MJBiz - September 2023 - 10

FIVE QUESTIONS with Tjalling Erkelens
Two Different Products
CEO of international cannabis producer Bedrocan
says dedication to medical market has yielded profits and stability
By Matt Lamers
A
re medical and adult-use
marijuana effectively
the same thing, and can
businesses thrive in both markets?
Some executives and regulators
will tell you there is no real
difference, but Bedrocan founder
Tjalling Erkelens isn't one of them.
Bedrocan, a cannabis producer
based in the Netherlands, does not
waver from its focus on medical
marijuana and operates under a clear
distinction from adult-use operators.
Erkelens says the company's focus on
the medical market is a core reason
that Bedrocan is profitable.
" I think adult use in the end
will be a bear market " Erkelens
recounted. " The lowest price will
prevail. "
He spoke with MJBizMagazine
about what it takes to run a
profitable medical marijuana
company in Europe, the opportunity
in Germany and expanding into
new markets such as Denmark.
Why didn't you follow
Canadian cannabis operators
when they expanded globally?
I want to spend money responsibly.
That's more or less the old-fashioned
moral here in the Netherlands and
in Europe in general. If you have
investors on board, use and spend
their money wisely and make your
company profitable.
What I have always been doing is
producing on demand. That is a core
rule in the company: Produce what
you can sell, and don't produce
what you cannot sell.
10 September 2023 | MJBizMagazine
Tjalling
Erkelens
If you're the CEO of a (cannabis)
company, you need to know your
cultivation department inside out.
You need to know the genetics of
your product inside out.
We started with small-scale
production. That is where I learned.
Why expand into Denmark
now and not five years ago?
There was no definitive regulation
in Denmark that allowed for
commercial export. That only
happened two years ago.
There was a pilot program for
When people started talking
about thousands of kilos and metric
tons (for export), I was thinking,
" Where are those tons going? "
If you want to sell cannabis in
Europe as a medical product, as
a pharmaceutical product, you'd
better know what you're doing.
I have seen North Americans
approach this basically from an
adult-use attitude and not from a
true medical attitude, especially on
the cultivation side. Your cultivated
product should have a level of
standardization-genetically and
chemically-that allows it to be
processed as a true pharmaceutical
product.
In the pharmaceutical world,
there are expiration dates.
What are some other core
principles for Bedrocan?
Your product is also core. You need
to know what you're producing.
Danish patients. A lot of Canadian
companies went to Denmark in the
hope that the pilot program would
be finalized and become part of the
law, which eventually happened in
the end.
But those are the things
(regulatory and legal evolution) I
cannot bet on. I cannot bet on a
regulation or law that is still in the
pilot phase and then spend millions
on something that might end in a
few years.
So, we waited until May 2021,
when the Danish parliament
approved the definitive law for
production, cultivation, processing
and exporting. Now it is law, so we
can go there.
Why now? Because of demand.
We have demand for product.
Bedrocan will diligently but
carefully expand its activities-and
footprint, if needed-to wherever
legitimate demand for its products
becomes apparent.
Bedrocan is not focusing on

MJBiz - September 2023

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MJBiz - September 2023 - CT1
MJBiz - September 2023 - CT2
MJBiz - September 2023 - Cover1
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MJBiz - September 2023 - 3
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