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The world is taking an interest in marijuana and hemp more than ever before, which may lead to significant market and regulatory growth. Internationally, the position of the cannabis and hemp markets has demonstrated wins and losses as regulations continue to be in flux.
What are some predictions for the global market in 2022?
Canadian legislation showed promise after the nation legalized cannabis in 2018, and the market opened in a staggered fashion. But the Canadian cannabis industry has had its setbacks, from illicit market competition to pandemic-related shutdowns. Closures, layoffs, and profit losses continue to be a dark industry standard while challenges around business functions like advertising and marketing restrictions remain. Meanwhile, expect turnarounds in provinces like British Columbia and Quebec
Mexico’s legalization path remains up in the air despite the Mexican Supreme Court legalizing recreational use in June 2021. But new regulations remain unestablished by Congress, complicating the current circumstances.
Still, Mexico stands to be a significant market player and could take steps to do so in 2022. Given the ongoing momentum in Mexico, the possibility for full federal legalization remains likely in 2022 despite previously coming up short. The move away from prohibitionist regulations and towards embracing medical opportunities seems to indicate a serious consideration by lawmakers. The drafted bill also reportedly aims to focus on past ills. On its fourth iteration in 2022, the draft bill will reportedly address the damages of the War on Drugs, requiring 40 percent of cannabis cultivation happen in the areas most harmed by previous criminalization.
Despite cultivation being legal in Colombia since 2016, severe restrictions on exports remain on cannabis unless products contain active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). But restrictions lessened in July 2021 when Colombian President Ivan Duque approved the export of dry cannabis flower. In 2022, Colombia could take steps to legalize the plant further.
Despite Colombia’s lowered restrictions and near-perfect weather conditions, the U.S. and Canada will likely hold a dominant market position for some time. Still, South American nations should gain a significant market foothold if regulations allow over time. Like Colombia, Brazil is rumored to take up medical reform efforts this year.
While Colombian companies have positioned themselves to compete with foreign markets in Europe, a more localized superpower may soon be available to Europeans.
Malta became the first EU country to legalize cannabis possession and cultivation in 2021. But many believe Germany will set precedents when its incoming leadership attempt to pass adult-use cannabis laws along with broader drug reform. Still, anticipation should be tempered. Incoming leadership has only commented on reform, and legislation has yet to be presented or passed in any significant fashion. But the coalition government’s focus on the adult-use marketplace indicates that broad reform could soon come to Germany and possibly more of Europe.
While Germany appears poised to make moves, so too does both Iberian Peninsula nations, Italy, the Netherlands, and others.
Asian-Pacific markets also continue to make positive steps in the medical space. A growing number of countries, including Thailand, Australia, and South Korea are conducting various research endeavors. The research includes exploring the potential of cannabis as a COVID-19 treatment—a move that some may consider a further sign of cannabis’ legitimacy.
Recreational prospects are being considered as well, but with little legislation directing those opportunities, it certainly is not anticipated to arrive in 2022. Still, it may not be too far off from then either. In either case, hearing any Asian nation taking up cannabis reform is a welcomed bit of news after many continue to practice severe penalties for cannabis–including the death sentence in some instances.
New Zealand barely rejected its legalization measure in 2020 and most Asian nations remain deadly strict with cannabis laws.
These developments indicate that 2022 will be another year of positive momentum for the plant and the industry. While hurdles remain, cannabis proponents have much to smile about in the new year.