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Europe’s marijuana capital isn’t Amsterdam

Rainman05

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An outlaw Albanian village has built a fortune from the cultivation of cannabis worth as much as half the country’s GDP, and it’s off-limits to the police.
GJIROKASTRA, Albania — The last time police tried to enter the mountainside village of Lazarat near this historic southern city last summer, they prompted a ferocious firefight a local police commissioner describes as “very much like a real war.”
The annual crop earns almost $6 billion, according to the Italian financial police.

Although local police dispute that figure, they admit that marijuana production is booming.
Last year’s raid didn’t last long. When officers began cutting down cannabis plants, 15 SUVs mounted with heavy machine guns materialized and started firing.

“We were drawing indiscriminate fire from 20 positions, including heavy machine guns and anti-tank missiles,” the commissioner said. “I saw a 70-year-old grandmother shooting at us with a heavy machine gun. I thought I was going to die.”
As Albania’s economy has slumped in the last few years thanks to the economic crises in neighboring Greece and Italy, Lazarat has prospered.

Intelligence reports suggest the village cultivated more than 60 acres of land this year, an estimated 300,000 plants that could yield as much 500 tons of marijuana.
Read the rest in the link.

My first instinct was: LOL.
But after reading the whole thing... it hit too close to home. While I don't consider marijuana to be really all that bad, and wouldn't mind decriminalization and legalization, this is a HUGE illegal operation.
 

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My first instinct was: LOL.
My thoughts exactly. ;)

Reminds me of the story of that tiny island-state in the Pacific (was it Western Samoa? Not sure...), which once was a German colony and more than half of its GDP consisted of exporting Kava Kava roots to Germany (which was a mild legal drug available in drugstores in Germany, causing mild euphoria and talkativity like alcohol ... tried it a couple of times back then). Until some companies started trading it as natural sedative and the pharma companies felt it became unwanted competition... or was the claimed reason true, that studies found it's causing liver damage? Anyway, it was banned eventually (in 2004 or 05, or so). That island's GDP went downhill, and that although they had offered Germany to always vote with us at the UN whenever we want that, if we take back then ban ...
 

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Albania is a candidate for the next round of EU enlargement and my first thoughts are not happy thoughts I'm afraid - especially having read the article.

15 SUVs armed with heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades etc being used openly against the police in an EU candidate country?

We have a fascist govt in Hungary, corruption and mafia like activities on a large scale in Italy, Bulgaria and a debt ridden economy like Greece (not forgetting the others).

We're not creating Utopia right now and I fail to see how letting such an economy join in the present state it is in will help- especially given we will have to throw open our borders to such people.
 

Captain Adverse

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I don't understand the problem? Marijuana should be legalized and considered a valuable cash crop like any other. It has medicinal value, and is also a mild intoxicant with fewer drawbacks than either liquor or cigarettes.

All this "criminality" that concerns so many people would simply turn into a farm industry. No more need for tanks or guns, although perhaps some grounds securty to protect the crop from poaching? LOL.

Then again, I also advocate the decriminilization of all drugs; and the legalization of MDMA and the Hallucinogens (lsd, peyote, mushrooms, etc.) too.
 
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Infinite Chaos

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Marijuana -- is also a mild intoxicant with fewer drawbacks than either liquor or cigarettes --
Few drawbacks unless you start when you are a teenager if my last reading is still up to date. The "gateway" element is subject to debate.
 

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LOL it's so exaggerated.

The cultivation of cannabis does not worth as much as half the country’s GDP.

Officers began cutting down cannabis plants not the last year but like 7 years ago and there were no SUVs mounted with heavy machine guns materialized and there didn't started any fire.
One fire contact happened only once. When an Italian helicopter was taking photos from up, the heli was fired by a kallashnikov. It got only 3 bullets.

The problem with Lazarat is this.
The quality of marijuana there is one of the bests in EU and makes lot of moneys.
The local police get always corrupted. As well as get corrupted some politicians.
Police men were changed many times but each of them got corrupted.
The marijuana is designated for export. Albania is not well known for using drugs.

If lately there was a massive cultivation it was due the elections.
Every time here happens the elections, the country become a mess.
During the +/- (before/after) 2 months of elections, in the whole country there are massive illegal constructions.
Houses, hotels, palaces, every kind of buildings. And the govern is too weak to fight it.

My father used to work for National Police of Construction. That's how we call it. It's duty is to destroy illegal constructions along the whole country.
Once, he went to coastal city of Saranda, there were massive illegal constructions along the seacoast.
People there started to attack police forces with throwing stones. Among them was the chief police of Saranda. He had 3 constructions himself which were designated to be destroyed.
even tho this happend, the prime minister did not fired him.
You may ask why??
Albania's people are half divided into politics lean. Half of them support the right and other half the left. By many times (except latest elections) all elections finished with a small difference. Every local governman, a police chief, a director, a mayor etc have a big influence in elections and all of them are part of 2 big parties in Albania. Beside of that, they change side many times. Due to the influence they have among the people many times the political system is forced to tolerate them (govern and opposite).

Almost 80% of constructions after '90 were made in illegal way. Most of them are houses, therefore the govern found a little hard to destroy them because they present a big % of population.

___________________________
In conclusion, the police can enter in Lazarat very easy but every time they enter they get poisoned by the corruption and they start defending the Lazarat.
And since the marijuana is for export only, they do not care a lot, as long as, i'm sure it satisfy many other EU's countries as well as many EU's politicians.
 

Red_Dave

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Albania is a candidate for the next round of EU enlargement and my first thoughts are not happy thoughts I'm afraid - especially having read the article.

15 SUVs armed with heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades etc being used openly against the police in an EU candidate country?

We have a fascist govt in Hungary, corruption and mafia like activities on a large scale in Italy, Bulgaria and a debt ridden economy like Greece (not forgetting the others).

We're not creating Utopia right now and I fail to see how letting such an economy join in the present state it is in will help- especially given we will have to throw open our borders to such people.
Look at what EU membership has done for the rest of Eastern Europe economically and you have to wonder if Marijuana cultivation is the more viable option.
 

Spriggs05

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Few drawbacks unless you start when you are a teenager if my last reading is still up to date. The "gateway" element is subject to debate.
Starting as a teen will likely lead to drawbacks, from the age of 18+ I'm sure it is fine and less serious effects but before that with all the other chemical hormones in the system its just not good. I know some guys who started when they were 13 however they are very intelligent people.
 

Rainman05

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Starting as a teen will likely lead to drawbacks, from the age of 18+ I'm sure it is fine and less serious effects but before that with all the other chemical hormones in the system its just not good. I know some guys who started when they were 13 however they are very intelligent people.
I discourage drug consumption. I am sort of in favor of decriminalizing pot and even legalizing it. I am still against hard drugs legalization but I do favor light sentences (and authorize courts to send people to rehab instead of prison) for hard drug users and heavy sentences for dealers (I'm thinking anywhere between 10-25 years, max punishment for druglords and repeat offenders).

And as for legalizing pot, I do think that it should come with a minimum requirement age of anywhere between 18 to 21. I think 20-21 is a good age to experiment with pot if you want to. Most likely in college, 2nd or 3rd year... works.
 

Spriggs05

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I discourage drug consumption. I am sort of in favor of decriminalizing pot and even legalizing it. I am still against hard drugs legalization but I do favor light sentences (and authorize courts to send people to rehab instead of prison) for hard drug users and heavy sentences for dealers (I'm thinking anywhere between 10-25 years, max punishment for druglords and repeat offenders).

And as for legalizing pot, I do think that it should come with a minimum requirement age of anywhere between 18 to 21. I think 20-21 is a good age to experiment with pot if you want to. Most likely in college, 2nd or 3rd year... works.
I agree, it would do it maybe very few times a month and discourage hard drugs such as Cocaine and Heroin.
 

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Starting as a teen will likely lead to drawbacks, from the age of 18+ I'm sure it is fine and less serious effects but before that with all the other chemical hormones in the system its just not good. I know some guys who started when they were 13 however they are very intelligent people.
Yes, there are some who started as teens who apparently have not been affected but it's like a roll of the dice otherwise. In my time teaching, I've had several students who showed personality change from one week to another and it's turned out cannabis smoking seemed a common element in their background. This last year - I've noticed it in two female students who could change from hard working friendly individuals to nasty, mean spirited and just horrible people to try and work with.

Not worth the risk at that age.

Look at what EU membership has done for the rest of Eastern Europe economically and you have to wonder if Marijuana cultivation is the more viable option.
EU membership certainly benefited Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland, they speak glowingly of how life has improved there and I've been several times to see it.

Hungary however has a ruling party that needs serious lightening up though however I think if the EU is to work it should have and hold the rules and scrutiny it has in place properly. (The Euro membership springs to mind for failure of scrutiny)
 

Spriggs05

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Yes, there are some who started as teens who apparently have not been affected but it's like a roll of the dice otherwise. In my time teaching, I've had several students who showed personality change from one week to another and it's turned out cannabis smoking seemed a common element in their background. This last year - I've noticed it in two female students who could change from hard working friendly individuals to nasty, mean spirited and just horrible people to try and work with.

Not worth the risk at that age.
No, if they stay away from it, that's probably the best thing to do until they are in university or something. I suppose it would have different affects in different people.
 

Infinite Chaos

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No, if they stay away from it, that's probably the best thing to do until they are in university or something. I suppose it would have different affects in different people.
Trouble is, at that age - arguing to keep something from kids makes it all the more attractive. You tend to feel invulnerable at that age (I remember I did until my 20th birthday and I realised I was getting old) and that nothing will have a permanent effect on you.

Hmmm. I've an idea for an information poster project for this year's students. (Working on projects for the year ahead today)
 

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Trouble is, at that age - arguing to keep something from kids makes it all the more attractive. You tend to feel invulnerable at that age (I remember I did until my 20th birthday and I realised I was getting old) and that nothing will have a permanent effect on you.

Hmmm. I've an idea for an information poster project for this year's students. (Working on projects for the year ahead today)
That reminds me of a story. When I was 12, my class was being pretty disruptive so the teacher said "If I tell you to do something you always do the opposite" we replied "no we don't". "Ok" she said "don't look at the tree outside" everyone in the class then turned their heads to the tree. Its kind of in the psychology of teens to be disruptive and contrary.

What age group do you teach?
 

Infinite Chaos

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That reminds me of a story. When I was 12, my class was being pretty disruptive so the teacher said "If I tell you to do something you always do the opposite" we replied "no we don't". "Ok" she said "don't look at the tree outside" everyone in the class then turned their heads to the tree. Its kind of in the psychology of teens to be disruptive and contrary.
Reminds me of my 14 year old son..

What age group do you teach?
16-19 unless they come from Scotland (we're near the border) so we get 15-18.

Very challenging but I've always enjoyed it.
 

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16-19 unless they come from Scotland (we're near the border) so we get 15-18.

Very challenging but I've always enjoyed it.
ah, ok then, sounds fun. ;)
In my school there was always a drug problem. I think the hardest that they had at any one time was Cocaine. Most of those who did drugs were the ones who were good at sport and pretty thick and oblivious to what was going on around them.
 

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Read the rest in the link.

My first instinct was: LOL.
But after reading the whole thing... it hit too close to home. While I don't consider marijuana to be really all that bad, and wouldn't mind decriminalization and legalization, this is a HUGE illegal operation.
In honor of this thread, I'm going to light one up!


Yes, there are some who started as teens who apparently have not been affected but it's like a roll of the dice otherwise. In my time teaching, I've had several students who showed personality change from one week to another and it's turned out cannabis smoking seemed a common element in their background. This last year - I've noticed it in two female students who could change from hard working friendly individuals to nasty, mean spirited and just horrible people to try and work with.

Not worth the risk at that age.
I would agree that those under 18 should definitely not smoke, I didn't smoke at all until I was 25, but I think you might be mixing the causality up. A lot of people who smoke weed were already bipolar or depressed, and were looking for something to help them. I've found it evens me out and makes my evenings much more enjoyable.

And if they turned into nasty, horrible people, it wasn't from weed.
 
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Infinite Chaos

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-- I would agree that those under 18 should definitely not smoke, I didn't smoke at all until I was 25, but I think you might be mixing the causality up. A lot of people who smoke weed were already bipolar or depressed, and were looking for something to help them. I've found it evens me out and makes my evenings much more enjoyable.

And if they turned into nasty, horrible people, it wasn't from weed.
I wasn't trying to imply that smoking causes schizophrenia / bipolar / psychotic problems in teenagers but I feel that it helps develop it where a probability exists. In the teenage student cases I have personally experienced (yeah - not a scientific study) marijuana was always there or had been in the background.

Anyhow, near enough everyone agrees the young should not do it - I'm interested why if there are no problems on the forming young brain whatsoever from smoking dope?
 

RabidAlpaca

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I wasn't trying to imply that smoking causes schizophrenia / bipolar / psychotic problems in teenagers but I feel that it helps develop it where a probability exists. In the teenage student cases I have personally experienced (yeah - not a scientific study) marijuana was always there or had been in the background.

Anyhow, near enough everyone agrees the young should not do it - I'm interested why if there are no problems on the forming young brain whatsoever from smoking dope?
The experts seem to be pretty much in agreement that those under 20 or so shouldn't smoke weed, so I tend to believe them. I think though that the biggest effect isn't chemical but rather psychological. Teens are in a time in life where they have to grow intellectually and physically more than they will in their entire lives. Weed kills your motivation for anything, so you're not going to get the intellectual stimulation you really need to grow into a functioning adult.
 

Infinite Chaos

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-- Weed kills your motivation for anything--
Personally, I think it's more than this for teenagers but the scientific evidence has as much pro and it has anti. All sides have a need for the evidence to back their position.
 
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