Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know

By Jonathan P. Caulkins; Angela Hawken et al. | Go to book overview

3
HOW IS MARIJUANA
PRODUCED AND DISTRIBUTED
TODAY?

How and where is marijuana grown today?

Marijuana production is basically gardening. If marijuana were fully legal, it could be farmed, as industrial hemp is today in thirty or so countries around the world. But acres of marijuana fields are relatively easy to see and seize, so today in the United States it is mostly grown on a small scale.

Like tomatoes, marijuana can be grown outdoors or indoors, with or without soil. Some indoor production takes place in greenhouses, but growers often need to be more inconspicuous, so indoor production also occurs in basements, in individual rooms—sometimes hidden behind false partitions—and in “grow houses” (essentially single-family houses filled with plants). It is even grown in storage containers buried underground. Outdoor production likewise occurs in many places; the cannabis plant is hardy. But growing in federal parks and state forests (“guerrilla grows”) is popular because there are few neighbors and there is no risk of having law enforcement seize the property on which the marijuana is grown.

Indoor growing is practical because yields per unit area are so high. Based on grow operations confiscated by Dutch police, horticultural scientist Marcel Toonen estimated densities of fifteen plants per square meter producing 33.7 grams of

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