Risks for patients with the legalization of recreational cannabis in Germany
In an interview for the Handelsblatt newspaper, published on March 5th, 2022, Tjalling Erkelens warns of the possible negative consequences of legalizing recreational cannabis in Germany. While Bedrocan has specialized in a highly standardized medicinal product for 20 years, Bedrocan‘s CEO expects many companies to turn their backs to medicinal cannabis. “Countries like Canada are showing that, if fully legalized, patients who rely on medicinal cannabis will be disadvantaged,” he says. “This has created supply shortages for patients as many growers have shifted away from medicinal cannabis to embrace the larger recreational cannabis market. There, the quality requirements are lower, the regulations are less strict, and the profits are higher”. Data from Statistics Canada, among others, proves this.
In addition to the supply situation, there is a risk that patients will switch to recreational cannabis, which is much more easily available, as long as medicinal cannabis can only be obtained in Germany with considerable bureaucratic hurdles. “Then the patients no longer have regular contact with their doctor or pharmacy, and there is no medical care,” says the founder of the family business. Incorrect dosages or the lower quality of recreational cannabis would then be dangerous for patients, especially if they have little or no experience with cannabis.
The Handelsblatt article explains how Bedrocan has become the largest manufacturer of medicinal cannabis in the EU over the years and how the conscious decision to focus on medicinal cannabis shapes the company’s philosophy. Erkelens also justified his exit from Canopy Growth in Canada in 2016: “You can’t do both at once.” The requirements for the plants, cultivation, production and regulation are fundamentally different. “For us, cannabis is not a lifestyle product. It is a medicine that should be efficient, safe and affordable for everyone,” Erkelens said.