I presented interim findings from the worldwideweed.nl survey, using data from the first 251 growers from Australia, at the meeting of the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol & other Drugs (APSAD) conference in Melbourne this week.
The findings were reported across mainstream media here in Australia using the following main story, quoted from Sky News:
The interim findings of a survey of backyard cannabis growers shows most grow it for medicinal purposes.
In the first study of its size in Australia, the National Drug Research Institute is conducting an anonymous online survey to find out more about people who grow small amounts of cannabis in their backyards, cupboards and sheds.
A research fellow at the institute, Monica Barratt, said about 250 people had taken part so far and it was hoped the responses would double in coming months before the information was collated and compared with similar studies in the US, Canada, the UK and across Europe.
‘The majority grow for personal use and also to avoid contact with criminals,’ Dr Barratt told AAP on Sunday, ahead of her presentation at a major alcohol and drug conference in Melbourne this week.
Almost half of the survey respondents said they grew cannabis for medicinal purposes, including people hoping to improve their appetite while taking medication for cancer and HIV, Dr Barratt said.
Nearly all of the respondents were men with a median age of 34. More than half of respondents lived outside major cities and were generally well educated and employed, she said.
Some 85 per cent of growers said they did it for personal use and cultivation had sparked contact with police for about one-third.
Growers typically reported growing six juvenile (four mature) plants. The most common places to grow cannabis were the garden (45 per cent), inside a cupboard (26 per cent), in parks or bush (21 per cent) and inside a shed (19 per cent).
Dr Barratt said it was hoped the survey would give growers a say about policies concerning cannabis, which differ from state to state.
Almost all said that even if cannabis was decriminalised there should be regulations in place for growers, such as how many plants and what types of people should be allowed to cultivate the drug.
The World Wide Weed team conducting international research into cannabis cultivation was looking for more respondents.
Since then, we’ve had over 100 respondents complete the survey. Thanks everyone! Looking forward to doing more in-depth analysis and especially doing country comparisons once we have completed data collection.