Europe's road to leadership of cannabis market

Recently launched, The European Cannabis Report, created by the British company Prohibition Partners, says that the European continent is set to become the largest cannabis market in the world soon. This process, however, promises to be arduous, full of conflicting views, especially on how the industry will develop and attract investment.

More than fifty countries, 23 official languages ​​and endless cultural traits. Europe has a population that is twice the size of the United States and Canada combined - concentrated in a small geographic area. The issue is even more complex when it is inserted in a turbulent political context in the European Union, with Brexit and the Independence of Catalonia, for instance. It seems that finding a consolidated market across the region in the medium term may be too optimistic.

The European Cannabis Report

Although the change in attitudes toward medical cannabis has advanced a great deal, the study points out that it is only when this industry is properly developed and explored through researches that there will be room to discuss the regulation of the recreational market. However, as relevant surveys on the potential of the cannabis industry in all its spheres (medicinal, industrial and recreational) emerge, the idea of ​​moving forward in this direction becomes increasingly attractive. Another point to be considered is the Europeans' preference for weed - according to the report of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in 2014, 19.3 million Europeans between 15 and 64 years old have used marijuana - an estimated 5.7% of the continent's population.

Countries such as Spain, Italy and Poland are showing positive signs of growth. That's because, like Germany, whose Parliament legalized marijuana for medical purposes in January 2017, they are working to have their medical cannabis industry regulated – and to have a significant impact on various industries, including beauty and well-being, manufacturing, textiles, food and beverages. The study estimates that the cannabis market fully legalized and regulated throughout Europe would worth € 56.2 billion annually.


With the best chance of viability and a market with more than 739 million people, the medical cannabis industry has a chance to become the largest in the world. Expectations increase with the record level of investment in researches in several countries, such as Estonia, Ireland and the Czech Republic, and with the gradual growth of the list of diseases that can be treated with cannabis - ranging from lupus to Alzheimer's disease, from cancer to hepatitis C. The potential estimate for the size of the cannabis medicinal market is € 35.7 billion per year, based on a fully legalized industry in Europe.


The industrial market mainly comprises the use of hemp as raw material for various purposes. The study points to a 32% growth in plant cultivation in 2016 - and is expected to grow another 20% by 2017. France dominates this industry in the region, whose annual estimated market value is € 48.9 million per year. The promising cultivation of hemp is heavily regulated in the countries that already produce it commercially - various endorsements and accreditations are required.


Predominantly illegal throughout Europe, recreational use of cannabis occurs merging the logic in cities such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Barcelona, ​​for example. However, the consensus on the regulation of this market which, according to the study, has a potential value of € 20.5 billion per year, still seems far away. The survey showed, however, that society's attitude towards recreational use of cannabis is changing and therefore there is a moderate chance (50%) of probabilities of legalization in the medium term, ie, 3-5 years.

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Images: Prohibition Partners (The European Cannabis Report)