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Domestic Marijuana Growers: Mainstreaming Deviance

NCJ Number
Date Published
23 pages
The characteristics of marijuana growers in the United States were studied using information from 63 Illinois marijuana growers who were growing more than 20 plants each and were arrested between 1980 and 1989.
Results revealed that the growers had an average age of 37 and ranged from 22 to 60 years old. Among the 39 for whom occupations were known, 16 were farmers, 14 were blue-collar workers, six were white-collar workers, and three were unemployed. The number of plants seized was 150; the range was 20 to 58,000. Interviews with 17 growers, one community member knowledgeable about marijuana growing, and one person arrested for harvesting and selling wild marijuana further confirmed that marijuana producers are not disenfranchised persons who seek to make a social statement or a lost generation of youth for whom marijuana growing is a short-term acting-out behavior. Instead, most are middleaged citizens who quietly engaged in growing for its monetary and esthetic rewards. Income from marijuana usually supplemented rather than replaced legitimate income. Marijuana growing is relatively new to the United States and is still a cottage industry that is highly decentralized. It is mostly small in scale and nonviolent. However, drug policies, a maturing domestic industry, and other external forces may change this situation. 26 references

Date Published: January 1, 1995