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“Do you need someone to share with?” Exchange and demand sharing in social cannabis supply

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Social supply plays a key role in bottom level cannabis markets. In outlining how social supply of cannabis differs from commercial market exchange, existing studies have argued that social supply is typically driven by two cultural logics: reciprocal gift-giving and sharing. Importantly, researchers have depicted sharing as a sub-version of a more generalized pattern of reciprocation and/or described sharing as a type of transfer that is motivated by altruism on the part of the giver. However, in this article, we argue that if we are to develop a more nuanced understanding of the sharing aspects of social supply, we need a more refined understanding of sharing. Based on interviews with 38 young cannabis users from Denmark, this article draws on recent anthropological theories of sharing and the concept of “demand sharing” (Widlok, 2017) in demonstrating how social cannabis supply is driven both by reciprocal logics, but also by hitherto overlooked sharing logics that cannot easily be captured by the categories reciprocity or altruism. More specifically, we analyze the important role played by receivers in facilitating sharing processes. We outline how diverse “receiver demands” are often the precondition for creating the social pressure that leads those who have, to allow others to take. In this way, this article contributes to a more detailed understanding of the complex transfer processes fueling social supply of illicit drugs.
TidsskriftContemporary Drug Problems
Sider (fra-til)46-62
StatusUdgivet - 3 jan. 2023


  • Cannabis, Social Supply, Drug markets, Sharing, Exchange, Reciprocity

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