Legalisation of the sale and possession of recreational cannabis in countries like Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland & the Netherlands is set to create a legal market forecast to be worth €1.6 billion by 2027, according to a new report from Prohibition Partners.
The recreational cannabis market in Europe has seen significant regulatory progress in the last few years. In 2021, Malta and Luxembourg legalised home cultivation for personal use. In 2022, it was announced by the Czech Republic and German governments that they were developing a legal framework to provide a regulated market for adult-use sales.
Significantly, the first fully-legal sales of adult-use cannabis in Europe commenced in Switzerland earlier this year under a Basel-based pilot project called WEED CARE. Many more pilot trials are also in development in Switzerland. More than €20 million-worth of legal recreational cannabis is expected to be sold in Switzerland this year, rising to €102 million by 2027.
In 2024, a controlled cannabis supply chain experiment is set to begin in the Netherlands. It is forecast that in the first year of regulated sales alone, annual sales could reach €158 million, rising to €258 million by 2027.
In Germany, legal sales of recreational cannabis are projected to begin by the end of 2024. Whilst regulations for the recreational cannabis market have not yet been established, full legalisation of cannabis across Germany – where all current recreational cannabis users would be permitted to purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries – could see sales of €170 million in 2024, rising to more than €1 billion by 2027.
Across Europe, the number of medical cannabis patients is also set to surge by more than 230% over the next four years. Approximately 427,000 patients in Europe will consume medical cannabis for various conditions this year, rising to approximately 1.4 million patients by 2027.
Sales of medical cannabis in Europe will generate €516 million in 2023, rising to €2.1 billion by 2027, in line with patient population growth across the continent. Germany will continue to have the largest medical cannabis market in Europe, and the UK is set to become the second-largest market by the end of 2023.
Other European countries like France, Croatia, Denmark and Poland will also experience exponential growth in the number of medical cannabis patients and sales from 2023-2027.
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