Medical Cannabis Markets’ Update in Germany and the UK

The TDR Three Key Takeaways regarding Germany and Medical Cannabis:

  1. Germany is gearing up to initiate pilot programs for state-controlled cannabis shops, focusing on scientific purposes in the medical cannabis industry.
  2. UK’s private medical cannabis market contrasts with Germany’s approach.
  3. Pilot cannabis programs in Germany could model future European laws.

Germany’s progression in the cannabis sector is marked by innovative approaches to cannabis legalization and medical cannabis. The country is gearing up to initiate pilot programs for state-controlled cannabis shops, focusing on scientific purposes to study their impacts on public health and youth. This ambitious move aligns with broader trends in Europe, where countries like the UK are also adjusting their strategies to foster the growth of medical cannabis markets.

Jürgen Neumeyer from the Cannabis Industry Association recently highlighted Germany’s commitment to exploring regulated cannabis markets through scientific projects. “We are hopeful that a practical way will be created to legally sell cannabis products in Germany – at least in some scientific projects,” Neumeyer explained to Spiegel. These shops, which could potentially open later this year, aim to offer more than just consumer products; they are envisioned as hubs for social and scientific engagement.

Meanwhile, across the Channel, the UK’s medical marijuana sector is experiencing unexpected growth. Lawrence Purkiss, a senior analyst at Prohibition Partners, shed light on the unique dynamics of the UK market. “The comparatively high per-patient consumption rates in the UK are at least in part a consequence of the fact that the market is entirely private and self-paid,” he stated. Unlike Germany, where public healthcare systems reimburse at least 50% of medical cannabis costs for numerous patients, the UK market operates without such financial support, thus promoting higher prescription volumes.

Ingrid Wunn, founder of the Hemp Initiative Frankfurt and a cannabis patient herself, emphasized the urgent need for operational cannabis clubs in Germany. “Shops need to open as soon as possible. Although these clubs aim to promote social interaction among members of the cannabis community, they are currently run under stringent policies that make them unavailable,” Wunn commented, highlighting the social benefits of these establishments beyond their commercial implications.

Furthermore, the CEO of Curaleaf Laboratories pointed out significant developments in the UK’s approach to medical cannabis. “The beginning of 2024 has already shown a tremendous level of growth, with a record number of UK private clinics now providing medical cannabis treatment for lower appointment costs than ever before,” he remarked. The introduction of new formulations and dosage forms, such as pastilles and liquid vape cartridges, has broadened the spectrum of treatments available, allowing specialists to tailor more specific and varied treatment regimens for patients.

Projections suggest that by 2028, Germany and the UK could dominate the European medical cannabis market, accounting for 77% of the total market share. This growth is driven by both expanding legal frameworks and an increasing acknowledgment of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. As both nations continue to refine their policies and commercial strategies, the focus remains on balancing patient needs with scientific and public health priorities.Germany’s approach, emphasizing research through state-controlled shops, could serve as a model for other nations considering cannabis legalization for medical or scientific purposes. As Europe moves towards more detailed cannabis policies, the lessons learned from these pilot programs will undoubtedly influence future legislative and commercial decisions in the region. Want to keep up to date with all of TDR’s research and news, subscribe to our daily Baked In newsletter.

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