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In-Depth Coverage Of The Irish And European Markets

NEWSLETTER | 31 May 2023

We read all the news, so you don’t have to. Our round up of the recent headlines of interest from the Irish and European cannabis markets.


“For businesses, particularly those who have spent the past year positioning themselves to take advantage of the upcoming adult-use market, Mr Moshkovits says ‘their business models have just evaporated; they have no reason to exist right now’. He also suggested that legalisation in Germany as a full-blown commercial model ‘is probably postponed for the next ten years, if not forever.”

Germany’s scaled back plans for its legal cannabis market were met with a mixed reception. For some, it was a great step forward for a European powerhouse to make significant steps towards legalising the recreational use of cannabis. For others, it was a step back from what was promised, one which will significantly impact the businesses that hoped to operate in a fully legalised and regulated market.


“Vera gave numerous interviews over a three-year period in which she said she was desperate to gain access to THC to prevent her daughter’s severe epilepsy attacks. She also assisted other parents who were in similar positions to her.”

Access to medical cannabis in Ireland, and in the United Kingdom, was spurred by heart-breaking stories like that of Ava. Stories of children with rare and acute forms of epilepsy whose condition was greatly improved by access to medical cannabis, and their mothers who fought tirelessly for their children’s right to access it.


The decriminalisation of all drugs looks likely to be, at least one of, the positive recommendations following the Citizens' Assembly on Drugs Use. Time will tell what this means for the wider cannabis industry in Ireland. In its drug policy report, the Oireachtas Justice Committee recommended that further research be carried out into the potential for cannabis social clubs in Ireland, as are common in Spain and are now emerging in other parts of Europe.


‘Cali weed’ (cannabis sourced from California) has exploded in popularity and availability across Ireland in recent years. Darknet markets were traditionally the source for smaller shipments from North America. Its increased availability shows that larger shipments are arriving in Ireland and frequently. In some cases, it’s a matter of filling a suitcase and boarding a commercial flight hoping that the contents won’t be flagged by airport security.


“The researchers, from McGill University, in Montreal, Harvard Medical School, in Boston and the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, among others, say about a third of all cancer patients and two-thirds of those who are terminally ill experience moderate to severe pain.”

Irish universities continue their research into the potential benefits for cannabis products from industrial hemp to medical cannabis. It’s a positive sign to see Irish universities being at the forefront of such research.


While its availability is not as prevalent in Ireland, as in other European countries, it seems it is only a matter of time before HHC becomes more widely available in Ireland. The years in the lead up to the eventual ban in 2010 saw a booming market for ‘legal highs’ in Ireland, including those that mimicked the effects of cannabis. In saying that, more traditional forms of cannabis are so widely available in Ireland, and at ever increasingly competitive prices and quality, the need for replacements might not be what it once was.


“The British crown dependency is hoping to license as many as 10 firms by the end of 2025 to grow and export medicinal cannabis products from the island as part of a strategy to spur development.”

British crown dependencies continue to show potential as future cannabis production hubs. As is often the case in a ‘gold rush’, some of those keen to join the action find themselves less financially well-off for doing so. Those looking to cash in on a friendly regulatory environment should still proceed with caution.


Morocco, which has long been the source of a substantial amount of Europe’s cannabis, in the form of hashish, has begun its medical cannabis cultivation programme.

Recent years have seen a renaissance in the hashish export market from Morocco to Europe. European and North American influence can be seen from the seeds used to grow the cannabis to the production methods used by Moroccan hashish producers. It is noteworthy that the seeds used to cultivate Morocco's first batch of medical cannabis were imported from Switzerland. It will be interesting to see how the Moroccan cannabis market continues to evolve.


Recent statements from the Czech state authority were a cause for concern for Czech, and indeed wider European, CBD stakeholders. The Czech government has now indicated that these plans will not proceed.

The Food Safety of Ireland has recognised that CBD products, that do not use more modern extraction techniques, are not considered to be a novel food and escape some of the regulatory shackles that other CBD products are subject to at a European level.


“Last year, doctors prescribed the drug to 316,879 patients, compared with 150,117 in 2021 and just 292 in 2018, according to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.”

The Australian medical cannabis market continues to see sustained growth. In comparison, those that access medical cannabis in Ireland remain small in number. The hope is that the coming years will see increased access for patients in Ireland as the barriers to access continue to fall away.


©2023 by The Cannabis Review

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