Medical cannabis access is not available in all parts of Europe, and profits continue to rise on the black market.
According to KFGO, Europeans spent at least €11.6 billion, or $12.7 billion USD, on cannabis from illegal sources. This still keeps cannabis on top as the largest black-market money source in the European Union.
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) claimed in their annual report that the market is worth at least €30 billion, increased from €24 billion in 2013. Illegal sales of cannabis products made up 39 percent of the EU’s drugs market, up from 38 percent in 2013. The report also showed that a lot of the money comes from gang activity.
The data also shows that a lot of the cannabis in the European Union originates from the U.S. However, a lot of the imported resin comes mostly from Morocco, and a lot of flower is imported from Albania. “The European drug market is increasingly characterized by consumers having access to a wide variety of high-purity and high-potency products,” the report said.
The report also claims that some proceeds from this illegal money go to militant organizations. Narcotics are a major source of income for groups like West Africa’s Boko Haram, Islamic State, and Somalia’s al-Shabaab. It also claimed that cryptocurrency and other laundering methods were being used to carry out criminal activity.
With all these numbers pointing to a major connection between illegal cannabis and crime, it only makes sense to legalize. Luckily, the European Union is finally starting to come around to things like CBD as a treatment for seizures and Luxembourg finally legalized cannabis. Hopefully, it’s only a matter of time until other countries in Europe come around.