As the cannabis industry – which is now valued at over $ 200 billion – continues to erupt around the world, Europe is on the brink of recovery.
This parallels the legislative events of November 2012 when Colorado Amendment 64 and Washington Initiative 502 were implemented. These two bills sparked a wave of adoption for medical and adult applications in the United States. Europe’s medical referendums, which began in 2017-2018, and the recent adoption of the medicinal properties of cannabis by the United Nations in December 2020, will do the same to this continental market. Europe follows science and studies popular opinion about cannabis, just like the United States did almost a decade ago.
In many ways the American “medical” market was a political ploy while the European market is truly medical in every way. Distribution through pharmacies and mainstream channels is the wave of the future. This distribution method increases both access and taxable bases faster than the US “medical” pharmacy model. People who really need cannabis shouldn’t be hindered by rules or regulations to get the medicine, and the UN has paved the way for access while the US is still waiting for rescheduling.
Markets in Europe require the production of EU-GMP for a large number of different products
The path to medical cannabis in Europe is stricter than in the US and Canada. This is because most European markets have strict medical standards and medicines must be manufactured in EU GMP certified pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. This is the same standard that all medical ingredient (API) manufacturers adhere to.
Both Canadian companies, which have just started extraction with Canada’s “Cannabis 2.0”, and American manufacturers are not familiar with the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Some argue that food-grade GMP standards are most similar to existing systems in the US and Canada. However, the meaning of “medical” is clear in Europe – it means medical. Improving patient access to products will be the key challenge for Europe over the next few years as patient growth increases.
Europe is also taking advantage of its potential adult-use markets. First came Denmark, then Luxembourg, and now all of the Netherlands are starting to look at the issue of legalizing adult cannabis use. We expect Portugal to join this list soon. After all, in a post-coronavirus world, every country will look for a means to cope with a shattered economy and boost employment to expand its tax base.
The United States is said to have been founded by Puritans fleeing sociable Europeans. Now it is likely that America will legalize cannabis within a year and Europeans will be asking, “Why them and not us?” And it will be harder to explain why this potential for job growth and higher tax revenues is not being used when Europe emerges from the lockdown. It would be wise to expect a wave of European kick-offs for adults in 2022.
One can imagine what retail trade will look like for the developing cannabis market in Europe
It’s clear that 2021 sees a breakneck economic pace: from mergers and acquisitions, to monster capital increases, to heightened debt increases, to the London Stock Exchange (LSE) Hot Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) launching listings and initial public offerings (IPOs). Fever. This year will be a cannabis-fueled explosion that Europe cannot ignore. Given that Canada, the US, and Mexico are likely to legalize cannabis in the near future, how long will it be before South and Central America follow suit? And then how long will it take for this wave to reach Europe?
The real answer is, it’s already there. Early cannabis users who were overbuilt when Canadians were getting more money than they made, while the U.S. market was largely fueled by private equity, proving it could be the largest and best-managed model. Europe will go its own way, recognizing the failures and successes of these markets and bringing them together into a unique European model.
The American pharmacy will appear in Europe at some point, much like the current social clubs in Barcelona and the coffee shops in Amsterdam. Specialized pharmacies may stock more cannabis products, but it’s too early to call – countries are just beginning to figure out how cannabis rules could be designed to suit their needs and values.
2021 could be a crucial year for the European cannabis market
There are bigger issues that people are dealing with in the age of COVID-19, but that is about to change. The economic boom, the need to deliver medicines faster and more cheaply, social reforms, environmentally friendly projects and many other urgent problems are all becoming the subject of a post-COVID world. A range of issues for which a cannabis shaped solution will tick many of the required boxes for.
There is some misrepresentation of cannabis as a panacea that is capable of curing any medical disease and solving any social problem if only it were further legalized. While cannabis is certainly not a panacea, it can solve many of the problems governments face today. People were grateful for cannabis during these troubled times when cannabis was stored and consumed over the roof in the early stages of the pandemic. As a result, 2021 has the potential to shatter the perceptions of the old establishment if more consumers take the floor.
Now it’s just a question of how individual and collective European nations regulate expansion across the continent. And the power to create a truly world’s best cannabis model is in their hands. Without the international market disparities and problems plaguing the North American sector, the expansion of cannabis across Europe will have virtually no limits if those in charge believe it.