New data shows that with the end of the Celtic Tiger in Ireland, the demand and production of cannabis has been booming.

The Irish Independent
reports that in 2004 during the Celtic Tiger, only 36 people were prosecuted for growing cannabis. That figure sharply increased last year when it jumped up to 582 prosecutions. Most of the prosecutions were for small-scale productions, but there were several dozen of industrial-sized, foreign-run operations as well.

Over the weekend, a man was arrested in Galway for a cannabis plantation operation. The man, who is in his early 30s, was arrested after the Galway Divisional Drug Unit and the Garda National Drug Unit searched a house in Cummer, near Tuam in Galway. Officers found a stash of cannabis plants with a potential street value of nearly $350,000.

RTE News reports that Detective Sergeant Brian Roberts, while addressing the annual National Prosecutors’ Conference in Dublin Castle last month, stated that cannabis producers have gotten to be much more “sophisticated” in their production.

With the use of advanced irrigation and heating systems which, producers could cultivate cannabis with an approximate street value up to around $6 million.

Surveys have found that Irish teens are above the average European amount of users of cannabis. 18 percent of the Irish teenage population surveyed have admitted to using cannabis, while the European average falls just below at 17 percent. Six percent of Irish teens had admitted to using a drug other than cannabis.