Albania: Europe’s Cannabis Capital

Article by Cannabiz Daily

Albania: Europe’s Cannabis Capital

Cannabis is illegal in Albania, and all cannabis-related activities, including possession, cultivation, transport, and sales, are prohibited. However, despite its illegal status, cannabis is still widely cultivated here. In fact, Albania is a major marijuana-growing country and has even risen up the ranks to become known as Europe’s largest outdoor producer of cannabis.

Despite Albania’s anti-cannabis laws, police enforcement is very lacking. Police officers do not seek cannabis smokers and small bribes can set caught offenders free.

The possession of a small quantity of cannabis for personal use is not punishable. However, for more serious offenses, the penalties can be severe. The sale, distribution, possession, and production of cannabis – in amounts the court deems too large to be for personal use – could land offenders between five and ten years in jail. For trafficking, offenders can spend seven to 15 years in prison, or even more if a link to organized crime is established.

In the last few years, the police has intensified its efforts in seizing cannabis and arresting offenders. In 2012, authorities seized 21.2 metric tons of cannabis, which is almost twice the amount they seized in 2011. Meanwhile, in 2016, police identified 5,204 fields and destroyed more than two million cannabis plants. Now, the police are concentrating on confiscating cannabis as it is prepared to be transported outside of Albania.

Although seizures have increased in the past few years, Albania has an inefficient judicial system, which means that only a few arrests made by the police had resulted in convictions.

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