Great Danish market presents great opportunity for marijuana

By @chelean on
Denmark’s medical marijuana program is exceeding expectations and companies are taking advantage of the Kingdom’s tax incentives and research grants. Photo by Matteo Paganelli on Unsplash

There’s no doubt that this year is considered to be a big year for the cannabis industry, with various countries legalising the use of recreational and medical cannabis. Canada is leading the pack as the first G7 nation to fully legalise the adult use of recreational marijuana.

In Europe, Denmark is one of the major nations promoting the use of cannabis for medical purposes. The country’s four-year medical marijuana pilot program began in January 2018 in an effort to improve the lives of people living with medical problems.  

As Danish Minister of Health Ellen Trane Nørby once told Health Europa, “If we can help this group of patients – if these people find that their lives are just a bit better with the use of medical cannabis – that will measure the success.”

The program is doing better than expected. Initial estimates foresaw roughly 500 patients participating in the first year. Instead, 628 patients were onboard by the end of August. Additionally, the number of doctors has also been steadily increasing, with 186 doctors participating around the same time.

Denmark is particularly friendly to marijuana companies, offering research grants and tax incentives. The country also has a reimbursement program for cannabis-derived medicines that entails its national health care program treating medical marijuana as it would any other prescription drug and providing money back for purchases. What’s more, it will also be possible to buy cannabis products in pharmacies throughout Denmark.

Despite the supportive environment, marijuana growers still need to follow strict guidelines. Companies must adhere to the European Medicines Agency’s Guidelines for Good Agricultural Practices (GACP) that state that cannabis must be grown without pesticides. The Good Manufacturing Guidelines (GMP) for medicinal agents are to be closely adhered to as well. Lastly, manufacturers need to document the entire process in great detail, after which point those steps may be followed in controlled environments if deemed necessary by the Danish Medicines Agency.

These measures, however, have not deterred companies from working outside of Denmark’s borders. Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQOTH:ACBFF) , which is on track to be Canada's largest cannabis grower, already has subsidiaries in Denmark. As does Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC) , which enjoys 36 percent of Canadian supply agreements up until now. International Cannabis Corp. (OTC:KNHBF, CSE:WRLD) has entered the Danish game as well by securing 55 Acres in Møeldrup.

hemp-3662166_1920 ICC is partnering with Sababa Sciences Inc. to build a fully automated cultivation center in Denmark.  Creative Commons

Denmark cannabis developments

ICC's venture is of particular note because the company has partnered with Sababa Sciences Inc., an organic Israeli cannabis cultivation and management company, to produce a 473,000 square foot, fully automated cultivation centre that will meet all of Denmark's standards. The two companies will be collaborating on research ventures in Israel and Denmark that will contribute to both the domestic Danish market and for export as well.

The town of Møeldrup is in western Denmark, a region with a highly skilled and educated workforce, as well as booming agriculture. ICC also has relationships throughout Scandinavia, and its Danish assets are close enough to Germany to facilitate direct imports of both cannabidiol (CBD)-derived goods and the cannabis flower itself.

The deal with ICC stands to benefit the town of Møeldrup as well because it is a part of ICC’s philosophy that community engagement is a prerequisite of business success. This is accomplished by collaborating with local business ventures that both work in and out of the cannabis industry. ICC already has licences with Poland, Greece, Columbia and African nations. The company has 110 companies, representing nearly 35,000 pharmacies in 16 countries, spanning three continents.

Initially, all cannabis that would have been used in the pilot program would have been imported, but an additional pilot program was devised that would allow Danish farmers to grow cannabis in Denmark. This decision came to pass after the Left Government, together with the Social Democracy, the Danish People's Party, the Liberal Alliance, the Alternative, Radical and SF all decided in November 2017 to begin the medical cannabis program intended to treat those living with cancer, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries.

The widespread support across political parties reflects the widespread support across the population, which in 2016 was 88 percent in favour of marijuana for medical use and just over 50 percent for recreational use. Recreational usage may be illegal, but the country has pretty soft laws against it. And, as reported in Bias in 2016, over 35 percent of Danes have tried marijuana at some point.

Denmark even has a self-governing neighbourhood called Freetown Christiania, which is a place where you can buy marijuana without consequence, according to Green Rush Daily. The neighbourhood has its own flag and an arch that says, "You are now entering the EU.” Tourists flock to the area for the cannabis and enjoy the arts, but given the success of Denmark’s pilot medical marijuana program, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the country is equally welcoming to smoking pot.

IBT Australia does not endorse or promote any product or practice mentioned here. This article is based on press releases sent for consideration.