Marijuana Facts

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  1. Illegal Marijuana Market Value$141.80 Billion

News, information and statistics about the illegal marijuana market. Facts about cannabis and illegal marijuana growing is collected from security agencies, user submitted information and other public criminal justice information.

Government officials in the Netherlands reported that the legalized trade of drugs and prostitution in Amsterdam and across the country contributes $3.4 Billion (€2.5 Billion) to the national economy. The two industries contribute to 0.4 percent of the Netherlands GDP.

Statistics Netherlands stated that most of the consumption of the services is domestic and takes place in the marijuana coffee shops and brothels.

(Sex trade revenue around the world.)

Source:  “It’s official: drugs, prostitution boost Dutch economy,” Reuters, June 25, 2014.

According to intelligence by the United States, there are about 37,066 acres of fields in Jamaica that are growing marijuana, or ganja, in the country.

66 percent of Jamaicans have stated in surveys that they have smoked marijuana, and 85 percent favor medical marijuana.

Despite wide-spread belief about ganja, marijuana is technically illegal in Jamaica.

(See more statistics about marijuana use here.)

Source:  Aileen Torres-Bennett, “Jamaica mulls legal pot (no, it’s not already legal),” USA Today, June 9, 2014.

According to a 2014 report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), over 80 million people living in Europe are estimated to have used an illegal drug at some point in their lives. The number of people who have tried an illegal drug represents about a quarter of the adult population in the EU.

The most used illicit drug in Europe was marijuana, with 73.6 Million people stating that they tried it at least once in their lifetimes. In the most recent year measured (2012), the report stated that 18.1 million used marijuana. A total of 2,000 tonnes of marijuana and hashish is consumed in the EU each year.

The second most used drug in Europe was cocaine, with 14.1 million people using it in their lifetime. 3.1 million people used it in 2012. Based on analysis of raw sewage, investigators in Europe estimated that 1,800 pounds (832 Kilograms) of cocaine were consumed daily in Europe Cities.

The third most used drug in Europe was amphetamines, with 11.4 million users who used it in their lifetimes and 1.5 million users in 2012.

There were 31,000 new opioid users in Europe, with about 1.3 million problem users.

Heroin caused 6,100 overdose deaths in Europe in 2012, while cocaine overdose caused some 500 deaths.

Source:  AFP, “Prescription, synthetic drug abuse worry EU watchdog,” GlobalPost, May 27, 2014.

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Based on user submitted data, the following is the street price of marijuana in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. The prices are listed in Canadian dollars, with the units of gram listed as written when submitted.

$10 to $20 for one gram.

$15 to $20 for 1.75 grams (aka “teener”).

$45 to $48 for 3.5 grams (eighth of weed).

$75 to $110 for 7 grams (quarter ounce).

$125 to $140 for 14 grams (half ounce).

$250 to $260 for 28 grams (1 once).

$900 to $1,000 for 112 grams (quarter pound).

(See more prices of marijuana as reported by the United Nations.)

(See more prices submitted  by readers of Havocscope.)

Source: User submitted data, received on May 7, 2014.

Sate officials the US State of Colorado reported on the tax collected from the state’s legalized marijuana program.

Marijuana smoking became legalized in the state at the start of 2014. In the time span of January and February 2014, the state of Colorado collected about $4.2 Million in sales and excise taxes on recreational marijuana. The amount collected was half of the $5.5 Million to $8.9 Million in taxes that state officials estimated it would collect.

(More crime in the United States data.)

When voters in Colorado approved the recreational use of marijuana, the law included a 10 percent sales tax and a 15 percent excise tax on the wholesale prices of marijuana. In addition, consumers must pay local sales taxes and a 2.9 percent sales tax at the retail level.

Analysts interviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek stated that the low levels of tax collection were due to smokers choosing to remain enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program, where the tax levied on marijuana is lower. Also, experts believe that many smokers are continuing to buy their marijuana on the black market due to its cheaper price.

(How much does marijuana cost around the world?)

Source:  Jennifer Oldham, “Colorado Pot Revenue Lags Forecasts as Licensing is Slow,” Bloomberg Businessweek, May 1, 2014.

Reports by criminal justice programs in Australia found that drug trafficking activities in the country were increasing and that the arrests and seizures for illegal drugs reached an all time high.

In the Fiscal Year of 2012-2013, security personnel in Australia arrested 101,749 people for drug crimes. During the course of their investigations, police made 86,918 seizures of illegal drugs during the past year, which was a 66 percent increase over the past decade.

Marijuana is the most seized drug in Australia.

The second most popular drug in Australia was methamphetamine, where police saw a 300 percent increase in seizures from the year before.

Cocaine and steroids also saw record high seizure rates in Australia last year.

Source: AFP, “Australia warns meth pandemic as drug busts hit record,” Bangkok Post, April 29, 2014.

In early 2014, federal security administrators reported that more heroin grown and produced in Mexico was entering the United States. Officials stated that this was occurring due to the decrease in marijuana that was being sold by Mexican traffickers.

Based on intelligence and media interviews, the wholesale price of marijuana sold in Mexico has dropped within the past 5 years. In 2009, a farmer growing marijuana in Mexico was able to receive up to $100 per kilogram of wholesale marijuana. By 2014, the wholesale price of marijuana dropped to less than $25. Farmers state that the push towards marijuana legalization has contributed to the downfall as more people buy higher-quality marijuana that was grown in the United States.

As the price of marijuana decreased, Mexican drug cartel have begun looking for new revenue streams. It appears as if they have found a replacement in heroin.

With reports from criminal justice programs stating that heroin abuse increased by 79 percent in the US between 2007 and 2012, Mexican cartels are increasing their supply in order to meet demand. Back in 2007, border security agents seized 367 kilograms of heroin that was being smuggled into the United States from Mexico. In 2013, security agents seized 2,162 kilograms.

A contributing factor to the high heroin abuse rates in the US is driven by prescription drugs abuse. With heroin being cheaper than prescription drugs, many users are continually switching to heroin due to its cheaper cost. For example, a prescription drug sold on the black market in can be sold for up to $80, with the effect of the pill wearing off after 4 to 6 hours. A hit of heroin can be sold for as little as $4.

Farm workers in Mexico are cashing in from the increase in heroin demand. Farmers in the Northern Sierra Madre earn up to $30 to $40 per day cultivating poppies on farmland. The poppy farm is reportedly the best paid farm in Northern Mexico.

Farmers sell a kilogram of opium for $1,500. The wholesale price has doubled in 2013 from the year before. The raw opium is sold to middlemen who cook the opium into heroin. After being smuggled across the border, a kilogram in the Northern United States can be sold for $60,000 to $80,000.

(How much does heroin cost per gram?)

Source:  Nick Miroff, “Tracing the U.S. heroin surge back south of the border as Mexican cannabis output falls,” Washington Post, April 6, 2014.

According to a former heroin abuser in Ireland, the following information is the street prices of illegal drugs available for sale on the black market of Ireland.

Cocaine:  High quality cocaine sold for €100 ($138) per gram.

Ecstasy: €5 ($6.93) per tablet, or 10 ecstasy tablets for €40 ($55).

Heroin: A bag of heroin that is filled with 0.3 grams of heroin is sold for €20 ($27). The price to buy 2 grams of heroin is €100 ($138).

Marijuana: Poor quality cannabis resin is reportedly sold in 7 gram batches, which is available for purchase for €25 ($34). Marijuana weed is sold in 6 gram units, which goes for €100 ($138).

Prescription drugs: 2 milligrams Xanax bars sold for €3.50 ($4.85) for each tablet.

(See all of crowdsourced data about the black market here.)

Source:  User submitted data, received on April 1, 2014.

Previously, a reader submitted information about the price of marijuana in Stockholm, Sweden. In that data post, the reader explained the price structure of the marijuana market in Stockholm.

In a follow up submission, more information about the marijuana trafficking and growing operations that takes place in Sweden. According to our reader, Swedish marijuana is grown across the entire country. However, with criminal justice programs targeting growers in the major cities, more marijuana cultivation plants have moved to the countryside. There have also been reports of various organized crime groups being involved in large scale marijuana cultivation farms, such as the Vietnamese Mafia, Albanian and Kurdish gangs, as well as outlawed motorcycle gangs.

Marijuana that is trafficked into the country is brought in from Denmark, Germany and Poland. Small growers in Sweden are attempting to grow their own weed in order to lower the amount of marijuana that is trafficked by organized crime.

(How much does marijuana cost?)

Source: User submitted data, received by Havocscope on March 24, 2014.

In 2013, criminal justice officials in the United States estimated that between $19 Billion to $29 Billion is being smuggled down to Mexico from illegal drug sales in the United States. The sales and revenue from marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine is included in that total.

In terms of enforcement, the US Immigration ad Customs Enforcement seized $411 Million in cash that was being transported into Mexico.

The Former Governor of Sinaloa stated that up to 62 percent of the economy in Sinaloa was based on drug trafficking money.

Many of the drug cartels invest in legitimate businesses in order to launder their illicit proceeds. Cartels place investments into shopping centers, hotels, residential developments and various types of economic activities.

Source:  John Burnett, “At The Border, The Drugs Go North And The Cash Goes South,” NPR News, March 20, 2014.