European Cannabis Use by Country - Who Smokes More?
2 min

European Cannabis Use by Country - Who Smokes More?

2 min
Legislation News

If the War on Drugs is to be believed, harsh laws should stop people smoking cannabis. Yet, new stats show the opposite is happening. So who in Europe smokes the most weed?

It's official. According to the European Drug Report for 2016 published by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), a lot of people in Europe use cannabis regardless of its legal status, with some of the strictest countries having the highest number of people admitting they light up. So much for the war on drugs.

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In the European Union, 24.8% of adults over 15 years old have tried cannabis at least once, and 13.3% have smoked in the last year. Here are the top 10 countries with the highest rate of use along with their drug policies:


According to these statistics, legal policy appears to have little to no effect on drug use. France and Denmark have very restrictive policies, yet cannabis use is highest in those two countries. On the other hand, Spain and The Netherlands are very progressive, and they still rank right in the middle of our top 10 list.

Of course, we are talking about what is still considered illicit drug use by many, so these statistics can't be relied on as being 100% accurate. The numbers were gathered by different countries, using different methods, and even in different years. Plus, in some countries, answering yes means admitting to a crime. If anything, this report is probably understating actual cannabis use.

Even if the numbers are a bit fuzzy and have a little wiggle room, it's fairly clear that legal policy has little effect on actual drug use.


The United States has proved that sensible cannabis laws can work. Colorado became the first state to legalize cannabis for recreational use in 2012, and while there have been challenges, it's been very successful so far.

Recreational sales started in 2014, so let's see how things have improved since then:

Crime is down - In addition to less arrests for cannabis, violent crimes dropped by 2.2% and property crime went down by 8.9% from 2013 to 2014.

Tax Revenue is up - In 2014, Colorado collected $44 million in tax revenue from legal cannabis sales. In 2015, the number jumped to about $125 million, and in January 2016 alone, more than $14 million in taxes were collected as sales doubled for that month year over year with $2.35 million earmarked for local schools.

Unemployment is down - Even with a massive inflow of hopefuls in search of employment in the cannabis industry, the unemployment rate has stayed low at about 4% statewide. For 2015, Colorado had the 10th lowest unemployment rate in the United States.

Traffic Fatalities are down - Partially due to less drinking and more smoking, traffic fatalities dropped significantly from 2013 to 2014 and the numbers continue to decrease. Comparing the first four months of 2016 to the same timeframe in 2015, fatalities dropped by 23.3%.

In short, the world did not, has not, and will not come to an end simply because people have free access to cannabis in Colorado. Even John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado, has went from saying that legalization was "reckless" to stating publicly that it appears to be working.

It's true that some people in Colorado got a little too excited at the idea of free access to high-quality weed, overindulged, and freaked out a little, but there were little to no serious injuries or deaths related to cannabis use. Maybe, it's time for Europe to come to its senses and regulate cannabis more like alcohol, a much more harmful drug in our opinion.



Written by: Laura
Featuring as a regular guest writer, Laura lives in the wild heart of the American East Coast. Based at her family farm, she has developed a deep respect for cannabis, continuing to master and hone its cultivation.

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