Dak Lak farmer plants cannabis to survive Covid

By Thu Ha   September 15, 2021 | 01:22 am PT
Dak Lak farmer plants cannabis to survive Covid
Police officers inspect a cannabis greenhouse in Dak Lak Province, September 14, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thu Ha
A farmer in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak that switched to growing cannabis due to the pandemic was detained Tuesday.

Ho Long Phung, 39, is being probed for the alleged illegal storing of narcotic substances, Dak Lak police said.

In 2015, Phung relocated from the Mekong Delta to farm in Dak Lak. But recent pandemic impacts has rendered his products unsellable, plunging him into a dire situation.

After online research on how to grow cannabis, Phung planted 50 plants at first, managed to collect about 1 kilos of dried cannabis, and put them for sale online.

In June, he bought 300 cannabis seeds for VND3 million ($131.96). He built two greenhouses, along with a watering and lighting system to expand his business.

Police busted his operation during a raid, seizing hundreds of cannabis plants ripe for harvest. A search of Phung's residence found several dried cannabis products ready for sale.

Cannabis is on the list of narcotics forbidden in Vietnam. Those growing cannabis in small scale could be fined VND2-5 million ($86.16-215.40). Farmers found cultivating 500 to 3,000 plants could face jail terms of six months to three years, while those working on bigger scale could spend up to seven years behind bars.

Certain areas around the world have legalized medical or recreational use of marijuana, including several states in the U.S.

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