Between phone calls, Francisco Carbó continues to finalize contracts for E-Canna, the hemp processing business he owns in Valencia, Spain. On October 21, the company was the target of an operation by the Spanish Civil Guard, announced by the police as the largest cannabis seizure of all time.
In addition to spending three days in prison, Carbó had his name published by hundreds of newspapers around the world calling him and his employees a “gang”, and suggesting that they are a group of thugs, and not a legal activity authorized and registered since the founding of the company in October 2021.
“There is a national persecution regarding the criminalization and stigmatization of cannabis. For them, everything related to hemp is a crime and it is not the case, the authorities are committing abuses. What is happening here is prevarication,” the businessman said.
The Spanish Civil Guard have been contacted for comment but have informed us that they are not authorized to provide information on this case.
According to Francisco Carbó, the demand for biomass or hemp flowers has increased by 300% in recent weeks. In fact, his phone hasn’t stopped ringing.
“Clients saw that I had been released and that the business was still running, and they understood that we were doing the right thing,” he says, while showing us a series of documents which, according to him, the proof that his company deals only with hemp, and not with cannabis, which the police accused him of.
On November 5, the Civil Guard issued a note stating that theOperation Jardines had seized 32 tons of cannabis, but according to Soraya Calvo, administrative director of the company, who accompanied Carbó to Barcelona, the information was false. Starting with the quantity, which was 25 and not 32 tons, and then, for having classified the raw material as a “drug” before it even passed through the appropriate analyses.
“They arrived hooded and with weapons in their hands, forcing everyone to lie on the ground, as if we were drug traffickers. It was not necessary. Our doors are always open and we report on absolutely everything that comes in and out of E-Canna,” she says.
On Tuesday 15, Carbó appeared for the first part of the trial, where he left a stack of documents in the care of the judge, who decided that the flowers would remain confiscated – but not destroyed – and that E-Canna could continue with its normal activities. while he studies the evidence provided by the defence.
The judgment should be announced within a month, and despite the damage suffered by the storage of its product in the warehouse, Carbó keeps the peace of mind of someone who is sure that the sentence will be favorable.
“If it’s drugs, and I’m a criminal, arrest me tomorrow. But if it’s not drugs, release the flowers tomorrow”.
Legally supported by two lawyers since the start of E-Canna’s activities, Carbó opted for preventive law. Every week, he informs the Civil Guard of all company movements.
“Even before I was investigated by state forces, I went to court and said, ‘Gentlemen, this is my business. Here are my documents. If it’s a crime, put me in jail”.
He specified that he had requested legal guardianship, so that the activity of the company would be supervised and protected. This request is still awaiting a response.
“I expected a frontal attack, with normal inspections. I never imagined that this attack would come from behind, with an accusation that came out of nowhere and absolutely does not hold water. »
Among the documents that supported the judge’s preliminary decision in his favor, documents from customs, the tax agency, compliance with the case law on which the activity is based, and samples taken from each batch of hemp.
Soon the judge will receive the analysis regarding the tests of the samples of the flowers seized by the police, which have been sent to a laboratory and will determine the percentage of cannabinoids present, to define whether the material is psychoactive or not. Cases like this are not unusual in Spain, and judges have always tended to interpret European Union laws, which are more permissive when it comes to hemp, rather than Spanish law itself.
With 15 employees divided between the office and the company’s two warehouses, E-Canna serves more than 40 farmers from all over Spain. They are required to have a contract with a processing company to guarantee the traceability of the harvest, in addition to using certified seeds and being registered in the agrarian register of their autonomous community.
“We also advise farmers to report the activity to the Civil Guard. If they don’t have these papers, they don’t work with me, because I have to guarantee the legitimacy of each product. »
E-Canna is today the main link between the hemp produced in Spain and its distribution to other countries in Europe. Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have already purchased hemp flowers processed by the company. According to Carbó, in a few weeks the press will publish the details of a million euro contract he has just signed with a French distributor.
Players in Spain’s cannabis industry, who asked not to be identified, agree that E-Canna’s role in the sector has helped make it a target of this type of operation. The country’s cannabis farmers and businesses have suffered years of government and police persecution, and many have shut down their operations in Spain to resume in neighboring countries, which offer them better juridic protection.
Carbó, however, is determined to resist the raids he faces and is aware that he may face similar raids in the future.
“I am not going to abandon an industry which is growing and which has great economic potential, which is on the verge of being professionalized, because if we, who are professionals, flee, it will remain stigmatized forever. »
The entrepreneur intends to continue, full of new business ideas in mind – one of them, the development of hemp milk, and another, on the distribution of CBD flowers in 1,400 tobacco shops in Catalonia in from next month.