Sensi: Global Cannabis Market Growing

Leland Rucker, the senior editor at Sensi Magazine takes a look at the growth of the global cannabis market.

“The global cannabis market will reach $7.7 billion in 2017 and is expected to hit $31.4 billion in 2021, according to a new report by the Brightfield Group, a market research firm focused on the legal cannabis industry. Those are big numbers, but in context, last year, $223 billion was spent on alcohol products just in the US alone.”


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The Canadian recreational market will open in 2018, and by 2021 is expected to reach $5.7 billion, nearly half the size of the United States market, the report says. Together, the United States and Canada will make up more than 86% of global cannabis sales in 2021, followed by European markets, dominated by Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, which will have 12 percent of the global market.

Prior to 2015, most medical marijuana programs outside of North American had sales of less than $3 million per year. By 2021, a dozen countries will have viable medical marijuana markets, and six will have viable recreational marijuana markets, according to the report.

Canadian companies are moving quickly to become leading cannabis cultivators, brands and distributors internationally while Australian and Israeli firms are investing in medical marijuana research to corner the pharmaceutical marijuana market.

More countries are expected to legalize cannabis exports, as the world inches towards a global marketplace for medical marijuana. Low THC, high CBD products are the most widely accepted globally, and imports of these products are being legalized in developed and developing markets.

What that global marketplace will look like is a lot tougher to figure: only a handful of countries are creating viable business opportunities, and in order for companies to be successful they will need to have a shrewd understanding of the nuances and challenges of each specific market.”

While many countries have a medical marijuana program in name, many of those have such high barriers to consumption, including limited product availability, prohibitively high prices and challenges in accessing the products, that only a handful of patients are actually receiving medicine.

By 2021, the report says, the Netherlands and Spain will fully legalize a functional recreational cannabis market, and assuming no major negative consequences arise from the recreational markets currently in place, several additional countries in Western Europe will be expected to follow suit in the coming years.

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