Dutch growers earn around €2bn from exporting marijuana to the rest of the world every year, a senior police chief told the NRC newspaper this weekend. This compares to €5.5bn for the country’s entire flower and plant export trade, paper says.
Every year, more than 500 tonnes of marijuana grown in the Netherlands is shipped abroad, police commissioner Max Daniel told the paper. The figures are based on police research.
Daniel says that 80% of cannabis grown in the country is for export. 'In the Netherlands, we have 400,000 cannabis users. If that was it, we would have a much more manageable problem.'
He claims that the involvement of organised crime in the marijuana trade is increasing. 'Hemp has a role in almost every major murder, guns and drugs case,' he tells the paper.
And the police chief claims that the lines between the underworld and ordinary society are becoming increasingly blurred. Banks give mortgages to hemp growers, while companies allied to universities help them improve their production techniques, says Daniel.
This summer the government set up a task force involving the police, justice ministry officials, energy companies and housing corporations to look at the role of organised crime in marijuana production.
It is illegal to grow marijuana in the Netherlands although police turn a blind eye if they find up to four plants. Marijuana possession is also technically illegal, but up to five grammes will be ignored.
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