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Cyprus

Hemp grower remanded for growing THC-rich plants (Updated)

A hemp farmer and another man were on Thursday remanded in custody for six days, after a large number of plants on a property in Limassol were found to exceed the legal limits of THC, the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis.

Police said the pair were arrested after police searched two properties in Pelendri used by a 32-year-old to cultivate hemp under licence.

Samples taken by the police showed that plants contained higher percentages of THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, than the legal limit of 0.2 per cent.

Police said THC in the samples were between 2.3 per cent to 5.66 per cent, rendering the cannabis illegal.

By Thursday afternoon, authorities had located more than 120 cannabis plants as well as around 100kg of cannabis plant material. It was not immediately clear how many of the plants were illegal.

At the remand hearing, the lead police investigator said authorities had been surveilling the property since Monday, following a tip that the property owner was cultivating illegal narcotics.

Police said they were seeking a third suspect whom they believe is an associate of the 32-year-old hemp farmer. The drug squad said it had reason to believe the third man was treating the plants with chemicals to increase their THC yield.

In court, the hemp farmer claimed the cannabis plant material which police found on his property was from a previous defective crop which was never sold.

His lawyer also argued that the arrest was void, since under the law relating to hemp cultivation, only the department of agriculture – not the police – may collect samples.

The second suspect’s lawyer said his client began working on and off at the property two weeks ago and that he had no relation to the case.

Police had so far deposed eight persons, and were expected to depose 27 more, including the two main suspects.

They also requested access to the two suspects’ phone communications.

The suspects face charges of conspiracy to commit a crime, illegal cultivation of a Class B drug, illegal possession of narcotics, and possession with intent to sell a Class B drug and cannabis spores.

 


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