It is a truism in the room that the cannabis industry, globally, and in each region of the world it springs forth in, is driven first by the medical side of the business. No matter how much excitement about CBD first strategies, it is the places where fully leaded, THC included, and regulated whole plant medication are authorized that are able to drive real change, if not nascent markets forward.
This has been true of the United States and Canada and it’s the truth in Europe as well.
In Germany, despite the fact that patients gained access just as they lost the right to cultivate small amounts themselves (at least until recreational reform hits), so far, patients have only gained wider spread access by submitting themselves to the complicated approval process required by insurers. There are now about 50,000 patients in Germany and these patients are helping move cannabis more and more mainstream in their homeland and across europe, as the EU powerhouse’s influence ripples beyond its borders.
in the UK, the entire discussion is taking another twist. Namely, desperate parents of sick children began importing medicine from Holland and Canada and dared the authorities to shut them down.
That strategy worked, but only to a limited degree, unfortunately. Despite the fact that it was announced last fall that cannabis would be covered as a Schedule II prescription, covered under the NHS, so far there are, by best estimates fewer than 100 patients in the UK, but patients have not given up. In some cases, they have even partnered with large industry players from Canada and other countries to put pressure on the government to open the market.
The situation is so obviously dire in the U.K. right now, that it will have an effect, and probably far beyond the UK – globally. There is not a patient in the room of any nationality who has not had to deal with intransigent anti cannabis rules, unbending medical infrastructure and paperwork of all kinds.
In the UK, much like the conversation in every other legalizing market, the corner, at least, has been turned. The issue, not to mention those who are suffering, are visible.
Public opinion is shifting. Parliament is apologizing. And the market, no matter its shape post October 31, is clearly opening. And that progress is mostly due to the unrelenting pursuit of greater access by patients and their advocates. A sincere thanks to all sick and disabled patients, and their supporters, for moving our cause of freedom and compassion forward.
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