Special Report

20 Countries Where People Buy the Most Marijuana

Emboldened by a growing acceptance, cannabis is becoming quite the cash crop in a number of countries. Cannabis is legal in Canada, decriminalized in Mexico, and partly or fully legal in many U.S. states, despite the ongoing federal ban. 

According to market and consumer data company Statista, revenue in the cannabis market is forecast to reach $47.2 billion in 2023. Most of that revenue, $32.9 billion, is projected to come from the United States. (Another industry governments are profiting from is guns. Here are the states where the government is profiting the most from gun sales.)

To identify the 20 countries with the biggest cannabis markets, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Statisa’s estimated annual revenue from cannabis sales in 59 countries in 2022, using data published November 2022. Sales include retail sales and taxes, encompassing business to business as well as business to consumer transactions, using current exchange rates. Sales of medical, therapeutic, and recreational cannabis are included. All cannabis data came from Statista. Population and gross domestic product data for 2020 comes from the World Bank.

The cannabis market is divided into three segments: medical, therapeutic, and recreational. The medical and therapeutic areas have been legalized in more countries than recreational use. According to Statisa’s analysis, therapeutic cannabis use rose during the pandemic, as its use is perceived to help those cope with anxiety, even though research on the matter is limited and health professionals warn the effects are complex and not without risk. (One great way to improve mood is through exercise. Here are 30 reasons why walking is the best exercise.)

Some still look askance at cannabis as a recreational drug, fearing it leads to more powerful narcotics. Cannabis is fully or partially legal in all but six U.S. states. Because it is still considered a Schedule 1 drug by the U.S. federal government, however, banks are reluctant to lend to cannabis businesses because of the burden of compliance. 

The maturity of the cannabis market varies by country because of differing legal environments and public attitudes toward the product. Even so, the outlook for cannabis is bullish. Legalization means higher tax revenue. The industry is introducing all manner of new products, and there is considerable merger and acquisition activity. 

According to Statista, revenue from cannabis in the 20 nations on our list was forecast to rise more than 40% in 2022 from the previous year. In 16 countries, revenue was projected to leap more than 100% from 2022 to 2027.

Click here to see 20 countries where people buy the most marijuana.

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