The Next Emerging Markets for Cannabis – Navigating Asia and Latin America

In 2019 a Global Cannabis Report was published by the authority in data analytics and business intelligence. It was estimated in this report that the global entire addressable cannabis market, either regulated or illicit, is approximately USD 344 billion. The analytics also identified the top five regional cannabis markets, including:

  • Asia ($132.9 billion)
  • North America ($85.6 billion) 
  • Europe ($68.5 billion)
  • Africa ($37.3 billion) 
  • Latin America ($9.8 billion) 

It was also reported that almost 263 million cannabis consumers make up that worldwide cannabis market. Cannabis has been legalized as medical cannabis in more than 50 countries worldwide whereas six countries have endorsed cannabis for adult usage. Some people also use it for recreational purposes. 

According to Giadha Aguirre de Carcer who is New Frontier Data Founder and CEO, “The lawful cannabis industry has gone worldwide; still, in the face of the extensive ban, cannabis utilization increases, and approaches and exigent perceptions concerning the classic cannabis consumer persist to shift. This communal and cultural evolution has produced a global market with huge potential for stakeholders across dozens of sectors ahead of conventional plant-touching verticals.”

Although Latin America is a significant performer in creating cannabis, the area does not appear to use a lot of its supply. Even prior to legalizing recreational use of cannabis in Canada in 2018, North America was positioned internationally as the area with the uppermost number of cannabis consumers. In 2019 the predictable value of cannabis requirement in the sub-continent exceeded the 80 billion U.S. dollar mark. This was the second-largest value after Asia.

Markets for Cannabis in Asia and Latin America

Normalization and legalization

Over the past five years, policy changes have dramatically reshaped the global cannabis market. In different regions of Latin America, various modifications in legislation have been made. 
Brazil contracted above 1.1 thousand novel authorizations to trade in cannabis items for each patient in the second quarter of 2019. This shows a rise in contrast to the 882 authorizations granted in the preceding quarter. The South American country changed 562 authorizations for importing cannabis at a similar time.

The Colombian government-generated 968 licenses for the cultivation of hemp in 2020. This number has continually risen during the phase depicted. In 2018 almost 166 licenses were reported. In the meantime, for the cultivation of psychoactive cannabis inside the South American country almost 642 licenses were granted. It was anticipated that the market value of recreational cannabis will reach almost 219 million U.S. dollars by 2028 in Colombia. 

In Uruguay above 9% of the whole inhabitant’s employed cannabis for recreational, medical, or industrial purposes in 2018. The Uruguayan government had granted just six licenses for psychoactive cannabis cultivation for medical use in January 2021. In the meantime, the South American country granted 5 more licenses for the cultivation of psychoactive cannabis (adult-use).

Part of Traditional Medicine

In recent years, the liberation for the use of cannabis in the medical industry has created various growth opportunities in Southeast Asian countries and Latin America. The medical cannabis market is increasing quickly in Latin America because of government consent (started in 2017) for the cultivation of cannabis cultivation. The drug approval authority claims that cannabis-based medical goods are greatly protected for the treatment of cancer patients creating market growth space. 

In Brazil, the market value of medical cannabis is anticipated to reach above 229 million U.S. dollars by 2028, out of which 144.3 million (around 63 %) corresponds to the primary market like agriculture and the provision of natural resources. In the meantime, the alteration of these resources in the South American country is predictable to arrive at 84.8 million U.S. dollars by 2028. 

The market value of medical cannabis in Colombia is predicted to reach more than 444 million U.S. dollars by 2028. In the meantime, the conversion of secondary market resources in the South American country is projected to reach 164.4 million U.S. dollars near 2028.  

In Mexico, the market value of medical cannabis is estimated to reach more than 1.3 billion U.S. dollars by 2028, among which almost 837.4 million approximately 63 % corresponds to the agricultural (primary market) and the supply of natural resources. In the meantime, the alteration of these secondary market resources in the North American country is predicted to reach nearly 492 million U.S. dollars by 2028. 

Recreational Purposes Across the Region

Previously it was not lawful to employ cannabis for leisure purposes in Latin America. There has been an increase in cannabis's recreational usage across the region. 

The market demand for recreational cannabis in Brazil is anticipated to get to 113 million U.S. dollars by 2028, around 63 % of which corresponds to agriculture, while the alteration of these secondary market resources in the country is predicted to get to 41.8 million U.S. dollars near 2028.

The market demand for recreational cannabis in Colombia is expected to reach almost 219 million U.S. dollars in 2028; 138 million dollars of this amount are linked to the agricultural and the supply of natural resources, while the alteration of these resources in the country is estimated to get to 81 million U.S. dollars near 2028.

Fastest Growing Market

Latin America is the area with the second-largest anticipated proportion of growth of cannabis. Though the present market is small and measured, the area will also observe the second-largest utter increase in value terms by 2025. Improved availability of cannabis goods will be the motivator of enlargement in the area.

Market Dynamics

Latin America has a relative benefit in the cultivation of cannabis with its fertile soil and appropriate climate. Brazil is the biggest country in Latin America. It is the country that earns a large amount from the cannabis market. 

In 2019, the cannabis market value of Brazil was predictable above 2.3 billion U.S. dollars. By segment, Brazil’s cannabis market is frequently converted to medical cannabis, while less than 14 % of cannabis is used for leisure or industrial purposes.


  • With above 263 million predictable cannabis customers globally, the rate of the obtainable universal cannabis demand is a predictable USD 344.4 billion.
  • Almost 1.2 billion people are anticipated worldwide are suffering from medicinal cases which can heal faster by cannabis. Acceptance of cannabis use for medical treatment by even a minute amount of that populace would generate a huge market.
  • Canada is considered the world’s biggest cannabis consumer country. It has been the leader in the cannabis trade. In 2018 it exported almost 1,500 kilograms of dried cannabis which is three times larger than the amount exported in 2017.
  • Regions like Latin America and probably Africa are poised to struggle in the export market with low manufacturing costs and the finest climate. While the slowest area to accept validation, Asia also represents a wealth of chance as inexpensive labor and an extended history of producing hemp.

Expanding Market

In 2013, Uruguay became the first country to legalize cannabis. While legalization itself is still quite the latest development internationally, many countries efficiently allow it through decriminalization. 
Medical cannabis is lawful in approximately every country in Latin America, while leisure cannabis has been legalized to some level in:

  • Brazil 
  • Chile
  • Argentina
  • Mexico
  • Colombia

Brazil reported the maximum number of cannabis users in 2019 amid chosen Latin American countries. 

2021 Value Growth:

The lawful cannabis sale is increasing quickly and will carry on getting extensive legalization and communal approval to drive customers into the section from the present black market or as novel entrants. In North America, cannabis sales have been persistent to prove flexible throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and this might give an extra motivator of legalization and customer acceptance in the future.

2021 to 2026 CAGR:

Further, then the hazy hype, there is a multinational expansion description for lawful cannabis. More geography is moving from ban to controlling and taxing Cannabinoids products. Clients are moving towards cannabis use in ever more varied parts of their lives medically for mood management and relaxation etc.

% illicit of total value:

Cannabis is a material that has a history of thousands of years of human being usage. It is at present recognized and used in every place of the world. According to our data, 80% of the whole worldwide value is at present employed in the illicit market, which could turn down to around 65% by 2026.

Growth in adult-use consumers:

The basic motivator of value expansion in the worldwide lawful cannabis industry over the era to 2026 will be the extensive legalization of recreational cannabis in the United State. Still without federal legalization; broad state-level liberalization will increase important numbers of consumers. The expansion will also happen in other regions, with the CBD consumer populace rising by above 50% to 38 million.


Over time with the modifications in living standards of people worldwide, the use of cannabis is increasing rapidly. Like other regions of the world, cannabis utilization has been observed in Latin America. 

It has also been estimated that there will be a further elevation in cannabis consumption in these regions of the world, either for medical or recreational purposes.

Author - Noah Nicholls

Noah Nicholls is a full-time Writer, Traveler, and Marketing Expert who is Currently Working for CBD-Boxes. Noah Nicholls writing relates to a range of subjects such as CBD and health.


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