ESA satellite to search for marijuana plantations

The European Space Agency ESA and the police are joining forces to spot marijuana plantations hidden in sweet corn fields in Limburg, the Telegraaf reports on Friday.


The experiment is due to begin in early 2012.
Using high-resolution satellite imagery, researchers can now read a ‘spectral signature’ from a marijuana plant and distinguish it from other crops.
The technique has been used with success in Canada since 2007, a spokesman for Venlo town council told the paper.
Rural areas
The trial is taking place within the context of the government’s crackdown on illegal plantations in rural areas.
Some 8,000 professional plantations are found in private homes, in commercial properties and in farm sheds every year.
In September 2009 alone, police in Limburg found seven large and 87 small plantations hidden in sweet corn fields after police flew over the region in a helicopter. The biggest had 15,000 plants.