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In-Depth Coverage Of The Irish And European Markets

NEWSLETTER | 30 April 2024

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

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When summarising the difference between Germany’s original cannabis legalisation plans and the model it has since introduced, the term "not-for-profit" captures the essence. Originally promising to bring a fully legalised and commercialised market to Europe, similar to that seen in Canada, Germany had to settle on a not-for-profit model. While this model is still attractive for consumers, for businesses and investors who hoped to participate in a commercialised market, the result falls short of their expectations. For now, this not-for-profit model looks the most likely to be introduced in EU States that introduce similar cannabis policy reforms.

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“Based on the observation that traditional approaches to prohibition have failed to reduce cannabis consumption and the problems associated with it, such as trafficking and public health problems, the experiment proposes a triple approach focused on prevention, harm reduction and support for cannabis users.”

 

On one hand, France is the largest producer of hemp in Europe. On the other, it is sometimes seen as the "anti-Germany" in the European recreational cannabis space due to its influential position within the EU and its stringent approach to its cannabis policy. It is positive to see a French town, Bègles, bucking this trend by unveiling plans to trail a recreational cannabis market.

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Another country trialing a domestic recreational cannabis market is Switzerland. Switzerland benefits from the fact that it is not bound by European Union regulations, which have acted as a substantial blocker for EU States wishing to fully legalise and commercialise their domestic cannabis markets.

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Following the announcement of its closure, this result with the Home Office might be a consolation win for Jersey Hemp. After being granted the first licence in the UK to cultivate hemp for CBD extraction, and its successful crowdfunding campaign, the future was looking bright for Jersey Hemp. It then faced issues with the Home Office and its interpretation and enforcement of regulations relating to the presence of trace amounts of THC in CBD products. While this recent result does not go as far as setting the position in law, it will act as a helpful precedent for CBD businesses in the UK.

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“The new regulations, which have reportedly been ‘developed in collaboration with experienced growers’, offer three key changes for hemp farmers, due to come into force ‘for the 2025 growing season’.”

 

The Home Office's recent overhaul of the hemp licensing framework will hopefully facilitate the UK’s hemp sector's growth. This move looks to simplify the regulatory process for hemp farmers will lead to increased hemp crop diversification.

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“Macedonia has been hailed as the medical cannabis hub of Europe, thanks to its combination of good weather conditions and low cost of labor.”

 

Sometimes overlooked as a potential emerging powerhouse for cannabis cultivation, Macedonia promises to be the one of the most cost-efficient locations to produce cannabis in Europe. Cost efficiency is just one of the obstacles faced by cannabis producers. From climate to the regulatory landscape, finding the right fit can be challenging. The drying process of the harvested cannabis can be as important as the cultivation process that proceeds it.

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This initiative highlights the growing recognition of hemp's environmental benefits, particularly its carbon-sequestering capabilities and its use as a sustainable building material. For businesses and investors, this development showcases the potential for hemp in green construction.

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“Virgocoop received €75,000 in funding for the new decortication factory from the Occitanie regional government last year. Technical fibers turned out by the facility go into hemp yarn production and insulation for the construction industry. The Caylus facility has 25 production lines with different size outputs that can be combined with other materials such as wool or linen.”


In recent years, Irish hemp industry stakeholders have been calling for similar support from the Irish government to build robust hemp processing facilities within Ireland. A key source of funding and support for early stage Irish business, Enterprise Ireland, has ceased investing in hemp based businesses due to regulatory uncertainty in the space.

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These types of scams have become more common in recent years. The typical strategy is to find an emerging market, promise investors unrealistic investment returns, while providing little transparency as to where the investment returns are being generated. For the cannabis industry, what is particularly interesting about JuicyFields is its high profile at cannabis business events before the fraud was uncovered.

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©2024 by The Cannabis Review

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