Germany imported 1,759 kilograms (3,878 pounds) of medical cannabis flower for pharmacy dispensing during the third quarter of 2020, new data from the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) shows.
This represents a 28% decrease over the previous quarter but is 34% lower than the same quarter last year.
However, for the January-September period, imports are up 15% compared to the first nine months of 2019.
Import data is a relevant metric for businesses involved in the German medical marijuana market because the flower category is totally dependent on imports and – as Marijuana Business Daily first reported – that trend will continue until at least the end of the first quarter of 2021.
Flower sales represent more than half the German medical marijuana market.
Import quantities fluctuate significantly throughout the year, so they are hard to predict and do not necessarily represent how domestic sales are evolving – meaning drawing conclusions from import data alone should be avoided.
Not all imported flower is destined for German consumers.
Some could have been destroyed – for example, if it was not sold before the end of its shelf-life – or re-exported to other European countries, including the Czech Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland and the United Kingdom.
Two important indicators of how the market evolves include:
- Reimbursement data, which recently dropped for the first time on a quarterly basis.
- How individual applications for reimbursement evolve, a situation MJBizDaily recently updated.
It remains uncertain how the year will end, but the current situation indicates that year-over-year growth in 2020 will not be as spectacular as previous years.
Since the start of the current medical marijuana program in early 2017, the flower market doubled in 2018 and again in 2019.
MJBizDaily‘s European medical cannabis report, published in May, predicted for the 2020 market that:
Slower year-over-year growth shouldn’t be surprising. As of press time for this report, the supply situation was quite good in Germany. The strong growth from 2018 to 2019 could be partially explained by an undersupplied market in 2018. Keeping the year-over-year growth rate in 2020 after a better-supplied market in 2019 will be challenging.
Alfredo Pascual can be reached at [email protected]