According to a recent survey of American cannabis users, the upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana in Germany offers attractive new opportunities for travel, trade and investment. The poll by Bloomwell Group, a medical marijuana holding company, found that eight in 10 Americans believe “cannabis companies are attractive investment opportunities,” while 61% said they “would invest in European cannabis stocks.”
Germany’s new “traffic light” coalition government of SPD, FDP and Greens announced late last year that it would legalize “the controlled sale of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed outlets.” The country has already legalized the medical use of cannabis by the seriously ill, while personal possession of small amounts of marijuana remains largely unpunished.
Although no timeline has yet been set for legalizing recreational marijuana in Germany, the promise of legal adult cannabis use promises to be a boon for the European cannabis industry. And according to the Bloomwell poll, continued cannabis reform in Germany should also offer business and recreational opportunities for Americans.
For the online survey, the Frankfurt-based company Bloomwell asked 845 cannabis users in the USA for their opinion on the forthcoming legalization of marijuana in Germany. The overwhelming majority of respondents (87%) said cannabis should be legalized worldwide. More than half (52%) said they were “aware that Germany will most likely become the largest legal cannabis market within the next three years”.
American cannabis users view cannabis legalization in Germany as an attractive travel experience, with 65% of respondents saying they would “travel to a city or country to learn about the licensed cannabis market,” while 44% said they would travel to Germany specifically for cannabis tourism. Additionally, almost three quarters of respondents said the ubiquitous German snack pretzels are a great food to satisfy cravings.
A billion dollar market for legal cannabis
The survey also found that marijuana users in the United States are aware of the tremendous business opportunities presented by the legalization of cannabis in Germany. According to a report by cannabis data analytics firm BDSA, released last month, legal cannabis sales in Germany are expected to reach $3 billion a year by 2026. Niklas Kouparanis, CEO and co-founder of Bloomwell Group, says the legal cannabis market in Germany has the potential to grow even more if supply can keep up with demand.
“As Germany plans to onboard its newly legalized adult-use cannabis market, it is crucial to ensure that the country’s cannabis supply matches consumer demand,” Kouparanis wrote in an email. “One of the biggest challenges we faced when launching our licensed medicinal cannabis market in 2017 was that demand severely overwhelmed supply, so we want to avoid making the same mistake. Economist Justus Haucap has forecast aggregate demand of 400 tonnes per year once adult sales begin in Germany, which would result in the market reaching no less than $10 billion.”
To meet strong demand for recreational marijuana in Germany, Kouparanis says companies will likely import cannabis, a practice already common in the country’s medical market. And with further reform of cannabis policy in the United States, American companies could join the international producers supplying the German market.
“Currently, the U.S. does not permit federal cannabis exports (aside from some very narrow exceptions), but changing these regulations and restrictions to allow for legal international cannabis trade offers great potential for the United States to capitalize on Germany’s licensed adult cannabis market, which is expanding.” a positive mutual relationship,” explains Kouparanis. “Germany would be able to maintain a reliable supply of cannabis to sustain demand, and the United States could generate revenue from expanded global sales and create more opportunities for entrepreneurs internationally.”
But if US companies are to tap the market potential of Germany, policy reforms like the MORE Act will need to be enacted into law sooner rather than later.
“It would be an extremely prudent policy move for the United States to seek to change its regulations and allow imports into Germany’s legal adult market,” writes Kouparanis. “With nations like Canada and Portugal already participating in the German drug market, the US could miss out on important opportunities if action is not taken now. Furthermore, the forthcoming legalization of adult use in Germany is the first major step that will trigger a Europe-wide legalization of cannabis that will domino effect country after country.”
Without significant reforms, U.S. producers will be left behind and locked out of the increasingly lucrative international cannabis trade.
“Germany has a population of 82 million — that’s more than Canada and California, two of the largest cannabis markets in the world right now,” Kouparanis said in a Bloomwell statement. “Therefore, as Germany opens up to adult-use cannabis, it will become the largest market in the world. The language of the future for cannabis will be German.”