A Bird’s Eye View of the World’s Largest Cannabis Markets

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A Guide to Cannabis in the US Part 3 of 5
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Legal Vs Illegal: An Overview of the Cannabis Market Part 5 of 5

The following content is sponsored by Tenacious Labs.

cannabis markets infographic

A Bird’s Eye View of the World’s Largest Cannabis Markets

North America and Europe are home to some of the world’s most famous cannabis cultures, such as California and Amsterdam.

However, even in these undoubtedly successful markets, cannabis legality varies by country—and as this graphic by Tenacious Labs explores, so does its subsequent market value.

The European Cannabis Market

Although the European Union is one single economic market with agreed upon laws and regulations, individual countries still have their say on national laws. Looking at Europe as a region reshapes things again as countries like the UK are outside the EU—further muddying cannabis laws and regulation.

Here is an overview of cannabis’ legal status by European country:

Country Legal Status
🇦🇱 Albania Illegal
🇦🇩 Andorra Illegal
🇦🇲 Armenia Illegal
🇦🇹 Austria Illegal, decriminalized
🇧🇾 Belarus Illegal
🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina Illegal
🇧🇪 Belgium Legal for medical use
🇧🇬 Bulgaria Illegal
🇨🇿 Czech Republic Legal for medical use, decriminalized
🇭🇷 Croatia Legal for medical use, decriminalized
🇩🇰 Denmark Legal for medical use
🇪🇪 Estonia Legal for medical use
🇫🇮 Finland Legal for medical use
🇫🇷 France Legal for medical use
🇬🇪 Georgia Illegal
🇩🇪 Germany Legal for medical use, decriminalized
🇬🇷 Greece Legal for medical use
🇭🇺 Hungary Illegal
🇮🇸 Iceland Illegal
🇮🇪 Ireland Legal for medical use
🇮🇹 Italy Legal for medical use, decriminalized
🇽🇰 Kosovo Illegal
🇱🇻 Latvia Illegal
🇱🇮 Liechtenstein Illegal
🇱🇹 Lithuania Legal for medical use
🇱🇺 Luxembourg Legal for medical use, decriminalized
🇲🇹 Malta Legal
🇲🇩 Moldova Illegal, decriminalized
🇲🇨 Monaco Illegal
🇲🇪 Montenegro Illegal
🇳🇱 Netherlands Legal for medical use, decriminalized
🇲🇰 North Macedonia Legal for medical use
🇳🇴 Norway Legal for medical use, decriminalized
🇵🇱 Poland Legal for medical use
🇵🇹 Portugal Legal for medical use, decriminalized
🇷🇴 Romania Legal for medical use, decriminalized
🇷🇺 Russia Illegal, decriminalized
🇸🇲 San Marino Legal for medical use
🇷🇸 Serbia Illegal
🇸🇰 Slovakia Illegal
🇸🇮 Slovenia Legal for medical use
🇪🇸 Spain Illegal, decriminalized
🇸🇪 Sweden Legal for medical use
🇨🇭 Switzerland Legal for medical use, decriminalized
🇺🇦 Ukraine Illegal, decriminalized
🇬🇧 United Kingdom Legal for medical use

Regardless, there is immense potential in the European cannabis market—it is expected to be worth $37 billion by 2027. The biggest markets driving this are Germany, the UK, and France.

As of December 2021, Malta became the first European country to fully legalize recreational cannabis. Three other countries have also started the process towards legalization, and a number of others are expected to fully legalize in the next few years, namely:

  • Germany
  • Luxembourg
  • The Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Switzerland

On average, 1 in 10 Europeans use cannabis every year. With little legality for recreational cannabis, this high demand has to be met by the illegal market. As a result, yearly illicit cannabis market sales are estimated at around €11 billion (US$13 billion)—representing significant untapped potential.

The North American Cannabis Market

The U.S., Canada, and Mexico make up the world’s largest continental cannabis market, worth $18.1 billion in 2020. In Canada, cannabis is federally legal, and Mexico will soon be in the same boat. The U.S., however, is a different story.

America’s stance on cannabis legality varies on a state-by-state basis. Federally, cannabis is illegal—listed as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin. But individual states have their own laws, from states with fully legal recreational cannabis to medical usage only permitted, and full illegality.

State State Level Legal Status Of Cannabis
Alabama Legal for medical use
Alaska Legal
Arizona Legal
Arkansas Legal for medical use
California Legal
Colorado Legal
Connecticut Legal
Delaware Legal for medical use
Florida Legal for medical use
Georgia Legal for medical use
Hawaii Legal for medical use
Idaho Illegal
Illinois Legal
Indiana Legal for medical use
Iowa Legal for medical use
Kansas Illegal
Kentucky Illegal
Louisiana Legal for medical use
Maine Legal
Maryland Legal for medical use
Massachusetts Legal
Michigan Legal
Minnesota Legal for medical use
Mississippi Legal for medical use
Missouri Legal for medical use
Montana Legal
Nebraska Illegal, decriminalized
Nevada Legal
New Hampshire Legal for medical use
New Jersey Legal
New Mexico Legal
New York Legal
North Carolina Legal for medical use
North Dakota Legal for medical use
Ohio Legal for medical use
Oklahoma Legal for medical use
Oregon Legal
Pennsylvania Legal for medical use
Rhode Island Legal for medical use
South Carolina Legal for medical use
South Dakota Legal for medical use
Tennessee Legal for medical use (Limited)
Texas Legal for medical use (Limited)
Utah Legal for medical use
Vermont Legal
Virginia Legal
Washington Legal
Washington, DC Legal
West Virginia Legal for medical use
Wisconsin Illegal
Wyoming Illegal

The U.S. has the biggest cannabis market potential in North America by far.

In states where cannabis has been fully legal for years—like Colorado—countless jobs and revenue have been added to the state’s economy and in such markets, regulation is pushing the industry towards maturity. In contrast, in states like Wyoming it is still illegal to be ‘under the influence’ of cannabis.

This stark contrast within one country hinders the market potential of the entire continent. However, the MORE (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement) Act was recently reintroduced in the U.S.’ House of Representatives. If passed, it would remove cannabis from its classification as a Schedule I drug.

Cannabis Markets with Huge Potential

North America and Europe are the most advanced cannabis markets, but without transparent and clear regulation, we have yet to experience their full potential.

Treaties like USMCA in North America, and the economic union for most European countries, offer the chance for the world to benefit from the highly lucrative cannabis market.

In the next part of The Legal Landscape Series, we will take a deep dive into the cannabis market in the United States.

The post A Bird’s Eye View of the World’s Largest Cannabis Markets appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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