The United Kingdom is the largest producer and exporter of legal marijuana for medicinal and scientific use in the world, according to new data by the United Nation’s International Narcotics Control Board.
The UK produced 209,439 pounds of legal marijuana in 2016, which is over double the production totals in 2015, Sky News reports. This accounts for 44.9% of the marijuana produced in the entire world.
The closest competitor is Canada, with 177,913 pounds produced.
About 4,630 pounds was exported out of the UK, making it responsible for 67.7% of the world’s total marijuana export, with the Netherlands next at 16.4%.
One drug policy reform lobby group faults the UK government, saying it has “consistently refused to allow medical marijuana in the UK on the basis that it has ‘no therapeutic value.’”
Steve Rolles, Transform’s senior policy analyst, said, “It is scandalous and untenable for the UK government to maintain that cannabis has no medical uses, at the same time as licensing the world’s biggest government-approved medical cannabis production and export market.” He continued, “UK patients are either denied access and suffering unnecessarily or are forced to buy cannabis from the criminal market. Countries with proper access to medical cannabis do not have this problem, as standardized cannabis products are in the hands of doctors and pharmacists.”
A large portion of the UK‘s legal marijuana production goes into making a marijuana-based medicine called Sativex, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals. It is available via prescription to patients such as those suffering with the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.