“Friendly” marijuana markets in the Czech Republic and in the U. S. – drug policy outcomes and risks



A growing body of literature shows the importance of friendship within illicit markets in (recreational) drugs, including cannabis, mostly referred to as “social supply”. It is not clear to what extent this phenomenon is policy-responsive and what the risks related to it are. This analysis compares two localities with different drug policies (Florida, USA, as of 2009, and the Czech Republic, as of 2009) by examining the role of friendship and the risks of cannabis use related to it. Marijuana market patterns in the Czech Republic and North-Central Florida were analysed using mixed research methods. The quantitative data consisted of representative surveys (general population surveys with marijuana market modules). For the purpose of the qualitative study, 44 marijuana users and retailers were recruited in North-Central Florida and 66 in the Czech Republic via respondentdriven sampling. The inclusion criterion for the study was the use of marijuana in the last 12 months. Semi-structured interviews, which took 80 minutes on average, followed an interview guide focused on marijuana use, sharing, purchases, sales and growing, with extensive probes into the activities of the respondents’ “friends”, as they defined them. The quantitative data were analysed using frequency analysis and multinomial logit models. The qualitative data were analysed using inductive analysis. Compared to the Czech Republic, the acquisition of drugs through a “friend” was more prevalent in the U.S./Florida. The qualitative study showed that this “friendly” market pattern might encourage increased cannabis use and might increase the likelihood of driving under the influence of cannabis. The outcomes of the analysis suggest that punitive drug policies could provide incentives for shrinking the market into friendly/social networks and thus impose risks on users. It is therefore possible that a repressive drug policy contributes to harmful patterns of drug use, with illicit markets as significant transmission mechanisms.


Czech Republic Drug Policy Cannabis User Multinomial Logit Model Marijuana User 
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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Klinika AdiktologieUniverzita KarlovaPraha 2Tschechien
  2. 2.Department of Addictology, First Medical FacultyCharles UniversityPraha 2Tschechien

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