Updated: Dec 15, 2022
In December 2022, Higher Learning LV interviewed Niklas Kouparanis in Frankfurt, Germany. Kouparanis is chief executive of Bloomwell Group, the progressive cannabis company that he co-founded in 2020.
Bloomwell Group—currently Germany's largest medical marijuana company (adult-use cannabis is not yet legal in the nation)—states that its purpose is to "redefine the cannabis industry and craft a new episode in its history" and that its vision is to become "the No 1. brand ecosphere in the recreational cannabis sector" globally. Curaleaf Holdings Executive Chairman Boris Jordan sits on the Bloomwell board.
Bloomwell Group CEO Niklas Kouparanis
"We are convinced that it's time to switch lanes and move cannabis beyond its sole purpose as an ailment-relief treatment for patients. We believe in cannabis as a statement by people who dare to tap into themselves and live an elevated, modern, and community-driven life," states the company on its LinkedIn profile.
Bloomwell Group states that its purpose is to "redefine the cannabis industry and craft a new episode in its history."
Bloomwell Group maintains a stable of "distinct cannabis-related brands" that encompasses products ranging from wholesale cannabis flower to a variety of accessories, including the brands Breezy, Algae Care, and Ilios Santé.
Other popular articles in the Higher Learning LV Interview series include:
Higher Learning LV: "Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Niklas. What attracted you to the cannabis industry? Why do you enjoy working in such a contentious, opposed, and controversial business sector?"
Niklas Kouparanis: "I was part of the first generation within my family to pursue a college degree. My grandfather came to Germany as a migrant worker. His dedication to his work and supporting his family served as an inspiration to push boundaries and not be afraid to take on new challenges.
Image courtesy Bloomwell Group
"I became interested in the cannabis industry early on because I saw it as uncharted territory that had many opportunities for growth. For almost six years, I've been building cannabis companies in Germany's medical cannabis market. In 2020, I teamed up with my sister Anna-Sophia Kouparanis, Dr. Julian Wichmann, and Samuel Menghistu to form our own company, Bloomwell Group.
"We currently stand as Germany's largest cannabis company with over 250 employees. In 2021, we closed one of the largest European cannabis seed funding rounds of over $10 million."
"Within a short time, we were able to grow Bloomwell Group into a significant player in Germany's medical cannabis market. We currently stand as Germany's largest cannabis company with more than 250 employees. In 2021, we closed one of the largest European cannabis seed funding rounds of over $10 million and named Curaleaf's Boris Jordan as both an investor and board member.
"Now we're gearing up for the next phase of growth: The introduction of the adult-use market. Germany is set to be the largest adult-use market in the world and the market has the potential to reach a volume of 16 billion Euros in total according to our own calculations."
HLLV: "In May 2022, you told My Cannabis during an interview, 'When Germany opens up for adult-use cannabis, it will become the biggest market in the world. The future language for cannabis will be German.' Can you provide a glimpse into a German-dominated global cannabis industry? What roles will the U.S., Canada, and U.K. play in such a market?"
NK: "Within the past year, Germany has taken significant steps towards making adult-use a reality. In October 2022, the German government released a cornerstone paper outlining the program's goals and initiatives for legalization.
"A few key highlights from this paper include:
Cannabis and THC will no longer be classified as narcotics.
Production, supply, and distribution of cannabis would be permitted within a licensed and federally-controlled framework. We won't see an overcomplicated tender process.
Adults will be able to possess up to 20 or 30 grams of cannabis for personal consumption.
There will be no THC limits for adult consumers over 21 years old—but there may be limits for users between the ages of 18-21.
Cannabis will be able to be sold within licensed shops and, if necessary, within pharmacies. We really hope that online sales will also be permitted.
The licensing process will be without limited tenders.
"One drawback is that the paper states that only cannabis cultivated in Germany may be sold for recreational purposes. I personally believe that cannabis imports both in the EU and overseas are necessary to meet consumer demand, keep cannabis accessible and reasonably priced, and prevent the growth of the illicit market.
"I personally believe that cannabis imports both in the EU and overseas are necessary to meet consumer demand, keep cannabis accessible and reasonably priced, and prevent the growth of the illicit market."
"Depending on how legalization plays out on an EU and international level, if cannabis imports are eventually allowed, the U.S. and Canada could be key partners in helping us meet the supply needs in Germany.
Image courtesy Bloomwell Group
"While imports are yet to be determined, investors within the U.S., the U.K., and Canada may wish to consider breaking into the new German market now, before legalization officially comes online. Those with strong backgrounds in plant genetics can be key partners for German cannabis companies who are transitioning from medical-only to the new adult-use market.
"This is a great opportunity for investors to get in at the ground level of the largest cannabis industry, which is poised for tremendous growth thanks to the aforementioned federal adult-usel legalization. We believe it will include no limits on licensing, no THC caps for adult users 21 and older, and an eager market of local and international consumers.
"Also, if the European Commission gives the green light to Germany, our country will be setting the example and the standard for how to legalize adult-use cannabis according to international law."
"We believe legalization in Germany will include no limits on licensing, no THC caps for adult users 21 and older, and an eager market of local and international consumers."
HLLV: "As you mentioned, Niklas, in October 2022 the German government announced proposed rules for the regulation of adult-use cannabis in the country. Will elements such as THC caps at 15 percent and no allowance for consumption lounges hamper the German cannabis industry compared to Canada and the U.S.?"
NK: "No, with the release of the cornerstone paper, we now know that there will be no unnecessary caps on THC levels for adult users over the age of 21. There will, however, be a cap of THC levels for adult consumers between the ages of 18-21 in order to deter products getting into the hands of minors.
"Cannabis is set to be sold in licensed shops and, if necessary, within pharmacies. Whether or not Germany will allow adult users to use products within consumption lounges is yet to be determined. The paper states that considerations are being made to cannabis 'specialty stores with consumption options,' which is an exciting breakthrough. We definitely need online sales to guarantee stable supply in rural regions."
HLLV: "Within the European Union, how do you think adult-use legalization in Germany will influence other nations?"
NK: "It will be a domino effect. We likely will see other like-minded nations move toward adult-use legalization as well. Earlier this year, German officials met with several other EU countries, resulting in a joint statement with Malta and Luxembourg on why the EU needs a new approach to cannabis use for adult-use production, sale, and consumption. Once adult-use is executed successfully, all eyes will be on us and this model will pave the way for other nationals in the EU and around the world.
"That said, Germany's Health Minister really needs to speed up the process. Currently it looks like the cornerstone paper won't be sufficient for the European Commission to decide whether or not the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Germany is aligned with European law. This is something Mr. Lauterbach should have clarified at the beginning of 2022."
HLLV: "What lies in the future for the German cannabis industry, which is on the cusp of adult-use legalization, potentially as early as 2024?"
NK: "Significant growth opportunities and a new age of cannabis legalization. We have high expectations that Germany will serve as the cornerstone example for adult-use cannabis legalization both in the EU and across the world.
"We have high expectations that Germany will serve as the cornerstone example for adult-use cannabis legalization both in the EU and across the world."
"We are doing things meticulously and by the book, which does take time, but we are eager to see legalization fully underway. This is the most exciting period in this industry and we're thrilled to be on the forefront. I expect that we will see the first legal cannabis sales in Germany by early 2024."
Read our Germany Details Adult-use Cannabis Legalization article for more information.
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