New regulations to open up a limited legal cannabis market in Germany will have a flow-on effect for the medical market where opportunities will emerge for Australian firms, business leaders have said.

ECS Botanics chief executive Nan-Maree Schoerie said reforms in the European powerhouse will trigger a step-change that will “reverberate across the EU”.

ECS Botanic CEO Nan-Maree Schoerie

“Germany is an evolving and very large market opportunity for ECS and we believe this legislative change will make doctors much more comfortable prescribing medicinal cannabis,” she said. “ECS has been expanding its growing, cultivation and pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing operations… in preparation for export opportunities that will occur because of bills like this.”

Little Green Pharma chief executive Paul Long heralded the move as the most significant legislative change in global cannabis markets since prohibition was lifted in Canada in 2018.

“This change will make Germany the largest federally legal cannabis market globally, and is anticipated to result in an increase in the number of patients and consumers by multiples while catalysing similar changes across Europe,” he said.

“Critically, the decision removes cannabis from the narcotics list, meaning the existing medical access pathway will be substantially improved through the removal of prescribed conditions, narcotic reporting, and pharmacy stockholding limitations. It will also ease rules around telehealth services, e-scripts, and direct delivery to patients.”

Little Green Pharma CEO Paul Long

He said the move will create a “unique opportunity” for LGP “given our well-established  partnerships with multiple German distributors, large bank of cannabis genetics, and ownership of the largest and most advanced EU GMP-recognised medicinal cannabis facility in Europe”.

“Ongoing EU GMP standards for medicinal cannabis will also continue to constrain North American non-GMP supplier participation in the market,” he added.

The German legal framework will permit the creation of not-for-profit cannabis clubs, limited home cultivation and possession of small quantities for personal use.

However, Cann Group CEO Peter Koetsier played down the impact.

While welcoming the move he said it would not dramatically change the landscape for Australian firms.

“It’s still quite limited and we can’t supply the cannabis clubs for example,” he said. “It’s an important step on the journey and most companies look at Germany as an opportunity, as Cann Group does, so it only serves to reinforce that.

“We are exploring our export strategy and see opportunities in Germany, but I don’t know if these reforms dramatically change things.”

Steve has reported for a number of consumer and B2B titles over a journalism career spanning more than three decades. He is a regulator contributor to health journal, The Medical Republic, writing on...

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