Cannabis Cultivation 'Lifestyle Choice' for More Finns

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Jun 21, 2007
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Home-grown cannabis has become much more common in Finland since the turn of the century. According to fresh research by the Health and Welfare Institute (THL), up to 40,000-60,000 Finns have at some point grown their own marijuana.

Every tenth Finn knows somebody who grows their own cannabis, a fraction that rises to every fifth among the under-35s. The main reason for growing cannabis in Finnish homes is recreational use, rather than as a business venture.

According to the THL’s research, the rise in home cultivation has been led by the easy availability of the knowledge and equipment necessary.

THL substance and addictions division director, Pekka Hakkarainen, believes that trends and fashions have led to the rise in popularity of home marijuana cultivation.

”Varieties have developed so that cannabis is now easy to grow,” Hakkarainen said. “Harvests are more reliable now. Cultivation technology has also developed, for instance in lighting and irrigation systems. There are also a lot of ideological reasons – people believe it is better to grow their own than to let criminals control the market.”

Another reason for the development of the home cultivation movement is that Finland is detached from the main trans-national drug smuggling routes. For instance in Denmark, home cultivation is not so widespread.

Wide Range Of People

The largest group among home growers is composed of young men. Researcher Jussi Perälä notes that cannabis is also grown in family homes.

”Cannabis growers are family members and single people, unemployed and working people, as well as people in high positions,” expounded Perälä. “The range is very wide.”

The cannabis grower does, however, live in fear of the law catching up with him. Cannabis cultivation is treated as a crime.

”They could lose their study place, or their job,” cautioned Perälä. "A drug conviction can affect people for the rest of their lives.”

Finnish attitudes towards home growers have loosened somewhat. A fifth of Finns would allow home growers to remain unpunished.

"Among younger age groups, this percentage is much higher,” added Hakkarainen. “Among men under 35, the figure is nearly one half, which is quite a high figure."

"This is an international trend. It has become accepted at least among younger age groups that cannabis is not a dangerous drug. Perhaps cannabis cultivation is now seen as more of a lifestyle choice.”

According to THL’s research, herbal cannabis is now more popular than cannabis resin, or hashish.


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