June 26, 2012 - 14:42 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The market share of cannabis herb is increasing across Europe at the expense of cannabis resin. This is according to the first comprehensive analysis of Cannabis production and markets in Europe, released on June 16 by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) to mark International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
The report describes a cannabis market in a ‘continual state of evolution’ and how Europe, a major cannabis consumer, is now an important producer of this, its most popular illicit drug. Also documented is the wide variety of products on sale and how the rise in herbal cannabis cultivation inside Europe’s borders is increasingly associated with collateral damage such as violence and criminality.
Over 78 million Europeans (15–64 years) have tried cannabis, while around 9 million young Europeans (15–34 years) have used it in the last month. This represents a sizeable market and one that has greatly evolved. According to the report, in terms of size and sophistication, today’s European cannabis market contrasts considerably to that of the 1960s, when importation was mainly the pursuit of ‘amateurs and enthusiasts’. The report describes how profits to be made from the cannabis trade have rendered it a mainstream activity of criminal organizations and one often linked to trafficking in other illicit commodities (e.g. cocaine).
Cannabis is the most widely cultivated illicit drug plant worldwide. Today’s report describes the ‘Big five’ regions considered the main sources of cannabis products (mainly resin) imported into Europe. These are: North Africa (Morocco), South-west Asia (Afghanistan); the Balkans (Albania); the Middle East (Lebanon) and sub-Saharan Africa (South Africa).
Morocco consistently ranks first as exporter of cannabis resin to Europe, the product entering the region mainly via Spain and Portugal.