Global patterns in small-scale cannabis growers’ distribution practices : Exploring the grower-distributor nexus

Sogaard, Thomas Friis and Brummer, J.E. and Wilkins, Chris and Sznitman, Sharon and Sevigny, Eric and Frank, Vibeke Asmussen and Potter, Gary and Hakkarainen, Pekka and Barratt, Monica and Werse, Bernd and Grigg, Jodie and Fortin, Davide and Bear, Daniel and Lenton, Simon and Jauffret-Roustide, Marie and Kirtadze, Irma (2024) Global patterns in small-scale cannabis growers’ distribution practices : Exploring the grower-distributor nexus. International Journal of Drug Policy. ISSN 0955-3959

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Background While the supply of cannabis is commonly assumed to be dominated by criminal gangs, a sizable share of the domestic cannabis supply is provided by small-scale growers. This article examines the nature and scope of small-scale growers’ distribution practices, with a particular focus on cross-country differences and variations between different types of grower-distributors, i.e., “non-suppliers”, “exclusive social suppliers”, “sharers and sellers” and “exclusive sellers”. Methods Based on a large convenience web survey sample of predominantly small-scale cannabis growers from 18 countries, this article draws on data from two subsamples. The first subsample includes past-year growers in all 18 countries who answered questions regarding their market participation (n = 8,812). The second subsample includes past-year growers in 13 countries, who answered additional questions about their supply practices (n = 2,296). Results The majority of the cannabis growers engaged in distribution of surplus products, making them in effect “grower-distributors”. Importantly, many did so as a secondary consequence of growing, and social supply (e.g., sharing and gifting) is much more common than selling. While growers who both shared and sold (“sharers and sellers”), and especially those who only sold (“exclusive sellers”), grew a higher number of plants and were most likely to grow due to a wish to sell for profits, the majority of these are best described as small-scale sellers. That is, the profit motive for growing was often secondary to non-financial motives and most sold to a limited number of persons in their close social network. Conclusion We discuss the implications of the findings on the structural process of import-substitution in low-end cannabis markets, including a growing normalization of cannabis supply.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
International Journal of Drug Policy
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?? no - not fundedhealth policymedicine (miscellaneous) ??
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Deposited On:
03 Jun 2024 15:45
Last Modified:
11 Jun 2024 00:36