When it comes to global cannabis hot spots, California, Colorado, and Amsterdam might seem like obvious choices, but when it comes to worldwide consumption statistics, a new report from the German analytics firm ABCD names some surprising cities atop the list.
New York City, Karachi, Pakistan, and New Delhi, India, are the three cities with the highest rate of cannabis consumption, according to Quartz. Ranked by total annual cannabis use, the Empire State clocked in at 77.4 total tons, with Karachi and New Delhi following behind with 42 and 38.2 tons puffed, respectively. In all three of the top cities, cannabis is at least partially allowed, but is still illegal for recreational consumption.
In addition to New Delhi, India’s largest city, Mumbai, also made the ABCD top 10 consumption spots, falling into the sixth place at more than 32 tons of weed burned down every year. Across the whole country of India, cannabis makes up a huge portion of the drug trade, with some 353 tons of the plant seized by law enforcement in 2017 alone.
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But while New York is making moves to end cannabis prohibition altogether, in countries like India, Pakistan, and Egypt — where Cairo claimed the list’s 5th spot — long-standing draconian drug policies have created thousands of criminals out of casual pot users. In the new report, ABCD analysts stressed the social, financial, and political benefits that could come from a global legalization push.
“Illegal cannabis use is so high in countries that still carry the death penalty, such as Pakistan and Egypt. Those in power ought to see how desperately new legislation is needed,” Uri Zeevi, CMO at Seedo, an Israel-based firm that sells devices to grow weed at home, said in the ABCD report. “By removing the criminal element from marijuana, governments will be able to more safely regulate the production, take away power from underground gangs, and as we’ve shown in this study, generate huge tax revenues.”
In another, separate global cannabis consumption report published by cannabis tracking firm New Frontier Data earlier this year, Nigeria topped the list of global pot consumers, with two other African nations joining in the top 10. But while it is clear that continued prohibition has stood in the way of concrete cannabis data collection, it also seems safe to assume that America, Canada, and the Netherlands can no longer claim leafy green superiority when it comes to global consumption.
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