The latest edition of The Global Cannabis Report offers a comprehensive overview of the worldwide legal cannabis market, its development, and the challenges different regions face. This publication, produced by Prohibition Partners, sheds light on the current state of affairs in North America, Oceania, LATAM, Europe, and Africa. This article aims to provide insight into potential opportunities and future directions for stakeholders by analyzing industries’ trends, growth trajectories, and regulatory prospects.
North American Landscape: A Market with Resilience and Potential
Medical and adult-use cannabis markets in the US have continued to thrive despite the federal prohibition status. Notably, 38 states have authorized medical cannabis, while 24 states permit adult-use consumption. With regulatory changes like the SAFER Banking Act, the DOJ Safe Harbor Memo, and the possible rescheduling of cannabis, analysts predict a surge in both sectors of the industry in the coming years.
In contrast, Canadian adult-use spending per capita slightly lags behind the US due to factors such as a larger illicit market, elevated taxes, marketing restrictions, packaging limitations, and THC limits on edibles. Nevertheless, Canada’s medical cannabis exports continue to expand, reaching C$160 million for the fiscal year ending March 2023. Main export destinations include Australia, Israel, and Germany, signifying Canada’s strong presence in the international cannabis trade.
A Glimpse at Europe: Germany Takes the Lead
Europe’s legal cannabis market positions itself predominantly within the realm of medical treatment. Germany emerges as an exceptional player, boasting over 250,000 patients prescribed medical cannabis treatment units in 2023. The majority of regional sales consist of domestic transactions, making up for more than 75% of the market. Israel also stands out with an extensive medical cannabis market, larger than any European one in 2023.
Oceania: A Rapid Growth and Export-Focused Market
The Oceania region is taking leaps into the medicinal cannabis realm as it currently holds third place globally in terms of market size, only behind North America and Europe. There are strong indications that Oceania could become a significant exporter of medical cannabis, with growing support for regulatory progress on adult-use cannabis at the federal level in Australia.
LATAM: Challenges and Opportunities Amidst Political Struggles
The Latin American market has been striving to carve its niche within the global cannabis sector; however, supply chain challenges and bureaucratic barriers hinder overall progress. Hence, clearer seed-to-product regulatory pathways, improved access to capital, reduced red tape, and depoliticizing the cannabis debate are all considered crucial for successful industry growth.
A standout example in LATAM is Brazil, which boasts the largest market in the region. The country has experienced a substantial increase in medical cannabis consumption in recent years. Remarkably, import authorizations for medical cannabis soared by 72.8% from September 2022 to September 2023.
Africa: An Emerging Exporter Paving the Way Forward
Currently, Africa’s commercial activity primarily focuses on hemp and medical cannabis production, targeting mainly export markets. Lesotho emerges as the most developed exporter in the region, having established EU-GMP facilities shipping products to Germany, North Macedonia, and Israel. Morocco holds the top position as the biggest illicit producer of cannabis resin but faces challenges when attempting to introduce a well-accepted regulatory framework among local farmers.
Asia-Pacific: Thailand’s Shifts in Legislation and Market Dynamics
In the Asia-Pacific region, significant movements occurred in Thailand recently, where authorities removed cannabis and hemp from their narcotics list. While this change initially created prospects for investment and tourism, ongoing discussions are suggesting a potential rollback in adult-use legalization and a re-focus solely on the medical cannabis sector.
The Path Ahead: A Growing Global Industry Amidst Regulatory Adaptation
A major takeaway of The Global Cannabis Report is the pragmatic approach adopted by regulators that consider past experiences and insights from other regions when shaping reform policies. Factors such as prohibition’s ineffectiveness, health benefits through improved regulation, and economic potential drive decisions regarding the future landscape of this market. In light of these developments, the global cannabis industry appears to be moving towards greater sophistication, organization, and internationalization – highlighting untapped opportunities for investors and stakeholders alike.