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United Nations: Three-Quarters Of World's Illicit Drug Users Consume Cannabis

Thursday, 21 March 2013

United Nations: Three-Quarters Of World's Illicit Drug Users Consume CannabisVienna, Austria: Cannabis is consumed by an estimated 75 percent of all the world's illicit drug users, making it the most widely used illicit substance in the world, according to the United Nation's 2012 World Drug Report.

Of the world's estimated 300 million (6.6 percent of the global population) annual illicit drug consumers, some 225 million (5 percent) use cannabis, the report found. Authors concluded, "Cannabis is the world's most widely used illicit substance ... and consumption is stable."

In 2010 (the most recent year for which international data was available), marijuana consumption was most prevalent in Australia and New Zealand. The United States and Canada tied for second among nations with the greatest levels of marijuana use, followed by Spain, France and Italy. The report also found that cannabis has become the leading cash crop in Afghanistan, surpassing opium poppy production.

"[T]here are currently no signs that the popularity of cannabis is going to fall, overall, and it is most likely going to remain the most widely used illegal substance," the report concluded.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the 2012 World Drug Report is available online at: http://www.unodc.org.