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Summer 2022 European Cannabis Roundup

When we examine the European trajectory of reform from the point of 2032, 10 years from now, it is almost certain that this year, especially the spring/summer of 2022, will be identified as the European tipping point.

These developments are primarily driven by the current German events. A series of hearings was held by the government over several weeks on ways to reform recreational marijuana. The government will release a white paper with the recommended actions in fall. Draft legislation is expected to be available by the end. While the timing may be a little uncertain, it’s widely believed that the bill will pass by early 2023. The recreational market should begin in 2024.

Germany, however, isn’t all that important. It is enormous.

The Domino Countries

Exist a number of E.U. There are several countries in the E.U. that are poised for recreational reform. They could be following Malta’s lead and legalize home grown. These include:

Switzerland – The country is launching its recreational use city trials this year. While outside of the E.U., the country’s forward progress on recreational reform is one of the key markets to watch in Europe right now.

Portugal Now established as one of the most important medical cultivation countries in Europe, the country is on the verge of formal recreational reform—and will proceed with home grow as a first step to creating a fully integrated recreational market with international juice. Portugal is also known for being one of the most open countries in the E.U. regarding drug policy.

Luxembourg – The country’s current government promised to implement recreational reform before the end of their first term (which ends next year). 2018 saw the implementation of medical reform. Currently, the first step into the adult use market will be home grow also, although given the size of the country, it most likely won’t be a large producer.

Austria – The country will certainly follow its DACH trading partners—Germany and Switzerland—across the recreational line in the near future. The country has a robust hemp industry and medical reform is underway.

The Medical Reform Movement is Still Moving

Of course, reforming adult use is not the only topic in this room. Medical reform has also been moving forward in important jurisdictions this year—leaving no major country within the region that does not recognize at least medical efficacy of the plant. Even AlbaniaIn accession talks to the E.U., it is moving forward on medical use.

France – The country formally (and finally) moved forward on a pending medical trial earlier this year. The jury is still out on whether the country’s president Emmanuel Macron, will be pushed by his more liberal government to move forward on some kind of recreational discussion. The country is the European cradle for hemp production. It has been the test ground for changing CBD policies across Europe.

Spain – The home of the cannabis club announced their recognition of medical efficacy this summer. This news is crucial for several reasons. Spain seems to have increased its legal cultivation and allowed the clubs to keep operating.

As a result, Europe is very much having its “2012” moment. In 2024, there are likely to be several European countries that have legalized recreational cannabis.

Global Impact of European Reform

It is difficult to know exactly what will happen, but it is clear: this seismic change, which is worth many billions of dollars, will have enormous repercussions.

In the United States, it is not likely that serious arguments against legalizing marijuana on a federal basis will last.

It is likely that many countries from Asia will be following the E.U. events. as well as Thailand and probably Indonesia’s early lead. Even if this change is also “only” medical for now, as has been seen worldwide at this point, this is only the first step.

This vantage point allows you to easily imagine a world where this plant is officially acknowledged and recognized at an international level.

Is this the beginning of smooth sailing?

Legalization is progressing, but that does not necessarily mean there won’t be detours or distractions. The domestic reform will include urban and state governments as well as towns that have placed a sales ban.

As Holland makes noises about banning Amsterdam cannatourists, the discussion on tourism continues. It is difficult to imagine that this ban will be sustained, not even in Holland. Greece for instance, is inviting German pensioners, who are already able to escape the cold and higher gas prices, to stay warm in winter. It will not pay attention.

On the regulatory front, Novel Food looms as a large and unsolved problem—and not just for CBD but also the full plant discussion.

These issues are costly and will require time to solve. However, the most important step has clearly been taken in Europe this summer—and that will reverberate in turn, as perhaps the last major push necessary for the final dominoes to begin falling. Both regionally, and globally.