Germany is looking for legal medical marijuana growers; at least three, to be precise. Germany’s medical cannabis program, which is usually on the receiving end of cannabis exports from around the world, is hoping to start cultivating its own crops. But after the first attempt at licensing growers broke down over various lawsuits, the country is taking a more studied approach this time around. Companies are, too. And that should make for a very competitive application process.
Expect Heavy Competition for German Grow Licenses
On Friday, Germany’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BFARM) announced that it was reviving its call for cultivator applications. The announcement came just a week after BFARM officially canceled its previous call for applications.
The new call for applications is different in a couple key ways. First, Germany is aiming for 10,400 kg over four years (23,000 lbs.) this time. Their first call went out for just 6,600 kg (14,550 lbs.).
Secondly, BFARM is putting a cap on the amount of cannabis a single company can produce in a single year. That cap is 1,000 kg.
The introduction of the cap was potentially an effort to dissuade the largest cannabis producers from muscling out smaller competition. By the standards of the world’s largest cannabis producers, 1,000 kg is a small amount.
But the opportunity to gain a foothold in a country that just legalized medical cannabis, in the center of an expanding market, is too good for established growers to pass up.
So BFARM is expecting fierce competition for the licenses. It’s not just large cultivators that will be vying for a license, but the dozens of other companies who didn’t make the cut last time around. And now, they know the process and are in a better position to compete.
Germany Promises Transparent Application Process
Germany’s first attempt at awarding cultivation licenses was marred by delays and lawsuits. Many companies that didn’t make the shortlist after initial review sued the German government. They claimed BFARM didn’t handle the applications fairly.
After a court in Dusseldorf, Germany ruled in favor of one of the plaintiff companies, BFARM officially canceled the entire application process two weeks ago.
Now, having relaunched the cultivator licensing process with a few new tweaks, BFARM is promising a much more transparent process.
Still, the playing field isn’t exactly even. It already favors the major legal cannabis producers that already have a footprint in Germany. Canadian cannabis producers like Canopy Growth Corp. and MedReleaf Corp. especially have an advantage, as they already export to their medical cannabis subsidiaries in Germany.
But Canadian companies won’t be the only ones applying to grow in Germany. Companies from Israel, the Netherlands and even Latin America, where export markets are just taking off, will all make a bid.
BFARM is looking to award licenses to at least three cultivators. Each would have a 1,000 kg per year production cap. Over four years, that should easily meet the 10,400 kg amount Germany’s medical marijuana program is demanding. Germany has not placed on limit on the number of licenses it can award, however.