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The global cannabis industry is poised for strong growth over the coming decade as expansion of legal access around the world accelerates


70 countries around the world have legalized some form of cannabis for medical use, with 26 of those countries providing medical patients with legal access to high-THC cannabis.

10 countries have legalized cannabis for adult-use, with 6 adopting a system for regulated distribution. ​

Note: In an effort to screen data from markets for inclusion in the legal market analysis, NFD developed a quantitative legalization index to score each country according to legality of use and access to high-THC cannabis and cannabis products for medical cannabis patients and adult-use consumers, respectively. Of the 70 countries to move some legislation on cannabis, 30 meet the NFD requirement for legalized access to high-THC cannabis and cannabis products – 26 medical markets and 10 adult-use markets.

Cannabis consumers globally spent an estimated $415 billion on high-THC cannabis in 2020, with annual spending projected to climb to $496 billion by 2025.

Much of the world has not yet legalized cannabis, and nearly all the demand resides in illicit or unregulated markets. In 2020, 94% of high-THC cannabis spend was in unregulated channels.


Legal Market Growth ​

Sales of high-THC cannabis through legal regulated markets totaled $23.7 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow to $51 billion by 2025.

Annual global legal sales of adult-use cannabis are projected to be double those of legal medical sales by 2025, despite the higher number of medical markets globally. 


Total Global Cannabis Demand​

Israel has the world’s highest rate of national cannabis use, with 27% of its population aged 15+ reporting consumption of high-THC cannabis in the past year.

The high rates of use in Canada and the United States, accommodated by liberal social policies, have supported the advancement of legalization and establishment of robust regulated markets in both countries


268 million

Global estimated number of
people who consumed cannabis
at least once in 2020.

Across the world’s adult populations (i.e., ages 15+), the regions of North America, Oceania, and Africa respectively have the highest rates of cannabis use.


Of the six countries with the world’s highest reported prices, five are in Asia (i.e., South Korea, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Thailand).


North America is laying the foundation for a global industry with total cannabis demand valued at $93 billion in 2020 accounting for 97% of legal cannabis sales in 2020



Industry Briefing

Regional Analysis


Of the 1.05 billion people living across the 70 countries with legal access to high-THC cannabis products, nearly one-third live in each North America (35%) and Europe (33%), followed by Latin America (22%).


Regional Spotlight


Canada leads the global cannabis market: total legal sales from licensed medical and adult-use retailers are projected to total $5.5 billion by 2025.

In 2018, it became the first G-7 nation to fully legalize cannabis for medical, adult-use, and industrial purposes, acting as a catalyst in the development of the international cannabis marketplace.


As the EU’s most densely populated country, Germany has been the focal point of the continent’s cannabis industry since it first legalized medical use in 2017.


Patient demand for legal medical cannabis has been growing steadily, with nearly 3,300 kg imported in Q1-’21. ​


Cannabis remains federally illegal in Spain, with the country’s 4.2 million cannabis consumers acquiring their cannabis from illicit sources or through the unregulated patchwork of cannabis social clubs. ​


Social Clubs ​

The legal status of existing social clubs is ambiguous, with clubs currently operating in semi-regulated environments.

  • Must operate on a nonprofit basis; 
  • Must be closed to the public; 
  • Must observe limits on the quantity of cannabis consumed; and 
  • Cannabis distributed by the clubs must be for immediate/on-site consumption. 

Thank You to Our Sponsors

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