Published on: 01/02/2023
The ranking has been updated and in the top 5 there are countries you would never imagine
According to the recent World Drug Report 2022 from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), it is confirmed that cannabis is the most widely consumed substance in the world.
Its legalization in different parts of the world seems to have accelerated its daily use, as well as increasing its diffusion in the population, especially among young adults.
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In this article we intend, firstly, to see which countries in the world have the highest number of users of this substance and, secondly, to verify if there really is a relationship between these countries and national policies and laws on cannabis.
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The nations with the highest rates of cannabis use according to the UN report. Methodological note
The countries where cannabis is used the most are clearly indicated in the United Nations World Drug Report.
However, before seeing which ones they are, a clarification of a methodological nature regarding the investigation carried out by the UN. The reference data that is taken into consideration, to make a comparison between the different countries, is the rate of penetration over the population.
However, since cannabis is illegal (not talking about CBD weed) in the vast majority of countries in the world, it is not easy to obtain reliable data on consumption from these countries. In addition, the study has limitations derived from the method of carrying it out; thus, for example, not all countries have the same reference sample (population from 15 to 64 years) nor do they update the data annually.
However, this study helps us understand the national consumption trends of large lines and compare them with each other. Once this premise is made, let’s not delay any longer and discover the Top 5.
The 5 countries where cannabis is consumed the most in the world
On the podium are Iceland (18.3%), the United States (16.2%) and Nigeria (14.3%).
As for Iceland, which ranks first, it can be noted that in this country possession and sale is illegal and can lead to criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.
Iceland’s cannabis and narcotics legislation, which dates back to 1969, remains highly repressive.
Therefore, at the top of the list of countries where marijuana is most consumed we therefore find a nation that adopts a repressive policy.
The same situation for Nigeria, which ranks third, whose drug laws are harsh and punitive.
However, in second place in the ranking is the United States, where the use of cannabis is illegal at the federal level, but more and more states adopt more lenient policies with marijuana.
As of this writing, there are 19 US states that allow the sale of marijuana for medical and recreational use.
In fourth and fifth position we have two other nations that have taken the same orientation and have declared themselves in favor of the decriminalization of cannabis
In Canada (12.7%), in fact, marijuana has been legal since 2018. A recent report published by the Canadian government shows that legalization has not caused an increase in the use of this substance.
Finally, in fifth place we find Chile, where cannabis was decriminalized in 2005.
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The 5 countries where cannabis is consumed the most in Europe
Restricting the field of analysis to Europe, we find France (11.1%), Italy (9.2%) and Spain (9.2%) at the head of the ranking.
In these countries, the possession, cultivation and sale of cannabis is illegal, but the severity of the penalties varies from state to state.
The most permissive of the three is undoubtedly Spain, where its use is decriminalized (its use is only allowed within the home and in Cannabis Social Clubs and it is possible to buy CBD flowers for collection).
The Czech Republic (8.9%) and the Netherlands (8%) follow in the ranking, respectively in fourth and fifth place.
Regarding the legal status of cannabis in the Czech Republic, this nation has legalized and regulated its use for medical purposes, but its use for recreational use is not allowed. However, since 2022, the THC limit in cannabis derivatives has been raised to 1%.
Finally, the Netherlands ranks (surprisingly) in the fifth and last place in our ranking, which was the first to tolerate cannabis use in Europe. However, it should be noted that marijuana is not legal, but its consumption in authorized cafeterias is tolerated up to a maximum of five 5 grams per person per day.
In short, we have seen which countries have the highest cannabis use. Not necessarily in these countries there is also a lenient policy with cannabis, quite the opposite is true.
Globally, the numbers show that three out of five countries have decriminalized its use (the United States and Canada have gone further by legalizing it).
European nations, on the other hand, seem to be pursuing tougher policies on this issue. None of the five states examined have legalized cannabis, while only two (Spain and the Netherlands) have undertaken a more pragmatic policy, geared towards decriminalizing it.
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