Cannabis

Cannabis is the most seized drug in every Member State except Portugal, where heroin seizures predominate. Since 1996, Spain has been seizing the largest quantities of cannabis, more than half the total amount seized in the EU. Up to 2000, the United Kingdom reported a higher number of cannabis seizures than Spain, but on average involving smaller quantities (51).

In 2001, Morocco remained the major producing country of cannabis resin seized in the EU. Cannabis can be smuggled directly from Morocco, but in many cases it comes via the Iberian Peninsula. Cannabis resin is also smuggled from the Nordic and Baltic countries to Finland and from Albania to Italy and Greece. Most cannabis herb seized in Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands originates in the Netherlands (52). In addition, France mentions its own national territory, Italy and Belgium as other sources of supply for cannabis herb. Cannabis herb also reaches Greece and Italy from Albania and Portugal from Angola. Local production of cannabis is reported in most Member States.

In 2001, the retail price of cannabis resin was reported to vary, on average, between EUR 2.3 (United Kingdom) and 26.6 (Norway) per gram, and that of cannabis leaves between EUR 1.9 (Spain) and 8 (Belgium, Sweden) on average per gram. The content of the active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in cannabis resin is usually between 5 % and 14 %, although samples with a THC content of 0.15–39 % were reported in the EU in 2001. The average THC content of cannabis leaves is similar, around 5–11 %, although in Norway it is typically lower (1–3 %) and it was reported to reach 34 % in some samples in Germany.

Trends

The number of cannabis seizures (Figure 26 OL) increased steadily in the EU from 1985 but seems to have stabilised since 1999. In 2001, cannabis seizures increased in Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, Sweden and Norway. Quantities seized (Figure 27 OL) also increased from 1985, but have stabilised since 1995.



The retail price of cannabis has generally been stable in the EU, except in the United Kingdom, which reports a downward trend in the last four years. In 2001, the price increased in Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands (leaves) and Norway (resin). In 2001, Portugal and the United Kingdom reported an increase in the purity of cannabis resin and leaves at street level. Cannabis resin purity also rose in Belgium and Italy.


(51) This should be checked against United Kingdom data when available.

(52) As reported in the national reports from these countries.