Make no mistake about it the growth of the worldwide legal cannabis industry is exploding exponentially. One key driver behind this explosion is the many nations that have been decriminalizing cannabis and legalizing the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational uses. With more new countries dotting the legal cannabis landscape seemingly every day, ICC International Cannabis Corp. or “ICC” (OTC Markets: WLDCF) (CSE: WRLD.U) (FWB: 8K51) is capitalizing on the rapid legalization of cannabis worldwide and the growth of the industry by growing equally as fast with an extensive global footprint that extends to many of those same new-to-the-market countries.
While many companies in the United States and Canada have chosen to compete in the cannabis industry by planting their flag in their respective countries, ICC is a Vancouver, Canada-based company that specializes in the acquisition and operation of international cannabis assets, and is using its holdings to drive a global growth strategy that will allow it to compete both at home and internationally.
Worldwide legal cannabis spending hit $12.2 billion in 2018, and according to Arcview Market Research and its research partner BDS Analytics, the industry is projected to grow another 38% to $16.9 billion in 2019. This is a significant jump from $9.5 billion in 2017—just two short years ago. ICC is among the companies that clearly realize the industry’s rising numbers won’t stop there.
In their published research report, The State of Legal Marijuana Markets, Arcview and BDS expect spending on legal cannabis to balloon to an incredible $57 billion worldwide by 2027. Meanwhile, Cowen, Inc., a financial services and research firm covering the cannabis industry, is much more bullish on sales in this space and has revised its forecast for gross cannabis sales in the U.S. alone from $50 billion by 2026 to around $75 billion in gross sales by 2030. And then there is Grand View Research, Inc., who published a report that forecasts the global legal marijuana market to reach $146.4 billion by years end 2025.
If these and other published forecasts by firms and analysts who cover the cannabis industry are even remotely close, ICC is wise to establish a worldwide footprint that allows it to draw from the entirety of the global cannabis industry. The company has already amassed an impressive portfolio of holdings that spans 18 countries and 4 continents.
Through its portfolio of subsidiaries, ICC has proven that it has operating assets and is developing a world-class platform for cultivation, extraction, formulation and distribution across the globe in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Malta, Colombia, Argentina, Australia, South Africa and Lesotho.
According to their report, The Roadmap to a $57 Billion Worldwide Market, Arcview and BDS state that the South American medical cannabis market may grow from $125 million in 2018 to $776 million in 2027. Meanwhile, they forecast Australia’s legal cannabis market to grow from $52 million in 2018 to $1.2 billion in 2027, the 5th largest in the world—ICC has invested in the growth of the global cannabis market on both continents with holdings in Australia and in South America (Colombia and Argentina).
However, nowhere is ICC’s strength in its global growth strategy more evident than in Europe. While Germany and Italy are expected to lead the way in medical cannabis sales in Europe, it makes a lot of sense for ICC and others to set their sights on the European Union (EU) and its 40 sovereign nations as a whole. After all, while the U.S. and Canada’s combined population of about 360 million people have North America at the epicenter of legal cannabis sales globally, Europe’s population is more than double that at over 740 million potential customers.
If Cowen, Inc.’s numbers are accurate, then extrapolating its forecasted $75 billion figure in gross U.S. cannabis sales by 2030 to Europe’s much larger population makes perfect sense as to why cannabis companies in both the U.S. and Canada would turn their focus to Europe.
Europe is a burgeoning cannabis market; however, with a budget of $1.79 trillion in healthcare spending, Arcview and BDS report that European government-subsidized healthcare systems will catapult medical cannabis to dominate Europe’s cannabis market and become the largest medical marijuana market in the world.
It will be companies that are first-to-market with significant “start-to-finish” solutions for cultivating, extracting, formulating and distributing cannabis products like the platform that ICC is developing that will secure significant market share in Europe. Given the industry’s potential and the explosive growth opportunities there, realistically, companies who are “first movers” in Europe could become some of the largest cannabis companies in the world.
While things are changing quickly in Europe, the EU’s move to a legal cannabis market has been slow overall, and currently the entire market is based upon medical cannabis that must be purchased in pharmacies after a patient obtains a doctor’s prescription. Germany took the lead in the EU in 2017 by opening up cannabis for medical use in pharmacies, which almost immediately increased patients seeking medical cannabis from just a few hundred patients to tens of thousands.
For every hurdle that the legal cannabis market in the EU presents, ICC has meticulously pieced together asset after asset to brilliantly navigate its way through the proverbial EU puzzle and each of its potential roadblocks.
Since medical cannabis is considered a pharmaceutical product in Europe, all products must be fully Good Manufacturing Practice or “GMP” and ISO certified—no problem—ICC announced that it has that covered with the Ebersbach facility in Germany (https://intlcannabiscorp.com/news/icc-applauds-receipt-of-eu-gmp-certification-for-german-ebersbach-facility).
Keeping in mind that the EU’s entire legal cannabis market is for medical use and can only be purchased legally through pharmacies, the most brilliant move by ICC to date may just be the company’s agreement with Evergreen Pacific Insurance Corporation and Cannops Consulting, who will collaborate to introduce transformative extended healthcare coverage, including cannabinoid therapeutic coverage, to the European marketplace and the EU’s 1.6 million healthcare practitioners (https://intlcannabiscorp.com/news/icc-launches-first-european-guaranteed-issue-medical-cannabis-coverage-plan).
Collectively the three entities will pursue a joint venture partnership for the purpose of launching Evergreen Pacific’s revolutionary “BuyWell” Ecosystem across Europe, including:
– First of its kind transformative coverage for cannabinoid therapeutic treatment via the BuyWell Care platform;
– Online medical cannabis coverage utilizing a proprietary pricing methodology;
– Streamlined access to top-tier alternative healthcare services;
– CBD Health and Wellness e-commerce marketplace; and
– Educational platform for medical practitioners.
And, of course, the next obvious hurdle would be demand. Demand for product would skyrocket if ICC can make such a significant entrance into the EU’s medical cannabis marketplace with the aforementioned agreement. Seemingly leaving no stone unturned, ICC has that covered as well with a recent announcement to purchase 155 metric tonnes, which is around 342,000 U.S. pounds, of processed industrial hemp from Eviana Health Corporation (https://intlcannabiscorp.com/news/icc-to-acquire-over-155-metric-tonnes-of-processed-hemp).
Additionally, ICC has simultaneously entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of Future Hemp Corp., which holds an exclusive supply agreement for the delivery of 400 metric tonnes (882,000 pounds) of certified organic hemp from a licensed Croatian producer.
The company says that this acquisition closes the loop for ICC in the EU, as it now offers:
– Local presence in 13 European countries via licensing or off-take agreements,
– Supply on hand of product ready for sale starting in Q2 2019,
– An experienced operational team via the 49.9% acquisition of Wayland’s assets and license portfolio, including the ability to formulate and produce various product lines (https://intlcannabiscorp.com/news/international-cannabis-to-acquire-international-asset-and-licence-portfolio-from-wayland-group),
– Soon to be announced world class brands,
– 39,000 retail outlets for distribution, and
– Europe’s first dedicated insurance program for medical cannabis patients.
Essentially ICC has created a circle or a start-to-finish solution for the EU—from local production, to remarkable brands to patient support that the company believes is unparalleled in the European market today.
Ironically, as ICC continues to acquire assets to further its global growth strategy and offer real solutions for the industry, it could very well be setting itself up as an attractive acquisition target for a company like Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC) for instance. But, one thing is for sure, ICC offers an excellent ground-floor investment opportunity to those looking to enter the cannabis market in general but also to those looking for opportunities in the Canadian cannabis space—a company that is growing rapidly in a worldwide market that is also growing exponentially year over year.
Learn more about International Cannabis Corp. and its subsidiaries at: www.intlcannabiscorp.com
Image by Erin Stone from Pixabay