Is European Recreational Cannabis Legalization Starting With Home Grow First?
A trend is developing – Italy, Luxembourg and now Malta, are on the verge of “recreational reform” that only allows for the personal cultivation of a limited number of cannabis plants. Is this the new “normal” until Germany leads the way?
If there is such a thing as a “trend” afoot in the European recreational cannabis reform discussion, then this is clearly one. Home grow is a hot topic in multiple European countries right now that are all publicly claiming to be implementing “recreational reform.”
This is of course a huge irony considering not quite so recent developments. Namely, of course, that just as the Swiss are gearing up to launch their rec trial in 2022, Germany will probably legalize some kind of commercial marketplace and infrastructure, even if they kick the can down the road for a market start. Furthermore, it is precisely because the Germans did NOT want to tangle with the issue of patient home growing for medical use that the Bundestag passed the medical reform bill they did in 2017.
How four years ago. Not to mention, how much has changed.
In Germany right now, despite rising patient numbers, the pushback from the insurers and MDK is still considerable, in part because of the cost of cannabis treatment (still, sadly) and because cannabis is still considered a “drug of last resort.” Patients who cannot prove this, of course, are in the deep end of hell.
This is why the revived European home grow trend is so interesting. It also means that there will probably be some kind of home grow provision in the German recreational reform language. There must be. Nobody wants to penalize patients who still cannot get prescribing doctors or healthcare approval.
Regardless, this is a very, very interesting trend indeed. It means that there will be a huge interest in the mom-and-pop grassroots, even if such efforts have little chance of becoming legit. The Canadian model, for starters, showed that the commercial market’s largest competitor was patients.
The fact that this trend is now starting to take place in Europe is also a testament to the perhaps late realization by the powers that be that if medical reform takes place, there is little to stop the ball from rolling forward, starting with the fact that those who are sick and cannot get the drug any other way, will also almost always resort to “other” channels to get the only drug that seems to make a difference.
With a focus on stamping out the black market, this also then pushes the discussion, in European countries right now at any rate, into a gentle slope that may start with home grow but in fact is a tipping point for full and final reform.
Be sure to keep up with European cannabis business trends – attend the International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns to Europe next spring and summer.