Belgium takes a first step towards the legalization of the cultivation of medicinal cannabis

On 26 February 2019, the parliamentary committee on health approved a bill concerning the establishment of a cannabis agency.

This cannabis agency will be established within the framework of the FAMHP (Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products) and will be charged with (i) authorizing the grounds on which the cannabis plant may be grown; (ii) the issuance of permits to growers; (iii) the purchase and actual possession of the entire cannabis harvest; (iv) all activities (monopoly) of import, export and wholesale.

By setting up this cannabis agency, Belgium follows in the footsteps of its neighboring countries which are already active on the market for the cultivation of cannabis (e.g. in the Netherlands and Germany).

Through this amendment, it has been made possible for the FAMHP to organize the cultivation of cannabis in Belgium, without already liberalizing the market for the use of cannabis as a medicine or for medicinal purposes.

The FAMHP has announced that following the establishment of the cannabis agency, it will issue a public tender for the cultivation of a certain quantity of cannabis. Certain growers will then be licensed to grow a certain amount of cannabis at designated locations. The cannabis agency will have the monopoly on trade and the import and export of medicinal cannabis.

In Kinrooi (Limburg) there is already an ambitious player ready to set up a nursery and research center. They are keen to develop and produce new types of cannabis for medicinal use on a large scale.

To date, the cultivation of cannabis in Belgium is still illegal, even for medical or scientific purposes. The adoption of this bill is a first important step towards the right direction. Soon, certain licensed actors will be able to legally grow cannabis.

This measure puts Belgium on the road to the ever-growing market for legal cannabis cultivation.

 Update: on 28 March 2019, parliament approved the bill concerning the establishment of a cannabis agency. 

CORBUS ADVOCATEN specializes in all aspects of the ever-growing market for cultivation and distribution of cannabis intended for medicinal and scientific purposes.

For more information on this topic, please contact Anton Buntinx (anton.buntinx@corbus.be).

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