Denmark approved only eight of 63 medical cannabis product applications

Eight of the 63 applications to admit products to Denmark’s medical cannabis trial scheme have won approval since the program’s inception in 2018, according to a recent disclosure by Health Minister Magnus Heunicke.

Heunicke provided the new figures in an answer to a parliamentary query from Member of Parliament Jane Heitmann.

Subsequently, however, four of the products were removed from the approved list because they could no longer be provided in the country of origin, Canada.

Approval and regulatory compliance in the origin country is a basic requirement for the admission of an imported cannabis product for the Danish scheme, Heunicke said in his answer.

That only 12% of products ultimately reached the Danish market so far is an example of the regulatory quagmire facing medical marijuana businesses in some countries.

The lack of products in the Danish market might also explain, in part, why the Danish scheme has been in a tailspin since the middle of last year.

According to data from the Medicines Statistics Register, approximately 333 patients accessed Denmark’s medical cannabis scheme in the final quarter of 2019.

That’s down from more than 1,000 months earlier.

Heunicke also disclosed that 46 of the 63 applications have either been withdrawn by the company or were not deemed to be sufficient enough for an assessment by the Danish Medicines Agency.

The recent hurdles facing Denmark’s medical cannabis trial demonstrate why companies should remain conservative when projecting the evolution of international medical marijuana markets.

That’s a lesson most large Canadian producers learned the hard way.

After spending hundreds of millions of dollars overseas, most have had to reel in their international ambitions to conserve badly needed capital.

Amid massive losses, Alberta-based Aurora Cannabis ceased construction at its large second-phase facility in Denmark late last year.

Denmark’s four-year cannabis scheme launched in 2018.

It faces a midterm evaluation later this year.

Cannabis products that are currently available in Denmark can be found here.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at