The Global Legal Marijuana Market: Increased acceptance means opportunities for legitimate business

To size the global market for legal marijuana as well as to provide the key information needed to assess opportunities for legitimate business in this space. This landmark research will be the first accurate, in-depth global marijuana study, leveraging Euromonitor’s proprietary methodology for sizing pioneer industries.


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  • Size the 2015 legal marijuana market and its subcategories sold via retail and medical channels.
  • Analyze the business environment for marijuana products through a regulatory analysis, competitive profiles (of brands, manufacturers and retailers), & qualitative price analysis.
  • Evaluate the supply chain and key channels for legal marijuana distribution.
  • Qualitatively assess the size of the demand for illegal marijuana, in order to assess overall consumption and potential for future legalization.
  • Ascertain how related key trends, drivers and opportunities will evolve in the future.


There is an abundance of information available on the impact and growth of legal marijuana. However, the available information is geared largely towards public safety and fiscal impact for government, and/or is limited, inconsistent, spotty and outdated. This is a highly complex and fast-changing market, parts of which are legal, others not. No one good source exists on the global market for marijuana. Until now.

Our study will size the legal medical and retail marijuana markets across various countries and subcategories. Our global study’s unique scope will analyze the opportunities for legitimate businesses, to avail themselves of the unstoppable movement towards legal marijuana acceptance. Beyond that, it will estimate the percentage of the total marijuana market that is legal versus illegal, which in most cases can help us evaluate demand opportunity if, in the future, marijuana were to be fully legalized.

Given the complexities of the study, we expect you -- as potential co-funders -- to have questions, so please feel free to reach out to us and let’s schedule a conversation!


Phase 1. Identifying the most relevant countries for research

The first phase of the project will consist of leveraging secondary research to identify the most relevant countries for in-depth study in Phase 2. This alone is a challenging task, as there is no one resource that lists the legal status of marijuana across the globe and therefore this phase is needed to determine in which markets research should be conducted for Phase 2.

To be included in Phase 2, a country must meet two criteria:

1) Marijuana will be legal in some form, either medical and/or recreational;
2) The population will be greater than 3 million people (to ensure maximum statistical significance for a global market sizing project).

This phase of the research will focus on building the list of countries that meet these requirements and conducting a preliminary assessment on the marijuana market across the globe.

Based on preliminary research, examples of countries that meet these qualifications include the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, UK, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Italy, Australia, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Romania, Uruguay, Colombia, Chile, Peru, and more.

Phase 2. In-depth local research in each of the selected markets

Phase 2 will use the following methodology:

1. Desk Research. In-country analysts will collect insights on medical and recreational marijuana markets from secondary sources such as published reports, trade associations, company websites, industry press and other official and semi-official sources. Desk research will allow us to form hypotheses on the market, which are rarely tracked by syndicated market research reports at the global level.
2. Store visits. Our in-country analysts will visit a sample of marijuana retailers and service channels in order to catalogue key data inputs like: brands, pricing, manufacturers, availability, positioning and value propositions.
3. Trade Interviews. Euromonitor will conduct interviews with key companies and brand owners, distributors, retailers, service providers, service industry suppliers, and other players. To achieve consensus on the size of the illicit market, we will also contact regulators, law enforcement authorities, NGOs and customs officials for multiple perspectives. Interviews will help us contextualize and validate data, as well glean insights from leading industry experts.
4. Report building. Data and insights from all sources will be triangulated to assess trends and the future of the legal marijuana market.

Project Design

Design Rationale:

Euromonitor’s trade-interview based research program makes multichannel, multifaceted research simple and comparable. We have a network of over 1000 analysts on the ground in the countries we are studying. Only Euromonitor can provide an accurate and cross-country comparable view of this diverse industry.


Euromonitor is a global leader in strategic market research. Our deep familiarity with challenging research, network of experts and trade interview-based methodology will enable us to access difficult-to-obtain information on the less studied categories of legal marijuana products. Our global reach will give companies the ability to compare market segments across different countries in an “apples-to-apples” fashion.

Project Research Target

Geography: Global

Number of Markets: 20

Specific Markets:

Global; including, but not limited to, USA, Uruguay, Netherlands, Colombia, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Spain, Finland, Chile, Peru, Italy, Czech Republic, Romania (See Phase 1 for details on country selection)


Reporting: Summary Report

Presentation: Web-based

Additional Deliverables:

To see examples of this type of deliverable content, please direct message us or email:

Phase 1:

A scorecard describing the legality of marijuana (legal for medicinal purposes, recreational purposes, both, or illegal) and the population of the country. This information will be used to select markets for Phase 2, but will also prove useful to buyers as this information is not easy to collect through traditional desk research sources.

This will be the minimal amount of information delivered in Phase 1. We believe that we will likely uncover additional information (for example, markets where marijuana is not legal, but has been decriminalized, markets where synthetic THC patented products are prevalent, etc.) and this information will be shared with co-funders in an organized and thoughtful way. However, before research commences, we are unable to guarantee what insights we will glean from this phase.

Phase 2:

There will be multiple deliverables for Phase 2 of the project.

First, buyers will receive an Executive Summary presentation, highlighting the most relevant insights gleaned from the project. This summary will also tell the story behind the numbers collected during the research (i.e., the “so what” behind the “what”).

In addition to the Executive Summary, buyers will also receive a detailed presentation containing the following information:
1) Market sizes. For each country researched in Phase 2, we will provide market sizes (in value terms) for the following categories and sub-categories:
a. Medical marijuana (legal only)
i. Flower
ii. Edibles
1. Food
2. Beverage
iii. Concentrates
iv. Other
b. Recreational marijuana (legal only)
i. Flower
ii. Edibles
1. Food
2. Beverage
iii. Concentrates
iv. Other
c. Total marijuana market (including qualitative estimation of total illegal market size to help clients determine the overall market potential if full legalization were to occur)
2) For the total legal market size, qualitative information will also be provided on market preferences for consumption methods, such as smoking, vaporizing, edibles, drinks, ingestible oil capsules, tinctures, topicals, dabbing, etc.
3) Growth rates. In some countries, growth rates in this industry are what we call “moving targets.” For the sake of accuracy, growth rates will be provided where possible for both historic and forecasted time-periods (2011-2015 and 2016-2020). In other cases, where marijuana was very recently legalized in some form, very little historic data exists and projections for the future will be difficult apart from qualitative assumptions by local industry insiders. In these cases we will, at a minimum, provide a future outlook projection based on opinions of industry experts.
4) Regulatory environment. The study will include a regulatory analysis at the national level, as well provide insights and projections on the future direction of legal marijuana legislation. Regional and local insights will be shared where/when relevant.
5) Supply chain analysis. Euromonitor will assess the key channels and distribution methods for the legal medical and/or recreational marijuana market in each country. A diagram will be provided for each of the most common logistical schemes, which will be accompanied by an analysis at the national level.
6) Competitive environment. Brand, distributor, manufacturer and retailer profiles will be provided in each market as relevant. Euromonitor will qualitatively evaluate each company’s brand strategies, pricing, portfolios, channel presence and reasons for success in the industry. A qualitative assessment comparing the legal market’s pricing, accessibility, and quality to that of the illegal market will also be a key component of the competitive analysis.
7) Industry trends and future of the market. We will assess current opportunities and the potential pitfalls of each market.

In addition to a presentation, an Excel file, containing all data listed above, will be provided to buyers.

Funding Timeline (once project is approved): 60 days

Timing: 16 weeks from funding to delivery of final report


Company: Euromonitor International

Previous Projects: 2


Supplier's Qualifications:

Established in 1972, Euromonitor is an independent and privately owned global research organization with offices in twelve countries. Our mission is to build on our position as the leading provider of quality international market intelligence on consumer products, services and lifestyles by remaining on the cutting edge of information solutions. Euromonitor researches a wide range of consumer, industrial, service and B2B markets including packaged food, soft drinks, pet food, retail, consumer health and health & wellness. Our methodology is rooted in our local market research network of over 1,000 in-country analysts. Our analysts are experts at finding, collating and analyzing relevant sources, both from published data and difficult-to-obtain trade interviews with genuine industry insiders who understand the market structure and outlook.


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