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It’s so funny to see mainstream news channels discussing the Canadian and U.S. cannabis industry boom as if it started yesterday. Crush the Street has been covering it for years and has sent out multi-bagger stock alerts; by the time the corporate press jumps on the bandwagon, you know it’s a crowded trade.

There are still opportunities in North American pot stocks, and Crush the Street will continue to find diamonds in the rough in this region, but investors need to acknowledge that it’s not 2013 anymore and the most talked-about Canadian and American weed stocks are already richly valued.

Personally, I’m looking to Europe as the next frontier to conquer – albeit one with challenges as the continent continues to operate under a varying patchwork of laws and regulations. Still, it’s a huge population with relaxed attitudes towards cannabis use, and Europe’s medical systems tend to be more permissive than what we have in the United States.

This patchwork of policies could actually undergo consolidation in the near future, though, as the European Union Parliament recently passed a resolution seeking to address the lack of an EU-wide framework, emphasizing “the need for the standardization and unification of products containing cannabis-based medicines.”

But until that gets worked out, investors are advised to view each EU nation as a separate entity. While data on the full market is difficult to come by, we can at least confirm that Germany currently dominates the medical cannabis flower market:

Courtesy: Marijuana Business Daily

Marijuana Business Daily estimates that the total sales of medical cannabis flower within the EU last year amounted to roughly 74.4 million euros (USD$83.8 million), with Germany comprising 56.9 million euros of that total.

In fact, Germany had more sales of medical cannabis in 2018 than all the other European countries combined, representing by far the most important cannabis market outside of North America – not too shabby considering the German parliament legalized medical cannabis just a couple of years ago.

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Other nations seem to be following suit: Poland has implemented a domestic cannabis law allowing the import of medical cannabis products, while the small but strategically positioned EU nation of Malta now allows the licensed growing and export of cannabis to other European countries.

Courtesy: ismokemag.co.uk

Regarding cannabidiols, European Union member states disagree on how to treat CBD products. Austria, for example, has put all products containing CBD under prescription; however, this is viewed in Europe as a very restrictive approach and not in line with the way most other EU member states are treating CBD products.

So the question remains: how to play this massive potential consumer base? Given the available data, Germany stands out as the best point of departure for cannabis companies seeking to capitalize on the coming EU cannabis boom.

Germany, after all, is the economic powerhouse of Europe, with an aging population of more than 82 million – of which 90% are covered by statutory health insurance that is supposed to cover the cost of medical cannabis.

Besides, no domestic cultivation currently takes place in Germany, and the first German harvest is not expected until the end of 2020 – meaning the market is fully dependent on imports. Even when domestic production starts functioning, it isn’t expected to be sufficient to meet actual demand, so imports will still be needed to cover the gap.

I’ve been recommending a company called ICC International Cannabis Corp. (CSE:WRLD.U, OTC:WLDCF) for investors seeking exposure to the German cannabis market. They also have legal cannabis operations in U.K., Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, and Portugal, but their German facilities are absolutely stunning.

ICC’s Ebersbach cultivation facility in Dresden, Germany an absolute mammoth: 840,000 square feet of grow facilities along with a 50,000-square-foot certified packaging/distribution center. The company has the necessary licenses in Germany as well as multiple other EU nations – a hurdle that most other cannabis companies won’t or can’t overcome.

Courtesy: ICC International Cannabis Corp.

It’s unbelievable: this one facility is bigger than the Sydney Opera House and many times bigger than the next closest German cannabis cultivation facility. Talk about planning ahead – ICC’s basically in the process of cornering the market as Germany’s legalized cannabis market comes to full bloom.

However you choose to gain exposure to the international cannabis market, I encourage you to think globally when it comes to pot stocks: the profits are near, even when the customers are far away.

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