You may not know this, but Germany is kind of a big deal.

In fact, with an impressive 82 million person population, Germany is the largest member state of the 28 countries comprising European Union, accounting for a full 16% of the total population and an astounding 28% of the euro area economy. At the global scale, Germany represents the fourth largest nominal GDP and fifth largest GDP (PPP). Just yesterday, Reuters reported a new economic growth forecast of 2.4% for Germany in 2018.

Though the difference in geographic size is quite stark, by comparison the United States only has a population roughly four times that of Germany at 325 million, and Canada has a less than half of Germany’s inhabitants at 36 million. Even the great state of California, which leads the US in numbers of people and economic activity, tops out at just under 40 million, just shy of 50% of the German populace.

Now with Germany fully embracing cannabis as a legitimate, doctor-prescribed, insurance-paid, and pharmacy-provided product, things are about to get serious. Unwitting German politicians naively believed the medical cannabis patient program would only double from the paltry 700 or so patients in 2016 for a total of about 1,400 participants. The reality is, one year from the program’s rollout the number of current patient enrollment sits at 13k + and climbing.

Of course, it is hard to know EXACTLY to what level future patient counts will reach, but we can compare what we know about cannabis patient populations in parts of the United States where the plant has been legalized for medical use. Specifically, if we look at states which are not highly restricted by illness or disease (i.e. states which allow doctors to recommend cannabis therapy for a wide variety of ailments such as chronic pain and PTSD), we can get a reasonable correlation. In such states which also did not have adult-use legalization in 2016, we can see numbers around the 2-3% mark. Michigan, for example, had a 2.2% patient population whereas Maine and California bumped the upper end of percentages at 3.15% each.

(I know. Math, right?) Simply stated, if Germany’s people use medical cannabis at a roughly equivalent rate (say 2.5%), then Germany is looking at a new cannabis consumer base of just over 2 million in the next couple of years.

Theoretically with California coming online for adult-use legalization this past January, and Canada set to begin similar sales in July or August, Germany may not represent the largest cannabis market in the world. But until the US changes its federal policy to allow for exportation across state and international lines, California’s hands are tied, leaving Canada to be Germany’s only real rival thus far to become the world’s largest cannabis industry leader.

Don’t miss your opportunity to get into the global cannabis industry game! Reserve your spot now for Europe’s biggest B2B cannabis event, the International Cannabis Business Conference, happening April 11-13 in Berlin, Germany! Tickets are going fast and the future will not wait!