The cultivation and sale of genetically modified marijuana is becoming more common in southwest Colombia, leading to an increase in prices, newspaper AFP reported.
Locals reported that in the mountains near the city of Cali (Valle del Cauca), where marijuana has long been cultivated, prices of the drug have risen, making it even more tempting to turn to marijuana sales to make a living.
The phenomenon of small-scale farmers choosing marijuana as the crop with the most profit potential has reportedly intensified with the arrival of genetically modified seeds from Europe and the U.S, which allows a “change in the mode of cultivation, with better production and better quality, in less time, with a variety of the so-called ‘creepy’ [potent marijuana],” said local police.
According to a foreign investigator, there is even a strain in Europe that is named after a Cauca department town, called “La Cominera,” because that is where the variety most prospered.
“Its market value is much greater than that of normal marijuana,” for its higher concentration of THC, explained the investigator. The higher quality marijuana is grown in greenhouses and the head of a farm told AFP that this genetically modified variety is sold for about ten times the rate for “normal” marijuana.
Police, meanwhile, said that in this region of Colombia, marijuana is the principle method of financing the FARC‘s 6th Front. “It is a big problem; the [FARC’s] 6th Front finances 90% [of its operations] with marijuana,” Cauca Police Commander Coronel Carlos Rodriguez said.
According to organized crime website InSight, the FARC have become the country’s primary marijuana dealers, with the majority of seizures, normally between one and four tons, occurring along the Pacific coast, particularly in Cauca. In early June, authorities seized 14 tons of marijuana in the department’s Toribio village.
The drug is usually sent to the Buenaventura port or to departments bordering Venezuela, to be sold in Ecuador or Venezuela.