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Illegal plantations

The rise of cannabis farms in Switzerland

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Indoor cannabis cultivation is on the rise in Switzerland. Many are professionally-run operations. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

Cannabis is the most commonly consumed illegal drug in Switzerland. In a 2013 report by UNICEF on the welfare of children, Switzerland ranked as having the second highest rate of cannabis consumption. Almost 25% of all children aged 11, 13 and 15 reported having used cannabis.

Since October 2013 use of the drug has effectively been decriminalised. Anyone caught with under 10 grams of cannabis faces a token fine of CHF100.

The cultivation, trade and consumption of high volumes of cannabis with more then 1% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a prosecutable offence. Despite this, the federal police estimates that 75% of the cannabis smoked in Switzerland is produced domestically.

This is reflected in the fact that the number and size of indoor cannabis plantations are on the rise. In 2014 around 3,000 were discovered by federal police. Of these around 1,000 were highly organised ventures with more than 100 plants and professional equipment.