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Drugnet Europe News from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction — October–December 2010

Cannabis: domestic cultivation widespread

cannabis plants

Domestic cannabis production: no longer just a plant pot on a windowsill
Photo: iStockphoto

Europe’s appetite for cannabis is reflected in annual seizures of around 1 000 tonnes of the drug. In 2008, around 900 tonnes of cannabis resin were intercepted in Europe, almost 10 times the volume of herbal cannabis seized (around 90 tonnes). Herbal cannabis, however, is now commonly produced inside Europe (29 European countries reported domestic cultivation in 2008) and, being closer to its intended market, is less likely to be intercepted. The number of seizures of cannabis plants has increased since 2003, reaching an estimated 19 000 seizures in 2008.

Given the European climate, a considerable share of cannabis production takes place indoors, using sophisticated technical equipment to boost crop output and levels of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary active ingredient in cannabis. Commercial cannabis cultivation, especially in large indoor plantations, has been reported to pose crime and public safety problems in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

‘The public perception of domestic cannabis production is often that of a pot on the windowsill or a few plants in the garden greenhouse’, says Wolfgang Götz. ‘But the reality today is a very different one. Organised crime gangs have woken up to the profits that can accrue from the large-scale cultivation of cannabis near its intended market. The collateral damage of this development is the rising level of violence and criminality within urban communities, which is now triggering new action by national and European law-enforcement bodies’.

Drugnet Europe is the EMCDDA's newsletter launched in September 1996. The newsletter provides regular and succint information on the Centre's projects and activities to a broad readership.

Page last updated: Friday, 05 November 2010