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Backyard pot grown for health: survey

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The interim findings of a survey of backyard cannabis growers shows most grow it for medicinal purposes.


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Backyard pot grown for health: survey


Melissa Jenkins, AAP November 18, 2012, 2:55 pm



AP © Almost half of people growing cannabis in Australia use if for medicinal purposes, a study shows.

Almost half of people growing small quantities of cannabis in Australia use if for medicinal purposes, a new study has found.

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 tht 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.

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