Taxing Cannabis

Taxing Cannabis = £6.5 b

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Tuesday, 25th September 2018

Cannabis Prices

Cannabis Market Trends 1994 to 2008

IDMU monitors the market share of different types of cannabis via questions in our surveys asking respondents to indicate the rough percentage of their usage accounted for by different types of cannabis. This can be expressed as raw shares (total percentages for each variety divided by total percentages for all varieties) or weighted market shares (individual percentages multiplied by reported monthly usage).

cannabis market shares 1994 to 2008
The past decade has seen a significant shift in the UK cannabis market away from cannabis resin and towards ‘skunk’. The market share of cannabis resin has fallen from around 60% of the market in 1998 to just over 20% in 2007/08, whereas the share for Skunk has risen from 12% in 1994 to around 70% in 2007/08.

Cannabis Resin – Moroccan ‘Soap-Bar’ resin (3-7% THC) continues to be the most common variety available, although its market share has fallen from nearly 40% in the late 1990s to 11% in 2008. Whilst the share for other traditional resin varieties (e.g. Asian Black (1-10% THC) or Lebanese (1-5% THC)) have declined significantly, higher quality Moroccan-type resins (e.g. flat-press/zero-zero (5-10% THC, and Pollen (5-15% THC)) are commonly reported in some parts of the UK. An increasing number of growers are now extracting ‘skuff’ resin (10-60% THC) from otherwise-waste leaf material.

Herbal Cannabis – Skunk (7-20% THC) is the undisputed Market Leader, now a generic term for female ‘sinsemilla’ flowering heads rather than being specific to any one variety. Imported bush, mainly of African or Caribbean origin (1-7% THC) is still found and now accounts for about 6% of the market. The incidence of ‘homegrown’ – leaf or whole plant material (0-4% THC) – has declined significantly. A number of criminal gangs have been prosecuted for large-scale (several hundred kilos a week) importation of skunk-type cannabis, suggesting the UK market for Skunk now exceeds the capacity of UK-based growers to satisfy domestic demand.