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CANNABIS INDUSTRY 

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2024: The 25 Nations That Consume The Most Cannabis

2024: The 25 Nations That Consume The Most Cannabis

The US of A leads the way in global prevalence of cannabis use with some 22,8% of adults consuming on an annual basis. South Africa is nowhere near the top with only an estimated 3 – 5% of the adult population consuming. Take a look at the charts, courtesy Yahoo Finance, for some unexpected results.

Yahoo Finance

30 April 2024 at 08:00:00

Top 25 Weed Consuming Countries in the World: data courtesy Yahoo Finance.


1. United States of America

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 22.8%

The U.S. legal cannabis industry took some hits in 2022, but according to top cannabis researcher Brightfield Group, annual revenue of the industry is estimated to reach $31.8 billion by the end of 2023, growing to $50.7 billion by 2028. The increasing legalization of cannabis and rising acceptance of its use for medical purposes are the key factors driving the growth of the market.

Although the United States retains its existing federal prohibition on cannabis, the recreational use of weed has been legalized in 24 states, and also in the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Ohio became the 24th state to allow adult cannabis use for non-medical purposes when a majority of voters approved a corresponding ballot measure on November 7th 2023.

The U.S. is the Biggest Consumer of Cannabis in the World.


2. Canada

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 20.7%

The Canadian cannabis market has continued to grow at a double-digit rate since legalization – rising from a market size of $1.2 billion in 2019 to $4.7 billion in 2022 – with more than 3,000 retail locations in the country. As the first G20 country to legalize cannabis for adult use and create a national marketplace, Canada stands to set a regulatory blueprint for the rest of the world.

Ontario residents purchased more than $1.3 billion worth of legal cannabis products in 2022, an increase of 38% from 2021. There are currently 1,700 legal cannabis stores that currently operate in the province, with 400 situated only in Toronto.


3. Jamaica

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 18%

Ganja is deeply rooted in Jamaica’s history and culture, but it is not legal. The country legalized medical cannabis and decriminalized possession of under 2 ounces in 2015, after more than a century of prohibition that saw the plant weaponized to silence and disenfranchise dissenters. Illegal cannabis cultivation is rampant in Jamaica, with an estimated 15,000 ha of cannabis cultivated annually illegally, mostly for export.


4. New Zealand

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 15.3%

Official statistics from Auckland University’s Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit show half of New Zealanders aged 15-65 have tried cannabis at least once, and almost one-in-six define themselves as regular users. That’s about 1.5 million ordinary Kiwis who have ignored the law and tried cannabis, and around 400,000 who continue to use it.

Roughly 74 metric tons of cannabis is consumed annually in New Zealand’s illicit market, with a retail value of up to $1 billion.


5. Uruguay

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 14.6%

Cannabis is legal in Uruguay and is one of the most widely used drugs in the nation. President José Mujica signed legislation to legalize recreational cannabis in December 2013, making Uruguay the first country in the modern era to legalize cannabis.

Pharmacies in Uruguay have sold 10,693,210 grams of marijuana between July 19, 2017, and July 19, 2023. There are three companies producing cannabis, and the sale of marijuana is authorized in 37 pharmacies distributed across ten departments throughout the country. Uruguay also started exporting weed in 2019.


6. Israel

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 14%

For years, smoking weed has been socially permissible in Israel despite being technically illegal. Patio tables in cities like Rishon Letsiyon are dotted with people openly rolling joints and lighting up without a second thought. Ironically, smoking cannabis is tolerated in more public places in Israel than in countries like Canada, where recreational marijuana is legal.


7. Chile

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 12.05%

Marijuana cultivation appears to be on the rise in Chile, according to the 2021 Narcotrafficking Observatory Report published by the Office of the Attorney General. Authorities seized 285,000 plants in 2020, nearly 50,000 more than in 2019, according to the report.


8. Australia

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 11.6%

Australia’s legal marijuana (cannabis and hemp) industry is in its infancy and was valued at $51.8 million in 2021, with an expected CAGR of 30.1% from 2022 to 2030.

Australia ranks among the top 10 most stoned countries in 2024, with 36% of people over 14 admitting to have consumed it at least once in their lifetime.


9. Czech Republic

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 11.1%

After a decade of progressive liberalization, the Czech Republic is preparing to introduce a fully legal and regulated cannabis market with the approval of the 2023-2025 Addiction Policy Action Plan in April last year.

Czechia is riding a European-wide wave that could possibly make it one of the first EU countries to introduce a legally regulated cannabis market.


10. France

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 11%

The average age of cannabis users in France is increasing, from just over 25 in 1992 to almost 33 in 2021. Habitual use by under-25s in France is down from 8.4% in 2017 to 6.3% in 2021. Cannabis use is more prevalent in the over-30s and over-40s.

The reduced cannabis use among young people is closely linked to the drop in cigarette smoking, which is ushering in a ‘behavioral change’ in younger generations. Perhaps cost is also a factor. The retail price of marijuana has increased by more than 25% in just ten years.


11. Nigeria

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 10.76%

Cannabis is cultivated and produced in Nigeria for both domestic consumption and export. The cannabis produced in Nigeria feeds its large domestic market (an estimated 10.6 million cannabis users in 2018) and there is evidence for trafficking to other countries in Africa, too. In the past decade, a number of countries outside of Africa also have mentioned Nigeria as the source country of cannabis.


12. Spain

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 10.5%

In Madrid, cannabis clubs aren’t strictly legal. Instead, they operate in a legal gray area in which ‘members’ join clubs and ‘share’ cannabis that they grow. ‘Donations’ are exchanged for tokens, which are then used to purchase products.

With an average price per gram of $6.8, Madrid ranks among the Cities with the Cheapest Weed in the World.


13. Morocco

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 10.47%

Morocco has long been ranked as one of the world’s largest cannabis producers. In June 2021, the country’s Parliament adopted a law to regularize the plant’s production for medical, cosmetic, and industrial purposes, while production and consumption for recreational purposes remained strictly prohibited.

Morocco creates a considerable amount of the world’s hashish and was the top producer of the resin from 2002 to 2010.


14. Monaco

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 10.47%

Monaco has very stern cannabis laws. Theoretically, individuals in possession of small quantities of marijuana are liable to a fine whereas bigger quantities are subject to jail terms and hefty fines. However, in practice, officers often fail to execute these laws especially in cases where the amount of cannabis is significantly small. It often gets waved aside as a misdemeanor. This has led to many people feeling relaxed to smoke weed in Monaco.


15. Netherlands

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 10.4%

Cannabis has been available for recreational use in Dutch coffee shops since 1976. Amsterdam has dominated cannabis tourism for 40 years, but now it’s stepping back from this multibillion-dollar industry. Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema announced last year that marijuana tourism is a blight on the city, fostering crime and public disorder, and proposed banning foreigners from its cannabis cafés.

The Dutch rank among the top weed smokers in the world.


16. Italy

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 10.21%

At present, cannabis is legal in Italy for medical and industrial uses – although it is strictly regulated – while it is decriminalized for recreational use. Over the course of 2021, approximately 17.7% of high school students in Italy consumed cannabis, with this figure reaching 20% when considering only male students.

Rome ranks among the Cities with the Highest Weed Consumption in the World.


17. Croatia

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 10.2%

The most used drug in Croatia is cannabis, followed by cocaine, and amphetamines. According to a survey by the Sewage Analysis CORE Group Europe (SCORE) in 2021, the daily cannabis consumption in Zagreb was 132.9 mg per 1,000 people.


18. Finland

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 8.2%

Nearly 30% of adults in Finland admitted to having tried illicit drugs at some point in their lives, most commonly cannabis. Helsinki ranks among Cities with the Most Expensive Weed in the World.


19. Argentina

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 8.13%

While possession of small amounts of weed is decriminalized in Argentina, the cultivation, distribution, and sale of cannabis remains illegal. The country has taken steps towards legalizing cannabis for medical purposes, and some provinces have also decriminalized the use of the drug for personal use.


20. Switzerland

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 7.7%

Decades after pioneering prescription heroin and safe injection sites, Switzerland is now experimenting with decriminalizing recreational cannabis. It’s being done in a very Swiss way – taking things slow and steady to see how the population responds.

The federal government has now authorized trials to take place over the coming decade to experiment with decriminalizing recreational cannabis, taking small steps like it did for four years before introducing prescribed heroin in the 1990s.


21. Liberia

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 7.52%

Per Liberian law, cannabis possession, use, cultivation, and sale are illegal for medical or recreational use. However, due to underfunded law enforcement and corruption, the plant is grown widely across the country.

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug in Liberia and its consumption is also popular among adolescents, with around 9% having used it in the past.


22. Ireland

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 7.1%

Cannabis is illegal for recreational purposes in Ireland, while its use for medical purposes requires case-by-case approval by the Health Ministry.

Nevertheless, Ireland is among the countries that smoke the most weed in Europe. Around 17% of Irish people now use products containing cannabis, according to a 2021 survey by Eurobarometer.


23. Germany

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 7.09%

Germany is among the latest countries to approve a plan to liberalize rules on cannabis, setting the scene for E.U.’s most populous nation to decriminalize possession of limited amounts and allow members of ‘cannabis clubs’ to buy the substance for recreational use. If all goes well and there are no more delays, the legalization of cannabis possession and cultivation will take effect on April 1st, 2024.

With an annual consumption of 12.9 metric tons, Hamburg is one of the Most Cannabis-Consuming Cities in the World.


24. Belgium

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 7%

Cannabis is illegal for recreational use in Belgium. However, simple possession of up to 3 grams has been largely decriminalized and will likely result in a mere fine.

However, there has recently been a great push to legalize ganja for personal use in the Western European country. Belgium Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy and Employment Pierre-Yves Dermagne recently endorsed modernizing his country’s cannabis policies to permit adult-use marijuana, stating that his country ‘must end the hypocrisy’. Philippe Close, the socialist mayor of Brussels, has also urged the creation of cannabis cafés on the lines of Amsterdam.

Belgium is placed among the Countries with the Highest Rate of Cannabis Use.


25. North Macedonia

Annual Prevalence of Cannabis Use: 6.6%

In March 2016, North Macedonia legalized growing cannabis for medical purposes and to refine, extract, and produce hemp seed and cannabis oil. This has been a boon to the country’s economy worth an estimated $108.5 million per year that has attracted both local and foreign investors.

Since 2016, authorities in North Macedonia have issued more than 60 licenses to cultivate medical cannabis, however, the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal.

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