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Understanding global patterns of domestic cannabis cultivation

Monica J. Barratt (Based at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, Melbourne, Australia)
Martin Bouchard (Based at the School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)
Tom Decorte (Based at the Institute for Social Drug Research, Department of Penal Law and Criminology, University of Gent, Gent, Belgium)
Vibeke Asmussen Frank (Based at the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Pekka Hakkarainen (Based in the Department of Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction, National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Helsinki, Finland)
Simon Lenton (Based at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Aili Malm (Based in the Department of Criminal Justice, California State University, Long Beach, California, USA)
Holly Nguyen (Based in the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA)
Gary R. Potter (based at Social Sciences, Arts and Human Sciences, London South Bank University, London, UK)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 30 November 2012




Unlike other plant‐based drugs, cannabis is increasingly grown within the country of consumption, requires minimal processing before consumption, and can be easily grown almost anywhere using indoor or outdoor cultivation techniques. Developments in agronomic technologies have led to global growth in domestic cultivation, both by cannabis users for self‐ and social‐supply, and by more commercially‐oriented growers. Cross‐national research is needed to better understand who is involved in domestic cultivation, the diversity in cultivation practices and motivations, and cultivators' interaction with the criminal justice system and cannabis control policies.


The article introduces the Global Cannabis Cultivation Research Consortium (GCCRC), describes its evolution and aims, and outlines the methodology of its ongoing cross‐national online survey of cannabis cultivation.


Despite differing national contexts, the GCCRC successfully developed a core questionnaire to be used in different countries. It accommodates varying research interests through the addition of optional survey sections. The benefits to forming an international consortium to conduct web‐based survey research include the sharing of expertise, recruitment efforts and problem‐solving.

Research limitations/implications

The article discusses the limitations of using non‐representative online sampling and the strategies used to increase validity.


The GCCRC is conducting the largest cross‐national study of domestic cannabis cultivation to date. The aim is not only to better understand patterns of cannabis cultivation and how they differ between countries but also to build upon online engagement methodology with hidden populations.



Barratt, M.J., Bouchard, M., Decorte, T., Asmussen Frank, V., Hakkarainen, P., Lenton, S., Malm, A., Nguyen, H. and Potter, G.R. (2012), "Understanding global patterns of domestic cannabis cultivation", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 213-221.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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