MARIJUANA plant seizures have gone up fourfold in five years in Spain along with a big rise in ‘associated crime’.
Spain has now surpassed the Netherlands for the first time in terms of plants seized by the police.
Just over 3 million plants have been removed so far this year, compared to 724,611 plants in 2016.
Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, said this Tuesday that there was ‘a relevant increase in crime associated with marijuana’.
This includes robberies between drug traffickers; money laundering; human trafficking; electricity fraud; and firearms possession.
“The threat to public safety is growing steadily and worryingly, “ the minister observed.
There have been 4,298 arrests so far this year and the size of the largest marijuana farms has also gone up.
Cultivations of up to 15,000 plants were previously the top end for discoveries but can now reach 120,000 plants.
Grande-Marlaska this Tuesday unveiled a plan with three objectives to fight the rise in marijuana-related crime.
It involves improving and dismantling criminal gangs; reduce drug distribution networks; and discovering and destroying marijuana plantations.
The minister also commented that the influence of drug-trafficking criminals on local communities needed to be nullified.
“These mafias have a certain will to integrate into the social fabric and we want to reduce their social and institutional contagion,” said Grande-Marlaska.