According to UN figures, Icelanders consumer the most cannabis (as a percentage of population). But if we actually take a look at the numbers…this really doesn’t mean much. In fact, Iceland probably isn’t the number one consumer.
In 2012, more than 18% of the Icelandic population consumed marijuana throughout the year. And yes, this is higher than the 2013 United States report of 15.4%. However, we should note that the UN figures are mostly self-reported and the data was collected over a number of years.
Back when this data was released, this was the talk of the town (er, of the world). Iceland was labeled the #1 country for marijuana use. Obviously, Iceland was not too pleased about this, and they refuted. They said that the data was incomplete and only measured a small portion of their entire national population.
They may be right, and they may be wrong. But, even if this was the case, this data may not mean all that much. If you paid attention to the wording of the findings, you’ll notice that the percentages were based on the number of people that consumed throughout the entire year! Yes, this includes your mom that smoked for the first time on her birthday last year. So experts are saying that they overlooked the most significant figure: the percentage of citizens that use cannabis on a regular basis.
Let us not forget that the bulk of consumption lies in the people who use cannabis on a daily or near daily basis. According to Jonathan Caulkins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, ” A little over half of cannabis use in the U.S. is consumed by people who spend more than half of their waking hours under the influence.”
So, for a better result, we should measure the percentage of users within a shorter period of time.
Although there is not very much data on daily marijuana use in Iceland, based on what we do not, it’s not likely that it would take the No. 1 title if we did have better data.
Here are some stats (with pretty good data) and facts on marijuana consumption in the U.S.