Imports of medical marijuana into Germany surge in second quarter

Photo by Stefan Widua on Unsplash

Germany imported almost 2,500 kilograms (roughly 5,500 pounds) of medical cannabis flower for pharmacy dispensing during the first half of 2019.

That’s almost as much as the country imported in all of 2018, a sign that the expected growth in the market is coming to fruition.

Member of Parliament Kirsten Kappert-Gonther tweeted the fresh data on Tuesday, citing the Health Ministry’s response to her written question.

In May, the federal government replied to a different query from other members of parliament stating that 765 kilograms had been imported in the first quarter.

The latest numbers would mean that total imports in the second quarter of 2019 surged to 1,733 kilograms, setting a quarterly record since the inception of Germany’s medical marijuana program.

Unlike Canada and other jurisdictions that regularly provide standardized statistical information about the cannabis industry, data in Germany is harder to come by.

Exact numbers about the quantities imported can typically be found only by tracking down replies of the executive government to parliamentarians.

Germany is the largest federally regulated medical cannabis market in the world outside North America and will depend exclusively on imports to supply its market at least until the end of 2020.

Current imported quantities suggest that the domestic grows contracted by the German government – which total 2,600 kilograms per year for a period of four years – will not be enough to supply the domestic market once the first harvests become available by the end of next year.

Marijuana Business Daily surveyed a number of pharmacies that provide information about the cannabis products they have in stock.

More flower varieties than ever were available, including Bedrocan medical marijuana exported to Germany by the Dutch Office of Medical Cannabis as well as exports by Canadian companies Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth, Cronos Group and Wayland. Tilray extracts were also available.

The 2,498 kilograms imported during just the first half of 2019 are not far from the total amount imported in all of 2018, which was about 3,000 kilograms. Imports in 2018 were more than double the 1,200 kilograms imported in 2017.

Assuming the trend continues, Germany could again more than double medical cannabis sales from the previous calendar year.

However, imported quantities don’t necessarily equal sales within the same quarter, and the German market has been characterized by an inconsistent supply since the beginning.

It is also surprising that, while the first quarter of 2019 did not show any signs of exponential growth, the second-quarter numbers indicate a significant change.

MJBizDaily regularly reports about the actual German market using:

  • Replies of the federal government to parliamentary inquiries that include data about total imported quantities within a specific period.
  • Information provided quarterly by the German National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV-Spitzenverband), the latest update covering the first quarter of 2019. GKV data includes only patients covered by statutory health insurance, not total medical cannabis sales. But it’s the only official source of information that’s regularly updated and doesn’t depend on parliamentary inquiries while being a good indicator of how the market is evolving.
Alfredo Pascual can be reached at [email protected]
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