La Mota, Dinafem and Humboldt Seeds victims of Guarda Civile operation
The police intervention of one of the largest cannabis seed banks leaves the entire industry speechless. The Spanish Medicines Agency (AEDM) mandated the Guardia Civil to carry out the operation, but also suspended a scientific project that the company was carrying out with the University of the Basque Country. At the request of the investigating judge and the anti-drug prosecution, the largest Spanish banks Dinafem, Mota and Humboldt Seeds of the POT SISTEMAK SL group are forced to cease their activities. Dinafem, which exports to around twenty countries, reached a turnover of 18 million euros in 2019.
This intervention puzzled a flourishing sector which considers its activity legal, protected by the Single United Nations Convention on Narcotic Drugs which excludes seeds from drug control. The operation, called Inxer-Toro classified secret, was carried out between September 15 and 17 in Guipúzcoa and Navarre with the arrest of 14 people, 17 searches of houses and industrial premises and the intervention of 207 people. 207000 euros, current accounts and electronic wallets, 20 million cannabis seeds worth 100 million euros and “a high-yield laboratory specializing in the production of cannabis plant specialties using sophisticated genetic manipulation techniques ”, states the detailed briefing note published by the general direction of the Guardia Civil. In 2019 the sales of the POT SISTEMAK SL group reached 18 million euros.
Lack of specific regulations in Spain
In the absence of specific regulations in Spain on the consumption of cannabis, this commercial activity has been guided, fundamentally, by the provisions of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, incorporated in the Official Journal of the State of November 4, 1981, article XNUMX of which excludes seeds and leaves not attached to the heads according to the definition.
In the same press release from the Spanish police, it is specified that the defendants are accused of crimes against public health, criminal organization, money laundering and electricity fraud, following investigations which began in November 2018 and in which members of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), the body under the Ministry of Health that has the power to authorize the cultivation of cannabis for medical or research, "as part of a technical advisory work". In addition, it refers to the seizure of 2100 seedlings in 11 plantations of “paid” producers who, according to the note, supplied their production to the “Organization”.
One of the managers of the company arrested as part of this operation, spent 33 hours in the dungeons of the Intxaurrondo Civil Guard barracks in San Sebastian, assured Public that this intervention had no justification:
“We are not criminals. We buy seeds and we sell them. We have been doing this for 21 years. We are one of the most important seed banks in Spain and Europe and we distribute more than a hundred brands. We are obliged to be audited because we have a turnover of more than ten million euros and they have never taken anything out, we pay our taxes every year, we go to international fairs around the world whole to exhibit our seeds for 17 years… All we ask for is justice ”.
The first consequence of this intervention is that the 97 workers of the company involved, Pot Sistemak SL, of which Dinafem and La Mota are members, will have to enter an ERTE (code of regulation of temporary work) because the entity has been paralyzed and the accounts of all responsible have been blocked.
Due to the temporary closure of the entity's laboratory, a team made up of a doctor in Public Health, a doctor in Analytical Chemistry and a master's degree in Neuropharmacology to analyze the presence of pesticides in cannabis on the market also had to suspend the research project which was carried out in collaboration with the University of the Basque Country.
Over 2 million tax payments in one year
In a statement made after the intervention of the court, Pot Sistemak ensures that during the last fiscal year, he paid the State 900 euros in social security contributions and 000 million euros in payment of the corporate tax and labor income. “This is a blow that opens a path of uncertainty for the entire sector and for companies which, like us, are totally or partially dedicated to the purchase and sale of cannabis seeds”, states the company, which claims to have “full confidence in the clarity and legality” of the business model it has developed over so many years.
In Spain, there are around fifteen cannabis seed banks and a thousand grow stores that sell them, a flourishing sector that until now had not been the subject of judicial intervention like Operation Inxer-Toro , which the Guardia Civil itself describes as “a pioneer of its kind”.
Solidarity of the cannabis community
The operation against one of the main seed banks not only caused surprise and unease in this industry, it also sparked a wave of solidarity from a large part of the cannabis movement throughout the world. Spain, which has expressed its indignation at what it sees as an escalation of police and judicial persecution from which it claims user associations are already suffering, also in a legal vacuum due to the lack of regulation of their activity.
The most insistent was the Federation of Euskadi Cannabis Consumers Associations (EUSFAC), which issued a statement to show “its deep concern over some of the police interventions that have taken place in recent weeks”, which it said , were developed with “brutality and disproportion” against “people 'investigated', abused, violated in their private life and even detained in prison for 72 hours.
In the same statement, the Basque federation also criticizes the fact that “the administration as a whole is turning a deaf ear to the social majority who demand a change in policy regarding the regulation of cannabis, ignoring the fact that it has a problem social on his plate.
Hugo Madera, spokesperson for the European Observatory on the Consumption and Cultivation of Cannabis, considers the judicial intervention of Dinafem and La Mota as surprising, because, he says, it is a “debate which has already passed ”since the publication of the Supreme Court prosecutor's report in 2003, since 1999, when growers started paying VAT on their business activity, and since the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs excluded marijuana seeds of its checklists.
According to Madera, one of the most surprising aspects of the briefing note released by the General Directorate of the Guardia Civil on Operation Inxer-Toro is the mention that it makes technical advice provided by members of the AEMPS as part of the investigation. The Observatory spokesperson describes the Medicines Agency of the Ministry of Health as “harmful and toxic” because of this advisory role in an investigation into a seed bank, instead of advancing the regulatory policies of the cannabis like those carried out in other countries of Europe and the rest of the world. “AEMPS has a problem with reality, it is still in the 20th century and we are already in the 21st”, he concludes.
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