This week, March 10th, 2018, marks the one year anniversary of Germany’s new medical cannabis program, which jumped from a paltry patient count of around 1,000 under the old laws, to a total of over 15,700 applicants under the new laws, a number that is slightly overwhelming Germany’s healthcare system. Anyone familiar with cannabis as a medicine probably realizes that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Nevertheless, unsuspecting politicians predicted a mere 700 or so new patients in the first year.

The producers of the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) certainly had a more accurate vision of the future cannabis industry in Germany than many elected officials, making Berlin its first venture into Europe last year. As the ICBC is set to return to Berlin this April, Germany is clearly on the path to becoming one of the top marijuana markets in the world.

According to reports from Germany’s four largest health insurance providers, about one-third of applications have been rejected in that time, meaning that 2/3 of patients are getting their medical marijuana covered by their insurance. However, it may not be just the high cost of obtaining the medicine; the red tape associated with getting patients into a new system has resulted in many incomplete or incorrect applications being submitted.

On top of that, a lack of education with respect to cannabis’ medical properties has slowed physician’s recommendations. The stigmatization of cannabis users remains strong among the medical community, and many doctors fear negative repercussions regarding their own reputations.

Nevertheless, according to TheLocal.de, legal cannabis use is on the rise in Germany, even in synthetic form (aka dronabinol), and contracts are in the works to produce more of the natural plant:

“Bavarian drug manufacturer Bionorica has also benefited from increased demand for the drug; sales of the company’s cannabis remedy Dronabinol more than doubled in 2017. Bionorica is also expanding production as the company’s patients have almost tripled – with numbers constantly on the rise.

“…A cannabis agency under the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) has been advertising contracts to companies concerning the licenses for 6,600 kilograms of medical cannabis – to be cultivated over a period of four years.

“More than 100 companies have since applied and about ten of them have made it to the final round; a decision is set to be made soon. The first marijuana plants grown in Germany under state supervision are planned to be available by 2019.”

Who will be the big players in German’s cannabis industry remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: the market there is growing like a weed, and one can expect this influence to continue to spread throughout the country and the rest of Europe.

Come to Berlin and find out who is leading the charge in Germany’s cannabis industry, and how you play a part! Join Europe’s premier B2B cannabis conference, the International Cannabis Business Conference, this April 11-13, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Tickets are on sale now!