A whopping 22.8 billion EGP per year is spent on hashish in Egypt. A number that had us investigating the whole drug scene further. Here are the details of our most interesting findings.
Simply known as hash, this is currently the most popular cannabis-type drug in Egypt.
Egypt ranks as the 12th top country in highest hash consumption according to the Annual Drug Report published by the UN.
According to the same report, 22.8 billion EGP per year are spent on the drug, which is about 2.5% of our national income.
An on-field investigation shows hashish used to be a scarce commodity before 2011, due to strict law enforcement before the revolution. However, it’s now widely available. Especially in the following 9 governorates:
– Al Qalyubia
– Al Dakahlia
– South Sinai
Whole districts, such as Al Gayara in Old Cairo, have been turned into drug malls, where hashish is sold publicly.
Neighboring areas also offer drugs like Tramadol and Tramal.
Another area in Giza is known to the Mohandiseen and Dokki upper-middle class as the biggest supply area for hashish, where you can get drugs delivered to cafés and bars, after being transported from Port Said through small villages.
The Egyptian Drug Investigation Units have recently announced that in the period between August 2013 and June 2014, the following amount of drugs have been seized:
– 39,011 kg of marijuana
– 14,250 kg of cannabis seeds
– 79,613 kg of hashish
– 249,503 of heroin
– 4,447 kg of cocaine
This does not even take into account the acres of land being used to grow cannabis in Sinai and other remote areas.
The weight unit used locally (and even by the UN) is the kersh, which is basically 10.15 grams. There are several types of hashish sold in the market, and accordingly, the prices vary.
– A kersh of Moroccan hash would typically cost around 140 EGP, while a passport-sized baggie costs around 2800 EGP, valuing a box that contains 100 of those cost around 28k.
– A kersh of Lebanese weed costs approximately 150-200 EGP, as it’s a bit difficult to get hold of.
– Bogus hash, or as it’s locally known, Festek, is sold for 100 EGP per kersh, though prices may spike during Eid and Christmas.
– Other types of hash, chemically prepared and locally known as Baskota, are sold for 140 per kersh.
Looking at these numbers, I’m sure you can’t help but wonder how many druggies we have in Egypt. It is hard to pin a number to it but the following statistics float around.
Dr. Adel Al Adawy, Minister of Health, has recently announced that there are 2.53 million drug addicts currently in Egypt.
The UN claims that the figure is closer to 5 million.
A recently published study by the National Center for Social and Criminological Research puts the number of addicts at 8 million.
Statistically, 45% of addicts take Tramadol, while 81% take in multiple drugs, 21% are Hash addicts, and 0.01% are heroin addicts.The costs of rehab can reach 18,000 LE per person, and lasts around 3 months.
The first law criminalizing drug consumption and dealing in Egypt was established in 1800 during the French invasion and was abolished a year after as the French left.
Several efforts seeking to criminalize drug dealing and consumption can be found in later eras, such as in 1925 and 1929.
In 1960, a law prohibiting drug dealing was finally sanctioned, and was amended several times, taking its final shape in 1989. Resulting legal punishment can reach execution (in extreme cases), or life in prison with bail set at a minimum of 100,000 EGP.
This raises a very important question. Considering the figures and the statistics cited above, which suggest that quite a large percentage of the Egyptian population consumes drugs, should the government be taking stricter measures to contain drug consumption and dealing, or should it be taking steps towards legalizing relatively harmless drugs such as cannabis?