Alberta’s First Shipment of Marijuana is Off to Germany

CANNABIS CULTURE- A shipment of 50 kilograms of dried marijuana flowers from an Alberta growing company has been sent to Germany to help start the supply German citizens with medical marijuana while the EU leader builds the capacity to grow their own.

The beginning of 2017 marked a monumental occasion in Germany’s medical marijuana history. They legalized cannabis use for medical purposes, and made it easier to both get a prescription from your doctor and to obtain medical marijuana from pharmacies across the country. The country even plans to start growing their own marijuana, but the latter part of the plan has been proving problematic.

Medical Marijuana in Canada

The journey for medical marijuana in Canada has been a long and convoluted one, though it has finally been legalized for all registered medical patients and it is scheduled to be fully legalized for recreational use sometime in 2018.

The first version of the Medical Marijuana Access Regulations was passed in 2001, and provided patients with three different ways to obtain cannabis — growing it themselves, purchasing it from Health Canada, or designating a caregiver to grow cannabis for them. It changed to the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations in 2013.

2017’s version of the legislation is titled the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes regulation. It changes the regulation to require a specific diagnosis in order to qualify for a medical cannabis prescription. With the stage set for recreational use legalization, it is probably only a matter of time before the regulations change again.

Medical Marijuana in Germany

Germany may be a little late to the medical marijuana game but that hasn’t stopped them from passing one of the most progressive laws on the topic this year. Not only does it set up the framework to allow medical marijuana users to obtain their medication, it places cannabis in pharmacies around the country and even includes provisions to require insurance companies to cover part or all of the cost of these medical marijuana products.

This is a great thing for individuals who need medical marijuana and it’s been so well implemented that even the illicit dealers who sell illegal weed are supporting this new legislation.

While recreational smoking is still illegal and likely will be for a while, Germany is still quickly becoming one of the best places in the world for medical marijuana. People interested in recreational smoking will still need to travel to countries like Spain or the Netherlands that have cities where it’s legal to smoke.

Even with this new legalization, chances are it won’t result in more people smoking — doctors in Germany are more likely to recommend THC drops or vaporizers, simply because it’s easier to prescribe a specific dose and much easier to monitor than simply smoking.

Germany will also be one of the only countries in the EU, along with the Czech Republic, Italy, and the Netherlands, that will be producing its own marijuana crops.  Unfortunately, it has not yet managed to meet the demands of the population, which is where Alberta-based Aurora Cannabis comes in.

Aurora Cannabis to the Rescue

The goal of Germany’s medical marijuana plan is to eventually produce its own cannabis, but it hasn’t been able to keep up with the demand. Aurora Cannabis recently sent 50 kilograms of dried cannabis flowers to help offset the countrywide shortage and help Germany maintain their medical marijuana program.

The shipment was received by Pedanios, a distributor based in Berlin, and from there shipped to the various pharmacies across the country. This partnership between Aurora and Pedanios could help Germany to maintain their medical marijuana market while allowing Aurora to potentially become a major supplier for other countries in the European Union.

Aurora is also in the midst of building one of the largest legal marijuana production facilities in the world on property near the Edmonton International Airport. They also became a publically traded company in July, appearing for the first time on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Future of Medical Cannabis

It seems like more and more countries are legalizing medical marijuana every year. In the United States alone, 29 states and the District of Columbia have all legalized medical cannabis in some form, and countries around the world have begun to legalize it for both medical and recreational use. Uruguay legalized it for recreational use in 2014, allowing citizens to buy up to 40 grams a month as long as the purchases are being tracked.

The Netherlands, as we’ve mentioned before, grow their own cannabis and while it’s not legal per se, marijuana use is tolerated in small amounts. Possession of less than 5 grams has been decriminalized for over 40 years, and coffee shops can sell marijuana as long as they’re not selling to minors or within a certain distance of schools or other places where children congregate.

Spain has certain cities where marijuana can be purchased and smoked, though it is illegal do to so in public. Its next door neighbor, Portugal, decriminalized all drugs in 2001 in an effort to tackle addiction and drug use as a public health problem. This is a different attitude than most other countries take — most consider drug addiction a criminal problem and jail offenders instead of addressing addiction as something that should be treated by medical professionals.

The current administration is adamantly against the use of medical marijuana in the United States though, and current Attorney General Jeff Sessions is planning on trying to reverse marijuana policies that are currently in place, making it difficult or impossible for states with medical or recreational marijuana programs to continue helping the people that need to access this drug.

Medical marijuana is something that offers fantastic benefits to those that use it. Partnerships like the one between Aurora Cannabis and Pedanios pave the way for a global medical cannabis market that could potentially change the way countries around the world produce and market their medical cannabis. It’s not something that should be treated like a dangerous drug — instead, it should be used as a tool by medical professionals to improve care and provide relief for their patients. People all over the world are already using marijuana to help mitigate their symptoms. Now they’re looking to governments to make it legal.