British gangs are making millions in Spain.

Liz Filmer
06 Sep 2022

Weed hauls in Spain have quadrupled in the past five years, with over three million plants seized in 2021, a record for the country which already holds the title of Europe's top cannabis cultivator.

The weed grown is then sold to legal cannabis clubs in Spain and shipped to the UK. British gangs are exploiting legal grey areas by claiming the grows are for industrial or medical use, which is permitted in some situations. Brit dealers are leasing land, maximising output on an industrial scale, and bringing in as much as £250,000 for each grow cycle.

Allegedly there are crews from all over the UK in Spain looking to make good money, with the demand for THC-rich strains being bigger than ever.

The key to getting away with it appears to be to claim that you are only cultivating a limited number of plants with low levels of THC for industrial purposes. Spanish police have primarily been lenient in past years in checking these claims. However, in recent years, they are beginning to become more vigilant. 

Last month Spanish authorities busted a record six tons of cannabis at an 80-acre plantation near Barcelona that is believed to be connected to a British drug gang. The monster haul contained 3.5 tonnes of dried flower in vacuum-packed thermal bags. 

From the outside, the site in Vilassar de Mar claimed to be a legal operation, but it was not long before the police discovered the truth. In April, three British growers were busted for running a mail-order weed service from Costa Blanca. Police raided a warehouse after a 6kg package was checked at customs en route to Holland.

The region of Almeria in the south of Spain has seen a surge of cannabis farms.In 2021, just over 630,000 plants were seized. This was eighteen times more than the 34,000 taken in 2020. 

Easygoing and disorganised drug laws vary from region to region in Spain as they are often under review due to court rulings. Some growers, when questioned, will claim that they are in the process of requesting the required approval. Others, however, claim that they are growing for medical reasons.

With hundreds of cannabis social clubs and Barcelona having stolen Amsterdam's crown as the weed capital of Europe, it is easy to see why growers are taking their operations to Spain.


Liz Filmer