Malta’s medical cannabis supply issues have been resolved

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Just one month ago, the island nation of Malta encountered a shortage of high-THC medical cannabis flower. Fortunately, the country’s 40,000 cannabis consumers are once again able to procure their medicine, after Bedrocan a locally licensed brand of pharmacy-sold medical cannabis in Malta has been restocked. 

Patients are still waiting for another brand to be restocked, however. Pedanios is produced by Aurora Cannabis the largest authorized distributor, exporter and importer of medical cannabis in the European Union. 

This isn’t the first time that the European country has experienced medical cannabis supply issues, with a similar situation arising back in 2018. Reports show that the illicit market for cannabis in Malta has also run dry in recent times.

Recurring supply problems demonstrate a growing need for simplified imports. Exporters have frequently complained about procedures that are required to serve Malta’s medical cannabis industry, with many suppliers suffering setbacks due to unexpected testing demands from the EU country’s Medicines Authority.

Malta’s medical cannabis industry relies on imports 

The sun-drenched Mediterranean island of Malta is gradually emerging as a European hub for medical cannabis product development. However, at the current time, Malta’s medical cannabis industry is heavily reliant on imports; Bedrocan is one type of flower that is imported from the Netherlands.

Undesirable product pricing is prompting many patients to seek out home cultivation opportunities the average cost of medical cannabis in Malta is €16 per gram (approximately $19) and a daily two-gram prescription will set patients back around €960 ($1,138) every month. In many cases, this amounts to €11,000 ($13,044) annually.

In an effort to prevent shortages of medical cannabis in Malta in the future, representatives from ReLeaf a community-based NGO are now urging the Medicines Authority to pass more reform laws.

“We are calling for more accessible prices and better availability; we can’t have medicine being out of stock in Malta,” said ReLeaf activist Andrew Bonello during an interview with online publication Lovin Malta. “We also have a lack of diversified products in Malta provided by only two companies, and this makes it more evident than ever than cannabis users need to be given the right to grow their own plant, or be allowed to find a compassionate grower.”

Currently, patients must obtain physician approval for a medical cannabis prescription, in addition to direct approvals from the superintendent of public health and a control card to prove their eligibility.

Malta’s cannabis export industry expected to generate $1 billion within the next three years

Back in November, the economy minister of Malta Silvio Schembri said that the EU country anticipates export revenue to reach $1 billion by 2023. Despite these projections, commercial-scale exports are yet to transpire across the largest island in the Maltese archipelago, where medical cannabis is expected to become a significant source of income in the near future.

On the plus side, Aphria recently announced that its subsidiary, ASG Pharma Ltd., has bagged a European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (EU-GMP) certification from the Malta Medicines Authority. This sought-after certification will enable ASG Pharma to produce cannabis for medical and research purposes across the EU country.