Education Resource

Meet the Journalist: Nate Tabak

Journalist Nate Tabak discusses his project about Lazarat, the Albanian village that came to be known as Europe’s unofficial pot capital. Its residents illegally grew massive amounts of marijuana out in the open for 10 years, while police mostly left them alone. Italian law enforcement estimated that at its peak the annual crop had a value of 4.5 billion euros on the streets of western Europe. Lazarat also earned an outlaw reputation, with stories about grandmothers repelling police with machine guns. Then in 2014, it came to an end. Under pressure from the European Union, the Albanian government sent in 800 police officers. Shooting went on for days, and in the end the pot was seized or burned. Not long after, Albania became a candidate to join the EU, while the people of Lazarat were left without their livelihood. Tabak tells the inside story of the people behind this remarkable village—and Albania’s efforts to eradicate the marijuana industry.