Marijuana is the most widely used drug in the world.
Smoking marijuana started thousands of years ago in Asia and later it spread to Europe, Africa, and Oceania.
Interestingly, it didn’t arrive to America before the beginning of the 20th century.
It was first introduced in Latin America and the Mexican immigrants brought it to the US; they were later blamed for being intoxicated by smoking cannabis herb.
Soon enough, the US government put a ban on using marijuana and the war on drugs had started.
It is estimated that the worldwide illegal marijuana market values about $141.8 billion, while there are approximately 180.6 million of regular marijuana smokers.
One metric ton of marijuana can produce about 1.75 million joints and the revenue from a single marijuana plant is about $2,200, depending on the market.
North America is the biggest marijuana market, according to the annual seizures, while the Europe comes as the second largest market.
Use of marijuana in Western and Central Europe is significantly lower than it used to be, while in the US the use of marijuana has increased in recent years and what is interesting, more and more people are seeking treatment for marijuana addiction.
Tracking marijuana production and trafficking has become more difficult in past few decades.
One of the main reasons for this is the legalization of both medical and recreational use in various parts of the world.
In many countries, marijuana is grown locally and sold for the needs of the local markets.
However, there are still some powerful chains in the world whose thoughts are more globally directed.
For instance, Sinaloa Cartel is in control of 40% of all marijuana that goes through Mexico to the United States, Europe and even further.
And not just distribution, the Cartel is one of the major growers of cannabis plants as well.
They have plantations in states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco. From here 90% of plants are transported to Guerrero and Oaxaca where they are further distributed from.
One of the biggest Cannabis farms belongs to the Sinaloa Cartel and it is located in Baja California; it is more than 120 hectares large.
Mexican marijuana is mostly delivered to the North America; from Tijuana, it goes to Los Angeles and San Diego, California; from Ciudad Juarez, it goes to San Antonio Texas; and finally marijuana from Chihuahua goes to Douglas, Arizona and El Paso, Texas.
Some of the marijuana is going directly from the capital city airport and the most common destinations are Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and even some destinations in Europe, like Amsterdam or Madrid.
Mexico is considered to be one of the biggest marijuana suppliers in the entire world and together with North America; it supplies 69% of the global marijuana market.
Canada and the US hold the first place in marijuana consumption while the worth of the US marijuana black market is estimated to $41 billion.
In the United States, smoking marijuana for medical use is legal in 22 states, while since 2014 smoking and growing for recreational use is legal in Colorado and Washington D. C.
Although this decision about legalization of marijuana brought profit to Colorado – the annual income for the state was $4.2 million from taxes on cannabis – this law made lots of trouble to the neighboring states which disprove of people from Colorado who are bringing marijuana into the other states.
Although the majority of marijuana in the US and Canada comes from Mexico and the Caribbean, a great deal of it is produced locally, especially in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.
Estimated value of the locally grown marijuana is about $1,800 to $2,500 per pound, but in Chicago the price jumps to $5,000 and it can climb even higher on the East Coast.
Marijuana is distributed throughout the States via mail or on the highways where there is low chance of interception by the LE.
Some of the marijuana is even “legally” transferred due to the difference between the medical and non-medical marijuana.
Namely, a person with a medical card is allowed to have up to 1 ½ pound of marijuana, so two persons with cards can deliver 3 pounds of marijuana to any state where medical use is allowed.
In Canada, apart from being locally grown, marijuana comes from Columbia, Jamaica, Thailand, and Mexico and it is delivered either by air or by sea, and just some small portion of it is delivered over land.
Last year, 1,000 tons of marijuana was seized by the United States security agents on the border of the US and Mexico; while the marijuana seized by the US customs is approximately 94% of the entire marijuana seized all over the globe!
Europe has about 73.6 million marijuana users.
However, not all of them are regular users, this estimation is based on a questionnaire and those people said that they have tried marijuana at least once.
According to the Europol 2,000 tons of marijuana is sold in Europe every year.
Europol has also found that most of the marijuana found in Europe doesn’t come from Latin America at all; it is rather imported from North Africa, Middle East or even West Asia and the Middle East.
However, marijuana consumed in Europe, as previously said, is mostly produced on the continent, and there is one producer that sticks out from the crowd – the Lazarat village.
Lazarat village has a population of about 7,000 and it is located in Albania, in the county of Gjirokastra.
It is estimated that marijuana here is grown on the 60 acres of land.
This amount of land is capable of producing more than 500 tons of marijuana per year!
An interesting fact about this village is that they function like an independent country which is in a real war with its legitimate country.
Even driving past this village is extremely dangerous.
Many people were attacked in a drive-by or their track was intercepted as a threat and signal to keep away from the village; most often it happened to news reporters.
The Albanian government is investing great efforts to repress illegal marijuana growing but without any success so far.
According to a protected source, special sniper units once surrounded the crop fields and started arresting the people who were working on the field.
In a matter of minutes, an army of SUVs formed around them and started open fire from the heavy arms on their roofs.
Many workers on the farm are refugees from the Middle East in pursuit of any kind of job.
Police successfully intercepted vehicles that were driving refugees, but they have to be very cautious because Lazarat people have no trouble blowing up the police station in Gjirokastra, as they have already done once.
Marijuana from Lazarat, Albania is mainly transferred through the Balkan Route, over Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia and their neighboring countries to the Western Europe.
It is transported by mail, by air, or by road, hidden in vehicles.
Albanians and other Balkan countries have a strong connection with diaspora in Western Europe and most of them work as organized crime families.
Corruption and money laundry in these countries is high and the risk of being seized is low.
The first city in the world to legalize the use of marijuana was Amsterdam.
It is quite normal to walk into a bar and order marijuana in whichever form.
However, production of the drug is not allowed to everyone.
Many coffee shops have licenses to grow their own cannabis plants, but in many cases, the usage exceeds the production so they have to get their marijuana from external sources.
It mostly comes from Africa or the Balkans and the entire chain of illegal drug trafficking is controlled by the mobsters who are importing the “extra marijuana on the coffee shop’s back door.”
A single coffee shop in Amsterdam sometimes sells up to 2 kilos of marijuana per day and a very few of the customers are actually from Holland; most of them are tourists.
Rest of the World
Although cannabis is grown in Mexico, Balkans, Caribbean, North America, its resin, hashish, is mostly produced in Northern Africa, Middle East, and South-West Asia.
Morocco is the largest producer of hashish.
It is being distributed to Europe (Spain and Netherlands mostly), and also to Asia and North America.
A certain amount of marijuana is grown in Afghanistan.
As a matter of fact, this year, the area under cannabis has been decreased, but the cannabis resin production has been higher than the last year’s, thanks to greater yield.
Very small amounts of marijuana are being seized in Asia and Oceania and it is very hard to track the number of users and the routes of trafficking.
Another significant player in marijuana production and distribution is Jamaica.
It is estimated that Jamaica has about 37,066 acres of fields that are growing marijuana and a great deal of it ends up in Latin and North America.
Certain amount stays for domestic use since Jamaica has the greatest number of marijuana users, if you rely on percentage of the population.
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