November 29, 2018

Prohibition Partners expands European presence in Spain’s cannabis capital

2min read

Prohibition Partners is delighted to launch its first overseas office in Barcelona, Spain. The office is run by Head of Consulting David Attwood, who recently joined the team and will drive strategic consultancy from the new office. The Barcelona team will service international investors, regulators and cannabis companies across all jurisdictions.

In Barcelona, the office is ideally placed to monitor international developments and develop our regional network. Spain, Europe’s fifth biggest economy, offers a talent pool with a rich depth of cannabis knowledge and expertise, whilst also being home to a burgeoning market of cultivators, manufacturers and research labs.

  • Cultivation: Spain is home to a warm climate, with relatively low labour costs and an advanced agricultural and pharma industry, giving it the potential for cultivation leadership in mainland Europe. However, only two commercial licences have been reported to have been issued. One licence holder, local narcotics producer, Alcaliber, has partnered with Canopy Growth for cultivation. Given the increased value of licences in neighbouring Portugal (Tilray recently invested €26.5 million into a medical cannabis operation), it should only be a matter of time before Spain allows for wider cultivation projects.
  • Medical Cannabis: At present, Spain has only allowed licensed pharmaceutical preparations such as Sativex and does not yet allow the prescription of medical cannabis. However, given the legislative changes observed in other advanced European economies, such as the UK, Italy and Germany, and pressure from minority opposition parties, Spain is expected to develop a medical cannabis system in the short term. Spain’s ageing population will provide an interesting opportunity as the healthcare system sees an increasing patient flow.
  • Cannabis Culture: Spain has long had a culture of recreational cannabis use due to the legality of private consumption. The trend is reflected in the third highest prevalence levels in Europe (9.5% annual use in adults aged 15 – 64). This has led to a thriving home grow, seed production and cannabis social club scene, with the latter particularly focussed on Barcelona (albeit in a legal grey area). Although the current prime minister recently rejected the possibility of following Canada’s full legalisation of cannabis, political pressure has mounted and local experts expect Spain to be part of the first wave of EU countries to fully liberalise recreational use.
  • Expertise: Strong national pharma industry, internationally recognised cannabis research centres, social acceptance and high consumption levels have led to a pool of world-class cannabis researchers and other professionals, particularly in Madrid and Barcelona.

Exactly how and when the market opens up is by no means certain, but given the momentum across the continent, Spain is a likely contender for short-term medical legalisation and mid-term recreational legalisation. As and when such opportunities arise, Prohibition Partners is ideally placed at the forefront of the European and international market.

Prohibition Partners Barcelona office is centrally situated close to Plaza Catalunya, at Carrer d’Estruc 9. David Attwood can be contacted at: david@prohibitionpartners.com

Prohibition Partners expands European presence in Spain’s cannabis capital

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