Barcelona (AFP) - Huge stashes of seized marijuana are piling up at police stations across Spain, leaving officers dizzy and feeling like "they smoked something illegal", a police union said Thursday.
The problem is concentrated in rural areas with small police stations that are responsible for vast stretches of farmland where regular seizures of illegal marijuana are made in summer, according to Catalan police union USPAC.
The police station in Olot, a town of 34,000 residents in the northeastern province of Girona, has 300-4000 marijuana plants in its garage, said USPAC spokesman Josep Miquel Milagros.
"At other police stations it is being stored in underground parking, even in offices," he added.
Police stations are required to hold on to the seized marijuana until they get a court order to destroy it, which can sometimes take over 30 days.
The smell of marijuana is so strong that police officers "have the feeling of being under the effects of having smoked something illegal," the spokesman said.
"The odour is intolerable. There have been cases of officers who have had to leave before their shift was over because their head hurt and they were feeling dizzy," he added.
"Imagine the image this gives when people come to a station to file a complaint for theft, and they find this smell."
To solve the problem the union wants the government to supply stations with containers that can be hermitically sealed to store the marijuana outside of police buildings.