Dirk Rean reacts somewhat restrained. But he has reasons to celebrate when the Bundestag voted in favor of the bill on February 23 “for the controlled use of cannabis”visits to his two websites have multiplied.

The law allows any adult to grow up to three marijuana plants at home, to have up to 25 grams of cannabis, and to store up to 50 grams at home. And even if it ends up taking effect later rather than in April as currently projected, Ryan will be one of the big winners.

Ryan sells everything related to growing cannabis. Its best selling product is the so-called complete cannabis set. It is a refrigerator-sized facility that is equipped with light bulbs, a ventilation system, and measurement technologies. The cheapest version of the set sells for 500 euros while the most expensive one approaches 1,500 euros – and all sets are sold out. As Rean points out to DW, gradually “people are getting used to the idea of ​​growing cannabis themselves”.

Cannabis cultivation is booming

In the past, Rean spent two years in prison for his activities in this area. Then in 2011 he started the wholesale trade, providing consulting services especially for the cultivation of chili peppers, tomatoes and broccoli. Now he says he is particularly happy to “be able to give regular advice”.

Having two stores with four employees, Rean had a turnover of 2 million euros last year. This year he estimates that it will increase to 3 to 4 million euros. And Rean’s business isn’t the only one growing. All suppliers have seen demand skyrocket warning of delivery delays.

Not everyone wins

However, not everyone has reason to celebrate as legalization is not universal. The new legal framework does not foresee, for example, the existence of specialized shops selling cannabis. Importers, distributors, shopkeepers – all of them will have to look for new business opportunities as the cultivation of recreational cannabis will only be allowed either at home or in the context of “non-commercial cultivation associations” also characterized as “cannabis social clubs”.

“Fortunately, our business model has never been based on universal legalization,” says Philip Setter, CEO of Cantourage, a company that imports and processes medical cannabis. The company also has a cannabis clinic in London and employs a total of 50 employees in Germany and 25 in Great Britain.

In late 2022, Cantourage went public – and its stock has more than doubled since then. But at least “unlike other businesses in the industry, we’re growing dynamically and we’re not spending any money,” Setter adds. In the first nine months of 2023, the company had a turnover of 17 million euros.

As the company does not have expensive production facilities, management costs are low. “We are prepared for whatever happens,” Setter seems convinced. According to him, the greatest growth prospects lie in the reclassification of cannabis.


Medical cannabis is profitable

With the change in legislation medicinal cannabis is no longer considered a drug. This makes prescribing much easier. “Companies already in the medical cannabis space are benefiting immensely,” says Finn Henzel, founder and director of the Sanity Group.

During the so far slow process of legalization the company has suspended its activities in some branches and laid off some of its employees. However, as far as the pharmaceutical market is concerned, “we were hoping for more, but there is still great potential,” Henzel told DW.

There are currently almost 200,000 patients undergoing cannabis treatment in Germany. And this market, which now has a turnover of 200 million euros, could grow even more.

The loophole for recreational cannabis

However, there is also a loophole for companies to operate in the recreational cannabis industry. The German state wants to allow “commercial supply chains” in some regions and cities in the medium term, which could bring a few more millions in revenue to Berlin, Cologne and elsewhere. More details are expected to be announced in the summer.

But online retailer Dirk Rean is not among those who need to stoically await further legislative developments. For him, what was also true in the age of the gold hunters is true. Those who sold shovels and sieves had the best chance of making substantial profits. But because of the potential of the hemp industry, Rean is not complacent: “The small pioneer organic shops in the city centers have almost all been displaced by the big chains. And something like that could happen to us too.”

Edited by: Giorgos Passas