Illegal cannabis cultivation costs Dutch society €200 mil. per year

Dutch police inspect a cannabis plantation in a house (Stock Photo: Politie)Dutch police inspect a cannabis plantation in a house (Stock Photo: Politie)

Illegal cannabis cultivation costs Dutch society around 200 million euros per year, through stolen electricity and missed taxes, according to the sector organization for gas and electricity network operators Netbeheer Nederland, reports.

Netbeheer Nederland estimates that there are around 30 thousand illegal cannabis plantations in the Netherlands. Together they steal nearly 1 billion kWh of electricity per year - more than all households in Rotterdam use annually. This costs network operators, and everyone connected to them, around 60 billion euros per year, according to the organization. On top of that, the government is also losing out on 135 million euros in tax revenue each year, Netbeheer Nederland said.

Last year network operators cut the power of nearly 2,600 cannabis plantation, which collectively stole some 95 million kWh of electricity.

The number of illegal cannabis plantations closed down per year has been decreasing for several years. According to Netbeheer Nederland, this is because cultivators are becoming better and better at hiding their plantations, many of which are in residential areas.

Illegal cannabis cultivation does not only cost society money, but is also a massive safety risk due to the amateurish way in which illegal connections are made to the power grid, according to the organization. “This leads to downright dangerous situations, due to the constant risk of overheating, melting cable insulation, short-circuiting and fire”, Netbeheer Nederland said.