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When you imagine a villa surrounded by fields of lush green farmland, a vineyard usually comes with the image. Except if you are in Albania, where images of rustic villas in the mountains overlooking the Strait of Otranto and the Ionian Sea include 60 acres of Marijuana farmland. The Pindus mountains offer the perfect slopes and breezes for the cultivation of marijuana.

In Southern Albania lies a village called Lazarus. With less than 6,000 citizens, the town seems unappealing, but it’s the heart of a $6,000,000,000 marijuana farm. Earlier this summer it seems that Albanian officials seized an estimated 900 tons of marijuana from the farm.

Perfectly situated along Albania’s border with Greece, Lazarus had become famous over the years for exporting pot to neighboring countries. While Albania is leaning towards leniency on marijuana, the rest of the region the plant is still illegal.

Bordering States Stopped Constant Exports

It is likely that some outside pressure played a part in Albanian official’s decision to shut down an operation that employed nearly half a town and which was worth about a quarter of Albania’s GDP. One does not simply walk into Lazarus and walk away with all of their marijuana though.

Technically speaking, the growing organization was a large criminal association. When a SWAT team and Snipers showed up to seize the villa, they were met with; falling, whistling mortar shells; heavy machine gun fire from 70 a year old grandmother of marijuana farmers; and Rocket Propelled Grenades.

A Saving Grace to the Region

In a scene seemingly out of the wild west, the towns folk and the security team of the farm fought off the local authorities. For a time. Recently the Police returned and successfully captured the whole harvest. It’s hard to imagine what the workers will do to get buy after much of their work has been stripped from their hands.

With the economic hardships plaguing the region, will Albania become the first country to legalize marijuana growth and ingestion? The move would increase their GDP and tax revenue, and would likely increase tourism as well. It would be a good move for the country and its people, for medical and recreational purposes.

Luckily there are always more farms and indoor grows pumping out great buds from Green House Seed Co. strains, so there will not be a shortage of great times with THC. The bust begs the question of where else in the country are there large scale operations that have long been overlooked by the police.