COVID-19 might force distribution delay for Germany’s first cannabis harvest

The first domestic harvest of medical cannabis in Germany, slated for October, could be delayed because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, regulators warned.

The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) wrote in updated documentation that “it cannot be ruled out that the first delivery will be delayed” because of COVID-19.

The agency previously noted that the first domestic harvest was expected to be ready for local distribution in October.

The documentation – to find a distributor to service the government’s cannabis agency – recently was modified.

The BfArM’s new document specifies that the distribution service-provider applicant must be ready to start providing services Nov. 1.

However, the effective starting date could be later, depending on when the first harvests are available.

The deadline to apply, originally April 28 was first extended to May 26. It has been extended again, to June 9.

Applicants’ offers must be binding until the end of August.

The winning company will be responsible for distributing all medical cannabis flower produced in Germany to pharmacies.

The German subsidiaries of Canadian producers Aphria and Aurora Cannabis, along with Germany-based Demecan, are the only three domestic growers preparing to provide the first harvest to the winner of the distribution application process.

The growers have a contract with the BfArM to collectively grow 2,600 kilograms (5,732 pounds) of pharmaceutical-quality cannabis flower per year over a four-year period.

Meanwhile, medical cannabis businesses in Germany have successfully tapped capital markets amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier this month, Demecan “raised a seven-figure funding round with a German entrepreneur from the consumer goods sector,” Dr. Constantin von der Groeben, managing director of Demecan, told Marijuana Business Daily.

That funding comes on the heels of the company’s announced raise of 7 million euros ($7.7 million) in 2019.

“A large part” of that funding will be used to build the grow facility, von der Groeben said. He did not disclose whether the company will need to raise more capital before the first harvest this fall.

“The corona crisis shows how important it is that countries do not exclusively rely on global trade and that investments are made in the domestic production of medical cannabis,” von der Groeben added. 

Details about the distribution application process can be found here.

Alfredo Pascual can be reached at

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