Spain misses historic opportunity

Cannabis business in Spain

World class player

Spain is a world cannabis superpower. Over the past two decades, it has evolved from a mere recreational consumer of hashish imported from Morocco, the world’s largest cannabis producer, to a major player in industrial-scale production and the development of new genetics. Barcelona and Valencia are world capitals for the breeding and hybridization of innovative cannabis varieties. Provinces such as Almeria and Murcia are home to large greenhouses that supply the rest of Europe with high quality marijuana. And Spanish professionals are gradually exporting seeds and know-how to the Moroccan industry, transforming the artisanal practices of the sector of the giant cannabis Maghrebi to a business at the forefront of R & D.

The missed opportunity

However, Spain has lagged behind in the legal development of the sector in the international market. The lack of vision of Spanish political leaders, more concerned about short-term election results than strategic development of productive sectors, are ostracizing the country in a sector that was destined to lead on a global scale. Spain does not have too many value-added production models that generate quality jobs and foreign exchange. What it has left over is politicians debating the civil war, Catalan nationalism and immigration.

A new player in town

Portugal has taken advantage, at the legislative level, in the cultivation and production segment. In 2019, Germany has established the regulatory basis for what will be the future of the medical cannabis industry in Europe, facilitating investments, regulating distribution and issuing licences in a fair and transparent manner. Countries such as Malta or Estonia are positioning themselves as access platforms for the European Union for foreign cannabis products. Meanwhile, Spaniards continue to wonder under what regulations the few cannabis production and research licences currently operating in Spain have been granted. Officials in executive positions in bodies such as the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products consulted by 613 Partners claim to be unaware of the legal mechanisms for granting these licences and denounce the opacity and mystery surrounding the sector.

The international cannabis sector is in its embryonic phase, and the cake has yet to be distributed. Will Spanish political leaders seize this historic opportunity?