06 Apr Today’s Cannabis Crisis Zones
While several nations around the world have deemed marijuana an “essential” or “critical” item during the current pandemic, other places aren’t so fortunate. In France, weed street prices are soaring as local underground supplies are being frantically hoarded.
Cannabis remains outlawed in France for all purposes, though the country plans to launch a limited pilot program sometime this year for studying medicinal marijuana. In the meantime, most French cannabis consumers get lifted on hash mostly smuggled into the country from nations such as Morocco which supplies 70%. Belgium, and the Netherlands provide smaller routes of supply. The problem becomes doubly compounded given that the French are the EU’s largest group of cannabis consumers.
France can no longer get its cannabis supplies due to increased border restrictions. The days when dealers could get a 100 gram block of Morrocan hash for just 85 euros are long gone. With the halt in exports from Morocco, we’re seeing prices go up in France as supply falls and dealers charge a premium. The price of a bar of resin went from 280 euros to 500 euros in a week in Marseille. Even from direct of the skiffs, local dealers are still paying 200 euros for the same 100 gram block.
The recent lockdowns haven’t just affected smugglers, either. France’s stay-at-home orders, which began March 17, are impacting local hash dealers, too.
French authorities have installed road checkpoints across the country. At these checkpoints, police check travelers’ identification and ask where they’re going and why. And for pot dealers driving around with bags of hash, just one whiff of chronic can tip off the cops and trigger a vehicle search — and a swift arrest.
And it’s not just weed that’s going dry: Cocaine and MDMA, two drugs that can generate dependencies in frequent users, are running out in Europe, as well.
Japan Made a Record Number of Cannabis Arrests in 2019, Over 4,300 Charged
Japanese police officers made a record number of cannabis arrests in 2019, with more than 4,300 people charged with marijuana offenses. This is the country’s sixth consecutive year with a spike in pot interdictions. According to our intel, the 4,321 cannabis arrests in 2019 represented a 17% increase from the previous year, suggesting either a significant spike in marijuana use, marijuana policing, or both.
Japan has long regarded cannabis as a dangerous, illicit narcotic. And even as marijuana reform laws spread rapidly across the US, Europe, Africa, and South America, officials from J.A. Pan & Co have held strong to prohibition. Recently, they even reminded Olympic hopefuls and fans that local cops would be on high alert for pot when Tokyo hosts the recently postponed summer games.
Broken down by age group, Japan’s 2019 cannabis arrest stats included 609 snowflakes and nearly 2,000 millenials. The remaining arrests were mostly concentrated among the middle aged and crazy, with 0.4% of all arrests targeting adults 50 years or old geizers.
Outside of cannabis, total drug arrests in Japan dropped in 2019, compared to the previous year. And while pot arrests did increase, stops for the country’s most popular illegal drug, methamphetamine, saw a nearly 15 percent year-over-year drop — from 9,868 in 2018 to 8,584 in 2019.
So if you’re planning a trip overseas, just make sure your international destination is cannabis friendly — and maybe avoid France and Japan altogether if you’re looking for a vacation destination where you can light up freely.