This article was originally published Cannabis.net It is shown here with permission.
Amid these constant bickering between Ukraine and Russia, it’s time to consider their impact on the European weed industry.
Progress made by European countries on the legalization of cannabis could be reversed or delayed in the next few months. Less than a month ago, one could hardly hear worlds like sanctions, bombs, missiles, war crimes, etc., within European space. Since last Thursday – when Russia officially declared war on Ukraine – everything anyone has heard on media platforms has been.
This article in no way undermines the seriousness of what is happening in Ukraine at the moment. It merely seeks to explain how these hostilities between most European countries and Russia will affect cannabis reforms and the legal industry across the continent.
The impact of the war on the cannabis space in Europe
The reality for cannabis operators in Europe is that vital reforms and policies that would help the space grow after COVID would roll back existing security issues.
Although Ukraine is not the leading center for cannabis advocacy in Europe, its security issues may backfire on other countries in the region. A quick Google search will reveal that Germany is less than a day’s drive from Ukraine, while Poland and Hungary share a border. Many operators are concerned that the production and supply chain of the cannabis industry in the region will be affected
Hemp supply chain in Europe
Regulators have suppressed the concerns of cannabis operators by making it clear that the cannabis supply chain will not be affected.
Ukraine does not provide any of the used cannabis on the medical market. Production locations include Germany, Colombia, Uruguay, Australia, Denmark, Portugal, the Netherlands, Greece, Lesotho, Uganda, and Spain. The European hemp industry is supplied by countries all over the world.
Europe’s representative in life sciences, Franziska Katerbach, believes that war cannot cause a disruption in the region’s production and supply chain.
The main challenge now is rising gas prices. Every industry requires energy to run, including the cannabis sector. The industry cannot avoid the increased energy costs affecting the region. Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands bear the biggest impact of this increase. Local producers of medicinal cannabis in the area should grow cannabis indoors. Note that the normal operating costs of indoor cannabis production are higher than the costs of outdoor production. As a result, higher gas prices will increase restrictions on farmers and processors.
Fears of price increase
High prices will be the biggest obstacle to the medical cannabis industry in the coming weeks.
Lio Pharmaceuticals CEO and German distributor Alain Menghé à Menghé does not believe these recent hostilities will not affect the entire industry. Menghé is currently building a factory in Solingen, Dusseldorf.
He said his pessimistic view of the war and its impact on industry stemmed from rising energy prices. Although it may not be obvious, rising energy costs will affect all sectors of the industry in some way. The transportation, storage and production of medicines will be affected the most.
Ukraine and hemp
The current situation in Ukraine has been described as the largest ground war within Europe since the end of World War II. Many industries are affected, including the emerging cannabis industry.
Before all this began, Ukraine had just set foot on the path to legalizing cannabis. At least important milestones have been crossed out to show the willingness of citizens for the legal cannabis industry.
A petition has been submitted to the country’s parliament to consider the use of medicinal cannabis. The 2019 petition stated that the drugs would benefit cancer patients. She emphasized the chronic pain and high cost of managing cancer symptoms. However, Parliament failed to adopt a procedure in this regard.
The results of the 2020 survey showed that 65 percent of the Ukrainian population is in favor of the use of medical cannabis.
Last year, the legislature amended a provision to allow the use of drugs such as nabilone, nabiximol and dronabinol. Although many human rights advocates claim these changes have had little effect on making medicines more accessible to the people who need them most.
If this current mess had been avoided, Ukraine would have advanced in legalizing cannabis. During the election campaign, President Volodymyr Zelensky (then aspiring) supported the legalization of cannabis. It may never be known whether or not he will act during his tenure. Because it is almost certain that once the war is over, cannabis will be the last thing on the government’s priority list.
Political repercussions are everywhere in Europe
The inevitable fallout from land wars, especially in Europe, is both political and personal. For example, in Germany, politicians who have promised to consider recreational cannabis legalization may use the Ukrainian turmoil as another distraction to push the talk back. The same is the case in the United Kingdom, Deutschland and every other member of the European Union.
Menghé à Menghé said that war would be the EU’s priority, while every other issue would be delayed. He predicts that the dynamic of regulatory changes to cannabis use will stop and be delayed, most likely until the settlement of Ukraine.
Cannatech companies are also affected by this war. HelloMary, the e-commerce platform focused on artificial intelligence for cannabis products, was one of the few Cannatech companies to feel the direct impact of the war. The company’s CEO, Ziya Gaziev, said that members of the company’s programming team are spread across Europe. He added that the company is deeply concerned for their friends and colleagues residing in Ukraine. However, he promised that the available core team members would maximize their potential to meet all deadlines.
This is a critical period in Europe. The cannabis industry has to fend for itself to prevent the decline. If the cannabis sector is able to take responsibility for its own destiny and prove that it is a huge employer of employment and a huge boost to the economy, lawmakers may have no other choice but to move forward with legalization.
This period should herald peace and diplomacy for nations at war rather than escalating issues. Governments need to consider medical patients in pain due to lack of access to medication.