What Does 2021 Have in Store for the International Cannabis Industry?

We gaze into the crystal ball to see what the future might hold.
What Does 2021 Have in Store for the International Cannabis Industry?
Image credit: Olga Volkovaia | Getty Images

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This story originally appeared on Cannabis & Tech Today

One of the only bright spots in 2020 was the emerging cannabis industry. Whereas the ongoing global pandemic has negatively impacted virtually every other industry on earth, the legal international cannabis industry has powered forward.

According to data firm BDSA, spending on the legal cannabis industry is expected to top $20 billion in 2020, up from an estimated $14.8 billion in 2019. To put that number into perspective, the international music organization IFPI estimates that the entire global music industry is worth roughly $20 billion dollars, and unlike the music industry the cannabis industry has plenty of room for growth.

RELATED: Cannabis-Infused Beverages Will Be Big Business In 2021

As the year 2020 comes to a close, many in the cannabis community are naturally starting to look ahead towards 2021 and speculating on what the new year may bring for the emerging cannabis industry. One thing is for sure – the cannabis industry is going to continue to expand to nearly every corner of the world in 2021. One country of particular interest to many cannabis industry observers is Mexico.

In late 2018, Mexico’s Supreme Court determined that cannabis prohibition was unconstitutional and tasked lawmakers in Mexico with passing legislation that would create a regulated adult-use cannabis industry.  Right now, only Uruguay and Canada have a regulated adult-use industry. So far, lawmakers in Mexico have failed to pass the required legislation, and it is probably unlikely that it will happen by the end of the year.

It’s more likely to happen in 2021, and if Mexico can get the legislation implemented and no other country beats Mexico to it, Mexico will become the largest legal adult-use cannabis market on the planet. Even if it proves to be a short-lived designation, it’s still significant. A similar landmark court decision rendered in Mexico was also issued in Italy in late 2019.

RELATED: 9 Weed Strains to Look Forward to in 2021

Italian lawmakers are currently working to implement the court’s decision and pass legislation that would create a regulated adult-use cannabis industry. It’s unclear if that will happen in 2021, however, it’s definitely possible. The first country to implement a regulated adult-use cannabis industry in Europe will reap enormous financial rewards, so there’s obviously incentive for lawmakers in Italy to move quickly.

The adult- and medical-use cannabis markets will continue to thrive in Canada in 2021, albeit with minor setbacks throughout the year, and Canada will continue to see its legal cannabis products exported to an ever-increasing list of other countries.

The United States is likely to remain a patch-work of legal states and prohibition states throughout 2021; however, momentum will continue to build for the end of federal prohibition.

RELATED: What Cannabis Retailers Can Expect in 2021

The medical cannabis industry will continue to proliferate across Africa and more countries will likely be added to the list of legal medical cannabis nations in Asia in 2021. After all of the ups and downs the cannabis industry has experienced in 2020, the upcoming year will hopefully be less turbulent, both from an industry and a societal standpoint.

One thing that is a guarantee for 2021 from a cannabis industry standpoint is the industry will be more competitive than ever, with everyone across the planet scrambling to get in on the action. Plan your strategies accordingly.

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