1.What is Europe’s stimulus package?
The EU has committed €750bn to the Covid-19 stimulus package with unprecedented speed and the extended funding plans look to be a significant boost to the European Medical Cannabis industry. Whilst regional development will be the near-term focus of the funding, green initiatives will hit the ground in the further seven-year budget (worth a weightier €1tn).
With the “Frugal 4” (Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark) pitted against the big spenders of the South (plus Germany), it’s unsurprising that the short term compromise package would focus on rebooting the old, rather than accelerating the new. And this approach seems sensible, especially considering that the €1tn budget is being pegged for “shovel-ready” projects in key development sectors such as renewable energy, better batteries, and carbon efficient varieties of transport, manufacturing and tech.
The good news for Europe’s Medical Cannabis industry is that, although not specifically named, the sector has touch points in a large number of areas that the EU’s stimulus package seeks to support, from agricultural development to carbon efficient building materials, all the way through to the repatriation of pharmaceutical production.
2. Why it makes sense for Medical Cannabis to be in Europe’s stimulus package
Whilst we should be hesitant to assume there’s a quick fix for all Europe’s woes, bolstering the nascent European cannabis industry may be surprisingly attractive on a risk-return basis.
Being an entirely new (legal) industry, cannabis can boost every section of an economies’ stream, from the cultivation of a profitable and carbon sequestering crop, to the prescription of cost-effective treatments for hitherto hard to treat conditions (e.g. childhood epilepsy).
Not to mention that medical cannabis has the potential to create sustainable, legal and highly qualified jobs that will benefit the EU economy for generations to come (as has happened in the US and Canada).
It could be argued that the Medical Cannabis industry doesn’t need the helping hand that so many other EU industries seem now reliant upon. After all, medical cannabis is enjoying incredibly strong double-digit growth, as well as an increasingly clear regulatory environment to operate in.
However, private financing options will inevitably become more scarce as the impact of Covid-19 is fully realised, and with the European cannabis industry still being in its infancy, risk tolerant capital markets are absolutely crucial if early-stage European companies are to compete with the older behemoths from across the pond.
3. Current state of Medical Cannabis in Europe
Medical cannabis is now legal across Europe and the regulatory framework is becoming clearer by the day. However, the continent has taken a typically cautious approach, at least in comparison to their North-American counterparts.
Whilst many in the retail markets (e.g. CBD supplements) have found opportunity in the resulting regulatory voids, the margins for error on the pharmaceutical side are substantial, and therefore the conscientiousness with which regulation is being developed is crucial.
Not least because of the size of the prize. Europe’s Medical Cannabis market has grown from €300m in 2018 to a projected €2.8bn by 2023 and €15bn by 2029, which would make it the largest Medical Cannabis market in the world. This growth will be catalysed by the prevalence of state run healthcare and the strength of European Agricultural and Pharmaceutical markets (with large players such as Sanofi, GSK, Novartis, Roche, Merck and Novo Nordisk, Bayer, BASF, Limagrain, Louis Dreyfus to name but a few).
It is becoming clear, therefore, that whilst initial retail sentiment overvalued aspects of the Medical Cannabis market in the short-term (production in particular) the sector as a whole is now significantly undervalued in the long-term, and Europe is the place to invest.
4. Óskare Capital’s view of Europe’s Medical Cannabis Market
In a word, Bullish. Some countries in Europe are now providing patients with medical cannabis and associated pharmaceutical grade products (such as Germany), whilst others are still going through the experimentation phase (such as France), but the “Domino Effect” appears to be proving out, setting Europe firmly on the road to being the world leader for Medical Cannabis.
And for Venture, opportunities abound. Óskare Capital has identified a strong pipeline of early-stage companies that can immediately capitalise on investment. The multi-disciplinary team is also working to facilitate a number of University spin offs and private research, filling a gap in Europe that has proved particularly profitable in North-America.
Óskare Capital sees the US Venture reaction to medical Cannabis as foreshadowing for Europe, with over $600M committed in 2019, the volume of companies financed doubling every year since 2017 and increasing exit opportunities.
More generally, Óskare Capital sees the current climate as being opportune for investment. The significant price reductions in the cannabis space following the adjustments of late 2019, early 2020, coupled with the general price reductions of early stage companies triggered by Covid-19, makes for excellent prospects within European Medical Cannabis.
It is surprising then, that there are so few specialized Venture Capital funds in the Medical Cannabis space, and fewer still that have experience executing deals, scaling businesses and syndicating with other funds. This is especially noteworthy considering that global capital shortages may soon lead to a drought of “dry powder”, creating a significant moat around those funds with capital to deploy.
With a strong venture pedigree, highly specialised team and significant operating experience in the medical cannabis, pharmaceutical and deeptech space, this is the gap that Óskare Capital fills.
About Óskare Capital (oskarecapital.com)
Based in Paris (France), ÓSKARE CAPITAL, has launched the first AIFM and ESG compatible fund with an investment focus on innovative companies and teams in the medical cannabinoid industry.
This pioneer investment fund (ÓSKARE Fund I) which is AIFM domiciled (managed by Cross Roads Capital Management) in Dublin, Ireland will be investing principally in European companies and teams that are working with cannabinoids and the related infrastructure, and which are developing disruptive, science-led solutions and emerging technologies within this medical, industrial and healthcare sector.
ÓSKARE Fund I is currently accepting investments from qualified investors. For more information, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Prohibition Partners: 2020 and 2019 European Cannabis Report
- Bryan Garnier: Medical cannabis in Europe Report (June 2020)