A study exploring the concentration of marijuana pollen in the atmosphere in the Spanish city of Murcia has discovered that levels of pollen are increasing in the atmosphere. This is a clear indication that the extent of illicit cannabis farming is trending upwards.
For decades, scientists have been documenting the amount of marijuana pollen present in the air in order to estimate the extent of illegal marijuana cultivation taking place in different cities, including Cartagena, Lorca and Murcia. This trio of cities is of special interest because they are located along the seashore acting as a border between Spain and Morocco.
The researchers were intrigued to discover that, after analyzing the collected pollen, only a small fraction of the pollen could be traced to North Africa. This means that the vast majority of the illicit grows were on Spanish soil and that the country was becoming increasingly less dependent on imported cannabis. Rather, it was now depending on a domestically produced crop to meet the local needs and the needs of the other foreign markets in need of this illicit marijuana.
It was also found that both Lorca and Cartagena were far ahead in the concentration of marijuana pollen detected in the atmosphere. This duo registered in excess of 80 pollen grains in each cubic meter of air. In contrast, Murcia’s illegal grows peaked back in 2020 when the city recorded 66 pollen grains for each cubic meter of air measured.
For comparison purposes, the three Spanish cities logged pollen readings in the range of 19-27 grains per cubic meter back in 2017. This shows that the increase in illegal cultivation activity has been massive over the past few years.
Previously, people only thought of the marijuana clubs around Barcelona when discussions about cannabis use arose. However, the authorities and policymakers are just waking up to the reality that cannabis cultivation and use is widespread across the entire nation.
Consequently, the country is scrambling to find ways to regulate a sector where consumers and their suppliers are ahead of the government. Last year, the country initiated steps to permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The authorities have also granted four licenses to companies to grow and manufacture pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products. These are exclusively for export.
Strict cannabis laws notwithstanding, Spanish products ranging from CBD products to marijuana products have been found throughout the continent, which explains why recent months have seen widely publicized busts of large illegal marijuana grows. If the country eventually creates a regulated market for marijuana allowing local and international marijuana companies such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) to operate, scientists will no longer have to analyze pollen collections in order to get an idea about cannabis use.
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