Investors in the local medical cannabis industry have “barely seen a return”, with the fledgling industry finding it difficult to access key export markets.
At the first forum organised by the Authority for the Responsible Use for Cannabis, which regulates the non-profit production and sale of cannabis for recreational purposes, the issue was raised by The Malta Chamber.
Policy executive Daniel Cassar said that millions of euro have been invested in the production and sale of cannabis for medicinal reasons, but investors have seen little return so far.
Speaking to BusinessNow.mt, Mr Cassar explained that operators have experienced a number of difficulties.
“Although the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Act was enacted in 2018, it has taken a considerable amount of time for operators to obtain a license to manufacture this product in Malta, with the first such license issued at the end of 2020.”
Since then, he says, the number of licensed manufacturers with a GMP certificate has increased to four companies.
“While these delays can be attributed to the natural process in establishing a new highly regulated industry, other issues are still affecting this industry, particularly market access in export markets, as countries impose unilateral regulations to safeguard their own commercial interests in an increasingly more competitive industry.”
He added that local operators have faced some issues related to the recognition of Maltese medicinal products in Germany, the largest export market, although operators are adjusting to fit this evolving landscape.
Mr Cassar further explained that banking services are another major challenge for the industry locally.
He confirmed that operators and the Malta Medicines Authority are working hand in hand to address these concerns.
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