Since the International Cannabis Business Conference became the first global marijuana business event four years ago, we have seen explosive growth for the industry around the world. With Michigan set to legalize cannabis this November, and Missouri (and possibly a couple of other states) poised to allow medical use this as well, the United State’s market is going to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, especially if federal elections go the right way in 2018 and 2020. Canada’s legalization law taking effect on October 17th will reverberate positively with voters in the U.S. and citizens and policymakers across the globe. Of course, we at the ICBC believe that the global cannabis industry is set to take off, but don’t just take our word for it as Joey Peña blogged for Marijuana Business Daily:

“We’re in the midst of a global paradigm shift,” (Tilray’s Brendan) Kennedy said. “Trusted brands with a multinational supply chain and strategic partnerships will be the ones that win.”

A look at international markets

  • The United States is expected to outpace international markets with a projected $8 billion-$10 billion in retail sales this year. Still, Canada – with recreational retail sales in 2021 projected to be $2.3 billion-$4.5 billion – is poised to be a global trendsetter in the cannabis industry in other ways. That’s because Canadian marijuana businesses are pioneering international investment, partnership and export opportunities.
  • There’s an optimistic outlook for Colombia’s market, where investment opportunities exist for people outside the country. By contrast, in Uruguay, which was the first country to legalize recreational marijuana, the market is small, and access and supply issues persist.
  • The United Kingdom’s sudden move to legalize medical marijuana underscores how quickly legalization is spreading. There’s business potential in Germany, where medical marijuana is covered by government health insurance. There are holdouts in Western Europe, but legalization is spreading.

Pena’s complete international overview is worth checking out. With Canadian companies utilizing their financial and political advantages to lead the global market, we can expect more companies to follow their example, as we’ve seen U.S. businesses make use of reverse mergers (or takeovers) to incorporate in Canada to try and level the playing field, a topic that will be covered by experts at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Portland, this September 27th-28th. It is easy to see that the cannabis industry provides opportunities around the globe, but it is imperative that you have the knowledge and network to seize the day.