First Wednesday Launch European Medical Cannabis Ecosystem

by Ant Lehane


First Wednesdays, the network for entrepreneurs and investors in the European cannabis sector, today launched their much vaunted ‘European medical cannabis ecosystem’ providing expert insights and detailing marked developments into the European cannabis sector over the past decade. 

The report makes for positive reading for anyone interested in the developments of the medical cannabis space, detailing every phase of the process from genetics & seed banks all the way through to the distribution of cannabis medicines.

In capturing the process, the report highlights key players in the ecosystem, marks the ‘catalysts for change’ and takes a deep dive into accessing medical cannabis in Denmark.

As the medical cannabis dominos have been falling across the continent, there has been growing interest and intrigue from relevant groups spanning health, medicines and pharmaceuticals, a further sign that the medical cannabis industry is ‘growing up.’

The ecosystem notes that the frameworks that have been drafted to allow for access of cannabis medicines differ from time-limited pilots in Denmark & France, to thriving uptake in patient use in Czech and Germany. Whatsmore, the role that advocacy organisations have played across Europe is noted as being paramount to reforming legislation and advancing access for patients.

European Medical Cannabis and Advocacy  

As a result of the role of advocacy, many of the roadblocks that have slowed down access for patients and frustrated such groups are clearing across the continent. Policies related to cannabis medicines are being relaxed, the price of products is falling and patients are becoming increasingly aware of the efficacy of cannabis as a medicine, in part thanks to awareness campaigns such as Open Cannabis.

As the report makes clear, advocacy groups like Volteface have been the ‘catalysts for change’ across Europe and will continue to play a key role in improving access for patients. In the UK, the prohibition barrier was broken down by a well executed campaign curated by Volteface and delivered by Families4Access, yet there is still a long way to go yet.

Hanway’s Insights, detailed in every phase of the ecosystem, provide invaluable information for advocacy groups in the space and point to what must come next to improve access across the continent. Whilst the focus has firmly been on domestic reform for groups like Volteface, the next phase for advocacy must turn to Europe as a whole. 

To further develop advocacy in Europe, there must be communication, collaboration and integration. Only through a cross-jurisdiction approach can the sector continue to develop and improve. Our recently launched ECAN network is the first step in achieving this, with more innovative developments to come in the following weeks. Read more about the European Cannabis Advocacy Network here.

Alex Fraser, Patient Lead at Grow Pharma, emphasised the progress that has been made honing in on improvements in price, access and variety of products. 

“At Grow Pharma we focus on the needs of patients. Since facilitating the first prescriptions just over 18 months ago, we have been able to reduce prices, greatly increase the range of medicines available and, alongside our pharmacy partners IPS, we have cemented our supply chains, ensuring fast and reliable delivery of cannabis medicines to patients.”

The European medical cannabis ecosystem is further evidence of the scope, innovation and development of an exciting space that will continue to grow. As aforementioned the focus for advocacy groups in the continent must be a joined up, cross jurisdiction approach that improves access, cost and products for patients. To download the report, follow this link and sign up to the First Wednesdays newsletter.

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