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Legalization is gaining pace globally and cannabis companies like World High Life (NEX: LIFE) are set to take advantage of shifting public opinion.

Recreational use of marijuana now permitted in four countries: Uruguay, South Africa, Georgia and Canada. In addition, the drug is legal in ten states and two territories of the United States; as well as in the District of Columbia. Despite this, at the federal level marijuana is forbidden. The entire cannabis market, according to Grand View Research, will grow to $146 billion by 2025.

The conditions for legalization vary from country to country – there are no obstacles to carrying and storing grass in Uruguay. However, foreigners cannot legally buy a drug. Medical use of marijuana is permitted in 35 countries around the world. The Russian Ministry of Health also plans to legalize the drug for medical purposes.

Uruguay

Legalized: consumption – December 2013, sale allowed since 2017.

Status: Cannabis in Uruguay is fully legal – citizens of the country allowed to keep the drug, use it for recreational purposes. Even grow up to six bushes of plants at home after registering in a special system. However, a special license is required for sale. But foreigners are less lucky – they will not be able to legally buy weed in Uruguay.

Market: since 2017, the market for marijuana-related startups started to grow. In 2018, 17 companies obtained licenses and 20 more offered their projects to the government. The cost of investment in these companies estimated at $80 million. The largest deal was the purchase of Canadian Aurora Cannabis stake in the manufacturer ICC Labs for $290 million.

Canada

Legalized: since 2001 for medical use, full legalization since October 2018.

Status: Canada was one of the first countries to legalize the use of medical cannabis. Since 2001, cannabis became legal under the authority of the state Health Canada. Once fully authorized, Canadians can carry up to 30 grams of the drug with them. However, unlicensed sales and home cultivation are prohibited.

Market: Canadian cannabis companies are growing very fast. The patient base of one of the largest producers of weed and resin, Canopy Growth, grew by 260% in 2016. The company’s profit almost tripled, growing by 180% in the same year. In 2018, the company received $4 billion in investments from Constellation Brands, the company’s total capitalization increasing to $12 billion, surpassing its closest competitor, Aurora, by almost $3.5 billion. In addition, Canada has the third largest market company in terms of capitalization, Tilray.

The UK

Legalized: Some medicinal cannabis is legal, but it is currently illegal for recreational use

Status: Cannabis is the UK’s most widely used illicit drug with an estimated 3 million users. Overall it is a market worth an estimated £2.5 billion, with potential tax revenues of £1 billion, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs

The Market: The CBD in the market is growing rapidly despite cannabis remaining a prohibited substance. This has opened up a market for companies World High Life (NEX: LIFE) is already moving to take advantage of the more positive attitude towards cannabis in the UK. WHL recently acquired Britain’s top hemp producer, Love Hemp, in a transaction involving all shares valued at 9 million GBP. The CBD and hemp market is rapidly growing in the United Kingdom and the company plans to take advantage of the lucrative German market.

USA

Legalized: in a number of states since 2012 for recreational purposes.

Status: Not all states in the United States allow cannabis, which imposes certain restrictions on the funds of companies that earn from marijuana.

Market: The US cannabis market is growing by at least 30% year on year. In 2016, the market volume amounted to $6.7 billion. A year earlier, the industry ranked as one of the fastest growing in the U.S. economy. The business is so profitable that Russian businessmen are also interested in it. For example, former top manager Roman Abramovich Andrey Blokh returned to the Forbes list thanks to investments in this sector. He owns 28% of Curaleaf Holdings Inc., which capitalized at the time of its placement in Canada last year at $4 billion. Another 31% owned by the founder of Renaissance Insurance, financier Boris Jordan. The company engaged in a full cycle of production and owns the entire chain. From fields sown with cannabis to pharmacies where it is sold.

Netherlands

Legalized: Cannabis sold openly in coffee shops since 1972, medical use regulated since 2002.

Status: in coffee shops, tourists and Dutch people can buy up to 5 grams of weed per hand, carrying up to 30 grams is a minor offence and is punishable by a fine.

Market: Dutch companies are inferior to American and Canadian companies in terms of capitalization because they are more focused on consumers than on mass production. At the same time, related markets are growing. For example, the market of lighting lamps for gardeners, which adds 15-20% every year. Markets predict that in 2023 the volume will exceed $6 billion. For all the glory of the Netherlands as a country that consumes cannabis in huge quantities, there is not a single Dutch company in the industry in the top 10.

Czech Republic

Legalized: since 2010, wearing and use decriminalized, prescription allowed since 2013.

Market: As in Uruguay, the Czech Republic allows home cultivation of cannabis herb for personal use. People in the country can keep up to five plants at home. Citizens can carry up to five grams of marijuana with almost impunity. The sale and circulation of marijuana is not prohibited for medical purposes – this can only be done by licensed companies.

Wallet: The Czech marijuana market is underdeveloped compared to the Canadian and American markets. Aurora even supplies medical marijuana to Czech consumers. Nevertheless, cannabis made Prague one of the drug consumption capitals. The number of Czechs who use pot every day for medical purposes is growing every year and already exceeded one million people.

Georgia

Accepted: July 2018.

Status: Smoking of marijuana allowed in Georgia. But possession, sale and cultivation of cannabis are illegal. For those who want to buy cannabis, there are fines of up to 500 GEL (170 USD) for 5 grams of dried marijuana. Larger amounts will lead to criminal prosecution.

Market: Due to severe restrictions, the cannabis market in Georgia underdeveloped. Perhaps the situation will change this year. Now the final stages of approval are the draft law on legalization of hemp oil for medical purposes. The new law allows the cultivation of plants for the production of medicines based on tetrahydrocannabinol.

The future is bright for cannabis investors

Legalization is growing at a rapid pace and the European market in particular will offer incredible opportunities for companies that are willing to move in now. The European market is predicted to be worth more than €123 billion by 2028. As more states in Europe and globally open up to cannabis investors should expect to see the market soar.

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