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Due to the clandestine nature of illicit marihuana production, it is difficult for policy makers and law enforcement to measure the true extent of marihuana cultivation within their jurisdictions. This is especially true for marihuana growing operations, or ‘grow ops’, that are located indoors. As a result, those jurisdictions that face high levels of illicit marihuana production must rely on estimations in order to begin to understand the scale of the problem in terms of the number of operations, the number of growers, or the monetary value of the industry. Since it is highly unlikely that an understanding of the commercial marihuana production industry will move beyond estimates in the near future, we have devised the Marihuana Production Calculator, to aid in the estimation process.

As you will see in using the calculator, most of the nineteen calculations considered are done for you. You need only plug in four numbers in the spaces provided. These include, the population of your jurisdiction, the percentage of individuals in your jurisdiction who are reported to have smoke marihuana in the last year, the estimated number of commercially viable indoor grow operations operating in your jurisdiction in the last year, and the estimated average number of 1000 kw lights per grow operation. In the absence of available information on lights we recommend that you use an assumption of 15 plants per light. In any case, you will find that you can also consider “what if” scenarios by changing any of your numbers.

We also encourage you in using the calculator to consider any of the assumptions or references used (see page 3) on the default calculations, challenge them where you feel they should be changed, and otherwise suggest where improvements could be made. Importantly, while we believe the calculator should be helpful for the present, our intent is to spark researchers and law enforcement officials to creating more exacting and easily accessible methods of calculating the volume and value of marihuana production.

Please feel free to email us at darryl.plecas@ufv.ca with any questions you may have, or if you wish a copy of the background article on the calculator.

Authors:  Darryl Plecas, Jordan Diplock, Len Garis, Brian Carlisle, Patrick Neal & Suzanne Landry
Centre for Criminal Justice Research
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
University of the Fraser Valley
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