International

Canada leads the world in legal demand for cannabis

By Spencer Bailey | June 29, 2017

According to the May 2017 update of the International Narcotics Control Board (“NCB”), a regulatory body of the United Nations, Canada leads the world in its estimated legal demand for cannabis, at 67 289 650 grams, or approximately 67.3 metric tons. In behind Canada is Colombia, with an estimated legal demand of 40.5 tons, and the United States of America, with an estimated legal demand of 33.5 tons.

Countries that are signatories to a trio of narcotics control agreements, namely the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as amended by the 1972 ProtocolThe Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, and The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, participate in an international system in which countries report to the NCB their  estimated domestic needs for certain controlled substances, such as a cannabis, and then report their actual consumption or use at the end of the stated time period. This “Estimate and Return” system is meant to ensure that all countries are able to gain access to controlled substances for the purposes that have been agreed to in these treaties, which include ensuring that their populations have access to and may benefit from medical treatment involving the controlled substances, and ensuring there is sufficient supply for any medical research and other scientific purposes. The “Estimate and Return” system is meant to provide an accounting for the international production and trade of controlled substances, and is intended to limit the potential for the diversion of controlled substances from legal uses to illegal uses in the international market.


Comments (3)

  1. Jules:
    Dec 29, 2018 at 12:53 AM

    Fascinating article. Very in depth. My one question is: from where would Canada import cannabis? Are there countries currently exporting cannabis legally? Uraguay seems like the most economical source, although shipping costs could be an issue.

  2. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM


    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.

  3. miss lena:
    Feb 24, 2019 at 01:52 PM

    All labels will need to be plain, not appealing to children, and make no health claims. For edibles, there may be no dietary claims, and for topicals, there may be no cosmetic claims. For all of the new product classes, packaging and labelling must not contain any elements that associate the product with an alcoholic beverage, alcohol, or an alcohol brand.






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