|Titre :||Assessing the harms of cannabis cultivation in Belgium (2015)|
|Auteurs :||L. PAOLI ; T. DECORTE ; L. KERSTEN|
|Type de document :||Article : Périodique|
|Dans :||International Journal of Drug Policy (Vol.26, n°3, March 2015)|
|Article en page(s) :||277-289|
|Discipline :||MAR (Marché de la drogue / Drug market)|
Thésaurus TOXIBASECANNABIS ; PRODUCTION ; CULTURE PRIVEE ; CRIMINALITE ; MESURES QUALITATIVES ; MESURES QUANTITATIVES ; MODELE ; DANGER
Background: Since the 1990s, a shift from the importation of foreign cannabis to domestic cultivation has taken place in Belgium, as it has in many other countries. This shift has prompted Belgian policy-making bodies to prioritize the repression of cannabis cultivation. Against this background, the article aims to systematically map and assess for the first time ever the harms associated with cannabis cultivation, covering the whole spectrum of growers.
Methods: This study is based on a web survey primarily targeting small-scale growers (N = 1293) and on three interconnected sets of qualitative data on large-scale growers and traffickers (34 closed criminal proceedings, interviews with 32 criminal justice experts, and with 17 large-scale cannabis growers and three traffickers). The study relied on Greenfield and Paoli's (2013) harm assessment framework to identify the harms associated with cannabis cultivation and to assess the incidence, severity and causes of such harms.
Results: Cannabis cultivation has become endemic in Belgium. Despite that, it generates, for Belgium, limited harms of medium-low or medium priority. Large-scale growers tend to produce more harms than the small-scale ones. Virtually all the harms associated with cannabis cultivation are the result of the current criminalizing policies.
Conclusions: Given the spread of cannabis cultivation and Belgium's position in Europe, reducing the supply of cannabis does not appear to be a realistic policy objective. Given the limited harms generated, there is scarce scientific justification to prioritize cannabis cultivation in Belgian law enforcement strategies. As most harms are generated by large-scale growers, it is this category of cultivator, if any, which should be the focus of law enforcement repression. Given the policy origin of most harms, policy-makers should seek to develop policies likely to reduce such harms. At the same time, further research is needed to comparatively assess the harms associated with cannabis cultivation (and trafficking) with those arising from use.
Cannabis cultivation has become endemic in Belgium (as elsewhere).
Its reduction is thus not a realistic policy objective.
Cannabis cultivation generates limited harms in Belgium.
Cannabis cultivation should thus not be a law enforcement priority.
Most harms of cannabis cultivation result from current criminalizing policies.
Policies should aim to minimize the harms resulting from criminalizing policies.
|Domaine :||Drogues illicites / Illicit drugs|
|Affiliation :||Leuven Institute of Criminology, University of Leuven, Belgium|