The United Kingdom's Independent Drugs Monitoring Unit, a non-governmental research organization, reports that more than two-thirds of all marijuana consumed in the UK is now home-grown, while imports from traditional suppliers such as Morocco, India, and the Netherlands have plummeted.
Some experts believe the move to do-it-yourself marijuana supplies is a result of smokers wanting to disassociate themselves from criminality and violence linked to the black market drug trade. Phil Kilvington, editor of the British Weed World magazine, told the Scotsman newspaper a "fair-trade ethos" is behind the spike in home grows. "Home-growing is a multi- billion pound industry in the UK -- 10 years ago 90% of cannabis smoked in this country was coming from overseas, now it is more like 30%," he said. "There is a 100% link between imported cannabis and criminal networks, many of whom are involved in other types of crime such as prostitution, trafficking, or class A drugs. Home-growers do not want to be associated with that."
Home growers also hope to avoid the detritus of commercial weed and hash, said Kilvington, citing plastic, wax, coffee, or other drugs discovered in imported hash. By growing their own, consumers can produce strong, untainted, organic strains.
"It is almost the equivalent of home-brewing beer – home-growers are almost invisible. If you can grow cannabis at home, why go out and engage with a dealer or supplier?" agreed Professor Neil McKeganey, director of the Center for Drug Misuse Research at the University of Glasgow, who added that he was not surprised by the finding. McKeganey expressed concern that the turn to home-growing could lead to an increase in high-potency marijuana use, using some positively Reefer Madness-style language. "There is a possibility that consumption of often very high-strength cannabis will increase considerably [because of home-growing]. At the moment, a quarter of teenagers consume cannabis -- would that go up if growing at home is seen as normal and increases further? The high strength strains being cultivated can give the same hallucinogenic effects as LSD, and may result in an increase in mental illness and diseases such as throat cancer."
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