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Home grown cannabis is free more often than not; the most frequent price given for every quantity was £0. From our data, we cannot tell what proportion of respondents had grown their own, for 'free', and what proportion had been given some by a grower. 63% of respondents had grown some cannabis plants at least once.
Cannabis is a common weed which can be grown almost anywhere without any expenses. UK homegrown can be of similar quality to imported herb, the main factors affecting ultimate THC potency being the seedstock, light levels while growing, and the drying and storage process after harvest. However, although it may be consumed, most home grown is not sold. Plants grown using only British sunlight will often not reach full maturity, and so will be undersized and low in THC. Immaturity and amateur "curing" can adversely affect the flavour. The flowering heads ("buds") of the female plants contain the highest THC, and would usually be the only parts producing cannabis of marketable quality.
The National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) have suggested to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that a cannabis plant produces 100g of usable cannabis, which could have been sold at £3,460 per kilo in 1996, the same price as imported bush. The cost of other drug production is usually around 5% of final street price, so it would cost around £170 to grow a kilo. It should be emphasised that the ONS figures are preliminary estimates intended only for discussion. Our data suggests that this "homegrown" estimate is incorrect on several points.
Forensic Science sources usually estimate that the buds of a female plant, (grown in a greenhouse or under lights), will produce 15-20g of marketable cannabis. Male plants and lower leaves would be discarded or consumed by the grower.
Our analysis of the market in 1996-97 indicates that around 30% of cannabis used (by regular users) was homegrown. 43% of growers had used "pedigree" seeds for the most recent harvest, but 70% had used only natural lighting. The mean number of plants grown was 23.9, not enough for a sustained commercial operation. The growers were significantly heavier users.
Where sold, the most common homegrown prices were from £5-£15 per 1/8oz, close to those of "other/ unknown" bush. A maximum of £25.00 per 1/8oz indicates some "skunk" types being home grown at least partially for sale. The national average was £7.85 per 1/8oz (£2.24/g), varying from £3 in Scotland to £9.57 in London (allowing for many £0 figures in every region).
The term "skunk" is commonly used to describe any of several varieties of herbal cannabis from plants which have been bred for a high ratio of flower/buds to leaf, usually sold as trimmed buds with a minimum of leaves and seeds. It may be imported, but increasingly is grown in the UK. Seeds, cuttings and clones of these plants are traded, and they would usually be grown under lights to produce best quality cannabis.
The national average price for "skunk" was £20.63 per 1/8oz, or £5.89 per gram, with the most notable variation in Scotland, where at £16.50 it was reportedly much cheaper. £20 was the most common price, with slightly more people quoting higher prices than lower (commonly £25 or £15 respectively). The lowest price quoted was £0 - i.e. it was home grown or given away for free. There was a wider range of prices in larger amounts, with £0 the lowest given in each quantity, bringing the mean down, but more quotes above the mean than below. The mean kilogram price was £3,111, or £3.11/g, and the maximum £4,500.
Some people giving low prices may have been calculating actual costs of home growing such as seeds, soil, nutrients, lights and electricity
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