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Top 10 Countries With the Most Cannabis Usage

Marijuana is mostly illegal in countries around the world, but this has not stopped its use. The number of marijuana users worldwide continues to rise and while several countries have begun to review their cannabis laws, others have stood firm against it use. However, ironically countries with stiff cannabis laws have turned out to have the most users in relation to their population.

Without further ado here are the countries with the most cannabis users per population percentage.

1. Nigeria

19.4% of population

Despite being an illegal commodity in Nigeria, an estimated 20.8 million people consume cannabis every year, that is 19.4 per cent of Nigeria’s population in a market estimated at $15.3 billion. Maybe it is time for the Nigerian government to legalise the plant and explore its economic opportunities. 

2. Canada

15.8% of population

Cannabis in Canada is legal for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Medicinal use of cannabis was legalized nationwide on 30 July 2001.  The federal Cannabis Act came into effect on 17 October 2018 and made Canada the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to formally legalize the cultivation, possession, acquisition and consumption of cannabis and its by-products

3. United States

15.0% of population

In the United States, the use and possession of cannabis is illegal under federal law for any purpose, by way of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. At the state level, however, policies regarding the medical and recreational use of cannabis vary greatly, and in many states conflict significantly with federal law. The medical use of cannabis is legalized (with a doctor’s recommendation) in 33 state while recreational use of cannabis is legalized in 11 states.

4. Zambia

14.8% of population

Cannabis which is also known as mbanje, chwang or dobo in Zambia is illegal for recreational use. However, in December 2019, by unanimous decision, it was legalized for export and medicinal purposes only.

5. Bermuda

14.3% of population

Cannabis in Bermuda is legal for medical use and decriminalized for recreational use. In 2019, the government proposed a law that would create a Medicinal Cannabis Authority, which would regulate licensing for cultivation, import and export, manufacturing, research and development, transport.

6. Madagascar

14.3% of population

Cannabis, known as zamal in the local dialect is illegal in Madagascar. However, despite the law, it continues to be widely cultivated and used across the country, particularly in poorer rural communities. Cannabis has been used by the Malagasy people for centuries, historically playing a vital part in their culture even till date. One reason why cannabis remains illegal in Madagascar is because the territory considered a hub for heroin, cocaine and cannabis trafficking.

7. Chile

13.1% of population

Consumption of cannabis in Chile is higher than in any other Latin American country. Cannabis for personal use in private has been decriminalized in Chile since 2005. Cultivation is also legal, as long as it is done for personal use or as part of a collective. In 2014 Chile began clinical trials on medical marijuana, and in 2015 a decriminalization bill successfully passed the lower house of the Chilean Congress.

8. Belize

12.7% of population

Belize was until the 1980s the fourth-largest exporter of cannabis to the United States, behind Colombia, Mexico, and Jamaica. But since the mid-1980s, Belize’s production has dropped dramatically due to eradication efforts by the Belizean government, supported by the United States. However, with the amendment of the Misuse of Drugs Act in 2017, smoking and possession of up to ten grams of marijuana was decriminalised in Belize.

9. New Zealand

12.6% of population

Cannabis is the fourth-most widely used recreational drug in New Zealand, after caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. The use of cannabis in New Zealand is regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, which makes unauthorised possession of any amount of cannabis a crime. From 18 December 2018, the Misuse of Drugs act was amended by the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Act 2018 (2018 No 54) allowing for much broader use of medical marijuana, making the drug available to terminally ill patients in the last 12 months of life. Further more, on 18 December, the Labour government announced a nationwide, binding referendum on the legality of cannabis for personal use, set to be held as part of the 2020 general election.

10. Greenland

12.2% of population

Cannabis is illegal in Greenland, and according to law, marijuana and any action related to it such as using it, distributing it by means of export and import, cultivating it and possessing it have legal consequences. This has not stopped is sale and use in the country.

Written by Emeka Nweze

Content writer and contributor.

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