You won’t believe which country smokes the most weed (hint: it’s not the U.S.)

which country smokes the most weed

Cannabis is one of the most commonly used intoxicants in the world, regardless of its legal status. Fortunately for consumers, more countries are reconsidering their stances on the plant. From Albania to Uruguay, 70 countries have enacted some type of reform (mostly medical marijuana legalization). 

While all eyes may be on the North American cannabis market, it’s not the only game in town. According to recent projections, the global marijuana industry is expected to reach a value of over $444 billion by the end of the decade.

RELATED: Will Congress pass marijuana reform? D.C. insiders have thoughts

With so many people smoking pot worldwide, it’s fair to ask which countries have the highest prevalence of consumption. According to a new report, one Middle Eastern country leaves the rest of the world in a puff of smoke.

To compile their list of the top 20 weed-smoking countries, a research team analyzed data from New Frontier Data, Earth Med, and The European Monitor Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. The results are theoretical, so they can be taken with a grain of salt, but the data definitely tracks.

So, which country smokes the most weed? The answer may or may not surprise you.

Israel has highest cannabis consumption rates among citizens

According to the analysis, people in Israel use more marijuana than any other country, with roughly 27 percent of adults consuming it regularly. Israel legalized medical cannabis in the 1990s and decriminalized possession and home cultivation in 2019. 

The country has long been a global leader in cannabis science. Israeli scientist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the father of cannabis research, was the first to identify the chemical structure of THC. U.S. cannabis companies have funneled millions of dollars into the nation to support clinical trials on everything from autism to epilepsy. 

It remains to be seen if studies currently underway will be impacted by the country’s war with Hamas in neighboring Palestine. However, recent data suggest a sharp uptick in medical cannabis prescriptions among Israelis for PTSD and pain—likely associated with the ongoing conflict.

Jamaica, U.S. round out top three weed-smoking countries

While Israel leads the pack in terms of cannabis consumption by a considerable margin, there are plenty of other countries where a significant portion of the population is lighting up. 

The island nation of Jamaica came in at number two on the rankings, with approximately 18 percent of adults reporting they use cannabis. The country’s parliament enacted reform in 2015, legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing simple possession, cultivation, and consumption. Practitioners of the Rastafari tradition are also permitted to use cannabis for religious purposes.

RELATED: Ukraine set to legalize medical marijuana

The United States ranked third on the list of weed-smoking countries, with just over 17 percent of the adult population regularly imbibing. That number continues to climb as more states legalize cannabis, and over half of the population has tried marijuana at least once.

As the calls for cannabis legalization grow louder worldwide, the number of people consuming the plant is only set to increase. Reform is being considered in a number of countries, but action by global agencies like the United Nations would be the real litmus test. Until then, the piecemeal approach to ending prohibition is set to continue.


Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, Cannabis and Tech Today, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter