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  1. Warehouseman had 'Cali cannabis' worth up to £250k in his bedroom A 20-YEAR-OLD had designer cannabis worth up to quarter of a million pounds at the foot of his bed. The man was storing the “Cali cannabis” for an unnamed third party, Swindon Crown Court heard. When police smashed through the door of his cousin’s home in Tansley Moor, Liden, on February 25, 2021, where the youngster was lodging, they found almost 9kg of the class B drug divided among various plastic bags at the foot of his bed together with four mobile phones, a “tick list” of debtors and £230 cash. Prosecutor Alec Small told the court the cannabis was a designer strain known as “Cali cannabis” which can fetch 50 per cent more than typical types of the drug. It is supposedly grown on the American west coast and imported, although there was no way of confirming the Swindon haul had been grown in California. Mr Small said of the drugs’ provenance: “It is almost impossible to tell if that is true or not and what dealers can do, of course, is take other strains of cannabis and package them up as Cali cannabis. It is not exactly an industry that has a very good consumer complaints department.” A police drugs expert estimated the weighty drugs haul could have been worth between £104,000 to £244,000 on the street. Police found branded deal bags including ones marked “Major League Exotics” a California-based cannabis brand. The man answered no comment to questions put to him interview. In a basis of plea, he claimed to have been paid £230 by a third party to store the cannabis in his room and had done the same on a number of previous occasions. He had sold small amounts of cannabis to contacts given to him by the third party on “about a dozen occasions.” He told the probation officer charged with producing a pre-sentence report that he’d become involved in September 2020. He was paid £50 and was directed by a third party to give drugs to people who came to his house with increasing regularity. He was told he had a drugs debt of £6,000 and was required to work off the debt. Judge Peter Crabtree made it clear he was sentencing the man purely for the drugs found in his bedroom in February. Imposing 10 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, the judge said: “Anyone involved in the supply of controlled drugs including class B is involved in criminality that wrecks lives and undermines the fabric of society.” Matthew Harbinson, mitigating, said his client had had a crippling cannabis addiction and had lost his job during the second lockdown. Since his arrest he had returned to live with his parents in Cardiff. He was committed to working with the probation service. The man, of Cardiff, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to possession with intent to supply cannabis. The judge ordered him to abide by a three-month curfew, complete 180 hours of unpaid work and do up to 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days. The drugs and £230 cash were forfeited. https://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/19290060.warehouseman-cali-cannabis-worth-250k-bedroom/ pics on link
  2. Sittingbourne company GW Pharmaceuticals with largest cannabis farm in Kent wins Queen's Award A pharmaceutical company with the largest cannabis farm in Kent has been named as one of the winners of the Queen’s Award for enterprise. GW Pharmaceuticals, which conducts research into cannabis at the Kent Science Park near Sittingbourne, was named among 205 winners in this year’s list. GW Pharmaceuticals is a world leader in discovering and developing cannabis-based medicines. Created in 1998 by Dr Brian Whittle and Dr Geoffrey Guy, it has since invested £1.3billion in research, development and infrastructure, while employing 1,100 people, including more than 400 in Sittingbourne. Dr Guy said: “We are honoured to receive such a prestigious award for British businesses. “When Dr Whittle and I founded the company 23 years ago, our mission was to improve the lives of seriously ill patients by unlocking the potential of the cannabis plant through rigorous scientific investigations and extensive clinical trials in order to obtain regulatory approval for such medicines to benefit patients. “Much of what is known about the medical uses of cannabis was discovered by GW. “Today, I want to thank every employee for helping advance and achieve that mission.” GW has two approved cannabis-based medicines in the UK. The first medicine is called Sativex and is a spray which treats spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. The second, Epidyolex, is another oral solution, which contains CBD and helps seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut or Dravet syndrome, a form of epilepsy in children. Chief executive Justin Gover added: “Thanks to two decades of perseverance, dedication and pioneering work, we have established a world-leading position in cannabinoid science and brought breakthrough medicines to patients. “We are immensely proud to have that work and dedication recognised by the prestigious Queen’s Awards.” Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The past year has been a tough time for many businesses across the UK, which is why it is more important than ever to celebrate the achievements of our wealth creators and recognise the contributions they make to our communities.” First awarded in 1966, the winners are permitted to fly the Queen’s Awards flag at their main office and use the emblem on marketing materials for five years. Winners also picked up a certificate and trophy. https://www.kentonline.co.uk/sittingbourne/news/cannabis-based-pharmaceuticals-win-queens-award-246784/
  3. Man wins £34,000 payout after being sacked for smoking weed to treat bad back A man who was sacked after failing a drugs test at work has been given a payout for unfair dismissal. Carl Pamment was told by bosses at recycling firm Renewi where he had worked for 14 years that the result was ‘perilous’ when he was fired last April. He told them he was taking marijuana to help him sleep after suffering severe back pain but they dismissed him adding that it was ‘luck’ that he had not injured the public or colleagues. However, employment judge Paul Housego heard he was only ever a passenger said they should have taken his circumstances into account he was awarded £33,766. He also said that the the cannabis, prescription morphine and opiates Mr Pamment was taking did not impact his work. Judge Housego said: ‘What is undoubted is that Mr Pamment’s back problem was entirely genuine. ‘He had frequent visits to the doctor. He was due to have an epidural injection. He was given various different medications to help the pain, including morphine patches. ‘None seemed to work for him. In December 2019 a friend told him that cannabis helped, and he bought some from a friend. ‘It worked for him, and helped him sleep, the pain being a problem preventing him sleeping well. Eventually his medication, perhaps with the cannabis, was effective enough for him to return to work.’ The judge concluded: ‘I conclude that the objections put forward are all manifestations of reluctance to have Mr Pamment back, based on the use of illegal drugs in the past, and not a genuine loss of trust in him. ‘There is, in my judgement at this point, no reason why it is not practical to reinstate him. ‘I considered that Mr Pamment had made every reasonable effort to find employment in this most extraordinary of times. He is a person without qualifications, who happened into a job he liked and was good at. ‘It is hard to see him getting another such job easily, particularly given the reason for dismissal and his history of back problems, when his work is of a physical nature. ‘It is unfortunate that [Renewi did not think it] relevant that Mr Pamment had a long-standing and acute back pain problem and that this was the reason why he had taken cannabis…. his motivation was not hedonistic.’ https://metro.co.uk/2021/05/07/man-wins-34000-payout-after-being-sacked-for-smoking-weed-to-treat-bad-back-14539261/
  4. Sunderland alcoholic found with cannabis plant when police visited his home A man, from Sunderland, uses cannabis to keep off booze A chronic alcoholic's cannabis farm was discovered when police visited his home. The man, 31, had just one living plant when officers visited his home in Southwick, Sunderland. He was found with the single plant after they attended for non-drug reasons on Sunday, July 19. His solicitor Annalisa Moscardini admitted to magistrates in South Tyneside: “One of these plants was dead and the other was growing. “He accepts that they were for personal use. He has got a record, although the last cannabis in that record was in 2012. “He’s a man from his record who has been in some trouble but getting less. “He’s a chronic alcoholic but has been sober for 18 months. He’s very proud of that, he has sclerosis of the liver. “He doesn’t use cannabis often but he does when he needs to drink something that can kill him. “It takes the edge off, but it’s not the problem that drinking was.” Prosecutor Emma O’Hegarty had told the court: “Officers attended the address of the defendant in relation to other matters. “They located a cannabis plant that he said was his. He directed them to another plant that was growing in a wardrobe. “He made admissions to growing them for personal use.” Mrs O’Hegarty said he was last in court in May 2019 on a non-drugs matter and had 16 previous convictions. Magistrates fined him £120, with £85 court costs and a £334 victim surcharge, and ordered the destruction of the plants. https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/sunderland-alcoholics-cannabis-farm-uncovered-20397511
  5. Woman growing cannabis for terminal illness 'destroyed' after 12 cops raid home and lock her up for six hours Lisa Middleton has stated that she is no criminal and is a very moral person with high standards Lisa Middleton, 44, suffers chronic health conditions, including heart failure, and used to buy tiny amounts from a regular dealer to help with the symptoms. But when money got tight she planted her own pots - just five adult plants and a couple of dozen baby ones - strictly for personal consumption, she claims. She said she knew it was against the law but was at "rock bottom" and felt she had no other options, and needed to control her pain. But just eight weeks in, she was raided by dozens of officers in up to ten police cars, and she was arrested and locked up for six hours before questioning. It took police 20 months to charge her with production of a class B drug, and she was sentenced a staggering two years and five months after she was caught. Now, with an 18 month suspended sentence to her name, she said her life has been destroyed by the "pointless" conviction. Lisa, from Sheffield, intends to appeal the sentence. She said: "It was the first time I had grown it, and I had five adult plants and lots of babies from which I was going to keep the most healthy. Lisa says that she uses the drug for her terminal sickness “If I had been done for using it would have just been a slap on the wrist. “If you are a single woman with health problems, you are putting yourself at serious risk every time you have to go to someone’s house, usually a man, to buy cannabis. “You don’t know who they are or what they are about. You are in their hands and don’t know if you are going to walk out alive, and that is what I have to do now. “What I did was entirely victimless. I am disgusted that I am apparently a criminal. I am a very moral person with high standards. “I regularly donate to charity and organise fundraising events, and I donate regular meals to the homeless. “Now I feel like all my good is overshadowed by having the stigma of being a low-life criminal. “I am fighting the conviction as far as I can, and we have asked the judge to look again at my sentence. There is no reason why I should have been in the same system as murderers and rapists. “There are police convicted of child sex offences that got less of a sentence than I did." It helped with the condition and others, including back pain, radial dysplasia, severe spondylosis, circulation problems, nausea, appetite difficulties, stress and anxiety, she said. But she fell on hard times when the landlord of the building she rented for her hair salon of ten years said she had to leave at short notice. She had nowhere to store her kit, or run her business, and started to grow her own cannabis in February 2018, so she could ease her symptoms more cheaply, she said. But her medical plantation of 56 plants was only two months old when South Yorkshire Police raided her house one morning and arrested her, on April 25, 2018, at 9.15am. It took a further 18 months for the police to charge Lisa with production of cannabis in December 2019. During that time, she was released under investigation and said she was in constant fear and uncertainty, fearing she'd be jailed for up to six years. Then she had to endure another seven month wait before her case was heard in Sheffield Crown Court. Lisa said her trial lasted 20 to 30 minutes, and she was finally convicted of production of a class B drug on July 15 2020. She claims the CPS told her the delay was because they had to keep referring the case back to the police due to insufficient evidence, and due to Covid-19. The police responded to her formal complaint by saying they could see no errors, she claims. Lisa, who now buys from a dealer, said: “This is the most damaging experience I have ever had to endure. “I’ve used cannabis for medical purposes, to help with pain management, mental health, and circulation, for the last five years. “I wouldn’t be able to function without it, and there is no legal alternative available to me. “I started growing because suddenly I had no money and it felt safer than buying it." Speaking of the trial, she added: "It was so frightening and the whole process has really damaged me. “I just can’t comprehend how it took them so long, and I will live with the consequences for the rest of my life, because I don’t think I can start up again now. “I have no previous convictions or dealings with the police. “Before all this I thought I had the perfect life. I had worked hard and felt like I had achieved the dream. I was so proud of myself. “My booming business was my sanctuary and my safe place when I left my husband of 16 years and had no home to go to. “I am an advocate for legalisation of cannabis now, and I’m going to spend my time campaigning for it. “I have my own place now and I’m comfortable and happy. I am going to enjoy life regardless of all that has happened.” Lisa was given an 18 month suspended sentence, a 20 day rehabilitation requirement, and 100 hours community service. https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/news/local-news/woman-growing-cannabis-terminal-illness-20496603
  6. Ban on cultivating medicinal CBD oil from cannabis 'unfair' and 'insane', farmers say The plant remains a restricted crop under the Misuse of Drugs Act and growing it requires a government-issued licence. British farmers and small businesses have described current legislation that prohibits them from cultivating CBD oil from cannabis plants - while it remains legal to import it from abroad - as "unfair", "ridiculous" and "insane". It comes as a second report in just two weeks, backed by farmers, industry bodies and MPs, has called for a liberalisation of "nonsensical" restrictions around the production of CBD in the UK. CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is derived from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. But unlike THC - the property that makes cannabis users high - CBD has no psychoactive effect. It is legal in the UK and is used in a wide variety of wellness products freely available to buy at high street shops such as Boots and Holland & Barrett. But despite this, the plant itself remains a restricted crop under the Misuse of Drugs Act and growing it requires a government-issued licence. Under the terms of the most commonly issued "low THC industrial hemp licence" farmers are only allowed to harvest the stems and seeds of the hemp plant (a type of cannabis). While this can be used to make a variety of products such as textiles and building materials, the most valuable part of the plant, the leaves and flowers, must be destroyed. This means that although CBD is a legal product in the UK and it is legally imported from abroad, most British farmers cannot legally produce it. Steve Barron owns a 53-acre hemp farm in Cambridgeshire - and has videos of the fires with which he had to destroy the leaves of his crop. He told me it "feels ridiculous", adding: "Everyone I tell it to thinks it just sounds crazy and can't be true." Mr Barron added: "Every other plant in this country, you can get all the value from it. It's so much work growing and being a farmer anyway, to then be restricted and told 'not that bit, leave that bit alone,' but you can import it from the EU, Switzerland, the US, wherever you like, it's crazy really." In current market terms, it means he burns about 90% of his potential revenue, he said. In a 15-acre field he might expect to make around £12,000 profit from hemp products. But if he was allowed to cultivate CBD it would rise to nearly £100,000. The UK CBD market is big business and growing rapidly. Products containing it are taken by people with a variety of ailments from chronic pain to anxiety and depression. The market has a current estimated value of £300m and is projected to reach £1bn by 2025. There has been an explosion of British entrepreneurs developing and selling CBD products. One of them, Joe Oliver, founded LND CBD in 2018 after CBD oil helped his father when he was seriously ill. In addition to oils and balms, the company has run CBD yoga and massage as well as developing edible products such as CBD brownies, CBD gummy sweets, and even CBD prosecco. But he has to import his key ingredient from America, a situation he describes as "insane". "I wish it would come from a UK supplier," he said, adding that it would "lower the CO2 emissions, (with) the distance, the cost, including paperwork etc". It would also "bring jobs to the UK", and enable standards to be set here, he said. Ensuring those quality standards will be very important. Because the industry has developed so rapidly, there has been some evidence of poor quality and misleadingly-labelled products in the CBD market. Experts say that ensuring bad practice is not legalised may be one of the reasons for a delay. Many farmers argue that professionalising the industry is the answer. "There's a lot of regulatory changes that need to happen in order to create a safe, legal, and transparent supply chain for CBD in the UK," said Louise Motala, managing director of Bridge Farm. Her multi-million pound state of the art facility in Lincolnshire currently supplies house plants and herbs to UK supermarkets. It has the advanced technology to extract CBD from cannabis, but isn't currently allowed to grow it for commercial purposes. "For us, it's an opportunity to supply the same rigour that we apply to our core business and all the principles of high quality production and complete traceability and transparency in the supply chain. And bring that to growing CBD supply chain production." Experts also stress that recent regulation will resolve many of the historic problems. "Generally the CBD industry has been highly unregulated for a number of years," explained Robert Jappie, a regulatory lawyer and one of the authors of the Pleasant Lands report. "That's now changed. Novel Food Regulations have been introduced, (and) there's now a clear route to compliance for UK CBD companies." The report, coordinated by Volteface, a drugs policy reform advocacy group, stressed the move would help to demonstrate legislative sovereignty after leaving the EU and could open up Britain to be a medical cannabis and CBD leader in Europe. https://news.sky.com/story/ban-on-cultivating-medicinal-cbd-oil-from-cannabis-unfair-and-insane-farmers-say-12289791
  7. Jarrow cannabis user walks free after CPS accept he was looking after 28 ounces for his dealer A cannabis user caught with thousands of pounds of the drug has walked free from court after prosecutors accepted he was just looking after it for his dealer. When police raided the 50 year old man's home in Jarrow, they found 28 one ounce deals worth up to £7,000 plus a further £800 of the drug. A court heard he has previous convictions for possessing cannabis with intent to supply, producing cannabis and three offences of possessing it. He pleaded guilty to the latest offence of possession with intent to supply on the basis he was just temporarily looking after the larger package for his supplier after a man he was meant to deliver it to wasn't in. The Crown Prosecution Service did not dispute that basis, meaning the case fell into a lower category than it otherwise would in terms of sentencing guidelines. Now the 50-year-old has been sentenced to two months suspended for 18 months with 150 hours unpaid work and a rehabilitation requirement. Newcastle Crown Court heard it was on December 13, 2019 that police raided his home on Spencer Street, Jarrow. He was seen running to his garden and throwing bags of cannabis over a fence. Claire Anderson, prosecuting, said: "The defendant returned to the address and handed officers a large bag from behind an armchair, saying 'here you go, you are going to find it anyway'." The court heard he was convicted of possessing cannabis in 2003, 2004 and 2008, got a suspended sentence for possessing cannabis with intent to supply in 2008 and another suspended sentence for producing cannabis in 2012. Judge Edward Bindloss said prosecutors do no dispute his basis of plea and added that he had "very unwisely agreed to store it" but got no financial benefit from doing so. Nick Lane, defending, said: "The 28 wraps were to be returned to the dealer. "The dealer was on his rounds and was due to make a drop off and the person who was due to take delivery of those wraps was not available so the dealer left them with him rather than carry them around with him. "He agreed to hold them for him for a short period of time. He was going to hold them for a few hours." Mr Lane said the drugs worth £800 were bought to use and split with his friends to reduce costs. He added: "He is a habitual user and has been for a significant number of years. "Rightly or wrongly he has perceived cannabis to be good for his general health. He is quite proud of the fact he has not visited a doctor for 20 years. "But he has reached the point where he wants to stop." A CPS spokesperson said: “As part of his basis of plea to the charge of possession with intent to supply the defendant in this case provided an account, which was capable of corroboration, that he had been holding a significant quantity of cannabis for another supplier to the value of £4,000 to £7,000. "There was insufficient supporting evidence to corroborate any intent on his part to sell this quantity onwards and the Crown accepted his plea on the basis provided.” https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/jarrow-cannabis-user-walks-free-20425032
  8. Pregnant mum-of-seven passed £6,000 of cannabis to prisoner during kiss 'Heavily pregnant' ***** ******* was brought before a judge A mum tried to smuggle £6,000 of cannabis to a prisoner as they 'embraced and kissed'. ***** *******r, who is 'heavily pregnant' with her eighth child, was spared jail but the man she tried to pass the drugs to was jailed. ***** *******, 30 from Macclesfield, was locked up for 12 months. ***** *******, 37, went to visit serving prisoner ******* at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham, North Wales Live reports. "They embraced and kissed and a package was transferred from ***** *******," prosecutor Dafydd Roberts told Mold Crown Court. "The officers observed that and they intercepted it." The package was found to contain 61.9g of cannabis. Due to the 'inflated prison prices' the drugs could be worth between £3,095 and £6,190, the court heard. Prison officers found a mobile phone in ***** ******* cell, which was found to contain messages between the pair. ***** *******had typed 'my weed's in Rhyl', and in another message he called ***** ******* 'babe'. Police arrested ***** *******, and officers found 8.2 g of cannabis worth £450 to £900 in her car. The court was told ***** ******* was earning £60 to £80 for the journey to the prison. Prosecutors said the attempted handover of the drugs could have led to a 'significant financial gain' for *******. Andrew Green, defending ***** *******, said the defendant accepted his responsibility by pleading guilty. He told the court that *******, of Great King Street, Macclesfield, is in a settled relationship with a woman who works as a carer, and is 'optimistic and determined' he can leave the 'revolving door of custody' behind him. Bernice Campbell, defending *******r, said her client is expecting her eighth child and 'adores' her children. She said ******* of Arch House, Grinsdale, Carlisle, is 'heavily pregnant' and is recovering from a recent accident when she fractured her left ankle. Sentencing the pair, Judge Timothy Petts said: "Drugs have an extremely damaging effect in prisons - undermining discipline, mental health and attempts at rehabilitation." ******* was jailed for conveying a List A article into a prison. ******* avoided jail and received a 17 week sentence, suspended for 12 months. www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/pregnant-mum-seven-passed-6000-20396862
  9. Families need cannabis prescriptions support, say MPs and peers MPs and peers are calling for funding for families forced to buy medicinal cannabis for their children privately. The treatment was made legal with a prescription in 2018 for those with an "exceptional clinical need". But a cross-party letter from 100 politicians says only three NHS prescriptions have been given out since, forcing families to spend thousands on private treatments. The government said it sympathised with those facing hard-to-treat conditions. The change in law came about after the cases of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, who had both been denied access to cannabis oil to treat their rare forms of epilepsy. The Home Office later granted the boys licences to access the treatment. But after a review by experts, the then home secretary Sajid Javid introduced legislation to make it legal for specialist doctors to provide prescriptions for cannabis-derived medicinal products in "exceptional circumstances". Over two years have passed since the law changed, but the All Parliamentary Group on Access to Medical Cannabis Under Prescription said dozens of families were not seeing the benefit. In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the group's chair, Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi, said instead, parents were having to fund raise up to £2,000 a month to pay for the treatment privately. "In any circumstance, this is a severe financial burden for families already having to cope with very sick children and Covid restrictions have rendered most fund-raising impossible," she added. "The reasons for the lack of NHS prescriptions appear to be complex and will inevitably take time to resolve. However, the families to which we refer simply do not have time. "They are emotionally and financially broken and their children are at risk of being without their life-transforming medicine within weeks." Backed by 100 MPs and peers from all parties, Ms Antoniazzi appealed to the PM to "grant access to some form of compassionate funding until the wider issues can be resolved". The APPG receives help with its administration from campaign group End Our Pain, which has welcomed the intervention. Group director Peter Carroll said the situation was "desperate" for the families, telling the BBC: "When the law was changed, we thought as campaigners 'job done', there will be prescriptions - but it didn't happen." He claimed the advice given out by various medical bodies on prescriptions for the treatment had been "extremely cautious", and as a result, "we are in this crazy situation where it is totally legal, but hardly any specialist doctors will prescribe it". But Mr Carroll said the call for funding for the families was "the only thing that can work in very short term". He added: "We can't fight the other battles and win in weeks - the only way forward right now is to give these families the money to pay for prescriptions in the short term. "I appeal to the government, give them money, stop them having to do online raffles for fundraising so they can focus on caring for some of the sickest children in the country." A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: "We sympathise with every patient and every family courageously confronting life with hard-to-treat conditions." The spokesman added that after the law was changed in 2018 on prescriptions, the department was considering "what further action we can take with regard to broader access to unlicensed cannabis-based products, while giving immediate priority to resolving the supply of Bedrocan oils from the Netherlands, which many patients are receiving." https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-56763650
  10. Hi Scotland's first medical cannabis clinic approved by regulators The move will enable patients to access the drug more easily to help ease conditions such as epilepsy Scotland’s first medicinal cannabis clinic has been approved by regulators. Sapphire Medical Clinics has been authorised by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) to provide safe access to medical cannabis to Scottish patients. The private clinic is offering virtual appointments from today and will be offering face-to-face consultations when coronavirus restrictions allow it. In November 2018, medical cannabis was legalised in the UK to allow doctors to prescribe it in certain situations. Cannabis-based medicines can be considered for a vast range of conditions, including arthritis, anxiety and epilepsy. It can also be prescribed to patients whom have tried standard treatments with little relief of their symptoms, or where traditional medicine is providing relief but with an unsustainable level of side effects. Sapphire Medical was the first clinic granted approval in the UK after it received approval by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England. Its Scottish clinic will be located in Allan Park, Stirling, although it was initially planning to open in Aberdeen first. It will also be offering a scheme to help patients who are unable to pay the expensive costs to use the clinic to those enrolled in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry. Andie Connolly-Brown lives in Edinburgh and suffers with complex PTSD and anxiety for which she has tried a range of conventional therapies. She said: “Having access to medical cannabis is a lifeline for me, so today’s news that Sapphire Medical Clinics are now registered with Healthcare Improvement Scotland is timely - my anxiety in particular has been made worse by the Covid-19 lockdown so safe and affordable access to medical cannabis is welcome.” Dr Mikael Sodergren, managing director of Sapphire Medical, commented: “We are delighted to be the first clinic to be registered with HIS, which is a testament to the robust clinical governance framework we have established in evaluating patients for treatment with medical cannabis. "By capturing clinical outcomes through the UK Medical Cannabis Registry, we will significantly contribute to the evidence base and ultimately allow more patients to benefit from medical cannabis as a treatment option.” https://www.insider.co.uk/news/scotlands-first-medical-cannabis-clinic-23771439 Bongme
  11. So I have been a Lucky girl * I have grown for years Outdoors in the beautiful hot South of Spain but now I am moving to the UK and have a giant polytunnel in my garden but no experience yet of how to grow in polytunnels..................... Last year my bf had good results with some semi autos a friend had bred..... I did put a couple Green Poisons in there and they did well - with a couple patches of mold So season 2020 will be looking for autos and semi autos and a few "fast versions" like my sweet seeds Green Poison I loved growing the S.A.D sweet afghani delicious outdoor in Spain and now they have the "fast version" of that I would like to try So I will grow some Photoperiod Plants Outside in the Garden and I guess fill the Poly with AUTOS Any hints and tips would be greatly appreciated from you guys Coz dude! This is a whole NEW enviroment xxmissxx
  12. Hi Edinburgh dad caught red-handed with £10,000 worth of cannabis plants after fire alarm Firefighters broke down his door after a fire alarm prompted a worried neighbour to call for help An Edinburgh dad's cannabis cultivation was busted after a worried neighbour called 999 because of his fire alarm. Firefighters broke down the door to Lee Lambert's Edinburgh home after a call from Police Scotland and discovered £10,000 worth of cannabis plants. Four cannabis plants were found alongside growing equipment were found and Lambert, 36, was later arrested by police. He appeared at the Edinburgh sheriff court on Wednesday and admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis at his Corstorphine area home on August 8 last year, the Daily Record reports. Defence agent Jim Stephenson, acting for Lambert, acknowledged the “high value” of the drugs recovered, but added his client was “absolutely clear it was only for his own use” to treat a bad back. Fiscal depute Jack Caster, prosecuting, said cops arrived at Lambert’s home shortly after midnight to find the lights were on inside and there was an “audible fire alarm sounding”. Mr Caster said the cops got no reply from repeated calls at the door so alerted the fire service to “establish the welfare of any occupants”. Firefighters forced entry, the court heard, and found the address was empty. Mr Caster said: “However, they observed a number of items relating to the production of cannabis.” The items included transformers, lights, a grow tent, and the four plants. The court heard Lambert arrived home at 1.53am and was arrested. An analysis of the plants found there was cannabis buds weighing 1.56kg, added Mr Caster, which had a value of up to £10,920. Mr Stephenson said Lambert suffered a “serious back injury” in 2000 and had used cannabis for pain relief. The solicitor said Lambert no longer used cannabis, and recently secured new employment in building maintenance for a pharmaceutical firm in Edinburgh. Sheriff John Cook deferred sentence for reports until next month. https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/news/edinburgh-news/edinburgh-dad-caught-red-handed-20299336 Bongme
  13. hi Police uncover largest ever cannabis grow in Lincolnshire so far Three men have been arrested and charged after Lincolnshire Police uncovered the county’s largest ever cannabis grow, with a street value estimated to be in excess of £6 million. The large scale cannabis grow was found during a police raid in the Fishtoft Road area of Boston on Friday, March 26. Three men, age 20, 23 and 25, have been remanded into custody. Police said the sheer scale of the grow, which was housed within a 50K square foot unit, required the tireless efforts of a large number of staff. Cannabis grows of this size are often linked with serious and organised crime and other criminality. T/Detective Inspector Mark Seage said: “This was a huge challenge. It required the dedicated efforts of staff from a number of policing departments. “I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved. We take such investigations very seriously and every member of staff worked incredibly hard. “We work very closely with partners, taking a robust and proactive stance in order to reduce the risk to communities through rigorous investigations. “Cannabis cultivation happens in both commercial and residential premises. We urge landlords to be stringent and vigilant in the letting of their properties and if they have any suspicions or concerns, to come to us and report them. “Communities can also play a role in passing on any information they have about drugs in our county. The policing activity will have been noticed locally and we appreciate the support, patience and cooperation from residents.” Meanwhile, a residential premises was used to grow a large amount of cannabis plants in the Prince Alfred Avenue area of Skegness. Three suspects were arrested who have all since been released under investigation. https://thelincolnite.co.uk/2021/03/police-uncover-largest-ever-cannabis-grow-in-lincolnshire-so-far/ Bongme
  14. hi Man arrested after sweets found to contain cannabis in Barrow town centre Concern has been raised that drugs are being disguised as sweets on Barrow streets after lollipops and chocolate bars were found to contain cannabis. Police are urging parents to remain vigilant after a variety of 'treats' which contained cannabis were seized from a property in Barrow. The seizure was made from the town centre building as officers executed a warrant last week. The discovery resulted in a man being arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs with intent to supply. He has since been released under investigation while enquiries continue, police have confirmed. Barrow police are asking whether parents know what their children are consuming after the discovery. A spokesman for Barrow police said: "Barrow Proactive Team recently seized a variety of sweets, lollipops and chocolate bars. "At first glance everything may appear as it should, but these sweets are cannabis edibles. "The individual was arrested for possession with intent to supply. "Do you know what your children are eating?" Councillor Bill McEwan, who represents Ormsgill on Barrow Council, described the seizure as 'deeply concerning'. "This is absolutely horrendous because if children get their hands on these, it could potentially be fatal," he said. "What is the point in using sweet packets and potentially putting children's lives at risk? "It's very concerning." Cllr McEwan is urging all parents and families to remain vigilant of any suspicious-looking sweets. "Parents, brothers, sisters, all family members need to be very careful and remain vigilant of this," he said. "All parents need to be aware because if it gets into a child hands, it could make them seriously ill or even kill them." Sergeant Gareth Sargent is urging parents to remain vigilant, particularly of unregulated sweets which are 'dangerous'. He said: “The wrappers on products such as these can look like any sweet packet so parents should be aware. “Unregulated sweets are dangerous as we don’t know what levels of drugs they contain. “We would ask parents to be vigilant. https://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/19184938.man-arrested-sweets-found-contain-cannabis-barrow-town-centre/ 2 comments Bongme
  15. hi Jailed drug farmer must pay £59k in three months A MAN who operated a flourishing cannabis farm in a disused church has been given a three-month time extension to meet a crime proceeds confiscation order. It was made against Paul McAllister at Durham Crown Court on December 22, when it was agreed he benefited from his crime by £281,343. The available amount for confiscation was put at £59,790 and he was given three months to pay or risk a further 18-months behind bars, on top of the 32-months he was sentenced to, at the court last July. But his case was mentioned again yesterday as the £59,790 has yet to be paid. Ian West, for the Crown, told Judge Ray Singh: “We are now beyond that time limit, but I can confirm the defence has been proactive in their efforts and consequently I’ve been told to offer no opposition to an extension.” Judge Singh agreed to extend the deadline for payment to June 22 but said there can be no further extensions beyond then. Mr West said: “It will be just a question of enforcement proceedings after June 22 as the crown court will have no jurisdiction after that.” But, the 18-month custodial default period also remains hanging over McAllister. The now 44-year-old electrician, from Oldham in Greater Manchester, admitted producing cannabis and abstracting electricity. It followed the police discovery of the active cannabis operation at the former Methodist Church, in Dodds Terrace, Wheatley Hill, on May 20, last year. Officers involved in the inquiry believed there were plans to extend the growth areas, with new lighting and watering equipment just removed from packaging. McAllister was found hiding in the roof space. The court heard there were 72 mature cannabis plants and 99 pots containing stalks, in the ground floor area, which were fitted with lighting, extractor fans, transformers and cooling fans. A further 70 plants in varying stages of growth were found in the first-floor area with 61 mature plants being hung up to dry. There were also eight kilograms of cannabis flowering material found in a cardboard box alongside 14 plastic bags each containing a kilo of dried cannabis. The prosecution said it appeared to be, “a large-scale commercial cultivation”, with potential for three crops a year to be bagged for bulk distribution to mid-level dealers, with a potential value for the seized cannabis as s high as £287,000. https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/19201421.jailed-drug-farmer-must-pay-59k-three-months/ Bongme
  16. hi Swindon homeowner finds out tenants were running a cannabis factory What looks like an ordinary two-bedroom house was transformed into a cannabis factory by an organised gang running a multi-million pound drugs operation in Swindon. The Old Town property was one of several raided by police last weekend, leading to a haul of £1 million worth of plants. Hundreds of plants were found growing in pots in the living room and the bedrooms on Belle Vue Road, while heating and lighting were installed, and windows blacked out with plastic sheeting. In order to ventilate the plants, reduce the humidity and the smell, extractor fans were put in place – all connected to an old chimney breast. A victim of human trafficking was found inside and had been forced to look after the crops. The stunned owner of the house had absolutely no idea it was being used by a criminal enterprise – and has been left with a repair bill running into thousands to repair the damage. Terry Davis, who has owned the house with wife Alison for 10 years, said: “We’ve rented them the house since September. I was completely shocked. “I’m angry, Alison is angry, we feel disappointed, we feel we’ve been let down. There was no alarm bell ringing because they were paying their rent.” “In all the years we’ve been renting properties we’ve never had any issues. Usually, it’s families or professionals, good people, normal people.” https://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/19203096.swindon-homeowner-finds-tenants-running-cannabis-factory/ 1 comment Bongme
  17. hi Swindon drugs raids: £1m of cannabis seized by police Cannabis plants with a value of more than £1m have been seized during raids across Swindon. Six victims of human trafficking, all men aged between 19 and 28, were taken into care by Wiltshire Police. Eight cannabis factories were discovered in residential properties between Thursday and Sunday. Two men, aged 21 and 22, from London, were arrested on suspicion of cannabis production and human trafficking offenses. They have been released on conditional bail. The operation was carried out by the Wiltshire Police Operation Fortitude team, introduced in 2020 to tackle serious offenders across Wiltshire. 'Prey on the vulnerable' Det Insp Angela Shipp said that factories on this scale can produce more than £4m of cannabis each year. "In most of these addresses each room had been converted for the wholesale production of cannabis plants," she said. "Men had been trafficked and were being kept in the properties to look after the plants; these victims were rescued and are assisting in this investigation." She added that human trafficking for cannabis production is "often seen as a hidden crime", but that this operation showed it occurs "within our communities in plain sight". "The extent of the impact on vulnerable victims and to the wider local community is appalling," she said. "My message is clear, for those that commit these offences of human trafficking, by preying on vulnerable individuals, and setting up cannabis factories, if you come to Wiltshire to do this, we will find and dismantle these factories and bring you to justice." https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-56566225 Bongme
  18. Hi Police find the keys to a cannabis factory in Rugby after stopping two men in a car Both have been jailed for producing cannabis at the house and possessing criminal property When the police stopped two men in a car in Rugby, one of them had the keys to a nearby house which officers then discovered had been turned into a cannabis factory. Both men denied ever having been at the property in William Street, where there were more than 200 cannabis plants, but the fingerprints of one of them was found on a drinks can. And Klaudi Mehnetaj and Vilson Hoxha both pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to producing cannabis at the house and possessing criminal property. Mehnetaj (29) of Middleton Road, London, was jailed for 18 months and Hoxha (33) of no fixed address, for 20 months after he also admitted driving while disqualified. Prosecutor Justin Jarmola said that at lunchtime on October 8 last year police officers stopped a car being driven by Hoxha, with Mehnetaj in the passenger seat. When they searched the car, the officers found a council tax bill for a house in William Street, Rugby, although both men denied any knowledge of the address. Mehnetaj, who told the police he lived in London and worked as a gardener, had two phones and £250 in cash on him, while Hoxha had £1,265. A key taken from Hoxha fitted the lock at the house in William Street, and inside was ‘a sophisticated cannabis grow.’ There were 205 plants being grown in five rooms using a hydroponic system, lighting, fans and filters, and the electric meter, to which Mehnetaj had a meter key, had been by-passed. When he was interviewed Mehnetaj said he had fallen on hard times during the pandemic and had been offered work and was driven to Rugby and handed the key and £200 in cash. “He denied having entered the address, which was false, because there was a drinks can with his fingerprints on it in the house,” said Mr Jarmola. Hoxha denied any knowledge of the address, and claimed he did not know he was disqualified from driving at the time. Laura Collier, for Hoxha, said: “He entered into this because of his dire financial situation. He had been living at that property for a short period of time, working as a gardener. Lee Master, for Mehnetaj, suggested that the judge could ‘draw an inference’ about him from the fact that he was not the driver and had less money on him. And he said that Mehnetaj had lost three members of his family in Albania to Covid, and other members had been infected. Jailing the two men, and banning Hoxha from driving for three years and ten months, Judge Peter Cooke told them: “The two of you had been tending 205 cannabis plants. “It was an operation of some scale and sophistication involving by-passing the electricity supply. This was undoubtedly at a commercial level. “It has been urged on me that the two of you were, albeit in the country illegally, busying yourselves with non-criminal employments until you were adversely affected by the pandemic, at which point you were recruited to play these roles at this cannabis grow. “But each of you took this as employment. It was to be for the time you were doing it your sole means of support. “I take the view that although you were not shareholders in the enterprise, you were salaried employees of it. "As the people running the William Street operation day-to-day, you did each of you have knowledge of the scale of that William Street enterprise. "The fact that you were out and about in a car showed that you two enjoyed a greater degree of autonomy than is usually granted to cannabis gardeners by their employers.” And Judge Cooke added that once they had served their sentences, the authorities would move to deport them. https://www.rugbyadvertiser.co.uk/news/crime/police-find-the-keys-to-a-cannabis-factory-in-rugby-after-stopping-two-men-in-a-car-3185737 Bongme
  19. hi Four arrested after 200-plus cannabis plants and £10,000 in cash discovered at Clipstone property Four men have been arrested after 208 cannabis plants were seized and around £10,000 recovered from a property in Clipstone. Police were tipped off after receiving a call from a member of public who could smell cannabis and had seen a group of men allegedly dismantling the grow, using dustbins to transport items from the address to a van. Neighbourhood and response officers were quickly on the scene and spotted a heat lamp and fertiliser believed to be used in cultivating cannabis inside the vehicle. They heard voices from inside the property, on The Circle, and detained four men aged 30, 29, 28 and 27 in connection with the incident at around 9.40am on Tuesday. Insp Sue Wain said: “Some people may think that cannabis growing is a victimless crime but quite frankly, they’re wrong. The production and distribution of drugs has a detrimental impact on communities and ruins lives. It can also often be linked to more serious organised crime and violence. “Not only is cannabis growing illegal but it can also be extremely dangerous due to the fire risk, especially if people are living in adjoining properties. "The production and supply of drugs have a hugely detrimental impact and we remain committed to doing all we can to bring those involved in the supply of such drugs to justice as well as preventing harmful drugs from hitting the streets. "Information from the public is vital in helping us crack down on drug crime and I'd urge anyone with any information about suspected drug-related activity in their community to get in touch with us.” https://www.chad.co.uk/news/crime/four-arrested-after-200-plus-cannabis-plants-and-ps10000-in-cash-discovered-at-clipstone-property-3185809 Bongme
  20. hi Man arrested after cannabis factory found in Peterborough home A man has been arrested after a cannabis factory was found in a Peterborough home. Officers carried out a warrant at the address in Oswald Road, Sugar Way, Peterborough yesterday. A Peterborough police spokesman said: "The landlord visited the house to carry out checks, but when he couldn't get inside he called us A" 26-year-old man of no fixed address was found inside and arrested on suspicion of producing cannabis. He remains in custody at Thorpe Wood. "There were 121 cannabis plants in total. Cash made from cannabis factories is often used to fund organised crime and we're working hard to tackle that, but need your help. "Look out for signs of illegal cannabis factories, including blacked out windows and people coming and going at various times of the day. If you live close to one you may also notice a distinctive ‘hum’ noise from the fans and ventilation." https://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/crime/man-arrested-after-cannabis-factory-found-in-peterborough-home-3185144 Bongme
  21. hi Four arrested as police raid '£1m' drug farm Officers were spotted at the disused farm site in Droylsden on Tuesday morning. Four men have been arrested after police busted a cannabis farm in Droylsden that could be worth over £1m. Officers were at a disused farm site on Sunnyside Avenue, Droylsden, throughout Tuesday (March 30). The site was searched as part of an investigation into an organised crime group in Tameside, and four men have been arrested on suspicion of drug offences. Paul Walker, Superintendent of Tameside borough, said the site could have been used to produce over £1m worth of cannabis. He said: “We’ve got an operation ongoing at the present time at a large disused farm premises in the Droylsden area. “What I’ve seen so far from this morning’s operation there appears to be a very large number of cannabis plants growing at the premises. “If you take into account that this perhaps isn’t the first time that’s occurred at the premises and if it’s being used for that on a regular basis, then there is the potential for value to be well in excess of a million pounds.” Officers were alerted to the location after residents raised concerns about the property, with “intelligence” linking the site to illegal activity. Witnesses reported seeing arrests made at the site where police were searching, with at least one man taken away from the area in handcuffs. Supt Walker added: “The operation is targeting what we believe to be an organised crime group who were using that location to produce cannabis on quite a large sort of industrial or commercial scale. “This operation has come about as a result of concerns from the local community, and intelligence in relation to the premises being used for illegal activity." The area is still being searched, and officers are hoping to complete the investigation into the site by Wednesday morning. https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/four-arrested-police-raid-1m-20290472 Bongme
  22. hi Bristol gang ran lucrative cannabis operation stretching across country One of their units grew cannabis with a value of almost £2million each harvest A Bristol-based gang used motor insurance fraud to run a multimillion-pound cannabis operation. Six men involved in the scheme, which had drug factories in Easton and Merseyside, have been jailed for a combined 18 years and eight months. They used an industrial unit in Birkenhead to grow cannabis with a street value of up to £1.9million each harvest. These men pleaded admitted conspiracy to produce the Class B substance: Mario Fioruci, 37, of no fixed abode, jailed for four and a half years Alessandro Carbone, 46, of Glen Park in Eastville, jailed for four years Luca Fioravanti, 37, of High Street in Kingswood, jailed for three and a half years Edi Daka, 46, of Dudley Court in Barrs Court, jailed for three years Arjan Dishmima, 42, of no fixed abode, jailed for 22 months Eno Suma, 35, of Bishopsworth Road in Bedminster Down, jailed for 22 months. Four of the men – Fioruci, Daka, Dishmima and Suma – were arrested as they headed back to Bristol after visiting the cannabis grow in October 2019. They travelled in convoy in two Mercedes Sprinter vans which, when stopped by officers, were found to be loaded with 30 large bags of soil and cannabis plant waste, as well as a large bag of cannabis. Police then searched the industrial unit at Birkenhead's Craven Industrial Park and discovered an "extensive setup", says the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit. Spread over three floors, they found 610 plants, six growing tents, a large drying room, and a by-passed electricity meter to supply the high wattage heat. Light systems, air extraction and ventilation were used to control the "aggressive growing cycle that would ensure numerous crops throughout the year", the crime unit added. Fioravanti and Carbone were arrested a fortnight later in Brislington, where police seized £19,000 in cash from a bedroom and a further £50,000 worth of cannabis in a car boot. "Following their arrests, the investigation led to a further cannabis grow being located within a house in Easton," the crime unit said. "The grow was partially dismantled, but again the electricity meter had been by-passed and substantial damage had been caused to the house." The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) became involved in the case following suspicions the gang was fraudulently using motor trade insurance to support large-scale cannabis production. "IFB experts worked swiftly to uncover evidence of how members of the crime group (for whom none were motor traders) had used motor trade policies to insure ten vehicles," said an IFB spokesman. This helped the men distance their identities from the vehicles being used and evade ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) detection for no insurance. The defendants were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court last month. Fioravanti had pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cannabis, as well as the conspiracy to produce cannabis. The group had been remanded in custody since their arrests in autumn 2019. DI Charlotte Tucker, from the crime unit, said, “What we found in Merseyside was an enormous and sophisticated set-up which was capable of generating £1.3million to £1.9million worth of cannabis each harvest. “Organised criminals like this group think they’re operating under the radar and can exploit anyone and anything to make money. Focus will now turn to stripping them of the money and assets they made through crime.” Matt Brown, from Merseyside Police, added: “Cannabis farms cause a significant threat and harm to communities across the country, and working alongside other forces and regions, we can be even more effective in removing them, and putting before the courts those who look to make criminal gains. “In this case, a cannabis farm and an organised crime group have both been dismantled. If you suspect a cannabis farm has been set up where you are, speak to your local force and we’ll take action.” https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/bristol-gang-ran-lucrative-cannabis-5248629 Bongme
  23. hi Why are the UK’s drug laws so backward? As US states pursue overdue reform, Britain remains wedded to a dogmatic and ineffective war on drugs. he war on drugs was launched by Richard Nixon – and 50 years on, in the US at least, the drugs are winning. Anti-prohibition movements have been gaining ground over the past decade, culminating at the 2020 presidential election in a wave of ballot initiatives across various states to relax the rules around – and in some cases fully legalise – cannabis. There was also a particularly bold vote in Oregon to decriminalise possession of all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, and to legalise medical psilocybin (the chemical in magic mushrooms). Spurred into action by proactive states, even Joe Biden, who as a senator campaigned for tougher drug laws, has changed his tune. The president announced last month: “No one should go to jail for a drug offence, no one should go to jail for the use of a drug”. The prevailing wisdom runs that, where the US leads, the rest of the world follows. So it was in the 1970s, when the UK and other countries jumped on Nixon’s bandwagon, opting for prohibition and enforcement instead of a regulated legal market for controlled substances. Yet the UK doesn’t seem to have got the latest message. On the Labour side, despite the views of some party members, Keir Starmer recently made clear that he opposes relaxing drug laws. The Conservative government, meanwhile, is veering even further away from liberalisation. It was reported recently that a “PR blitz” is planned that will liken cocaine use to drink-driving , and that “the PM wants to make it socially unacceptable to do drugs”. Boris Johnson’s self-confessed past drug use, along with that of other cabinet colleagues, does not appear to have lent this government much insight into the failure of prohibition; instead of “following the science” – and the history – of drug legislation, they are continuing a blinkered policy that has been proven not to work. One man who knows all about the political double-think around drug use is Professor David Nutt. A doctor and expert in neuropsychopharmacology (a branch of neuroscience that considers the effects of drugs on the mind), Nutt, 69, has held a number of positions at prestigious universities and institutes on both sides of the Atlantic, and advised both the Blair and Brown governments on drug policy. He was appointed chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in 2008 – but less than two years later, after repeated clashes with government officials, he was dismissed. At the time, Nutt wrote of his removal: “I gave a lecture on the assessment of drug harms and how these relate to the legislation controlling drugs. According to Alan Johnson, the home secretary, some contents of this lecture meant I had crossed the line from science to policy and so he sacked me. I do not know which comments were beyond the line or, indeed, where the line was.” More than a decade later, Nutt is scathing about the way politicians treat science in relation to drug policy. “Facts are an irrelevance to politics. It’s about avoiding the facts,” he laments, talking to me via Zoom with copies of his new book Nutt Uncut behind him. He points out that alcohol is far more dangerous – in terms of addiction and its effect on the brain – than prohibited drugs such as cannabis and MDMA (ecstasy). “The policies come first, rather than the evidence.” It was the insistence on said evidence, which included arguing that “equasy” (horse riding) was over 20 times more likely to result in serious harm than the drug ecstasy, that led to Nutt's departure from the ACMD. Shortly afterwards, he founded Drug Science, which describes itself as an “independent, science-led drugs charity, uniquely bringing together leading drugs experts from a wide range of specialisms to carry out ground-breaking research into drug harms and effects”. In 2010, Drug Science analysed and added up the “harms” (to both society and the individual) of 20 different drugs and ranked them in terms of risk. The most high-risk, according to this data, is alcohol. Cannabis – class B in the UK – is ranked below alcohol and tobacco. Ecstasy – a class A drug in the UK (the most highly restricted category) – is near the bottom of the scale. Nutt considers it less than half as harmful as alcohol to the user. “Alcohol addiction takes 15-20 years off your life,” he explains. “Ecstasy use, if you know you what you’re doing and don’t take too much, doesn’t affect lifespan at all.” That doesn’t mean it is risk-free. “All drugs have harms,” Nutt reminds me, noting that people can die from simply drinking too much water. “But we don’t respond to that by banning water.” What really enrages Nutt is how readily available alcohol is, while the use (let alone the supply) of far less harmful drugs is punishable by prison. This to him is both an unconscionable double standard and a drastically counterproductive policy if the aim is keeping people safe. “The drug laws are a mishmash of political expedience and the influence of powerful lobbyists. They don’t serve any purpose in terms of minimising the harms of drugs or reducing the use of drugs – if anything they do the opposite.” His ideal legislative approach would begin by decriminalising personal possession of all drugs – as was done in Oregon recently and in Portugal in 2001. He would then introduce a legal, regulated market for less addictive drugs such as cannabis, MDMA, LSD and magic mushrooms, balanced with higher alcohol taxes to reduce consumption. Highly addictive drugs such as heroin would still be illegal to sell, with the hope that the availability of regulated alternatives would shrink the black market and bring down associated crime. Nutt acknowledges, however, that this is a fantasy. Leaders of all parties are too fearful of a media backlash to proposed an evidence-based drugs policy – he cites the pressure on Tony Blair to get tough on magic mushrooms, David Cameron’s volte-face on downgrading MDMA's classification once he became Tory leader and Gordon Brown’s bizarre (in Nutt’s view) move to upgrade cannabis to class B from class C. He notes too that many politicians – such as former drugs minister Bob Ainsworth and former Conservative leader William Hague – miraculously became liberalisation converts after leaving office. But while he understands the awkward position they are in, he is utterly disparaging about their duplicity, especially when so many were – and may still be – users themselves. “We’ve been campaigning for wastewater testing outside the Houses of Parliament for decades,” he laughs, when asked what impact a shaming initiative focused on cocaine use would have, suggesting some politicians struggle to live up to their own rhetoric on the evils of drug use. “You’ve got the second or third most powerful man in government – Michael Gove – who by his own admission could have been imprisoned for his past cocaine use. The hypocrisy is so overreaching.” You can sense Nutt’s frustration when he talks of how Britain has been left behind, while other countries have abandoned their misguided wars on drugs and embraced a model that aims to help users, not imprison them. “You’ve got to show that the countries that have changed the law haven’t disintegrated,” he says. “Look at the example of Portugal. Portugal decriminalised all drug possession. That allows heroin addicts to get treated instead of going to prison.” Portugal now has the lowest rates of drug-related death in western Europe. “In the same time, we’ve increased heroin deaths to an all-time high. Our policies of using criminal sanctions kill people.” Nowhere, Nutt says, is the anti-science approach more apparent than with cannabis. Despite a much-heralded law change two years ago allowing medical cannabis products to be available on the NHS, excessive red tape means a mere handful of prescriptions have been granted. With children with severe conditions such as epilepsy still unable to get treatment, Nutt asks what the government is so afraid of. “They’ve had medical marijuana in America for 20 years, 200 million Americans have access to it, 100 million have access to recreational marijuana. The world isn’t ending. But in Britain…” he trails off in despair. “We’re so fearful of cannabis. We scaremonger.” And that’s what seems to antagonise him most: how successive UK governments refuse to look at evidence from beyond our borders and rethink their hard-line stance. “We’re so up our own arses in terms of thinking how clever we are as a nation. We won’t learn from anyone else at all. But there’s plenty of evidence out there.” And, he notes, it’s not as though the UK approach is working anyway. “Anyone can get cannabis anywhere… and it’s illegal. So at what point do you accept that the policy has failed?” Ultimately, the situation will only change when the political maths does – when politicians realise how much they have to lose from refusing to countenance liberalisation. Economics may well play a part – establishing a legal, regulated cannabis market in the UK would provide an estimated £690m a year in tax for the Treasury, in addition to cost savings on policing and prisons. The UK public already back cannabis legalisation by two to one, and perhaps the example of the US can jolt UK MPs out of their anti-drugs dogma. It’s hard to say whether Nutt has much optimism, after all, he’s seen how governments operate. “We’re still living with the historical legacy of the lies we’ve told about drugs,” he sighs, with the air of a man who has fought this battle many times, and come up against a wall of irrationality, fear and hysteria. But his message to those who ignore lessons from the rest of the world and oppose his work and that of his colleagues at Drug Science is clear: “Get real. We need to realise in this country that prohibitionist policies based on punishing people for using drugs haven’t worked. They don’t work – and they won’t work.” https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2021/03/why-are-uk-s-drug-laws-so-backward Bongme
  24. hi Two men found hiding in cupboard at cannabis factory Two men were found hiding in a cupboard when police raided a cannabis factory set up in an industrial unit in Bowthorpe, Norwich. Michael Petsalarh, 26, of no fixed address and Sadik Meduli, 21, had been acting as gardeners tending the 527 cannabis plants which were found growing in the Morgan Way unit, Norwich Crown Court heard. Nathalie Carter, prosecuting, said that plants were in various stages of growth and said that one room in the building had been turned into living accommodation. "A bedroom had been made out of an office with two single beds. It was clear at least two people had been living there for some time, Both defendants were found hiding in a cupboard." She said when they came out of hiding they were fully compliant with officers. She said that they had both been acting as gardeners and tending the plants. Ms Carter said that six mobile phones were seized and £110 in cash. Petsalarh and Meduli both admitted being concerned in the production of cannabis on February 1. Petsalarh was jailed for 16 months and Meduli was jailed for 18 months. Sentencing them, Recorder William Clegg QC told them: "You two men were the gardeners who were cultivating the cannabis plants. Each of you must have had an understanding of the scale of the operation and without your gardening skills the plants would not have grown." He said they were paid for their work as gardeners but not given any significant financial reward. He added: "Neither of you were organisers of the cannabis growing operation and were effectively employees performing to some extent as reluctant ones." Andrew Oliver, for Petsalarh, said that he had been living in Greece but had moved to the UK legally. He said that he had been forced to work in the cannabis factory by an Albanian gang. He said that he had only been at the factory for about six to eight weeks and said: "He was threatened and he obeyed." Steven Dyble, for Meduli, said he was of previous good character and was also lawfully in the UK. https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/crime/gardeners-jailed-for-bowthorpe-cannabis-farm-7864332 Bongme
  25. hi 'SO SAD' 24 Hours in Police Custody viewers horrified by cannabis addict hooked on drugs from just eight years old Vid On Link VIEWERS of 24 Hours in Police Custody were left saddened to discover how a man had been hooked on drugs from just eight years old. Justice McCann had been peacefully arrested at his home shortly after he was seen gunning down a 23-year-old male in a random attack in Luton. As the 21-year-old from New Town plead guilty to the attempted murder, his lawyers revealed he had grown up in an abusive household and had been addicted to drugs since his childhood. They detailed that while social services were called to the home when Justice was four years old, he was never taken away and began using cannabis as an escape aged eight. Getting involved with petty crime, the young man said he had been arrested multiple times, including for previous use of a firearm, throughout his youth. His lawyers also detailed how Justice had tried to seek help for his deteriorating mental health, but never received medical treatment. Fans of the hit policing show were left horrified as he was handed a 22 year sentence with no chance of parole until 2035, lamenting that he "had no chance". While they acknowledged he deserved prison time, many angrily took to Twitter to voice how they felt Justice had been "failed by the system" as a child as he was left to endure "serious neglect". "Teachers noticed injuries on Justice's body aged 4, smoking cannabis aged 8, he didn't really stand a chance," wrote one upset woman. "So sad." Another agreed: "Neglected from the age of four and smoking weed from eight, this poor bloke never stood a chance." "This person was smoking weed and drinking alcohol by the age of eight yet support appeared to be minimal," a man added. "More needs to be done." One said they "felt sorry" for the young man, writing: "Not condoning what he did but can't help but feel sorry for the bloke being failed by health professionals and children services." "He needed help and everyone failed him," another concurred. "Absolutely no justification for the crime but the amount of issues he had as a child, abused from birth essentially. Very very sad." Justice was kept in custody after shooting a man named Jakub, 23, shooting at a car he tried to steal and attacking a woman by holding the gun against her head. While he refused to answer questions, the officers were taken by surprise when Justice didn't put up a fight on his arrest and was booked quietly. He was seen breaking down in tears as he was shown CCTV footage of himself committing the crime that he had no recollection of. The young man explained his "head gets muddled" and had been treating his mental illness with cannabis, which sometimes caused blackouts. It was in one of these blackout episodes that he committed the crime, which led to him being sentenced for 22 years in prison. In an open letter to the court at his trial, Justice wrote: "Nothing will ever justify my actions or make them acceptable as nobody deserves to be put through physical or psychological trauma that I have caused in people’s lives. "I never intended to hurt him. None of what happened was his fault. Not only do I deserve to be here for my actions, but I’m also now able to get the help that I’ve been asking for. "I hope that one day, I can express my deepest apologies. In all hope it will help him to find some sort of peace of mind, and put him at ease." https://www.thesun.co.uk/tv/14507620/24-hours-in-police-custody-cannabis-drugs-child/ Bongme