The country is clearly expanding its medical consumption—but more changes could be on the way.
Austria is in an interesting position when it comes to the legalization of cannabis right now. The third country in the DACH alliance in Europe (which also consists of Germany and Switzerland) currently has no legislative path to recreational cannabis reform, even though its two trade partners are pushing the boundaries of the discussion in the E.U.
That said, sales of dronabinol are up, year over year in the country, although none of it is produced domestically. The Austrian Agency for Food and Health (AGES) grows several hundred kilos of medical cannabis flower a year, though all of this is exported—the majority of which has historically crossed the border into Germany—to be made into dronabinol then re-imported.
So far, while the medical market here is smaller than the German one, and there is more limited cultivation and no extraction, there are some unfortunate similarities. Namely that patients are facing multiple challenges to obtaining insurance reimbursement. The quickest guaranteed path in Germany is also to sue at present, which given the backlog of legal cases, is just another excuse for more gridlock and delay.
In Austria, there is a move afoot to skip all of this and just go straight to recreational legalization, even if not via the legislature but by legal challenge.
The state of cannabis reform in Austria
Austrians are not allowed to consume, buy, sell, or grow cannabis (except if not allowed to bloom). That said since 2016, possession of small quantities of the flower have effectively been decriminalized, with punishment in the form of fines about the same amount as a parking violation.