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Cannabis in Latin America – statistics & facts

The cannabis market, offering an array of diverse products, is split between recreational and medicinal use. While medicinal use is more widely permitted, the share of recreational (or "adult") use of cannabis spending is expected to grow, alongside increasing tolerance and formal legalization worldwide. In Latin America and the Caribbean, for instance, the market value of legal recreational cannabis is expected to skyrocket in the early 2020s, reaching approximately 300 million U.S. dollars by 2024

Expansion and decriminalization in Latin America

In 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize cannabis. While legalization itself is still a fairly recent development worldwide, many countries are effectively allowing it through by decriminalization. Within Latin America, medical cannabis is legal in almost every country, while recreational cannabis has been decriminalized to some degree in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, among others, in most cases dependent on the amount in possession or cultivation. As of 2019, Brazil reported the highest number of cannabis consumers among selected Latin American countries. Moreover, spending on recreational cannabis in the South American giant is forecast to surpass the 160 million U.S. dollars mark in 2027.

Latin America’s cannabis market

With its fertile soil and suitable climate, Latin America has a comparative advantage in the cultivation of cannabis. Brazil, the largest country in the region, is also the country that profits the most from this market. In 2019, its cannabis market value was estimated at more than 2.3 billion U.S. dollars, from which nearly two thirds have come from the agricultural (primary market) sector. By segment, Brazil’s market is mostly concentrated in medical marijuana, while recreational or industrial cannabis only accounts for less than 14 percent.

Who consumes Latin American cannabis?

Even though Latin America is a main player in the production of cannabis, the region does not seem to consume much of its supply. Even before the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada in late 2018, North America was ranked globally as the region with the highest share of cannabis users. The estimated value of cannabis demand in the sub-continent surpassed the 80 billion U.S. dollar mark in 2019, second highest value after Asia.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 30 most important statistics relating to "Cannabis in Latin America".

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