Europe's largest legal medical marijuana farm to be built in German nuclear bunker
Christoph Rossner uses a former NATO air base in Germany in his quest to become the leading German producer of medicinal cannabis plants in Europe… Focus on the risky entrepreneur, who could be a game-changer.
German medical cannabis under good guard
From 1956 to 2003, the bunker was part of the Memmingen military base, from where NATO planned to launch nuclear weapons from Europe, in case the cold war escalated… It is abandoned now, but not for long time…
according to Vice Germany, the 47-year-old entrepreneur wants to turn the bunker into Germany's largest cannabis plantation. And he will work with the Bavarian government to make it happen.
"I know we plan to grow weed, but working here won't be a big party," says Christoph Rossner as he walks towards the entrance of a deserted nuclear bunker in the quiet countryside of the southern region. from Germany to Allgäu.
As of March 2017, it has been legal to obtain medicinal cannabis in Germany on prescription. Rossner wants to take advantage of the new law and become the first legal producer in Germany, and see more… Legalization has opened up a potentially huge market. The German Observatory for Drugs and Drug Addiction (DBDD) found that in 2015 alone, nearly 5 million Germans smoked cannabis at least once that year.
The nuclear bunker where Rossner hopes to start his empire is a daunting structure. 164 feet long and 49 feet high, with ventilation shafts as a medieval fortress.
“I think our plants will be safe within these walls,” Rossner says with a smile.
Huge doors - 190 tons of hardened steel let out a loud, mechanical whine. Any future Rossner employees will have to leave their bags and clothes when they enter the establishment. They will change into coveralls and have their fingerprints scanned… The German government has designed these security measures to reduce the chances that the product will leave laboratories illegally…
The ceiling above the central room is made of reinforced concrete five feet thick. The space is tense and suffocating ... A space that will later turn into a place of life, and high-tech greenery.
The Rossner case
Rossner strongly believes in the healing powers of cannabis. At the age of 18, his left shoulder was crushed by a steel beam during his apprenticeship in an industrial mechanic company. He smoked to relieve the chronic pain he was experiencing as a result of the accident. And still does today… The only difference is that now he legally obtains his cannabis with a prescription.
In 1994, the Federal Constitutional Court in Germany made it legal to wear a small amount of cannabis, between five and ten grams, but depending on the German region. At the end of the 90s Rossner took advantage of the increased demand by setting up a "weed pharmacy", therefore illegal ... His clientele grew steadily and included patients with cancer and arthritis. But eventually, the police came to see him too… In 2000, he was sentenced to two years and one month in prison. He ended up spending five months and four months of therapy there.
Now that medical cannabis is legal in Germany, authorities estimate that the country will need 2 tonnes of cannabis per year by 2021. And only to adequately supply every patient in Germany. Rossner thinks officials have structurally underestimated the number ... But also the number of people who will turn to medical cannabis upon legalization. He estimates that Germany will have to produce six times as much, i.e. more than 13 tons of weed.
A highly scientific facility
Despite the drawings on the walls, made by bored soldiers, the space appears cold and unliveable, filled with vaults the size of shipping containers… This is the precise place where the chemists will reside, preparing new highly potent strains… The industrial furnace next door, once used to destroy toxic materials will be used to burn cannabis… Another requirement of the German state…
A long way to go
The demands of the state do not stop there ... Indeed, Rossner's lawyers are already preparing a lawsuit against the Federal Institute of Drugs. The agency asks potential growers to prove that they have already grown, processed and delivered at least 50 pounds of cannabis for the past three years… Considering it was illegal to produce in Germany, Rossner fails to understand why the government would expect someone to volunteer - let alone keep some kind of paper trail ...
In addition, Rossner keeps a worried eye on his competitors. In the United States, a number of companies routinely buy from smaller producers. A dynamic that could expand and control the German market ... Even if his laboratory does not yet exist, Rossner wants to do it on his own terms, and in his own nuclear bunker.