Berlin (June 21)

On June 21st, 2019, The Cannabis Society flew overseas and hosted our first Medical Cannabis Conference in Berlin, Germany.

With the goal to educate and form strategic partnerships, the Berlin Medical Conference was a unique way for North American doctors, European doctors and the global cannabis industry to interact.

This innovative and exciting conference included doctors from both Europe and North America, industry experts, investors and licensed producers in the cannabis business. The conference was structured to include panel discussions with cannabis companies, as well as the North American doctors and European doctors.

The first panel of the conference consisted of three renowned Canadian doctors in the medical cannabis space who shared insights into the Canadian landscape with the audience. The panel was moderated by Dr. Jonas Vanderzwan who was joined by fellow Canadian doctors, Dr. Andrea Burry and Dr. Adam Norris. The trio explored topics such as patient responses to using medicinal cannabis, the resources Canadian physicians are using to help guide their practice, and what conditions are most frequently treated with cannabis.

From left to right: Dr. Vanderzwan, Dr. Norris, Dr. Burry.

From left to right: Dr. Vanderzwan, Dr. Norris, Dr. Burry.

Dr. Vanderzwan is a Canadian physician with 15 years of primary care experience, and extensive experience in the use medical cannabis. As lead physician of a local cannabis clinic, he has been involved in the assessment and care of approximately 1500 patients, using cannabis as a treatment in a wide range of clinical conditions. As an early adopter of cannabis as a therapeutic agent, he has had the opportunity to travel the World, educating other medical professionals and patient groups on both the use and potential benefits of cannabis. Dr. Vanderzwan is an active consultant in the medical cannabis environment, having worked with both private and public players in the space, and since 2018 has been serving as Medical Director, and Chair of the Medical Advisory Board, for a Health Canada approved Licensed Producer of medical cannabis. In addition to ongoing membership in several international cannabinoid medicine organizations, Dr. Vanderzwan has most recently been appointed Vice-Chair of the Ontario Medical Association’s medical cannabis interest group.

Dr. Burry was the Medical Director of the Trauma Healing Center Cannabis Clinic since 2015. Dr. Burry completed her Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Psychology at the University of Western Ontario and both her Masters of Science and Medical Degree at the University of Toronto. She is a fellow of the Canadian College of Family Physicians and is an Associate with the Canadian Board of Occupational Medicine. Dr. Burry has an interest in medical cannabis and the role it can play in treating chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. She is frequently called upon to speak or give an opinion on cannabis use in the workplace, particularly as it relates to safety sensitive roles. Dr. Burry currently divides her time between occupational medicine in both the public and private sector and clinical cannabis medicine and consulting.

Dr. Norris has been working as a physician in Brantford, Ontario for the past 5 years. He completed his undergraduate studies at Dalhousie University in Neuroscience. Adam received his medical degree from Ross University and did a Family medicine residency at Northeastern University School of Medicine in Ohio. He is board certified in both Canada and the USA. Dr. Norris is a Family Physician and Medical Director of GreenDot Medical Center, Cannabinoid Clinic. He is currently Assistant Clinical Professor for Faculty of Family Medicine and Associate Professor at the MGD Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research. This past year, he has taken a role as a consultant for Addiction Medicine at Brantford General Hospital.

The second panel focused on the current state of cannabis in Berlin. Moderated by Peter Homberg (Partner, Dentons), the panel included local professionals Dr. Ranjit Bhardwaj (CannaPhytica) and Boris Moshkovits (Co-Founder and Managing Directo, alephSana). The speakers weighed in on topics including how the medical cannabis supply in Germany changed over the past two years, the main medical applications and therapies currently in the country, and what could be the advantages of legalizing recreational cannabis and its impact on medical cannabis in Germany.

Homberg is a partner in the Dentons Berlin office. He focuses on life sciences, IP, corporate law and M&A transactions in the life sciences and high-tech sector as well as in R&D and cooperation agreements, cross-border IP licensing and IP strategies. Furthermore, he has extensive experience providing legal advice on compliance issues. Additionally, he is the head of the European Cannabis sector group. Peter advises inter alia companies in the pharmaceutical, diagnostics, biotechnology, medical device and medical cannabis industries—from startups to large publicly listed companies. Furthermore, he has broad transactional experience in Southeast Asia. Peter is member of the Licensing Executive Society (LES), the German Association for Intellectual Property and Copyright (GRUR), the German Institution for Arbitration (DIS) as well as the Pharma-Lizenz-Club Deutschland e.V. He regularly holds lectures at seminars and conferences. He is the author of numerous professional articles and other publications regarding corporate or IP law in the field of life sciences. 

Dr. Bhardwaj is an academic and entrepreneur with a biomedical background, specialized in cellular and molecular Pathology. Major interest is Phytomedicine finding solutions for the chronic health conditions wherein Cannabis plants medicinal properties are also the central subject. CannaPhytica has the overall objective to apply advanced biotechnical, agricultural methods to identify, analyse and protect indigenous strains of cannabis in Himalaya region to support the cannabis industries. The project includes collecting samples of strains, various kinds of scientific analysis, cataloguing and plant tissue preservation as cooperarive intellectual property of the region and CannaPhytica framed as a charitable foundation.

Moshkovits is a Cannapreneur and experienced founder with a demonstrated history of working in the media, pharma and internet industry. He is the co-founder and managing director of alephSana, a company focused on scouting for qualified medical cannabis products globally and on bringing the best cannabis therapeutics to Germany and Europe. Moshkovits has served as International digital marketing manager in the pharma industry walking the fine line of marketing and digital storytelling in highly regulated markets. As a speaker Moshkovits has been talking about the mainstreaming of medical cannabis and the future of cannabis as a lifestyle product. He is also the co-founder of the CannaBusinessClub.Berlin, an initiative to empower the local cannabis scene. In his publishing career, he was the head of digital media for Ringier Publishing Germany and publisher of Amuse for Vice Media Germany. Prior to this, he has worked as an editor and publisher in Milan, Moscow and New York.

The concluding panel for the afternoon addressed marketing cannabis in Berlin, and was moderated by Tom Zuber (Managing Partner, Zuber Lawler). The panel consisted of Emanuel Kotzian (CEO Agentur Sowjet GmbH), Joris Elstgeest (Co-Owner, Nedcann BV), Sandrina Koemm-Benson (Editor-in-Chief,, and Marguerite Arnold (CEO, CeoMedPayRx).

From left to right: Tom Zuber, Emanuel Kotzian, Joris Elstgeest, and Sandrina Koemm-Benson

From left to right: Tom Zuber, Emanuel Kotzian, Joris Elstgeest, and Sandrina Koemm-Benson

Following brief introductions, the speakers discussed topics including the risks involved in marketing medical cannabis, why it is difficult to do Marketing/PR work for Cannabis in Germany, and the biggest differences between the European and North American market.

Zuber has advised some of the most iconic companies in the world on their patent and trademark portfolios. He is at the cutting edge of cannabis patent and trademark law. Zuber holds a law degree from Columbia Law School, a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard Government School, and a biomedical engineering degree from Rutgers University, where he graduated with highest honors.

For more than twenty years, Kotzian dedicates himself to the education about the effects of marijuana and lobbies for the re-normalization of this classic cultural plant. In 2000 he established Germany's biggest Cannabis-Magazine “Hanf Journal” and founded Agentur Sowjet GmbH, where he currently serves successful as its CEO. With more than 1 million fans, followers and readers on several channels, Agentur Sowjet is one of the leading marketing companies on the European Hemp Market. Its network of companies and branch offices extends from the Canary Islands to Kiev in the Ukraine and represents a unique platform for any market participant. Kotzian was born 1972 in Krakow and immigrated with his family to Germany where he became a professing World-Citizen. After finishing High School in 1992 he studied Economics. Partly he was serving at a German court as a commercial judge, what did not stop him to get engaged into local politics. Now he is deeply involved in the promotion and up rise of CBD-Products, what he believes is a very important key for making hemp a normal and accepted natural product again.

Elstgeest took over the family company Elstgeest Potplants in 2010 and was able to drive and develop the business to the healthy state as it is today. His study background is Agronomy and he has a Master of Science in Management degree at the Van Hall Institute in Leeuwarden, linked to the University of Greenwich in London. Since 2014 he has been participating in several consortia working on scientific research with ingredients and the biological cultivation of all kind of crops. The most advanced project was seemed to be the Vanilla project. Furthermore, Elstgeest is co-owner and Managing Director of a farm of 1800 hectares in Uganda where he grows mainly Stevia and Moringa for the European market.

Koemm-Benson is the editor-in-chief of since the launch in May 2017. The 45-year-old trained editor with a bachelor's degree in marketing has a very close personal connection to the subject of medical cannabis. Therefore, after nearly 20 years working in the media and PR business, she dropped her own agency and joined Since the launch of in May 2017, she has been an advocate for patients and a recognized contact for physicians and industry representatives. She has built up an extensive international network in all directions and has a lot of insider knowledge. Under her editorial guidance, has become the leading knowledge portal on cannabis as a medicine in the German-speaking European countries. With more than 300,000 visitors per month, the independent online portal is the number one source of information for physicians, patients and healthcare professionals. As an expert, she is often on the road to educate and inform people about the topic. is the German representation of which is considered to be the largest cannabis knowledge base worldwide. 

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