Industry leaders gathering for the ‘Web Summit for cannabis’ in London a week today are urging the Government to embrace the industry, as new analysis shows the UK cannabis market could be worth over £1bn in the UK by 2026.
Analysis from cannabis market intelligence firm Prohibition Partners underscores how the UK’s inability to embrace the industry, both for medical and recreational purposes, could come at a significant economic cost.
Research indicates the UK’s medical cannabis market could be worth over £453m by 2026 – almost a quarter of the total European market by that time. On top of this, were the UK to fully legalise cannabis this year – with recreational sales beginning in 2024 – the sector could be worth over £627m by 2026, bringing the market’s total size to over £1bn in the UK alone.
Such growth could see the cannabis industry play a significant role in boosting economic growth in the UK, both through significant levels of foreign direct investment into the UK, and through job creation right across the UK, supporting the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ ambitions.
The news comes as Prohibition Partners prepares to host Cannabis Europa, Europe’s leading cannabis conference, in London on 28-29th June. More than 1500 delegates are expected to attend from over 25 countries. The conference – with delegates including rapper Big Narstie and Snoop Dogg’s Venture Capital fund – will bring together activists, academics and advocates from the industry to talk about the growth of the medical and recreational markets in Europe, and the investment opportunities attached to these growing industries.
Stephen Murphy, CEO & Co-Founder of Prohibition Partners, said, “The genie is out of the bottle with the cannabis industry – North America has embraced it, and Europe is starting to. The sector has shown it can deliver huge levels of investment, economic growth and jobs for economies that embrace it.
“The UK now has to ensure it isn’t left behind as investors turn toward Europe as the next frontier of the cannabis industry. At a time when the UK sorely needs similar economic boosts, going green and backing cannabis will deliver for the UK economy.”
Many European countries – such as Germany, Denmark and Portugal – are already cashing in on the burgeoning industry, and are reaping the economic benefits. In 2021, close to £500m of capital assets were held in Europe by just a few of the largest North American firms, representing a large injection of significant foreign direct investment into the industry.
And further research from Prohibition has calculated the nascent medical and adult-use sectors are set for a ‘green gold-rush’ in Europe, to be worth up to £3.2bn by 2026 if adult-use legalisation progresses in Germany as forecasted.
A number of steps are needed for the UK to fully unlock the cannabis industry, including allowing cannabis medicines to be prescribed by NHS doctors and covered by public health insurance, and the reform of adult-use cannabis regulations in line with advances being made in places such as Germany. The conference will also explore how these regulatory and legislative barriers can be overcome, to unlock the benefits of the cannabis industry for the UK.
Evidence from North America shows that legalising cannabis can provide huge benefits to a nation’s economy – since Canada legalised recreational cannabis in 2018, the industry has contributed $43.5bn to the country’s GDP, whilst creating 98,000 jobs.
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