Using data from the newly-published 2014 World Drug Report conducted by the U.N., Mic.com put together a graph of the world’s most marijuana-indulgent countries, based on the estimated per capita population of smokes. As expected, the results are interesting:
With an estimated 18.3 percent of the population smoking cannabis, Iceland tops the list by a comfortable margin, followed by Nigeria, Zambia, the U.S. and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, marijuana is least popular in Ukraine, Finland, Suriname, Guatemala, and Germany — a rather random group of countries, much like the top five.
Despite being world-renowned for its tolerant drug laws, The Netherlands is somewhere in the middle, with a little less than eight percent of the population lighting up. Perhaps that speaks to popular notion that drugs are only as popular as the strength of their taboo, at least in some societies?
Well, like most European countries (not to mention high-ranking Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), marijuana is technically illegal in Iceland but socially and politically tolerated — possessing a small amount or smoking in public results in a fine, with repeat offenders technically liable for jail time (although this is apparently uncommon).
Moreover, marijuana is expensive in Iceland, with one-eighth of an ounce of high-quality cultivars often costing $175 (compared to $30 to $50 in the U.S.). It is unknown why the island nation ranks so high, but the article postulated that the prohibition of beer until just 25 years ago made marijuana a popular substitute to unwind (since it was comparatively more accepted and easier to access, apparently).
In common with many other countries, Iceland is considering relaxing its drug laws to coincide with its already de facto acceptance of marijuana. Given the mixed bag of countries in which the drug is popular, it seems clear that what’s on the books doesn’t necessarily influence either the popularity or usage rate of a particular drug (although one would need to see data on other drugs to determine that relationship).
Anyway, what are your thoughts?