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How Many Consumers Have Joined Malta’s Cannabis Clubs?

Malta became the first European nation to ever pass a national adult-use cannabis legalization measure in 2021. Malta was just the third country on the planet to pass such a measure, behind Uruguay (legalized in 2013) and Canada (legalized in 2018).

However, unlike Uruguay and Canada which permit retail cannabis sales, the only way to legally acquire adult-use cannabis in Malta is to grow it or join a noncommercial cannabis club. Uruguay permits residents to make legal purchases from pharmacies, in addition to home cultivation and cannabis clubs.

Canada’s national industry is the most robust on the plant, affording adult consumers numerous ways to legally acquire cannabis, from ordering it through the mail to purchasing it from brick-and-mortar storefront retailers.

The European Union does not allow its members, including Malta, to adopt national adult-use commerce models like what is in place in Uruguay and Canada. Rather, European Union agreements limit legalization by its members to models similar to what is now found in Germany.

Germany passed an adult-use legalization measure in February 2024, with the first provisions of the measure going into effect on April 1, 2024. Germany’s legalization model will be implemented in phases, with the first phase that took effect on April 1 involving permitting adult cannabis consumers to cultivate, possess, and consume cannabis.

Legalizing personal cannabis consumer freedoms, combined with the expectation of the launch of noncommercial cannabis clubs this July, serve as the main components of the ‘first pillar’ of Germany’s legalization plan. Another major component is the removal of cannabis from Germany’s Narcotics List.

The second pillar, or phase, of Germany’s legalization effort will involve the launch of regional adult-use cannabis commerce pilot projects. The pilots will permit consumers, producers, and retailers to participate in local cannabis commerce experiments for research purposes. Such adult-use pilot programs are already in operation in the Netherlands and Switzerland, and are in-line with EU agreements.

Malta seemingly has no current plans to launch regional adult-use cannabis commerce pilot programs, and instead will continue to only permit cannabis clubs. Malta issued its first noncommercial cannabis club license in October 2023 and issued multiple other club licenses by the end of the calendar year.

Per initial reporting by Times of Malta, “a total of 750 people have joined cannabis associations” as of March 2024. Currently, there are three legal cannabis associations, or clubs, operating in Malta.

Statista has determined the following in regards to Malta’s emerging cannabis industry:

  • Malta is projected to witness a significant boost in revenue within the Cannabis market, with an estimated figure of US$21.42m by the year 2024
  • Furthermore, it is expected that the market will continue to expand at an annual growth rate of 4.65% from 2024 to 2029, resulting in a substantial market volume of US$26.88m by the end of 2029
  • In terms of per capita revenue, in Malta is expected to generate US$0.19k per person in the year 2024

According to survey data from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 22% of Malta’s citizens have consumed cannabis at least once in their lifetime, and roughly 7% of Maltese citizens report having consumed cannabis at least once in the last year. Malta has a population of roughly 518,000 people, and seven percent of that figure would equate to over 36,000 people.