The lack of commonly accepted Good Manufacturing Practices and standards within the cannabis industry ultimately damages the industry itself. On the one hand, it does not really help with getting rid of the stigma that such a plant has; on the other hand, it is also very frustrating for the two very distinct ends of the medical cannabis supply chain, namely patients and growers.
The newly formed Brussels based European Medicinal Cannabis Association is advocating for an EU-wide regulatory framework to allow patients access to safe and healthy products. “Medical cannabis should be produced to the same high standards as any other pharmaceutical therapy,” explains Sita Schubert, General Secretary of the EUMCA. “And this is exactly where Good Manufacturing Practices and standards come into play. It is of the utmost importance that medicinal grade cannabis is grown following this rule because the people that rely on this product are using it as a medicine to treat specific conditions.”
EU-GMP throughout Europe
This is why, according to the association, EU-GMP standards should be applied throughout the European medical cannabis supply chain. “Germany, and the EU more broadly, has the potential to be a harmonized a market with great potential, and investors and companies are very much aware of that. However, in order to enter the German, and EU market, plants need to be grown under EU-GMP standards, which are pharma-grade standards, to ensure that patients have access to safe medicines.”
Keith Williams, deputy General Secretary of the EUMCA, observes: “Generally speaking, all three segments of the industry – medicinal cannabis, recreational cannabis, and CBD - should adhere to such strict standards. But it is medicinal cannabis that has the potential to pave the way for everyone. It is of the utmost importance that patients can access a safe and reliable products. As soon as the medical cannabis segment advances, addressing the standard-related issues, then the recreational and CBD segment is likely to follow suit.”
Thus, it is all about quality. Indeed, the EUMCA wants EU-GMP standards to become widespread so that growers can all aim to achieve a type of quality that is clearly defined. “It is a matter of regulating the entire supply chain,” says Sita. “This is necessary if patients are to have access to safe medicines, and also from the growers’ perspective if they are to have a long-term, stable market in which they can rely.”