The World Health Organization (WHO) released a new report last week and pointed out that COVID-19 lockdowns have influenced the cannabis trade. The demand for cannabis is increasing during this period. This report also shows how cannabis legalization affects various states across North and South America.
COVID-19 lockdown policies increasing demand for cannabis-based products
According to The United Nations World Drug Report 2020, to prevent the COVID-19 infection, many states released social distancing policies and worldwide lockdown restrictions. And those policies and restrictions to avoid coronavirus infection are increasing demand for cannabis in some countries, especially in Europe.
Also, the report revealed that consumers could not access cannabis-based products as usual, such as accessing cannabis products at offline stores because of the restrictions.
The report noted the cannabis market now:
“seem to have resulted in increasing cannabis sales over the darknet… “access to street dealers by end-users, may have led to an increase in drug trafficking activities over the darknet and drug shipment by mail in some places.”(The United Nations World Drug Report 2020).
Moreover, the report reveals that cannabis is still the most commonly consumed drug in the world. According to the latest statistic, there are about 192 million cannabis consumers in 2018. And the next commonly consumed drug is opioids, with 58 million consumers in 2018.
The report shows an increase in cannabis consumption, particularly in countries that have legalized recreational cannabis, such as Uruguay, Canada, and some states of the U.S.
Influence of cannabis legalization
However, the increasing consumption of cannabis is not only affected by the cannabis legalization, as the report states:
“the same trend was observed in other jurisdictions where non-medical use of cannabis was not legalized.”
However, the WHO report states:
“cannabis is the drug that most brings people into contact with the criminal justice system.”
More than half of drug law offenses cases in 69 countries from 2014 to 2018 are about cannabis.
The report continuously pointed out a decline in cannabis seizures in worldwide, which may affect by the cannabis legalization.
The report claimed:
“Global seizures of cannabis herb fell to their lowest level in two decades in 2018—a slump driven by declines in North America, where seizures have fallen by 84 percent in the last ten years…policies aimed at liberalizing cannabis markets have played a key role in the decline.”
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