After controlling North America, the cannabis industry has been dreaming to conquer the European market, especially Britain. It is looking to change the image of cannabis in spite of ethical debates and strict regulations.
On Thursday, a leading European mid-market investment bank, Bryan, Garnier& Co., organized an event in London, where people from health, food and cosmetic industries gathered to promote marijuana products.
Medical marijuana is legal in most European countries.
Senior Research Analyst for Bryan, Garnier& Co. NikolaasFaes said Europe is worth around $1 billion. The American market is worth around $13 billion.
Faes said, “It is a very tiny market in Europe because the legal issues are very diverse with very fragmented regulations. The politicians are not yet on board completely but it is coming in.”
Last year, Canada legalized marijuana. In the United States, lawmakers consider cannabis a strong drug; however, but 12 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Meanwhile, in Britain, some lawmakers proposed a bill legalizing marijuana.
A survey conducted by YouGov in July found that nearly half of the British population are in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.
The National Health Service (NHS), on the other hand, has pointed out that recreation use of cannabis could be harmful, especially because it increases the risk of developing conditions like schizophrenia. However, Britain legalized the medical use of marijuana in November 2018.
Stephen Murphy, co-founder, and CEO of NOBL Group, a global leader in cannabis data and media, said, “A legal market doesn’t mean an open market. It doesn’t mean market access. We have in the UK legal markets, but we have less than 200 patients.”
Many companies have been trying to promote products containing cannabidiol (CBD), which is a non-psychoactive compound, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gets you high.
CBD has been found to have relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects, which is even sold in the form of CBD oil. However, due to the lack of clear regulation, the market suffers.
Farzad Moshfeghi, CEO of Winchester MD, a UK firm selling CBD products, said, “That vagueness is causing more issues because people don’t know what’s legal and what’s not.”
There is no harmonized regulation on cannabis in the United Kingdom, which is why start-ups have been struggling to find financing. In spite of such obstacles, the cannabis industry professionals are optimistic about conquering the European market.
Murphy said, “It is a sure thing that Europe will become the largest market in the world within a decade. The demand is there.”