Global cannabis exports are expanding as competition within the market heats up and buyers/distributors enjoy more diverse product selection. This in turn is spurring global price compression. Cannabis APIs (e.g., flower, distillate) from a growing number of global producers are entering Germany, Australia, Israel and beyond, expanding the number of registered products in each jurisdiction. Competition is less intense, however, at the higher end of the market. Here, the opportunity exists to bring new high-quality medical cannabis products and premium brands into underserved primary and secondary import markets.
The fastest-growing market in the world is Australia, which has now surpassed 300,000 medical cannabis patients, representing a market size of around $400 million AUS. This growth, which we predict will continue exponentially, is fueled by a rapidly increasing prescriber base, rising patient numbers, and increased public awareness. Aside from flower and oil imports, we see solid growth in vape imports. Medical hash and adult chewables are emergent product forms.
The Israeli market, which represents over 40 tons of medical cannabis a year, continues to grow, albeit at a reduced pace. The Israeli Ministry of Health has proposed changes targeted to come into force in January, 2024, that will include cannabis becoming a first line treatment, extended prescriptions, reduced lab testing requirements, wider product forms, and a streamlined export approval process. These groundbreaking changes are expected to open up the export market into Israel even further.
The German market is growing slower than Australia’s, but the planned removal of cannabis from the narcotic list will spur significant market expansion. Not only will more German doctors be willing to prescribe cannabis, but the planned move to standard prescriptions (both paper and electronic) will open up access considerably. Navigating the supply chain and optimizing distribution lanes will remain key to successful German market exports.
News out of the UK that the Home Office will support electronic prescriptions for CBPMs (cannabis-based prescription medicines) has been warmly welcomed by the UK cannabis industry and is seen as a catalyst for increasing patient numbers and an
expanded medical cannabis market. Coupled with other recent and ongoing developments, this is expected to increase global cannabis imports into the UK.
Portugal continues to build on its strong reputation as a primary import/export hub for medical cannabis in the EU. As an industry, Portugal’s GACP cultivators are improving product quality and the number of EU-GMP processing/conversion hubs in the country is increasing. Recent news that a cross-party working committee will soon begin to study adult use legalization in Portugal will only bolster growth and investment into Portugal’s cannabis sector, which has been struggling with access to capital.
In the United States, there is great opportunity to capture new market share in undersaturated and emerging states such as New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan & Arizona.
Saturated markets such as Oregon, California and Colorado are consolidating. Experienced operators with leading brands, IP and technology have an opportunity to buy into existing, cash-strapped licensed cannabis assets into consolidating markets.
Some US cannabis operators are eyeing entry into global markets through strategic partnerships & investments with cannabis companies with direct access into global medical and consumer supply chains.
In Canada, the legal cannabis market continues to undergo consolidation but there are
early signs that domestic price compression is beginning to abate. Medical cannabis exports from Canada continue to expand, with 50 per cent growth year-over-year in 2023. Canadian producers exported 60 tons of medical cannabis in 2022 and annual export revenues are approaching an impressive $200 million a year.