It is the start of a new year for the emerging international cannabis industry, and 2024 is likely to be a pivotal one, particularly for the European continent. According to domestic lawmakers in Germany, the nation’s adult-use cannabis measure will hopefully take effect this April.

Germany, in many ways, is a metaphorical plug in the European cannabis legalization dam. Once Germany passes its adult-use measure it will likely open the floodgates for other European nations passing similar policy modernization measures.

Cannabis commerce is going to look different in Europe than it does in the Western Hemisphere. In Uruguay and Canada, where cannabis was legalized for adult use in 2013 and 2018 respectively, consumers have a wide array of options for obtaining legal cannabis.

Germany’s legalization model, which is likely to be mimicked by other nations, will have fewer options for consumers to choose from to source their cannabis. However, there is still plenty of potential for people wanting to pursue efforts in the nation’s industry if they have enough ingenuity.

The country’s model, parts of which already exist in a limited fashion in parts of Europe, will rely on personal cultivation, cannabis clubs, and eventually, regional pilot programs as sourcing models. If Germany does implement that model on a large scale in 2024, it’s virtually guaranteed that other countries in Europe will do the same.

One particular country in Europe to keep an eye on in 2024 is Italy. Activists already proved in the past that they could gather enough signatures to put a referendum before voters, and while that effort was ultimately dashed by the nation’s top Court, advocates are back at it, and this time they have reportedly tightened up the language of the measure they are promoting.

Hopefully if the signature drive is successful it will pass the legal test this time around.

North America’s legal industry is sure to continue its expansion during this next calendar year, although adult-use legalization at the federal level is likely to remain elusive in the United States specifically. In the meantime, state industries will continue to operate in a silo fashion in the U.S.

Legalization efforts in countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia will continue in 2024 to round out the Western Hemisphere. However, the final passage of a legalization measure in those nations is not likely to occur this year, with 2024 serving as more of a momentum-building year for efforts in those countries.

Unfortunately, it appears that the honeymoon phase for cannabis reform in Thailand has long since ended, and attempts to roll back the nation’s progressive cannabis policies will continue throughout the year. Most, if not all, of the other nations in the region will likely not be very active in 2024 from a cannabis standpoint outside of enforcing harsh prohibition policies.

As has been the case for several years now, South Africa is the most likely nation on its continent to see possible reform and industry fireworks in 2024. With that being said, much like Mexico, things seem to keep stalling in South Africa, so that could easily prove to be the case in 2024 too. We will all have to wait and see.

For the first time in Australia’s history, a national legalization measure was introduced into the nation’s Parliament last year. While it doesn’t seem likely that the bill will receive enough attention in 2024 to be pushed to the finish line, it’s a safe bet that it will boost momentum and drive the conversation forward in Australia in 2024.

The best place for cannabis policy and industry observers to focus their attention in 2024 if they want to see the most activity is clearly the European continent.

This year could see a significant amount of movement in several countries in Europe, and while the industry revenue statistics may not be initially as large as they are across the Atlantic Ocean, 2024 may end up being one of the most historic years in Europe’s cannabis movement timeline.

This article first appeared on Internationalcbc.com and is syndicated here with special permission.

  • Johnny Green is the Media and Content Director for the International Cannabis Business Conference and has blogged about cannabis since January 2010.

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