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How will Germany's cannabis social clubs meet demand?

On April 1, 2024, Germany legalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis for recreational use by adults aged 18 and over. But, unlike in other parts of the world, the commercial sale of cannabis remains illegal here. Instead, they've embraced a unique model centered around social clubs. These clubs can officially start applying for licensing in July 2024 to allow Germans to cultivate cannabis collectively through "cultivation associations" (Anbauvereinigungen).

"It's a fascinating model but one that doesn't come without significant hurdles in terms of production," the TSRgrow team says. "Instead of a few large-scale facilities, they'll need hundreds, perhaps thousands of micro-facilities supplying the country. If it is community-driven cultivation, these facilities must also be simple enough for the non-master grower to work within."

"With Germany's program just about to ramp up, our launch of the new all-in-one HarvestPro cultivation container couldn't come at a better time."

The German model: Cannabis social clubs
On April 1, 2024, Germany legalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis for recreational use by adults aged 18 and over. But legal cannabis is rolling out a lot differently here than it has elsewhere in the world. The key differentiator between Germany and North America's various markets is that the commercial sale of cannabis remains illegal in the former.

Germans will be able to legally cultivate up to three cannabis plants at home for personal use. Still, most will likely access cannabis via cannabis clubs, which will be allowed to open in July 2024. In the cannabis social club model, clubs would be allowed to form sub "cultivation associations" (Anbauvereinigungen).

Why clubs? Germany has historically had an intense obsession with clubs (Vereine), TSRgrow explains. In 2016, a national survey found that 44 percent of Germans reported club membership in one or more of over 600,000 registered organizations.

There are sports clubs, rabbit-breeding clubs, dance clubs, and now, cannabis clubs. Cannabis clubs and communal cultivation is an entirely German approach to the recreational market.

How cannabis social clubs will work
Adults aged 18 and above with German residency can join one cannabis social club. Within each club, members can form cannabis cultivation associations with up to 500 members (a membership fee is mandatory for participation). The club can only cultivate cannabis on behalf of its members, and all members must actively participate in the process.

Members can purchase up to 25 grams per day or 50 grams per month. Plus, there are specific restrictions in place for those between 18 and 21, where the maximum monthly purchase is 30 grams, with a maximum of 10 percent THC. Any production above and beyond what members need must be destroyed.

The challenge: Starting from zero
Initial estimates say that 4.5 million Germans are already cannabis consumers. "Considering it's been illegal until now, one can assume they have been buying off the black market. If the launch of this legislation goes as planned, millions of active consumers will be funneled to buy cannabis through their club."

With clubs able to apply for cultivation licenses at the start of July, club and association creation has exploded. "More than 100 clubs already exist, with another 200 in the formation stages. As Yahoo News reported, The Cannabis Social Club Berlin already has 4,800 members, with 1,000 or more on the waitlist. It is seeking to create 12 individual cultivation clubs beneath its umbrella"

The immediate challenge for all clubs is scaling up to meet the overwhelming demand. If all 4.5 million Germans join a cultivation club, that's 9,000 different cultivation associations and 9,000 separate micro-facilities.

Under the German model, facility size is restricted by association size. "Remember, that means a membership maximum of 500 people. Although total consumer demand may warrant massive commercial-sized facilities, current regulations say otherwise. Instead, associations can only grow for their members, and members can only purchase a maximum of 50 grams per month, or an annual club maximum of 300 kgs. If there is any excess, it must be destroyed."

German clubs face a very unique set of challenges. "Yes, they must find a way to quickly build facilities to meet the immediate demand, but each facility has to remain small. In today's landscape, they also cannot compromise on quality. Consumers expect superior quality, especially as it's coming from a small-scale, locally grown producer. Clubs will need the ability to scale carefully and incrementally, as new cultivation associations will come online," TSRgrow says.

HarvestPRO cultivation container
How can German cannabis clubs rapidly scale up from zero to meet the demands of their new membership, all without overbuilding beyond association needs?

According to the company, The HarvestPRO Cultivation Container from TSRgrow is a turnkey solution to the challenges posed by the Germans' model. Here's why:

Perfectly matched to membership size:
Every cultivation container can produce 25 kg (55 lb) per harvest, six (6) times per year. That is enough for a 250-member association if everyone purchases their 50 grams of flower per month allotment. As more associations receive licenses (or members), clubs can easily add containers on an as-needed basis — without building significantly past membership demands.

Rapid deployment:
Speed is crucial for meeting the market's expected immediate demand. With the HarvestPRO, you can start cultivating within 12 weeks of placing the order, which is unheard of with a traditional facility build-out.

Comprehensive cultivation package:
TSRgrow has applied its decades of experience in indoor cannabis cultivation to HarvestPRO's turnkey systems. When the container arrives on site, it comes fully equipped with tables, fertigation systems, state-of-the-art LED lighting with remote power technology, HVAC systems, environmental monitoring, and TSRgrow's exclusive cultivation software, GROWHub, helping ensure maximum yield and quality.

Additionally, each container comes with the peace of mind of local installation, service and 24/7 monitoring of all systems for proactive maintenance and support. Service contracts include comprehensive training, strain, and recipe information and data as well as continuous field service and maintenance visits.

Advanced-data and analytics:
With such small-scale production, there is no room for error. If a harvest goes awry, it will directly impact every member in the association. This is where TSRgrow's advanced data and analytics come in handy. You can expect a detailed analysis of every single cycle to provide growers with critical insights about how the container is performing in order to achieve the high-quality harvest their members are after. With this intel readily available, clubs can ensure repeatability time and time again.

Efficient power management:
Power management is crucial for any cannabis cultivation setup, whether it's a massive commercial warehouse or a compact container. TSRgrow's unique Remote Power system ensures that HarvestPRO containers use energy efficiently by distributing power only where and when it's needed. Key features include relocating heat-generating power supplies away from plants, optimizing energy usage to reduce costs, and offering customizable solutions to fit the unique needs of any grow operation. This smart power management ensures maximum efficiency and sustainability for every cultivation association.

"Thousands of members will soon be required to communally cultivate cannabis, which for many will be their first time growing. For master growers or complete novices, HarvestPRO's systems are straightforward, intuitive, and user-friendly. With the HarvestPRO on-site, TSRgrow is in your corner as your new trusted partner, providing continuous support and monitoring. Whether your association is stacked with cannabis experience or not, you are in good hands," the team adds.

Meet the team
This weekend, TSRgrow will exhibit at Mary Jane Berlin (June 14-16). The team would love to meet you at booths D5 and D6.

For more information:
[email protected]

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