Marijuana Policy Project
Curved Papers

U.N. Notes Rise in U.S. Marijuana Use

The U.N. writes: "In the United States, the lower perceived risk of cannabis use has led to an increase in its use."

According to the U.N., marijuana use in the U.S. went up 1.1% from 2011 to 2012, pot potency increased 3.2% from 2007 to 2011 and weed prices declined 6% since 2010.

Here are the cannabis highlights, as written by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in the World Drug Report 2014:

• Cultivation and production of cannabis remains widespread… in most regions, ranging from personal cultivation to large-scale farm and indoor warehouse operations, thus making it difficult to estimate the global levels of cannabis cultivation and production.

• llicit drug use (in the U.S.) by persons aged 12 years or older reached the highest level in the past 10 years, increasing from 14.9% in 2011 to 16.0% in 2012.

• In the United States, the lower perceived risk of cannabis use has led to an increase in its use.

• The largest quantities of cannabis were seized in North America, which accounts for over 64% of seizures worldwide.

• Levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in seized or eradicated cannabis crops in the United States increased from 8.7% in 2007 to 11.9% in 2011.

• Between 2009 and 2012 in the United States, the price of cannabis declined 12% after adjustment for inflation. According to self-reported information on purchases reported to the Price of Weed website, since 2010, the price, adjusted for quality, has fallen only 6%, but the price of high-quality cannabis herb has fallen 20%.

• New regulatory frameworks in the States of Colorado and Washington in the United States and in Uruguay now make the recreational use of cannabis legal under some restrictions… It will take years of careful monitoring to understand the broader effects of those novel regulatory frameworks in order to inform future policy decisions.

• In Uruguay users must register in a database to monitor cumulative purchases (maximum 40 grams per month), but in the State of Colorado, purchases of up to one ounce (28 grams) are allowed per outlet, with no central registry of cumulative purchases per buyer nor any limit on the amount that can be purchased each month.

• Countries and states surrounding Uruguay, Colorado and Washington have not adopted similar regulatory or legislative measures. In consideration of this, additional outcomes that need to be monitored include drug tourism, cross-border leakage, and access and availability to youth in neighboring jurisdictions.

• The commercialization of cannabis may also significantly affect drug-use behaviors. Commercialization implies motivated selling, which can lead to directed advertisements that promote and encourage consumption.

Read the full 128-page report here.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.