Sanctioning Large-Scale Domestic Cannabis Production - Potency, Yield, and Professionalism
Scandinavian Journal of Forensic Science
Domestically cultivated cannabis, referred to as sinsemilla, constitutes a growing share of the illicit drug markets in the Scandinavian countries. In this study we present forensic evidence of THC content in sinsemilla and resin confiscated by the Danish police from 2008 to 2012. The purpose is to establish a mean potency, a yield estimate for professionally grown plants, and an assessment of how "professionalism" applies to domestic cultivation. We find a mean THC content in our sample
... y distributed around 12% for sinsemilla (n=35) and 11.7% for resin (n=99). This is markedly higher than the assumption of THC content in sinsemilla between 6-8% as is currently applied in Norway and Sweden. It is also higher than the previous estimate of resin potency. The yield in sinsemilla plants is found to be 46 grams per plant. This is much lower than the estimate applied in criminal cases, which indicates that courts do not apply a yield-percentage estimate. The specificities of domestic cannabis cultivation also relate to the sanction criteria "professionalism". Firstly, the number of plants found can provide for calculation of an aggregate quantum. Secondly, this can be related to the formal quantum thresholds between the (various) grades of illicit drug crimes in the national legal systems. Finally, we introduce the nationality of the gardener as an indication of professionalism in combination with the equipment found on site. We conclude that proportionality in criminal sanctioning of large-scale cannabis cases would improve by applying a 1:1 potency level between sinsemilla and resin.