Vienna, Austria: The United States is the “world’s single largest market” for illicit drugs, according to findings published this week in the United Nations 2004 Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
The report further states that “the rate of drug abuse in the US remains disturbingly high” despite federal and state governments spending approximately $40 billion annually on illicit drug prevention efforts.
NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre called the UN’s findings an “indictment” of US criminal drug policy. “The United States spends more money than any other nation to enforce its criminal drug policies, and incarcerates a greater number of its citizens than any other nation for anti-drug offenses, yet it remains the world leader in illicit drug use and drug production,” he said. “These disastrous results speak to the need for an immediate ‘regime change’ in US drug policy.”
Regarding US cannabis production, the INCB report states that US law enforcement eradicated approximately 3.3 million cannabis plants in 2002 (excluding ditchweed), and that an estimated 2,500 tons of marijuana is grown in the United States annually.
“A more rational US drug policy would cease arresting and prosecuting the estimated 25 million Americans who use cannabis responsibly, and instead call for taxing and regulating the use of marijuana by adults in a manner similar to alcohol,” St. Pierre said.