This story originally appeared on Benzinga
Europeans are becoming more open to embracing cannabis legalization, according to new polling data released by Hanway Associates and reported by Curaleaf International, one of the vertically integrated marijuana companies in Europe.
The data revealed that the majority of Europeans support legal, government-regulated marijuana sales to adults over 18. The survey questioned more than 9,000 people, out of which 55% said they are in favor of legal recreational cannabis, 20% said they were indifferent and the remaining 25% were against it.
Furthermore, some 48% support regulated retail marijuana shops, 35% favor home cultivation and 32% support social clubs. Interestingly, home grow garner the most opposition with 41% against it.
Europe and cannabis
The EU’s openness to cannabis legalization should not come as a surprise as Europeans are witnessing the economic benefits in United Stated, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when cannabis use jumped and lots of money was made selling and delivering it during the lockdown.
What’s more, numerous European countries have legalized marijuana for specific medical purposes and others have decriminalized general use while some are currently testing these two options in the form of pilot programs, such as France.
Just last year, Luxembourg was the first European country to legalize growing weed for personal use, while Malta became the first on the continent to officially legalize cannabis. Many industry experts believe that Germany might be next in line to go fully recreational.
Some five years ago Germany decriminalized medical cannabis. Last year’s analyses from the Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) at Dusseldorf Heinrich Heine University suggested that a fully legal cannabis market could bring Germany up to €3.4 billion ($3.85 billion) in tax revenue.
“There is clear political desire and willingness in Germany to legalize recreational use,” Joe Bayern, CEO of Curaleaf, the parent company of Curaleaf International, told Reuters. “Given it (Germany) is the largest economy in Europe, we think it will lead the way and create a domino effect for the rest of the continent.”
Expectations are high
The European market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 67.4% from 2021 to reach €3.2 billion ($3.49 billion) by 2025, according to a report by the research firm Prohibition Partners.
“This report makes it evident the majority of Europeans want to see recreational cannabis available in a way that allows adults access to high-quality products that are regulated,” Antonio Costanzo, Curaleaf International CEO stated. “As the largest vertically integrated cannabis company in Europe with a market-leading medical cannabis offering in nine European countries, I believe Curaleaf International is ideally positioned to leverage this opportunity. Moreover, our parent company, Curaleaf Holdings, utilises a Multi State Operator model in the USA that can be replicated in Europe to offer us a meaningful first mover advantage.”