Skip to content

NBI: Home cultivation of cannabis "explodes"

The number of aggravated drug crimes uncovered by Finnish authorities declined slightly last year. Meanwhile seizures of marijuana, LSD and doping substances rose compared to 2014.

The number of drug offences detected by Finnish police and Customs officials rose last year by 7.5 percent, according to a report published by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Monday. Last year authorities recorded 23,478 controlled substance crimes.

The number of usage offences primarily rose due to the proliferation of home cultivation of cannabis. NBI investigator Jari Leskinen described the increase in home-growing of marijuana in recent years as "explosive". The practice is mostly small-scale, but is taking on increasingly professional characteristics, the report says. Every year a number of moderately large grow sites with hundreds of plants are discovered.

Leskinen notes that the internet is playing a decisive role in the increasing incidence of home cultivation. Cannabis seeds can easily be ordered online and while growing instructions are also readily available, he points out.

The NBI says the internet has become a major channel for the procurement and distribution of illicit drugs. Most designer drugs, which have also proliferated in recent years, are ordered online. For several years, the most common designer drug in Finland has been alpha-PVP, a powerful amphetamine-like stimulant. Leskinen predicts that the designer drug problem will grow in the next few years in Finland.

Aggravated drug crimes down slightly

Finnish authorities recorded 1,079 aggravated drug crimes last year, which was seven percent fewer than in 2014. According to the report, a quarter of those suspected of aggravated drug crimes were foreign nationals, with Estonians forming the largest group.

Ecstasy has long been popular in Finland but significantly less was seized last year compared to the two previous years. On the other hand more than twice as much LSD was found than in 2014.

Subutex, which is used as a heroin substitute, continues to be frequently smuggled in, especially from Tallinn, Estonia. Cocaine and heroin were relatively rare last year.

The NBI says that online trading has also boosted smuggling of doping substances into the country. The number of doping offences were up slightly, with the substances being brought in by both individuals and by organised criminal groups, it says.