May 2024 Brief

We are delighted to welcome you to May’s cannabis brief. The format has been changed to consolidate country information together: we expect you enjoy it and appreciate your feedback.

In May we are seeing contradictory signals, with the beginning of the formal process of rescheduling in the US coinciding with proposed amendments to close loopholes of the farm bill. Key figures from the last month include:

  • German seed sales exploding: 7% of Germans have already bought.
  • Canadian exports in the last fiscal year reach C$218m.
  • Only 63 prescribers left after failed Israeli reform.
  • Brazilian medicinal CBD revenues soar 202% year-on-year.
  • 90,000 Polish patients acquired over 2.6 tonnes of cannabis last year.


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Infographic of the Month: Medical Cannabis Sales in Italy

Explore the Latest Insights on Italy’s medical cannabis market. Our latest article dives deep into the challenges and opportunities shaping its future. Discover the situation of supply, existing bureaucratic hurdles and the need for streamlined access, and obtain invaluable insights into revitalising the Italian medical sector.


๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation

Rescheduling progress in the US, but hemp-derived cannabinoid loopholes might be closed. German clubs get ready to launch from July 1st, while Israeli shift to a prescription-based model is failing. Cannabis advertising crackdown in Australia. Increasingly conservative turn in France and Italy, while South Africadecriminalises.

๐Ÿ’ผ Market

German cultivation supplies market explodes, with record sales of seeds and cuttings. New export record in Canada despite cooling of the domestic market. New medical market entries in Australia and the UK, and CBD product launches in France and Morocco. Brasil sets new records with over 400,000 units sold in Q1.


Daily cannabis use of cannabis is now higher than alcohol in the United States.


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States:

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulations: the formal process to reschedule cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug has been initiated. Public comments are accepted until the end of July, process could be completed before November election, but judicial review might delay it for months or years.


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: only one public cannabis company, Green Thumb Industries, posted a profit in 2023: despite $9b in revenue losses amounted to $2b last year.


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: In the USA, daily or near-daily cannabis use now surpasses alcohol use, indicating a shift in patterns of substance use in the country.


๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany:

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: In Germany, pharmacies demand a switch to over-the-counter for medical cannabis prescriptions in response to increase in cannabis prescriptions after legalisation, some of which coming from other European countries:


๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ’ผ Market: German market positive trend after legalisation perseveres, with most medical cannabis players seeing up to 100% growth. German production in 2023 amounted to 1.7 tonnes of cannabis, while nearly 8 tonnes of flower were imported in Q1 2024.


๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: Advanced athletes respond differently to oral CBD application on recovery and performance.


๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada:

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: Cannabis growers in Canada are advocating for a shift in regulatory oversight from Health to Agriculture, as they face challenges accessing credit programs and farmer economic policies.


๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In Canada, medical cannabis exports reached a record high of CA$218 million in the 2023-24 fiscal year, despite continued fall in domestic medical sales, dropping 13% in the last fiscal year.


๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: Avicanna completes study on CBD topical cream to treat Epidermolysis Bullosa, showing improvements in wound healing, pain, and itch.


๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Israel:

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulations: Failure looms over recent Israeli medical cannabis reforms, following a steep market contraction after moving patients to prescription-based model from the previous licenses.

  • The shortage of specialist doctors with only 63 prescribers have hindered the implementation of the reform, with patients going back to personal cultivation and illicit market.
  • Cries to allow CBD in food products and regulating both local production and imports are spreading, but regulator warns of potentially long product approval procedures and Novel Foods authorisation after CBD is removed from the drug ordinance list.


๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: Israeli market continues to contract following the change from a license to a prescription model in April, with 4000 patients less in May.


๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: CBD treatment has high adherence (75%) among autistic children, study exploring factors influencing adherence to medical cannabis treatment finds.


๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia:

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: In Australia, crackdown against unlawful medicinal cannabis advertising is underway, as unconventional promotion and aggressive advertising by clinics have caught the TGAโ€™s attention:


๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In Australia, May saw new commercial agreements, facilities being inaugurated and market entry by additional foreign suppliers:


๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: Open-label trial of transdermal CBD sponsored by Avecho Biotechnology shows promise for managing hand osteoarthritis pain.


๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom:

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: Survey in the United Kingdom finds 80% of Gen Z support legalisation of cannabis.


๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In the UK**, Growth Industries Pharma**, the first cannabis production facility in Ireland, has been granted permission to convert an industrial unit in Co Antrim, to begin production in 2025.


๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: Avata Biosciences, previously Sapient Therapeutics, is developing solid dose cannabinoid medicines for epilepsy and other neurological diseases.


๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France:

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: In France, doubts over the generalisation of the medical scheme planned for 2025 are increasing due to the lack of governmental support: Health Minister is against going further than the experimentation, following the withdrawal of flowers from the scheme.


๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: French medical cultivator LaFleur ventures into CBD flower with the launch of its own range of the Enectaliana variety.

  • Online market leader has experienced over 800% growth since its acquisition by Swiss Phytocann after launching own storefronts and expanding to UK market.
  • Hemp cultivation in France has tripled in the past decade, with 23,600 hectares sown in 2024 to cover growth in demand of composites for building and textile industries.
  • UK CBD seltzer brand Goodrays launches in France with Carrefour, the world’s seventh largest retailer, despite French brands affected by novel foods.
  • France Botanique Services has unveiled three new feminised varieties of CBD hemp available in the French market, each meticulously developed by Pure 5.


๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands:

๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: New coalition government in the Netherlands to emphasise a strict approach to drug possession, sales, and production.


๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: Dutch illicit market estimated at โ‚ฌ1.6 billion, with only โ‚ฌ200 million from imports.


๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain:

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: In Spain, Madrid regional government pushes against cannabis and CBD with a law to protect minors from consumption; Spanish Health Minister insists only medicinal cannabis is on the cards.

  • Agricultural Ministry reiterates support for industrial hemp in the presentation of the Industrial Hemp Cluster industry association.
  • Food security regulator removes HHC gummies from the market.
  • ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡จ The Parliament of the Canary Islands supports development of the medicinal cannabis industry, seeking to leverage its tropical climate allowing for year-round cultivation.


๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In Spain, Cannaflos Genetics has obtained authorisation by the AEMPS to commercialise genetics from its facility in Valencia.


๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ”ฌScience: Phytoplant Research and the University of Cรณrdoba will collaborate on researching the use of cannabis derivatives in extending the shelf life of agricultural products.


๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brasil:

๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: In Brasil, medicinal regulator publishes an evaluation of the current regulatory framework:

  • Authorisations should be made available for topicals and sublingual products.
  • Pharmacies ought to be allowed to produce magistral preparations from CBD isolate.


๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ’ผ Market: Brazil sets new record in medicinal cannabis sales in Q1 2024, with over 417,000 units being sold, a 151% increase year on year, generating R$163.7 million revenues (U$31.2m), a 202% increase from the previous year, despite average prices dropping by 7%.


๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Morocco:

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: Moroccan cannabis reform intensifies with the approval of the first CBD products in its domestic market and calls to open up to recreational products, in order to fight illicit drug trafficking, and reap economic benefits.


๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: Potential of cannabis in Morocco estimated capable to generate 4 to 6.3 billion dirhams ($400-$630m) by 2028, holding 10-15% market share in the European market. The domestic CBD market is seeing approval of first locally-manufactured products:


๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: Chemical analysis identified linoleic acid, oleic acid, ฮฑ-linolenic acid, and palmitic acid as main components of Moroccan Cannabis sativa seed oil.


๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa:

๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: South African president signed a law decriminalising cannabis in a surprising move hours ahead of elections, which saw the ruling ANC losing its majority despite remaining the largest party.

  • The new law expunges criminal records and allows personal possession and growing up to 4 plants, but does not contemplate legal sales. The bill removes cannabis from the list of controlled substances, enabling further reforms in medicinal and plant legislation.


๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In South Africa, The Health Company exported its first batch of medical cannabis to Australia.


๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy:

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: Italian right-wing government proposes amendment to the 2016 Hemp Law forbid โ€˜cannabis lightโ€™, outlawing the entire legal hemp flower supply chain.

  • Minister claims that a loophole has allowed a secondary market of flowers of up to 0.6% THC causing risks to public health. Some 3,000 businesses integrate the Italian supply chain.


๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น ๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: Minor phytocannabinoids such as CBG, CBC, CBN, and CBDV show promise as anticancer agents for multiple myeloma.


๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland:

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: Polish Deputy Minister of Health suggests that standards for importing medical cannabis should be increased, as the Ministry investigates the threefold increase in prescriptions.


๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In 2023, 2.6 tonnes of medical cannabis were sold in Poland, benefiting 90,000 patients, with a value of 185 million PLN ($47m).


๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic:

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: Czech lower chamber approves sales of โ€˜low riskโ€™ drugs such as HHC and kratom from 2025, while vowing to prevent access to children, also banning minors from acquiring e-cigarrettes.


๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In the Czech Republic, CBD grower Zenplanto Farms has obtained GMP certification and intends to produce medical cannabis for both Czech and international markets.


๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: Activation of cannabinoid receptors has unique properties between HHC compared to THC, showcasing potential of HHC as a therapeutic compound with distinct pharmacodynamics.


๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland:

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In Switzerland, German LP Demecan will deliver medical cannabis products to Switzerland through a partnership with Pure Pharma.


๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: New method allows for the simultaneous quantification of terpenes and cannabinoids.


๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด Colombia:

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In Colombia, only 18 cannabis companies remained active in 2023, with nearly 70% not reporting operations last year.


๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark:

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In Denmark, Tetra Pharm Technologies partners with Kvantify to accelerate endocannabinoid system drug discovery using quantum computing, AI, and computer-aided drug design.

  • DanCann Pharma sold 14,000 packages in Denmark in 2023, generating sales of DKK 6.1 million (U$ 890k) and a net loss of DKK -62.3 million (U$9.1m).


๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ ๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: Danish study finds cannabinoid and terpene contents in available medical cannabis tea to be highly variable, limiting its potential as a dosage form.


๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand:

๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: In New Zealand, a judge expressed concern about licensed growers sourcing seeds and plants from illicit sources, as it appears as government-sanctioned cultivation of cannabis.


๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In New Zealand, Aurora Cannabis has completed its first shipment of branded dried flowers.


๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand:

๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: Thailand‘s Public Health Minister announced that only cannabis buds will be relisted as a narcotic, with a planned directive clarifying regulations and establishing new licensing system.



๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ’ผ Market: In Belgium, Flemish firefighters are using hemp to decontaminate soil polluted with PFAS.


๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: Some songbirds almost exclusively feed on hempseed, while others show no clear preference.


๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น Malta:

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Regulation: In Malta, despite legalisation-light and clubs, consumers are still criminalised over CBD flower.


๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ”ฌ Science: University of Malta and Cannaflos Research Labs collaborate on medical cannabis research, aiming to establish Malta as a competence center.


๐Ÿ›๏ธ Other regulatory updates:

๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ตย In Japan, the Ministry of Health is accepting public comments on cannabis regulations concerning cultivation licenses, enforcement measures and THC testing rules.


๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Slovenians will vote on cannabis legalisation in a non-binding referendum together with European elections in June 9: for both medical purposes and for limited personal use.


๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต Nepal legalises cannabis cultivation for medicinal production, government is now developing detailed regulations to ensure controlled and responsible use of cannabis for medicinal production.


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ณย A global treaty intends to regulate intellectual property and genetic resources of indigenous peoples and traditional communities.


๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ Zimbabwe wants to explore large-scale cannabis production as an alternative crop to tobacco.


๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฉ ๐Ÿฆ Shopkeepers in the small Pyrenean nation of Andorra advocate for CBD regulation.


๐Ÿ’ผ Other market updates:

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น In Portugal, Somaรญ expands partnership with Cookies to produce branded products for Germany, UK and other global jurisdictions, from its recently acquired cultivation facility.


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡พ In Uruguay, Goland Hemp Foods sales grew 400% in one year as it expanded distribution to large supermarkets, Amazon in the US and other Latin American countries.

  • Flextem Biopharma began exporting finished extracts as the first Uruguayan laboratory to obtain registration to export high-THC pharmaceutical products.


๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท In Argentina the first legal clone distribution center, Clon Factory, opened in Buenos Aires offering an information and advisory hub for genetic qualities and characteristics.

  • First edible hemp oil has been allowed after incorporation into the National Food Code.


๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Curaleaf launches medical cannabis clinic in Sweden through UK subsidiary Sapphire Clinics, contributing patient data to a new observational study at the Karolinska Institute.


๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ Hemp biomass exports from Ecuador to the US are exploding, with Barad SA shipping 30 tonnes after cultivating 25 hectares and an investment of U$300,000.


๐ŸŒŽ New UN report shows U$213 million of hemp seeds and fibers were traded in 2022, despite data discrepancies between national and international organisations.


๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ukrainian company Ma’rijany Hemp is building one of Europe’s largest hemp factories to produce long and short hemp fiber, as well as shives.


๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฐ In North Macedonia, Ohrid Organics inks first order to the UK: 50kg per month priced at โ‚ฌ2.5/gr.


๐Ÿ”ฌ Other science updates

๐ŸŒ Global survey on small-scale cannabis growers’ distribution practices finds that only 8% grow primarily to sell, despite 69% sharing, giving away or swapping with friends and family.


๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ Phytocannabinoids show promising neuromodulatory effects for personalised neuropsychiatric treatment.


๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ Chinese review finds CBD exhibiting diverse therapeutic effects, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antipsychotic properties.


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