Is This a Genuine Experiment or the World's Most Unsubtle Honeytrap?

By Chris Mills on at

Live in the UK? Like to grow yourself a bit of cannabis on the side? Then a new scientific project wants YOUR help in profiling the sort of people who grow weed. Old or young, benefits scrounger or free-rolling high-powered lawyer, whoever you are, Gary Potter and his team of crack criminologists want all the dirt on your growing tricks.

Yes, it's an anonymous survey and all, but still.....I can't see all that many drug dealers rushing to stick down their IP addresses on a big list of self-confessed cannabis growers. lt would be an audacious police trap, for sure, but it would save one hell of a lot of legwork -- and it sounds rather like the sort of blue-sky thinking that sounds great in a police planning meeting.

Still, let's just assume it's not a nefarious police plot to kill a zillion birds with one stone. Why does Gary Potter want all this data? According to him:

Cannabis cultivation features regularly in the British media: as entertainment (Attack the Block, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Saving Grace being just three examples of successful British films with a cannabis cultivation theme), but more often as ‘news'. Stories about cannabis growing often focus on the alleged links between domestic cultivation, the apparent increased potency of a type of cannabis that the media (albeit erroneously) likes to call ‘skunk', and supposed links to health problems such as schizophrenia. Alternatively they focus on possible links between cannabis growing and crime – including organised crime. Occasionally there is a human interest aspect, but mostly cannabis cultivators are portrayed as drug dealers and as criminals – evils to be confronted and punished by society. But just how accurate are these stereotypes?

Sounds all good and wholesome to me. But still. If you're a grower, and the above has appealed to your inner good citizen, maybe think about using a proxy or summat before doing the dirty. [io9]