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In-Depth Coverage Of The Irish And European Markets

NEWSLETTER | 28 February 2024

Updated: May 1

Our round up of the recent headlines of interest from the Irish and European cannabis markets.



Delays like this are not unexpected, particularly given the Government is likely considering how to proceed following the result of the recent Citizens' Assembly on Drugs Use. There may be more simple procedures to give effect to what this bill aims to achieve such as repealing parts of the Misuse of Drugs Act that criminalise drug possession.

Regardless of the mechanism that is used, the consensus is that cannabis law reform is now only a matter of time in Ireland. Less certain to what extent the liberalising of these laws will go.


Originally aimed at full-scale legalisation and regulation as seen in Canada, Germany faced significant hurdles, particularly from the European Commission, leading to a scale-back of its cannabis reform plans. This has been a letdown for some, especially businesses and investors who banked on a fully legalised and regulated market as part of their business strategy. Nonetheless, this step represents a pivotal milestone for European cannabis reform, particularly given Germany's influential position in the EU.


While medical use is permitted, the recreational use of cannabis is subject to restrictions at an international and European level. The European Commission turned out to be a significant hurdle for Germany to overcome in its quest to legalise its recreational cannabis market. Despite these hurdles, recent developments indicate a potential shift in attitude, with the European Commission considering initiatives that could pave the way for permitting a more liberalised approach to its policy regarding cannabis.


“Malta’s first adult-use “cannabis club” is fully operational, a little more than two years after the European Union country adopted a law that liberalized its marijuana rules.”

Malta's strategic decision was always to pursue a decriminalisation approach, as opposed to full legalisation as was proposed first in Luxembourg and more recently in Germany and Czech Republic. Malta’s less ambitious approach saw it face fewer hurdles than jurisdictions that set out on a full legalisation approach.


The Thai cannabis industry faces uncertainty as to what its future will look like. In contrast to Europe's cautious approach, the Thai approach saw cannabis decriminalised overnight with little to no regulations as to how the industry would be governed. New draft legislation promises to ensure what was originally proposed, that cannabis may be for medical purposes, while prohibiting its recreational use.

Time will tell if Thailand's medical cannabis industry will more closely resemble that of North America where the medical market operates essentially like a recreational market due to easy access.  Or, will Thailand’s framework more closely resemble the stringent medical cannabis protocols seen in parts of Europe, where access to medical cannabis remains significantly constrained.




Investments in Germany's cannabis space have been driven by investor interest in its plans to fully legalise and regulate its cannabis market, giving rise to opportunities in both medical and recreational markets. Since announcing its scaled back recreational plans, regulatory uncertainty has made Germany less attractive to some investors. However, as we can see, substantial investments in the space are still being made.


“This strategic move marks a significant milestone for both companies and underscores Curaleaf’s commitment to enhancing patient access to high-quality medical cannabis products across Europe.  boasts one of largest patient populations seeking medical cannabis; by joining forces with Can4Med, Curaleaf International gains a strong foothold in this dynamic market, allowing it to serve patients more effectively and expand its product offerings.”

This is not the first time we’ve seen a North American cannabis business make a significant step into the European cannabis market, via Poland, through a strategic acquisition.



Bedrocan has become well known to Irish medical cannabis consumers as the main supplier to patients who access cannabis through Ministerial Licence. The Ministerial License route offers patients a means to obtain medical cannabis for products not included in Ireland’s Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) and for conditions not permitted under the MCAP, notably chronic pain.




“Indoor cannabis cultivation is renowned for its high energy consumption and carbon footprint, presenting a significant challenge to the sustainability goals of the industry. Glass Pharms has ingeniously tackled this issue by harnessing power and heat from an adjoining anaerobic digestion plant.“

As Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) requirements have gained traction in the global corporate responsibility space, industries with high energy demands are increasingly scrutinised for their environmental impact. Glass Pharms' proactive approach in addressing these challenges marks a significant step towards aligning cannabis cultivation practices with sustainable and environmentally responsible methods.



Jersey has shifted from a relatively strict cannabis policy, compared to its European neighbours, to decriminalising personal use. This move towards a health and social-based approach allows for fines instead of criminal charges for small possession, reflecting a broader trend towards lenient cannabis regulation and highlighting the potential economic benefits from the medical cannabis sector, signalling a significant change in Jersey's approach to cannabis.




©2024 by The Cannabis Review

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