The Finnish Market Garden Association has expressed that many Finnish commercial florists are showing interest to grow medical cannabis in Finland so as to make it a Finnish export hit. The gardeners are seeking the legalization of medical cannabis which is currently not allowed in the country.
In February 2019, Member of European Parliaments adopted a resolution to agree on establishing EU-wide definition of medicinal cannabis so as to distinguish it from alternative uses of the plant.
In 2018, Canada became the latest country to not only allow medicinal use of cannabis but by also expressing its ambition to become the leading cannabis exporter through the Cannabis act. Experts from the Cannabis industry are optimistic about the passing of a bill at Federal level in USA which will allow medicinal use and production of cannabis in the states. Currently 30 countries have made medical marijuana legal which include Germany, Australia, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Greece among others.
Finnish gardeners want to tap into this new export opportunity. The executive director at Market Garden Association Jyrki Jalkanen said that the export potential for this growing cannabis industry is worth billions of euros globally. He added that they want to explore whether commercial gardeners can tap into this huge export market.
Cannabis based drugs have been found to be effective in the treatment of several serious disorders including multiple sclerosis and chronic pain. The mouth spray Sativex based on cannabis was launched in Finland in 2012, which is now finding an increased use in the treatment of chronic pain. The Sativex drug costs hundreds of euros to Finnish patients every month as the drug has not been covered by Finland’s Kela, the national health insurance agency.
In Finland, growing cannabis under any circumstances is considered illegal; however, recent polls have indicated that cannabis use in Finland is becoming increasingly common. The other Nordic country which recently legalized medicinal cannabis is Denmark, which prompted 20 Danish gardeners to switch to the production of medicinal cannabis. Jalkanen added that Finnish gardeners expect the same level of freedom to grow cannabis which is enjoyed by gardeners in the other EU countries.
Garden entrepreneurs say that Finnish gardeners have all the necessary know-how to grow cannabis. The smart greenhouse technologies used in Finland like growth stage analysis and water cooled LED lights can be used to maximize growth. Ansai-Yhtyma garden center’s sales chief Pia Taari-Kohonen says that they are ready for a commitment to grow medicinal cannabis. She added that they could deliver three to four growth cycles every year.
Although some cannabis-based medicines have proven to be effective for treatment of some disorders there is lack of sufficient medical data to compare the benefits and side-effects of these drugs. The Finnish drug regulator Fimea Chief Liisa Naveri expressed that there needs to be solid evidence to determine whether cannabis works as a medicine.