cannabis market research

December 2023 Brief

Hi , welcome to your first cannabis brief of 2024.

We discuss the launch of the recreational experiment in the Netherlands, cannabis rescheduling in the US, medical legalisation in Ukraine and Spain, as well as regulatory changes in Canada, France, Israel and Germany.

December has been a slow month on the commercial front. However, both industry and regulators have published interesting data on the Australian, German, Israeli and UK markets pointing to areas of improvement in access.

Large, real-world evidence studies are mounting up as well as research on cannabinoids for anxiety, stress and autism, among others.

We hope you enjoy this month’s cannabis brief!


1. Regulatory updates:

🇳🇱 In the Netherlands, the start-up phase of a closed coffee shop chain experiment has begun in Breda and Tilburg. The first legal cannabis is now available in Brabant coffee shops, signaling a historic shift in the country’s cannabis policy.

  • The Netherlands has increased the microbial limits for recreational cannabis: the TAMC has increased from 100,000 cfu to 1 million cfu per gram, while the TYMC has increased from 10,000 to 100,000 cfu/g. This makes the quality standards substantially lower than those of medicinal cannabis, which the Dutch monograph sets at 100 & 10 cfu/g respectively.
  • Other regulations include the introduction of QR codes on packaging, and changes to the information that must be displayed on packaging.


🇺🇦 Ukraine has legalized medical cannabis to deal with oncological diseases as well as PTSD effects from the war. The bill was approved by the Ukrainian Parliament by a wide majority, even thhough it still needs to be signed by the President.

  • The Ministry of Health will define the list of conditions that can be treated with cannabis.
  • Permits for cultivation of cannabis of over 0.3% THC will be awarded.
  • Control and traceability measures will be put in place.


🇺🇸 In the United StatesU.S. governors have urged President Biden to reschedule marijuana by the end of this year.


🇨🇦 Health Canada released a guidance document on intoxicating cannabinoids, including CBN. All intoxicating cannabinoids such as CBN, HHC, THC-O, Delta-8, Delta-10 or THCP will follow the same regulations and limits as delta-9-THC.


🇪🇸 In Spain, the renewed left-wing government has announced that medical regulation will go ahead in the next months after delays in the last term.


🇫🇷 In France, medical cannabis has been given the go-ahead for pain relief in French hospitals, broadening the uses of cannabis in the country’s medical sector.


🇩🇪 In Germany, the first pillar of legalisation has been blocked by the socialist party, marking a setback that will see decriminalisation and clubs approved not earlier than April or May.


🇮🇱 In Israel the implementation of new cannabis regulations has been delayed by three months, but starting January 1st cannabis is no longer considered a last line of treatment in Israel, easing the conditions to obtain a prescritpion.


🇧🇷 In Brazil, São Paulo has regulated medicinal cannabis in the public health system, and the regional government intends to produce cannabis medicines to alleviate expenses on imported products.


🇨🇴 Colombia said no to the legalisation of the adult-use cannabis market that could have provided much needed opportunities to industry players. Meanwhile, the government is discussing the legalisation of the cultivation of coca and poppy.


🇱🇺 In Luxembourg, the new government will not completely legalize cannabis, putting a halt to hopes for broader cannabis reform beyond decriminalisation.


🇨🇷 In Costa Rica the Broad Front party has submitted a bill decriminalising the home cultivation of cannabis.


🇵🇹 The regional government of the Azores in Portugal is investing in industrial hemp as an emerging crop.


Infographic of the month: 2023 recap



2. Market and Company Updates:

🌐 In 2023 global cannabis M&A transactions have been reduced to pre-2019 levels.


🇦🇺 A Penington Institute report suggests that Australians spent A$234M (U$159M) on medical cannabis in 2022, while the first semester of 2023 saw sales jumping to A$210M. The report points that prohibition of cannabis is ineffective and advocates for doctors to prescribe it to reduce harms.


🇮🇱 Amid the ongoing war in Israel the number of cannabis patients continues to surge, exceeding 135,000 license holders for the first time.


🇬🇧 In the United Kingdom, a survey conducted by Grow Pharma has found support for medical cannabis among UK health professionals, with 65% of respondents agreeing that medical cannabis should be available on the NHS.


🇩🇪 In Germany, a survey conducted by Cantourage reveals large regional differences in access to medicinal cannabis, with Western cities ahead of Eastern and Southern ones.


🇿🇦 South African dreams for a $5B industry go up in smoke: despite support of President in official statements, no progress has been made to the confusing legal situation. Decriminalisation bill remains stuck in the National Assembly.

  • One of its largest growing facilities, Highlands Investment, was auctioned for just R18.8M ($1M).
  • SafriCanna, a licensed South African grower, ships new strains to Australian partner ANTG.
  • Officials from a province have pledged to support the newly licensed hemp growers.


🇨🇭 In Switzerland, the Europe’s first legal cannabis specialty store, “Grashaus Projects,” has officially launched in Basel-country in collaboration with the Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research (ISGF) and German Sanity Group.


🇨🇦 Canadian wholesale prices appear to be rebounding in the end of 2023, with dry flower prices increasing in the higher THC levels, particularly as a factor of smaller lot sizes which carry less bulk discounts. This could alleviate the situation caused by the ill-conceived excise tax which accounted for 20-35% of gross sales by licensed producers in 2022.


🇷🇴 Romania-based major CBD manufacturer CanX has been hit by police raid over HHC products, despite the fact that the status of the hemp-derived psychoactive compound has not been clarified in the country.


🇫🇷 In France, local brand Équilibre CBD has been acquired by French-Canadian company Fuga, which will market its CBD products in Québec, and plans to expand its presence in the French market after it signed an agreement with Sanity group in Germany.


🇵🇹 In Portugal, Somaì plans to submit 20 marketing authorisation applications to launch medical cannabis products in the nascent Portuguese market.


🇵🇱 In Poland, Can4med has successfully imported and rapidly distributed an additional 50 kg of medical cannabis in Poland.


🇮🇪 In Irelanda patient survey reveals that a majority of patients are not aware of the possibility of legal access, and a majority of those who tried to obtained it were refused.


🇨🇿 Uruguayan Flextem Biopharma launches products in the Czech Republic through collaboration with Czech Medical Herbs.


🇨🇴 Blueberries Medical has announced a $1.3M private placement led by Terraflos. BG labs, a Colombian medical cannabis producer, obtained its EU-GMP from German inspectors.


🇧🇪 Belgian CBD retailer Florapoint rebrands as Green Grown Cannabis Store with ambitious plans to jump from current 4 stores to 10 or more during 2024.


🇦🇷 Six permits for the production and commercialization of medicinal cannabis have been approved in Argentina, one of the most promising markets in Latin America.


3. Science updates

🇬🇧 Data from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry run by the private Sapphire Clinics has shown an improvement in quality of life of ADHD patients treated with cannabis.


🇺🇸 A large real-world study with 10,000 patients is planned to launch in the US promoted by John Hopkings Medicine with a $10M grant by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


🇳🇱 A research platform in the Netherlands including Signify and Paradise Seeds among others has obtained an R&D license to produce cannabis.


🇨🇭 A Swiss survey among psychiatrists show support for legalisation of recreational cannabis, while agreeing that cannabis can be efficacious to treat mental health disorders.


🇩🇰 A report on adverse effects of medical cannabis in the Danish scheme has been published, showing no safety issues with products authorised in the country.


🇿🇦 A study on commercially available CBD products in South Africa shows mislabeling and inconsistencies in CBD concentration, with some products containing no detectable CBD, while others had significantly less CBD than claimed.


💊 MIRA Pharmaceuticals is conducting research on MIRA1, a synthetic cannabis substitute to treat anxiety and cognitive decline.


🧑‍⚕️An open label study on the use of a low-THC full-spectrum extract for autism has shown improvement in 93% of participants.


🧑‍⚕️A study compared isolate and broad-spectrum based CBD products for stress management: both were highly effective, with greater effectiveness for the broad-spectrum product.


🧑‍⚕️ Despite lack of comprehensive clinical trials, cannabinoids have potential for skin diseases such as eczemas, psoriasis, acne, pruritus, hair loss and skin cancer, a review shows.


🧑‍⚕️ Cannabis essential oils show anti-neuroinflammatory properties. Sesquiterpenes, such as α-humulene, contribute to the anti-inflammatory activity of the essential oils.


🍃Cannabis skunk-like pungent aroma is caused by a newly discovered family of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which increase during the flowering stage and drop after storage.


🍃A study has shown cannabinoids increase protection against herbivores in the cannabis plant. Other hypothesis on its adaptative value include protection against UV radiation and pathogens.


🎓A study on the demographics of vaping showed greater use of disposable e-cigs by Gen Z women, while LGBTQ+ participants reported greater use of THC and CBD vapes.


🎓A global study on victimisation of cannabis growers, both legal and legacy, shows that a majority have never experienced any violence, but a quarter of them have been robbed.

Tags :
Australia,Czech Republic,US
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