Spanish Ministry of Health grants six licenses to cultivate for therapeutic and research purposes.
In the last couple of months, the Spanish Ministry of Health has granted six licenses to cultivate 20,000 hectares of cannabis for therapeutic and experimental purposes.
Due to these being narcotic substances, neither the Medicines Agency, nor the companies involved are giving much away about this new chapter of therapeutic cannabis in Spain, telling media that they risk losing their licenses in the case of breaking the silence.
Currently the cultivation of cannabis with a THC content of higher than 0.2%, is regulated by the archaic law of 17/1967 by which "The Spanish State has the right to intervene, within its territory, in the cultivation and production, manufacture and extraction, storage, transportation and distribution, importation, exportation and transit of raw materials and narcotic products, as well as their prescription, possession, use and consumption "(art.1). The Spanish State also has the power to authorize crops of plants destined for the production of narcotic substances, "but if such crops are not produced by authorized manufacturers, the growers will be obliged to deliver the harvest to the Service or to authorized manufacturers, who will take over the processing "(art.7).
The application of this article is exactly what the Ministry of Health has done in recent months, awarding 6 licenses from the 160 applications received, for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis, mainly with the aim of educating and investigating the potential of the plant.
Phytoplant, the Polytechnic University of Valencia, CIJA Preservation S.L. and DJT Plants Spain will be able to grow exclusively for research purposes, while the licenses granted to Alcaliber (already a world leader in the cultivation and production of morphine and thebaine) and DJT Plants Spain are somewhat broader and include both therapeutic and commercial purposes as possible objectives of their crops. Alcaliber's license, in addition to being the only one with permission to grow in open fields (1,085 hectares), allows the company rights to "cultivation, production, manufacture, import, export, distribution and marketing of cannabis and derived products", plus the production of drugs and carrying out of clinical trials authorized by AEMPS for research purposes.
DJT Plants Spain is a Spanish company, founded in 2015 with just 3000 euros of capital, and owned by DJT Plants Limited, an English company that supports agricultural production activities.
Attempts to contact them have failed and Health can only report that DJT Plants Spain S.L. "Is authorized for the production and export of seeds and cuttings of cannabis plants". In his Linkedin profile, the General Director from November 2015 - November 2016, describes his work at DJT Plants Spain: "This was a small-scale test set up on behalf of a leading UK pharmaceutical company in the UK who successfully gained licensing from AEMPS ( Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products) and approval from the local authorities. They set up DJT Plants SA as a Spanish company". The project was apparently shelved due to production priorities of the clients and nothing is known about the next steps of the company.
These resolutions could signify new advances in the field of cannabis research, an area that is not without its difficulties at the time of this article. Researcher Martinez Orgado says that if you want to work with certain compounds "you may have issues when acquiring or importing any type of THC from outside (Spain), the paperwork required by customs is extremely tedious". For this reason, admits Ekaitz Agirregoitia of the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis, as a researcher "you propose less projects due to the obstacles you face if you want to use the whole plant".