Fighting the cannabis mafia – Albania’s drug cartels | DW Documentary
Cannabis is an industry worth billions for the Albanian mafia. This small Balkan state is one of the world’s main producers of the drug.
A dangerous war on drugs, especially cannabis, is being waged by the authorities against the drug cartels. Located in the southeast Balkans, Albania has a population of less than three million. The climate, with up to 300 days of sunshine per year, is ideal for the cannabis plant, which originated in central Asia. Political corruption, a weak judiciary and widespread poverty, however, have served to boost the illegal cultivation of and trade in the drug. The changes that took place in the early 1990s, when Albania transformed from a totalitarian regime into a democracy, were marked by violent upheavals and lawlessness. Mafia clans with connections to the highest political circles made massive profits from people trafficking and the smuggling of cigarettes, weapons and heroin. This was also when the large-scale cultivation of cannabis began. The remote, rugged mountain valleys are difficult for the police to patrol. Although the Albanian government has declared war on the cannabis mafia after being pressured by the European Union, how can it be that many tons of cannabis still cross the Adriatic and get into Italy and from there into other EU countries?
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