Susanne Caspar has spent twenty-eight years in the pharmaceutical industry in both OTC and ethical areas, and now seeks out new high-growth opportunities in the cannabis and CBD categories in North America and selected markets internationally. Linnea SA has been proudly producing the finest quality botanical extracts for more than three decades.
There has been a lot of talk lately about countries in Europe legalizing cannabis. As an API producer, how do you think this will affect the medical market and patients?
Our business model leverages more than three decades of low-cost, controlled-environment agriculture (i.e. high tech greenhouse growing) with building brand(s) that meet consumer needs.
A key part of our learnings over our long history has been the necessity to operate at low-cost, including prudent capital investment. Our legacy produce operations (tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers) have been under pricing pressure from imported Mexican grown product for well over a decade. Managing our costs has become part of our DNA. We pursued a unique business model among the Canadian licensed producers –greenhouse cultivation – also informed by our deep experience. We converted existing facilities with existing operations, which enabled us to transition expert growers, trained labour forces and maintenance teams in facilities they knew very well to growing cannabis. And we have the benefit of decades of climate data at our facilities, which is essential. It typically takes five years or more As some of Europe begins discussions toward adult-use legalization, ensuring continued care for patients who rely on medical cannabis is imperative. This mission is of utmost importance to Linnea SA.
It’s important the emerging recreational market does not diminish or eliminate the vital medical cannabis market. The needs of these markets are inherently different and we believe it is essential for the cannabis medical market to grow and expand to serve the needs of patients, as recreational markets start and expand. There have been discussions in Germany for example about holding adult-use cannabis to the same high GMP standards as medical cannabis, especially in regards to standardization and product tracing. We believe these high standards of production are most valuable for all consumers and patients as they ensure all consumers and patients get reliable consistent products. This achievement of high standard products and care should never be compromised.
Most importantly, patients using cannabis for medical purposes require effective, safe and controllable doses of cannabinoids, with stability data. Medical cannabis patients also require continued monitoring, medical direction and ongoing advice from their doctors to ensure the efficacy of their treatments. Recreational markets do not provide these types of products nor this type of patient support. Medical patients have needs that require reliable potency and dosing, something that is not offered in a recreational market. Further, medical cannabis products in many European countries are often partially covered by medical insurance. It is vital to ensure medical patients can be offered some type of insurance coverage just as is the case for other types of medicine.to ramp up a new greenhouse operation and benefit from efficiency.
What do you think is the best way to ensure a medical market and a recreational market can coexist and thrive?
European lawmakers have the unique opportunity to create the first region to maintain a true medical market for patients and develop a recreational market for adult consumption, potentially existing and thriving simultaneously. European regulators can strengthen existing medical markets while also developing clear distinct recreational markets. The needs of the medical patient and the recreational customer are not interchangeable. Recreational consumers can use any cannabis products of their choosing, however medical patients require consistent standardized reliable pharmaceutical products, with administration forms that ensure safe therapy and they cannot get the same benefits from recreational products. Having an accurate consistent medical product is paramount to any medical treatment and care.
The best way to provide continued care for medical cannabis patients is to ensure Europe is the future home to a well regulated medical cannabis industry. At Linnea SA, we will do all we can to ensure the continued accessibility of pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabinoids and cannabis products to those who need them.
As you look ahead to 2023 what is on the global horizon for Linnea?
Perhaps the most notable uniqueness to the Dutch market is We are very excited that with the new swiss regulation, we are allowed to develop standardized Pharma grade THC extracts for the global market. We expect to launch these products in Switzerland by the end of 2023 and globally in 2024. We think it’s crucial for medical patients to have access to high-quality standardized GMP certified THC products. With our 40 years of experience producing trustworthy ingredients, we look forward to offering these cannabis extracts to our business partners for their finished product.
To find out more about Linnea SA, visit the company’s website here.
This interview was featured in The Global Cannabis Report: Third Edition, which provides an overview of the development of cannabis markets at the international level, and considers how they might develop in the near future. It also covers some of the most interesting and pertinent global trends in the industry.