The movement to legalize cannabis worldwide is gaining momentum, and with that comes more countries potentially legalizing cannabis in 2023.
Although the plant has been illegal for decades, attitudes towards its use have changed significantly. By 2026, the cannabis global market is projected to have hit $102 billion in sales.
Which Countries Could Legalize Cannabis in 2023?
Malta is a late-in-the-year shot after it legalized cannabis possession of up to 7 grams and home cultivation last month.
Herein, we discuss the following:
- What are the current laws in that country, and how close are they to legalizing?
- What roadblocks still exist before they can be legalized?
- How many people live in that country?
- How big will the industry be ($) if they decide to legalize it?
The Mexican government intends to legalize recreational cannabis use as of early 2023. Despite weed decriminalization in 2009, its current status is still complicated– not entirely legal, nor is it altogether illegal.
One can possess up to five grams of cannabis for medical purposes. However, the federal and local police don't respect this status.
Under the new legal framework, anybody over 18 is allowed to possess personal use cannabis weighing up to 28 grams. They can also grow at most six plants if the bill becomes law.
Cannabis legalization in Mexico has raised heated conversations, stirring mixed reactions. Despite several people welcoming the move, some are expressing concern over cannabis' potential risks.
According to the Trading Economics data, Mexico's population is projected to trend at around 126.60 Million in 2023, with a growth rate of 0.75%. The legalization of cannabis is likely to boost their economy—the government projects to get up to $1.3 billion from cannabis tax revenue from commercial production annually.
Legal hurdles are slowly being lifted in Germany as they anticipate legalizing cannabis. Germany intends to allow regulated cannabis distribution among adults. However, the biggest nightmare is a poorly crafted legal framework that the European court of justice could turn down.
The pledge to legalize cannabis was recently reiterated by the liberal Free Democratic party and the Green party. Germany's justice minister, Buschmann Marco, is optimistic that by spring, a law will be in place to see the sales of “the first legal joint” in Germany in 2023.
The most significant roadblock between German legislators and cannabis legalization is a breach of international law.
The Narcotic Drugs Single Convention of 1961 by the United Nations bars Germany from legalizing cannabis use. Apart from the recreational use restriction, one cannot cultivate or traffic cannabis.
Many believe Germany will likely catalyze recreational cannabis legalization in other European nations.
Germany is the most populated country in the EU. The population in Germany is predicted to stick at 83.3 million people through 2027.
In a report by Statista, illicit cannabis is projected at $14.9 B in 2023, while medical cannabis brings $0.5 B in cannabis sales by the market.
Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001. However, medical cannabis use was passed into law in 2018. Legislators recommend recreational cannabis use be restricted to 21 yrs.
Industrial hemp cultivation is lawful in Portugal. However, just like in the US, CBD use remains in the Gray area, despite being legal. Portugal prohibits the importation, production, and selling of recreational cannabis.
According to the “Portuguese experience” of the legalization of drugs, the biggest challenge they face is fighting against a considerable number of drug users suffering from chronic addiction.
Portugal's population ranges from around 11 million people. The current high tax rates are responsible for the high prices of medical cannabis in legal markets. If legalized, cannabis sales in Lisbon alone are projected to pump $4.69 M in annual tax revenue.
Wrap Up On Cannabis Legalization in 2023
The cannabis industry is growing at a rapid pace, and as more countries begin to legalize and regulate the substance, they are creating new opportunities in this space. The future looks bright for cannabis legalization around the world.
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