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Cablegate: Evidence of Increased Marijuana Cultivation and Possible

VZCZCXRO2211
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #0116 0150918
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150918Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9168
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0700
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 000116

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E AND INL/ENT
CAIRO FOR DEA
JUSTICE FOR OIA, AFLMA AND NDDS
TREASURY FOR FINCIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR KCRM ET

SUBJECT: EVIDENCE OF INCREASED MARIJUANA CULTIVATION AND POSSIBLE
HASHISH PRODUCTION

REF: 07 Addis Ababa 3249

1. SUMMARY: A recent seizure of 73 kilograms of cannabis (marijuana)
and the arrest of five people indicates a possible up-tick in
commercial drug cultivation in Ethiopia. Additionally, sources
indicate that drug growers are using machines to manufacture hashish
from cannabis plants, a new development for Ethiopia. END SUMMARY.

2. Marijuana is traditionally grown in small quantities throughout
the rural areas of Ethiopia. The Rastafarian community centered in
Shashamene, about 250 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, views
consumption of marijuana as a sacrament, and most of Ethiopia's
marijuana is grown in the areas surrounding Shashamene. On December
29, the Federal Police arrested five Ethiopians attempting to sell
73 kilograms of marijuana. One person was arrested with the drugs
in Shashamene and the other four were arrested in Addis.

3. According to the Federal Police, this seizure is relatively large
for Ethiopia. In 2006, a total of 482 kilograms of cannabis was
seized. The head of the Federal Police Counternarcotics unit
informed the Embassy that the cannabis seized was intended for
domestic use. Additionally, he told post that there is information
that traffickers in and around Shashamene are using machines to
process raw cannabis into a paste to smuggle abroad. Such
processing, however, was not used for the cannabis seized in this
bust. Consultations with the DEA attach in Cairo indicate that
such processing of marijuana into hashish would be a new development
for Ethiopia.

4. COMMENT: Ethiopia is not a major drug-producing nation. However,
cannabis is grown throughout the country, especially around the
Rastafarian commune in Shashamene. The seizure, along with reports
of a nascent hashish-producing industry, is a concerning departure
from the norm of small-scale consumption at home. Post will
continue to work with Ethiopian authorities to monitor these
developments. END COMMENT.

YAMAMOTO

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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