German firms have welcomed proposed changes to domestic medicinal cannabis production which they said would create a level playing field for local producers.
The tender procedure for the cultivation of the medicine, which limits domestic production to just three companies, is set to be abolished, while the amount that can be grown will no longer be capped.
Dr Constantin von der Groeben is the co-founder and managing director of Demecan, one of the three companies licensed to cultivate in Germany.
He told the Business of Cannabis the move would give local firms a significant leg up.
“We are now free to cultivate as much cannabis as we want and can choose the strains we want to grow,” he said.
“Finally there will be a level playing field and German cultivators can compete properly with importers. Given our lower production costs and easy logistics, we will hopefully see a boom in medical cultivation in Germany.”
He added the three current licence holders – Demecan, Aurora and Tilray – will “probably” benefit the most given their first-mover advantage.
Cannabis lawyer Kai-Friedrich Niermann told the Business of Cannabis the change could have wide-ranging, and as yet unknown, implications for the market.
“Now, any [German] company should be able to apply for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis, without restrictions on the quantity and type of products.
“The only requirement is that the production is carried out according to the known pharmaceutical principles (GACP, GMP, German monograph for cannabis flowers).
“The consequences of this development for domestic importers and their import quotas, for the number of new cultivation licences in Germany itself, and ultimately for the global market, cannot be foreseen today.”
Germany has long been a target for Australian and New Zealand firms keen to ship product overseas.
The changes were flagged by local media as Germany’s coalition government reportedly agreed on a number of changes to forthcoming cannabis legislation.
According to unofficial reports, the proposals will now be enacted in two parts, with decriminalisation of adult use and home grow allowed from March/April 2024, and the rollout of cultivation associations following in July.
Changes to exclusion zones and possession limits have also been flagged.