ICBC Berlin Cannabis
3 min

How German Ethos And Humor Will Shape Its Cannabis Market

3 min
Legislation News

There are few places where German culture and cannabis are beginning to interact. Germans are not only accepting about this, but often find it funny. Not to mention the fact that many German firms already in this space, seem to think that all this fuss is downright humorous.

Cannabis reform is well underway in Germany. Despite the supposed stigma, Germans are about to surprise the world. They are also about to embrace the weed like no other culture. If there was one clear message that came out of the ICBC in April, that would be it. The first legitimate cannabis business conference in Berlin established that fact.

The conference was highly attended by Canadians and Americans. However, Germans were present in large numbers. Their reactions to the conference were mixed and interesting and usually pretty humorous. They also seem to think that all this fuss about the German market is a bit funny. Despite the stereotypes on that score, Germans do in fact have a sense of humour. It is even discernible to Auslanders who pay attention.

That starts, frankly, with the attitude of the government towards market development in the first place. According to the Bpharm website at least, the tender bid for the first ten grow licenses was released a week before anyone knew about it. It is also, despite its clear international focus, only published in German. This by definition favours German firms with established international connections already. That is almost certainly why the German government chose to release news of the bid when they did. They knew top foreign producers would be in Berlin.

To top this off, the only German official with regulatory experience scheduled to speak declined to show up. The official reason? He had a bad dentist appointment. The real reason? Could it perhaps have been to avoid all those miffed domestic hopefuls? Anything that mixes regulations and dentists is to be avoided after all. This is how the German brain thinks.

This might not exactly be a sign of German “humour.” However, it certainly is one way to show where the winds are headed in this market.

That said, those who grow plants on the higher side of THC content are not the only ones with aspirations right now.


Storz and Bickel knows how to laugh at German stereotypes all the way to the bank. This includes misperceptions both about national humour if not weed itself. The company launched before vaping was hip. From the beginning, the company adopted a very German attitude about both technology and foreign markets. 90% of their market was elsewhere. However, even in Germany, the company began to establish a very mainstream scientific reputation. They even began to win awards for extraction and heating. The Volcano, became the vape of choice for a whole generation of stoners.

Storz and Bickel Vaporizers

Today, the company is in the mobile vape and medical market. In Deutschland, this also means that their products will qualify as medical devices. They are looking at a domestic market where their products are covered under health insurance.

That gives them a great deal to laugh about.

So does the question about their basic motivation to enter the market. If you talk to their founding partners, it all seems so easy in retrospect. “We knew the evidence was there” they are prone to say. Even if their first market was mostly foreign.


Storz and Bickel is not the only established German firm in an interesting position right now. No matter who gets the grow licenses. VTA is another German company on the forefront of cannabis extractions. This is thanks to technology already invented and in the marketplace. Root Sciences is an American company with a Canadian office. They have incorporated this technology as a vital part of their strategy. They are currently distributing VTA’s extractor globally. The firm itself is positioning its brand in the extraction and distillation business.

Company representatives demonstrating their equipment during the ICBC had good natures if not “humour” on display. They also had a certain pride that led to a great many laughs. They understand very well that the German market is about to grow up. Their technology is likely to be right in the middle of it. Globally.

Performance and scientific data are, to most Germans, no laughing matter. They like machines that can deliver the same. Put all of those ingredients in the same room together with Germans, and you are likely to hear some Teutonic chuckles.


German hemp manufacturers sit in a fascinating place right now. In fact, growing hemp never went out of style. Like Austria, hemp has been produced here industrially for a long time. It is used for specialized purposes such as cloth, rope and oil. As a result, producers here have been able to establish themselves legally. Further, industrial hemp has been used to produce CBD oil in Europe. The result is a product with a lower concentration of CBD.

Grow Cannabis Germany

Regardless, that puts such growers in an interesting position now. There were a quite few established hemp growers in Berlin. Not all of them sported grins at the ICBC. But a lot of them were clearly very happy.

Many did not want to dramatically change course. Some showed some interest in new developments. Most were hesitant about being too publicly enthusiastic about the pending tender bid. Realistically at least several of them have a chance at even this tender if they partner with a foreign firm.


The short answer to that question is probably not. That was not a source of humour.

Forbidden Outdoor Grow Cannabis

There is one big question really pending for German hemp growers right now. That is how much leeway if not transition time the German government will give them. This starts with access to capital to radically transform existing grow operations. The German government will probably require an indoor grow capability. It already has access to the same. Canadian firms it is currently importing medical crops from all grow indoors. Land access and growing seasons favour the development of indoor grow facilities for medical use. So does control of crop purity.

But beyond all the questions about future developments and strategic partnerships, one thing was crystal clear at the ICBC. Medical reform has come to Deutschland. And the Germans are itching to put their stamp if not humour on this slice of global medical history.


  Marguerite Arnold  

Written by: Marguerite Arnold
With years of writing experience under her belt, Marguerite dedicates her time to exploring the cannabis industry and the developments of the legalisation movement.

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