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The 'Global Medical Cannabis Explosion' Is Coming

What the U.S. can learn from German legalization, the next countries to follow suit and the impending "global medical cannabis explosion."

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Based in Lisbon, Portugal, Somai Pharmaceuticals is a large-scale, GMP-certified manufacturer and global supplier of cannabis products used in pharmacological applications.

Today, Germany legalized possession of small amounts of cannabis for recreational use to become the third country in the European Union to legalize personal use after Malta and Luxembourg.

Michael Sassano is the founder and CEO of Somai Pharmaceuticals.Michael Sassano is the founder and CEO of Somai Pharmaceuticals.Somai PharmaceuticalsIn this exclusive interview with Cannabis Equipment News (CEN), Michael Sassano, founder and CEO of Somai Pharmaceuticals, discusses what the U.S. can learn from German legalization, the next countries to follow suit and the "global medical cannabis explosion."

CEN: How will cannabis legalization in Germany impact Somai Pharmaceuticals?

Michael Sassano: Germany is one step of many steps for other E.U. countries. The immediate effect is that doctors are no longer hampered by the narcotics derivation and may prescribe cannabis more freely to those who need and want cannabis as a therapy. Extracts will become the primary prescribing method since flower will be readily available through social clubs. Home growing and decriminalization will have an adverse reaction on legal flower sales. 

CEN: Does Somai prepare for a potential influx in demand when markets appear likely to legalize?

Sassano: Somai is designed to service global markets in much higher volumes with equipment that — with only one month of production — can supply the entire current global market sales volume. Somai is not waiting for the market to develop; we have continual production and drive sales through inventory management so that our product is always in stock and patients always have access to their medicine of choice.

CEN: Does the company plan to make any operational changes?   

Sassano: As of today, we have an entire year planned for internal management and continual production to meet any increases in demand. Throughout the year, we will assess our production plans for volume increases as needed. Inventory-based management creates sufficient stock to weather surges and allows insight into what is selling best so that adjustments can be made as preferences and volumes change. 

The key to our inventory management strategy is to never stop producing and to always have stock of needed inputs to keep up with anticipated increases over the year. 

CEN: Do you expect any other countries to follow suit?

Sassano: I have been very vocal about what I call the "global medical cannabis explosion." The three main pillars of regulatory change that will drive E.U. and global regulatory change for medical cannabis are all happening in 2024: 

  1. The 252-page HHS/FDA report detailing that cannabis is not only safe, safer than alternatives and has the least possibility of an adverse reaction to any current pharma products, but also that cannabis is effective for at "least" 15 indications, including neuropathic pain.
  2. The German decision to remove narcotics derivation from cannabis.
  3. The eventual rescheduling of cannabis in the U.S. to Schedule III will finalize a medical standing for cannabis in line with the 252-page report—this isn't needed for the thesis, but it will surely help accelerate globally. 

Spain and France will be extract only; Czechia will be like Germany; and existing markets like Ireland and the U.K. will be modernized. Plus, every E.U. country will come online more commensurate with "global cannabis guidelines." 

CEN: What products/services do you expect to be in high demand out of the gate?

Sassano: All cannabis will be in demand from the get-go, but extracts are the chosen route for doctors mid-to-long-term since flower will be available through social clubs and home growers. Already, countries like Spain and France are clearly all extract markets and that is expected to grow. All markets start with the flower, which excludes many demographics, while extracts are the highest growth area for maturing markets. 

CEN: Are there any aspects of Germany's legalization efforts that should be replicated by similar efforts in the U.S. and around the globe? 

Sassano: The narcotics derivation coming off and opening access to the population is very key for advocates and patients. The U.S. has no choice but to acknowledge the medicinal aspects given their own 252-page report, which surveyed 6,000,000 patients and 30,000 prescribing doctors. 

These events are a signal to all the lobbying groups and politicians who are holding back change that would allow people to receive "safer" alternatives to current pharma products. Germany has signaled that the largest economy and most powerful E.U. health organization agrees with the benefits of cannabis and safety for its people. All regulators are moving forward to modernize their outdated prohibition of cannabis as you read this. 

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