The expert: Malta can become world leader in medical cannabis manufacturing

Deepak Anand is vice-president of government relations at Cannabis Compliance and has met with Maltese ministers and Malta enterprise

Deepak Anand: It is great that your elected leaders have reached out to us in Canada for opinion and inputs on drafting a medical cannabis regime in Malta that works for patients and the industry at the same time
Deepak Anand: It is great that your elected leaders have reached out to us in Canada for opinion and inputs on drafting a medical cannabis regime in Malta that works for patients and the industry at the same time

The European Cannabis market is estimated to be the largest cannabis market in the world, worth an estimated €56.2 billion per annum out of which the medical cannabis market appraised around €35.7 billion per annum (according to a recent EMA report).

I think the changes proposed by the Prime Minister of Malta enabling medical cannabis access to patients in the country are a major step forward in terms of it being a practical public health-based approach to the war of drugs from a public policy perspective.

Added to this, is the ability for businesses from around the world to partner with Pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) manufacturers (through Malta Enterprise).

I might argue this is a second coming of the Maltese pharmaceutical industry that boomed significantly just after Malta became part of the EU Deepak Ananda

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Malta has historically had a very experienced and extremely well established pharmaceutical manufacturing industry that is recognised around the world. The Medicines Authority (MA) has done a fantastic job regulating and upholding high EU GMP standards.

As companies here in Canada look at expanding their footprint and certain huge knowledge and product base on the medical cannabis side, Maltese GMP manufacturers are a clear partner for these companies due to their historical GMP expertise. It is one behind what the companies here have had in a limited time.

The reason this is a great partnership is because not many countries around the world and more specifically, within Europe, are able to trade and even formulate medical cannabis products due to the lack of regulations to work with cannabis.

Cultivation, manufacturing and trade of cannabis is governed by international law including the UN International Drug Control Conventions (Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs; Convention on Psychotropic Substances; Convention against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) as well as relevant national frameworks and health department regulations which all have language in them to ensure that any trade between members who are signatory to these treaties is limited to occur for scientific or medical purposes only.

With the changes proposed by the Maltese Prime Minister and forward-thinking Cabinet ministers I have met and extensively discussed this issue with such individuals as [economy minister] Christian Cardona and [parliamentary secretary] Julia Farrugia – regulations have been amended to allow for Malta to become a world leader in medical cannabis processing and manufacturing. One which is even beyond what we have in Canada due to our existing medical cannabis regulations which are of GPP (Good Production Practices) versus GMP (a much higher standard in comparison).

As new and additional medical cannabis markets open up around the world, the demand for GMP product formulations which aren’t smoked or vaped will be significant and this is where companies who have partnered with, manufactured and QP-released medical cannabis products under EUGMP from Malta, will have a huge advantage.

I might argue this is a second coming of the Maltese pharmaceutical industry that boomed significantly just after Malta became part of the EU and the advantage Maltese companies had due to the lack of patent registrations by big pharma in the early 1990s.

It is great that your elected leaders have reached out to us in Canada for opinion and inputs on drafting a medical cannabis regime in Malta that works for patients and the industry at the same time. 

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