The European medical cannabis market will be valued at €50 billion — almost $59 billion – upon full legalization, according to a new report.
The European Cannabis Report released this month from UK-based consultancy Prohibition Partners, was sponsored by ABcann (Germany), Elite Healthcare Distribution (UK) and CannaTech (Israel).
When it comes to cannabis research and development, Stephen Murphy, co-author and partner in Prohibition Partners, said “Germany, Poland and Netherlands are the most advanced countries in Europe, with the most advanced local industries. But other markets are following quickly.”
As for which European sectors might appeal to American investors, Murphy said “production and data companies are generating most interest from international investors. We’ve seen these as the areas of interest from all investors we’ve talked with to date.”
The report delves into the nitty-gritty of the history and current status for legal cannabis in Europe. “We believe the European medical cannabis market will be valued at almost €50b once all markets have implemented legislation and market infrastructure. This does not include revenue that will be generated from the additional secondary market and ancillary services. EIHA, Nova-Institute and HempConsult estimate that the European market for CBD as a pharmaceutical product is already worth €2b alone,” the report states.
Europe’s medical cannabis industry has been active since 2013, when some countries (including the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, and Italy) legalized specific prescription cannabinoid medicines like Nabilone and Sativex. The report anticipates the most growth in this sector in the years to come. “Early research has shown that patients not only outnumber but also outspend recreational users in legal markets. This will clearly make the European medical cannabis market a key target for pharmaceutical companies over the next 5-10 years,” according to the report.
European hemp cultivation grew by 32 percent in 2016 and is forecast to grow by another 20 percent in 2017. “Europe’s cultivation capacity and processing infrastructure will quickly put the region on par with the North American market when it comes to the hemp CBD category,” according to the report. France accounts for almost 50 percent of Europe’s total hemp production.
The European market is facing similar challenges to the state-based legalization in the US, as the European Union has left it up to members to determine their own cannabis law instead of providing a central policy. “The past six months has seen the launch of the first legal and regulated medical cannabis market in Europe with Germany taking the lead . . . Europe will become a hotbed for new market development with new legislative bills on medical cannabis currently being prepared for local parliament in at least five separate European countries,” the report states.
Germany became Europe’s largest market in March 2017 with the introduction of new legislation and 10 production licenses. “Due to no credible local alternatives, the German system is geared towards partnering with international companies who can bring their vast experience to a new market,” the report states.