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Troglodyte

Cannabis

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I live in Lincoln, and the issue of cannabis farms has been on the front page recently. There's an article from the Guardian online today, too:

Cannabis farm boom fuelling rise of violence in Britain

Police say drug gangs are arming themselves with machetes, shotguns and dogs as crop seizures double

Cannabis-crop-006.jpg

A rising tide of violence is accompanying a boom in illegal cannabis farms and factories in Britain, according to senior police officers.

Nearly 7,000 cannabis farms and factories were uncovered by the police in the past 12 months – more than double the number detected in 2007-08, the Association of Chief Police Officers said.

An Acpo report into the scale of commercial cultivation of cannabis in Britain said that those running the factories were increasingly arming themselves with machetes, sawn-off shotguns and dangerous dogs to deal with rival gangs trying to steal their crops. Booby traps had also been discovered in some factories.

The trade was still largely run by Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants, sometimes aided by young teenagers who had been trafficked into the country. But more white British people than ever were also getting involved, the report said.

Commander Allan Gibson, of the Metropolitan police, said that private homes remained the property of choice for large-scale cannabis cultivation. But a growth in the number of disused factories and warehouses since the onset of the recession had led to a shift towards other sorts of premises.

Police had found cannabis farms in the past two years in former pubs, cinemas, nightclubs, printworks and banks, as well as other industrial premises.

"Between 2004 and 2007, 800 cannabis factories a year were being uncovered by the police," Gibson said. "That rose to over 3,000 a year in 2007-08 and over 6,800 in 2009-10. This increase is attributed to a number of factors, including an increased focus on law enforcement."

The largest recorded cannabis factory was uncovered in July at Haddenham in Cambridgeshire, where more than 7,600 plants were seized with an estimated value of £2.5m.

The report said that the level of publicity around cannabis since its reclassification in 2008 meant that the public were reporting any unusual signs of habitation in buildings and houses, which was leading to higher detection rates.

Blacked-out windows, hot walls, condensation, strange or pungent aromas and people or traffic at all hours were all indications that a factory may exist in the neighbourhood.

"Several forces have reported the discovery of factories as a direct result of fires breaking out within the property, most likely due to tampering with the electric supply," the report said.

The police paper said there was no evidence that cannabis production in Britain was developing an export trade.

Data from the UK Border Agency showed that large amounts of cannabis were still being imported, indicating that demand remained so great that domestic production could not satisfy it.

"Although skunk cannabis is produced domestically in the UK there is still an appetite to import this variety as there is a perception by some criminals that UK-produced skunk is of a lower quality than varieties available on the continent," the report said.

The study also found that cannabis production was nationwide, with factories discovered in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. Glasgow was considered a hotspot for drying cannabis.


So what's the answer? To me, it should be decriminalised and taxed. Cut out the crime, free up the police, and bring money into the coffers. Or is my view too simplistic?

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If it was legal then THC could be added to drinks and food, cutting out the detremental health effects of smoking

Reason for keeping it illegal, people would drive stoned a lot more and if involved in a crash it is hard to prove when they last smoked or how stoned they are.

The other reson for keeping it illegal that always gets used is that the best THC would be produce in mass abroad and to much money would leave the country.

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legalise, regulate, tax it, boom, deficit reduced in 24 months.

you'd use the money from tax to crush the illegal production of the drug and also use the money to increase investment in the NHS massively.

you also invest in rehab for the people who want to quit or are addicted.

hundreds of thousands of people regularly biff it up, probably more than that.

Might as well coin in the tax from it. they do it with fags already.

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If it was legalised then the people who are getting all angry about Cannabis will find another illegal substance that they can make big profits from and fight over that instead.

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I'm sure they will, but surely the government might as well make money out of it?

As for ALL.IV.1's comments regarding driving whilst stoned, there should be much stricter punishments if it were to be legalised. And there are plans for roadside drug testing kits to be introduced in the near future, too.

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If it was legalised then the people who are getting all angry about Cannabis will find another illegal substance that they can make big profits from and fight over that instead.
What makes you say that? Let's look at the evidence.

One of the issues that I feel strongly about and have blogged about numerous times before is how the debate surrounding drugs in this country is often very reactionary and not based on evidence. Many politicians are complicit in this as is the media (the press generally and tabloid press in particular). But over the last few years, an advanced Western country has embarked on a wide ranging experiment, the results of which could and should have a marked effect on the debate in other countries including the UK.

Eight years ago, Portugal decreed that the purchase, possession and use of any previously-illegal substance would no longer be considered a criminal offence. The BBC’s Mark Easton has an in-depth article on this here.

An important conclusion that I can see from the results of this experiment is that drug use in Portugal has not risen in the last 8 years. In fact it has fallen, by around 10%. This might seem counter-intuitive but proponents of reform of drug laws have been saying for years that rise and fall in the use of drugs is largely independent of the legislative situation. I have been involved in this debate for quite a long time now and I have found when I try to argue that reform of the drugs laws would not necessarily cause an increase in drug use this is sometimes met with scorn. Now there is solid evidence based on an 8 year long country-wide trial in an advanced country to back this up.

Further still, the statistics suggest that use by teenagers of every type of drug measured has also fallen (see here). This is remarkable as usually when one type of drug use falls, another increases as they are affected by societal trends. In Portugal’s case this seems not to have happened.

Perhaps the most important result of this trial though is how HIV infections and drug deaths have been reduced. The following quote from Mark Easton’s report is by Paula Vale de Andrade who is involved with an organisation who try to help heroin addicts:

When drug use was a crime, people were afraid to engage with the teams. But since decriminalisation, they know the police won’t be involved and they come forward. It has been a great improvement.

This is hardly surprising. Despite all the rhetoric from the UK government about increasing treatment for addicts all their efforts are conducted against the back-drop of the constant risk of arrest and prosecution for both addicted and those who try to help them if they aren’t very careful. The new regime in Portugal takes this fear out of the equation and the obvious result has been that the help can be administered more easily and to much greater effect.

I hope that all the results of this experiment will help the conduct of this vital debate in the UK. Opponents of reform need to look hard at the results from Portugal and ask themselves why they are still defending a discredited approach that maximises harm and does little if anything to reduce drug use.

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If it was legalised then the people who are getting all angry about Cannabis will find another illegal substance that they can make big profits from and fight over that instead.

That's why you make it all legal....

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Decriminalizing possession without decriminalizing distribution will not lead to dramatic reductions in crime. Supply will not dramatically increase and prices and profits will generally remain the same, thereby making turf just as valuable and turf battles just as common.

(I say this as one who runs a corner for one of the largest drug dealers in the USA...)

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The one massive downside in legalising cannabis is that the number of crushing bores who's entire live revolves around the fact that they smoke dope and [ii] their uncontrollable urge to evangelise their love of dope will increase exponentially.

That said, the **** will probably never leave their homes save for a midnight run to the 24 hour garage for a tube of Pringles and some microwavable pizza.

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That said, the **** will probably never leave their homes save for a midnight run to the 24 hour garage for a tube of Pringles and some microwavable pizza.

Vast sweeping generalisations in your statements. :notsure: Don't let facts get in your way though.

Unfortunately , all of this violence and exploitation associated with the growth and sale of Marijuana is a result of myopic and draconian drug policies which have persecuted and criminalised users for years now and driven them underground.

Legalise it and regulate it , tax it and you have a whole new mini economy that will bring millions to the goverment and will eliminate the underground , exactly how it was with alcohol during prohibition.

Isn't Marijuana the biggest cash crop in the state of California even though it is only semi legal?(Levi or any American member can expound better on that).

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(I say this as one who runs a corner for one of the largest drug dealers in the USA...)

Bodie, is that you?

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