Steeply rising patient numbers and legislative progress have created a 'transformative' moment for medicinal cannabis use in Europe, according to a new report launched at Davos by legal cannabis expert, Prohibition Partners. The European Cannabis Report™ 4th Edition, the most extensive review undertaken on the region's leading medicinal cannabis markets, reveals they are poised for record-breaking growth over the coming years.
The report forecasts patient numbers will grow from 130,000 in the region's three largest markets (Italy, Netherlands and Germany) to 225,000 in 2019. It also predicts the total market for medicinal cannabis could reach €58bn by 2028.
The report highlights a wave of legislative change and increased awareness of potential health benefits from cannabis-related products as key growth drivers. In 2018, the UK legalised prescription cannabis, as did Portugal and Malta, and there are now 14 countries in Europe where it is legal. EU legislators have set about laying the groundwork for a harmonised set of laws across Europe on medical cannabis use, while the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety recently acknowledged the medical value of cannabis.
Looking ahead to 2028, the report forecasts the leading medicinal cannabis markets (Germany, Italy and the Netherlands) will expand into an €18bn industry. Stephen Murphy,Co-Founder at Prohibition Partners, explains:
"The European cannabis market is undergoing a transformative moment, driven by sky-rocketing demand. This has pushed national governments across the continent into action and Europe is poised to become a hotbed for medicinal development."
Murphy also believes political event-driven change can act as a catalyst for further growth.
"Most countries base their legal status on WHO/UN Drug Conventions. WHO is now reassessing the legal status of cannabis, and EU Committees are looking at how to regulate cannabis usage internationally. This will fuel rapid growth in the coming years."
The report shows the lion's share of growth will come from German and Italian markets, which, after the Netherlands, are the second and third largest European markets respectively. The German market is currently worth an estimated €133m and is set to be worth more than €1bn by 2020.
Murphy says: "Germany legalised medicinal cannabis in 2017 and patient numbers have swelled from 1,000 to over 40,000. A wider range of conditions can be treated in Germany and a number of cannabis products are available. This is bolstering the value of Germany's medicinal cannabis market and will allow it to grow at this impressive rate."
While the report states patient demand is high, it warns access is still restricted in many countries.
Murphy says: "While medicinal cannabis has been legal in several European countries for a number of years, the report shows very few countries have the infrastructure or proper legislation in place to supply patients. Except for the Netherlands and Israel, they rely on cannabis imports to deal with patient demand.
"While we understand cannabis can treat over 60 conditions, we lack the clinical data that is key to unlocking full market potential. Reliable, replicable research will be vital to persuading conservative governments to enact reform; shrinking the gap between political legislation and healthcare regimes and leading to eventual mainstream adoption."
About Prohibition Partners
Founded in 2017, Prohibition Partners was established with a mission to provide cutting edge information and business intelligence on the international cannabis industry. Our team provide data, insights and strategic consultancy for this emerging frontier. We work with regulators, entrepreneurs and investors to identify and execute opportunities in the international cannabis market.