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Will the War in Ukraine Disrupt the Global Cannabis Industry?

Especially legalization efforts across Europe.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Russia's senseless invasion of Ukraine has turned the world on its heels, touching everyone's lives even beyond the two country's borders. It's a humanitarian crisis of global proportions, and one that has rocked economies across the world. Everything has seemingly been impacted, from tech to travel to rising gas prices at the local fuel station.

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But can it affect the global cannabis industry?

According to Niklas Kouparanis, CEO of German-based Bloomwell Group, a holding company for medical cannabis companies across Europe, probably not.

"While Russia's invasion of Ukraine does present challenges and risks to the global economy, the global cannabis industry is still going strong," he tells Green Entrepreneur. "A [recent] report from BDSA forecasted that the global cannabis market will consistently rise to reach more than $61 Billion USD by 2026. We expect investor confidence and access to capital for the global cannabis market to remain consistent, and entrepreneurs looking to start or scale their companies should be able to proceed with their plans."

RELATED: Global Cannabis Sales Expected to Hit $61 Billion by 2026

Cannabis in Ukraine, Russia and Europe

Cannabis has a long history in Ukraine. According to High Times, during the Soviet era, the country was one of the largest cultivators of industrial hemp. More recently, there was a Cannabis March of Freedom in 2017 that helped kick off a modern legalization movement. Undoubtedly, however, black market cannabis will be on the rise, as is often the case with many goods during time of conflict.

Russia is neither a licensed cannabis market supplier or consumer, with both medical and recreational use prohibited in the country. But the European market is growing, says Kouparanis, with Germany especially seen as a potential market leader.

"We will, of course, keep watch of stock market disruptions, we don't expect the supply chain specifically for the cannabis industry to be affected," he says. "With the expansion of legalized adult-use cannabis among more progressive countries, such as Germany where it will likely take hold by 2024, we don't see the progression of the market being slowed down."

Economies have already been battered by the pandemic, and they'll need other revenue streams to potentially offset long-term increases to defense spending. "More tax revenue means more security," he adds. "In addition, NATO countries remain a safe space for investment."