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  1. hi Why the US Has Embraced Drug Law Reform, But the UK Won't In the US, drug reform is at the centre of political debate while in Britain politicians continue to shove the issue under the carpet. Here’s why During Joe Biden’s successful presidential campaign one of the policies he highlighted was drug law reform. He pledged he would decriminalise cannabis, make it easier to expunge past criminal convictions and legalise the medical weed industry. He saw drug reform as a vote winner. Of course, he won the election and so did drugs, with voters opting for a series of reforms to liberalise state drug laws, including decriminalisation of all drugs in Oregon. Nothing could be more different from the way drug reform is being talked about – or not – in British politics. Here, drug reform is a subject the two main parties avoid like a discarded face mask. When Labour leader Keir Starmer was asked over the weekend on Sky News whether he would consider any drug reform such as decriminalisation, he dismissed it out of hand, mumbling something about the damage caused by drug gangs. It was the same tactic used by his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, and by the Tory government, and every Home Secretary for as long as anyone can remember. So why is there such a marked difference in the way US and British politics treat drug reform? Because on the surface the issues at stake are similar: record numbers of drug-related deaths on both sides of the Atlantic, rising acceptance of cannabis as a medicine and a pushback against racially biased policing. There are several reasons why Biden felt comfortable using decriminalisation as a potential vote winner in a very tight election race and why the main two political parties in Britain would rather run a mile than do the same. In part this is about how you can’t transplant one drug scene onto another one. The federal system in the US has allowed individual states to legalise weed, in a way that the government of the day would not have allowed at the national level. In the UK, Cornwall could not legalise weed, however many new age hippies live there. This slow, state by state, revolution in the US has been accompanied by a hugely influential drug reform movement. Two key groups, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which came close to decriminalising cannabis under president Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, and the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) professionalised the art of weed lobbying. “These people wore suits and went to Washington and did all that lobbying that big pharma, big tobacco and big oil does, it was real, hard-nosed political lobbying, which you don’t get in the UK,” said Harry Shapiro, director of drug information charity DrugWise and author of several books on drugs. At the same time, some US states were knee-deep in cannabis-growing in a way that has never been the case in the UK. “There has been a long history of growing and distribution in California, in the bible belt, the Appalachians and bringing it in from Mexico,” said Shapiro. “Cannabis culture is so much more embedded in the US than Britain.” But drug reformers in the US did not just pressure the government on weed law reform. With myriad grassroots crime and penal law reform groups, they also campaigned against the disproportionate impact the drug laws were having on ethnic minorities. In the US, with prisons packed with Black and Hispanic people serving time for low-level drug offences, and large numbers of Black people being shot and killed by police in the name of drug prohibition, drug law reform also became an issue of racism. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May, followed by unprecedented national outrage during the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality, made it a necessity for any liberal-minded politician during that 2020 election to address the impact the drug war and unjust policing was having on the streets. Shapiro doesn’t think Biden, whose son Hunter has been open about his own struggles with cocaine addiction, is a natural drug law liberaliser. But he clearly understands that something has to be done about the drug laws in order to make America a less racist society. Yet in the UK, said Shapiro, the BLM movement holds less public sway. Perhaps this is because – although Britain has similar issues with a criminal justice and policing system that is biased against ethnic minorities – this institutional racism is far less deadly because police in the UK are not armed. “The scale, proximity and racist horror of the drug war has provided the context for drug reform in the USA,” said George McBride, co-founder of Hanway Associates, a UK cannabis consultancy. “But in Britain, voters are less aware of the many injustices of the current system, and drug reform campaigners struggle to relate this to the electorate.” McBride said the UK drug debate is “mired in dull and esoteric issues around harm reduction”, while in the US “drug reform is driven by a fervent passion to overthrow a corrupt and racist system”. “Keir Starmer knows better, but he has chosen to look the other way as he did during his role running the Crown Prosecution Service while he helped preside over a system that was just as racist as the US system, but on such a smaller scale. The gentle trickle of misery never really caught the public's attention in the way that the raging torrent of misery in the US has.” In Britain there is less public appetite for reform on cannabis than in America. In the US, 68 percent of Americans support legal recreational weed, compared to 48 percent in the UK. “Under half” and “more than two thirds” are big differences when it comes down to how politicians react. It could just be that in the US, weed, as it is in Canada where the drug is now legal, is far more widespread than it is in Britain. A much smaller proportion (3.8 percent compared to 11.5 percent) and volume (1.3 million compared to 31 million) of people are regular cannabis users in Britain compared to America. In both countries, the issue of drugs comes with a lot of moral baggage. But in Britain politicians are perhaps more fearful of saying anything that sounds liberal about drugs. This is because in Britain there is a powerful, nationwide group of right-wing national newspapers with large cohorts of loyal readers waiting to pounce. In the US there is no real national press, apart from the big cable networks. “In Britain the media is more influential politically than it is collectively in the States, so politicians are probably more running scared of the media over here when it comes to talking about drugs,” said Shapiro. At a time when Labour and the Tories are battling for the hearts and minds of the so called “red wall”, an area mostly in the Midlands and North of England which analysts say has been ignored by metro elite politicians from the South, drugs are going to be overlooked more than usual in UK politics. “I'm really not sure drug decriminalisation is a key issue now, nor is it a priority for most people, particularly in those seats Labour most needs to win back,” said Marcus Roberts, a drugs and crime policy advisor and chair of the Essex Recovery Foundation. “I'd think the key consideration for Starmer’s team is getting back to power, and that means reconnecting with Labour’s base. Drug decriminalisation, whatever its merits, feels like the sort of metro-liberal issue that isn't going to help the party reconnect with communities struggling with long term decline, the impact of the pandemic and the EU exit.” For Labour and the Tories however, it seems the only vote winning mention is the tried and tested mantra of being tough on drug crime, of ramping up the war on drugs, no matter that for all the video footage of ministers and police chiefs talking to camera as doors are busted down in drug raids, it’s a war that clearly will not be won. On drugs, whether it’s weed or heroin, the simpler the message the better: drug addiction and drug dealing is a “scourge” on communities that needs to be stamped out. The truth about the drug problem – as Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon detailed in a wide-ranging speech accepting her government’s culpability in Scotland’s record number of drug deaths – is that drug addiction and drug dealing is not a “scourge on society”. These things are in fact symptoms of a broken society, and criminalising, neglecting and stigmatising drug users cements that harm. A Labour spokesperson told VICE World News: “The government is completely failing to get to grips with the scale of the drugs problem in the UK. Too many people are not getting the support they need. Police cuts have enabled drug gangs to prosper and spread violence, while there has been a huge increase in the incidence of County Lines. “Labour supports the Lammy Review, which looked at ways to help reform the criminal justice system to address the disproportionality that lies behind these issues. The government should also move much faster to put in place sensible policies around the prescribed, medicinal uses of cannabis.” Unlike in the US, British politicians remain free to wilfully ignore the well-known links between bad drug policy and bad human rights: whether it’s someone given a criminal record for a bag of weed, jailed for a stash of MDMA or stopped and searched every week for drugs because of the colour of their skin. Most tragically, this refusal to talk about any drug reform at all, will most likely impact the most disadvantaged members of society, the ones living in the red wall constituencies, far away from the capital. https://www.vice.com/en/article/k7a9ya/why-the-us-has-embraced-drug-law-reform-but-the-uk-wont Bongme
  2. hi Police discover cannabis plants after two men were spotted trying to break into a house Police are investigating following the incident in Cheadle on Thursday afternoon Police discovered cannabis plants after being alerted to an attempted break-in in Stockport. Police were called to reports that two men were trying to break into a property on St David's Road in Cheadle shortly after 1pm yesterday (Thursday). Officers attended and two men - aged 26 and 28 - were arrested on suspicion of cannabis cultivation. They have been released on bail while further enquiries are ongoing. Police remained at the scene after a number of cannabis plants were recovered from the property. Police say the scene has now been closed and officers are no longer at the address. Enquiries are ongoing. https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/police-discover-cannabis-plants-after-19927899 Bongme
  3. hi Drug reforms must consider the wider issues Letters Guardian Decriminalisation is a welcome change of approach, but it must be accompanied by a strategy to tackle the broader challenges faced by addicts, writes Prof Harry Sumnall, while resident judge Roger Elsey says the victims of drug users must also be protected r Kojo Koram’s powerful opinion piece (Enlightened drug reforms are sweeping the US. Why is Britain so far behind?, 25 February) highlights how decriminalisation of drug possession in the US may be a mechanism to address disparities in the UK criminal justice system, and help to change public attitudes towards people who use drugs. However, despite progressive law reforms in the US, drug-related deaths are at historic highs, the drugs market is still awash with potent synthetic opioids, and while public opinion backs decriminalisation or legal regulation of cannabis, the same cannot be said for support for life-saving treatments such as opioid agonist therapies and harm reduction interventions, where access is impeded in many states. In contrast, in the much discussed example of Portugal, decriminalisation of drug possession was accompanied by substantial investments in treatment and support services, after years of underinvestment. In the UK, where few are imprisoned for simple possession offences, people who experience harm from their substance use have seen cuts to treatment services, have high levels of unmet physical and mental health needs, and report high levels of loneliness and disconnection from community support. Many live with histories of childhood trauma. While decriminalisation is a welcome change of approach to drug policing, without a simultaneous commitment to the broader challenges faced by drug users, we are unlikely to have much impact on the overall burden of harm caused by drugs and drug policy. Prof Harry Sumnall Professor of substance use, Liverpool John Moores University • Your editorial (22 February) suggests that possession of drugs has two consequences – damage to the health of users, and the criminalisation of marginalised groups. I have extensive experience of sentencing offenders in both youth courts and domestic violence courts. In both, the offenders are similar in that their pre-sentence reports and antecedent histories show that many – I believe most – are drug users. The interests of the victims of their offending also need to be considered as part of the consequences of drug-taking. Before the decriminalisation bandwagon becomes unstoppable, research is needed into how these vulnerable victims can be protected. It is the use of drugs, not the law, which is causing them harm. Roger Elsey Resident judge and HM coroner, HM courts of Episkopi and Dhekelia, Cyprus https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/feb/26/drug-reforms-must-consider-the-wider-issues Bongme
  4. hi Man arrested after cannabis plants found in garage A MAN has been arrested after a number of cannabis plants were found inside a garage in Wickham. Police attended an address in Elizabeth Road at around 4.30pm yesterday (Thursday) where 25 cannabis plants and a hydroponic system were found. A 42-year-old man from Wickham was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of class B and producing a controlled drug of class B. He has been released under investigation while investigations continue. https://www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk/news/19122139.man-arrested-cannabis-plants-found-garage/ Bongme
  5. hi Cannabis Oil helping to protect a 11-year-old boy from seizures now manufactured in the UK A family from Lancashire, 40 miles North of Warrington, says they had difficulties acquiring the cannabis oil their son has been using to protect himself from seizures, post-Brexit, as it was manufactured in Holland. The good news is that it will now be produced in the UK, making it easier for them and other families in the country, to buy it, without having to travel abroad. Distribution Problems caused by the Brexit The Brexit has created a lot of complications for many companies, which ended-up affecting the lives of a large group of citizens. It is the case with health care supplies, as some of them cannot be imported anymore. That created a huge problem for an 11-year-old boy from Lancashire, who was taking cannabis oil to protect himself from seizures. The problem is so serious that without it, he has to go to the hospital, which he ended-up doing quite a lot, before the doctors found that solution for him. However, the Brexit became a tragedy for the family, when they were told that the cannabis oil was not available to them, anymore. Thankfully, the Dutch company, which produces the drug, announced that they were entering into a partnership with a Scottish firm, so that they could continue to see their cannabis-based health product on the UK market. Producing in the UK: A long-term Solution This particular product has now found its way to the UK citizens who need it. However, there are still more cannabis-based products that aren’t available anymore in post-Brexit UK. Everyone affected by the situation (patients, doctors, manufacturers and the government) are looking to find a rapid solution to the issue, so that no one has to suffer from the situation. The answer may well be producing these products inside the UK. For now, those needing to supply themselves have to leave the country and head to where the products are available (mainly Holland). But if the products were to be produced on UK soil, just like the cannabis oil that the 11-year-old boy uses, the need to travel would disappear. Not only that, but it would make it easier for the government to add them to the list of medicines supported by UK’s Department of Health and Social Care, reducing the cost of the products for patients. There is still work needing to be done around the cannabis-based products and other health medicines, as the UK is now out of the EU. The government is saying that it is handling the situation in the best and most efficient way possible, in order to bring the necessary pharmaceutical drugs to all patients. https://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/2021/02/25/cannabis-oil-helping-to-protect-a-11-year-old-boy-from-seizures-now-manufactured-in-the-uk/ Bongme
  6. hi x-boxing champ Junior Witter fuming after cops find cannabis factory in house he rented out EX-boxing champ Junior Witter was fuming after cops raided a house he rented out — and found a cannabis factory. The former WBC super lightweight title holder, 46, has owned the three-bed house since 2005. Neighbours called the police when they noticed the patio doors had been kicked in. Officers went in and found the remnants of a weed farm. It is thought a rival dealer may have tried to steal the plants from the house, in Sheffield. Angry Junior, who retired six years ago, said: “I own the property and rented it out. “There was a break-in and now I’m just left with a lot of mess to clean up. https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/14166918/junior-witter-cops-raided-house-cannabis-factory/ Bongme
  7. hi Barrow woman found with drugs in car 'for medical use' A WOMAN found in possession of cannabis has received a conditional discharge after magistrates accepted it was for medical use. Carley White, 37, was found with the class B drug in her car, a court heard. Officers then found a small box containing amphetamine when they searched her home the next day. The court heard White had been using the cannabis to self-medicate for two medical conditions and was now being prescribed the drug for medicinal purposes legally. White, of Middleton Avenue in Barrow, admitted two charges of possessing class B drugs when she appeared before South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court. Prosecutor Rachel Dixon told the court White was found with the drugs on August 16 and 17 last year. She told the court: “On August 16 police had cause to stop the defendant’s vehicle at Lindal. “They smelt a strong smell of cannabis coming from vehicle. “They located two small bags of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. “The defendant was then arrested and a search of her home was conducted on August 17. “In a small pot they found some powder which tested positive for amphetamine.” The prosecutor told the court White had no previous convictions but had been received a caution in 2014. Louise Gordon, mitigating, said: “I’ve heard the facts of the matter and there is no disputing that. “She cooperated with the police and pleads guilty today. “At the time she was self-medicating. “Since that time she’s now been prescribed medicinal grade cannabis. “In terms of the amphetamine, it was something that she had taken from her ex-partner when he visited her. “She took it off him and put it away and forgot it was there. “It wasn’t for her use.” Sentencing her to a 12-month conditional discharge, chair of the bench Charles Crewdson said: “We have looked at this in context that have you been purchasing drugs, illegally, for medical use. “We have heard you have been prescribed medication and long may that last.” White was to pay costs of £85 for bringing the case to court and a £22 surcharge to fund victim services. https://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/19115572.barrow-woman-found-drugs-car-for-medical-use/ Bongme
  8. hi This what cannabis partly about in the UK the rich making large amounts of money off our backs! Shares in David Beckham-backed cannabis company soar on London debut Shares in cannabis skin care company Cellular Goods, which is backed by retired soccer star David Beckham, soared more than fourfold as it started trading on the London Stock Exchange on Friday, after raising £13 million ($18.4 million) in an initial public offering. The stock spiked 310% to 20.50 pence at the market open in London, up from its IPO price of 5 pence, which had valued the company at more than £25 million. Cellular Goods plans to make skin care and athletic recovery products from biosynthetic cannabinoids, which are made through a fermentation process in laboratories rather than field grown. Its products will be available from the autumn, according to the company. It said demand for its IPO, which was supported by about 6,000 orders from retail traders, exceeded the deal size 13 times, helping it raise significantly more than the original £8 million target. “We are delighted with the tremendous support we have received from institutional capital and the unprecedented level of interest shown by retail investors for an IPO of this size,” said Cellular Goods Chief Executive Alexis Abraham, in a statement. Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “With shares 13 times oversubscribed, initial demand for cannabinoid company Cellular Goods was always likely to be high and as trading has got under way it’s become a hot stock.” “David Beckham’s backing certainly added a celebrity glow to its listed debut. It might seem a bit of a curveball for a man known for free kicks rather than scoring on the financial markets, but his personal brand has given the launch a bit of a kick,” Streeter added. The global cannabidiol skin products market is forecast to grow to $3.5 billion over the next five years, Streeter noted, but cautioned that it is already “a highly competitive field, with innovations coming thick and fast from all over the world.” Cellular Goods is the latest company in the cannabis space to go public on the London Stock Exchange, following a ruling in September by the U.K.’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, which said marijuana firms can float on the bourse, but only if they produce the drug for medicinal purposes. Medical pot was legalized in the U.K. in 2018 for a narrow set of purposes, but recreational use is against the law. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/shares-in-david-beckham-backed-cannabis-company-soar-on-london-debut-11614345679?mod=initial-public-offerings Bogme
  9. hi Caerphilly scaffolder ran ‘sophisticated’ cannabis factory A CANNABIS farmer was running a “sophisticated” operation from his own home and cultivating a crop with a potential yield of more than £35,000. Mitchell Dyke, 24, was growing 42 plants when police officers raided his house last year, Cardiff Crown Court heard. Sign up to our Crime and Court newsletter to get all the day’s news direct to your inbox Prosecutor Tom Roberts said: “This was a sophisticated set-up with a significant investment in equipment. “It could have produced 3.5kg of cannabis with a potential street value of up to £35,700.” Mr Roberts added how a police drugs expert estimated 4,700 joints could have been rolled once the plants were harvested. Dyke, of Pen Y Dre, Penyrheol, Caerphilly, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis on April 4, 2020. The court was told the defendant had three previous convictions for six offences, including drink driving. He also had a caution for cultivating cannabis from 2015. David Rees, representing Dyke, said his client had pleaded guilty at the very first opportunity at the magistrates’ court. His lawyer pointed out that there was a 10-month delay in the father-of-one’s case coming to court. Mr Rees added: “Mr Dyke made a very foolish decision with a lack of consequential thinking. “His risk of reoffending is low.” The defendant had recently started working again for a Cardiff scaffolder after being laid off for a period and was earning £288 a week. Judge Daniel Williams jailed Dyke for 10 months, suspended for 15 months, and ordered him to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work. He must pay £420 towards prosecution costs and a £149 victim surcharge. The total amount of £569 has to be paid within three months. https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/19111027.caerphilly-scaffolder-ran-sophisticated-cannabis-factory/ 10 Comments Bongme
  10. hi Cannabis-based antibiotics could be available on NHS within five years A compound of cannabis which can kill drug resistant ‘super-gonorrhoea’ could be prescribed by the NHS in just five years, a leading neurologist says. Research by the University of Queensland has found CBD, the main non-psychoactive component of weed, can kill superbugs that have developed resistance to current antibiotics. The findings have been hailed as a medical breakthrough, given that the UN have warned drug-resistant diseases could kill 10million people per year by 2050 unless a solution is found. More work is needed to put CBD in a pill to fight off infections, but with such promising evidence, medical cannabis expert Professor Mike Barnes says it’s only a matter of time before GPs start prescribing it. He told Metro.co.uk: ‘I think we’re five years plus away, a pessimist might say 10 years, I think that’s too much given the plethora of research at the moment. ‘I think it’s potentially really exciting and yet another thing that cannabis does, so we should embrace cannabis as a medicine because it does so many different things.’ The research by the University of Queensland and Botanix Pharmaceuticals Limited, published last month, successfully used synthetically produced CBD to penetrate the protective membranes of several bacteria and kill them. The compound has proven effective in killing the bacteria that causes gonorrhoea (Picture: Getty Images) Among those was Neisseria gonorrhoea, which causes gonorrhoea as well as legionella, which causes legionnaire’s disease and bacteria that cause meningitis. The World Health Organisation has warned of a crisis of antibacterial resistant antibiotics including so-called ‘super-gonorrhoea’, which is proving impossible to treat. While the science is promising, CBD so far has only proven effective as a topical treatment, but Professor Barnes thinks it’s not long until a further breakthrough is made. He said: ‘To put very crudely, if you put CBD on a plate with bacteria it kills it very quickly, but if you put it in a tablet form it won’t kill it very quickly.’ The recently retired neurologist, who helped get cannabis-based MS treatment Sativex into the UK, says CBD binds to the plasma in the blood, leaving little left to work on infections. But with just a bit more research and engineering, Professor Barnes says this hurdle could be overcome, allowing many previously untreatable infections to be dealt with. Professor Barnes says he’s confident such a treatment would be approved by UK regulators, adding: ‘To get something that helps against this antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea, which is a WHO top priority, you would hope that it would be fast-tracked through the approval system to get this onto the market as soon as possible.’ When asked how many lives he thought CBD-based antibiotics could save, he said: ‘I would have thought we’re looking at hundreds of thousands globally but more particularly it helps the quality of life because persistent gonorrhoea is a very debilitating disease. ‘There’re the lives saved but perhaps more importantly there’s much bigger numbers of people who could be less debilitated.’ Professor Barnes, co-founder of UK cannabis industry group Maple Tree Consultancy, says the substance could be grown in genetically tweaked yeast to keep it up-to-date with new and emerging infections, although this is still a long way off. The Academy of Medical Cannabis founder points out that there are 147 cannabinoids – compounds found in the plant – many of which have antibacterial properties, meaning CBD could be the ‘tip of the proverbial iceberg’. Dr Aviva Regev, chief medical officer at CBD producer Biosportart added: One of the key things that they’re seeing in these studies is the bacteria are not developing resistance to it in the way that they do to other drugs over time. ‘I think that’s very exciting. If we could find that in a systemic drug that would be a game changer. ‘Most of the drugs we have do have side-effects and CBD has very few so in some ways it could be a much safer option.’ Dr Regev added that research into the medical benefits of cannabis has been stunted for decades ‘because of legal restrictions and attitudes towards it across most countries’. She added: ‘We’ve been seeing a lot more research coming out in the last few years as laws have really liberalised.’ Metro.co.uk has contacted the Department of Health for comment. https://metro.co.uk/2021/02/25/cannabis-antibiotics-could-be-prescribed-by-nhs-in-five-years-14139541/ Bongme Cannabis-based antibiotics could be available on NHS within five years Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2021/02/25/cannabis-antibiotics-could-be-prescribed-by-nhs-in-five-years-14139541/?ito=cbshare
  11. hi Sir Keir Starmer says he opposes relaxing drugs laws and insists he is ‘proud’ to be patriotic Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has ruled out a liberalisation of drug laws, stating he had “seen too much damage” in his past role as a prosecutor. When quizzed about the decriminalisation of cannabis on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Sir Keir replied: “I’ve never subscribed to that view. “When I was director of public prosecutions, I prosecuted many, many cases involving drugs and drug gangs and the criminality that sits behind, and it causes huge issues to vulnerable people across the country. I’ve never gone down that route.” The leader suggested that the Government’s current policy on drugs is “roughly right” but “there’s always room for a grown-up debate about how we deal with these cases.” There “may be something” in giving cautions for “low-level crime”, he added. Campaign group CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform responded via Twitter: “This is the state of our so-called political leaders on drugs policy. “We expect govt to advocate for the status quo but when Keir Starmer, with a background in criminal justice, cannot manage a single new idea, it demonstrates a complete absence of leadership.” His comments mark a move away from previous remarks on this issue made during the Labour leadership televised debate in February 2020. When asked if he would decriminalise cannabis as leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir replied: “I wouldn’t immediately. “I have supported schemes where cannabis possession… you’re not arrested for it, you’re not prosecuted for it. And I believe in that.” Sir Keir’s words will come as a blow to campaigners who have called for drug addiction to be treated as a health issue, rather than a criminal matter. In September 2020, a group of Labour MPs and then-Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called on Sir Keir to back urgent drug law reforms in a bid to save lives. The Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform (LCDPR), a collective run by party members and backed by 15 Labour MPs and four MSPs, including Alex Sobel, Jess Phillips and Rachael Maskell, published a report arguing that the “war on drugs has failed”. The group called for a “new progressive approach to drugs” citing research revealing that drug-related deaths are at an all-time high in the UK, with 5,546 fatalities in 2018 alone, a 47 per cent increase from 2013. Adapting a health-based model instead of a punitive approach, priority investment in treatment and recovery programmes that help people overcome addiction, and an expansion of drug-checking services that inform users of what is in the drugs they are using are just some of the seven recommendations made by the group. Drug-related deaths reached their highest point in 2020 since comparable records began in 1993, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), with higher fatality rates in deprived areas. There were 4,393 deaths related to drug poisoning registered last year, compared with the previous record of 4,359 in 2018, the ONS said. The statistical body added that the 0.8 per cent increase in deaths was expected. Change Grow Live, the UK’s largest drug and alcohol treatment provider, said the figures are at “crisis levels.”  “The drug-related crisis has been worsening for over a decade. At the heart of the trend is a perfect storm of factors; disinvestment, an ageing population of people using drugs, and increasingly complex health needs.” Mr Moody said the pandemic would worsen the issue, with “stretched” services going above and beyond to meet the demand. “Adding to these challenges, the global coronavirus pandemic has, and continues to, impact vulnerable people most. This includes people with chronic health problems linked to drug use and people without a place to live,” he said. Elsewhere in the interview, the leader of the opposition defended his drive to embrace patriotism, after some on the left of the party questioned his actions. “The whole Labour movement is very patriotic,” he said. “We are in politics to change our country for the better – you can’t get more patriotic than that. I’m very, very comfortable with it.” https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/keir-starmer-drug-liberalisation-laws-health-crime-881386 Bongme
  12. hi Two friends fined £400 for smoking cannabis at Lancashire's UFO-like landmark Two friends had to make a "long, wet walk home" - each with a £200 fine in their pockets - after being busted smoking cannabis in a car atop a Lancashire beauty spot. Police fined the pair for breaching lockdown restrictions last night (Tuesday, February 23), after officers paid a visit to the Haslingden Halo - the illuminated UFO-like structure situated on the hills overlooking the town. The patrol was in response to complaints of anti-social behaviour, including drug use, taking place at the saucer-like structure, which appears to hover over the Rossendale Valley. Officers said the two men were found "lurking in a car" at the very top of the hill, enjoying the ambience of the Halo's eerie glow. "After engaging with the occupants it became clear that there had been use of cannabis," said one of the PCSOs on patrol. Tact Ops were called up to the beauty spot to deal with the pair, with the force branding the car with a"drug driving marker". This means it can now be identified by police using ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras. The markers alert police to the vehicle's previous involvement in drug driving, which can lead to its driver being stopped for roadside drug tests. Without the keys to the car, police said the pair were forced to "make the long and wet walk home" from the Halo atop the hills back to town. Rossendale Police said: "Last night, PCSOs have been out and about patrolling anti-social behaviour (ASB) hot spots of the valley. "After reports of such behaviour up at the Halo in Haslingden we made a visit up there ourselves. Whilst up there we found a vehicle lurking at the very top. "After engaging with the occupants it became clear that there had been use of cannabis. "Our Tac Ops team joined us and this vehicle now has a drug driving marker placed on it. Bongme https://www.lep.co.uk/news/crime/two-friends-fined-ps400-for-smoking-cannabis-at-lancashires-ufo-like-landmark-31453
  13. hi Three students at £13k-a-year girls school popular with footie stars left sick after eating cakes ‘laced with cannabis’ A DRUGS probe was launched at a prestigious girls school popular with Premier League stars after a pupil took in brownies suspected of being laced with cannabis. The student handed out the traybake to pals at £13,000-a-year Alderley Edge School for Girls, which is favoured by footballers, entrepreneurs and lawyers for their daughters. Three girls are understood to have become ill, with at least one having to be taken home by a parent after suffering a drug-induced episode. The Cheshire school is open to kids whose parents are key-workers. A source said: “It’s unbelievable this could happen at a school which prides itself on exemplary behaviour. “They are trying to get to the bottom of whether this was a prank gone wrong, or an innocent mistake by a child and her parents are actually to blame for having things they shouldn’t.” Head Nicola Smillie said: “Alderley Edge School for Girls has a zero tolerance policy to drugs and alcohol, and we contacted the police regarding an alleged incident involving drugs on the school site. “The school will be working closely with police and parents on the alleged isolated incident.” The source added: “Other questions being asked are why things are being brought into school during Covid when you’re not meant to be touching or sharing things.” https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/14165347/cakes-laced-cannabis-girls-school/ Bongme
  14. hi 400 cannabis plants found at house in Longford A large police presence was seen in the area Two people were arrested after 400 cannabis plants were found at a Coventry house. Police raided the property in Jackers Road, Longford, yesterday and found the plants, which were all close to maturity. Neighbours noticed a large police presence in the area while the raid was being carried out. Henley and Longford Police confirmed that two people have been arrested. The warrant was carried out with support from the West Midlands Police drone pilots team. Henley and Longford Police posted a picture of the cannabis plants that were seized during the raid on Twitter, adding: “A small sample of the find from today’s cannabis warrant in Jackers Road Longford. "Two in custody, over 400 plants all close to maturity. Air support from drone team 3 and FSU B unit Coventry helping with entry.” The find is the latest in the city which, over the last year, has seen several large cannabis grows disrupted. Police found one in a disused club in the city worth over £1M. West Midlands Police also recently revealed their largest cannabis find of 2020 was in Coventry. https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/400-cannabis-plants-found-house-19919564 Bongme
  15. hi Cannabis: Elon Musk can smoke it, so why shouldn’t Rishi Sunak tax it? Is cannabis good for you? Medically, this argument continues to roll on. But pragmatically, legislators are increasingly devolving decisions about the drug to the individual. Thus Cannabis is now completely legal in 14 states of the USA, and effectively allowed in several others. It’s also legal in Canada, and South Africa, and a couple of other jurisdictions around the world. Noteworthy that it’s the English-speaking nations leading the way, and noteworthy too that in this respect the UK and Australia are the laggards. But how much longer can it last. Long gone are the days when the media and popular press were able to whip up hysteria about pot-smoking dopeheads and cause moral panic, as they famously did with the film Reefer Madness. These days moral panic is generated by outing Rita Ora for hosting an illegal birthday party or by castigating Gina Carano for the contents of her twitter account. Cannabis use is a long way down the list, to the point that although it turned heads and raised eyebrows when the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, publicly smoked it on the popular Joe Rogan show. Yes, Musk has been publicly censored by US regulatory authorities more than once, but not for that. And naysayers - both on Musk and on cannabis - would do well to take note that it was only after his public display of reefer madness with Rogan that Tesla recovered its poise and shot up the rankings to take the slot at the top of the world rankings of car companies by market capitalization/ Cause and effect? Probably not. But the more salient point is that smoking cannabis, and smoking it publicly at that, didn’t do Musk, or any of his investors any harm. With Musk, you either think there’s madness where he’s involved, or there isn’t. The reefer is a side issue. All of which indicates a clear direction of travel. With the Democrats, a party traditionally more favourably disposed to cannabis, now firmly in control of the USA’s most important levers of power, it seems a racing certainty that the overall environment is going to become more lax. The question is how soon? Remember the issue of gay marriage? That seemed intractable, and even President Obama was on the record as against it at one point. But attitudes suddenly shifted, and legalization of gay marriage swept across the country with amazing rapidity. The same could happen with cannabis. And as with the USA, so with the UK. The British government, having suddenly found itself lumbered with a £400bn additional debt burden it wasn’t expecting to have, is frantically scrabbling around for new ways to raise revenue. Some sort of tax on e-commerce would seem equitable, given that bricks and mortar companies have been forced out of business as a direct consequence of the government’s own lockdown policies. But given the precedent now set by the USA, Canada and elsewhere, the legalisation and consequent taxation of cannabis would seem to be a no-brainer. After all, since cannabis use in the UK is effectively decriminalised anyway, making the de-facto reality official and above board would involve little more than the stroke of a pen. Then, the entrepreneurial companies can move into the space, clean up the seedier side of the industry, and turn a small part of the black economy legitimate. Such a move wouldn’t solve all Rishi Sunak’s problems. But the precedents are there. In just under two years between early 2018 and late 2019, California’s cannabis sales generated US$411.3mln in excise tax, US$98.9mln in cultivation tax, and US$335.1mln in sales tax. Cannabis sales in Colorado in 2019 were valued at US$1.7bn, and overall sales in the US are expected to triple over the next three years to more than US$30bn. The UK’s economy is smaller and structured differently. But there’s no doubt that, as with electric vehicles, this is a growth industry. The UK government has been falling over itself to help out the nascent lithium and battery metals industry that’s currently growing up at breakneck speed in Cornwall. But isn’t it time it also took a leaf out of Elon Musk’s playbook, and properly investigated the effects of cannabis on its own fiscal wellbeing. Conservative governments are by their nature cautious. But amongst up-and-coming generations of voters this could well be a vote winner. https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/942336/cannabis-elon-musk-can-smoke-it-so-why-shouldnt-rishi-sunak-tax-it-942336.html Bongme
  16. hi Three arrests as police seize £50,000 worth of cannabis in East Swindon raids A series of police raids in Swindon has led to six arrests as the force continues to tackle serious and organised crime in and around Eldene. Over the past two days, officers carried out a total of six warrants under the banner Op Theseus which led to the arrest of five males and one woman. Yesterday, three addresses in the Eldene and Stratton area were searched and a quantity of Class A and B drugs were found. Two local males, aged 16 and 17, were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A & B drugs – they have now been released under investigation. Today, warrants were served on three other addresses in the Dorcan, Liden and Eldene areas; in total three local men, aged 18, 20 and 22, and one local woman, aged 22, were arrested on suspicion of drug dealing*. They are all currently at Gablecross Police Station. As a result of today’s warrants, the following was also seized: – A quantity of Class A drugs (believed to be cocaine) – Approximately £50,000 worth of cannabis – £500 in cash – Three scrambler motorbikes and one mini-moto bike Sgt James Rodrigues, who led the operation, said: “Our two days of activity have not only led to a number of significant arrests but we have also managed to seize a large quantity of Class A and B drugs and cash, which would otherwise have had a major impact on communities had they reached our streets, and the hands of vulnerable drug users. “Those targeted will often exploit the young and vulnerable as they attempt to expand their group of members – this will not be tolerated. “We recognise that there is a significant amount of crime and anti-social behaviour that goes hand in hand with drug dealing. Hopefully these warrants provide reassurance to local people that these crime groups are not welcome in Swindon, and we will put all resources available into tackling and disrupting serious and organised crime. “However, we cannot do this alone and need the help of people in these areas to give us the information we need to stop these gangs. Much of our intelligence comes from the local community who can help be our eyes and ears on criminal activity. “We will also continue to work alongside our partners to deal with these people and put an end to gang crime in Eldene as well as the rest of Swindon.” https://www.wiltshire999s.co.uk/three-arrests-as-police-seize-50000-worth-of-cannabis-in-east-swindon-raids/ Photo Bongme
  17. hi Man single-handedly grew two commercial scale cannabis crops A man who single-handedly grew two commercial scale cannabis crops worth potentially around a quarter of a million pounds has been jailed for four and a half years. Lyndon Haley set up the factories at two houses in Calderdale to pay off a debt run up to feed his £100 a day cocaine addiction, Bradford Crown Court heard. Haley, 37, of Ovenden Way, Ovenden, Halifax, pleaded guilty to two offences of production of the Class B drug. Prosecutor Clare Walsh said the first grow was discovered at an address in Clare Street on July 28, 2019. Three rooms had been turned into a sophisticated grow with lighting, fans and filters. The windows were covered and there was a 400 litre water butt on the first floor. Miss Walsh said the mature plants would have yielded up to £44.571 in street deals. A second grow of 252 plants in propagators uplifted the potential value of the crop to £137,000. Haley told the police he was growing the crop to give to drug dealers he owed money to. He was released under investigation and three months later he was caught at a second grow he had set up, this time in the town’s Diamond Street. Again, he was using an end terrace property and this time the cellar and three bedrooms had been turned over to the growing of cannabis. Holes had been drilled in the steps and the walls and there were three 400 litre water butts in the bathroom. The police also seized timers, fans and filters, Miss Walsh stated. The estimated value of the first grow at the address was £49,542, with a follow-on crop with a potential financial yield of £50,400. Haley had 31 convictions for 63 offences but nothing for similar matters, the court was told. In mitigation, it was said that he had been a cocaine user for 20 years and was in the grip of an addiction when he committed the offences. He had spent every penny of his Universal Credit on his £100 a day habit and borrowed money from drug dealers, racking up a large debt. His was “a one man operation” and he would not have received any money from the crops for himself. Judge Jonathan Rose jailed Haley for 22 months for the first crop, with 32 months to run consecutively for the second grow. “These were professional set-ups with a significant yield for commercial use,” he said. The crops could have started fires that endangered the neighbours or attracted violent criminals intent on stealing the plants, Judge Rose said. He set a timetable for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing. https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/19118304.man-single-handedly-grew-two-commercial-scale-cannabis-crops/ 5 comments Bongme
  18. hi The UK’s legalisation of medicinal cannabis David Hardstaff of BCL’s Cannabis Law & Regulatory team considers the success of the UK’s legalisation of medicinal cannabis products The results are in – The UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) published its assessment on the impact of the rescheduling of cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPMs) in humans in November 2020. As patient groups and organisations digest the Council’s findings, I consider the key points to take away from the report. The long road to legalisation through rescheduling In the UK, cannabis, until relatively recently, has been treated primarily as a recreational drug, with evidence of risk to health through misuse. In response to increasing public pressure and a growing body of evidence of the efficacy of cannabis-based medicines, in 2018, CBPMs were rescheduled into Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, making them available for prescription in certain limited circumstances. As with all medicines, CBPMs may be licensed, through receiving marketing authorisation from the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, or unlicensed and supplied in accordance with a prescription by a specialist medical practitioner. Access to CBPMs remains tightly controlled, so much so that critics have argued the majority of UK patients are unable to benefit from medicines widely available in other countries. This has led to a fierce debate concerning not just the safety and efficacy of CBPMs, but also the political, economic, and social factors underpinning the role of cannabis in 21st century Britain. While there has been much debate and reporting in relation to patient access, the ACMD report focuses on the available data in attempting to assess the impact of the rescheduling of CBPMs. The Council’s conclusions The report concludes that: • The impact of the rescheduling of CBPMs has been gradual, and that there hasn’t been sufficient time to reach a conclusive understanding of the changes. This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted data collection. • Only three licensed CBPMs are now available in the UK and approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Around 800 patients a year received a licensed CBPM from 2017–2019, with evidence of an increase in prescriptions in the four to six months following November 2019. • More starkly, it is believed that no more than four patients have been prescribed unlicensed CBPMs through the NHS. The number of patients privately prescribed unlicensed CBPMs is thought to be much higher, but the data is unclear. • The price of unlicensed CBPMs continues to be high when compared to licensed medicines. Although the market is still in its infancy, the report notes that there is little interest from manufacturers of unlicensed CBPMs to apply for marketing authorisation. • Instances of adverse drug reaction reporting associated with CBPMs have increased since the rescheduling of CBPMs; however, this increase was from extremely limited levels of reporting in 2017. The report concludes that it is simply too soon to draw conclusions about the safety of these products from the limited data available. • As for the illicit use of cannabis, it is too soon to say whether the rescheduling of CBPMs has had any impact. There is little evidence of the diversion of CBPMs into the illicit market. However, several police forces reported observing illicit cannabis being mislabelled as a medicinal product. Recommendations and reactions The report makes the following recommendations: That the ACMD should be commissioned to conduct a further assessment over the next two years; That the availability of a CBPM patient registry should be recognised as crucial for future assessment of the impact of the rescheduling of CBPMs; That research should be commissioned to assess the impact of the rescheduling of CBPMs on public knowledge of, and attitudes towards, cannabis and CBPMs, and to explore safety, quality and efficacy of CBPMs and; That government departments should conduct a full review of international approaches to legislation that facilitates the medicinal use of cannabis-based medicines. Reactions to the report have been generally positive. Science-led charity, Drug Science, in its response to the report, endorsed the ACMD’s conclusion that the development of a CBPM patient registry is necessary, describing this as “a crucial step in allowing for a careful analysis of the extent and pattern of prescription of CBPMs, and their benefits and risks.” Drug Science has been at the forefront of calls for wider and more effective collection of data relating to the use of CBPMs. Its 2020 initiative, Project TWENTY21, was launched with the ambition of collecting data from up to 20,000 medicinal cannabis patients over a two-year period. Project TWENTY21 represents a good example of the potential gains to be made through better collaboration between government departments and the private sector. Running themes and lessons The ACMD’s recommendation that government departments should review international approaches is also particularly welcome. There has long been a perception of reluctance on the part of government departments and agencies to recognise evidence from other, often comparable, jurisdictions. This is not an approach the ACMD has taken, citing international evidence supporting the therapeutic use of CBPMs as part of its assessment. The report also suggests that there is emerging evidence of a divergence between medicines available to NHS patients and those seeking treatment privately. To date, only a handful of NHS patients have received prescriptions for unlicensed CBPMs, whereas the number of private prescriptions is thought to be in the hundreds, if not thousands (the data is incomplete). This disparity suggests there are likely to be many patients with a genuine need who are unable to access treatment through the NHS, and also unable to afford the high costs of private prescriptions. Patients across the board have been further impacted as a result of the pandemic, which led to the NHS temporarily suspending the processing of private prescriptions of unlicensed CBPMs. If there are any central themes to be taken from the report, it is that more research is needed and that government departments, agencies, and the private sector need to do more to record, share, and utilise available data. The establishment of a CBPM patient registry will certainly be a step in the right direction. Whether it will be as wide-ranging as other initiatives in its scope remains to be seen. It seems unlikely that evidence from patients who have turned to the illicit market to self-medicate will be included, which could be a wasted opportunity to collect valuable data. Patients, the Government, Big Pharma, and anyone with an interest in this progressive and exciting area of medicine, will hopefully have the Council’s next review to look forward to in two years’ time. Sadly, the pandemic may in the meantime continue to hinder efforts to assess the true impact of CBPMs. Hopefully, by the time the Council reports back again the picture will be clearer, making way for renewed optimism around cannabis-based medicines. https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/the-uks-legalisation-of-medicinal-cannabis-products/104618/ Bongme
  19. hi 'Can I have my drugs back?' criminal asks Carlisle judge A FORMER Carlisle man prosecuted for cannabis possession asked the judge dealing with his case: "Can I have my drugs back?” That was the cheeky question fired at District Judge John Temperley today as he passed sentence on 38-year-old Paul Gillan at the city's Rickergate Magistrates Court. Appearing via a video link, Gillan listened as a prosecutor outlined how police found the Class B drug On June 7 last year when officers visited him at an address in Carlisle during enquiries about another matter. The defendant appeared via a video link because he is currently a serving prisoner at HMP Northumberland, having been convicted of a separate offence. After hearing the details of the cannabis possession, the judge imposed a six-month conditional discharge for the possession charge. After being told that his cannabis would now be forfeited, Gillian asked: "Does that mean I won’t be getting the drugs back.” The judge again told him that having the drug was against the law. https://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/19117758.can-cannabis-back--criminal-asks-carlisle-judge/ Bongme
  20. hi Cannabis was in high demand during the first national lockdown as dealers adapted to Covid-19 Some sellers offered card payments and disinfected cash to limit the spread of the virus, according to a survey by Release, the nationwide drug advice service Cannabis was the most in-demand drug during the first national lockdown as dealers adopted Covid-friendly measures to secure sales, a report said. It accounted for more than two thirds (72 per cent) of drug sales between April and September 2020. Fewer opportunities to socialise saw infrequent requests for ‘party drugs’ such as cocaine (9 per cent) and MDMA/Ecstasy (4 per cent). As the nation retreated behind closed doors, some drug dealers adopted social distancing measures, offered card payments and disinfected cash to limit the spread of the virus, according to an ongoing survey by Release, the nationwide drug advice service. The poll, for which 2,621 responses have so far been received, was commissioned to monitor how people bought drugs during the pandemic. Lead author Professor Judith Aldridge, who specialises in drug use, markets and policy, said: “Many presumed that the drugs market would be severely affected by border closures and ‘stay at home’ restrictions, but the majority of respondents did not report finding a supplier, or their desired drug, to be more difficult compared to before the arrival of Covid-19. “Our results seem to suggest that suppliers were charging more and, in some cases, reducing deal-sizes rather than sacrificing the purity of the drug they were supplying”. The ‘Drugs in the Time of Covid’ report found 10 per cent of purchases were made on the dark web, of which 13 per cent said it was their first time using a specialised browser to keep their illicit purchases private. Professor Aldridge said the responses suggested that some shopped on the dark web to obtain products not locally available and avoid the risks associated with buying drugs face-to-face during lockdown. https://inews.co.uk/news/cannabis-demand-lockdown-dealers-adapted-covid-19-886649 Bongme
  21. hi David Beckham-backed cannabis firm sparks investor rush on eve of public floa YNTHETIC cannabinoid company Cellular Goods has seen 13 applications for each one of the 260 million shares on offer when it officially launches on the London Stock Exchange. The tidal wave of interest from institutional and, unusually, retail investors has lifted the market capitalisation of the London pioneer - which counts David Beckham as an early backer - to £25million in advance of the IPO, expected on Friday. The firm is the latest in a number of companies in the cannabis space to go public following a ruling by regulator the Financial Conduct Authority to allow such businesses to list on the main exchange. But it has one major difference: the legal cannabis component on which its ranges of sports pain relief and skincare products will be made is entirely synthetic, manufactured in laboratories. Founder and CEO Alexis Abraham said the decision, which will prove pivotal to the company’s operations and fortunes, came about by “happy accident” as the firm prepared to predict and navigate the legal and regulatory hurdles associated with bringing a novel product - and one based on a classified drug - onto the market. He told the Standard: “We took the decision from the get-go that we would engage with the FCA with the LSE from day one and work with them. “Once you’ve got past the general question of legality you get very quickly into the next question about THC [the illegal active component of cannabis]. That’s not an issue because you make the undertaking that you will never bring a product to market that hasn’t been tested. “But then you get to the much more thorny issue of POCA [the Proceeds of Crime Act], which essentially says that even if something is explicitly legal in the UK, the manner in which it was produced has a material impact on the legality of the end product. “So let’s say you are a company in the UK bringing out a natural CBD product which, say, comes from Portugal and it’s being extracted from the flowers and leaves of the plant. “In the UK you are only permitted to extract from the stalk. It’s an archaic legal requirement that dates back to the use of hemp, but it has been badly repurposed to try and cover a nascent new industry which is not fully understood by the regulator. “They are coming on in leaps and bounds and we have seen incredible engagement with the industry but of all the other companies operating in this space, I don’t think anyone else went down the biosynthetic rabbit-hole. “And the nice thing about going down that rabbit hole to solve the POCA issue was that we discovered this technology that was mind-blowingly better.” ‘The next generation of this technology could give us cannabinoid vending machines’ CG has built up relationships with manufacturing laboratories in California who are all competing to produce and refine platforms which synthesise cannabinoids. Abraham said: “Even now now we are looking at seven days to produce one batch versus about 200 days for the equivalent field-grown. On top of that you are using probably 1/200th of the energy and water, you have no issues around pesticide taint or contaminants. It’s not just a slightly better process - it’s an order of magnitude better. “And the next generation of this technology could practically give us cannabinoid vending machines. We feel the cannabis boom will never come. It’s going to be about cannabinoids and fermentation is the future.” We are not going after any kind of medical claim The company was founded by Abraham in 2018 after previous roles in brand development and digital strategy and now employs eight people full-time at its London hub working in partnerships with labs and manufacturers around the world. Money raised from the sale will be plowed into development and marketing of a range of products for skin care and sports recovery, with the first due to launch in September. All of the initial ranges, at least, will be topical treatments - lotions and oils which are rolled or sprayed onto the skin and not ingested. A skincare product will exploit CBD’s reputed anti-bacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Early next year, a second range of sports recovery roll-ons products will come on the market. Abraham said: “There’s a huge amount of anecdotal evidence that it seems to have benefits. We are not going after any kind of medical claim at this stage, we are not going to the medical space. “We want to make a product that does not just target elite athletes and everyday gym-goers but everybody. Everybody should be able to move a little bit better whether they are 18 or 80.” We are a company was built to be born during the pandemic The sports link brought CG into contact with investors working for David Beckham’s investment vehicle DB Ventures early on. Keen to enter the space, but wary of any potential controversy and regulatory issues, CG’s clinical means of production lent immediate appeal. While Beckham himself has been hands-off so far, and there is no intention of the football star fronting ad campaigns, his experience may well be drawn upon to help to shape the firm’s future development. DBV has retained a 5% stake. At present, CG remains a tight-knit outfit, with just eight employees co-ordinating research, development and marketing. Abraham said: “It was important to us not to follow that model of becoming a big bloated business and just hiring for the sake of hiring. We have the mentality of start-up combined with access to capital and agility of a listed company. “In a way, we are a company was built to be born during the pandemic. We are all used to the Zoom calls now. We did the investor roadshow virtually, between eight and 10 calls a day for two weeks, dealing with high net worth institutions. “As the sessions went on it grew more exciting, you could feel the interest building and as people went from being curious to understanding the depth of the people we have in Alexia [Blake, head of research and development] and the advisory board.” Another key difference from the recent launches of medicinal marijuana vape-maker Kanabo and biopharma firm MGC Pharma, which is developing epilepsy and dementia drugs, is that the IPO has been opened up to retail investors. Of the 260 million shares on offer, 52% of its total, 68 million have been allocated to 6,000 private investors at 5p a share in an arrangement co-ordinated through the PrimaryBid platform, an official partner of the LSE which connects companies to communities of potential buyers. The move comes among growing complaints from major retail investment platforms that traders are being locked out of blockbuster floats by institutional investors and investment banks, and missing out on the initial price fizz that has come to accompany such launches in today’s frothy equity markets. The decision also goes to the heart of the company’s philosophy of the relationship it wants to foster with its customers. Abraham accepted that the move has made the IPO more complicated - even 48 hours beforehand the final timing of launch is still to be rubber-stamped by the LSE and FCA. He said: “PrimaryBid have been an exceptional partner, and what they’re doing is to bring the necessary strictures and clarity to what is unquestionably a complicated process. There is an element of truth in the suggestion that bringing more investors is complicated, but it’s also an asset that other people don’t bother to tap into. “I’ve had 2,000 emails since we started this retail process, a lot with thoughts and advice on how they see the company working, and what they find interesting. “It’s very rare in my experience that you don’t learn something from your customers and if they are willing to volunteer information freely it’s incredible. We sent out a survey to everyone involved in the retail offer and we’ve had over 2,000 response already. almost 80% have never tried cannabinoids before but they were fascinated by the space. Another thing that resonated with me about why go retail we have an unusually accessible share price. It’s not like we are saying you can buy one share or maybe a fraction of a share. “At 5p, for the price of one of the skincare products they can have a 100 shares and with some luck and us doing a good job of it, that will be worth something. “There’s a really interesting story about not just owning the products but owning a piece of the company. Of course there will be people in it for a quick dollar but I hope that as many people as possible get in at the beginning and stay with us for the journey.” https://www.standard.co.uk/business/leisure-retail/david-beckham-cannabis-flotation-cellular-goods-abraham-kanabo-b921103.html Bongme
  22. hi The Leeds postcodes riddled with cannabis farms as police reveal city's hotspots for growing drugs Inspector Lucy Leadbeater said: 'Tackling the supply of drugs will always be a priority' A number of illegal cannabis farms have been found across Leeds, with three particular Leeds suburbs emerging as hotspots, West Yorkshire Police have revealed Inspector Lucy Leadbeater said the force "located and investigated" 73 cannabis farms in the Inner South Leeds wards. In a tweet, she said 30 were found in Hunslet & Riverside, 18 in Beeston & Holbeck and 25 in Middleton. The officer has now urged people to report suspicion of other possible cannabis farms so police can take action. She said: “Tackling the supply of drugs will always be a priority. “Between 1/1/20 & 19/2/21 we have located & investigated 73 cannabis farms in Inner Southwards “Hunslet & Riverside-30 “Beeston & Holbeck–18 “Middleton-25 “Please continue to report your suspicions so we can take action.” Earlier this week, the force revealed that £1.5m worth of cannabis had been found in Wakefield since the beginning of the year. Inspector Paul Fraser of the Wakefield City NPT, said: “The start of 2021 has without doubt been a very busy one for us and has seen our officers prevent over a million pounds worth of drugs from reaching our communities. “Much of the cannabis we have seized would have been sold regionally and much has been taken from sophisticated and large scale setups which would have been expensive to finance. “There is no doubt that our actions in dismantling these factories are hitting producers where it hurts.” https://www.leeds-live.co.uk/news/leeds-news/leeds-postcodes-riddled-cannabis-farms-19904657 3 comments Bongme
  23. hi Maintenance workers stumble across £30k of cannabis after being called to a leak at Stoke-on-Trent home Now Mark Critchley, who was renting the property, has been jailed for cannabis production Maintenance staff called to deal with a leak stumbled across £30,000 worth of cannabis plants being grown inside a rented house. Tenant Mark Critchley turned to drugs after having to give up his job at Churchill China on health grounds. Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard it had been his first cannabis grow and he wasn’t expecting such a bumper crop. Now the 28-year-old dad has been jailed for 28 months after admitting producing cannabis and extracting electricity. Critchley also pleaded guilty to separate charges of breaching a restraining order and causing criminal damage while he was awaiting sentence for the drugs matters. Wendy Miller, prosecuting, said the maintenance workers had been called to deal with the leak at the defendant’s address at the time in Greenbank Road, Tunstall, in December 2019. “When they arrived, they found a cannabis grow and reported it to the police,” she added. “When the police arrived, they found 20 cannabis plants in one room and 17 cannabis plants in another.” It amounted to 108 ounces – more than 3,000 grams – of cannabis, with an estimated value of £30,350. The court was told Critchley had also got a friend to bypass the electricity meter. In total, £479.71 worth of electricity was abstracted. The defendant had become involved in growing the drugs after experiencing health problems. Barry White, mitigating, said he had developed alopecia and the condition affected his mental health. It led to him quitting his job. “Thereafter, he started to grow cannabis,” he added. “It’s the first time he did it and it just grew. It was more than he expected.” Critchley had been the sole tenant of the property since early 2019 and a maintenance visit that September didn’t raise any suspicions. But by December, the cannabis was flourishing. Mr White said the defendant, who is unemployed, still suffers from mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. Critchley, of Jack Ashley Court, Fenton, was also sentenced for the breach of the restraining order. The order meant he was not supposed to contact his ex-partner. But in January this year, she received a voicemail from him, which said: “Go and try your car, my mate. Chug, chug, chug. Have you tried to turn it on?” The woman went outside and discovered her rear car tyres had been slashed and sugar had been poured into the petrol cap. Critchley later admitted he’d ‘flipped out’ due to family access issues. Jailing him, Judge David Fletcher said he was ‘astonished’ that the defendant had committed further crimes while a pre-sentence report was being prepared for the cannabis offence. On the drugs matters, he added: “You were motivated by financial or other advantage. You had some awareness of the scale of the operation.” https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/stoke-on-trent-news/maintenance-workers-stumble-across-30k-5035554 Bongme
  24. hi Landlord drills through wall to discover cannabis factory in house next door Now the gardener is to be deported A landlord alerted police after drilling through the wall of a house - to discover a cannabis factory next door. Officers smashed their way into the Middleport three-bedroom terrace to discover 263 cannabis plants, 35 hydroponic light bulbs and 31 electric transformers inside. And they found Hung Nguyen in the loft of the Ellgreave Street house on January 14. Now the 25-year-old faces being deported back to Vietnam after being jailed for 14 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court. He admitted producing cannabis. The court heard he had arrived in the UK on December 29. He was transported from London to Birmingham in a lorry before being taken to the Middleport cannabis factory where he was promised a monthly salary in return for watering the plants. Jonathan Dickinson, prosecuting, said: "The police got a telephone call from his next door neighbour, who also was the landlord, to say that while they had been installing a TV in their property they drilled through to discover a cannabis farm. "The police forced entry and the defendant was the only person there. He was in the loft at the time. "All of the top floor and the attic, including the top floor landing, was given over to cannabis production with plants of different sizes in the process of being cultivated. "He claimed he was unaware that the plants he was responsible for were cannabis but eventually became aware and carried on watering the plants. "This was an operation capable of producing significant quantities of cannabis.” The cannabis factory has been described as a 'professional set-up'. Judge Paul Glenn told the defendant: "You were found hiding in the attic and had two mobile phones. Your story is all too familiar. You came to the United Kingdom unlawfully and you were then instructed on how to cultivate plants and you did just that. There is some degree of exploitation..” https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/stoke-on-trent-news/landlord-drills-through-wall-discover-5034463 Bongme
  25. hi Worcester DIY cannabis farmer 'didn't want to pay for weed' A DRUGS courier who trashed his rented house to make way for a DIY cannabis farm claimed he did it so he did not have to pay dealers for his weed. Michael Vella had previously run up a drugs debt to feed his habit which ended up in him transporting 2kg of amphetamines to pay off what he owed and get things square with his dealers. We have previously reported how the 55-year-old had a cannabis grow in his rented house in Highfield, Callow End with 16 plants which were around 6ft tall when discovered during a police raid on October 6 last year. Although Vella claimed the class B drug was for his personal use, Judge Nicolas Cartwright said it was ‘inconceivable’ Vella could have smoked it all himself and he must have supplied others to some extent. We can now bring you more details from the case, heard at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, including the impact of the death of Vella’s wife which drove him to use drugs. Vella admitted production of cannabis. In setting up the grow he caused significant damage to the home, including holes cut into the ceiling, the upstairs landing and the main and second bedroom. The damage to the plasterboard of the rented property, owned by Platform Housing, was placed at £900. The total yield of the plants, which were nearly 6ft in height, was between 448g and 1,344g at the time of the raid. A drugs expert estimated that the realisable return on the plants was between £4,500 and £7,800 if supplied at a kilogram level or between £2,560 and £11,520 if sold at ounce weights. Bernard Porter, defending Vella, told the court: “His only financial benefit was not paying someone else for his drugs.” Mr Porter said there was ‘no evidence of any drug dealing found in the property, no scales or anything of that sort’ and maintained the drugs were for Vella’s personal use, an argument flatly rejected by the judge. In his mitigation Mr Porter said: “He got into debts with those supplying drugs to him. He became involved in drug dealing as a transporter of drugs to pay off the money, the debts he had accrued.” He explained that Vella had worked full time as a decorator and general labourer and had been clean of drugs, managing to get rid of a dependency he had developed. Vella, he argued, had started the cannabis venture because ‘he didn’t want to get involved again with dealers’. “They were the people who got him into trouble before. He knew the way that worked” said the barrister. He also said Vella had been affected by the sudden death of his wife of 35 years. “That trauma shook him to the roots,” said Mr Porter who told the judge his client found solace in drugs again. Vella had 28 previous convictions for 45 offences which Jason Aris, prosecuting, said reflected his history as a 'habitual drug user'. He has convictions for possession of cocaine (2002), possession of crack cocaine (2006), possession of heroin and methadone (2011) and possession of amphetamines with intent to supply (2013). Judge Nicolas Cartwright described Vella as courier who had transported 2kg of amphetamines in 2013 which led to a sentence of two and a half years in prison. “The plants were the best part of 6ft tall and very healthy, flowering plants that would have yielded, if harvested, thousands of pounds” said the judge. The judge did not order £900 in compensation because Vella had already paid for the damage, the court heard. Judge Cartwright ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the plants and equipment. He sentenced Vella to 10 months in prison suspended for two years. Vella must also complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and was placed on a four month curfew which will run between 7pm and 7am daily. Costs of £700 must also be paid. https://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/19111852.worcester-diy-cannabis-farmer-didnt-want-pay-weed/ Bongme