Convenient labour: the prevalence and nature of youth involvement in the cannabis cultivation industry.

School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6 Canada.
The International journal on drug policy (Impact Factor: 2.54). 05/2009; 20(6):467-74. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2009.02.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The emergence of cannabis cultivation in industrialised countries may offer adolescents, especially those living in regions suitable for outdoor cultivation, new opportunities to participate in the drug trade. The current study examines the prevalence and the nature of youth involvement in cannabis cultivation in an important agricultural region of Quebec, Canada.
A self-report delinquency survey was administered to 1262 adolescents between 13 and 17 years who were attending one of four secondary schools in that region. The study location was not chosen arbitrarily. The region was known for having a larger than average outdoor cannabis industry, and various media reports suggested that a substantial number of students missed school days during the cannabis harvest season, in October.
A first set of findings show that 12% of respondents reported having participated in the cannabis cultivation industry in the past year. Such a prevalence rate is higher than for any other type of crime found in the survey (except for the general category of mischief)--including assault and theft, and is comparable to the prevalence rates found for drug dealing. Such a high prevalence rate comes in part out of need for labour in this low population density region: 35% of respondents who reported having participated in the industry in the past year, were "labourers", while many others only participated in small sites, destined for personal use. Another set of findings suggest that growers are a very diverse group: although cultivation is the most prevalent money-generating crime for gang members in the region, girls and otherwise conventional adolescents are also involved in high numbers.
These results emphasise the need to design policies that concern not just the prevention of drug use among youth, but also youth involvement in the supply of drugs. In addition, it underlines the difficulty of planning general interventions in what appears to be a very heterogeneous population of growers.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Typically, the development of gang typologies have used either behaviorally based or structurally based characteristics to develop a classification system of gangs. The current study aims to assess the results of typologies approached from both angles, drawing from the same data source. It also examines whether using a combination of both approaches would prove to be useful. A separate but related aim of this study is to examine the boundaries between self-identified group members and gang members, especially on structural and behavioral characteristics. A hierarchical cluster analysis approach is used to group participants on both behavioral and structural measures using a sample of self-identified gang members (n = 44) and delinquent group members (n = 171). A number of important findings emerged from this analysis. First, the “types” of gangs and groups found were not differentiated based on membership status. Second, patterns found strongly depended on the chosen approach (behavioral or structural), but neither proved to be clearly superior. Instead, the choice between the two depend on the interest of the researcher. Finally, using a mixed approach appears to produce the most accurate picture and it does help differentiate between gang and group members more clearly. Yet, a much more complex picture of gangs and groups emerge, which suggests that a purely behavioral or structural classification may sometimes lead to oversimplification and misdirected policy interventions.
    International Criminal Justice Review 01/2011; 21(3):263-282.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cannabis cultivation has become increasingly localized, whether soil-based or hydroponic growing methods are used. Characteristics of a given location, such as its climate and the equipment it requires may influence general accessibility or attract different types of offenders based on potential profits. The location of crops, especially hydroponic crops, suggests a certain proximity to the consumer market via semi-urban and urban environments, while making it possible to avoid detection. This article examines the cannabis market through its cultivation.
    International Journal of Drug Policy 11/2014; · 2.40 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we take advantage of aerial police detection data and compare them to an analysis of airborne hyperspectral imagery to estimate the size of outdoor cannabis production in a high density cultivation area located in British Columbia, Canada. The results suggest that law enforcement missed at least 75% of the existing cultivation sites during the operation. Based on this ratio, the total number of cultivation sites in the island/coastal region is estimated at 1772 sites, for a total of 9563–14,663 kg of marketable product. Conservative estimates of street value easily put cannabis as the number‐one cash crop in the region under study. Implications for law enforcement agencies interested about the efficiency of their eradication programs are discussed.
    Police Practice and Research 10/2011; 12(5):424-434.