Weed wars: 4,000 legal cannabis plants destroyed in Switzerland
A medical cannabis producer in Saint Gallen has suffered 1.3 million francs in losses after unknown perpetrators pulled out 4,000 of his plants from his plantation but didn’t steal them.
Usually when you hear of people pulling weeds out of their garden they’re not referring to the kind you can roll up and smoke or consume for medical purposes.
On this particular occasion however it was just that, although this serial cannabis cull was far from desired.
"More than 4,000 hemp plants have been torn off and thrown to the ground," Tony Peruzzo, owner of Tell Hemp, told local Swiss daily 20 Minuten.
Earlier this year, Peruzzo bought three hectares of land in the municipality of Benken in St. Gallen, where he began harvesting cannabis for the production of CBD.
For those not in the know, CBD is the non-psychoactive component found in hemp, marijuana’s conservative cousin, which has been found to have a wide array of medical benefits when taken in oil form.
Aside from destroying a third of Tell Hemp’s completely legal plants –leaving him with 1.3 million francs in losses - the perperators went one step further.
They sowed other hemp seeds on Peruzzo’s grounds in a bid to wreak havoc with the next harvest.
"The male plants that grow there will make the female plants unusable" Peruzzo said with regret.
When a male plant pollinates a female it becomes unusable, especially because the flowers are filled with seeds.
Tell Hemp’s CEO believes all this is the work of a competing rival in the medical cannabis market.
"In the beginning we thought it was the authorities were anticannabis,” he said.
“But when we saw that other CBD seeds had been spread, we knew it was a competitor's work."
He suspects his predecessor in the CBD Benken business, Jakob Beglinger.
But when contacted by 20 Minuten Beglinger defended himself, saying "I do not need to do that".
“Business is good. If I want to fight the competition, I will eventually lower my prices. But in no case will I go and destroy the fields of others."
Beglinger thinks it is rather the work of group young thugs.
Meanwhile, Peruzzo has filed a complaint with the police, offering a 10,000-franc reward to whoever can provide clues to get his hands on the culprits.
"The investigation is ongoing," confirmed the spokesman of the police of St. Gallen, Gian Andrea Rezzoli.