May 10, 2023

The Global Impact of Cannabis: Emerging Markets and International Trade


The Global Impact of Cannabis: Emerging Markets and International Trade


Cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, has been used medicinally and recreationally for centuries. However, due to its psychoactive effects, it has been largely banned and criminalized worldwide. In recent years, though, views about cannabis are shifting, with more countries legalizing its use for medical and/or recreational purposes. This, in turn, has created new markets and international trade opportunities for the cannabis industry.

Emerging Markets

A handful of countries have legalized cannabis completely, while many others have legalized it partially. Canada became the first G7 country to legalize cannabis on a national level in 2018 and is considered to be one of the biggest global players in the cannabis industry. Uruguay was the first country to legalize cannabis for recreational use in 2013. Other countries that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis to different degrees include Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, and some states in the USA.

The legalization or decriminalization of cannabis has created new markets for cannabis products, especially for medical use. Medical cannabis is used to treat conditions such as epilepsy, nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, chronic pain, and anxiety. This has led to the emergence of cannabis companies that specialize in developing, producing, and distributing medical cannabis products. These companies have the potential to create sustainable economic growth, employment opportunities, and tax revenues for countries that allow cannabis production and sales.

International Trade

The legalization of cannabis has also created new opportunities for international trade. However, international trade in cannabis is still subject to strict regulations due to its status as a controlled substance under the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Only a few countries are allowed to export and import cannabis, subject to strict control and regulation by the International Narcotics Control Board.

Canada and the Netherlands are two of the largest exporters of cannabis, with Canada exporting both medical and recreational cannabis products. Canada’s cannabis industry is estimated to be worth over $8 billion. The Netherlands, famous for its liberal drug policies, has been exporting cannabis for medical purposes since 2003.

In addition, countries that have legalized cannabis are likely to experience an increase in the demand for cannabis-related products from foreign markets. This will create new opportunities for international trade and investment in the cannabis industry.


The legalization of cannabis is causing a global transformation in attitudes towards the plant. Countries are increasingly recognizing the economic and medical potential of cannabis and are taking steps to legalize its use, creating emerging markets and international trade opportunities. As the trend towards cannabis legalization continues, it will be interesting to see how the cannabis industry evolves and how it affects international trade in the years to come.

Canada’s Cannabis Industry Valued at $10.8 Billion

Uruguay Marks 6 Years Of Marijuana Sales

UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs

Categorized as Industry
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