Legal issues for German-speaking cannabis growers. Results from an online survey

Int J Drug Policy. 2016 Feb:28:113-9. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2015.10.007. Epub 2015 Nov 2.


Background: Cannabis prohibition can generally be regarded as the main driver for home growing of marijuana. In this paper, I discuss the impact of drug prohibition on cannabis cultivators from the three German-speaking countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In particular, this refers to the questions; how illicitness influences motivations for growing; which precautionary measures are taken against the risk of discovery; how penal consequences differ in the three countries and how these aspects are linked to each other.

Methods: The results come from a sample of 1578 respondents from the German-language online survey conducted following the International Cannabis Cultivation Questionnaire (ICCQ). The survey was carried out in late 2012 and early 2013.

Results: While most of the reasons for growing cannabis relate to avoiding negative consequences of prohibition, the illicitness of cannabis also plays a major role for concern about the cultivation activities as well as measures to avoid negative consequences. Swiss growers are less worried about their activity compared to respondents from Germany or Austria.

Conclusion: The results confirm the notion that the illicitness of cannabis is the main drive for the private cultivation of the plant. At the same time, prohibition is the principal reason for concern regarding the growing activity. The severity of possible sentences seems to be linked to the degree of concern and precautionary measures.

Keywords: Cannabis cultivation; Cannabis use; Criminology; Deterrence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Austria
  • Cannabis / growth & development*
  • Crop Production / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Drug Trafficking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Drug Trafficking / psychology*
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Female
  • Germany / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland
  • Young Adult