At a time when so many business sectors are facing unprecedented problems, the cannabis sector is one industry that is on an upward trajectory. The popularity of CBD products across the western world has certainly contributed to that. But no less significant is the changing attitude to recreational cannabis.
The Americas are leading the way in this regard. Uruguay was the first country to fully legalise weed back in 2013, and Canada followed in 2018. Meanwhile, in the US a growing number of states are going down the road of legalization for the possession, use and cultivation of recreational cannabis. It’s good news for those who enjoy a smoke, but also for their nation’s economies, and those of the various countries that grow different types of hash and are developing formal export agreements with the new markets that are opening up.
So who will be next to follow the lead of Uruguay, Canada and the USA? Let’s take a look at some likely candidates.
It’s a question of when, not if, for Mexico. A legalization bill was approved in March 2019, and has only to be signed into law. The original deadline of 30 April was pushed back to December, delayed alongside other non-essential business due to broader world events over recent months. However, with both houses of Mexico’s legislature back at work, it seems certain that the law will become a matter of fact before the end of the year. A key part of the bill is that foreign investment in any cannabis business will be restricted to a maximum 49 percent.
Cannabis is already legal in New Zealand for medical use. When the law was passed in December 2018, the government promised a referendum on legalisation of recreational weed at the time of the next general election. That’s due to happen next month, in what is being termed the “reeferendum.” Initial polls suggested around 70 percent in favour, but this has shifted over recent months to something closer to 50/50. Most commentators agree that the “yeses” will win the day, in which case New Zealand will become the first nation in Oceania to legalize weed.
Europe is showing a tendency towards decriminalisation of cannabis, but that is a step short of full legalisation. It will come in time, but only one country has made a firm commitment. That is the tiny principality of Luxembourg. Here, the government stated in 2018 that weed will be legalised. There is no firm timetable, but the expectation is that it will happen towards the end of the current government’s term, probably in late 2022 or early 2023.
When Luxembourg jumps, which of the major European nations will be first to follow? We are now entering the world of speculation, but Spain is the most likely candidate. This country has a history of tolerance towards weed, decriminalizing possession of small amounts way back in the 1970s. It is no great leap to assume that Spain will take a similarly progressive approach to full legalisation.