Spanish police have destroyed 415,000 hemp plants worth up to 100 million euros ($108 million) dismantling what police said Wednesday was Europe’s biggest Cannabis farm. The farm covered 1,025 acres, according to the Spanish Guardia Civil, reports AP.
About 50,000 kilograms of Cannabis plants were drying in a warehouse for processing into cannabidiol (CBD), reports Reuters. CBD, a non-psychoactive compound, is used to treat anxiety, insomnia and other ailments.
Located in the rural northern region of Navarre, Spain, the farm spreads across 11 fields. The hemp fields alone had a combined area of 67 hectares (166 acres), the Guardia Civil force said in a statement.
CBD Is Legal In Europe, But…
CBD sales and consumption are legal across Spain and most of Europe. But Spanish law still prohibits cultivation of Cannabis plants for anything other than industrial uses. Those uses include for textiles and seeds, according to the Spanish Agriculture Ministry.
Growing hemp for conversion into CBD or other derivatives — oddly enough — remains a crime. Hemp farming has been legal in the USA since 2018.
That process had begun in 2014 when President Barack Obama signed that year’s Farm Bill.
Police arrested threee people in Navarra as a result of the operation, which began in mid-2021 when authorities discovered one of the hemp fields. Two other persons are under investigation in the neighboring Basque Country region, reports the Associated Press.
Police claimed the plants were destined to be sold for about 30 million Euros ($32.5 million). Third parties in foreign countries would process the plants into CBD, worth around 100 million euros ($108 million), Spanish police said.
The Guardia Civil said the plantation owner initially said the farm was a legal operation to produce industrial hemp. But they claim he was planning to export large amounts to Italy and Switzerland for processing into CBD.