But if lockdown has led a significant number of people to start growing their own cannabis, it is also important to note that the vast majority of our participants were growing it already. And while many respondents (18%) reported growing more under lockdown, one in ten said they were growing less or had stopped altogether. Meanwhile, organised crime continues to supply a large chunk of the UK cannabis market.
There is some interesting variation between countries in the findings. In Italy, more than one-quarter of respondents had started growing since the pandemic started – noticeably above the global average. Meanwhile, one-third of Portuguese respondents cited a shortage of cannabis during COVID-19 as a reason for growing their own.
In 2020, we launched our second international survey to see how cultivation was being affected by this shifting backdrop. This time we looked at 18 countries, adding France, Georgia, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal and Uruguay to the original 11, while also running a survey for people in non-participating countries. A global pandemic and national lockdowns had not been part of our planning, but of course we added questions to find out the effects.
This trend has been gaining momentum during the pandemic. So is this permanent or will the old supply chains reassert themselves when countries return to some kind of normality?
Keeping up with cannabis
More than one-third of respondents reported that it was harder to meet up in person with people they grew with, or to obtain cannabis through personal social networks or their usual dealer. Yet fewer than one in ten reported that it was harder to get hold of cannabis seeds, growing equipment, or other supplies like fertilisers.
In 2012, we surveyed growers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK and the US to find out more about small-scale growing, and how and why they these people got involved. Most turned out to be regular people – with normal jobs, normal family arrangements, and no more involvement in drug dealing or other crime than any other section of the public.
Back in the days when “skunk” was mainly associated with Pepé Le Pew and hydroponics was a way of improving cucumbers, most of the UK’s cannabis supply was imported from places such as Morocco and Lebanon. This changed in the past two or three decades in the UK and many other countries as organised criminal gangs set up growing operations closer to home.
Lancaster University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation UK.
Cannabis was still cultivated and distributed out of the more exotic locations on a large scale, particularly when it came to resin, but a fair amount of production had now moved closer to the demand in a process economists call import substitution.
At homes with residents under 21, any marijuana grow area must be enclosed and locked in a separate space that minors can’t access.
Marijuana plants must be kept in an enclosed, locked area that can’t be viewed openly. This means the plants can’t be outside.
Don’t forget that counties and municipalities can pass stricter laws. For example, Denver limits a home grow to 12 plants, even if there are three or more adults over age 21 in the residence. Be sure to check your local laws for specific details.
Up to six plants are allowed per Colorado resident over age 21, with as many as three plants flowering at one time.
The laws are different for medical marijuana consumers.
Coloradans can grow marijuana in their homes for personal use.
At homes without residents under 21, extra precautions must be taken to make sure any visiting youth don’t have access to marijuana plants.