Pot-Growing Region in Albania Going Up in Smoke

Albanian police set marijuana plants on fire in the country’s cannabis-growing region in Lazarat. (Reuters)

Albanian authorites moved into Lazarat - the largest marijuana growing region in Europe - on June 16 after a confrontation with growers, who defended their fields with mortars, grenades and machine guns. The police have taken control of the area, destroying 80,000 plants.

Southern Albania is smoked out after local growers burned their stashes during government seige in Lazaret. (AP photo)

Rather than have their stashes confiscated and burned, locals set marijuana on fire ahead of the police doing door-to-door searches, creating "plumes of pungent smoke."

More than 300,000 plants are grown in Albania on 60 acres, adding up to 900 metric tons produced annually.

It was previously reported that the massive number of marijuana plants were intoxicating residents and workers. More than 700 pot field workers in Lazarat were said to be hospitalized with stomach aches and high blood pressure at the time.

This Albanian woman clearly doesn’t appreciate the police attempting to shut down marijuana growing in Lazarat.

Most of the village's 5,000 residents work in the cannabis trade planting, harvesting, drying and packaging. A majority of the workers are women and children.

Lazarat is 140 miles south of the Albanian capitol, Tirana, near the Greek border. See the map below.

The annual crop in Lazarat, in Southern Albania just south of Gjirokaster near the Greek border, totals as much as 300,000 plants on 60 acres, equaling 900 metric tons. According to latest reports, 13 metric tons have been destroyed so far in the government's crackdown. Albania wants to be accepted into the European Union, which states, "Albania's fight against drugs needs to be further intensified."

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.