The “green rush” of legal cannabis is sweeping across much more than the U.S.A. In fact, legal marijuana markets are quickly beginning to emerge all around the world. At this point, the global legal weed market is expected to see some massive growth in coming years. With that said, here are 16 countries with emerging legal cannabis markets.
Countries With Emerging Legal Cannabis Markets
Right now, experts estimate the global legal cannabis market to be worth somewhere around $7.7 billion annually. Looking into the immediate future, that number is expected to balloon exponentially.
According to researchers, the worldwide legal marijuana industry is on pace to hit $31.4 billion by 2012. Between now and then, the market is expected to see an annual growth rate of 60 percent.
Obviously, legalization is the key factor. As more and more countries around the world legalize weed, the global market will expand. Here are the countries with emerging legal cannabis markets to keep an eye on.
Germany is making a strong bid to become Europe’s leading cannabis country. In 2017, lawmakers took steps to begin licensing legal marijuana producers. The country also took important steps to make medical marijuana more accessible. Expect to see the legal medical marijuana market in Germany continue to get stronger in coming years—and possibly expand into recreational as well.
Italy has a robust medical marijuana industry. Interestingly, the country put the military in charge of all medical marijuana cultivation and production. Earlier this year, reports showed that the demand for legal weed was too much for the military to keep up with. As a result, Italy will begin importing cannabis from countries like Canada.
Israel has propelled itself to the forefront of the international legal cannabis market. In particular, it is a leader in cannabis-related studies, especially for medical research. Today, the country has more than 25,000 licensed medical marijuana patients. Clearly, Israel has earned its spot on any list of countries with emerging legal cannabis markets.
Not a lot needs to be said about this one. Canada is one of the world’s most well-known cannabis hotbeds. The country has had a strong medical marijuana program for years. And now, Canada is poised to make good on its promise to legalize recreational weed. As of now, the government is scheduled to legalize on October 17.
A growing number of states continue to legalize various forms of marijuana. Currently, the legal marijuana market in the U.S. is a bit confusing. There is a wide variance from state-to-state. For example, some states have very accessible medical marijuana programs. But other states limit medical marijuana to only certain types of products. Similarly, some states have fully legalized recreational weed, while others continue to enforce prohibition. One way or another, the U.S. is already a huge cannabis market and it’s only going to get bigger.
Spain is reportedly one of Europe’s most weed-friendly countries. For example, it has one of the EU’s highest rates of adult cannabis consumers. So much so, in fact, that experts predict a recreational marijuana market in Spain sometime in 2019. Those same experts think Spain’s legal marijuana market could quickly be worth over $200 million.
Brazil has been one of the biggest countries in South America to take seriously the possibility of a legal marijuana market. In particular, the country has focused on medical marijuana. A 2017 study found that medical cannabis alone could generate more than $1 billion in the country.
Argentina is at a cannabis crossroads. So far, the country has decriminalized the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana. It has also approved the medical use of CBD. And it continues looking into the idea of establishing some form of legal market. In particular, a medical market. While there might not be a ton of infrastructure in place right now, this is certainly a country to keep your eye on,
Uruguay is a pioneer when it comes to countries with emerging legal cannabis markets. It was the first country to universally make recreational weed legal for all adults. Last year, the country began selling legal marijuana over the counter at pharmacies.
Many experts see Peru as helping to lead the way in South America’s cannabis scene. In fact, Forbes said that Peru, along with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay will help grow the South American legal weed market from $125 million this year to more than $775 million by 2027.
Experts have predicted some big growth for legal weed in Australia. The country’s legal market is currently worth somewhere around $52 million. By 2027, that number is projected to balloon to $1.2 billion. That would make Australia one of the top five biggest legal weed markets in the world.
Things could be changing in Mexico. In 2017, the country legalized medical cannabis, as long as the medicinal product has less than 1 percent THC. On the recreational front, the Supreme Court made an interesting ruling in 2015. In that decision, judges allowed four individuals the right to grow and consume their own cannabis. If these changes are indicators of future directions, expect to see Mexico become one of the countries with emerging legal cannabis markets.
South Africa has reportedly published guidelines for the legal production of medical marijuana. And last year, the country’s High Court made a ruling to allow people to legally consume cannabis in private. As a result of these changes, South Africa is poised to become one of Africa’s leading marijuana markets. And as laws in the country continue to change, look for South Africa to become an increasingly important legal market.
Earlier this year, Zimbabwe made headlines when it legalized the cultivation of cannabis for scientific and medical use. As a result of this legislation, people can now apply for a legal license to grow marijuana. This could prove an important first step toward establishing an emerging legal marijuana market in Zimbabwe.
Last year, the Greek government made it legal for adults to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Then, this year lawmakers approved the cultivation and production of medical cannabis. As a result, there could be some important new activity in the small island country. In particular, a number of cannabis companies from across the world have already shown interest in Greece’s recently expanded legal market for medical marijuana.
Lebanon already has one of the most dominant positions on the global black market. Thanks to a perfect climate for cultivating cannabis, the country is known for producing tons of top-shelf weed. Now, lawmakers in the country are considering making all this cultivation activity legal. If the country follows through on early plans to legalize marijuana, expect Lebanon to quickly become a big player in the global cannabis market.
Legal weed is big business. And it’s only going to get bigger and bigger. As countries around the world continue taking steps toward more lax cannabis laws, the chance for an explosive global legal market becomes more likely.