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U.N. Report Says Global Marijuana Use, Trafficking Up Sharply In Recent Years

Wednesday, 03 July 2002

147 Million Use Pot Regularly Despite Illegality, Report Says

New York, NY: Pot use is on the rise in Europe, North and South America, Africa and Oceania, while trafficking in marijuana has risen dramatically worldwide, according to a recent report issued by the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNDCP).

There has been "a significant increase" in marijuana trafficking in "every region of the world" since 1999, the report states.  "This [increase] is commensurate with the global increase in cannabis use."

The report claims that global seizures of marijuana have risen some 50 percent since 1998, and now total an estimated 4,500 metric tons annually.  More than half of all the marijuana seized worldwide was confiscated in North America - primarily Mexico - and nearly one-quarter was seized in Southern Africa.  Only five percent of the marijuana seized worldwide was confiscated in the United States, the report said.

Authors of the report noted that cannabis remains the most widely consumed illicit drug in the world, and estimated that 147 million people are regular users of the drug.  According to the report, the countries with greatest percentage of marijuana users were Papua New Guinea (29.5 percent), Micronesia (29.1 percent), Ghana (21.5 percent), St. Vincent Grenadines (18.6 percent) and South Africa (18.4 percent).

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.  An online version of the UNDCP report is available at: http://www.undcp.org/global_illicit_drug_trends.html .