For two years, Germany has allowed cannabis cultivation for medical purposes. But picking suitable growers hasn't been all plain sailing. A competitive tendering process had to be started from scratch following initial procedural errors. According to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfarM), there will be clarity in a couple of months as to which enterprises will get a license to produce cannabis at the behest of the state.
Frankfurt-based entrepreneur Niklas Kouperanis believes that is an unrealistic deadline. "I don't see any real progress in this matter over the next two years," he said. With a couple of investors on board, Kouperanis founded a startup called Farmako, which he said would focus on cannabis research, with financing for the project to come from the import and sale of cannabis flowers. "We want to make Europe less dependent when it comes to cultivating cannabis."
Farmako aims to produce medicinal cannabis in North Macedonia on a large scale and import it to Germany and other nations via Poland. When cannabis became accessible in Germany on prescription, Canadian companies were quick to conquer the market. A number of financially strong Canadian firms have since acquired many German startups active in this field.
While Canadians were at the forefront of exporting the plant, "they have failed to deliver to all regions in Europe, and Germany for that matter," said Kouperanis. Bottlenecks have also been reported by Georg Wurth. "At the moment, there's next to nothing coming in from Canada as companies there are preoccupied with their home market," he said. This is because since the middle of last year, Canadians have been allowed to consume cannabis for recreational purposes as well as medicinal, pushing up demand considerably.