Interpol analyzes the illegal cannabis market

by Team Inc.


The illegal cannabis trade is the largest drug market in Europe. The products are becoming more and more powerful and the range is increasing. Major collaborations within organized crime bring new security risks. This is evident from an analysis published by Europol and EMCDDA.

According to the report, the cannabis market is worth 11,4 billion euros. The largest drug market in Europe. The latest estimates show that around 22,6 million adults in the EU (15-64 years) cannabis have used.

Cannabis smuggling

Much of the cannabis intercepted appears to have been grown in the EU. Products are also brought into the EU via North America. When it comes to cannabis resin, Morocco remains the largest supplier. The latest data shows that the potency of products has increased significantly. The average potency of leaves in the EU increased by around 2011% between 2021 and 57, while the average potency of resin increased by almost 200% over the same period, causing additional health concerns for users.

Synthetic products

Although herb and resin still dominate the market, cannabis products in Europe are becoming increasingly diverse and include a range of natural, semi-synthetic and synthetic cannabinoids available in many different forms. Consumers see this in concentrate, vapes and edibles. Trade in Europe involves a wide range of networks. This makes this a strong dangerous market. Subversion is common and smuggling methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Impact on environment

The 'flourishing' trade also has major effects on the environment. Indoor cultivation involves a lot of water and energy use. Much of the electricity used to grow cannabis indoors in the EU is stolen. The carbon footprint is estimated to be 2 to 16 times higher than that of outdoor cultivation.

EU policy

There is no clear cannabis policy. In Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Malta and the Czech Republic, they want to regulate the supply of cannabis for recreational use or have already done so to a greater or lesser extent. Switzerland also started trials of legal cannabis sales in early 2023. These changes highlight the need to invest in monitoring and evaluation to fully understand their impact on public health and safety. The findings are based on data and information from the EMCDDA drug monitoring system and Europol's operational information on serious and organized crime.

Source: (EN)

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