Legal Woes: German Marketing of Medical Cannabis

High Times

The German medical cannabis market is one of the largest in the world. Indeed, as of 2021, it is not only the largest market in Europe, but also responsible for driving cultivation plans across many sunnier and lower labor cost locales. This is true of both countries in the European Union (EU) and further flung spots, all hoping to export cannabis to a country, which so far has not, by design, been able to domestically source the medical cannabis consumed in the country.  All well and good—but this is the good news.  In fact, the pharmaceutical infrastructure that faces medical cannabis companies is far from either clear cut or easy to navigate. Here is why. Cannabis is Defined by Law as a Controlled Narcotic Drug The first issue facing all distributors in the German market, is that cannabis, legally, is defined as a narcotic at a federal level. To date, despite a decision on the European level last fall, this also includes low THC hemp—which has led to a number of lawsuits and embarrassing contretemps of late even on the non-medical, commercial level.  Beyond this, however, cannabis as medicine is clearly now present in the system—but merely importing and or registering strains and brands (no matter who makes them or where such flower or products come from) is far from enough to get sales. Unlike the U.S. (for example), pharmaceutical drugs may not be advertised directly to potential consumers (also known as patients). As a result, cannabis specialty, just like general pharmaceutical distributors, must engage in a strange, highly inefficient and expensive, three-step process to obtain prescriptions that starts but does not, by any means end, with what is euphemistically called “doctor education.” Step by Painful Step The first pre-step is actually still quite difficult for all nascent distributors who…

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