Experts are all over the map on this discussion – which ranges from the conventional “no” because of smoking regs to watching market movement. No matter how “anti-smoking” some of the power brokers around this are, however, the grassroots has spoken, and vaping is here to stay.
There has been a debate brewing on the ground aus Deutschland of late and amongst those who wish to enter this market. Namely, is there a “vape” business to be had, and where might it be? This is especially true given the dramatic court decision in the French case last fall. It is likely also to be true across Europe, starting in both Spain (where another court case has started to make precident at least on the CBD side) and of course, Germany.
For all the lack of enthusiasm in official quarters for this discussion, if one looks at market movement, both in the medical and other spaces (see CBD) this is clearly moving beyond the decision makers in Madrid and Berlin, and on both the medical and CBD front. Beyond that, Switzerland and Luxembourg are looming, and even if on a small, luxury, upscale market front, this is a valuable market segment, ready for a vape injection of many different kinds of cannabinoids and for both markets.
Here is why.
- CBD vapes are an increasing part of the market in countries where people still smoke (although not as much as they used to), and in an environment where public health systems do work if you can find your way into them. There are both Spanish and German companies now moving into this market, but it is wide open for foreign companies with the right connections.
- The medical vape business is about to get interesting, just because of market development. Specifically, Storz and Bickel is no longer the only game in town aus Deutschland. Kanabo, flush with cash from its successful IPO in London, is setting its sights on the European market, starting with Germany. This is obvious, specifically as a result of its merger with Materia, a company that is the brainchild of a Canadian consultant turned entrepreneur with cultivation on Malta and production in Germany.
Why is Vaping So Important, generally?
Vaping is a much-misunderstood part of the cannabis market, and certainly muddied from what has gone on so far in markets like the US, and to a lesser extent Canada.
On the medical side, vaping is a critical way for people to begin to take medicines of all kinds. Cannabis is just on the leading edge of that. As soon as departments of health understand how critical cannabis can be, the noted distaste for vaping will begin to disappear, particularly with a certified vape market on both the medical and consumer side. The kinds of vape disasters seen in the US so far (on both the cannabis and other front) have not been seen so far in Europe in part because of a stricter regulatory standard. While this is frustrating for new market entrants, particularly in this vertical, the reality is that the vape market here will be of higher quality, and, particularly as full reform comes online, one of the most available forms of cannabis.
Beyond this? The certification of the entire vape market, starting with not only the hardware but the extracts themselves, will certainly make a difference in sales on the ground in Europe. How to quantify that in a highly fragmented market is another question where the only official and reliable numbers right now on anything are coming from governments (who themselves are shifting to look at CBD in an official capacity but are far from copacetic about the entire discussion.)
In the other big cannabis market in Europe, namely Holland, it is a different story just because of the entrenched coffee shop trade. Beyond this, however, the entire narrative is beginning to change, and for several reasons. Not only is smoking anything on the decline in every European country, but post Covid, the entire conversation about cardiovascular health is going to get a reboot. Vaping is going to play an outsized role in that.
Like it or not, the faster cannabinoids hit the bloodstream, the happier people are. That carries its own market value in a world full of pain.
Bottom line? Look for a solid growth in the EU vape biz – on both the medical and “adult use” side. Not to mention creative campaigns that cross both worlds in a way only social media and creativity can.