Today, April 20 (pronounced four-twenty) is a code-term that refers to the annual consumption of cannabis and by extension, as a way to identify oneself with cannabis culture.
Well, all ganja man, ganja baby and weed-heads in Jamaica may find this news strange; but it is oh so true. Jamaica is NOT in the Top 10 … nor even in the Top 15 countries around the world with the highest number of ganja users.
Iceland and the United States are the top two countries with the highest rate of ganja smokers. Jamaica places all the way down at number 19, below even St. Lucia and Barbados, in a list compiled from statistics drawn from the records of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
A website called HealthGrove used data from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which covers reported use of cannabis for each country in the last year to determine the countries with the highest ganja use. Although HealthGrove included the most recent data available, the year collected varies by country.
“We’ve ranked the list from least to most reported usage, and provide legality information for each country,” according to HealthGrove.
Iceland tops the list, with more than 18 per cent of their population admitting that they used cannabis. The United States was second in the list with 15.4 per cent reporting having used the drug in 2013, while in Jamaica, only 8 percent of the population was reported as having used ganja.
In Jamaica, history was created at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Mona campus on April 20, 2015 with the planting of the island’s first legal cannabis plant on the grounds of the institution. The then Minister of Energy, Phillip Paulwell; Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding; university officials, as well as other stakeholders, took part in the symbolic planting ceremony held at the Faculty of Medical Sciences’ Teaching and Research Complex. The Government accorded the UWI an Order to cultivate ganja for medical research, and to also set the pace for the development of a legal cannabis industry. This is in keeping with the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015, which became effective on April 15, 2015 and makes provision for development of a medical marijuana industry.
Rounding out the Top 5 ganja-using countries are New Zealand, Nigeria, and Canada.
The Netherlands, where it is legal to possess up to 5 grams and to use in coffee shops, came in 20th with seven per cent reporting using marijuana, according to the statistics compiled by HealthGrove.
With that being said, all we can say is: Happy 4/20!