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Grass is becoming more expensive in the world

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Almost everyone will agree that they have paid a high price for weed. But not only! This is one of the conclusions of the last Bloomberg Global Vice Index, an annual tool for monitoring the cost of drugs, including illegal ones.

2019 Drug Statistics

The Bloomberg Global Vice Index is a purely economic indicator, not a judgment on morality or legality. Cannabis, cocaine and heroin are allowed for recreational or medical purposes in various forms and jurisdictions, while in the United States, the drug debate is changing. Several states have eased restrictions on cannabis, while there is mobilization at all levels against opioid abuse prescription, which killed tens of thousands of Americans.

What does the indicator say?

Americans should pay 846$ for an "average basket" consisting of four generic drug groups: opioids, cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine-type stimulants. This is the third highest price in the world, behind New Zealand, Australia and most importantly more than 40% more than last year.

The indicator also measures the share of average income (according to International Monetary Fund data) that is necessary to maintain a weekly habit. U.S.for example, this figure is 70%, almost double that of Canada neighbor, where the "average basket" costs a little more than 300 $, about the same price as at the other end of the world at Hong Kong.

Luxembourg repeated as the most affordable nation to climb to the top, while the Netherlands climbed a few places to finish second. In the first case, it is because the Luxembourgers are rich: with annual incomes higher than 100000 dollars and in the second: because the drugs are cheap. The Dutch basket costs only 93 dollars, well below the rate in most developed economies. The France is placed in 8em position with an "average basket" of 147 $.

The Netherlands are also a key exporter. With the increase in illicit drug trafficking on the darknet, a considerable number of sellers would operate from the Netherlands, "said the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction in its 2018 report.

A place where this price is unquestionably high is in the Antipodes. In Australia, the highest price in the world was 1263 $, which is 116% of weekly earnings, up from 91% a year ago, due to an increase in opioids. New Zealand, the cost also exceeds the income of a work week.

Australians spent 13,5 billion dollars on illicit drugs until August 2017, according to central bank estimates, with methamphetamine and cannabis accounting for more than 70% of purchases. This figure comes from a study on circulation of banknotes in the country: it is estimated that about 2% of them are used in drug trafficking.

The other end of the price range are countries like Laos Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, which are close to major production centers or smuggling routes. The Costa Rica Star newspaper reported in December that a kilogram of cocaine was selling for about $ 8000, compared to 35000 $ in the United States and 60000 $ in parts of Europe.

The Bloomberg 2019 Index has been simplified compared to previous editions, which included cigarettes and alcohol. A retrospective measurement for the same products was done for comparison purposes. Since much of the trade in other items is in the dark, data collection is difficult and surveys tend to lag behind. Some price changes are also more related to currency fluctuations than to the price of illicit drugs on the market.

The price of the basket has increased year-on-year in just over half of the countries in the index. The United States recorded one of the largest increases, with most of the increase coming from cocaine and opioids: drug categories that accounted for almost 70% and more 70000 fatal overdoses recorded in the country. 2017.

The problem is global. "There has been an increase in the non-medical use of prescription drugs (diverted from licit or illicitly manufactured circuits)," said the United Nations. its World Report 2018 Drugs, one of Bloomberg's main sources of data for this index.

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