Article by Bangkok Post
Small mountainous Albania was for decades Europe’s most isolated country, but now 26 years after toppling communism it has emerged with the unwanted distinction of being the continent’s top marijuana producer.
In the north-central mountains of Kruja, Ilir is one of Albania’s many poor farmers who have turned to growing the illegal crop.
“I am not committing a crime, it’s desperation that has led me to grow cannabis,” he says..
“I barely survive,” adds the 50-year-old, trying to defend his switch to a cannabis grower after he returned from Greece, where he had emigrated, as the economic crisis there forced him to go back home.
In the lucrative European market, the money for marijuana is attractive.
Two kilogram (4.4 pounds) of weed sell for 600 euros ($670) — the price of roughly one tonne of wheat.