Tjalling Erkelens, CEO of Bedrocan, joins us in our July digital workshop to discuss clinical trials and global cannabis distribution. Erkelens believes that some type of harmonization among European regulations is necessary for the global cannabis economy to continue maturing; having different regulations from country to country makes it very difficult to create a unified industry. Erkelens also notes that when medical cannabis companies begin to dabble in adult use, they often do a poor job of continuing to prioritize the patients. Regardless of the direction in which the global cannabis economy eventually moves, we must make sure that we never forget the needs of medical patients.


Seth Adler: Tjalling Erkelens, the CEO of Bedrocan returns. Welcome to Cannabis Economy. I'm your host, Seth Adler. Download episodes on, that's two Ns and the word economy. Or, wherever you currently get your podcasts. This is another one of those sessions from the digital workshop that we just ran, so you could see this as video up on the site, along with a ton of other direct insight from policy, science and business leaders, one-on-ones on cannabinoids, 2018 research supplements to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine research from 2017.

Seth Adler: First, a word from Wana Brands, and then Tjalling Erkelens.

Seth Adler: Want to know with Wana Brands, Nancy, state expansion.

Nancy: Yes.

Seth Adler: Into Illinois specifically.

Nancy: Yes, we are in the process of launching it in Illinois. A very interesting state. Enormous population, as you know. It's completely medical at this point in time, but the thing that's encouraging about it is that they keep adding new allowable conditions to the mix. So the patient population is growing quite nicely.

Seth Adler: That patient count keeps going up.

Nancy: It keeps going up. Yup. So we think long-term, it's going to be an excellent state for us.

Seth Adler: Okay. We've got my friend Tjalling Erkelens. Tjalling, thank you so much for your time, as always.

Tjalling E.: You're welcome, my friend. And I'm happy to be here.

Seth Adler: Excellent. So when we decided to put together the digital workshop, obviously, you were one of the first calls that I made, because you and I have known each other for more than a few years now.

Tjalling E.: Yup.

Seth Adler: It's been quite a while before that, that you were involved in cannabis. And so we want to talk about clinical trials and global distribution with you, but before we do that, let's set the table for those that are not familiar with Bedrocan, just give us a little bit of background.

Tjalling E.: Bedrocan is a Dutch based company, started to work basically in horticultural range, 35 years ago. It's been awhile. Not cannabis though. Cannabis came into the company the first time in 1992, so that's 27 years ago. And back in 2000, the Dutch government set up an organization called the Office of Medicinal Cannabis, in order to provide pharmaceutical grade cannabis to patients.

Tjalling E.: We were one of the winning organizations at that time, in a tender, two companies were chosen, we were one of them, growing indoor. And since 2003, we have been contracted by the Dutch government to supply them with five different varieties of cannabis being used by patients only. So we are not part of any coffee shop system in Holland or whatever. That's a total different business. We are there for Dutch patients and nowadays also for European patients and even on the global level, we are doing things.

Seth Adler: We'll get into your activity on a global level, but do just unpack one more level, as far as how you're active outside of the Netherlands.

Tjalling E.: The activities are around research, of course. Research, clinical research, basically, but also providing product to patients through the Dutch OMC, the Dutch Office of Medicinal Cannabis is the responsible organization for export of our products and sales.

Tjalling E.: So we see that happening around, in Europe, in Australia. In Australia especially, we see clinical research happening with our products in those regions. We see increasing sales of our products now, in especially Germany. Of course, Germany fully legalized the medicinal use of cannabis and it's being reimbursed there.

Tjalling E.: Our products are part of a pilot project in Denmark, and we have a strong interest of developing countries such as UK, which legalized only last year. French, Belgium, those are the countries that are basically setting up medicinal cannabis programs, as we speak.

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