Cultivation and production of cannabis herb ("marijuana") remains widespread, while production of cannabis resin ("hashish") remains confined to a few countries in North Africa, the Middle East and South-West Asia. In Afghanistan, despite the fact that the area under cannabis cultivation has been decreasing, the potential cannabis resin production in 2012 was higher than in 2011 due to the greater yield per hectare.
Global cannabis use seems to have decreased, essentially reflecting a decrease in cannabis use estimates reported by a number of countries in Western and Central Europe. However, in the United States, the lower perceived risk of cannabis use has led to an increase in its use. At the same time, more people using cannabis are seeking treatment each year.
In Europe, the market has changed over the past decade, with cannabis herb produced locally or regionally now gaining ground over cannabis resin, largely sourced from Morocco, which previously was the dominant cannabis substance in Europe, as evidenced by seizure data.
New regulatory frameworks in the States of Colorado and Washington in the United States and in Uruguay now make the recreational use of cannabis legal under some restrictions. The new laws also include provisions for the supply chain, including both licensed and personal cultivation. It is too early to understand the impact of these changes on recreational and problematic use of cannabis and in the broad range of areas that they may affect, including health, criminal justice, and public revenues and expenditures. It will take years of careful monitoring to understand the broader effects of those novel regulatory frameworks in order to inform future policy decisions.
Based on existing research, it can be argued that with declining risk perception and increased availability, use and youth initiation may increase. Tax revenues from retail cannabis sales are expected to provide public revenue. However, expected revenue will need to be cautiously weighed against the costs of prevention and health care.