This surprising map explains how the world smokes pot

Worldwide, weed news couldn’t be hotter. It’s now legal in Colorado and Washington — and Uruguay just became the first country to legalize it. The nation now has bold, new weed plans that include, among others, giving medical marijuana to prisoners in its jails.

The catch: Despite Uruguay’s weed affinity, only 8.3 percent of its inhabitants actually smoke it, according to the United Nations 2014 World Drug Report.

The country that, surprisingly, has the highest percentage of stoners? Iceland. That’s right, 55,000 of its residents light up — nearly one-fourth of the population — even though marijuana remains an expensive commodity, according to some. Today, its president wants the trade legalized. “If we allow the sale of alcohol,” he said, “there is no reason to ban the soft drugs any longer.”

Other countries with a high percentage of potheads include the United States, New Zealand, Canada and … Nigeria.

A major caveat: There are huge swath’s of the globe where there is no data, so it’s difficult to know how much weed is smoked there. For instance, in Southeast Asia, home to the happy pizza, little data is to be had. But the U.N. data looks like this in map form:

 

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Terrence McCoy is a foreign affairs writer at the Washington Post. He served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Cambodia and studied international politics at Columbia University. Follow him on Twitter here.
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