In 2018, Denmark started a four-year programme to assess cannabis-based medicines and build a base of what could become a domestic medical cannabis supply framework.
According to the new FW European Medical Cannabis Ecosystem report by First Wednesdays, Denmark’s programme is two trials running parallel: one for domestic medical use and another for domestic cultivation.
In Denmark, cultivation has an open-ended system. This means there is no cap on production volumes or limits on licensed businesses.
The aim is to achieve a certain high standard in cannabis cultivation, with the help of a clear framework that would see producers being engaged with plant scientists, breeders, AgTech, and pharma engineering firms.
The Danish cannabis model is a hybrid model. While exporting the drug is vital for the economy, domestic patients and doctors are prioritised.
Businesses in the industry aren’t given licenses solely to produce a valuable export product for the global cannabis markets. Cultivation is also intended to be licensed for a highly regulated stage of the pharmaceutical supply chain.
Uniquely, the condition to export the product is to deliver cannabis to domestic patients first. Suppliers are unable to gain profit from the drug without investing in the rather strict Danish medicinal cannabis market.
Companies interested in working in the industry must follow some of the toughest quality standards, which include measures such as a permitted standard deviation of ±10% from the THC and CBD content stated before harvest.
Since the start of the programme, Denmark’s system has been built on patient feedback, product development, and research.
The country has also ensured that financial support is available to support patient enrolment. According to 2019 figures, terminally ill patients have had their prescriptions fully reimbursed.
For all other patients, there’s a financial supplement program, which covers 50% of medicinal cannabis spending up to an annual reimbursement of DKK 10,000, which is equivalent to around £1,220.
In essence, the whole four-year trial has been set up to benefit those Danish patients in need of the drug’s presumed medicinal properties.
Regardless of the policies in place, international investors, especially those based in Canada, see real potential in Denmark. According to the report, the foreign direct investment into the cannabis sector totaled over CAD$407m (£235,6m).
Denmark is very attractive for investors as apart from the country’s heritage in agriculture and greenhouse production, and the expertise it can offer, producers also benefit from sustainable access to low-cost renewable energy.
At the same time, excellent infrastructure for transport and shipping and access to the EU and UK cannabis markets is also valuable.
The FW European Medical Cannabis Ecosystem was launched by First Wednesdays, a network for entrepreneurs and investors in the European cannabis sector.
The report was produced in collaboration with Hanway Associates, and Invest in Denmark, which is part of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It is available to download for FW members. Become a member for free at https://firstwednesdays.eu/