March 12, 2010

Google Ganja or Mapping Marijuana

We're sure that many were disappointed that the comparison between tobacco, alcohol and caffeine did not also include other possible vices. So these folks should be happy with the next series of posts when we begin to get into some of the geography of drugs.

We're going to start with a gateway posting to this topic with a quick comparison between user generated placemark references to tobacco and marijuana. Starting with North America one see that while the majority of locations have more references to tobacco there are plenty of places with more references to marijuana. California stands out as do Washington, Oregon, Florida and Ontario.
U.S. Map of Marijuana and Tobacco
Given the illegal nature of marijuana production in most of the U.S., production statistics are less reliable than those coming from the census. Still according to an article published in the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform (we have to admit this is the first time we've cited this particular journal), the top marijuana growing states are California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Florida. This corresponds well with our findings.

Moving up to the global level, tobacco again reigns supreme. There are pockets of marijuana production with Mexico (an important supplier to the U.S.) some interesting clusters in the Himalaya region of Northern India and Nepal as well as Morocco which supplies into Europe.

Global Map of Marijuana and Tobacco
The lack of any marijuana-preferring cluster around Amsterdam is a bit perplexing, to say the least, given its reputation as a site of pilgrimage for the weed obsessed.

Similarly, given that Kentucky is reported to be a major center of marijuana production in the U.S. (and the North American home of, we were surprised to see that it did not show up very strongly in this map of the largest clusters of references to marijuana in user generated placemarks.
Perhaps marijuana growers are NOT documenting their production sites in Google Maps? Come to think of it, this makes quite a bit of sense...


  1. I totally agree with your statement that growers are NOT documenting their production sites in Google Maps? I live in southern California where you can get "medical marijuana" for a hang-nail. Currently there are more medical marijuana dispensary's in Los Angeles than Starbucks, about 800, and San Diego has approximately 60. Recently our governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he was going to create a group to look into the feasibility of legalizing marijuana on a recreational basis.
    This has caused an explosion of marijuana growers in California because they can register as medical marijuana care givers. Now it seems that everybody and their mothers is growing pot in California. It is going to be real hard to track growing on that scale.

  2. I agree, I doubt they're documenting their production sites. I recently wrote an article on tobacco, and its use.

  3. uau i love this...congratulation for this it's amazing

  4. nice stats, though i agree the stats on illegal production do appear surprising as on the ground knowledge would show a varied range. though most producers are not going to announce themselves publicly as has been said.

  5. Say goodbye to drug and welcome tea or chai.

  6. Where I stay in Amsterdam, we have seedling nurseries and the like and it's easy to figure out where what is growing. But while marijuana isn't legalised EVERYWHERE yet, it's safe to say that you're going to have difficulties pinpoint production hot spots because there are still a lot of delinquents out there with backyard crops.


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