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In-Depth Coverage Of The Irish And European Markets

NEWSLETTER | 31 January 2023


We read all the news, so you don’t have to.

Our round up of the recent headlines of interest...

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Edible cannabis products, particularly jellies marketed as children’s sweets, continue to receive negative press in the Irish media. It’s disappointing, yet unsurprising, that the media continues to use misleading headlines when reporting negative reactions to drugs, such as in circumstances like these. The article goes on to clarify that these jellies contain synthetic cannabinoids, and not cannabis derived THC.


The cannabis industry does itself no favours by marketing products in a way that appeals to children. Such marketing practices cannot expect to survive in a legitimised and regulated market.

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“However, The Hemp Federation of Ireland (HFI) says the EC must intervene to protect Irish consumers and industry operators as Irish police and courts prepare to proceed with further penal charges and hearings.”


For those waiting for further details of the extent of the European Commission’s (EC) investigation into the Irish courts’ handling of a recent CBD related case, it appears to have been wishful thinking by some, rather than foretelling of action that the EC was undertaking.


There are some that claim that Irish hemp and CBD businesses are subject to draconian treatment by the Irish authorities, which is out of touch with EU law. The reality is that, although there are some differences depending on jurisdiction, Irish hemp and CBD regulations are mostly in line with what is seen across the EU.

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“One veteran TD said: ‘This assembly is not being set up to say no. Like the rest of them, it is being set up as a Trojan Horse. It is being used to prepare the ground. We know how this works.’”


The sense of a cannabis policy reform ‘Trojan Horse’ is now very real in Ireland, in line with the rest of the western-EU. From last month’s Oireachtas Justice Committee report to a recent pro-medical cannabis story line in national broadcaster, RTÉ’s Fair City, there are lots of indications from within the Irish government, and its various arms, that they are preparing the population for upcoming reform in this space.

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“Hilltop Leaf has already completed construction of the 11,000 square metre production facility in the south of Scotland. It hopes to become one of the biggest UK producers of medicinal cannabis products.”


When considering the location of Europe’s future cannabis cultivation hubs, it is usually Southern Europe that comes to mind. Such a facility in Scotland, and its receiving of this significant investment, will act as motivation for anyone considering a similar set up in Ireland.

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“The new investment of £2m follows on from an initial £3m from SNIB in 2021 which unlocked a further £800,000 in grant funding from Zero Waste Scotland and £250,000 from South of Scotland Enterprise”


A significant Scottish government backed investment into a Scottish hemp insulation company. Irish hemp businesses have seen government backed investment, through Enterprise Ireland (EI), cut off. This SNIB investment will give Irish hemp businesses cause for optimism that they will soon become re-eligible for similar support.

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As with similar cases taken across the EU such as in Ireland and Germany, where the courts ruled against the CBD stakeholders, France’s recent positive ruling seems it may not mark the end of this matter in France.


It seems destined that these issues will be resolved through one of two potential routes. The first being that they will be appealed all the way through the relevant national courts until they are heard before the Court of Justice of the European Union. The second is that as expected cannabis policy reform sweeps across the EU, these restrictions will no longer apply once national legislation is amended to make way for regulated recreational cannabis markets. Both of these routes lead to a positive outcome for CBD industry stakeholders.

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Thailand’s cannabis industry currently operates in a ‘green rush’ and ‘grey area’. Depending on who you ask, or the part of the country that you are in, you will hear different accounts of what is permitted and what is not. Regardless, cannabis is widely available across Thailand.


A notable omission for the list is if consuming cannabis ‘on site’ in the dispensary is permitted. In the capital, Bangkok, the generally accepted position is that the answer is no. This is likely fueled by recent enforcement action. Outside of Bangkok, consumption on site is a non-issue, for now.


Thailand has quickly become a great destination for cannabis tourism. The coming months and years will reveal the regulatory framework that cannabis businesses must operate in, and the shape that Thailand’s cannabis industry will take. Stakeholders are hopeful that any further restrictions that might be introduced, will not overly limit the industry and its further growth.

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Dispenseroo, an UK based online cannabis sales service, continues to receive media attention. Having first come to public attention with its gorilla marketing campaign, it continues to operate.


If not an official stance with some policing bodies across Europe, cannabis sales seem to be as low on the priority list as ever, with some policing bodies having little interest in investigating such acts.


The publicity received by Dispenseroo might end up being the incentive that one of the relevant UK policing bodies needs to finally take action. Perhaps it will continue to operate like the countless other, less well reported on, similar services across Europe.

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“They must be non-profit and can only sell their own product, meaning that only seeds can be imported from abroad. This means that cannabis legally sold in Malta must be grown in the country.”


Similar to the cannabis clubs widely seen across Spain, Malta is now in the process of rolling out its own licenced clubs, following regulatory reforms to liberalise its domestic cannabis market.


In its recent drugs policy report, the Oireachtas Justice Committee recommended that further research be carried out into the potential benefits and drawbacks of such clubs if introduced in Ireland.

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The Czech Republic is keeping up the pace to introduce its regulated recreational cannabis market alongside Germany. Germany has been the EU State most widely covered in the headlines since promising to regulate its recreational cannabis market. The Czech Republic followed soon after when it revealed its plans to introduce its own recreational cannabis market in tandem with Germany.


For governments across the EU, focus will remain mostly on Germany’s next moves. Once Germany introduces its legal framework, it will give other EU States the encouragement they need to follow suit. This is something that states that have made similar moves recently such as Malta, Luxembourg, and indeed the Czech Republic, cannot provide to the same extent.

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©2023 by The Cannabis Review



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