Is The Ukrainian War Driving High Weed Prices In Europe?

The Cannabis Trade in Europe vs Ukrainian War

The war in Ukraine is not an easy topic to discuss, so we’re not going to be discussing the war in this article. Instead, we’re going to look at the impact of the war on the cannabis trade in Europe. Wars can create domino effects in many industries, such as increased fuel prices, economic instability, and governments prioritizing the war effort over things that have nothing to do with it. 

Ukraine has a history with cannabis that runs deep, according to Green Entrepreneur, who states that during the Soviet Era, Ukraine was one of the world’s biggest cultivars of industrial hemp. But the country hasn’t exactly been the beacon of legalization. Prior to the war, however the country had been getting behind the movement, with 65% of the population being for the use of medical marijuana. The rest of the continent has made similar progress to some degree. The Netherlands, of course, is leading the way, but you already know that. 

More Expensive Oil Leads To Weed Becoming More Expensive

Russia supplied 30% of the EU’s crude oil imports and 39% of overall gas imports in 2017.  Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus, and Bulgaria all imported 74% of their oil from Russia in 2022. Russia is currently the biggest exporter of oil on the planet. Given the enormous amount of oil that comes from Russia into Europe, it follows that keeping the utilities on and, therefore, cannabis manufacturing across the continent, will become more expensive if the EU decides to impose heavy sanctions on Russian oil.

[Related Reading: The EU Just Got A Little Greener – Germany Promises Full Cannabis Legalization After Malta’s Legislation]

It’s also worth noting that these countries are very close to or share borders with Ukraine. Their proximity could severely impact the cannabis supply line across the EU.

What This Means For The European Cannabis Trade

Europe isn’t exactly known for having the ideal weed-growing climate. Most of their finest is grown indoors. This means that grow rooms, lights, water pumps, and filters must be kept running. If the price of utilities such as gas and electricity go up significantly, the cost of having to grow indoors will as well. 

Cannatech companies will suffer the same fate as the growers. They also have to keep the lights on, their production floors running, and their vehicles on the road. 

The cannabis industry is like any other industry. Without the proper means to operate farms – indoor or outdoor – processing the plant, transport, and distributing it efficiently, the selling price has no choice but to go up significantly.

According to Bezinga, “The main challenge right now is the rising gas prices. Every industry requires energy to run, including the cannabis sector. The industry cannot avoid the increasing energy costs affecting the region.

Major European cannabis centers like the UK, Germany, and The Netherlands are already feeling the fallout of rising gas and oil prices.  

The Politics Of War And Weed

As mentioned earlier, when any country is involved in a conflict, its government focuses on the war, and rightly so. What this means for the legislation of marijuana in Europe isn’t exactly a ray of sunshine. Aside from Ukraine being in its infancy when it comes to the legalization of weed, many other European countries are in the same boat. 

The war between Russia and Ukraine could be used as a reason for countries dragging their heels on the issue of legalization right now, and setting the process back even further. It remains to be seen how long it will take for the EU to get back into its promises of decriminalizing cannabis after the crisis in Ukraine has ended. 

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, did come out in support of legalizing cananbis, but he’s got one or two other things on his list of priorities right now. But there’s hope for Ukranians that once the war is over, the conversation about legalization will be reopened. Considering in October of 2017, says High Times, Ukranians held a Cannabis March for Freedom, there’s a good chance that legalization may be on the horizon, once the dust of war settles. 

The war in Ukraine has been called “the biggest ground war since World War 2”. The European cannabis trade will be affected by the conflict as much as any other industry during wartime. All around the world, people are advocating for a quick end to hostilities from Russia against Ukraine. All we can do is hope that clear heads and decency prevail. 

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