A large number of Danes are growing their own cannabis plants at home, according to a new investigation by drug researcher Helle Dahl.
Dahl, a researcher at the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research at Aarhus University, said that her investigation suggested that there were at least 1,200 Danes who grew cannabis plants in their homes, but that many grow the plants for a reason other than getting high.
“There are a number of people who self-medicate against ADHD, as is the case with cancer and AIDS patients who also benefit from [cannabis],” Dahl told P3 radio station.
While it is illegal to grow the plants, it is legal to buy and sell cannabis seeds in Denmark and Dahl said that while there is a grey zone as a result, by growing their own cannabis people are not supporting the criminal element involved in the underground drug trade.
But while growing the plants is illegal, police are cracking down more often on the larger production facilities that have begun springing up in the country recently, which are able to produce up to 400 kilos of cannabis every year. That's just under one fifth of the total amount of cannabis confiscated in Denmark in 2011, according to a publication from last year entitled ‘Cannabis – forbrug, interventioner og markeder i Danmark’ (Cannabis – consumption, interventions and markets in Denmark) by the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research.
The cannabis output from home growers, on the other hand, is relatively small.
Of 550 Danish home growers contacted for the study, only 22 indicated that their home production consisted of more than 100 plants and just five of them had more than 500 plants, which could provide 60 kilos of smoke-ready cannabis a year. Most of the growers had only between one and 50 plants.
“Most of the people grow cannabis for their own use. But people generally grow more plants than they need because you don’t know how much you get from your production beforehand,” Vibeke Asmussen Frank, one of the authors of the publication, told Berlingske newspaper.
The publication also attempts to identify just who the typically Danish cannabis grower really is. But aside from fact that they are mostly male and employed, there are no other general traits in common.
“There are too many Danes who smoke cannabis for them to be part of a marginalised group, and we are not surprised over how widespread growing cannabis actually is,” Frank said.