Cannabis production growing in Europe: report
(LISBON) - The market share of cannabis herb is steadily increasing across Europe at the expense of imported cannabis resin, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said Tuesday.
The Lisbon-based agency warned in a report that "the rise in herbal cannabis cultivation inside Europe's borders is increasingly associated with collateral damage such as violence and criminality."
"Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland and the United Kingdom have all experienced a steep growth in the levels of domestic herbal cannabis production in the last two decades," according to the Centre.
It added that according to countries across Europe reporting data since 2004, the growing of cannabis was widespread and on the increase.
Consumption of cannabis was dominated by herbal products in two-thirds of the 30 countries that file with the EMCDDA, said the report, whose release was timed to coincide with the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
"One of the most important developments impacting on the modern cannabis market is simply its increase in scale," said EMCDDA director Wolfgang Goetz. "Wherever you live in Europe today, it is likely that not very far away cannabis is being bought or sold."
In 10 countries -- Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia -- herbal cannabis use accounted for at least 90 percent of the market.
Where imports of cannabis were concerned, "Morocco consistently ranks first as exporter of cannabis resin to Europe, the product entering the region mainly via Spain and Portugal," the EMCDDA said.
According to the Centre, around 700 tonnes of cannabis are seized in Europe each year, of which about 600 tonnes are cannabis resin.
More than 78 million Europeans aged between 15 and 64 have tried cannabis, according to EMCDDA figures, while "around nine million young Europeans (15-34 years) have used it in the past month."
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