Building Europe's Medical Cannabis Industry

Past Conference - London, June 24th-25th


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What We’re Talking About

With over 80 speakers across 18 talks, Cannabis Europa London had something for everybody. Our panelists discussed the most pressing issues facing the European industry today, analysing the developments of the last 12 months and looking at how medical cannabis has permeated the mainstream. With a line up of prominent politicians and policymakers, inspirational business leaders and healthcare professionals, unwavering advocates and ingenious entrepreneurs, we are shaping the debate across the continent.

The theme of the conference was people and it is people that were at the core of the programme’s discussions. The programme was broken down into four areas (click to jump to section):



 Culture + Society


Culture and society panels drew on the campaigns, characters and ideas
that have captured the imagination of the public and the media.



History in the Making | The Pioneers

The European cannabis industry owes a lot to its pioneers. Initially dissidents who braved many challenges and stood against the established order, they now represent symbols of progress. Today these figures remain very active in the European industry, still at the forefront of innovation in research, policy, and entrepreneurship, and there is still much for all to learn from their experiences.

The topics explored included:

  • Why did early pioneers persist in building cannabis companies despite all the obstacles?

  • What can new entrants to the market learn from industry veterans?

  • What are the pros and cons of cannabis ‘becoming mainstream’ in recent years?

Innovation Society | The Ideas

Generational shifts are changing the way we perceive cannabis and the position it should have in society, in turn changing our ways of healing, consuming, and living. Discover some of the most innovative profiles and companies in and adjacent to the cannabis industry.

The topics explored included:

  • How can innovation in the cannabis space have lasting effects on other sectors?

  • How do we scale innovative ideas to achieve maximum impact?

  • What role does agri-tech and health-tech have in the medical cannabis debate?

Fight For Your Right | The Campaigners

Patients and carers have spearheaded reform globally for decades. In some cases decision makers have worked with them hand-in-hand, in other cases against them, as they explore medical cannabis access programmes together. Hearing the stories of these patients helped to create a better environment for debating medical cannabis reform both in the public sphere and behind the curtains of power will give us a better understanding of how reform came about in Europe and what it means for future campaigning efforts.

The topics explored included:

  • How can patient advocates remain front and centre of the cannabis debate?

  • What is, or what should be, the role of the media in campaigning?

  • How effective is civil disobedience as a route to reform?

  • What is, or what should be, the role of global patient networks in the education of public officials?

Investing in People | The Professionals

The European cannabis industry is entering a new phase of professionalisation and consolidation. Local and international teams are bulking up their ranks with seasoned professionals from other industries. There is a pressure to scale up their resources to remain competitive as more corporate actors with well-functioning global supply chains enter the space.

The topics explored included:

  • What are solutions for addressing the human capital shortage facing the industry?

  • Which strategies can cannabis companies adopt to remain competitive as larger corporates enter the space?

  • What role do and should professional services play in building the global cannabis industry?



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Science and healthcare panels examined the roles of each member of the production and supply chain in the delivery of effective medicines and fair access to patients.



The Patient Approach | Clinical Access

In countries where medical cannabis is regulated, a number of obstacles often remain that prevent medicines from reaching the hands of those who need it. Medical professionals and regulatory experts will discuss how healthcare systems can evolve to solve the complexities that arise around prescribing medical cannabis.

The topics explored included:

  • Who should be able to write a medical cannabis prescription?

  • How should patient reimbursement for medical cannabis prescriptions function?

  • Are there sufficient guidelines that medical professionals should follow to prescribe?

  • What is the role of health authorities in educating medical professionals?

  • What are the pros and cons of observational trials versus randomised clinical trials?

The State of Health | Patient Provision

Elected officials face the challenge of granting fast, safe access to medical cannabis to patients, whilst ensuring the regulatory rigour required to license medicines in their countries. This phenomenon is partly responsible for the wide disparity in medical cannabis access programmes around the world. This offers us the opportunity to compare the effectiveness of each model and how they impact patient access.

The topics explored included:

  • How do governments work together to improve patient access?

  • How effective are different models of medical cannabis access programmes around the world?

  • What is, or should be, the role of European governments in lobbying for an EU-wide medical cannabis access programme?

Diverse Flowers + Precise Medicine | Cannabis-Based Medicines

As our understanding of the cannabis plant and its availability increase across Europe, the medical cannabis industry in Europe has entered a new stage, requiring medicines providers to develop a standardised process to ensure safer patient access to better products.

The topics explored included:

  • What is the impact of the entourage effect on API-based medicines?

  • How is the standardisation of cultivation processes for pharmaceutical grade cannabis evolving?

  • What are some of the most promising of the many uncharted territories of cannabinoid research?

  • How are different organisations and facilities raising capital for research in cannabinoids?

Modern Medicine | Health Tech

New technological breakthroughs periodically disrupt every industry. Tech and medical cannabis experts discuss which technologies are currently changing the face of the industry, and how they empower patients, help research evolve, and create better cannabinoid based medicines.

The topics explored included:

  • What role can tech play in patient empowerment?

  • How could blockchain impact the cannabis industry?

  • How can innovation shape product standardisation?


 Policy + Politics

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Policy and politics panels looked at both the granular and global issues relating to cannabis in the realm of politicians and policymakers.



Prescriptions Without Borders | EU Cannabis

Although medical cannabis is becoming more available across European countries, patients still cannot be sure they can use their prescriptions from one end of the EU to the other without risking legal repercussions. Representatives of European patient associations, MEPs, and other European policy experts will gather to map the routes available to promote the harmonisation of medical cannabis laws on an EU level.

The topics explored included:

  • What has been the impact of the medical cannabis resolution passed in the European Parliament in February 2019?

  • How has the state of play for medical cannabis reform changed in the European Parliament following the May 2019 elections?

  • What role should the European Medicines Agency take in the regulation of medical cannabis?

  • What are the options available to ensure patients’ freedom to use their prescription from one end of the EU to the other?

  • How can we implement best practice at a European level in order to ensure medical professionals are training to prescribe medical cannabis?

Into the Light | (un)Policing Cannabis

Societal attitudes towards cannabis and the policing of cannabis are changing rapidly. Political leaders are increasingly coming out in favour of the legalisation of cannabis, urging policymakers to evolve the outdated laws regulating it. The UK has reached a point where it can now have a sincere public debate about cannabis law reform, and explore the impact it can have, as much from a public health as from a business standpoint.

The topics explored included:

  • What can Europe learn from Canada's legalisation of cannabis for adult use?

  • What impact could cannabis law reform have on the police and justice departments’ resources?

  • What distinctions have been or may be drawn between cannabis for medical and recreational use?

Food, Medicine, or Both? | CBD Regulations

The regulation of CBD in Europe is evolving at a frenetic pace. As consumer demand for CBD is booming, industry leaders come together to discuss the future regulatory environment and how to ensure that European consumers can access high-quality products.

The topics explored included:

  • What will the EU’s Novel Foods Regulations mean for the companies looking to include CBD in foods and food supplements?

  • What effects might the blurred line between medical CBD and wellness CBD have?

  • What approach are large retail and e-commerce companies taking with CBD?

  • What has been the role of hemp reform in helping the CBD industry grow?

  • What impact has the WHO’s recommendation of rescheduling CBD had?

The Business of Legalisation | Legalisation

An increasing number of political leaders around the world are calling for the full regulation of cannabis, saying current laws are ineffective and outdated. Recent trends across North America and Europe have shown the increasing role of business in the liberalisation of cannabis laws.

The topics explored included:

  • What are the benefits of a full legalisation of cannabis versus decriminalisation?

  • What economic and healthcare best practices can Europeans learn from legal cannabis markets in Northern America?

  • What are the different political arguments that will drive reform in Europe?


 Business + Investment

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Business and investment panels were centred around the people and trends propelling the industry forward through new milestones and with record breaking speed.



Through the Roof | Raising Capital

As the cannabis industry goes mainstream, European stock exchanges are opening their doors to cannabis companies looking to make initial public offerings. In the meantime, many new companies emerge looking to raise capital to stay relevant in this increasingly saturated market.

The topics explored included:

  • What are the legal hurdles IPOs face in the cannabis industry?

  • What role do stock exchanges play in helping cannabis companies grow?

  • What are the different paths to raising capital available to entrepreneurs?

  • What are the emerging differences between Europe and Northern America in raising capital?

More to Come | Investment Trends

The fragmented and complex nature of the European market can make it difficult to understand where to invest. With supply chains spread across multiple jurisdictions with wildly different regulations, it can be difficult to carry out due diligence and identify value.

The topics explored included:What are the correlations in investment in the cannabis, tobacco and alcohol industries?

  • How is increasing seed investment in Europe shaping the market?

  • How do investors get comfortable with proposed valuations with the current lack of data and clarity on where markets are moving?

  • What should investors be aware of to understand the differences between the continents?

Strong and Stable | Business Leadership

Building a truly global cannabis business is fraught with risk. In a highly fragmented regulatory environment with markets at different stages of development, the challenges facing the leaders of large cannabis companies attempting to become global cannabis companies are numerous.

The topics explored included:

  • Quality before scale or growth at all costs? Which corporate strategies are defining the sector?

  • What factors make a market worth investing in Europe?

  • How do large companies manage to ensure product compliance through the variety of market they supply?

Future Foundations | Corporate Social Responsibility

We are faced with an unprecedented opportunity to develop a highly responsible and transparent industry in Europe. As a nascent industry with a unique stigma, the way companies build their CSR strategy and define their relations with the general public, decision makers, and other professionals will directly impact their effectiveness at penetrating the market and becoming a leader in this space.

The topics explored included:

  • What should companies focus on when building their CSR strategy in Europe?

  • What are the means available to the industry to ensure self-regulation?

  • How do companies maintain necessary transparency through the fast-evolving regulation and fast-paced growth of the industry in Europe?


In Conversation | London 2019 Speakers

Leading voices from the worlds of European politics, pharmaceuticals, professional services and industry.