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HomeCannabisGermany Eyes Potency Limits for Legal Recreational Marijuana

Germany Eyes Potency Limits for Legal Recreational Marijuana

Welcome to The Dose, a weekly newsletter on cannabis and psychedelics. As governments from Albania to Thailand weigh new regulations around cannabis, Germany’s ideas about how to oversee recreational marijuana are making international waves.

Will Germany do things differently?

Germany is discussing a few innovative ideas as it works on a framework to legalize marijuana, including a potential cap on the potency of THC, the drug’s active ingredient.

Last fall, the country agreed in principle to legalize recreational cannabis. Medical marijuana is already sold there in pharmacies, but it remains to be decided how the recreational market will be organized.

When that happens, Germany will be setting an example for the rest of Europe and the world. Its pot sales are expected to account for a significant chunk of the $9.5 billion in international cannabis sales expected by 2026, according to marijuana market research firm BDSA.

Last week, German government representatives and more than 200 experts in addiction medicine, law and other relevant niches are discussing the key issues at five hearings this month. Topics range from health and consumer production to addiction and control measures like licensing.

Everybody Wants to Be a Cannabis Farmer in This Corner of Europe
A young cannabis plant. (Konstantinos Tsakalidis / Bloomberg)

Burkhard Blienert, the German commissioner for addiction and drugs, says that one of the government’s aims is protecting young people from harmful effects.

In the US, there is growing concern about the secondary effects of legalizing cannabis, including whether it creates more access for underage users, who are particularly vulnerable. Legalization has led to demand for more potent weed that contains much more THC than products did even a few years ago. That can lead to an unhealthy dependence on cannabis, known as cannabis use disorder.

Bloomwell Chief Executive Officer Niklas Kouparanis, whose company runs the marijuana telemedicine platform Algea Care, told me last week that industry representatives are buzzing about the consumer-protection measures being discussed in Germany. In particular, there’s been talk about imposing a limit on THC and holding recreational marijuana to the same high standards as medical marijuana when it comes safety checks and product tracing.

While regulators think these steps may protect consumers, there are concerns that setting the limit for THC too low could actually benefit illicit cannabis sellers, Kouparanis said.

“In general, I’m not against THC limits, but completely agree they should not be too low, otherwise you’re just shifting the high THC customers to the illicit market,” he told me.

Germany is holding another hearing on June 30 that will focus on international examples of legalization. The country could find the experiences of US states informative — some cannabis businesses in California, the world’s largest legal markets, have asked for bailouts due to black-market competition. Colorado, meanwhile, has faced opposition to some efforts to impose THC caps.

Number of the week 

  • 39%The percent of all individuals 16 years of age and older in legal US markets who used cannabis in the past month — a much higher proportion than previously thought. That’s according to a survey from Cannabis Public Policy Consulting, a recently launched firm that plans quarterly, comprehensive surveys on cannabis use.

Quote of the week

“We believe the cannabis market is nascent and customer preferences are still evolving, with low brand loyalty,” S&P Global Ratings said as it lowered its rating on Canopy Growth Corp., citing increased competition in the cannabis industry and changing consumer preferences.  

What you need to know

  • Thailand will restrict marijuana use to adults at least 20 years of age, after the decriminalization of cannabis since June 9 sparked many complaints.
  • Some companies are working on drugs to treat cannabis use disorder, saying that Covid-19 lockdowns have increased mental health problems including addiction. 
  • Tilray Brands Inc.’s price target was lowered by analysts as the company lost share in its domestic market and cannabis stock valuations drop overall. The company also amended its deal with Hexo Corp., citing market conditions. 
  • The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences exchange-traded fund, the main Canadian ETF tracking the cannabis industry, dropped 5.3% to C$3.58 last week.
  • Mydecine Innovations says the FDA has cleared it to proceed with a government funded trial of whether MYCO-001, a psilocybin compound, can help people quit smoking.

Events

Monday 6/20

  • Growup Conference & Expo in Victoria, British Columbia, through June 22 

Thursday 6/23

  • Delta 8 Expo in Charlotte, North Carolina, through June 24 

Saturday 6/25

  • NECANN Vermont Hemp and Cannabis Convention in Burlington, Vermont, through June 26

SourceBloomberg

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