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High Society: High Hurdles Face Germany’s Cannabis Legalization Plans

  • November 22, 2022

Heitepriem estimates investments in the entire industry of around 1.5 billion euros. There is also a lot of interest abroad, particularly in Canada, where Aurora is based, and the United States, where investors had initially banked on U.S. President Joe Biden legalizing marijuana across the country. Share prices went through the roof. But because expectations haven’t been met, many are now looking to Germany. American rapper Snoop Dogg, for example, has invested several million euros in the Hesse-based cannabis startup Cansativa.

At the moment, marijuana companies from around the world are preparing for a conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, to exchange ideas. One event is dedicated specifically to the German market, and Philip Schetter of the Berlin-based firm Cantourage, which has just gone public, will also be there. He, too, intends to enter the cannabis market once it is legalized in Germany. But he wants to do it under different conditions than what Lauterbach is envisioning. He doesn’t believe, for example, that the substance should be grown in Germany. His company sources cannabis from Uganda, Jamaica, Uruguay and elsewhere. In the long term, a Europe-wide cannabis market could develop, but Lauterbach doesn’t want to allow imports of the drug once it is legalized.

Heitepriem of Aurora is nonetheless quite satisfied with the key issues paper. If crops are only grown in Germany, German companies would have an advantage. He says it is already a success that the proposed cap on permissible THC levels has been removed from the draft. Otherwise, there would have been no way of competing with the black market to make it less relevant.

So far, only 10 employees in protective suits and rubber slippers are working at the bunker in Leuna, where they tend to plant cultivation and processing. The gardeners are referred to as “growers,” who water, prune and spray plants with CO2. In another room, the buds are dried and processed into medicinal products. Waste must be incinerated under strict safety requirements.

The bunker in Leuna is one of only three places in Germany where cannabis can currently be grown legally. The cap is a total of 2.6 tons of cannabis for medical purposes this year. Aurora plans to produce 1 ton annually in the small bunker. Heitepriem would be pleased if the size of the market were to increase. His company has gained considerable experience in the industry in Canada. The company plans to start looking for a new location for its operations in Germany.

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