The consolidation of fully legalised and regulated cannabis industries in North America has powered hope that the same progressive systems might be implemented as quickly and successfully elsewhere. However, the development of emerging cannabis programs in Europe, Latin America and Oceania has proven not to be as straight-forward. Despite the considerable progress made in the last decade, regulatory change will remain the key market growth factor in the years to come. In addition, driving prescriber adoption of cannabinoid medications will be crucial.
Medical cannabis in the US and Canada reaches around 1% of the population
The burgeoning markets of North America have shown the economic potential of cannabis, with hundreds of thousands of jobs created over the last decade and billions collected in tax revenue, as referendums on medical and recreational legalisation have swept across the US. However, it is not a simple matter to replicate this course of development in the quite different political landscape of Europe.
The progressive attitude to cannabis legislation and the supporting regulations have opened up patient access in states and provinces across North America. The percentage of people accessing medical cannabis in jurisdictions where it is legal now sits around 1%, with the highest being Oklahoma, with over 8% of the population enrolled in their medical scheme. Only Israel, with around 0.7% of the population receiving cannabis treatment, is now on par with North American models, despite having been slowly developing over the last twenty years.
Europe lags behind
Despite having a considerably larger population than the US and Canada put together, patient numbers in Europe show a far more lax growth. In the premier market of Europe, Germany counts barely over 0.1% of the population accessing medical cannabis via their healthcare system, while many countries are yet to allow the therapeutic use of the plant. Leaving aside the immense potential of recreational cannabis, the medicinal-oriented markets of Europe are following a path of development which exhibits the more gradual growth experienced by the Israeli cannabis industry, as both regulations and prescriber adoption evolve little by little and scientific evidence piles up. Cannabis entrepreneurs must take this into account, when considering the larger role that lobbying, R&D as well as doctor and pharmacist relationships is likely to play in the European market.
Read full article here: https://prohibitionpartners.com/2020/09/22/european-cannabis-waking-the-sleeping-giant/