Czechs who travel for legal joints to the Netherlands can paradoxically get weed originating in the Czech Republic. Holland is one of the destinations of marihuana from west Bohemian illegal indoor farms. Business with this dried herb is definitely not on decline in the Czech Republic. On the contrary, in the first eight months of the year policemen revealed 45 secret indoor farms.
“Marihuana is exported mainly to Holland, Great Britain and logically also to Germany, and little amount stays on the Czech market,” said Marek Blažejovský from the National Anti-drug Centre. “The paradox is that when Czech consumers go for pot to Holland, they often buy marihuana that is produced from hemp grown in the Czech Republic,” Blažejovský said.
Between January and the end of August criminal police arrested 65 people who were taking care of hemp plants, according to the National Anti-drug Centre’s data available to Týden.cz.
The hemp plants are taken care of by “gardeners”, often illegal immigrants, who spend whole days in secret indoor farms. Other gang members supply them with food and fertilizers. “The gardeners usually don’t even know those who organize the whole thing,” said Blažejovský.
Investors are escaping
Hundreds of grown plants as well as seedlings, monotonous humming of electric fans whirls the moist heavy air. Tropical heat. Even a short visit to the indoor farm is exhausting, as Týden.cz found out last week during a police raid in Aš.
“These people are unfortunate. No one else would stand working for a few thousands crowns in the 35-degree heat all day,” said Marcel Winter, head of the Czech-Vietnamese society. Vietnamese account for more that half of arrested hemp growers, according to this year’s police statistics.
Winter also criticises that the police does not hunt for the investors in the illegal marihuana business. “It’s financed by Vietnamese from Canada, Holland, Great Britain and Slovakia who send fertilisers to the Czech Republic,” said Winter.
But police say it is difficult to uncover these gangs. “The hierarchy of these gangs is such that those who organise the whole thing, like farms and subsequent trade, often do not even show up on the farms,” said Marek Blažejovský.
It used to be cigarettes, now it’s weed
The main domain of hemp growers is western Bohemia, especially the parts close to the border with Germany. Indoor farms with darkened windows, powerful lamps and air conditioning systems are often founded in dilapidated factories, farmsteads and family houses. That there is marihuana grown in a building is often revealed due to illegal power tapping and suspiciously high consumption of electricity and water.
Marihuana is allegedly grown mainly by those who once used to produce and sell fake cigarettes or broke the law in some other way. Also the Czech-Vietnamese society is aware of the problem and it has recently called on the community to destroy all hemp farms or to report them to the police. In spite of this, there has been no decline so far of this drug business.
This year’s numbers have not brought any significant change compared to last year. In the whole of last year, 85 people operating 79 indoor hemp farms ended up in police net.