Things are starting to change in a hurry on the cannabis front across the EU. Here is a brief overview of the leading cannabis countries across the region as it experiences a European “summer of cannabis love.”
Things are definitely moving in Europe on the cannabis front this summer. Countries are beginning to see a post-Covid wave of enthusiasm if not continual reminders from the industry as it exists so far, to finally address lingering cannabis prohibition of both the medical and recreational kind.
Just as in the United States, where conservative states (like North Carolina) cannot deny at least medical efficacy anymore, there is a certain logic that is driving reform across Europe right now.
There has already been a raft of interesting announcements this spring – starting of course with Germany. But things are not just moving from Deutschland.
Read on for a brief overview of the top ten cannabis countries in Europe
If there was a tipping point, it would be Germany’s to claim. The largest economy in Europe is going recreational – at least legislatively – this year. This is going to be a very interesting waterfall moment. Come 2024, at the latest, the cannabis map of Europe is going to look very different. Germany currently has three cultivators of EU GMP cannabis, scores of hemp farmers, multiple narcotics distributors, and a growing ecosystem of a country just pre-reform. Think a much higher regulated Colorado circa 2012 but with a very different sprache. It will also be in a position to rival London for fundraising – and not in Berlin but in Frankfurt. When Deutschland goes green, expect a tidal wave of reform to follow across Europe.
The land that created the eponymous symbol of reform – the coffee shop, is certainly in the heavy hitter column, no matter how many threats keep popping up to shut out tourists in Amsterdam. In the meantime, a national cultivation system that supplies such establishments outside of major cities is setting up to finally get going next year. And don’t count out the country when it comes to medical cultivation – even if it’s just for export.
It looks like recreational reform is back on the national agenda after the Left Bloc raised the topic recently. The country whose world-famous laissez-faire approach to decriminalization (and copied by Oregon) is shaping up to be a major feeder market for the European medical biz. In the meantime, the calls for full reform, which were stymied last year with the fall of the old government, are clearly back on the table this summer.
Unlike their Dutch neighbors to the north, the Greeks are opening up the country to the cannabis industry because of foreign investment. It is also clear that medical tourism is going to be high on the agenda as things continue to cook. In the meantime, the country is beginning to export medical cannabis, but it is still not living up to its full potential. Give it a few summers, however, and the ability to travel, as a patient, to a warm, inviting climate where a new doctor will issue a prescription, will be understandably enticing – and to a global clientele.
The trial is on! Cities are continuing to announce their cannabis plans. Switzerland may be proceeding slowly and cautiously, with few participants, but right now they are the leader in rolling out a regulated industry of the recreational kind – and from scratch. Cultivation is also happening here, although it will not necessarily be the most economical export. Swiss farmers are competing against those in warmer climates – and with lower labor rates.
The country’s highest court may have blocked a referendum on reform this year, but medical cannabis cultivation is expanding, as is the hemp market. Beyond this, Italy is on the list of one of the top countries in the region to allow home grow by legislative muster. Despite being more conservative in many ways than Spain, the Italians are managing to beat them to the punch on the cannabis conversation. It may be happening in stranger ways, but right now, there is definitely a regulated industry that is popping and getting stronger.
Home of the cannabis club, Spain is teetering right now on the verge of medical reform at a federal level. It is an advancement, but there is so much more bubbling just beneath the surface. The clubs are not going to go away. The hemp industry is established. The country has pharmaceutical-grade cannabis being shipped to other European countries. It is certainly ahead of other countries, but there is a great deal of resistance to full and final reform. Don’t expect Spain to be a market leader, but rather a follower.
If certain members of Parliament get their way, the UK’s CBD biz could go into overtime. The reason? The proposed elimination of Novel Food applications. In the meantime, there are close to 6,000 products on, or close to, the market. Medical cannabis cultivation and extraction projects are also underway, especially on the islands surrounding the mainland. Beyond this, the mayor of London, the country’s largest city, is loudly and internationally suggesting that, at a minimum, cannabis be decriminalized in certain boroughs of London and that the police might stop racially profiling minor drug offenders. The British investment market, however, is one of the hottest in the world right now. If you are looking for financing anywhere in Europe, you cannot ignore London right now.
The country’s government has been dangling recreational cannabis reform like a carrot for the last four years. With time running out on fulfilling their pledge, the country is apparently moving forward with a surprisingly conservative home grow proposal at a federal level. When Germany passes reform legislation, expect Luxembourg to be close behind. This was the pattern on the medical front too. It is a rich, but small country. Major policy changes like this are best done by larger countries in the bloc.
The Czech Republic
The CR has taken forward steps on this entire conversation consistently over the last five to seven years. Right now, medical reform is in full swing. Even more interestingly, much like Thailand, the country is more concerned with treating patients than enforcing EU GMP standards. This means that when Germany goes recreational, expect the Czechs to follow shortly thereafter.
This article first appeared on Internationalcbc.com and is syndicated here with special permission.