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The World From Here: Cannabis Reform Europe Roundup 2021

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The discussion has moved forward increasingly faster this year, in large part after September because of the new German government’s decision to enact federal recreational reform as of 2022

In every revolution, there is a tipping point in time – and on the topic of recreational cannabis reform and Europe, this is indeed that moment.

Significant reform is now in the offing in several European countries, beyond Switzerland, starting of course, with Germany. The pace-setting country is in this space in part because of its population and rich economy. It is also clear because of recent political developments that include the decision in 2017 to move forward on federal medical reform as well as the newly announced decision by the newly formed Traffic Light Coalition to enact recreational reform as early as next year.

Beyond Germany, of course, there have been, particularly in the last quarter of the year, significant announcements, and progress reports all over Europe. Malta just announced that they are in fact the first mover on a recreational market in the EU, with Luxembourg likely to be a hair’s whisker behind with a market that at least at first, looks remarkably similar.

Portugal is also not out for the count – with a government snap election pushing back the inevitability of reform here as well – now almost certain to be reintroduced next year if only to keep pace with the Germans. Italy is also likely to move forward with at least a reform that allows home grow if not like Luxembourg and Malta, the public sale of seeds.

In the Czech Republic, the increased blending of medical and recreational markets (namely the use of GACP rather than GMP cannabis in the medical market) is also a model that is likely to have some kind of impact on blended markets going forward. See Switzerland as the prime European example of the same, even if not in the EU.

Do not forget that Greece is still also moving forward on the development of its medical market, as is neighbour to the north, North Macedonia.

Spain is also likely to finally move forward on some kind of regulation of its coffee shop trade, particularly as Holland also moves, however slowly and painfully, to a national model of regulatory reform and procedure.

Denmark is also likely to announce the details of its own recreational trial too, especially as the medical market continues to take shape.

In short, 2021 has been much like the U.S. in 2012 where two American states – Colorado and Washington State, voted to create recreational markets. The difference, of course, is that all this reform in Europe is of the federal kind. 

Regional Reform & The Outliers

There are still a few larger fights on the horizon, both on the sovereign and then of course regional level. Outliers even in the medical discussion include not just France but Poland as well as other countries particularly in the eastern part of the region.

On a regional level, expect recreational reform to move far more slowly. There is still wide disagreement on the implementation of this kind of guidance even in the low THC, hemp market. 

Regardless, the cannabis genie is out of the bottle here, as of this year. And no matter when actual sales now begin to happen, it will never be stuffed back.

Be sure to keep abreast of developments in Europe by attending one of the International Cannabis Business Conference events in Europe in 2022!