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Europe's Cannabis Scene is Slowly But Surely Coming Online

The European cannabis market is beginning to take shape. While much more is required for a market to form, a few glimmers of success show that the continent is coming online, albeit at a pace that requires patience. The signs from this handful of countries has led many to take notice of Europe and what may be on the horizon.  

Here is why it is important to keep an eye out for the European cannabis market.

A Growing Number of Names in European Cannabis

To date, only a few countries in the EU have generated meaningful sales, according to the Spring 2019 report “Medical Cannabis in Europe: The Markets and Opportunitiesby Marijuana Business Daily International Analyst Alfredo Pascual. It found that Germany and Italy represent strong demands while other nations made positive regulatory progress.

By May, MJ Biz Daily acknowledged other emerging nations in the continent, including Denmark. People in the Danish cannabis space made their case at the MJ Biz Daily's European Cannabis Symposium this past spring.

“Denmark is the right country to do business in medical cannabis, because we have a supportive country in rules and regulations,” said Rikke Jakobsen, CEO of Cannabis Denmark, a nongovernmental organization. “Even though the regulations are strict, they’re stable and consistent.”

The symposium also saw Germany making a stronger case for itself. Like Germany, it was recommended that we not ignore nations developing their own domestic cannabis supply. “That’s important because always in these tenders (in places like Germany), there’s a few strains, whereas in Canada you need 30 to 40 strains to service all the different patient groups,” said Hendrik Knopp, managing director of Aphria Deutschland. “That’s why we focus on in-country cultivation and imports. There will always be demand for imports – it’s twofold."

Cannabis Policy Reform

Both the report and symposium advocated for regulations. The MJ Biz report notes that international reform is possible. The report included:

  • Removing cannabis from Schedule 4 of the 1961 Convention, the category reserved for the most dangerous substances.
  • Removing THC in all forms from the 1971 Convention, placing it together with cannabis in Schedule 1 of the 1961 Convention, significantly simplifying cannabis classification.
  • Clarifying that pure CBD and CBD preparations containing no more than 0.2% THC should not be included in any way in the international drug control conventions.
  • Adding that pharmaceutical preparations containing THC, if they follow certain criteria, would be added to Schedule 3 of the 1961 Convention, recognizing the unlikelihood of abuse of these specific products.

That said, slow regulation and development of the market is expected. It is advised that people not become discouraged and instead focus on the small steps ahead as European market standardization is needed.

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Why Solventless Cannabis Products Make Sense for Europe

Europe has higher product standards than the U.S. in just about every facet of its market. As such, it is expected that a continent with higher food and beverage regulations will do the same with cannabis. If that proves true, then solventless products and its producers could find themselves on the receiving end of sizable business going forward.

This prospect could come to fruition soon enough. Though, at this time, Europe continues to trudge along when it comes to cannabis progress. However, sales are starting to come about. And nations like Malta are vying for international cannabis business. It will take time, but the signs of a functioning European cannabis market can be found if you look for them.

Lastly, we will want to drive home the fact that in much of Europe, the quality of food and beverage is higher than elsewhere, and this will likely mean Europeans will also want premium cannabis concentrates, so solventless!