Generations of Albanians lived off cannabis production. Can they stop?

A crackdown has cut back the cultivation and trafficking of cannabis in Albania. But experts say it will take more than police raids and prosecutions to address the factors that have led whole families and villages to grow weed for decades
Balkan Insight (Bosnia)
Monday, April 12, 2021

albania cannabis flagLarge-scale cannabis cultivation in Albania dates to the early 1990s, not long after the fall of the country’s Communist dictatorship, when the parlous state of the Albanian economy led to widespread civil unrest in 1997. Penetrated by ever more powerful criminal gangs, the industry reached a peak in 2016, when Albania was one of the biggest producers in the world. For years, Albania has been considered the largest producer of outdoor-grown cannabis in Europe and the geographic position of Albania – its proximity to Greece and Italy – has stimulated the cultivation of cannabis over the years. With the aid of Italian aerial reconnaissance flights between 2013 and 2019, authorities identified 613 hectares of land planted with cannabis.