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When Will Recreational Cannabis Reform Hit Europe?

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For all the hopes and aspirations now in the air as the world rings out the year, what is in the cards for next year in Europe on the recreational cannabis front?

Here is the skinny – recreational reform, on a national level, will not be seriously considered, anywhere, until the end of 2021. Just ask the most forward thinking government in the EU right now – Luxembourg. 

It is unlikely that Switzerland (in Europe geographically, but not in the EU) will also not jump at the chance to pip Luxembourg at the post (although never say never in this industry).  Nor will Denmark.

However Switzerland, along with Denmark, has engaged on a path of “recreational trials.” For all of the forward thinking however, in EU regulation free Switzerland, anything with THC, prescription issued or not, has to be sold at a pharmacy. Denmark, also an EU outrider, will be reviving the former hippy drug market of Christiana.

Maybe it is just a style thing. Expect both countries to move more or less in step with Luxembourg.

Holland is also still moving to formalize its still gray market industry, but that is nothing new and has been going on for the last decade.

In the meantime, medical access and regulation of non THC cannabinoids, as well as how they are grown, extracted, and processed, will be the biggest issues that hit across the industry outside of medical, and will absolutely still be there after recreational reform becomes more widespread.

What Does This Mean For The Industry?

Don’t expect the spotlight on the supply chain to disappear any time soon. Indeed, the baseline for the recreational industry, certainly from the cultivation side, is being seeded now.

However, beyond that, it also means that the focus for the next two years will still be medical advocacy, patient access, doctor education, and cultivation spots which can beat both the Canadians and German cultivators now entering the room on price.

These are issues that traditionally, the “industry” as such has not done well on, and for good reasons. These are the realms of advocates and lobbyists, not business development specialists and marketers. 

The World Of EU Cannabis Is Still Opening

For all the doom and gloom, in other words, of the end of the year, the next decade of cannabis in Europe looks promising, even if on a slower path than elsewhere. That more deliberate pace, however, is in truth, planting the ground for an industry which will not be banned, but at least on the continent, will be more integrated, from the beginning, in existing regulations about all food, drugs, cosmetics and lifestyle associated consumer products.

Looking for a rec market in Europe, in other words? Chill, smoke a doobie, and wait 24 months.