwork extends to efforts to reform and improve current public policies. The saying, ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ is as applicable to global cannabis efforts as anything you will ever find, so seeing leaders from all sectors of society (law, government, industry, activism) networking with each other was very encouraging and uplifting.

The International Cannabis Business Conference’s next event will be in Berlin in June. Buy your tickets today before prices go up!

International Cannabis Business Conference Barcelona 2023

As is always the case, the curriculum at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Barcelona was packed with world-class speakers who are all global leaders in their particular fields. We will be publishing videos of the panel discussions on the event’s YouTube channel, so make sure to check them out in the near future.

Below is a small sampling of photos from some of the many insightful panel discussions that took place at the 2023 International Cannabis Business Conference Barcelona B2B event:

International Cannabis Business Conference Barcelona 2023

No International Cannabis Business Conference event would be complete without an epic after-party, and this year’s event in Barcelona was no exception.

Below is a sampling of pictures demonstrating the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality that makes the International Cannabis Business Conference’s events so special:

barcelona, Europe, Spain

Raphael Mechoulam ICBC Berlin

5 Reasons To Attend An International Cannabis Business Conference Event In Europe

The International Cannabis Business Conference is the world’s leading cannabis industry and policy event series. Below is a list of reasons why you should attend an upcoming event, including our B2B event in Barcelona in March, and our series’ flagship event in Berlin in June.

1. A Truly Global Following

The legal cannabis industry is spreading across the world which is creating unique business opportunities at the continental and global levels. It also creates many additional hurdles, not the least of which is effectively networking with people that are often located on the other side of the planet. The International Cannabis Business Conference makes effective networking significantly easier for attendees, with entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, and industry service providers from over 80 different countries having attended past events.

2. Timely Information

The emerging cannabis industry is evolving at a faster pace and in more significant ways than any other large industry on earth. Just as laws are being reformed on a seemingly rolling basis in many parts of the world, so too are the regulations that govern the legal cannabis industry. Knowing the right information, and equally important knowing it in a timely fashion, can literally be the difference between a company succeeding or failing in the cannabis space. The International Cannabis Business Conference gathers true experts and leaders from around the globe so that attendees can learn the best and latest information straight from the individuals and entities that are on the frontlines of cannabis policy and industry.

3. Emerging Technologies

The International Cannabis Business Conference has debuted a number of emerging cannabis technologies, including technology related to cultivation and consumption. Every event for several years has featured exhibitors and speakers that are innovating the cannabis world for consumers, patients, and businesses. Being that the International Cannabis Business Conference has a truly global following, inventors and researchers from around the planet know that the best way to get their idea, concept, and/or findings on the world stage is to bring it to an International Cannabis Business Conference event.

4. Amazing Venues

Part of what makes the International Cannabis Business Conference events so special is where they are held. With people traveling to the events from the far reaches of the planet, International Cannabis Business Conference events double as a world class travel experience for many attendees, with the conference locations being recognized internationally as some of the top venues on earth. It’s one of the many reasons why the International Cannabis Business Conference experience is unparalleled.

5. Entertainment in Addition to Education

Anyone that has ever attended an International Cannabis Business Conference event will likely be quick to tell you how amazing the conference after-parties are. In addition to bringing in world class speakers and exhibitors, the International Cannabis Business Conference events also provide attendees with an opportunity to be entertained by renowned international musicians. Attendees can use the opportunity to unwind after listening to presentations and networking all day, or they can continue their conversations in a more relaxed setting. No other cannabis conference series provides the same level of entertainment value as the International Cannabis Business Conference.



Malta To Start Accepting Cannabis Club Applications By February

Malta made continental history late in 2021 when lawmakers passed Europe’s first nationwide adult-use legalization measure. Prior to legalization passing in Malta, the only two other countries that had previously passed national legalization measures were Uruguay in 2013 and Canada in 2018. However, unlike its predecessors, Malta’s legalization model does not provide for sales through pharmacies, storefronts, and for-profit delivery services. Rather, Malta’s legalization model will be built on non-profit cannabis clubs, applications for which people can start submitting as early as February 2023.

Despite legalization’s passage in Malta late last year, there are still no legal means by which to purchase legal adult-use cannabis products. Whereas consumers have a buffet of options from which to make cannabis purchases in Canada, and to a lesser extent Uruguay (residents only), consumers in Malta have continued to wait until the regulatory framework is set up for non-profit cannabis clubs. Thankfully, there appears to be some progress on that front.

Accepting Applications In 2023

The non-profit cannabis club model is not a new concept. Barcelona, where we co-host the world’s largest cannabis super-conference every year along with Spannabis, is home to numerous private cannabis clubs where people can acquire cannabis as well as consume it in a social setting. Uruguay is also home to hundreds of private cannabis clubs, although Uruguay has implemented a regulated system for cannabis clubs compared to Spain where clubs still operate in somewhat of a grey area of the law.

In Malta there will only be two legal sources for adult-use cannabis. One of them is home cultivation. Adult households in Malta can cultivate up to four plants, per the law that was passed late last year. The other source for adult-use cannabis will, of course, be cannabis clubs. However, clubs cannot exist without first having a license, and generally speaking a license cannot be obtained until there is an application and approval process set up. That last part is reportedly finally happening in February 2023 in Malta.

“The Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis will be in a position to start accepting applications for cannabis club licenses by next February, according to Parliamentary Secretary Rebecca Buttigieg.” stated Malta Today in its domestic coverage. Malta’s Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis will oversee the non-profit sector, including the cannabis club application process. Leonid McKay is currently the executive chair of the authority.

What About The European Union?

Currently, an adult-use legalization measure is looming in Germany, with the nation’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach currently lobbying the European Union to gain approval prior to formally introducing the measure so that lawmakers in Germany can officially consider it. While some lawmakers in Germany have called for the measure to be introduced immediately, the Health Minister appears to still be seeking EU approval first, at least for the time being.

An obvious question that international cannabis observers are asking on social media and beyond is why is Malta legalizing without so much European Union involvement compared to Germany? It’s a straightforward question that yields some fairly complicated answers. The less complicated answer is that Malta’s legalization model is far more limited than what is being proposed in Germany. Lawmakers in Germany are proposing a nationwide adult-use market where legal purchases will be made at storefronts, similar to what is going on in Canada but on a much larger scale. Malta will have non-profit clubs where people can acquire cannabis, but only if they are members and membership will be limited in many ways I’d assume.

The more complex answer is that Germany’s Health Minister is likely pursuing a strategy that will save legal and political headaches down the road. If the European Union gives its blessing to Germany’s plan, then it largely thwarts potential legal challenges from other EU member nations and mitigates some of the probability of German legalization becoming a political punching bag for cannabis prohibitionists. EU approval would be a final answer in many ways, and while challenges would likely still be pursued, it would be nearly guaranteed that legalization would overcome any challenges if EU approval was granted prior to a legalization measure’s introduction. With that being said, the EU presumably realizes that the decision on Germany will set a precedent, and a big one at that, so it’s not a decision that will be made hastily. The longer it takes for the decision to be rendered, the louder the calls will become within Germany’s borders for lawmakers to hit the gas pedal. In the meantime, the framework for Malta’s limited legalization model will continue to develop.

Europe, Germany, malta

europe topography map

Will Europe’s Emerging Cannabis Industry Reach Its Full Potential?

The emerging cannabis industry is now legal in more places in Europe than at any other point in time since the dawn of prohibition, and that is clearly good news for consumers and patients across the continent. A great deal of reform still needs to take place to be sure, however, momentum is building and the European legalization light at the end of the prohibition tunnel continues to shine brighter with every passing year.

One of the best examples of that momentum on display came late last year when Malta became the first European country to pass a national adult-use legalization measure. While Malta’s legalization model is not as robust as the models found in Canada and Uruguay, the passage of a national legalization measure was still historic nonetheless. Adult-use pilot programs are already underway at the local level in Denmark, and those programs are also expected to be launched in the near future elsewhere. Yet another example can be found via low-THC cannabis products, or ‘cannabis light,’ which are now commonly bought and sold all over Europe.

The Biggest Domino Of Them All

The largest cannabis policy elephant in the figurative continental decision-making room is, of course, Germany. The European country is home to the continent’s largest economy and Germany shares more borders with other nations than any other country in Europe. Obviously, Germany holds tremendous political power in Europe and at the international level, so the significance of legalization there cannot be overstated. With the country trending towards launching an adult-use cannabis industry in the coming years, every cannabis observer around the world is glued to what is going on within Germany’s borders.

Not only will Germany likely prove to be the largest domino of them all and open the floodgates to reform elsewhere in Europe, Germany will also likely serve as the blueprint for legalization efforts and models in other countries, especially within the continent. Part of what is enticing about Germany is that it is such an enormous economy with a huge population, however, the fact that Germany is doing a lot of the heavy lifting right now when it comes to crafting cannabis policies and industry regulations on such a grand scale is also significant, as provisions will be adopted in part or entirely by other nations. No country will have to ‘start from scratch’ if they do not want to.

Tolerating The Cannabis Industry Versus Embracing It

Logically, there is a huge difference between European lawmakers and regulators tolerating the cannabis industry versus embracing it. Casual public policy observers may think that simply allowing the cannabis industry to legally operate is enough to ensure success, yet that is not the case. The emerging cannabis industry presents a once in a generation opportunity to do a lot of good for all of society, and thus it should be embraced by lawmakers and regulators as such.

Every government benefit and assistance that is afforded to other large industries in Europe should also be afforded to the emerging cannabis industry. Additionally, all nations need to work together to harmonize regulations to help mitigate unforeseen hurdles and barriers to industry growth. By embracing the emerging cannabis industry governments will then be able to harness it to create much-needed jobs, help suffering patients, boost local economies, and generate public revenue throughout the continent, including in rural areas.


european flags

Prohibition Treaties Will Not Stop Cannabis Legalization In Germany

I have helped work on cannabis reform efforts since the late 1990s when medical cannabis reform initiatives were being heavily pursued on the West Coast of the United States. Those efforts culminated in election victories in California in 1996, and Oregon and Washington in 1998. Since that time I have seen cannabis prohibitionists across the U.S. basically recycle their failed talking points and tactics from that era over and over again, and the same thing appears to be happing in Germany right now.

Unless you have been living under a rock then you know that Germany is trending towards launching an adult-use cannabis market, and also that once the launch occurs, Germany’s market is going to be considerably more massive than that of Uruguay and Canada combined. Unfortunately, there are futile attempts ramping up that are geared towards halting the process, with the latest one involving cannabis opponents hurling the idea that cannabis cannot be legalized in Germany ‘due to European treaties.’

Theory Versus Reality

Is Germany bound by European and international treaties, including ones that prohibit cannabis? Yes, obviously. Are Canada and Uruguay also bound by international treaties that prohibit adult-use cannabis commerce, including ones that Germany is also a part of? Also yes. With all of that being said, laws are only as good as the enforcement behind them, and just as the sky did not fall and the international community didn’t perform whatever the global community version of a SWAT raid is on Canada and Uruguay when they launched adult-use cannabis sales, the same will prove to be true in Germany when they inevitably launch adult-use sales within their own borders.

Leading up to legalization in Canada in 2018, Russia tried the ‘what about international treaties’ argument in an attempt to derail Canada’s efforts, to no avail. The same thing happened in Uruguay in 2013 when the United Nations tried the same tactic (and failed). It’s a similar concept that I personally witnessed in the United States when opponents tried and failed with their ‘but cannabis is federally illegal!’ arguments. Bad laws are meant to be broken, and cannabis prohibition is one of the worst public policies in human history.

Even within Europe there are examples of jurisdictions disregarding continental and international treaties when it comes to adult-use cannabis commerce. Late last year Malta passed an adult-use legalization measure, although they have yet to issue any licenses and access there is going to be different compared to what will eventually be implemented in Germany. Regardless, there has been no crackdown in Malta as a result of passing a measure that is in direct defiance of certain treaties. Adult-use cannabis pilot programs area already in place in Denmark, with Switzerland getting ready to launch its own pilot program, and eventually, the Netherlands. Again, international treaties have yet to derail any of those efforts in those European countries.

An Obvious Need For A New Approach

Earlier this month European anti-drug coordinators met in Prague, and Czech National Anti-drug Coordinator Jindřich Vobořil called for a new approach to cannabis policy and regulation in Europe at the continental level.

“We hope it will be a coordinated effort (to regulate the cannabis market). It is impossible not to talk about it on an EU-wide basis. Prohibition has not proved to be effective enough; we need to look for other models of control. A controlled market may be the only possible solution,” Vobořil said according to Euractiv.

Cannabis reform is on the move in Europe and in every other corner of the earth, and with it, the spread of the emerging cannabis industry. Lawmakers and regulators can try all of the delay tactics that they can think of, and it’s likely a safe bet that they certainly will, however, those efforts will always prove to be futile. At best, all it will do is delay the inevitable. The cannabis industry toothpaste is out of the tube and it is not going back in, and it’s beyond time that treaties reflect that undeniable fact and catch up with reality.

Europe, Germany

latin america

Latin American Cannabis Exports To Europe Are Increasing – And Increasingly Important

Central and South America are playing an ever more vital role in European cannabis market development

The first shipment of CBD from Ecuador to Switzerland has successfully landed. Even though the amounts were small – 5kg of hemp flower and one litre of CBD extract – the longer-term impact is potentially very large. Indeed, this step is an important one across the EU’s map of cannabis reform where there is a growing need for both hemp and higher THC products – but a growing question about where affordable flower and products will come from.

So far, the Ecuadorian experiment has been neither cheap or easy. Bureaucratic hurdles on both sides of the border were the order of the day. However, the potential of Latin American and African exports entering Europe is something that is beginning to trickle down – from the largest producers to smaller enterprises.

This is true of the CBD and medical market. It is also clearly going to be on the drawing board for recreational too.

Costa Rican President Fast Tracks Recreational Cannabis Reform

The newly sworn in President, Rodrigo Chaves, has prioritized the legalization of recreational cannabis while also promising to publish long awaited regulation on the medical side – which has already been approved by Congress.

This in turn will open up two important sources of income for the country – both domestically and via export.

Whether recreational reform clears the Costa Rican political opposition still aligned against it is another matter – but with a president enthusiastically behind the same, this is much more likely to happen in Chaves’ first term. This is even more the case when one considers evolving reform discussions elsewhere.

Beyond this, such developments will cement Costa Rica’s popularity as a medical vacation destination – if not create the second recreational market in the region (after Uruguay).

On the export side of the discussion, things will also become very interesting. One of the outstanding questions about pending recreational reform in Germany is where such product would come from, if outside of the country. Shipping properly regulated product between countries where cannabis reform is federally and recreationally legal may well end up being one solution to the problem of compliance with international drug control treaties still in force.

This discussion of course is not just limited to Ecuador and Costa Rica. Columbia is beginning to look even more strategically important in the provision of at least medical cannabis to Europe. And then of course there is the unrealized potential of Uruguay.

No matter what, it is clear that Europe is going to see an influx of cannabis flower if not products from this part of the world – and increasingly it is on a timeline of sooner rather than later.

Europe, latin america

europe flags european

Finding The Right Balance Among European Cannabis Industry Regulatory Models

The entire European continent seems to be trending towards legalization for the most part, and for the small group of nations that are still dragging their feet, the writing is on the wall. It’s only a matter of time before they get on the right side of history because every day that goes by is a day that other nations inch closer to beating them to the cannabis revenue punch.

Cannabis policy is not as straightforward as many seem to think. Simply stating that cannabis should be legal in general terms is one thing. Crafting national cannabis policies and regulations is a completely different matter and requires much more thought and planning, and that is just at a national level.

Just as Europe is a continent made up of many nations, so too will it be a continent made up of many different approaches to cannabis policy and regulation. Below is just a small sampling of cannabis policy facets that lawmakers and regulators need to consider when drafting measures:

  • Home Cultivation – plant limits, canopy size limits, public view restrictions, etc.
  • Commercial Cultivation – zoning, infrastructure needs, licensing
  • Commercial Sales – allowed or continued to be prohibited?
  • Imports/Exports – if yes, what regulations are involved?
  • Social Use – can people consume in clubs, and if so, under what conditions?

Those are just a handful of things that need to be taken into consideration, and even those have several sub-facets as well. It can be a daunting task, especially when considering that Europe is composed of dozens of countries, each with its own identity, culture, and approach to governing.

Right now there are already several different cannabis industry models in existence in Europe. Malta passed an adult use legalization measure late last year, although its model is based on home cultivation and non-profit entities from which consumers can source their cannabis.

Low-THC cannabis, or ‘cannabis light,’ has been sold all over Switzerland since 2017, and a pilot adult-use cannabis industry program for higher THC varieties is launching this summer in the country as well. Pilot programs are also in operation in Denmark, and hopefully soon, the Netherlands.

All nations need to learn from each other and collaborate to enact continental-level rules and regulations to help ensure that public safety concerns are addressed in a way that still allows the industry to reach its full potential (within reason).

Education is key, and with that in mind, we recommend that people check out a timely report from Augur Associates. The report is titled, ‘Which models for cannabis adults use regulation in Europe? – findings, objectives and proposals for legalisation.’

Augur Associates is a Paris-based consultancy agency dedicated to the sustainable and cutting-edge cannabis and hemp industry. In addition to their latest report, they have also published a number of other reports dealing with the emerging cannabis industry and shifting political landscape.

Their latest publication is a robust 271-page report in its complete version, with the additional option of downloading the summary version. Both options are free at Augur and Associates’ website (previously linked to in this article). The report is also coupled with a number of insightful recommendations from the publishers for lawmakers and regulators to consider.

All eyes are on Europe for the foreseeable future, and information of this value does not come along often, especially for free. Check out the latest report from Augur Associates because the more timely information that you know, the better suited you are to make informed decisions. It could mean the difference between you crushing it in the evolving international cannabis industry or fizzling out not long after you get started.

augur associates, Europe

Europe map with pins

First Of Its Kind Multilateral EU Policy Meeting On Cannabis Held In Luxembourg

The first of many high-level meetings on the legalization of cannabis was held in Luxembourg between representatives from Germany, Luxembourg, and Malta

An unprecedented meeting occurred on Friday, July 15 – just three days before the beginning of the ICBC’s Global Investment Forum in Berlin.

Ministers from Germany, Luxembourg and Malta met for the first time to kick off a series of meetings between the countries on how to legalize recreational cannabis.

There were three sessions. Two focussed on international and European law. The third looked at the opportunities and challenges ahead as public policy and regulations change.

After the meeting, they issued a highly revealing joint statement along with personal comments from attendees. According to the Luxembourg Minister of Justice, Sam Tanson, “Almost half a century after the entry into force of our law establishing the criminalisation of drug-related behaviour, namely the law of 19 February 1973 on the sale of medicinal substances and the fight against drug addiction, Luxembourg still pursues a drug policy focused mainly on repression. However, as our statistics show, the failure of this approach cannot be denied, and the time has come to develop a new approach, based on dialogue with the states that have made the same observation and the European and international institutions.”

The Key Takeaways

For those who have been watching global developments, this multilateral meeting was actually unprecedented. Nothing has happened quite like it on the path to legalizing the plant in the last decade.

The key takeaways were equally historic. Namely:

  • The demand for cannabis – both for medical and recreational use has grown exponentially. In fact, cannabis now accounts for 39% of all illegal drug traffic in the region. Unless the underground economy is undermined, this represents a major security threat from the amount of cash that is being handed over to organized crime.
  • There is no way to control any form of cannabis unless the laws are changed, and regulations are established.
  • Law enforcement is being challenged by the fact that it is no longer possible to distinguish between cannabinoids without expensive testing.
  • There is a need for EU governments to reassess their cannabis policies which reflect changing realities as well as to strengthen social programs geared towards health and prevention rather than criminalizing use.

There is no word yet on the schedule of meetings, or whether the first group will expand the invitee list to other legalizing countries, but given the broad scope of the inquiry, it would appear that these three countries are setting the table for a European-wide discussion about all cannabis regulation, and for all purposes.

Stay tuned. This is getting interesting.


Europe map with pins

European Parliament Members Form New Cannabis Reform Group

The European continent is in the midst of a cannabis revolution with policies being reformed for the better in a growing number of countries. Malta became the first country on the continent to pass an adult-use cannabis legalization measure late last year, and it most certainly will not be the last to do so.

Cannabis reform is a serious issue that every country needs to explore thoroughly and with an open mind. Also, countries need to collaborate as much as possible to help ensure that their domestic laws don’t create unnecessary hurdles for the emerging industry.

In order for Europe’s legal cannabis industry to reach its full potential, not only do domestic laws within individual countries need to be sensible, but there also needs to be a concerted effort at the continental level to adopt policies, rules, and regulations that make sense.

Members of the European Parliament seem to agree with the previously stated needs and have formed a group involving multiple political parties and representing multiple nations. Per Malta Today:

Five members of the European Parliament hailing from different political groups and different EU Member States have come together to create an informal interest group of MEPs who support human rights-based policies relating to the personal use of cannabis.

In an open letter to the 705 Members of the European Parliament encouraging MEPs to join the informal group, MEPs Cyrus Engerer (Malta, SD), Monica Semedo (Luxembourg, Renew), Mikuláš Peksa (Czech Republic, Greens), Dorian Rookmaker (The Netherlands, ECR) and Luke “Ming” Flanagan (Ireland, The Left) welcome the recent developments on cannabis legalisation in Germany, Malta and Luxembourg and call for more information sharing between Member States on the topic.

How fruitful the group’s efforts will end up being is anyone’s guess at this point, however, it’s definitely a worthwhile endeavor and hopefully more members will join, especially from countries like Germany and Switzerland where the cannabis industry is booming.

With Germany inching ever-closer to legalization, and the likely opening of the legalization floodgates once that happens, it’s more important now than ever for lawmakers across Europe to join the conversation if they haven’t already, and to let facts and evidence lead the way instead of letting prohibition politics drive the conversation.


cannabis plants garden

Setting Cannabis Home Grow Standards Across Europe

Current proposals range from 4-5 plants – but is this a number based on any kind of reality?

Malta has just allowed it. Luxembourg and Portugal are on the brink of doing so. Germany almost certainly will put language in place allowing the same.

The real question is how are governments coming up with this number? Further, does it really do anything other than supply recreational users who are diligent with their horticultural efforts? And perhaps more importantly, will patients be bound by the same regulations?

The reality is that this critical part of reform is not getting the attention it deserves.

A Numbers Game

As anyone who has actually grown cannabis knows, a successful, bountiful grow takes a couple of things to maximize yield. The first is the right growing environment. Indoors, which is ideal for users in Europe, requires a good LED light, a grow tent, fans, and an extractor. This is easily a four-to-six-hundred-dollar investment (at the low end). Outdoors, it means that you are limited to one crop a year.

Beyond this, there is then yield to consider. A good cultivar can yield about 400-600 grams per plant every three to four months. An auto strain (meaning that the plant produces flower regardless of light intensity) can speed up this process to two months per crop, although yields tend to be lower. The bottom line is even if you use a high-yielding auto flower crop, you are unlikely to get more than 1 kilo of flower per plant every two months.

Most recreational users cannot use 4-5 kilos of flower every two months. Most patients can. But this is just the optimal situation. More likely is the production of perhaps several kilos a year.

This is fine for the average recreational user. It is, however, sub-optimal for those who need the most help.

Decrim and Patient Licensing

Another option, which has not caught on in Europe, yet, is the idea of issuing limited cultivation permits for patients and patient groups. This ensures that a person who needs a steady and larger than average amount of cannabis will be kept in meds without bankrupting them. It does not mean that a cannabis patient cannot go to a doctor too and obtain some help with regulated meds too.

It also creates a non-profit medical market. See Canada.

This concept is problematic in a highly regulated medical market like most European countries. However, so is the reality that a majority of patients who should qualify for treatment not being able to access it without incredible hurdles or the possibility of a criminal conviction.

The bottom line is that every European country is still struggling with acceptance – and that starts with a humane home grow policy beyond creating an infrastructure that helps the legitimate industry flourish.



Luxembourg Invites EU Nations To Cannabis Legalization Meeting

For a brief time, it was expected that Luxembourg would become the first country in Europe to pass a national adult-use legalization measure. As we now know, that title actually went to Malta, which passed such a measure late last year.

The push for legalization continues in Luxembourg, with details recently surfacing regarding what the country’s legalization model will entail. It appears that Luxembourg’s model will largely revolve around home cultivation, and possession will be mostly treated in a decriminalized fashion.

Households will be able to cultivate up to 4 plants, however, all of the harvested cannabis has to remain in private. People caught possessing less than 3 grams outside of their home will be subjected to a 145 euro fine. Anything beyond possession of 3 grams will be considered intent to distribute.

Lawmakers in Luxembourg are indicating that further reform will occur, yet there is no timeline for any additional reforms. Given how long it has taken Luxembourg to get to this point, and considering that even this limited legalization bill has yet to be approved, it’s anyone’s guess how long it will take for the country to implement a more robust legalization framework.

For what it is worth, Luxembourg has apparently set up a meeting to take place next month that will be solely dedicated to legalization policy discussions, and Luxembourg has invited other European nations to join. Per Luremburger Wort (translated to English):

However, it was also a good thing that the new German government was moving in the same direction when it came to drug policy. “We now have strong allies in the greater region and the Netherlands and Malta are also going down this path. We are no longer alone.” In July, Luxembourg invites like-minded EU countries to a meeting.

As mentioned in the excerpt, Germany, which shares a border with Luxembourg, is expected to legalize cannabis for adult use this year, and its model will be considerably more robust compared to what is currently being pursued in Luxembourg.

In addition to including a home cultivation provision, German lawmakers are expected to roll out what will instantly become the largest regulated adult-use sales model on earth.

It’s unclear which nations will take up Luxembourg on its invite, however, it’s likely a safe bet to assume that if other European countries join the meeting there will be a wide away of approaches to legalization policy expressed in the meeting. Hopefully the meeting boosts momentum for legalization and yields favorable results across the continent.

Europe, luxembourg

cannabis plant flower garden

Home Grow Europe?

Several political initiatives are moving forward in multiple countries that would give European citizens the right to grow their own – what are the opportunities and pitfalls?

Home grow is a controversial topic in the cannabis industry just about everywhere. On one hand, it is the legal loophole that began to establish the industry in places like Canada (and one presumes European countries like Luxembourg). On the other hand, it represents considerable competition to the nascent medical and recreational industry. After all, if people are growing their own, they won’t buy it.

The cost of cannabis, especially for patients who use far more of it than recreational users, is one of the biggest reasons this entire discussion remains politically relevant. This is especially true in places like Germany – where theoretically at least, sick patients should be able to get their meds covered for a co-pay of about $11 a month. Many – if not still the majority of those who should qualify – are not or just falling out of the system altogether.

However, it is clear that the debate has progressed significantly in Europe. Mention home grow even a few years ago in an industry event in Germany and one would be looked at as a dangerous “radical.”

Now the government is again considering the same as Luxembourg and Portugal move towards legalizing limited home grow, Italy has a legal precedent set by its highest court, and Germany tries to figure out how to incorporate this idea into the recreational system they are now holding hearings on. Patient home grow briefly became legal here in 2016 before the medical law was passed in 2017.

How Do Patients Fit In?

One of the most important reasons for legalizing home grow is patient need – especially at a time when most doctors are still not educated about cannabis – and the sickest patients are still struggling with access on the cost front.

However, so far in Europe at least, this is not a discussion that has gotten much traction. Indeed “home grow” has been a topic that is mostly focused on those who want to use the plant for “recreational” purposes. Growing four to five plants in an indoor grow box will not create enough cannabis for patients. It is, however, plenty for the average occasional rec user.

Beyond this, the idea of having legal non-profit patient collectives has not entered the discussion (so far). In Spain the clubs are “non-profit,” but they are not targeted to patients but rather the general cannabis-using public.

However, the reality remains that without some kind of relief, or at least recognition that patients need to not only use more cannabis to manage their conditions, but also grow more, any reform that excludes this reality will continue to put the sickest and most vulnerable people in danger of being criminalized merely for being sick.


International Cannabis Business Conference



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