Germany’s impending legalization of recreational marijuana offers attractive new opportunities for travel, trade and investment, according to a recent survey of American cannabis consumers. The survey from medical marijuana holding company Bloomwell Group found that eight out of 10 Americans believe that “cannabis companies are attractive investment options,” while 61% said that they “would invest in European cannabis stocks.”
Germany’s new “traffic light” coalition government of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Free Democratic Party and the Greens announced late last year that it would legalize “the controlled sale of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed shops.” The country has already legalized the medicinal use of cannabis by seriously ill people, while personal possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized.
Although a timeline for legalizing recreational marijuana in Germany has not yet been set, the promise of a legal adult-use cannabis promises to be a boon for the European cannabis industry. And according to Bloomwell’s survey, the continued cannabis reform in Germany is likely to present business and leisure opportunities for American’s, as well.
To conduct the online survey, Frankfurt-based Bloomwell asked 845 cannabis users in the United States their thoughts on Germany’s upcoming legalization of marijuana. The overwhelming majority of respondents (87%) said that cannabis should be legalized worldwide. More than half (52%) said that they were “aware that Germany will most likely become the largest legal cannabis market within the next three years.”
American cannabis consumers see the legalization of cannabis in Germany as an attractive travel experience, with 65% of those surveyed saying that they “would travel to a city or country to experience its licensed cannabis market,” while 44% said that they would travel to Germany specifically for cannabis tourism. Additionally, nearly three-fourths of those polled said that the ubiquitous German snack pretzels are a great food to satisfy the munchies.
A Multi-Billion Market For Legal Cannabis
The survey also revealed that marijuana users in the United States are aware of the tremendous business opportunities presented by cannabis legalization in Germany. According to a report from cannabis data analysis firm BDSA released last month, legal cannabis sales in Germany are expected to hit $3 billion a year by 2026. Bloomwell Group CEO and co-founder Niklas Kouparanis says that Germany’s legal cannabis market has the potential to be even larger, if supplies can keep up with demand.
“As Germany plans to onboard its newly legalized adult-use cannabis market, it is key to ensure that the country’s cannabis supply meets consumer demand,” Kouparanis writes in an email. “One of the main challenges we faced when rolling out our licensed medical cannabis market in 2017 was that demand greatly overwhelmed supply, so we want to avoid making the same mistake. Economist Justus Haucap has forecasted a total demand of 400 tons annually once adult use sales in Germany begin, which would result in the market reaching no less than $10 billion USD.”
To meet the strong demand for recreational marijuana in Germany, Kouparanis says that companies are likely to import cannabis, a practice already common for the country’s medicinal market. And with further cannabis policy reform in the United States, American firms would be able to join the international producers supplying the German market.
“Currently, the U.S. does not permit federal cannabis exports (aside from a few very narrow exceptions) but changing these regulations and limitations to enable legal international cannabis trade offers the United States great potential to benefit from Germany’s licensed cannabis adult-use market, while establishing a positive reciprocal relationship,” explains Kouparanis. “Germany would be able to obtain a reliable supply of cannabis to sustain demand, and the United States would be able to earn revenue from expanded global sales, as well as create more opportunities for entrepreneurs on the international stage.”
But if United States companies are going to tap into Germany’s market potential, policy reforms like the MORE Act will have to be passed into law sooner rather than later.
“It would be an extremely prudent policy move for the United States to seek to make a change in its regulations and allow for imports to Germany’s legal adult-use market,” Kouparanis writes. “With nations like Canada and Portugal already taking part in Germany’s medicinal market, the U.S. may miss out on important opportunities if actions are not taken now. In addition, Germany’s upcoming adult-use legalization is the first major step triggering a European-wide cannabis legalization that will hit one country after the other like a domino-effect.”
Without significant reform, U.S. producers will sit by the wayside, shut out of the increasingly lucrative international trade in cannabis.
“Germany has 82 million inhabitants – that’s more than Canada and California, two of the current biggest cannabis markets on the globe,” Kouparanis said in a statement from Bloomwell. “Therefore, when Germany opens up for adult-use cannabis, it will become the biggest market in the world. The future language for cannabis will be German.”