Greek police was proud on Tuesday to announce the crack down of a cannabis plantation in Kardista, Northern Greece. “10,500 cannabis seedlings were destroyed, the owner was detained,” police said in a statement stressing it was “the biggest cannabis plantation found ever found in the country.” The pride of the law enforcement did not last long, though. It turns out, the 3.5 hectares in Kallitheros area were planted with industrial hemp and that the plantation was legally registered.
The 44-year-old owner told the judge that the plantation had prior approval for cultivation of industrial hemp by the Ministry of Rural Development, and that the plantation was registered.
The Police argued that “no legalization document was presented” to the moment of operation also after the uprooting of the seedlings.
The judicial investigator ordered the release of the plantation owner and “even apologized,” local media report. The owner is obliged to not leave the country.
The man is a resident in Karditsa where he lives with his family. He owns a grocery shop.
Speaking to cannabisnews.gr, the spokesman of Greek police said that “police officers acted in accordance with the law and the prosecutor’s instructions, while the defendant did not show the necessary documents proving the facility was legal.”
The plantation owner said the accusations were absurd, the seedlings were growing in an area visible to anyone.
Cannabisnews.gr notes that Police and Justice authorities had first to check with the official government registered of “industrial cannabis plantations” before they destroyed the investment.
According to local media, the plantation owner has asked agronomists to estimate the damage. He plans to file a law suit against the Greek state and demand compensation.
However, it looks as if the plantation was registered in the name of a nephew of the 44-year-old who was not present at the time of the police operation. Local kardistsapress notes that the 24-year-old nephew is registered at the OSDE registry and has pre-permission for industrial hemp cultivation.
It remains to be seen whether the police operation was “the success” or “the flop of the year.”
PS as legislation on cannabis has changed, authorities may need to educate their staff on the modern times in Greece.