Masked men broke into Stanley home and demanded cannabis from owner

Police are searching for two suspects after they forced their way into a home in Stanley during early morning raid

 

Two masked men broke into a home at midnight demanding cannabis from the owner.

Police are now looking for two suspects who forced their way into a man’s home on Elm Street, South Moor in Stanley .

After forcing their way into the property, the men told the homeowner “give us what you’ve got”.

The suspects then fled the scene and drove off in a small silver vehicle after being spooked by a dog in the house.

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The men are described as being in their 20s and wore grey or dark tracksuits.

A number of cannabis plants were seized from the property, which police say they are investigating.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Durham Constabularyon 101 quoting reference number 4 of May 29.

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/masked-men-broke-stanley-home-14724695

Brits becoming increasingly relaxed about cannabis … man

 new survey found that the majority of Brits want a more liberal cannabis regime © Fredy Amariles/Reuters
As Westminster stalls on introducing laws regarding its use, a new poll finds that Brits are overwhelmingly in favor of medical cannabis, while a majority are in favor of a less hard line stance on broader use of the herb.

A YouGov poll on British attitudes to cannabis, founds that 75% of the population think doctors should be able to prescribe it for medical purposes compared to just 12% who think they should not.

More broadly, the study found that the majority of Brits want a softer stance towards it than the current policy regime in placeMedical cannabis has been found to treat conditions such as epilepsy, while cannabis-based drugs are being developed to treat cancer and autism.

When given the straight choice between supporting legalization of cannabis or keeping it illegal, 43% of those asked preferred legalization while slightly less, 41%, opposed it.

Another question, giving three options asked if people were in favor of either – criminalization, decriminalization, or legalization, gave a more nuanced view of public attitudes. 40% want to keep the laws as they are, 24% are in favor of decriminalization, while 27% are in favor of a legalized cannabis market.

When combined, the softer policies to cannabis, decriminalization and legalization, have the support of 51% of the population indicating overall support for a more liberal policy than the one currently in place.

Under decriminalization, while the sale and possession would remain illegal, it would be regarded as a minor offense (akin to parking in the wrong place) rather than a criminal one.

At present, cannabis is registered as a Class B drug, putting it on the same level as amphetamines, or speed, and the horse tranquilizer-turned-party-drug ketamine.

Reasons for the upward trend in public support of these views is because they don’t believe cannabis to be that harmful in the first place. Just over six in ten (62%) think the substance is harmful to people who regularly take it, with a quarter (25%) categorizing it as “very” harmful, according to the poll.

In comparison, those questioned thought legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco to be more harmful. Eight in ten (80.3%) thought drinking alcohol regularly to be harmful, while more than nine in ten (90.3%) found smoking tobacco to be harmful.

https://www.rt.com/uk/428235-yougov-medical-cannabis-attitudes/

Man given suspended sentence after raiders storm the wrong house

Joel Ingham, 32, given suspended sentence after raiders targeting his £16,500 cannabis grow storm the wrong house

Ingham was given a suspended prison sentence at Bradford Crown Court

A MAN whose cannabis farm was discovered when would-be raiders threatened his next-door neighbour at knifepoint has avoided jail.

Joel Ingham, 32, was told by Judge Jonathan Rose that his offending demonstrated the “social damage” that could be caused by the drugs trade.

Prosecutor Philip Adams told Bradford Crown Court that on August 30 last year, police were called to a house on Halifax Road in Queensbury after the female occupant reported a group of men bursting into her home.

The court heard that the group were dressed as parcel delivery men and “poked a knife in the woman’s chest”, demanding that she hand over cannabis plants.

When police later arrived and searched the property, they found it shared a communal cellar with the house next door, Ingham’s address.

On entering his house, officers found that two bedrooms had been adapted for the growing of cannabis, with one containing 30 mature plants and six high-powered lights.

One plant sent for analysis was one metre high, and experts said that each plant could have yielded 55g, giving a total of 1.65kg, which the court heard had a potential street value of £16,500.

Ingham pleaded guilty to a charge of the production of a class B drug.

Addressing the defendant, Judge Rose said: “There are some people who think that cannabis is harmless. I imagine you don’t think that anymore.

“The harm it causes to society has been demonstrated very starkly by your case. And it’s all your fault.”

The judge said that Ingham’s “need and desire” to smoke cannabis had led him into financial difficulties.

He told the defendant: “You came into contact with someone who thought it a brilliant idea to grow cannabis.

“It was a brilliant idea as you took all the risk. He is not in the dock.”

Judge Rose said that the group of men had targeted Ingham’s grow in a “planned” and “professional” attack.

He said: “Your valuable crop is also valuable to other people, not to buy, but to steal.

“If you had been growing vegetables in your garden this would not have happened.”

Referring to Ingham’s innocent next-door neighbour, the judge said: “This was a lady who had no reason to expect anything going on until men turn up at her door and threaten her at knifepoint.

“And who is responsible for that, you are Mr Ingham.

“You are a cog in a wheel of criminality that perpetuates drug abuse.”

Ingham was jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation days.

Judge Rose told Ingham he had avoided immediate custody due to his lack of previous convictions and a desire from the probation service to engage with him.

He added: “It is a warning to you. If you continue to offend you and I will meet again and you will go to prison.”

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/16254590.Cannabis_farm_discovered_after_gang_threaten_knifepoint_raid/

 

Tommy Chong Turns 80, Looks 50. Is It the Cannabis?

tommy-chong-80-1280x800.jpgTommy Chong pose for a picture at his home in Los Angeles. About to turn 80, Chong says he never doubted he’d live to see the day when cannabis would be legal in one form or another in 30 states across the country. (Chris Carlson/AP)

 

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yeah, man, Tommy Chong says he always knew he’d live to see the day marijuana legalization would be sweeping America.

He knew when he and partner Cheech Marin pioneered stoner comedy 50 years ago, a time when taunting the establishment with constant reminders that they didn’t just play hippie potheads in the movies — they really were those guys — could have landed them in prison. He even knew in 2003 when Chong was imprisoned for nine months for conspiring to distribute handcrafted artisanal bongs the government declared drug paraphernalia.

 

“Oh yeah, I saw it coming,” he says of cannabis being legal in some form in about two-thirds of his adopted country’s 50 states.

The High Priest of Stoner Comedy turns 80 on Thursday.

“In fact, I kind of planned the whole thing out,” he jokes. “Well, maybe I was a little premature with that bong thing. But other than that, I was pretty much right on point.”

So much so that when the High Priest of Stoner Comedy turns 80 on Thursday — that’s right, 80 — he expects his Chong’s Choice brand of marijuana, available in legal dispensaries in several states, will be consumed in abundance at the parties his family is planning.

“Tommy likes to say he tests every single batch. Which obviously he does. And he really enjoys it,” his son Paris Chong says with a laugh.

“For this one, make sure that whatever you have to eat around the house is healthy because you’ll find yourself munching away like crazy,” the elder Chong says as he holds up a jar packed with a dozen or so choice green buds.

“Oh, and we have chocolates too,” he says, reaching for a package of candies that vaguely resemble Tootsie Rolls.

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Not that he was ever a heavy pot user, Chong says, just a consistent connoisseur.

“When I was 17, a jazz musician gave me a Lenny Bruce record and a joint at the same time, and it changed my life,” he recalls. “I quit school I think a week later and went on the road and became a blues musician and eventually a comedian, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

His group Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers was signed to Motown, and Chong co-wrote the band’s only hit, “Does Your Mama Know About Me,” a smooth R&B tune that rose to No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968.

When no other hits followed, Motown dropped the group, and the Canadian-born Chong returned to Vancouver, British Columbia, where he ran a pair of strip clubs with his brother. There he crossed paths with Richard Marin, a Mexican-American art student from Los Angeles eight years his junior, who asked to join the house band. The pair began warming up audiences with stoner jokes, and a comedy team was born.

After some discussion of what to call themselves — Chong says “Richard and Tommy” and “Chong and Marin” were quickly rejected — they settled on Cheech (Marin’s nickname) and Chong. By then, Motown had helped Chong obtain a green card, and the two headed to fame and fortune in Los Angeles.

 

On a recent early morning, Chong answers the door for a photo shoot at his longtime home in the hills overlooking L.A.’s wealthy Brentwood section, arriving in gray jeans, sandals and a black T-shirt advertising the name of a Colorado cannabis dispensary he recently visited. He offers to change into another shirt for the photos before deciding to stick with the original.

“Don’t want to ruin my image,” he concludes with a smile.

“Yeah,” he says, answering the obvious question, “we still toke up.”

As a photographer sets up, Chong polishes off a breakfast of oatmeal topped with sliced banana. In recent years, he’s become a vegetarian, although he backslides.

“Especially if you put a plate of dim sum in front of me. Of course, that’s my cultural heritage.”

Chong, whose father emigrated from China before World War II, mostly identifies culturally as Chinese, although he’s equally proud of his Scotch, Irish and Native American ancestry from his mother’s side. Married for more than 40 years to his wife, Shelby, he’s a family man with six grown children, three grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

More than just a stoner comedian, he’s been a passionate marijuana advocate for decades. He used cannabis during a bout with prostate cancer 10 years ago and more recently during treatment and recovery from colorectal cancer.

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He finds it ironic that if the U.S. government hadn’t outlawed marijuana in the early 20th century, he and Marin might never have had a comedy career.

Before the pair’s bitter 1980s breakup, Cheech and Chong dominated comedy for 15 years. They released five Grammy-nominated, best-selling albums between 1971 and 1976, winning the 1973 Grammy for “Los Cochinos.” Turning to films, they wrote and starred in a half-dozen, beginning with 1978’s “Up in Smoke.”

After the breakup, they would try periodically to reunite. Those efforts generally ended in angry, insult-laden exchanges until 10 years ago when Paris Chong intervened.

 

 

Finding an email on his father’s computer from Marin asking if he wanted to try again to put aside differences, the son didn’t bother to tell the father. He simply wrote yes and hit reply.

“And then I told my dad, and they were really happy,” he recalls, chuckling. “Sometimes you’ve just got to get out of your own way.”

“There’s a bond now that will always be there no matter what happens,” says Chong, who in casual conversation sounds little like his stoner-dude alter-ego.

And “yeah,” he says, answering the obvious question, “we still toke up.”

 

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Drug dealer who hid criminal fortune in his £1.2m manor with disco room, gym and library by disguising it as a COWSHED

Drug dealer who hid criminal fortune in his £1.2m manor with disco room, gym and library by disguising it as a COWSHED has the property seized.

 

Alan Yeomans, 61, concealed half of the six-bedroomed Shedley Manor in Derbshire with green cladding

After declaring himself bankrupt, he told officials he was living in a shed in his mother’s garden

But when police raided the property following they discovered an Aladdin’s cave in the luxury home.

 

A drug dealer who hid his criminal fortune in a £1.2million manor with a disco room, gym and library by disguising it as a cowshed has had the property seized. 

Alan Yeomans, 61, concealed half of the six-bedroomed Shedley Manor in Derbshire with green cladding so its grandeur could not be seen from the road and avoided planning restrictions.

When he declared himself bankrupt, he told officials he was living in a shed in his mother’s garden and had just £300-worth of furniture and a £30 watch to his name.

 

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But when police raided the property following an investigation they discovered an Aladdin’s cave in the luxury home, including a £10,000 Rolex watch and antiques and oil paintings worth around £83,250.

The confiscation order was made order this week, as reports the Sun.

Glen Wicks, who led the investigation, told the Sun: ‘He is serving a prison sentence and we have now taken action to ensure he has not profited from his crimes.’

Officers also found designer shoes and cannabis plants – with the Class B drugs stashed in a secret room behind an oil painting of Elizabethan statesman Robert Cecil.

An outbuilding at the property in Yeaveley, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, was also used as a cannabis factory.

 

He also illegally abstracted electricity to power the cultivation and the house.

The sneaky businessman illegally ran three companies as a front to launder £2.2 million from proceeds of growing and dealing cannabis.

The fraudster admitted failing to disclose property when bankrupt; three counts of taking part in or being concerned in the formation or management of a company; money laundering;

possessing a prohibited weapon (CS gas canister); producing cannabis; and illegally abstracting electricity.

He was jailed at Derby Crown Court for six-and-a-half years.

Judge Nirmal Shant said Yeomans was ‘a liar, a money launderer and someone involved in the production of drugs’.

After the case, Glenn Wicks, who led the investigation for Derbyshire Police, said it was a ‘very intricate, sophisticated set-up’.

 

He said: ‘He is a fraudster, a liar and a drugs dealer who very cynically made himself bankrupt and then continued to act unlawfully on the management of three companies.

‘What surprised me when I went into Shedley Manor was that someone built a six-bedroom manor house in the Peak District and filled it with fine art and antiques and the authorities didn’t know anything about it.’

Sergeant Jon Lowes added: ‘When we raided the property, we were amazed to find it was filled with antiques, oil paintings and valuable jewellery.

‘Behind an oil painting was a secret door that hinged away from the wall to reveal a secret room, planned and built by Alan Yeomans,

which had been used to grow cannabis and there was a separate room which revealed a very professional and sophisticated cannabis production line.

‘He powered all of this by abstracting electricity from a source near his house in a very crude fashion, which was exceptionally dangerous and could very well have killed him.

 

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‘Faced with the evidence we gathered during the operation, Alan Yeomans had no choice but to plead guilty to this wide variety of offences.’

Marijuana legal woes for Canadians loom at U.S. border

No changes of U.S. federal law on marijuana appear on the horizon and that spells trouble for Windsorites crossing the border — even with looming legalization of cannabis on this side of the border.

 

A Windsor immigration lawyer is calling on the U.S. government and its border officers to use common sense when dealing with Canadians entering the country once recreational marijuana becomes legal.

“The law hasn’t caught up with the times,” said Andrew Porter.

Hopefully, “rational minds will prevail” and there will be “balance on this” in regards to treatment at the border of personal cannabis consumption by Canadians, Porter said.

“Set the parameters on what is reasonable with today’s society.”

But the United States has no plans to change its marijuana laws federally and for now that spells trouble for Windsorites.

“The U.S. is addressing this on a state-by-state basis, but there is no indication they will adjust federal laws on marijuana,” Porter said.

For Canadians crossing the border — including up to 7,000 commuters per day — that presents a situation where “they will have to think twice on how they present themselves at the U.S. port of entry,” he said.

Federal law as it stands must be followed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stationed at the Ambassador Bridge and Windsor-Detroit tunnel.

The U.S. is addressing this on a state-by-state basis, but there is no indication they will adjust federal laws on marijuana.

Marijuana use under U.S. federal law remains a “crime” and any conviction or admission of use can result in U.S. inadmissibility, Porter said.

“You are obligated to tell the truth in response to questions put to you,” he said. “You would hope they take a moderate approach and not be aggressive on what is inconsequential use or consumption.”

The Senate has scheduled a final vote on Bill C-45 by June 7 to fit with a commitment made by the federal government to legalize recreational marijuana later this summer.

There has been some last-minute lobbying to delay the vote in Ottawa because many issues remain unresolved, including potential troubles while crossing the border into the U.S.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer's patch is pictured in this 2015 file photo. (JOE RAEDLE/Getty Images)

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer’s patch is pictured in this 2015 file photo. JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES

U.S. border officers have been briefed on the pending Canadian legislation and the potential issues it will raise at the border. There have been attempts to ensure front-line officers are consistent in terms of what questions they ask visitors entering the U.S. and how they are treated.

U.S. Customs officers often use their discretion when questioning travellers to determine admissibility and whether criminal enforcement is necessary, but remain responsible for enforcing federal laws in the U.S., said Dave Long, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Thursday.

“Although medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in some U.S. States and Canada, the sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana all remain illegal under U.S. federal law,” he said.

“Consequently, crossing the border or arriving at a U.S. port of entry with marijuana is prohibited and may result in seizure, fines, and apprehension.”

U.S. customs officers are “the nation’s first line of defence in preventing the illegal importation of narcotics, including marijuana,” Long said.

“U.S. federal law prohibits the importation of marijuana and CBP officers will continue to enforce that law,” he said.

If a Customs officer suspects a traveler of driving a vehicle under the influence of marijuana, they “will coordinate a response with the proper local authorities,” Long said.

“CBP’s mission to prevent this illegal importation will remain unchanged,” he said.

Given that stance and federal penalties as they stand in the U.S. for marijuana, admission of use by Canadians could result in inadmissibility, Porter said.

“You would then have to get a waiver and have to (repeatedly) apply for (renewals) the rest of your life,” he said.

Porter referenced a recent case where two local women were chatting with a U.S. customs officer at primary inspection while crossing into Detroit when he suddenly noticed there was a small portion of marijuana in a bag.

“They were written up for use of marijuana, refused entry for an unlawful substance,” Porter said.

They each have since been required to apply for a waiver to enter the U.S. Those waivers can vary in length depending on each individual circumstance with a maximum duration of five years, Porter said.

The application cost for a waiver is $585.

“When you apply it’s onerous and time consuming,” he said. “If you are a registered nurse or student, your life can be turned upside down for telling the truth. It’s a natural Catch 22. When the (U.S. marijuana federal legislation was created) it was a different time.”

 

http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/marijuana-legal-woes-loom-at-u-s-border

Cannabis Consumers Want Hollywood To Abandon Marijuana Stereotypes

Cannabis Consumers Want Hollywood To Abandon Marijuana Stereotypes

If Hollywood plans to capitalize on the average cannabis consumer, a new survey finds that it needs to abandon the use of stoner stereotypes in its productions.

It seems that marijuana users, the same market targeted with the recently canceled Netflix series ‘Disjointed’, are no longer okay with being represented on screen as burned out, lazy and absent minded. These folks, many of which are gainfully employed and have families, want the television and motion picture industry to get up with the times, toss the Cheech and Chong script template into the trash and show the cannabis culture in a more accurate light. If not, the success of future productions could be in jeopardy.

The survey, which was released on Wednesday by New York strategic research agency Miner and Company, shows the cannabis community wants Hollywood producers and writers to help change the perception surrounding people who use marijuana. They feel that as long as the “dumb stoner” character is being portrayed in the mainstream media, it will be more challenging getting society to embrace the scene without the prejudices that have infected it for the past several decades.

“Media has played an incredibly important role in the societal acceptance of cannabis consumption, but there’s still work to do,” Robert Miner, president of Miner & Co. Studio, said in a statement. “The same recognizable trope of the harmless silly stoner that drove normalization has now become an impediment to acceptance for productive and engaged consumers of cannabis.”

 

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Consumers in both the recreational and medical marijuana sectors want to see change.

“Recreational consumers feel concern that non-consumers of cannabis will take them less seriously and question their judgment,” Miner added. “And consumers of medical marijuana too often find that they need to be careful discussing their use with some peers or employers who may see them as unreliable or lazy based on ingrained stereotypes of cannabis use – even for medical needs.”

Hollywood executives might want to take notice.

 

 

 

Seventy-seven percent of the cannabis consumers polled in the latest survey earn a salary of more than $75,000 per year. These people are professionals, who not only have the discretionary income to buy cannabis products, but also to go the movies and pay the subscription fees for streaming services. So while it might be a lot more fun to show stoners and potheads getting ripped out their minds on weed and bungling their lives, a more accurate account of the cannabis culture would be better received.

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Miner & Co.

“TV and media in general have played a role in reinforcing these perceptions,” Miner said. “When a character on a show drinks a beer or a glass of wine, they aren’t presented as an out of control drunk or an alcoholic – but consumption of cannabis in any amount far too consistently turns that character into a zoned out bumbling stoner.

“The creative community has an opportunity to recognize the impact of these representations and present cannabis consumption in a more positive light to help overcome the stoner stereotype that casts a stigma on key members of their audience,” he added.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeadams/2018/05/23/cannabis-consumers-want-hollywood-to-abandon-marijuana-stereotypes/#17ee9df1ca1e

 

Canada: Crown seeks 7-year prison term for well-connected drug smuggler

Alain Charron, 69, was convicted by a jury on May 14 of being involved in a general plot to bring large amounts of hashish from Pakistan to Canada

 

A man with long-established ties to several organized crime groups in Quebec will learn next month if he will have to serve time behind bars following his conviction for conspiring to smuggle three large shipments of hashish into Canada.

Alain Charron, 69, was convicted by a jury on May 14 of being involved in a general plot to bring large amounts of hashish from Pakistan to Canada between August and November 2010. Two of the three shipments were intercepted in Italy and Belgium where police quickly switched 9.5 tonnes of hashish with other things like salt and sealant before shipping containers were allowed to continue on their way to Canada. The same jury acquitted Charron of three importation charges related to each specific shipment.

On Thursday, the Crown, represented by federal prosecutor Carly Norris, recommended that Charron, who is currently out on bail, be sentenced to a seven-year prison term. Norris based the recommendation, made at the Montreal courthouse before Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer, on the amount of hashish Charron and his accomplices — including two men with alleged ties to the West End Gang — tried to unload onto the illicit drug market in Quebec as well as Charron’s criminal record.

Two key players who were convicted of being part of the same conspiracy — Brian Forget, 50, of Montreal, and George Morton, 39, of Chateauguay — pleaded guilty to three conspiracy charges in 2013. Forget, who is described as being a member of the West End Gang in recent parole decisions, was sentenced to an overall 84-month prison term. Morton, who is alleged to be an associate of the same gang, was sentenced to a five-year prison term.

Charron’s defence team, which includes lawyers Debora De Thomasis and Christina Nedelcu, asked that he be sentenced to a prison term of two years less a day and that he be allowed to serve it in the community.

Charron doesn’t live in just any community. His residence is a luxury home located on a property on the shore of Rivière St-Maurice in Grand-Mère, a former municipality that is now part of Shawinigan. According to the most recent municipal evaluation, the property, which is not in Charron’s name, is worth more than $900,000.

Charon appears to move among the highest levels of organized crime in Quebec. Six months before he was arrested in the current case, he attended the wedding of the daughter of Raynald Desjardins, an influential figure in the Montreal Mafia. According to a seating plan of the reception that was seized by the Sûreté du Québec as part of their investigation into the November 2011 murder of Mafioso Salvatore Montagna, Charron was placed at the same table as William (Billy) Johnston, a longtime member of the West End Gang who died of natural causes in 2015, and Jack Simpson, the man who is believed to have pulled the trigger when Montagna was killed.

Charron’s criminal record includes a conviction for his role in bringing in a 27-tonne shipment of hashish in 1990 that was traced by the RCMP as it made its way to a small fishing village in Nova Scotia. The drug seizure was considered a record in Canada for a single bust of its kind. According to court records, the shipment was estimated to have been worth between $350 million and $500 million. At least 18 people in all were charged in connection with the plot to bring the shipment in. One of the people charged, Emery Martin, would later go on to become a member of the Hells Angels, and the biker gang’s chapter based, at the time, in Halifax was believed to have been one of the investors in the ambitious project.

On July 30, 1990, Charron and another man were arrested, on a highway near Joliette, after RCMP investigators determined to find out who had interests in the shipment followed a large truck as it left North Sydney, N.S. Several tonnes from the load that had been smuggled in through Nova Scotia six days earlier were found inside the truck. Charron ultimately ended up receiving a five-year prison term for his role in that conspiracy. When he was set to be released in 2005, he told the Parole Board of Canada that he was “saturated” with organized crime and that he planned to focus on his family.

http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/crown-seeks-7-year-prison-term-for-well-connected-drug-smuggler

Medical cannabis is closer than you think

As public opinion increasingly shifts in its favour, the introduction of medical cannabis has never been closer. GQ attended the Cannabis Europa conference to find out more…

 

Take a walk through the heart of the Barbican Centre, London, and you’ll find yourself in The Conservatory. Here, brutalist concrete architecture has been colonised by tropical plants. Wide, juicy leaves cascade from every floor. Overhead, glass-domed walkways crisscross between conference rooms and lounges. It could either be a postapocalyptic return to nature or a newfound harmony between humans and plants.

There could be no more fitting venue to host the inaugural Cannabis Europa, Europe’s largest cannabis convention, last Tuesday, bringing together Europe’s leading policy influencers to discuss the future of cannabis. A decade ago, this was a discussion dominated by fringe activists and patients. But this year, leading thinkers from business and science were focused on the pragmatics of bringing medical cannabis to patients. A sea change has occurred; 78 per cent of the public now support the introduction of medical cannabis in some form. For these thinkers, it’s clearly a question of when, not if, medical cannabis becomes widely available and what we need to do to make this revolution as smooth as possible.

 

Medical cannabis or cannabis medicine?

There was no need to convince any conference delegates of cannabis’ many therapeutic applications, ranging from epilepsy to cancer. Cannabis’ medicinal properties have been broadly established for decades (though more work is needed to understand them better). The talk among scientists this year honed in on more pragmatic issues arising from the spread of medical cannabis. A recurring division emerged between those who would see specific cannabinoids researched and developed into finely tuned medication and those arguing that cannabis in its natural state is already the best medicine we can hope for.

This debate is likely to rage on for many more years. Cannabinoid medications are likely to be easier for governments and the public to accept. After all, little white pills and spray bottles are comfortably familiar to us. However, they’re costly to develop and provide. So costly that the current frontrunning medication, Sativex, is all but impossible to access on the NHS.

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The alternative vision of the future is one where medical cannabis itself – no different in its form and usage than recreational cannabis, just grown by a licensed provider – becomes a frontline medication for many conditions. This would certainly be a more bitter pill to swallow for the government; nothing like it has ever been seen. And it could open the floodgates for supporters of many other (general, less well-understood) herbal remedies to demand that the NHS provide these too.

But what debaters seemed to agree on, remarkably enough, is that medications are not more effective than cannabis itself. In fact, many speakers argued that, by stripping away all but a couple of cannabis’ hundreds of potentially active ingredients, these expensive medications are far worse.

 

Cannabis goes corporate

The tide is turning and bringing a number of North American sharks to our shores; large, well-established cannabis businesses who are fighting furiously for dominance on the other side of the Atlantic and who are already hungrily eyeing up Europe. Any British entrepreneurs hoping to capitalise on a change in cannabis policy are, sadly, likely to already be too late. When change comes, these sharks are poised to devour the market without giving anyone else a chance to grow.

 

The Barbican was full of the smiling nametagged reps that you’d find at any conference, handing out pens and free lunches. With softly cheesy corporate names, such as MedReleaf or 420 Advisory Management, these companies were fighting for their share of a market that, in this country, doesn’t exist yet. But there’s big money on the table now. The game has begun. Dr Henry Fisher, part of the team behind Cannabis Europa and one of the partners of the UK’s first cannabis consultancy Hanway Associates, says, “We’re rapidly seeing more companies regulating medical cannabis. This change in momentum comes partly from politicians and public seeing sense, but there’s also a lot of money involved in this industry now. That tends to convince those not yet won over by medical or social justice arguments.”

US companies have had an especially good opportunity to practise breaking into new waters quickly: as state after state has legalised medical or recreational cannabis, dispensaries and internet services have sprung up overnight to meet the new demand. Europe will be no different. The only question is where in Europe the revolution will begin. It’s not likely to be the UK, although once we see our continental neighbours relaxing policy, we’re likely to follow suit. Cannabis, in some form or another, is coming to a pharmacy near you much sooner than you think.

 

http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/medical-cannabis-is-closer-than-you-think

 

Barrow drug dealer caught out trying to send cannabis through the post

Postal counter workers were alerted to a “strong smell”

 

A BARROW drug dealer was caught out trying to send cannabis through the post when shop workers were alerted to a “strong smell”.

Jamie Mease-Christian, 27, tried to send several packages of cannabis and THC capsules across England and Scotland after posting the substances at the postal counter at the Coop on Walney, Barrow Crown Court heard.

Staff at the Coop, on Plymouth Street, contacted police after noticing a “strong smell” from the packages Mease-Christian attempted to send on February 21 last year.

 

The court heard how the defendant was arrested by police when he returned to the post office days later to ask why the packages had not been sent.

The packages contained 42 grams of cannabis and 10 capsules of THC, a cannabinoid, said to be worth more than £800.

After pleading guilty to two counts of possession with intent to supply, Mease-Christian, of Hope Street, Barrow, was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence.

He was also ordered to pay £250 in costs and carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

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Sentencing Mease-Christian yesterday, His Honour Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “Possession of controlled drugs with intent to supply is a very serious matter.”

Mr David Traynor, defending, said Mease-Christian would have “a future of non-offending” and had been offered a job teaching English in Cambodia, a country with strict drug laws.

Mr Traynor also told the court that Mease-Christian had used cannabis to self-medicate an untreatable condition that caused him blackouts.

Mr Traynor said: “He is cutting down his drug use to reduce it to nothing by the time he goes away.

“He has a future of non-offending.”

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock, who recently called for more regulation to prevent companies delivering drug parcels without checking their contents, praised the post office staff.

Mr Woodcock said: “Well done to the staff who smelt a rat and raised the alarm on this case.

“But of course the problem is that the majority of drugs being sent through the post are odourless and so could not be detected by sharp nosed counter staff.

“That is why I am calling for parcel companies to be made to invest in better detection technology so it is harder for dealers to use the mail to send life-wrecking substances into our communities.”

26 May 2018 5:00PM

 

http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/barrow/Barrow-drug-dealer-caught-out-trying-to-send-cannabis-through-the-post-aa4ba99d-50c1-442c-afbe-2a551bacc532-ds

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