Spain’s annual La Vuelta cycling race, or Tour of Spain, is one of Europe’s best known biking competitions in which hundreds of hearty cyclists crisscross Spain for three weeks and occasionally ride into neighboring countries in a grueling, multi-stage cycling race.
As this year’s La Vuelta bikers peddled through the charming town of Igualada, some 40 miles from Barcelona, La Vuelta’s own helicopter unintentionally filmed a very lush rooftop cannabis garden.
Viewers of the live aerial footage, for reasons best known to themselves, decided to report the not-so-hidden mini pot farm to local authorities who swooped in and seized 40 cannabis plants.
Bird’s-eye view of rooftop cannabis garden in Igualada, Spain as bike race passes below.
As the helicopter hovered over the riders who were completing the eighth stage of the race, the camera panned over the eighth and top floor of two contiguous apartment buildings where healthy plots of cannabis were blooming.
The footage, which immediately went viral via La Marca newspaper, prompted authorities to take action. A spokesperson for the local police said that no arrests had been but that they were investigating. She confirmed that the film from the helicopter led to the confiscation of the plants.
Police in Igualada, Spain hauling away 40 pot plants found growing on two apartment rooftops.
“We received information thanks to the images that individuals posted on social media that had been taken from the helicopter of La Vuelta,” the spokesperson said.
Is it legal or not?
Although personal consumption of cannabis has been decriminalized in Spain, which has some of the world’s most active research teams looking into medical cannabis, it is illegal to cultivate weed in Spain.
Neither the current government nor any of its predecessors have shown the slightest inclination to regulate recreational or medicinal cannabis.
“Consuming cannabis is the most frequently broken law in our country,” said Manuel Guzmán, professor of biochemistry at Madrid’s Complutense University.
Despite this, Spain is home to hundreds of cannabis clubs that provide marijuana to registered members.
Twitter responds to rooftop bust
“It’s enough to make us hate cycling forever,” tweeted one local.
“It’s a plant that grows naturally, not a neutron bomb!” said another.