Police find over 1000 cannabis plants in a Schaerbeek house

Police find over 1000 cannabis plants in a Schaerbeek house
Cannabis leaves. Credit: Unsplash

Roughly 1,200 cannabis plants were discovered at a house in Schaerbeek on 17 May, Brussels North police said on Tuesday.

The police reportedly raided the site to seize and destroy the plants.

The Brussels Public Prosecutor's Office requested the raid and also demanded to cut off the water and electricity in the house, according to a police spokesperson. Brussels-North police confirmed that an investigation is now ongoing to discover the owners of the plants.

"They (the police officers) quickly realised what the house was hiding: 16 electric meters, ventilation ducts and potting soil. The occupant of the premises grew 1,200 cannabis plants in the house," explained the police.

What is the law in Belgium?

Cannabis is an increasingly popular drug in Belgium, and since 2001, at least 10% of Belgians had tried it. That figure rose to 22.6%  in 2018. The number of Belgians consuming cannabis rose from 2.7% in 2001 to 4.3% in 2018. The Brussels regions is the area with highest reported use, with a monthly rate of 8.2% in 2018, according to market research company Statista.

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Unlike neighbouring countries Luxembourg and the Netherlands, using cannabis is illegal in Belgium. Yet while technically illegal, personal possession has been considered "a low prosecution priority", according to the Belgian Ministry of Justice. In essence, adults above 18, who are discovered with up to three grams of the substance, will not face a fine.

People found in possession of cannabis can risk a fine of €15 to €25. If the offence is repeated, users risk €25 to €50 fines. For cases where larger amounts are in possession, the prosecution is handled on a case-by-case basis.

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