Late last month lawmakers in Spain considered a cannabis reform measure, and while the measure did not pass, Spain’s emerging legal cannabis industry will undergo a fairly substantial expansion this year regardless.
The Spanish Medicines Agency recently notified the International Narcotics Control Board that it plans to (roughly) quadruple the amount of legal medical cannabis grown within its borders.
As verified by Público, Spain’s Ministry of Health “has forecast a production of 23.43 tons of medical cannabis in Spain this year.”
As required by international agreements, Spain has to notify the International Narcotics Board of the United Nations every year regarding how much domestic medical cannabis it projects it will produce. This year’s notification from Spain is obviously a considerable increase compared to last year.
WHY IT’S NOT ENOUGH
For some historical context, consider that in 2019 and 2020 Spain reported to the International Narcotics Board that it would cultivate 500 kilos each year. That figure increased in 2021 to a reported 600 kilos. The following year in 2020 the figure grew exponentially to a reported 6,000 kilos.
This year’s reported forecast of 23.43 tons compared to just two years ago highlights how fast Spain’s medical cannabis industry is expanding. And yet, it’s not enough. Not even close.
The boost in cannabis production in Spain will benefit exports and research.
However, it’s not going to help Spain’s regulated domestic medical cannabis industry being that Spain doesn’t really have one, at least not compared to many other nations.
As pointed out by Público, only two medical cannabis pharmaceutical products are authorized in Spain right now (Sativex and Epidiolex).
As such, most patients rely on the unregulated market to source their medical cannabis products, including from unregulated clubs that operate in a ‘grey area’ of the law.
Spain doesn’t just need a boost in domestic medical cannabis production – it also needs to reform its laws to embrace and develop the domestic medical cannabis industry in a way that helps as many patients as possible.
A BOOST FOR REFORM EFFORTS
Increasing domestic medical cannabis production in Spain is generally a good thing.
If it helps suffering patients abroad via direct access to medical cannabis, that is still beneficial, and if it contributes to groundbreaking research that helps suffering patients around the world, that is also beneficial. With that being said, clearly, there is still a lot more that can and should be done.
Fortunately, Spain is about to receive a boost for reform efforts via the world’s largest cannabis super-event that starts later this week.
On March 9th policymakers, industry leaders, and cannabis advocates from all over the globe will descend on Barcelona, first for the International Cannabis Business Conference (March 9), and then for Spannabis (March 10-12). A limited number of tickets are still available for both events.
The two events have once again teamed up to create an opportunity for thought leaders from around the world to discuss cannabis policy inside and outside of Spain. Whenever the world’s smartest cannabis brains get together amazing things happen, and this month in Barcelona will be no exception.
This article first appeared on Internationalcbc.com and is syndicated here with special permission.