Europe needs time to warm to cannabis, but hope is slow and steady wins the race
When it comes to exporting marijuana to Europe, the North American model might need a little work.
The pace with which cannabis legalization is advancing across Canada and the U.S. — often ahead of needed regulations — does not work on a continent that literally speaks different languages, according to Strain Insider. As markets encounter turmoil here, armchair analysts may not have the answers they think they do to problems across the pond where business can move much more slowly.
“There’s no point in talking about finance because there is no market yet,” said Laurène Tran, executive director of ACTIVE Europe, a CBD trade association that brings together participants in the cannabis industry from around the European Union.
Tran said much more time needs to be spend on education and improving dialogue before opening up chequebooks. “Instead of fancy conferences and investments, we should be spending money on advocacy,” she said.
This may not lead to the instant pay days companies are looking to reap, but it will better serve them in the long run, Tran argued. The type of momentum that has produced a wave of legalization announcements across North America does not exist on a European continent composed of vastly different countries, with different values and ideals.
“The cannabis movement needs lawyers to help make clear how the market should be regulated and confirm their position,” Tran said. “Unfortunately, most large law firms are adding their commentary so as to lead all the (mergers and acquisitions).”
These problems are complicated by cannabis itself, which encompasses medical marijuana, recreational cannabis and CBD — three decidedly different products that factor into different markets. And all of which can be confusing for new customers and legislators, especially in areas where the drug still holds a very real stigma.
While public perception is changing, the change is happening more slowly in Europe than in North America. The CBD market may have exploded, but in Europe, as here, regulators are struggling to keep up with the flood of new products making outrageous claims on a daily basis.
Even so, the CBD market represents an opening for businesses, Tran said, if the products are sold as consumer goods as opposed to a new medicine with vague science behind it.
“The best chance for a small CBD firm to have success is the one that is already doing food supplements,” said Tran. “They might have a background in science and extraction, but they have a very strong base and are not in a hurry. Slow and steady business practice is ideal,” she said.
When it comes to medical cannabis, Tran noted the discussion needs to be on the good it can do for patients, not shareholders. If the focus is on bringing a useful drug to desperate patients, countries will only conjure up images of a U.S. health care system that the rest of the world is not interested in.
“It’s for patients, it’s serious medicine for people who really need it. It should be boring.”
Cannabis will eventually conquer the European market, it’s just going to take a lot longer than some people would like. And that’s OK, too.
Source: 420 Intel – Europe