Personal Cultivation of Marijuana is Growing

by Shanti
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The past decade has opened many doors for cannabis cultivation around the globe. More and more countries are legalizing some form of marijuana and the necessary means to get it… growing. But not all marijuana comes from large cultivators.

There is another less commercial approach to marijuana cultivation. It’s cultivation for personal use also known as personal cultivation. The motive of commercial cultivation is profit. Commercial cultivation delivers a consistent product pharmacies can use. The same is not true for personal cultivators. 

What is Personal Cultivation?

Personal cultivation is the non-commercial growth of cannabis. Also known as cultivation for personal use or home growing, self-cultivation has been around for ages. It is likely the reason marijuana remained popular during prohibition.

During prohibition homegrown pot was some of the best pot around. A friend of a friend was the way people got premium marijuana. This friend of a friend likely grew the pot himself.

Street dealers were not as friendly to deal with. The criminal world was usually not worth the hassle and the pot wasn’t that great. But you could always count on the friend of the friend for the best. These people cared about their marijuana.

These people grew in their bathrooms, garages, greenhouses, and under the sun so they could help people who wanted and needed cannabis. They were different from drug dealers because they cared. They cared about the product and the people using it. The same can be said of personal cultivators today. As the global prohibition comes to an end more people than ever have access to marijuana. Yet, even with commercial cultivation access can be difficult in some places.

For example in the UK there are no medical marijuana treatment centers. People who need access to medical marijuana can travel to more marijuana-friendly countries. The other option is the home grower friend of a friend.

Where is Cultivation for Personal Use Legal?

Presently there are more than ten countries where cultivation for personal use is legal. They include:

Despite the legality, limitations on self-cultivation exist in these places. They restrict THC amount in the plant, the number of plants, and the quantity of the marijuana harvest. Still marijuana cultivation for personal use continues and is growing more popular.

Self-Cultivation in Law

Cultivation for personal use is illegal outside of the places where the law provides protection. Despite the illegality home growers and personal cultivation continues.

In Denmark personal cultivation is recognized as a criminal deterrent. In Belgium it is tolerated simply because it avoids criminal activity.

The criminalization of marijuana is a part of the problem. Research shows “that most of the harms associated with cannabis cultivation are the result of the current criminalizing policies.” The people rather taking a risk than giving up personally growing marijuana. But why?

Why People Cultivate for Personal Use?

Most personal cultivation is punishable yet many choose to continue growing. Researchers at the Global Cannabis Cultivation Research Consortium wanted an answer. So in 2012, they did a survey of 6530 personal cultivators in eleven countries. 

  • Belgium
  • US
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • The Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • UK

The purpose of the study was to determine why personal cultivators in these countries take the risk to grow. What they found was astonishing…

The data showed there were a number of similarities. Growing experience, demographics, methods and scale of production and reasons for growing were alike.

Most interestingly, the study showed personal cultivators were not into growing cannabis for the money. They had other reasons. 

“We can recognize that a clear majority of those small-scale cannabis cultivators who responded to our survey are primarily motivated for reasons other than making money from cannabis supply and have minimal involvement in drug dealing or other criminal activities.

The specific reasons given in 2012 were:

  • Personal use 84%
  • Pleasure 83%
  • Cheaper 75%
  • Avoiding contact with illegal circuit (street dealers and criminal operations) 73%
  • ‘Healthier’ cannabis (organic) 68%

Medical reasons were given between 19% in Belgium and 81% in the US. Only 13% of respondents actually reported growing their own weed for monetary purposes. The interest in money did not dominate participants of the 2012 survey. Nor did the drive for cash dominate in the 2020 survey.

In fact, the 2012 survey and the preliminary results of the 2020 survey were similar. The differences in the two studies were due to the COVID-19 factor in 2020.

Remarkably, participants of the 2020 survey showed even less of a drive for money. They had more of a concern for the well-being of others. Only 4% of participants thus far reported personal cultivation for profit.

One thing is clear so far in the survey, the amount of cannabis grown increased for 18% of participants thus far. Though one in ten reported growing less in 2020.

Though participants in the survey are not in it for the money, nearly 15% reported growing cannabis for the medical use of others.

Personal cultivation in places such as the UK provided an inward-oriented growth strategy. The economic strategy describes the replacement of foreign goods with domestic products. Because of personal cultivation access for marijuana therapy and recreational use was greater.  

COVID-19 Cannabis Relief

During COVID-19 lockdowns more personal cultivation supplied the people’s growing need for cannabis. People stuck in their homes  were searching for relief. It came in the form of personal cultivation.

One-third of survey participants found that getting cannabis from a friend was much more difficult than buying seeds and growing it themselves.

COVID-19 also increased the price of cannabis globally. Commercial domestic cultivation was affected by the pandemic. This led to more people growing at home. Nearly, one-fifth of participants had never grown before the pandemic. But with the increase in the amount of time at home more people became cultivators.

Overall 2020 saw an increase in the number of personal growers. Still, only 4% reported growing due to financial reasons. Most reported growing for more people-oriented reasons.

Growing at home does have its pitfalls. There’s the factors of time, experience, and space. There’s also the problem of quantity. How much cannabis needs to grow to maturity for personal use?

In addition to quantity, there are the issues of quality and consistency. Medical marijuana treatment requires a guarantee of both. Knowing how much THC or CBD is in the product is essential in determining the right prescription. 


Cultivation for personal use is becoming more widespread. People want to grow their own marijuana. It’s part of the freedom people seek to choose the way they live their lives and it should be respected because it avoids crime and keeps people happy. 

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