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 European Cannabis Q4 2023 Quarterly Update

Mar. 06, 2024 by SOMAÍ

U.S. and German Events Steer International Cannabis in 2024

As 2023 ended, all eyes remained glued on the United States Schedule III and German narcotics derivation re-listing, the latter of which successfully passed at the end of February 2024.

A Q3 event worth noting was in August 2023, when the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) recommendation letter and 252-page supporting report were released through the Freedom of Information Act and ignited a storm as the most knowledgeable agency watching cannabis for the last two decades in the U.S. essentially acknowledged that cannabis is both safe for the population and has medicinal attributes that help “at least 15 medical conditions” and is a safer alternative to drugs currently on the market.

Both events, in conjunction or individually, remain the most active topics in the global cannabis markets. Although policy shifts are difficult to predict, taken together, they will likely cause a worldwide rescheduling of cannabis that will run from country to country and require World Health Organization (WHO) consideration.

Noteworthy Cannabis Market Financial Action in Q4

In light of these events, cannabis stocks — which ended 2023 basically flat to up just a bit — have nearly doubled through January 2024 with little signs of letting up. The same applies to less liquid European Union companies: January held big surges.

For investors that have suffered or lost complete interest since 2018, this is a welcome movement for an industry strapped for cash and needing capitalization and investor interest. The 2023 cannabis stock market performance surely did not create any value for investors or help companies, but 2024 is shaping up to be one of the best-ever starts.

Although the fourth quarter had no notable raises nor mergers and acquisitions, most companies were in the market to shore up cash and prepare for deregulation expansion. Accordingly, expect a fierce 2024 spattering of completed deals from some of the biggest groups in the EU.

Q4 2023 Global Medical Cannabis Regulatory Movements

More and more countries continue to address providing medical cannabis access that is safer than many alternatives and can help conditions without other treatment options:

  • Spain forecasted they will be coming out with regulations “more in line with global standards.”
  • Ukraine continues to move the ball through the government process fairly quickly.
  • Czechia followed suit with Germany and backtracked on full adult-use cannabis with social clubs and expanded access as a non-narcotic.
  • Brazil opened its doors past CBD-only products to THC products that have CBD comprising the majority component per dose.
  • France signaled an extension of their medical cannabis program and a new program for 2025, with applications opening soon.
  • Albania began growing and manufacturing medical cannabis.
  • Japan clarified its rules on CBD and created pathways for domestic cultivation.
  • Thailand has flipped again to medical and is reminiscent of California 15 years ago and New York City today with thousands of unlicensed dispensaries and products.

New countries are expected to continue advancing cannabis access efforts legislatively well into 2024.

Q4 2023 was the Fuse for a 2024 Cannabis Boom

Although Europe had a slow year along with most developed markets, the upbeat drums of new countries have invigorated the industry. Potential movement by the U.S. on Schedule III and Germany’s taking narcotic derivations off increases pressures on countries to open up access as they become surrounded by legal cannabis access everywhere.

The stock tear in January clearly says better times are ahead, and Germany has become a global beacon of rational and successful cannabis access. After all, the illicit market is better organized and has better products, pricing and sales channels than current legal medical cannabis markets. Although politics are anything but logical at times, the people are pushing, and cannabis has now been stamped as essentially safe and effective medicine by America’s HHS and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).