2021 review of cannabis reform in Europe (and 2022 forecasts) |

As the world looks to a whole new year, whether or not COVID recedes, there are a few things to celebrate, including cannabis reform. Namely, no matter how many uncertainties we all face, as Gray January stretches beyond the holiday lights, there is certainly joy in the air that will last much longer than the season. .

Indeed, there are many in Germany right now who are already making plans for infused Weihnacht deals in just a few years. It is now clear that cannabis will quickly take its place in German traditions, with Christmas being just one of them. Canna-Glüwein (mulled mulled wine), anyone?

Beyond that, the rest of the EU which is now wavering on this issue, has now woken up to the reality that no matter what they decide to do (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta and, well sure, the current latecomer, France), now that Germany has just made the declaration which is the beginning of the end. If not an inevitable form of economic development and tax money in a world starving for the same.

Cannabis reached a major milestone in Europe in 2021. Here are the main characteristics of the year.

Red, Amber, Green, Go Deutschland!

Germany’s new “traffic light” political coalition has vowed to address the issue of leisure reform through legislation in 2022. Unlike the United States where several attempts to push through federal cannabis reform have failed, this is likely to occur.

In the initial rollout of the reform, however, don’t be surprised if the Germans decide to follow the Swiss and allow regular pharmacies to be the first port of call for medical and recreational users. This would solve several problems at once, starting with the establishment of strict restrictions on the cultivation and the retail supply chain.

A short-term interim solution like this will solve a much more controversial problem: how to structure a licensing system for everything from culture in the country (and by whom) to specialty stores that look like American or Canadian “dispensaries”. . Namely not the medical establishments. Plus, online sales.

This is both for Germany and for the cannabis reform, expect there to be several iterations of the reform, starting with experiments in states and cities that will inevitably see Berlin, Bremen. , Dortmund, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Munich on the front line (because such ideas have been avidly pushed to the municipal level before).

Also, keep in mind that it took essentially four years after the change in law and two after the final award of the cultivation offer, for there to be distribution of medical cannabis cultivated in Germany. Don’t expect the details of hobbies to be dealt with or defined much faster. See Canada.

In the meantime, however, total decriminality will become the law of the land, and patients will be exempt from prosecution, both for possession and presumably (hopefully) for reasonable household cultivation. Despite reluctance to grow cannabis in the country, whether by patients or businesses (see drama over first cultivation offer), it’s not 2017. The Germans, though reluctantly, admit now that the drug works, as a drug, although they are not yet with one voice in the majority, the prohibition of cannabis has of course failed.

Either way, German recreation, like the medical reform before it, is a huge, huge step that will move other countries in the region forward as well.

Malta and Luxembourg will lead the way

It is a sign of the complexity of the Dutch situation, if not of the national position, in general, that the island of Malta has paved the way for a real, formal, federal and recreational reform of cannabis within the Union. European (EU). Indeed, if there are analogies to be made, Holland is much like European California – creating a market that exists in gray areas but is only now facing some discussion (and still far from over). on how to regulate the industry at the federal level. .

Luxembourg, too, it seems, stayed behind until another country took the plunge, despite pledging the same in 2018, when a new coalition government took the reins there. . Now there is no more excuse for further delays.

Portugal will also inevitably pass reforms as soon as the smoke from the general elections early next year clears, and whoever wins. The country needs an economic boost, whether it be tourism or exports, and it is a natural solution.

Beyond that, Spain may well follow a Dutch model to formalize the production of its clubs rather than cafes in the next 12-24 months.

Also expect to see Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece and potentially outliers like Belgium start to move with the herd, albeit in the creation of experimental markets. It may or may not start happening next year, but it will most certainly happen over the next 24 months.

The Swiss Wild Card

Remember, of course, that the Swiss have started preparing for a recreational test deployment which now has a calendar date set for effective take-off in 2022. Companies have been submitting and getting approvals for about eight months.

The start of this market, with its own bizarre requirements and rules, will also inevitably lead to discussions and the form of reform just across DACH, if not other EU borders that the country shares with other countries. . Everyone will watch what’s going on in Der Schweitz—Including the unique waiver and blending of certain types of certifications — including, but not limited to Novel Food and GMP.

Other notables (or not)

Despite their efforts to gain some respect, the UK cannabis industry, as it is, has been going through some rough times, and these don’t seem, at least for now, to be ending anytime soon.

Unlike the British regarding both joining Europe and reforming cannabis, North Macedonia will inevitably play a role in the immediate future, albeit only a source of flower extracts and cannabis. cheaper oil.

Poland is also still on the brink of real, if not accessible, medical reform, but expect that to accelerate as well.

The growth of import markets at the service of Europe

2021 was a remarkable year for another reason. Food markets will target the EU, if not Germany in their founder’s mandate, have continued to grow. This means that no matter what happens with future discussions on cultivation, in any country, starting with Germany, there will be no shortage of other certified cannabis from countries around the world. whole at this point, looking for a German home.

Because of this, there will be significant downward pressure on medical and “other” discussions about flowers and biomass.

Conclusion on 2021?

If there is an analogy to be drawn, the situation in Europe today on the ground is very similar to the conversation in the United States in 2012, after the presidential election that brought Obama back to his second term. Namely, two states, Colorado and Washington state, have voted on state mandates to create state markets. They both bloomed in 2014 and the rest, as they say, is history.

This year’s developments in Europe, and even some of the stuttering delays, regardless of their cause or final resolutions, resemble this period in many ways. And this is great news for the industry on all fronts.

Mary I. Bruner