Switzerland has completely legalised it and Spain has approved a reform to allow pharmacies to sell it by the end of 2022. In the meantime Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina want the legalisation of Cannabis for therapeutic use.
Here is how things are changing across Europe.
How medical Cannabis is changing across Europe
The market of medical Cannabis in Europe is evolving quickly, complicit all the laws drafted in favour of its legalisation. Based on the latest report shared by Prohibition Partners, founded in 2017 with the purpose of gathering and spreading data, tests and information on the Cannabis’ Industry, and titled “The European Cannabis Report: 7th Edition” by the end of 2022 in Europe around 354 million euro of medical Cannabis will be sold, which could reach 2.3 billions in total in 2026.
To this data we add the estimates shared by Market Data Forecast in its Cannabis Testing Market Report published in January 2022, based on which the European market should reach 13.37 billions of dollars by 2027, with a growth rate of 21.96% in the forecast period 2022-2027.
There are a variety of key aspects to keep in consideration to reach a full view of the subject.
First of all, there are several pilot projects launched across the continent, like the French one launched in 2021 or the Irish one in 2022, besides the experimentation started in Luxembourg and the recent vote, in Denmark, to expand the pilot project begun in 2017. There are also the markets, already active and constantly growing such as the Dutch one, which in 2021 reported a 43% increase in sales of Cannabis in pharmacies, with an increase of sales for those products under prescription; Germany is also on the path to complete legalisation. Last, but not least, there is the market expansion for those products based on therapeutic Cannabis that don’t require a prescription; its sales, just in England, have skyrocketed with an increase of 425% in 2021.
While in these countries the market continues its growth, in Europe other nations are going to embrace some changes. Here is what is happening in Spain, Switzerland, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
By the end of June 2022, the Spanish Commission for Health and Consumption (Comisiòn de Sanidad y Consumo) has approved regulations to start legalising Cannabis for therapeutic use. Thanks to this decision, by the end of 2022 Cannabis should be available, after prescription by a specialised doctor, in hospitals and pharmacies across the country.
Based on the shared report, roughly 300 thousand patients affected by pain caused by cancer, chronic pain of different nature, nausea, vomit caused by chemotherapy, endometriosis, spastic syndromes, multiple sclerosis and some forms of epilepsy will all benefit from this.
The situation has changed in Switzerland from the 1st of August 2022, when officially Cannabis for therapeutic use has been approved; before that date, patients in need could ask for an exceptional permit from the Ministry of Health (the permits have reached a total of 3000 in 2019). Now, instead, the system is much easier.
“The modified law foresees cultivation, handling, production and retail of Cannabis for therapeutic use to be subjected to regulation by Swissmedic, as are other drugs like methadone and morphine for example” according to Cannabis Terapeutica.
In 2022, Albania too has decided to open its borders to the ever-growing Cannabis’ market, especially regarding cultivation, both for industrial and medical purposes.
The proposition, though, is causing some stir because the first licences will be available only by 2023 and will benefit only certain selected companies with a capitalisation of around 8 million euro (a 100 million di Lek).
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In Bosnia and Herzegovina the preliminary steps towards legalising Cannabis for therapeutic use have begun, but now the decision lies with the Government and the Ministry of Safety, which has already recognised the medical value of this plant.
In case the drafted laws receive approval, Cannabis will go from schedule 1 to schedule 2 of narcotics, that is, passing from the schedule of prohibited substances to strictly-controlled substances, where many drugs are already present.