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Cannabis Market in Europe: Forecasts and Trends

Although North America continues to dominate the global legal cannabis market, interesting developments are also taking place in other regions of the world. In Europe, although the market is still in its early stages, significant progress can be observed towards the legalization of cannabis for adults. The future of the global cannabis market looks promising, with the potential to expand into new markets.



cannabis market

Cannabis is gaining new importance in the global market. With recent developments in the United States, where Ohio has joined the list of states with legal adult-use cannabis, the market reached $17 billion last year. Meanwhile, total cannabis sales (including medical) in the U.S. are expected to exceed $33 billion this year.

Canada isn’t far behind either, with adult-use sales approaching $6 billion. However, it is Europe that is becoming increasingly important in this rapidly growing market, with countries preparing to launch their own adult-use cannabis markets, suggests the latest report from The Global Cannabis Report: 4th Edition.

Read more about the global cannabis market and find the latest cannabis news of the day with the mobile app.

The cannabis market in the United States

The United States, at the forefront of the global cannabis market, recently expanded its list of states with legal adult-use cannabis to include Ohio. This move symbolically highlights the rapid growth and acceptance of cannabis in the country.

The U.S. cannabis market reached an impressive $17 billion last year, and forecasts for this year are even more optimistic, predicting growth to $33 billion. It is worth noting that these numbers include both the sale of medical cannabis and cannabis intended for adult users.

Canada’s position in the global cannabis market

Canada, one of the pioneers in legalizing cannabis for adult use, is currently struggling in the domestic market. Despite this, adult-use cannabis sales in Canada are approaching $6 billion. Confronting internal challenges, the Canadian cannabis industry is increasingly looking to Europe for new growth opportunities. Thanks to its open approach to international cooperation, Canada has the opportunity to significantly strengthen its position in the global cannabis market.

Cannabis market in Europe

Europe, although still in the initial stages of legalizing cannabis for adult use, is already presenting interesting legalization models. Countries such as Switzerland , the Netherlands and Germany have taken the initiative to launch pilot projects. These projects aim to explore the social and health aspects of legal adult-use cannabis supply chains.

With such structures and the ability to interpret international laws to their own advantage, European countries open new doors to the future legalization and commercialization of cannabis. Significant progress is being made continuously, although the European market remains quite fragmented and highly regulated.

Models of cannabis legalization in Europe

First model: Cannabis clubs and growing cannabis at home

The first model of cannabis legalization, proposed by Prohibition Partners, involves the establishment of ‘private non-profit organizations’ ( cannabis clubs ) with registered memberships that manage their own cultivation and distribution. This model, seen in Malta and the upcoming Stage 1 legalization in Germany, also allows citizens to grow cannabis in their own home.

Second model: Limited and tightly controlled supply chains

The second model assumes ‘spatially confined and tightly controlled supply chains that will operate for a fixed period of time’. Currently, this method is being tested in Switzerland, the Netherlands and is proposed by Germany in its upcoming phase 2 of legalization.

The first fully legal adult-use cannabis supply chains in Europe

Pioneering pilot program in Switzerland

As reported earlier this week, Switzerland recently launched cannabis legalization pilot programs, with the first stores beginning to sell legal cannabis for adults. With four active pilots and three more scheduled to launch in the coming months, these programs represent ‘the first fully legal adult-use cannabis supply chains in Europe’. Prohibition Partners estimates that approximately 4,100 people are currently participating in these trials, a number that could increase to 10,000 ‘in the coming months’.

Other countries are also declaring changes

Germany continues to work on its groundbreaking CanG project, although in a milder form than initially proposed. It is expected that stage 1 of the project will be approved at the beginning of the year, and around July, Germans will be able to grow cannabis at home and use cannabis clubs.

As for Poland, at the end of 2023 the Confederation established the Parliamentary Team for the Legalization of cannabis, whose goal is to decriminalize the possession of cannabis for personal purposes.

Meanwhile, expert groups in the Czech Republic have worked out the details of a key cannabis reform project that would allow home cultivation and the creation of cannabis clubs for adult users.

Portugal has also announced its intention to develop a working group on legalization for adults, aiming to conduct a comprehensive analysis, with results expected by the end of the year.

Additionally, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Employment, Pierre-Yves Dermagne, has called for the regulation of adult use in the country to be considered, pointing to progress made on this issue by neighboring countries Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Global cannabis industry trends and future prospects

Although North America continues to dominate the global legal cannabis market, interesting developments are also taking place in other regions of the world. The year 2023 has seen the growth and development of the cannabis industry on every continent, with different development patterns specific to each region.

In Europe, although the market is still in its early stages, significant progress can be observed towards the legalization of cannabis for adults. The future of the global cannabis market looks promising, with the potential to expand into new markets and further develop existing ones.


(Featured image by Terrance Barksdale via Pexels)

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Arturo Garcia started out as a political writer for a local newspaper in Peru, before covering big-league sports for national broadsheets. Eventually he began writing about innovative tech and business trends, which let him travel all over North and South America. Currently he is exploring the world of Bitcoin and cannabis, two hot commodities which he believes are poised to change history.