The forces currently shaping the European cannabis map are intriguing this spring and from several directions. For the latest developments in Europe and across the globe, there will be no better place learn and network with those leading the way, than at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Zurich with Cannatrade. In the meantime, here is a brief overview of how, where and why:

Germany

Like it or not, events in Germany are driving the discussion, agenda and overall sales forward like nowhere else. As a result, the news that the (first) German cultivation bid appears to be nearing decision time (barring its derailment in either a still-pending lawsuit or those now rumoured to be circling the final 3 decision) is a big deal. As a result, there will be some kind of cannabis cultivated auf Deutschland presumably sooner than later now.

For those unfamiliar with European healthcare, governments negotiate the prices of drugs to obtain lower prices. “Government contracts” as these are also known, are bulk purchase agreements (put out by tender bid or competitive RFP) that function to lower prices for wholesale drug purchases. This usually occurs when the patient population is over 10,000 in Germany (orphan drug territory). In the case of cannabis, this is now a pressing matter. There are an estimated 50,000 patients in Germany at present. Delayed and lack of granular data released by the insurance companies is one part of the problem but not the only one. Approvals themselves are a time consuming, expensive process that is also slowing down patient growth dramatically.

That said, with new cultivation pricing now becoming more or less public for the first time, the map of competition and opportunity is getting clearer than it was several years ago. And this will influence the rest of Europe.

The UK and Switzerland

The crazy Limeys may still be haggling over what kind of Brexit Lite they want (if in fact they leave at all) but events in the UK this year will have an outsized impact on what goes on across Europe from a financing perspective. The British capital markets for one are not as shy about this entire conversation as for example the Deutsche Börse. With medical markets finally inching forward all over the continent, the need is clearly in the room for capital that is a bit more aggressive than the appetite (still) in the rest of Europe, including in Germany.

Switzerland also, with its interesting position as a non-EU member and more liberal capital markets is expected to turn into a financial powerhouse for cannabis financing of all kinds.

While markets here are all far more regulated than their North American counterparts, in other words, the emergence of cannabis funds in the UK in particular, makes both countries very attractive places for the accumulation of canna friendly, Euro compliant cannabis investment specialty funds. A continental first.

Holland, Spain, Greece, Luxembourg, Italy

All these countries are moving in interesting ways on the overall debate which is sure to add depth and shade for years to come. All have varying degrees of developing markets. Luxembourg is especially interesting, with the possibility that the small nation may beat the rest of Europe to ending cannabis prohibition.

For a more in-depth understanding of the shape of the European cannabis market this spring, be sure to attend the International Cannabis Business Conference in Zurich, a team-up hemp expo CannaTrade. Get your early-bird tickets by April 24th to save!