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.

In a study conducted by Quest Diagnostics, less than 2 percent of workers in the United States tested positive for marijuana use through workplace drug testing. Back in 2002, just under 3 percent tested positive for marijuana.

The fall in workers testing positive stands in contrast to the numbers of Americans who use marijuana. According to reports by public health programs, 7.3 percent of Americans admitted to smoking marijuana within the previous month, an increase from the 5.8 percent in 2007.

The use of prescription drugs by US workers increased dramatically in recent years, according to the study. The use of Adderall and other types of amphetamines doubled between 2002 and 2012. Since 2005, the use of Vicodin by workers rose by 172 percent, and OxyContin use increased by 72 percent.

(See the price of marijuana around the world.)

Source:  Roberto A. Ferdman, “Americans are smoking more weed, but testing positive less often,” Quartz, November 18, 2013.

Source:  Charlotte Alter, “Study: Fewer Workers Using Cocaine and Marijuana, But Prescription Drug Use Is Up,” Time, November 18, 2013.

5.1 percent of residents in Peru’s capital of Lima abused cocaine in 2013, according to a report by a drug monitoring organization. 8.9 percent of the city’s residents used marijuana.

Across the entire country, 2.4 percent of the population aged 12 to 65 abused cocaine in Peru, an increase of over 60 percent from the 1.5 percent who used cocaine in 2010. Marijuana use in Peru also increased during that time period, from 5.6 percent to 7.5 percent.

(Marijuana prices by country.)

Source:  Natalie Southwick, “Cocaine Use in Peru Increases 60% in 3 Years,” Insight Crime, November 7, 2013.

Nyaope, or Whoonga, is a street drug that is popular in South Africa. The drug is made up of various products, such as marijuana, low-grade heroin, rat poison and HIV-antiretrovirals. The drug is sold on the black market for $30 (30 South African Rand).

Public health programs in South Africa  started noticing  incidents of the drugs beginning in 2007 and have seen a rise in the number of cases. At a single drug treatment center near Johannesburg, 63 people received treatment for nyaope addiction in April 2013. In June, the number of addicts receiving drug treatment increased to 134, and 223 patients were recorded in August 2013.

(Find out how much heroin costs worldwide.)

Source:  “South Africa’s poorest hooked on cocktail of heroin and anti-HIV drugs,” NBC News, October 31, 2013.


According to a marijuana eradication task force in Fresno County, officials has identified over 500 illegal marijuana plantations growing in the Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon in Central California in the first 10 months of 2013. Security officials seized nearly 2,400 marijuana plants, over double the number of plants seized in all of 2012.

Environmental and wildlife officials are concerned about the use of pesticides by the marijuana growers. Using a poison called second generation anticoagulant rodenticide (SGAR), the growers use the chemical to keep wild animals from eating their marijuana plants. A quarter teaspoon of the pesticide has enough poison to kill a 500 pond lion, yet marijuana farmers are using up to 50 times that amount on their plants. Officials has found two endangered spotted owls that have been exposed to the chemical, along with 6 endangered Pacific Fisher mammals who have died consuming the pesticide.

(See more marijuana facts and statistics from around the world.)

Source:  Elyce Kirchner, Julie Putnam, and Jeremy Carroll, “Poisoned Parks: Illegal Marijuana Growers Leave National Parks Trashed, Animals Dead,” NBC Bay Area, November 1, 2013.

In a study of global commercial truck drivers, nearly half of drivers tested postive to using alcohol when driving, and 30 percent used amphetamines to stay awake during long trips.

The study conducted by the Universidada Estadual de Londrina in Brazil found that the number of users varied widely by country. In Brazil, 91 percent of truck drivers stated that they drank alcohol while working, compared to 9 percent in Pakistan.

83 percent of truck drivers in Thailand tested positive for amphetamines, compared to 0.2 percent in Norway.

In the United States, 12.5 percent of commercial drivers tested positive for alcohol.

The Federal Highway Police in Brazil stated that marijuana, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines and LSD were all easily found at gas stations and rest stop locations. Brazil has the most traffic accidents in the world.

(More meth facts and abuse information.)

Source:  Kathyrn Doyle, “Drug use high among commercial truck drivers: study,” Reuters, October 25, 2013.

Statistics from the Australian Institute for Health, Welfare, Alcohol and other drug treatment services show that there has been an increase in the number of Australians over the age of 50 entering drug addition treatment programs.

Between the time span of 2004 to 2012, the rate of Australians over 50 receiving drug treatment for cocaine addiction increased by 247 percent.

Heroin rehab admissions increased by 138 percent.

The number of Australians between the age of 50 to 59 who received treatment for marijuana increased by 163 percent, and 231 percent for those over 60.

The biggest surge in drug treatment programs were for amphetamine and methamphetamine abuse. Australians between the age of 50 to 59 increased their treatment for amphetamine by 407 percent, and a 321 percent increase for those over 60.

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Source:  Jackie Sinnerton and Lisa Cornish, “Drug use spikes as baby boomers return to bad habits of their youth in 1960s, with amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and heroin,”, OCtober 20, 2013.

According to a drug policy reform group, the illegal marijuana market in Mexico City, Mexico was worth $30 Million as of 2013.

The city was considering legalizing marijuana, which would make it the largest city in North America to legalize the use of marijuana.

(Cost of marijuana by country.)

Source:  Ioan Grillo, “North America’s Largest City Moves to Legalize Pot,” Time, October 14, 2013.

According to data from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, between 1990 to 2007 the price of illegal drugs sold in the United States went down while the purity and potency of the drug went up.

In a study released by the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy in Canada, researchers found that law enforcement action had no impact on the illegal drug market. Despite an estimated $1 Trillion spent combating illegal drugs, the study found that illegal drugs has become cheaper while the drugs have also become stronger.

Between 1990 and 2007, the price of heroin in the United States decreased by 81 percent. During the time period, the purity of heroin increased by 60 percent.

The price of cocaine dropped by 80 percent during the time period, while its purity increased by 11 percent.

And the price of marijuana decreased by 60 percent while the cannabis potency increased by 161 percent.

All prices were adjusted for inflation.

(How much does heroin cost?)

Source:  Dan Werb, Thomas Kerr, Bohdan Nosyk, Steffanie Strathdee, Julio Montaner, Evan Wood, “The temporal relationship between drug supply indicators: an audit of international government surveillance systems,” International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, September 30, 2013.

As of September 2013, Health Canada reported that there were 37,359 patients who had medical marijuana licenses in Canada. Back in 2002, there were 477 licenses.

4,200 marijuana growers are authorized to produce marijuana. Each grower is only allowed to produce enough marijuana for two patients each.

Under contract with Health Canada, the price for medical marijuana in Canada in 2013 was $4.85 (5 CAD) per gram. On the street, the black market price of marijuana is between $9.72 to $14.56 (10 to 15 CAD).

(Price of marijuana on the black market.)

The Government of Canada estimates that by 2014, there will be 58,000 people who are approved to use medical marijuana. By 2024, the estimated number of patients is forecast to be 450,000.

Source:  Dean Beeby, “Facts and figures on changing medical marijuana rules in Canada,” CTV News, September 29, 2013.

In 2012, citizens in the US sate of Washington voted to legalize marijuana.

In order to determine the amount of licenses needed to produce pot, state officials estimate that 80 million marijuana joints would be used each year.  The estimated number of users in the state is roughly calculated to be 650,000 adults. Thus, an average pot user in the state of Washington consumes 123 joints each year, or one joint every three days.

(Marijuana prices by country.)

Despite the legal market, state officials estimate that the regulated market will capture about 25 percent of the total marijuana market in the state, leaving 75 percent of sales still taking place on the black market.

(See additional facts about marijuana.)

Source:  Bob Young, “Average pot user consumes 123 joints per year, state estimates,” Seattle Times, September 24, 2013.