The cultivation of cannabis in Albania goes back several decades, but experienced a peak around 2016, at which point the police undertook an eradication operation in an attempt to curtail the country’s widespread cannabis production industry. A more recent resurgence in cannabis cultivation, however, points to the fact that the underlying drivers of this illicit economy are still in place. Without a concerted effort to address collusion in the cannabis market and the country’s structural conditions, which entice many young people to seek a livelihood in cannabis production, the conditions that enable the market are unlikely to be disrupted.
Key points of the brief on this issue “Growing like weeds? Rethinking Albania’s culture of cannabis cultivation“, published by the Civil Society Observatory to Counter Organized Crime in South-Eastern Europe, include:
- The conditions that enable cannabis cultivation in Albania have been in place for many years.
- Despite police crackdowns on cultivation, the phenomenon continues to be pervasive.
- Cultivating cannabis is seen as a source of income for many, particularly the young.
- Colluding state officials are among the drivers of the Albanian cannabis economy.
- A new approach is needed to break the cycle of reliance that the cannabis economy provides and attract young people into legitimate work.
The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime is a network of prominent law enforcement, governance and development practitioners who are dedicated to seeking new and innovative strategies and responses to organized crime.
Policy briefs on current issues in the Western Balkans are published on a regular basis by the Civil Society Observatory to Counter Organized Crime in South-Eastern Europe which operates under The Global Initiative. The Observatory is a platform that connects and empowers civil-society actors in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. The Observatory aims to enable civil society to identify, analyse and map criminal trends, and their impact on illicit flows, governance, development, interethnic relations, security and the rule of law, and supports them in their monitoring of national dynamics and wider regional and international organized-crime trends.
The briefs draw on the expertise of a local civil-society network who provide new data and contextualize trends related to organized criminal activities and state responses to them.
To read this brief, follow this link>>>