Which countries smoke the most weed? Most people would probably assume that the top countries might be: the Netherlands, given Amsterdam’s love for cannabis coffee shops and clubs. Or Jamaica maybe, seeing how the weed plays a huge role in Rastafarian culture. Portugal, perhaps? Their 2001 decriminalization launched a new way that the world treats drug users, they must be high on the list, right? Well, new data from the United Nations is putting all of our assumptions to shame. The latest data suggests that Iceland has the highest percentage of pot smokers per population. Portugal doesn’t even crack the top 30, while the Netherlands and Jamaica come in 20th and 22nd place, respectively.
Who cracked the top 10?
UNODC or the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s key task is “to produce and disseminate accurate statistics on drugs, crime and criminal justice at the international level.” According to their findings, 18.3 percent of Iceland’s population uses cannabis, placing them as the #1 marijuana consuming nation in the world.
According to their findings, 18.3 percent of Iceland’s population uses cannabis, placing them as the #1 marijuana consuming nation in the world.
Here’s a list of the top 10 biggest weed-loving countries in order:
- Iceland 18.3 %
- United States 16.3%
- Nigeria 14.3%
- Canada 12.7%
- Chile 11.83%
- France 11.1%
- New Zealand 11%
- Bermuda 10.9%
- Australia 10.2%
- Zambia 9.5%
Cannabis still largely illegal in countries that use the most
What’s remarkable about these top ten countries is, not one of them has fully legalized marijuana use. Recreational use and cultivation are still largely illegal across each of these countries, not to mention that decriminalization has yet to occur in some broad fashion.
Ironically, countries like Portugal and Uruguay who’ve decriminalized all drug use have seen a drop in illicit drug use and cannabis consumption across the board.
The theory is that since alcohol was prohibited from 1915 all the way up until 1989, weed became the natural vice of choice for its citizens. However, if you plan on taking a trip to Iceland anytime soon to experience their weed-loving culture, be forewarned.
Possessing small amounts or smoking in public results in fines or even jail time for repeat offenders. But there may be hope on the horizon.
Iceland’s former President, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said in 2013,
We have to admit the war on drugs has been lost long ago. It is better to prevent marginalization of young people than jail them for soft drugs usage which are comparatively harmless. If we allow the sale of alcohol, there is no reason to ban the soft drugs any longer.
The US is poised to go all the way
The US has been steadily climbing in marijuana consumption for years. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.”
Given its 2nd place ranking as one of the highest smoking populations per capita, legalization momentum, and cannabis industry “green rush” projections could place the United States at #1 within the next five years.