Report Says Albania Cannabis Growth Mounting

The 2013 US State Department Narcotics Control Report highlights startling growth in marijuana seizures in Albania over the past year, which hints at increased production.“The drastic increase in marijuana seizures, a 175 per cent increase over 2011, signifies an increase in local production after trending downward over the prior two years,” the US report said.

Cannabis seizures in 2012 totaled almost 21.2 metric tons, nearly double the amount seized in 2011, it noted.

Heroin and cocaine discoveries also more than doubled to 87.7 kilograms and 4.6 kg, respectively.

The Albanian police arrested 729 people in 2012 for drug-related offences, mainly trafficking. The Serious Crimes Prosecution office initiated over 149 investigations, but forwarded only 46 cases to the courts. The Serious Crimes First Instance Court handed down 56 trafficking convictions during 2012.

“With the exception of cannabis, Albania is not a significant producer of illicit drugs, precursor chemicals, or synthetic drugs,” the report said.

“Despite increased seizures, cumbersome bureaucracy and weak judicial and law enforcement institutions resulted in few convictions,” it concludes.

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