February 28, 2017 | by Staff
If you think that the US has the largest cannabis economy, you’re wrong. While Americans do spend considerably more on marijuana than any other developed country, there are others that outpace her.
A study done by the Rand Corporation established the percentage of each country’s GDP that represents marijuana sales. The data from the Rand study was used in the compilation of this list of four largest cannabis economies in the world.
The GDP method was chosen instead of using the overall size of each countries cannabis market because it gives a much clearer, more accurate picture of how popular cannabis is in the culture of each country. The USA, with only about 0.14% of its combined GDP coming from marijuana sales, did not make it to this list of the top four.
The diligent people of the country of Slovenia consume approximately $150 million dollars worth of cannabis annually. That’s a significant cannabis expenditure considering the country has a population of about 2 million people, t. The Rand corporation data shows that about 0.36% of Slovenia’s GDP comes from cannabis.
These people are smokin.
Slovenians caught with marijuana normally pay a fine. Nonetheless, it’s still the most commonly used drug in the country, with 15.8% of Slovenians trying cannabis at least once in their lifetime. While you can get away with the possession of small amounts of marijuana, there are strict laws against the sale of cannabis. Those found guilty can look to spend between 1 - 10 years in prison.
Trendy ‘cannabis social clubs’ are popping up across Slovenia, as well. Members are asked to pay a recurring fee for access to a quality, comfortable place where they can freely consume cannabis in the company of like-minded individuals.
The Czech Republic has a population of just over $10.5 million people. The capital, Prague is the new, hip Eastern European hub for nightlife and culture, and home to the largest marijuana trade in the country. It has been referred to as the ‘Amsterdam of the East’ (which is misleading, as Amsterdam is a more popular marijuana destination, but the percentage of its GDP generated from cannabis sales were not enough to get it into this list).
Marijuana isn’t actually legal in the Czech Republic, but about 400,000 of its residents use marijuana regularly. The marijuana laws and policies of the country are quite liberal, and Prague has developed a reputation for being marijuana-friendly. as the authorities do not seem overly bothered about the pot smoking population. You’re allowed to carry up to 15 grams of cannabis for personal use without breaking the law.
True cannabis enthusiasts may find it interesting to note that the international calling code for the Czech Republic is +420.
With approximately $32 billion dollars being spent on cannabis each year, Australia is the runner up for first place in this ‘Largest Cannabis Economy’ list. There’s a strong marijuana culture in Australia. While the population of the entire country is just about 25 million, the marijuana trade is responsible for an estimated 0.47% of the country’s GDP.
Cannabis use is notably more common among Australia’s indigenous population, but overall about ⅓ of the country’s residents, or $5.8 million people, have tried the plant at least once. About 750,000 people are estimated to smoke marijuana on a weekly basis.
Medical marijuana was decriminalized in Australia in February 2016. Different Australian states have their own marijuana rules, and while it is legal for medicinal use at the federal level, it is not legal for recreational use anywhere. The penalty for being caught with illegal marijuana can range from merely a fine to the requirement for treatment.
Latvia tops the list with a whopping 0.64% of its GDP coming from cannabis related sales (although many people may not be able to quickly point out its location on a map). The northern European country is between Estonia to the north, and Lithuania on its southern border. Latvia was apart of the former Soviet Republic and has a relatively small population of two million people.
While marijuana trade accounts for more than $97 million, it’s actually illegal to consume, grow, or sell the plant in Latvia. That been said, cannabis is clearly a large part of the Latvian economy.
People caught with more than one gram of marijuana in their possession are considered as drug dealers by Latvian law . Those caught with less than one gram are normally able to get away with just paying a fine that is roughly equivalent to $17 USD.
Most of the marijuana in Latvia comes from Russia or the UK, and by Western country standards, usually not very good. Cannabis users can expect to pay about $18 for one gram of average grade marijuana in Latvia and as much as $27 per gram for higher quality bud.
These are the four largest cannabis economies in the world according to the data from the Rand Corporation: Slovenia, Czech Republic, Australia and Latvia. Clearly, Europeans are consuming more marijuana as per GBP than Americans. As more countries relax their cannabis laws, it’s fair to expect that marijuana will impact the GDP of those countries, and ultimately, the global economy.
Categories: International Cannabis
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