ALICANTE is Spain’s main cannabis producer, according to the Guardia Civil, who describe it as a “cannabis jungle”.
In the past two years, Spain has become one of the main marihuana growing areas in the EU, with plantations in Andalucia, Murcia, Cataluña, Aragon and mainly the Valencian region, especially Alicante.
There are plantations in almost every town in Alicante, mainly because of the climate, they say, and most are found in apartments and villas, or more sophisticated operations in industrial warehouses or on plots of land where they are well hidden from view.
The main plantations are controlled by the Dutch ‘mafias’ the police report, who send people to teach the Spanish how to grow cannabis and then export it Holland.
Recent operations have resulted in plants being seized all over the region: 47 in Alcoy, 330 in Alicante, 600 in Elche, 735 in Oliva, 104 in Torrent, 676 in Valencia and although many are ‘DIY’ plantations, others are set up by professionals.
The favourite seed variety is the Ak-47 which costs about €800 for six but are easy to grow, offer good results in a short time and have a level of tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant, of up to 15 per cent.
Each plant can produce around half a kilo of cannabis for sale, which makes the growers around €600, and can be harvested every two to four months.
In San Vicente del Raspeig, one cannabis ‘farmer’ paid €9,000 per month in electric bills for 86 floodlights for his plantation of 1,800 plants, while six people who controlled the largest plantation found so far, with 9,000 plants in Gorga, Benilloba and Alfaz del Pi, had paid €100,000 for equipment for their ‘greenhouse’.
“Marihuana seed sellers lie to people and say that if it is for personal use, it’s not a problem” the Guardia Civil explain.
However, growing cannabis, whether it is one plant or 500, is against the law, although many judges may decide to shelve the case if it was a small quantity and there was no intention of selling it.
Photo credit: ukhomeoffice
By Jennifer Leighfield