After a very slow start, it looks as though Europe will usher in the legal use of recreational cannabis in 2022, following the lead of Malta in December 2021.
Germany’s new coalition government announced it would permit “the controlled sale of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed shops” soon after taking over the reins from the outgoing Chancellor Merkel.
Medical cannabis products were legalised by the Federal Government in Germany in 2016 but the new government, under Chancellor Olaf Scholz, wants to go a step further and legalise the sale of cannabis for recreational use to adults in specialised, licensed shops. Although there is currently no specific timeline for the legislation, it seems likely to be a priority for the new administration.
Cannabis harvest in Dresden
Getting ahead of any legislative change, three companies have won tenders from the German cannabis agency to produce cannabis in Germany. The first harvest is due this January from a repurposed former slaughterhouse in Dresden and will mark the first legal, large-scale harvest of cannabis on German soil. The leaves will be ground into cannabis flour and used in legal medical marijuana products. The two other companies are still working on their production.
Big market players like Tilray are banking on widespread continental Europe legalisation, valuing its European market at potentially $1 billion, driven by its cultivation facilities in both Germany and Portugal. Germany is seen by many as the catalyst that could open up a whole continent of medical and recreational cannabis revenue.
European-wide ripple effect
The governments of Luxembourg and Switzerland have both announced plans to establish a legally regulated cannabis market, with Luxembourg expected to vote on the proposal in early 2022.
Will this bring about a greater liberalisation across the wider continent of Europe? According to a recent article published in New Frontier Data, it seems likely as attitudes are ‘nudged’ in the right direction, although they warn “optimistic impulses in January are typically best tempered by some healthy circumspection”.
If your business is set to take advantage of a change in the law across continental Europe in 2022, get in touch for help with equipment to enable your first step onto the cannabis and hemp processing ladder or expansion of production facilities to meet new market demands.