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Increase in Cannabis Pollen Linked To Illicit Growth in Spain

The interesting findings of researchers from Spain’s Polytechnic University of Cartagena have been revealed by them. The amount of marijuana pollen found in the air has dramatically increased over the past few years. The polytech scientists now believe that there has been a significant increase in illicit cultivation over the last four or five years.

Cartagena’s scientists have studied cannabis pollen for over a decade to find out the origin and production levels in Lorca, Murcia, Cartagena and Murcia. They are just across the Alboran Sea, from Morocco and Algeria.

They have discovered that, apart from an increase in volume overall, only a very small percentage of particles are from North Africa. This trend is continuing. Officials have observed an increase in Spanish cultivation and lower dependence on imported hash.

Lorca and Cartagena were the most notable of all three cities. They registered more than 80 grains per cubic meter of pollen, while Murcia reached a maximum of 66 in 2020. It is significant considering the levels recorded by all three cities in 2017 between 19 to 27.

The reason for this conclusion is the dramatic rise in busts over that same time period.

Spanish Cannabis Uprising

While most people, starting with the Spanish government, have focused on the nascent cannabis club industry in and around Barcelona, the reality is that illicit cannabis cultivation—not to mention use—is widespread in Spain. As authorities try to find a way to legislate for a situation in which the horse clearly has left the barn, they are late to this.

Since last year, government officials have been formally considering ways to acknowledge the medicinal efficacy and legal status of this plant. Beyond that, there is a lively discussion about legalizing Spanish cannabis. The cultivation of cannabis for clubs is common, especially in Catalonia, Basque country. Beyond this, there are four licenses issued by the government allowing the cultivation and processing of GMP or pharmaceutical grade cannabis—but only for export. Hemp can also be grown, provided it’s used industrially.

But it doesn’t stop there. Bootleg Spanish products are showing up all over Europe right now—and not just of the CBD kind. There is more illicit production here than the authorities can ever control—which is also why there have been a few very public and large national busts of late.

Germany decided in the interim to accelerate its plans for recreational legalization.

It will do only one thing if the Spanish try to ignore the obvious. If the tax revenue is not spent on tourist funds, it will rob the government. It is difficult to understand the impact of Germany’s decision. This is because there has been a lot of German investment into the Spanish economy. Although this investment is currently primarily in real estate and banks for the moment, there are no reasons why it could not expand to, soon enough, cannabis.

A Pollen Test Confirms The Obvious

Spanish pollen testing appears to have been the first. The most recent studies on air quality have focused only on indoor cultivation emissions in California and Colorado. The main method authorities use to study drug usage in Europe and the U.S. is to collect metabolites from municipal wastewater. According to a recent European study, cities found with the highest amounts of THC metabolite were those in Spain, Croatia and the Netherlands.

Given the fact that not only are Spanish citizens cultivating and using cannabis—and apparently increasingly so as countries in Europe address recreational reform, it seems only a matter of time before Spanish policies finally catch up. It will then be much easier to determine the legality of cultivation as well as consumption through legalized, regulated and tax-exempt production and sales.