The current economic forecast for the marijuana industry in the U.S. is favourable, as 11 states have legalized recreational marijuana, more than 30 have programs for medical marijuana or are in the process of creating one and numerous others have legislation under discussion to legalize one or the other manners of use.

With that promising forecast, companies are taking the proactive step to expand into other growing markets — those of Europe and Latin America.

The projection for Europe’s cannabis market is to reach $66.8 billion in the next five years, while the market in Latin America has the projected potential to reach $12.7 billion by 2028. While the U.S. market dominates both of these with an expected value of $42.2 billion in 2017 and the potential to reach $466 billion by 2025, the chance to expand into the European market is ripe and a good way to back investments in the U.S.

Numerous European countries have recently legalized medical marijuana, as with U.S. states, and there is even a chance that moves will be made to legalize recreational use as well — according to Prohibition Partners.

The Latin American region has its own appeal — primarily for the fertile land and potential for cultivation in a favourable environment. Research and science efforts related to marijuana cultivation will become the focus in coming years, as efforts are made to grow plants with higher concentrates, unique flavours or other variations to appeal to customers.

Businesses around the world looking to capitalize on the new market will bring new approaches and ideas to the business, keeping the competition alive and efforts in motion to corner a significant portion of the market for themselves. The competition will only allow greater expansion and interest into other countries while bolstering the U.S. markets.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., mergers and acquisitions and other collaborations are also a focus. While innovations are new and the best connections can lead to faster production and release of products in areas new to legalized marijuana sales, many businesses are looking to capitalize on their own strengths. This means working to bring in a company that excels in areas where their current business plan is faltering. Medical centres are also looking at partnerships with promising new businesses, agreeing to carry only the product lines unique to that business.