Why is this increase in imported medical cannabis so important for Germany?
Last year, three licensed producers, Aurora, Aphria, and Demecan, started growing medical cannabis in Germany. However, I’ve seen statements from all three producers that it is highly likely we will not see the first harvest in Germany before the end of 2020, and that’s if everything goes well.
Looking at the past, the quantities imported into Germany have significantly increased over the years. In 2015, the maximum quantity confirmed by the INCB for the import of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes into Germany was about 1,500 kilograms. When the liberalization of medical cannabis took place in 2017, the quantities increased to 10.38 tonnes. This amount remained stable at approximately 10.69 tonnes in 2018.
In 2019, patient demand increased dramatically and the INCB confirmed a quantity for the import of medical and scientific cannabis of about 20.77 tonnes. Thus, the annual maximum quantity for the import of cannabis to Germany had almost doubled in comparison to the previous year.
The essential question was what was going to happen in 2020? Due to unknown reasons – probably the coronavirus pandemic and the stagnation of new patients in doctors’ practices – the INCB first defined an import quantity of only 16.1 tonnes for 2020. Importers soon noticed that this amount would not be sufficient to meet patient demand.
Recently, the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) reacted and filed an application with the INCB to increase the 16.1 tonnes by about 12.36 tonnes, which means we would reach over 28 tonnes of medical and scientific cannabis for import in 2020. The respective application is still pending and has not yet been approved by the INCB.
The estimated quantities by the INCB include cannabis for scientific and medical purposes, cannabis flowers for direct treatment of patients and for the manufacture of dronabinol, and extracts as well as the finished product Sativex® and other prescribable cannabis extracts.