Europe could be the largest dealer of cannabis in the world by 2028, according to a new study.
The European Cannabis Report predicts the continent will have the biggest legal market of the drug and it could be worth a staggering £115 billion.
An increase in demand for recreational and medicinal use of the drug will drive economic and employment growth, the study predicts.
The recreational cannabis market is currently worth £26 billion, which could double within the next 10 years, but only if the drug is legalised across the European Union within the next five years.
‘Public, political and professional opinions are swinging largely in favour of the legalisation and regulation of cannabis,’ said Stephen Murphy, managing director of Prohibition Partners who carried out the study.
'Europe, which is known for its considered and conservative approach to change, is suddenly becoming a hotbed of activity for the global cannabis industry.
‘In just six months, the European cannabis industry has grown more than it has done in the past six years.’
He added: ‘Currently, patient numbers are below 100,000 across the region but this number is set to grow to over 30 million in the next ten years.
‘As medical cannabis has the ability to treat well over 52 conditions, this is quickly becoming the most important healthcare development of the past 20 years.
‘Europe is gearing up to experience a ‘Green Rush’ of economic growth, with cannabis set to become the dot-com boom of the early 21st Century.’