Puff piece

A man enjoys some cannabis he cultivated in his garden.

CURTIN University wants to hear from people who grow their own weed.

Its National Drug Research Institute are leading the Australian arm of an international study that aims to better inform governments about cannabis.

They’re looking for small-scale cannabis growers to anonymously share their experiences, motivations and views on cannabis laws, including any dealings with the justice system.

NDRI professor Simon Lenton says more than 3500 growers in 17 countries have already completed the confidential online survey.

“Most academic research on cannabis cultivation had been conducted on criminal justice data on large criminal organisations,” he says.

“This ignored the reality of many small-scale home growers.  

“We wanted to give them a say by asking about their experiences and attitudes and really set the record straight.”

Prof Lenton says their previous study of 6500 cannabis growers in 2012-13 challenged misleading stereotypes.

“Since the 1980’s there has been a there has been a decline in international supply of cannabis and an increase in cannabis production within countries (domestic production) by outdoor and then indoor cultivation,” he says.

“Most Australian participants in the first survey were men with a median age of 35, and 70 per cent were employed.

“They typically reported growing four to six cannabis plants, with 41 per cent growing outdoors, 27 per cent indoors and 32 per cent both. 

“Most Australian respondents grew cannabis for personal use and to share with friends, rather than to profit from selling it. 

“They wanted to avoid contact with criminals, but for around one-fifth cultivation had led to contact with the police.

“Just over half said they were growing cannabis for medicinal purposes. Almost all respondents thought that if cannabis was legalised there should be regulations around who is permitted to grow the drug and how many plants should be allowed.”

With New Zealanders narrowly voting against legalising cannabis in a referendum last month, pressure is again mounting on the Australian government to reconsider its stance on marijuana.

Prof Lenton says a lot has changed in cannabis policy since their last survey, including legalisation of medicinal cannabis nationally and personal cannabis use in the ACT. 

Information gathered from the survey will be used by the Global Cannabis Cultivation Research Consortium, an international network of academic researchers, to publish scientific papers and make informed submissions to governments considering changing cannabis laws.

Recently the GCCRC contributed to the ACT inquiry into The Drugs of Dependence (Personal Cannabis Use) Amendment Bill 2018 – which resulted in cannabis legalisation in the ACT, and the briefed the NZ officials drafting the NZ Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which was the basis of the recently held referendum.

Home growers can complete the anonymous survey at worldwideweed.nl

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