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Kin-nabis cartel Kinahan mafia moving into organic cannabis market as prices soar across Europe

The price of 'organic cannabis' is at an all-time high in the UK and Ireland, with two-gramme bags fetching more than €50 as a global move to decriminalise and legalise the product intensifies.

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Daniel Kinahan

Daniel Kinahan

Daniel Kinahan

The international Kinahan mafia is moving into the organic cannabis market as prices across Europe soar and the relaxation of legislation leaves loopholes which the gang believe they can exploit.

Based in Dubai and still with a presence in Spain, the Kinahan group is focusing on cannabis production as its next major business venture - as cocaine shipping proves ever more difficult with international co-operation of police forces, sharing of intelligence and a growing market of young users used to highly potent weed.

The price of 'organic cannabis' is at an all-time high in the UK and Ireland, with two-gramme bags fetching more than €50 as a global move to decriminalise and legalise the product intensifies.

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The cannabis seizure in Meath yesterday. Photo: Garda Info

The cannabis seizure in Meath yesterday. Photo: Garda Info

The cannabis seizure in Meath yesterday. Photo: Garda Info

In Spain - the centre of cannabis farming in Europe - a huge increase in the number of drug seizures have been recorded, produced under the guise of a fast-growing legal hemp industry.

In both southern and northern Spain, police believe criminal organisations are snapping up cheap farm land in sparsely populated regions to cultivate highly-potent and culturally acceptable weed.

They are 'future-proofing' their businesses and making sure they are in control of the market as debate continues to steer the drug towards legalisation.

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Cannabis plantations discovered by police in Spain

Cannabis plantations discovered by police in Spain

Cannabis plantations discovered by police in Spain

While Canada legalised cannabis in 2018 and US states like California and Colorado have too, criminals have fast undercut legitimate growers, distributors and sellers, who have to adhere to government taxes and strict regulations.

In Europe, countries including Spain and Portugal, have begun to relax their attitude to the drug in a haphazard way, and now organised crime gangs are eyeing up their opportunities to work the system.

In parts of Spain, people are allowed to grow four plants each and can then join a club where smokers can come together to enjoy their weed.

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Cannabis plantations discovered by police in Spain

Cannabis plantations discovered by police in Spain

Cannabis plantations discovered by police in Spain

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However, cannabis tourists are already finding how easy it is to join clubs for a duration of their holiday and freely and legally get high.

The Sunday World understands that groups including the Kinahan mafia have been buying up large farms called 'Fincas', where vast swathes of cannabis could be grown in controlled conditions and sold on as 'organic cannabis'.

For years, the Netherlands has had a peculiar relationship with cannabis where it is legal to go into a coffee shop and purchase a joint but where the production and sale into the premises is totally illegal. In Portugal, having cannabis is de-criminalised but the drug isn't legal.

In Ireland and the UK, possession of the drug is largely tolerated and ignored by the legal system, while wholesale production has been the focus of police operations.

"The fact of the matter is that this is the drug of the future and the criminal gangs know that. They know the drugs market and they can see the massive potential as these relaxations in laws start to take effect," a source told the Sunday World.

"Cocaine has been such a focus of law enforcement that dealing it is becoming less attractive all the time. The biggest problem with it is that it has to be transported across the world in bulk.

"With cannabis, it can be grown and produced within any country where it is to be sold. Zero transport costs or risks and with the relaxation of laws in certain regions there is potential for openly producing it without any hassle from law enforcement.

Spain, in particular, is the target for massive production of organic cannabis by drug gangs, including the Kinahan mafia.

"You can be guaranteed as the laws relax further they will be there in place and they will be the biggest and the strongest producers and distributors. It's a win/win situation for them," the source added.

Some of the many reasons cited for legalising cannabis is to take it out of the hands of the criminals - but in the US state of California that plan has been a complete failure, with legitimate business people saying they cannot compete with the black market that has exploded there.

Operating under tight regulations and restrictions, they have been undercut by those operating outside the revenue laws to sell the same product at half the price.

Seizures of marijuana plants in southern Spain is also snowballing, with the product being cultivated in greenhouses which are legally operating and supposedly growing hemp for industrial and medical use.

There, hemp and marijuana farms look exactly the same and are the same plant - and cannabis is legal when it is grown for industrial use or the oil extracted from it.

It is not illegal to sell the buds except for medicinal purposes.

Police in Spain are already warning about the exploding cultivation of cannabis and Catalonia has been described in a report as the 'epicentre of the illegal marijuana' being run by organised crime gangs.

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