European Cannabis Market To Hit €115 Billion By 2028
July 25th, 2018
Europe is officially on the forefront of the global cannabis industry, according to new data released by analyst group Prohibition Partners. The 3rd Edition of The European Cannabis Report™ finds that the marijuana market is projected to be worth over €115 billion by 2028. The news comes during a watershed moment for legal marijuana around the world as investments into the industry reach a fever pitch. The report, which analyzed the markets in 28 key countries across the continent, found that over €150 million has already been invested in the European cannabis industry.
“We not so much believe, but very much know that Europe will become the biggest cannabis industry in the world, it’s just a matter of when,” said Stephen Murphy, Co-founder and Managing Director of Prohibition Partners, in an interview with CFN Media. “The European market has grown faster in the past six months than it has in the past six years. It presents an opportunity for both investors and entrepreneurs with experience in the space to develop a market that is fresh and already thriving economically and ready to support the growth of a new legal cannabis industry.”
Some form of medical cannabis is currently legal in 20 countries across Europe; in 2018, three more announced legalization efforts. While patient numbers are currently below 100,000, they are expected to jump to over 30 million by 2028; authors of the report ascertain the majority of European states will pass both medical and adult-use cannabis within this time frame. This comes as Canada prepares to fully legalize the plant, the first G-7 nation and only the second in the world to do so. Murphy states that there a few nations that currently stand out in terms of rapid development.
“Where the markets are of major interest would be Portugal and Spain, Italy, Germany, the UK, and you’d also have Czech Republic, Croatia, Austria, France. Up until April of this year we were predicting that the UK would be 12 months away (from medical cannabis) whereas now we are saying it is less than 6 months.”
For international cannabis companies and investors, the report does heed a warning: Europe will be one of the most challenging markets to enter, mainly due to the complex regulatory framework currently in place or being developed. Medical marijuana will mostly be available via socialized healthcare that citizens already participate in and obtaining distribution rights will be tough. However, it’s not impossible for foreigners to seal valuable government contracts – Canopy Growth announced an agreement in late 2017 that will bring their cannabis products to over 12,000 pharmacies in Germany, one of several such deals for large-scale Canadian cultivators.
“The European industry is certainly complex and has a number of barriers to entry that make operating in Europe a challenge, however as the region is currently in such an early stage of development, it makes one of the most opportunistic markets to be operational,” Murphy explained.
“The European cannabis industry will be heavily regulated and tightly controlled, as such it will be companies that are first movers and work with local authorities who will benefit from such rapid growth. Operators and investors should have a very solid European market entry strategy that reflects the strengths and goals of the company and need to work with local experts who can help navigate the complex region. First mover certainly provides risk, the German cultivation tender process just being one of them, but with Europe forecasted to be the biggest cannabis market in the world, it is essential to at least have a strategy that will see you enter the market within the next 12- 18 months.”
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