When you put the words “cannabis” and “Europe” in the same sentence, the first country to come to mind for most people is likely the Netherlands. Amsterdam has long been a standout destination for locals and tourists alike when it comes to traveling for cannabis. However, Germany seems poised to overtake them as the premier cannabis destination, as the country stands on the cusp of legal adult use.
Despite the Netherlands’ absence of formal adult-use cannabis legalization, cannabis tourism has developed into a lucrative and constantly expanding asset for the regulated cannabis industry there as well as in the United States and Canada. During the Dutch lockdown throughout COVID-19, cannabis lounges were even considered essential businesses.
By 2024, adult-use cannabis will be legal in Germany, which will have the largest recreational cannabis market in the world due to its massive population. The German government scheduled five sessions in June 2022 to talk about the parameters of legalizing cannabis for adult use. More than 200 commercial, legal, and medical participants – and international experts – took part in these crucial debates.
Businesses, investors, and tourists alike are preparing to seize new cannabis tourism prospects as Germany prepares to legalize cannabis for adult use in the midst of a lucrative medical-only sector.
Legal Cannabis In Germany
The legalization of adult usage in Germany will increase “tourist demand.” It is still unknown what the requirements for adult-use legalization will be, including whether tourists from other European Union (EU) nations and other regions of the world will be permitted to buy and use cannabis inside the nation.
However, it would be challenging to prohibit EU nationals from obtaining cannabis even if they are not German citizens, as the market would have greater prospects for growth and expansion if tourists were permitted to buy and use cannabis while in Germany.
Regardless of the lack of set regulations for legal cannabis in Germany, their overall cannabis demand will surely rise.
For instance, economists must consider that even if tourists are not permitted to buy cannabis in Germany once adult-use cannabis is in the spotlight, they would still be able to do so through relatives and acquaintances who live there.
Legal Cannabis Infrastructure
Other nations with adult-use markets have demonstrated that the infrastructure for sales also affects how appealing these businesses are to tourists. Some examples of possible cannabis infrastructure that Germany could implement are:
Cannabis dispensaries are retail establishments that are subject to local government regulation and where customers can purchase cannabis products – from flower to topicals to concentrates and more.
The majority of these dispensaries feature budtenders, who are able to advise consumers on products based on their functional needs and wants, respond to inquiries, handle products, and display the items that are being sold.
Although customers can buy cannabis and cannabis-related items in dispensaries, it is unclear whether German law will permit on-site smoking or personal consumption.
Cannabis Consumption Locations
Amsterdam’s “coffee shops,” or social consumption lounges, are very well-liked by tourists and locals alike. Despite the fact that it is illegal to produce cannabis in the Netherlands, coffee shops are permitted to sell it to customers for personal use under a “backdoor policy.”
The social cannabis consumption lounges that have begun to proliferate in the United States are another example of a concept Germany might adopt.
These lounges allow customers who are at least 21 years old to buy cannabis products and enjoy them in a social setting, much like a bar that serves alcohol. These consumption lounges frequently employ budtenders who assist customers with their purchases, just like dispensaries do.
Pharmacies are currently the primary means by which medicinal cannabis is distributed to patients in Germany. As the primary provider of patient care, pharmacists are required by law to have a specific relationship with patients, thus facilitating the free exchange of knowledge, instruction, and one-on-one medical patient care.
The existing medical-only market’s business owners predict that Germany will likely adopt a dispensary model with trained salespeople or budtenders and the potential to offer e-commerce. The government has not yet decided whether or not social and public consumption would be permitted.
Legal Cannabis In The U.S.
In the United States, the cannabis industry has drawn cannabis connoisseurs from within the country, as well as from outside, to legal states. According to data from a 2022 Harris Poll poll, 50% of millennials claimed that having access to legal cannabis influences their decision to take a trip.
In addition, 43% of respondents claimed to have purposefully chosen a location with an adult-use market. Colorado, which has legalized adult cannabis use since 2020, has reported that visitors to the Centennial State frequently visit dispensaries.
A cannabis dispensary or retail store was visited by 16% of visitors to Colorado during the winter and 15% of visitors during the summer, according to statistics made public by the Colorado Tourism Office. The survey also found that visitors who engaged in cannabis-related activities had a higher likelihood of staying in the state for longer than those who did not.
When asked if they would visit a cannabis store or social consumption lounge in Germany, more than 66% of American cannabis consumers answered they would, according to a Bloomwell survey.
Germany’s central location in Europe offers a significant opportunity for tourism growth and expansion to the EU tourist and other worldwide visitor markets.
The time has come for German lawmakers to begin laying out the details of adult-use cannabis legalization, keeping in mind the general need to safeguard minors and ensure product security, as well as how to effectively capitalize on the tourism-related aspects of the future market.
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