Global Cannabis: Seven Nations Where Change is on the Horizon

international marijuana laws

Business prospects are permitted at the discretion of legislators and regulators around the world.

So anyone interested in capitalizing on the overseas cannabis industry must pay close attention to those legal and regulatory developments – and perhaps even participate in crafting the rules.

Here are seven countries to keep an eye on as they roll out new regulations or update old ones. And check often for new updates from these and other countries.

Don’t forget to read this profile of seven companies who are active in the global market.


The government unveiled final regulations in June to permit the sale of adult-use marijuana edibles, extracts and topicals later this year. Experts predict that will eventually lead to a multibillion-dollar, federally regulated industry. Will the new market explode out of the gate, or will it get off to a snail-paced start like Canada’s first round of legalized products in 2018?



Businesses here are eagerly waiting for the Cannabis Licensing Authority to publish its regulations for the export of medical cannabis. Some companies are banking on exports being a big part of the sector.



A draft decree is in the works that could substantially modify certain aspects of the current medical cannabis framework. The Ministry of Health published the draft for public consultation at the end of May, and the comment period had ended. The timeline for the publication of the final version is uncertain.



The country is looking to give physicians the ability to prescribe cannabis-based medicines, which would significantly boost access and, if approved, create one of Europe’s newest regulated markets. A proposed legal amendment would put the cultivation, processing, manufacture and sale of medical marijuana under the regulatory wing of Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, or Swissmedic. A public consultation period on the draft amendment will be open until Oct. 17.



As Marijuana Business Daily reported, the country is working on new regulations for the broad medical cannabis sector to be implemented this year. If approved in the draft’s current form, some of the amendments would effectively erect barriers for prospective industry entrants.


New Zealand

The government solicited feedback on its proposed—and very detailed—medical marijuana regulations until Aug. 9. The country aims to finalize the regulations by Dec. 18 and open business opportunities in the first quarter of 2020.



Regulators adopted new rules governing the production, distribution and export of medical cannabis, laying the groundwork for businesses looking to expand in the new industry. The rules will go a long way in determining if the Thai market explodes or fizzles.