November 2023 Brief

Dear reader, welcome to your monthly cannabis brief.

We discuss the Netherlands getting ready to launch the supply chain experiment in December, German legalisation delays and draft changes, Japan and Canada approving pharmaceutical cannabis products, and US rescheduling debates.

Australian, UK and Brazilian medical markets remain highly dynamic with new entries, Germany, Portugal, Israel and Australia publish import/export data, while market consolidation perseveres in Canada.

Clinical research on applications of CBD to treat glaucoma, heart disease, autism or melanoma shows that we are only scratching the surface of cannabinoid medicine.

We hope you enjoy this month’s cannabis brief!

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1. Regulatory updates:

In the Netherlands, the political landscape is changing with the victory of far-right PVV in parliamentary elections, which was one of few parties to oppose the supply chain experiment.

In Germany, the entry into force of the cannabis law is being delayed to April 1, 2024. Regulations for cultivation associations are postponed to July 1st, 2024.

  • Some of the stringest regulations are being relaxed, such as the ban zone for the smoking of cannabis around schools and youth facilities, or the possession amounts that entail a criminal liability.
  • A poll on public attitudes towards legalisation shows a stalemate in public support.
  • A survey among cannabis associations carried out by CSC-Maps shows that clubs plan to offer lower prices than the black market, while finding areas for cultivation/distribution, and the financial support to carry out investments are their main concerns.
  • Additionally, the tender process for medical cannabis cultivation is being scrapped, with an open licensing system being introduced, and removing limits on products that domestic growers can supply.
  • Industrial hemp clauses allowing the prosecution of farmers for hot crops are not being scrapped in the new legislation for the time being.

Japan has legalised pharmaceutical cannabis production and use with the intended goal to allow patient access to Epidyolex, currently under clinical trials in the country.

  • The Japanese government is considering the banning of HHCH and similar semi-synthetic cannabinoids, following intoxication of 5 individuals from unregulated gummies at a festival.

Canada has approved Jazz’s CBD pharmaceutical Epidiolex for child epilepsy.

In Argentina, the presidential victory of Javier Milei opens up uncertainty as to the future of cannabis regulations in the country. While in favour of drug liberalisation, the current model based on public-owned companies will suffer from budget cuts.

In Israel the new medical cannabis dosing categories are rolling out soon, with the inclusion of more categories such as T22 and a reduction in content deviation vs label to only 10%.

Hemp vs Marijuana war in the US takes form of lawsuits regarding the status of minor cannabinoids and licensing rules in legal markets, as potential rescheduling of cannabis looms:

New therapeutic vape regulations in Australia could impact medical cannabis manufacturers through new import procedures and quality standards.

In the UK a conservative MP is pushing for the creation of a ‘special fund’ to guarantee children can access medicinal cannabis.

CBD oils, drinks and capsules get recalled in France due to excess cannabinoid concentration. Neighbours are against the construction of a medical cannabis farm in Dordogne.

In Spain the new left-wing cabinet has taken office with a pro-legalisation medical doctor as Health minister.

Medical cannabis law stopped in the Ukrainian parliament due to high number of ammends by opposition to the bill.

Thai government drafts rules to tighten up cannabis market with uncertain effects.

Rio de Janeiro in Brazil introduces a program to distribute CBD medicines free of charge.

In Morocco, the first legal shipment of cannabis took place in the Northern region of Chauen.


Infographic of the month: Australian market

2. Market and Company Updates:

A survey conducted by Medigrowth reveals 6% of Australians have used medical cannabis under prescription and 22% have considered obtaining it.

The UK market remains in a state of flux with updates in both the medical cannabis and CBD sectors of the country:

EMCDDA publishes analysis on the European illicit cannabis market: worth €11 billion, over 20 million Europeans have consumed cannabis in the last year. Trend towards a higher THC concentration perseverates in the unregulated market.

Germany saw a new records in imports of medical cannabis in Q3 2023, with almost 25 tonnes of flower or flower-equivalent extracts imported in the first three quarters of the year.

Rescaling of Canadian licensed cultivation peseveres, with estimates that 1/3 of Canadian greenhouse and indoor cultivation have been taken offline.

In Brazil, pharmaceutical giant Eurofarma enters CBD market by achieving registration of 4 extracts in the booming market, growing exponentially according to a recent report:

Historical basque seed bank Dinafem is finally making itself heard after enduring a police raid of over 400kg of seeds in 2020 and forced to stop operations in Spain.

In California, the largest cannabis distributor Grassdoor has collapsed, easing operations and laying off all employees. This follows the collapse of Herbl that closed doors in June.

Israeli government published statistics on international cannabis trade revealing a sharp decrease in importations from 24 tonnes in 2022 to just over 15 tonnes in 2023.

  • Canada remains the largest supplier by far, while Portugal and Uruguay decrease their share as suppliers to the Israeli market.

In Portugal, INFARMED unveils that 5.4 tonnes were exported in the first half of the year.

  • While exports to Israel dropped to a halt, the Polish and Australian market are opening up to Portuguese production.
  • Lisbon-based extractor Somaì inks supply deal with Cannaforest to manufacture APIs.

In France, the first domestic LP Delled-LaFleur has produced cannabis extracts for the first time.

Indian ayurveda medicine producer HempStreet bags $1M funding to expand product range, carry out clinical trials and explore international markets.

Jujuy public enterprise Cannava has registered the first Argentinian-grown CBD medicine for sale throughout the country.

Cannasouth launches flower grown in New Zealand to local patients.

The first private medicinal cannabis clinic Medicann has opened in Ireland.

Emilia-Romagna region seeks to develop hemp supply chain with €500k loan.


3. Science updates


CBD clinical studies to treat a variety of minor ailments are progressing:

DEMECAN and the University of Düsseldorf begin a study on spasticity in multiple sclerosis.

Study on Cannabichromene (CBC), a minor cannabinoid, shows anti-inflammatory potential.

Genetic factors are related to cannabis use disorder, a multi-ancestry genome study finds.

A study on the impact of fertilisation and pruning shows nitrogen does not increase cannabinoid concentration, sunlight distribution is key for yields and potency.

Australian project seeks to identify the best-performing hemp varietiesin the country.

17th century Italians were using cannabis, a forensic analysis in Milan reveals.

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