Germany's homegrown cannabis industry awaits legalization

In the east German countryside, close to Dresden, a former abattoir is now home to the biggest indoor cannabis farm in Europe. Behind the recently renovated concrete walls, the German startup Demecan has been growing cannabis in accordance with the law for the past year.

The company is one of only a handful in Germany to have a license for the production of this "green gold," which has been legal in Germany for medicinal use since 2017.

But the budding industry is eyeing a bigger prize: Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government plans to legalize the drug for adult use as soon as 2024, which would leave it with one of the most liberal cannabis policies in Europe.

Demecan's massive complex, which covers around 120,000 square meters (1.3 million square feet), produces one tonne of cannabis a year, but it has yet to reach capacity. The company could quickly increase production "tenfold" to meet growing demand, Goebel says. "We are currently supplying 55 percent of the German market," says Goebel, who notes his firm is in "pole position" to capitalize on legalization. 

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