The streets of the Kazakhstan capital Astana City may not be paved with gold, but their flowerbeds are planted with marijuana.
On Auezov Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, the smell of cannabis plants alerted authorities to “thousands” of marijuana plants flourishing at the side of the road. Local resident Mihail Malorod was one of the first who noticed the plants.
‘I was walking down the street when I saw these cute plants at the junction of Auezova Street and Dzhangeldina Street,’ he said.
‘What a nice little flowerbed, I thought.’
But not everyone is happy about weed growing on the city’s highways.
The city council has launched an investigation into who planted the cannabis? Was it an accident? Or an act of “guerilla gardening”?
For years, Kazakhstan’s government has been “working in vain” to destroy crops of cannabis that grow wild across the country.
Kazakhstan’s Chu Valley is twice the size of France and is riddled with cannabis plants. However, although consumption and dealing marijuana is illegal, the ready availability of the plant makes it impossible to police effectively.
To counter the problem, last year politician Dariga Nazarbayeva suggested turning over swathes of cannabis covered land to pharmaceutical companies to cultivate for profit.
Or, perhaps why not use this freely available plant as a lure for weed aficionados to holiday in the country?
Meantime, the gardening company hired by the council to plant flowers have started their own internal investigation into what happened claiming they will “weed out” all the cannabis plants.
In 2003, writer/presenter Simon Reeve discovered how easily marijuana grows in Kazakhstan when he traveled across the country for his TV series Meet the Stans.
H/T the Metro