How much could medical cannabis bring in France?

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There are questions that generally take second place. The legalization of medical cannabis is a subject that most often depends on the needs of patients and which do not stop only at public safety or financing possibilities.

If France decided to generalize medical cannabis, it would then have the choice of sticking to imports, which are generally complex and costly, or of encouraging the emergence of a national sector which, in addition to engaging the sovereignty of the State, would allow access to materials for medical use and quality at a much lower cost than on international markets.

An important question then arises: how much could medical cannabis bring to France?

References in this area are lacking. One method could be to start from the number of patients, their average needs per month, to deduce the number of cultivation, analysis and processing sites necessary for the production of this cannabis for medical use and to calculate, according to an average price, the turnover generated by the sector. A tough guy and Newsweed doesn’t have the time and means of a French polling institute.

Close to us, in Germany, the number of prescriptions issued for cannabis is known, around 400,000, without dimension of the number of patients. Estimates range from 100 to 150,000. The quantities imported by the country are also known, 20.6 tonnes, in addition to 2.6 tonnes produced locally. However, part of the imports is reshipped to other countries, thus not accounting for the quantities actually consumed. The amounts paid by health insurance are known, around 200 million euros for the year 2023, but without a direct link with the turnover of the German cannabis industry, still very small and overwhelmingly an importer, therefore without creating value other than a distributor margin on federal soil.

The medical status of cannabis being very different according to the States in the United States, it would seem more appropriate to look towards Canada. Here too the estimates differ. Some medical patients obtain their supplies on the adult market, the other grow with plant authorizations that make the French PQR pale: technically without limit, and in fact, up to almost 500 plants per patient in certain provinces English speakers. Declarative surveys revolve around CA$75 spent per month by a Canadian patient, but the quantities announced by Statistics Canada are of the order of 2 grams of cannabis per day for a patient, or around CA$300 per month. Although the Canadian statistical office does a good job of reporting on the sales and impact of cannabis in the country, the view is limited.

But, since there is a but, a 2022 report from Deloitte could shed some light. Overall, the Canadian industry sold 2.7 billion euros of cannabis in 2021, non-medical sales included. At that date, the medical market represented roughly 10% of the total market, i.e. 270 million euros for 200,000 patients.

The contribution to the economy of the cannabis sector is even greater. While sales of cannabis since 2018 are estimated by Deloitte at 7.6 billion euros, the contribution of the sector, taking into account direct, indirect and induced economic activity, amounts there to 30.3 billion euros and 151,000 jobs. Or, if we keep the previous proportion of 10%, 3 billion euros and 15,000 jobs for the medical cannabis industry alone in 4 years.

So obviously, these are just cross products on a side of the table. But since the arguments of reason have failed to hit the mark, what about financial interest?

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