The increased legalization of cannabis worldwide has driven a corresponding growth in research and development. The industry has progressed from foundational products like marijuana flower, typically high in THC, the compound known for producing the “high,” to derivative products such as vapes, edibles, and even hemp-based non-psychotropic CBD.
Remember when weed was almost certain to give you the “munchies?” That’s not the case anymore with the industry moving into deep research on other cannabis compounds. THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a cannabis compound that delivers an energetic and euphoric high along with appetite-suppressing qualities and today can be found in marijuana dispensary products.
More and more, formulation technologies, which serve as the bridge between the active components and the finished product, play an increasingly important role in cannabinoid product development. Proper formulation strategies lead to products with increased efficacy, better dose control, decreased variability, and increased patient acceptance and legal compliance.
As the industry grows and becomes more competitive, optimization of these processes is vital to maximizing yields, while minimizing costs and waste. In addition, cannabis innovation is driving new approaches to extraction or post-extraction processes, which are often utilized to clean up the raw extracts or transform them into consumer products.
The competitive nature of the industry, coupled with consumer demand, is also fueling the development of new and innovative dosing methods that allow safer, more precise ingestion of cannabis. Most medications are prescribed with a particular dosage based on the patient’s age, sex, height, weight, and medical condition, as an informative blog post from Canabo Medical Clinic explains. Pointing out that medical cannabis “isn’t quite as linear” because different patients experience the effects they need with low doses, while others require higher ones to find similar symptom relief.
What if your bottle of aspirin had these instructions: “Just grab a handful and pop ’em!” Sadly, this is pretty much what the cannabis industry tells medicinal patients. Check out this article on vape pens that help you control your cannabis dose.
— Cream of the Crop Gardens (@cotcgardens) February 10, 2019
The science of all this will be a lively one in 2019. I expect to see more research studies, findings, formulation strategies and product development insights from scientific leaders online and in conference rooms in this “year of CBD.”
I spoke with Ken Snoke, co-founder, and president of the Emerald Conference (EC), about what marijuana advocates and scientists consider the most pressing policy and research issues of the year. Self-regulation and consumer safety in the absence of federal oversight topped his list. “The use of flavor additives in inhaled cannabis products requires much more examination,” Snoke told me.
Research suggests that many of the first-generation flavor constituents used in cannabis flavoring have a detrimental medical impact on users. “Understanding flavor and the desired outcome within the constraints of consumer and patient safety is imperative,” Snoke continued.
Non-universality in cannabis testing will continue to be a well-debated topic in 2019, a few topics have raised so much interest and controversy as variance in test results. It’s somewhat to be expected in the nascent stages of cannabis plant discovery. “Variability is a law of nature, so it’s not going away and it’s critically important for our industry to look at proposals on how to best manage this,” Snoke said.
Questions cannabis researchers and producers are asking
These are five trending political, scientific, and clinical cannabis questions that are attracting lots of attention by clinicians, researchers, policymakers, and producers alike.
Cannabis chemotyping, grammar, and symbols
Cannabis is an entirely new world for scientists, who were largely unable to access the plant for research in days past. The process of categorizing cannabis into sets by their natural product content is still a long way from complete in the industry’s nascent stages. The effectiveness of cannabis to deliver the desired outcome depends on the interaction of several or all of the active ingredients found in the plant as a whole. Classifications far beyond “Sativa” and “Indica” designations are needed that connect with actual user experiences.
Speaking with Jack Rudd of Analytical Cannabis, Peter Harrington, professor of chemistry at Ohio University, explained the goal of chemotyping as “the process of grouping cannabis into classes based on their observed chemical composition, correlate these groups with desired pharmacological properties, so that industry can have some quality control over products and provide an avenue to achieve personalized medicine.”
Medical cannabis growers also produce hybrid strains that contain properties of both indica and sativa. These strains generally have THC and CBD content that falls within the spectrum of either type, allowing patients more personalized treatment for their unique medical issues.
— Kind Meds AZ (@kindmedsaz) January 26, 2019
Personalized cannabis is key to acceptance and use of the plant by new and cannabis-averse consumers and the future of the cannabis industry. Chemotyping and cannabis personalization will be critical components of establishing cannabis as a mainstream medicinal alternative.
Concepts and controversies in emerging evidence
If you thought the argument over the efficacy of cannabis was intense before, just wait until the more reputable institutions begin conducting research in earnest. Especially if and when federal legalization of the plant gives more access to research. Questions abound regarding the true benefits and risks of marijuana, and the promise for its use in fighting disease.
Recently, the wildly popular Joe Rogan podcast featured a lively standoff between two opposite-end cannabis personalities. Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter and author of “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence” faced off with Dr. Michael Hart, the founder and medical director of ReadyToGo, a medical cannabis clinic in Ontario, Canada. In the end, both disagreed on the overall efficacy of cannabis. More evidence will emerge this year about possible uses for cannabis, but don’t expect that to quell the debate.
When it comes to treating opioids, public health surveys have provided evidence for decreased opioid use with medical cannabis. The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that states with medical cannabis are associated with a 25% reduction in average opioid overdose mortality rates. The concepts, controversies and emerging evidence from this type of pre-clinical and clinical cannabis research are being investigated and argued now, more than ever.
Regulating terpenes and flavor additives for inhalable cannabis products
Just as tobacco evolved from its raw form and taste to accommodate a variety of others, cannabis concentrates, vape pens, and metered-dose inhalers have done the same. Regulations, however, have not been established for these. While similar policy exists for inhalable tobacco and nicotine products, applying that model for cannabis formulations has distinct challenges.
“Terpenes are incredible, natural compounds that provide unique aroma, taste and medicinal properties in plants. However, they can be dangerous and even toxic if vaporized at high temperatures or consumed in high concentrations,” Peter Calfee, CEO of Gofire, a digital healthcare company focused on alternative medicine company told me. He reiterates that right now, the onus is on consumers to monitor their personal consumption. “Thankfully, technology is starting to catch up with products that allow for precise dosage and temperature control, ensuring safety in utilizing compounds like terpenes,” he said.
Genetic testing to map cannabis effects with different users
Using the most advanced DNA sequencing tools, billions of DNA molecules can be sequenced in parallel for comprehensive genetic classification of cannabis strains. When 23 and Me became the first consumer-based genetic testing company, Technica Botanica Chief Scientific Officer, Steve Ottersberg, MS. found a niche in integrating 23 and Me data with clinical lab data to generate precisions medicine treatment plans based upon the patient’s biochemical individuality.
Just a year ago, there was no comprehensive way to test one’s unique DNA and align it with the latest research to predict how humans may respond to cannabis. Endocanna Health “Cannabinoid DNA Variant Test™” introduced a home test in the summer of 2018 At the time, Len May, Endocanna Health co-founder and CEO, explained the technology was designed to provide individuals with the tools and confidence to incorporate cannabis into their lives using the most up-to-date research available today. “Information that is accurate, but most importantly personal and unique to an individual’s DNA,” May said.
As Ottersberg explained, you can think of Endocanna Health as the 23 and Me of cannabis. Like 23 and Me, Endocanna Health uses a DNA sample to screen for mutations known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Humans are diploid, meaning we carry a set of DNA from each parent, where we, as humans, inherit SNPs from our parents. SNPs can have a profound influence on how we respond to drugs, nutritional supplements and determines our individuality of response to cannabis.
As the market evolves and new consumers who’ve never been exposed to cannabis before begin to consider its use, the closer the industry can map predicted experience with unique genetic profile, the lower the hurdle becomes to selling product.
Optimization of the decarboxylation reaction in cannabis extract
The production of cannabis extracts and oils for both medicinal and recreational products has increased significantly due to greater market demand brought on by legalization and patient demand for a greater diversity of cannabis products. Most cannabis extraction processes undergo a decarboxylation step, whereby the carboxylic acid functional group is removed from the cannabinoids converting the naturally occurring acid forms to their more potent neutral forms. In other words, this is the chemical process that gives weed its high THC content.
The cannabis industry has a lack of universal agreement as to the optimal reaction conditions for the decarboxylating cannabis extract. “Not only does the industry lack universal agreement as to the conditions for optimal decarboxylation but there is a disagreement about which stage in the extraction process provides the optimal results for decarboxylation,” Kellan Finney, consultant KBF Scientific told me in a written interview.
This discrepancy in the industry is a result of strain variance and cultivation techniques and environment, which results in diversified chemical profiles which in turn affects the matrix of the extract preventing standardization of the decarboxylation reaction. “Until the OG Kush grown in Southern California is the same as the OG Kush grown in Colorado and Maine the industry will continue to lack universal agreement on these chemical processes,” Finney pointed out.
I spoke with Colorado-based Mile High Xtractions who has optimized the decarboxylation process for their distillate by using a special heat step which results in a fully activated, consistent, pure, and potent product. Whether the consumer is vaping our product at a low temperature or infusing it into their favorite food, consumers are getting all the available THC from their distillate. But this is just one of many approaches being used and tested.
Fourth-generation Oakland native Tucky Blunt grew up around weed. His grandmother used it. So did his parents and his friends.
Blunt (yes, that’s his real last name) started selling to friends in the neighborhood when he was 16. He was usually careful, buying in bulk from a trusted supplier and selling to customers who’d call him to meet up.
After nearly a decade of illegal sales, it was $80 worth of pot that got him in trouble. He was found with a handful of baggies stashed in his pants when police officers came for him, tipped off by someone Blunt thought was a friend.
“We were out there trying to make money to help support our families at a time when people didn’t have a lot money. We didn’t think we were hurting anyone,” said Blunt, now 39. “I liked weed. I knew people who liked weed. Why not facilitate them getting good weed? That’s how I looked at it.”
His arrest in 2004 and his conviction left Blunt with a 10-year felony probation, allowing police to stop and search him anytime, for any reason. Meanwhile, all around Oakland, young black men like him were getting arrested while most of the white guys who were selling weed were left alone.
“It affected everybody in my circle because it was only targeted to us. I knew white people that was selling weed that never went to jail,” Blunt said. “The war on drugs was just about putting as many of us in jail in possible. It tore up a lot of families.”
The war on drugs has for decades disproportionately devastated minority communities by punishing people like Blunt and creating a cycle of poverty, incarceration and limited employment options, legal and social justice experts say.
Now, lawmakers and legalization advocates across the country are demanding not just cannabis legalization but remedies to address decades of demonstrably racist policing, from laws that automatically expunge criminal records for marijuana dealing and possession to policies that would give minority communities assistance in building cannabis businesses.
The same year as Blunt’s arrest, Oakland’s voters ordered police officers to make marijuana enforcement their lowest priority, below even jaywalking. But a decade later, the problem was laid bare: Officers were still arresting black men for marijuana crimes at rates staggeringly higher than for whites.
According to the city’s own statistics, 77 percent of the marijuana arrests in Oakland in 2015 were of African-Americans. Whites represented just 4 percent of those arrests, even though the city’s population is about 30 percent white and 30 percent black.
Similar data have been reported throughout the U.S. While marijuana legalization has reduced the overall number of marijuana arrests, people of color are still being targeted by police.
Even in states with largely white populations, black people using or selling marijuana still face high arrest rates.
In Colorado, which in 2012 became the first state to legalize marijuana, the total number of marijuana arrests decreased by 52 percent between 2012 and 2017, from 12,709 to 6,153, according to state statistics. But at the same time, the marijuana arrest rate for African-Americans – 233 per 100,000 – was nearly double that of whites in 2017, and that’s in a state that’s 84 percent white.
In Alaska, of the 17 marijuana arrests in 2016, 29 percent were of African-Americans, even though they represent just 4 percent of the state’s population, making Alaska’s marijuana arrest rate for African-Americans nearly 10 times higher than that of whites. The state made recreational marijuana legal in 2014.
And in Washington, D.C., where marijuana is legal, a black person is 11 times more likely than a white person to be arrested for public consumption of marijuana, according to Metropolitan Police Department statistics.
Health statistics show that whites and African-Americans use marijuana at roughly equivalent rates, which means the disparity in arrests is driven not by use but by police.
California has taken the lead in trying to amend years of racist drug policies.
In 2016, the state approved legal recreational marijuana in a ballot measure that also allowed people with pot arrests to get their records expunged. So few people took advantage of the opportunity, however, that state lawmakers passed a new law last fall ordering prosecutors to automatically review and potentially reduce or dismiss sentences and records for low-level marijuana offenses. It’s the first statewide law of its kind.
Though such efforts have the potential to make a difference, advocates say, it would have been better to include, from the very start, automatic expungement and other provisions to aid minority communities.
“Once the train has left the station, it’s hard to attach new boxcars,” said Christine De La Rosa, who owns marijuana businesses in California and Oregon and is lobbying to pass legal recreational pot in New York state. “People are starting to understand and to put the pieces together: This child’s father has been in jail for 16 years on a minor possession charge, and then right across the street at the marijuana convention you have a bunch of white guys in ties getting rich.”
Similar debates over social justice reform and marijuana laws are unfolding in cities and states with legal marijuana and those without it. In Seattle, prosecutors have sought to abolish hundreds of convictions against people arrested with small amounts of pot. In New Jersey and New York, lawmakers are looking to legalize pot and expunge marijuana records once they do.
In Baltimore, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby argues that police and prosecutor resources are better spent focusing on the city’s extraordinarily high murder rate than on marijuana cases. Last month, Mosby announced that her office would no longer prosecute any marijuana possession cases, regardless of amount or prior criminal record, unless there was demonstrated intent to distribute. And she announced her office would vacate about 5,000 marijuana-related convictions dating back to 2011.
Maryland decriminalized possession in 2014, but police still can and do issue citations. In a white paper released by her office, Mosby said that of the 431 marijuana citations issued by Baltimore police in 2017, 95 percent of them went to African-Americans, even though the city is roughly 60 percent black and 30 percent white. And of those citations, more than 40 percent were issued in one majority-black neighborhood.
Drug laws have been “disproportionately enforced in communities of color, and that’s creating an erosion of public trust,” Mosby told USA TODAY. “We’re moving toward legalization, and it makes absolutely no sense as the top prosecutor to be complicit in that discriminatory enforcement.”
As a prosecutor, Mosby said, she’s all too aware of how a criminal record can hurt someone for decades, even generations. In Baltimore, even though simple marijuana possession is a civil infraction, someone caught with a little bit of cannabis but without an ID can be arrested and booked, which turns the civil case into a criminal one.
“When you think about those collateral consequences, it’s got impacts on housing, employment, adoption, mobility, property rights,” Mosby said. “It’s a greater realization that these failed policies did not work and we need to take a different approach.”
Kevin Sabet, CEO of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said states should decriminalize marijuana and provide drug treatment rather than punishing users.
That could help lots of Americans targeted by the war on drugs. But he doubts it will help people who have been shut out of the legal weed industry because of their records. His group argues that the licensing systems created to sell marijuana are primarily benefiting companies racing to become the next Big Tobacco.
“The pot industry is largely rich, white, male, and despite lip service by some legalization advocates, this won’t change anytime soon,” he said. “The pot industry requires major institutional capital, and unless a state is handing out seven-figure checks to certain populations, license preference programs won’t make a dent.”
To understand how this situation occurred, you first have to understand not just the laws governing marijuana legalization, but the regulations implementing the stores and licenses.
In general, the first states that legalized recreational marijuana made it hard for anyone with a criminal record to enter the marijuana business and gave preference to people already operating medical marijuana businesses, which were in many cases subject to even tougher licensing laws because those stores came first, when regulators were at their wariest.
And because small-business loans are usually reserved for people without drug convictions, an arrest for simple possession also shut many would-be entrepreneurs out of now-legal cannabis business opportunities.
The end result? Tech workers, real estate investors and guys who owned construction companies have been the market leaders for years now, joined increasingly by white politicians like former House Speaker John Boehner, who backed the war on drugs and then, after leaving office, joined the board of a cannabis company in April 2018.
A first-of-its kind survey by Marijuana Business Daily in 2017 found that whites made up 81 percent of people who had either started a marijuana company or had an ownership stake. New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, cited those statistics at a hearing this month, suggesting that most marijuana legalization systems were actually compounding the racial wealth gap.
“It all comes down to money in the bank, time and community support,” said Adam Powers, who with his twin brother, Andrew, has worked in dispensaries and as cannabis consultants in Washington state. The Powers brothers, who are African-American, say they frequently deal with marijuana store owners looking to launch stores the pair compare to a Starbucks experience: non-threatening, consistent and accessible. And bland.
“From a logical standpoint, I can agree with it,” Powers said. “You make the industry super-hard to get into, that only people who are squeaky clean can get into it, because you know all eyes are on you. However, that is the approach always, always, that you take to whitewash things and make it clean. That’s literally what you say before you fire the black people and the minorities.”
Powers, 31, said social justice was a clear motivating factor for many voters who supported legalization in Washington; they just didn’t realize that legalizing pot sales wouldn’t immediately right decades of wrongs.
“My life as a minority is a little bit easier knowing, hoping, that’s one less reason for someone to bug me over something I use medically or recreationally, like alcohol,” he said.
Fears of being targeted by police – especially federal law enforcement – kept many African-Americans without arrest records from immediately joining the semi-legal cannabis industry in its early days. For them, waiting to see how things shook out just made sense.
Actor and pot entrepreneur Whoopi Goldberg took a different approach. A longtime advocate for both racial equality and marijuana legalization, Goldberg, 63, co-founded a medical marijuana company in 2016, counting on her celebrity and age to insulate her from the unfair policing faced by young black men, she said.
“When you look at who is in jail for marijuana, it kind of explains it all,” she said. “Black folks with marijuana went to jail a lot more than white folks with marijuana. I think it’s always been guy-oriented, and in particular white guys, because they could get away with it.”
For many marijuana legalization activists, it’s now up to local governments to diversify the legal pot industry by clearing conviction records and handing out subsidies. If white men have unfairly benefited from marijuana legalization, then it’s only fair that minority communities be given extra help now because they suffered more, the thinking goes.
“We actually do have to overcorrect,” said Kassandra Frederique, 32, the New York state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which is lobbying to legalize marijuana in the Empire State. “People from our communities, black and brown communities, were the one first ones to be criminalized. Why shouldn’t we be the first ones to benefit?”
In California, several cities have created cannabis equity programs to help former drug dealers go legal. The programs include business development, loan assistance and mentor relationships. In September 2018, former Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to partially fund such programs. The bill stated it would help ensure “that persons most harmed by cannabis criminalization and poverty be offered assistance to enter the multibillion-dollar industry as entrepreneurs or as employees with high-quality, well-paying jobs.”
In Massachusetts, regulators have also launched an equity program after acknowledging that while the state’s population is 22 percent Latino or African-American, that same demographic makes up 75 percent of people imprisoned under mandatory minimums for drug crimes. The Bay State’s equity program is specifically reserved for residents with a drug conviction or those who are married to someone with a drug conviction.
Years after he was arrested, Blunt is now the first Oakland resident to benefit from the city’s special license preference program. Under the equity program, longtime Oakland residents who were hurt by the war on drugs are getting priority, preference and special assistance to open up marijuana stores so they can sell cannabis legally. Blunt, who got his criminal record cleared once he finished his sentence, actually had to get it temporarily reopened so equity program managers could verify his arrest.
Blunt tried to break into the industry on his own a few years back but couldn’t crack into California’s majority-white cannabis club scene. The equity program helped him launch his marijuana store, Blunts+Moore, in November. He sees the national push for more equity programs as a key component to easing the damage caused by the war on drugs.
“We’re not just budtenders, not just security guards anymore. We’re owners now,” he said. “To be able to sell this legally in my city, literally 10 blocks from where I caught my case, I’m fine – I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. I’m the new kid on the block, and I’m here to change the game.”
UK Government says
Cannabis is a key way to harder drugs, BS we all know alcohol is a life destroyer and a instant way to class A drugs
1 plant is worth £1000
West Mercia Police tend to come up against fewer gangs than forces in other parts of the country – but it still keeps a close watch on serious organised crime.
In 2015 three drug lords who used a premises in Telford as part of the UK’s biggest known cannabis empire – netting them £200 million – were jailed for over 25 years.
The cannabis farm empire included an isolated business premises off Granville Road, set behind imposing iron fencing and covert CCTV cameras, where 1,500 cannabis plants were recovered.
The Crown Prosecution Service said the gang had netted an estimated £50 million a year from their criminal enterprise over a four-year period.
In 2017 a cannabis factory worth £2.5 million was found in a former MOT testing station in Telford.
The factory on Ironbridge Road in Madeley was raided and 2,800 cannabis plants were found.
West Mercia Police said the find was “a very significant discovery of a sophisticated cannabis cultivation, of an industrial scale”.
A 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of the production of cannabis but was later released. There were no other arrests made.
Up to £400,000 of cannabis plants were discovered by police after they raided a house in Dawley. In excess of 400 plants were discovered in the house with one plant alone is thought to be valued at around £1,000.
Then in July 2018 police found between 200 and 300 plants worth about £150,000 growing in a house in Wellington.
“Tackling serious and organised crime is a priority for West Mercia Police and we know there are links to cannabis farms and the supply of cannabis,” says Chief Superintendent Kevin Purcell.
“So-called cannabis farmers are often vulnerable people who have been exploited and made to live and work in horrendous conditions.
Superintendent Kevin Purcell
“A lot of work is ongoing with our partners to protect those who are vulnerable from being exploited and robust action is taken against those who take advantage and are involved in serious and organised crime.
“I would say we don’t experience the same level of cannabis production as other parts of the country might however that doesn’t mean we’re complacent and it is an area we continue to pursue.” He added: “Drugs and drugs supply does bring associated crime and disorder, including violence and as already mentioned exploitation of vulnerable people.
“This is why we’re absolutely committed to relentlessly pursue those involved in serious and organised crime.”
Protect is a joint project with other agencies such as councils and government departments, which was set up to prevent organised crime.
Its four aims are to prosecute those involved in such crime, prevent people getting involved in the first place, protect against its effects, and reduce its impact where it occurs.
Police cannabis expert Mike Hall has been seizing plants across the wider region for nearly nine years.
Acting on tips-off from the public, Mr Hall and his team in West Midlands Police smash around three cannabis farms a day, leaving plants to rot and die, recycling metal equipment and donating gardening equipment used in production of the drug to the community.
While the debate going on nationally surrounding cannabis questions whether its illegal status makes it harder to tackle the drug’s effect on society than if it were legal, Mr Hall’s efforts are simply focused on cracking down on drug farmers.
Latest Home Office figures show the number of cannabis plant seizures is rising across the region, but Mr Hall says there has been a “steadying off” in the number of raids he and his team carry out, something he believes is down to the work of his team.
“I think part of that is down to how successful we have been,” he says. “People do not want cannabis farms in their street so we get a lot of community intelligence from people who want us to take action and I think that is making it a hostile environment for the criminals to operate in.
“They might move on to other places and other police forces have to deal with them but in our region we have a good effect on this type of crime.
“We see spikes up and down, sometimes there is a seasonal increase in the number of cannabis farms that we see. Sometimes it pitches up, sometimes it pitches down.
“If you take out the operation of an organised crime gang they need time to re-organise, which is a reason behind the spikes. But we’re seeing some good effects from our work and it’s a good way to target organised crime as it targets their pocket – the place where it hurts. Organised crime gangs are the biggest cultivators of cannabis. We try and keep up the momentum so they do not have time to re-organise to that level.”
He continued: “Our intelligence is mostly coming in from the public. The public understand now that one report doesn’t quite do it and we need to get more information in order to convince a magistrate to give us a warrant.
“So we do have a continuation of information coming in with people reporting the movements of cannabis farms and that helps us to build up a picture and go out and take positive action in the community.
“There is a lot of great pro-active work done by neighbourhood teams across the West Midlands because, after all, this is a neighbourhood issue. People do not want these farms in their community or neighbourhood. Our neighbourhood teams work with the public to make sure they’re on top of this.
“We dispose of the plants by letting them go to rot,” he added. “Once they have gone to rot we put them into compost to get rid of them.
“We do not burn anything anymore, we have tried to move towards more environmentally friendly areas. The plants will go to compost, the equipment we take away will be recycled for the metal and any usable gardening equipment, which is just normal gardening equipment that has been diverted for criminal use, we’ll keep that in a pile and members of the public from different groups and organisations get in touch with us. Where we can find stuff and we’ve got it we will let people have it, but it’s only limited by what we find.”
Mr Hall’s team donates any gardening equipment it seizes from the criminals. This means schools, community groups, and old people’s homes benefit as more and more cannabis farms are shut down.
Mr Hall said: “The process of growing cannabis illegally indoors involves gardening equipment. So what we tend to do with that to prevent further offences, once we have dealt with the evidential side of it, is with anything salvageable that can be used by the community we move on and give it to whoever can benefit the widest from it. Schools are ideal because they obviously get a wide benefit, but community groups, old people’s homes, all places like that we donate to.
“We’re taking away criminals’ initial investment and destroying their future profit. They can only absorb so much of that fund loss.”
To anyone wanting to report a cannabis farm, Mr Hall said simply: “Please get in touch, it’s what we’re here for.”
To report a cannabis factory call officers on 101.
It’s a serious issue that the police are trying to fight to stamp out across the UK. Ordinary homes being turned into makeshift cannabis farms as drug dealers grow their own before selling it in the community.
Many then employ illegal immigrants to ‘farm’ the thousands of plants they grow in every room, often after they have hacked the electricity supply at the mains – so they don’t even end up paying for the heat and light.
But how do you know if the house in your street that no one seems to live in is, in fact, a cannabis factory?
Police say a “good proportion” of intelligence comes from the community, and with our helpful guide, you might be able to help clean up your streets by providing information that could help to eradicate this problem..
It may sound obvious, but most cannabis grow has been discovered by passers-by or keen-nosed residents catching a whiff of the drug’s familiar smell. A cannabis crop takes about three months to grow and in the final weeks, the plants stink. Crimestoppers have previously sent out cannabis-farm scratch-and-sniff cards to more than 200,000 homes in the UK to help homeowners tell if they live close to a budding farm.
Do your neighbours have the curtains drawn all day long? It might make it look like the house is unoccupied, but having windows blocked up with panelling or sheeting would suggest there’s something they don’t want you to see. This could be a sign that there are many budding plants inside soaking up bright artificial light.
Growers live in constant fear that their home grown farms will be discovered by police, landlords or rival drug dealers. If there are padlocks on the gates, massive grilles and double and triple locks on the doors, that should raise eyebrows – especially if the street is relatively safe. On bigger, high value farms, portcullises, bars on the windows and even CCTV cameras can be evident.
Are the windows always misted up? From the inside, landlords might notice damp on the walls or peeling wallpaper, while from the outside a neighbour might spot condensation on the windows, even when it’s not the depths of winter. The condensation may well be due to inside having been turned into a makeshift greenhouse. For the best plant growth, cannabis needs an atmosphere similar to a greenhouse, and this can cause a lot of condensation.
Frequent and varied visitors to a property, often at unusual times, could mean you just have a popular neighbour with a big family. But if unfamiliar faces are turning up next door day and night, it might be a sign that there’s something more sinister going on. One thing to watch for is lots of new faces coming knocking.
The lights, Dehumidifiers, hydroponic systems and heaters take a lot of electricity. Many farms have been found where drug gangs have hacked into the electrical wires before the meter to that individual house, and so bypassed having to pay for the electricity. If you are a landlord who gets a copy of the bill, has it dropped or gone up suddenly? If so, your neighbourhood growers could have tapped into your supply and are charging you to power their drug operation. You should contact your supplier and the police immediately.
Cannabis factories produce a lot of heat, which can cause telltale signs, especially in winter. When it snows, the roofs of cannabis farms can be obvious as the snow melts, meaning it is probably the only house on the street without a snow-covered roof.
It’s strange for anyone needing unusually bright lights on 24 hours a day. Cannabis needs light to grow, so watch out for homes with bright lighting at all times of the day and night. Lights will often be on a timer switch, coming on in the middle of the night.
If you can hear the constant noise of a fan, at all times of the day or night, chances are it could be acting as ventilation for the cannabis grow.
Be extra cautious when you have a potential tenant who want to move in quickly and as an inducement they may offer to pay 6 or 12 month’s rent in advance. This is when some landlords see no point of carrying out credit or reference checks and drop their guard.
The move sees Guernsey step ahead of Jersey in efforts to harness the benefits of growing the highly lucrative crop, which Jersey Hemp science officer Chris Callaghan last year said could net the Island as much as £300 million a year.
Celebrated Ltd has been granted a license to grow cannabis at the former Douit Vinery in Guernsey, making it the first firm to be allowed to do so since prohibition was introduced in the UK in 1921.
The company intends to sell cannabis oils and health supplements at the ‘Original Alternative Guernsey’ shop in St Peter Port.
Planting is expected to begin within the next few weeks in a state-of-the-art growing and processing facility.
‘Our fully equipped laboratory will mean we can grow and develop the finest oils, which will conform to any legislation in any country, allowing Guernsey to be a leading light and trend setter in the current cannabis evolution,’ said Celebrated’s managing director Tina Bolding.
‘This decision will not only benefit our customers, but it also means we can resurrect Guernsey’s proud growing tradition.’
Mrs Bolding began researching the benefits of cannabis oils and other cannabis-based products when her late husband was diagnosed with cancer and was regularly in unmanageable pain.
She said that she hoped that a testing and research centre could be set up in Guernsey in memory of him.
Celebrated has been working with UK-based Ben Birrell from the Greenstar consultancy, whose team of scientists and experts have more than ten years’ experience in the industry.
‘This is such an exciting opportunity and we are so proud to be part of a historic advancement for cannabis and hope that this will set a trend for the rest of the UK,’ said Mr Birrell.
Bioeconomy consultant Lucy Hopwood, who worked on an alternative crops report for Jersey in 2015, said last year that the Island would be an ‘ideal’ place to grow medicinal cannabis due to its secure location and large number of redundant greenhouses.
But she also warned there would be a number of challenges to face, such as policing issues, planning matters and the highly regulated market for the substance, as well as only a small number of doctors currently being able to prescribe the substance.
Last year the States approved a proposition calling for Jersey to introduce laws allowing doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis, which was lodged by Deputy Montfort Tadier – a long-term campaigner on the issue.
Health Minister Richard Renouf is preparing an order to authorise the necessary changes to the law, which is due to be passed in the coming weeks.
Maybe if the Daily Heil wasn’t always writing scare stories doctors wouldn’t be so scared to prescribe it?
Only six patients have been given medicinal cannabis since it was legalised last November – and all on private prescriptions, a professor has claimed.
Since November 1 2018, specialist doctors in the UK have been able to legally prescribe unlicensed marijuana-based products containing THC, which is what makes users ‘high’.
This came about after the high-profile case of Alfie Dingley, whose extreme seizures stopped after the six-year-old took THC-based medication in the Netherlands.
Despite the law change, the British Paediatric Neurology Association’s guidelines do not recommend the prescription of medicinal cannabis that contains THC.
Alfie’s mother Hannah Deacon called the legislation a ‘catastrophic failure’ and has even heard of a patient’s doctor saying he will ‘be sacked if he writes a prescription’.
A professor of neurological rehabilitation has called the situation ‘appalling’ and blames ‘overcautious guidelines’ for preventing NHS doctors prescribing the now-legal medication.
‘The situation is appalling,’ Mike Barnes, honorary professor of neurological rehabilitation at Newcastle University, told The BMJ.
‘Not one patient has benefited from a cannabis prescription on the NHS.
‘The legislation has had no impact on the health of people due to the lack of education of the medical community and overcautious guidelines produced by the Royal College of Physicians and the British Paediatric Neurology Association.’
An open letter from the parents of 39 children with intractable epilepsy – defined as seizures that cannot be controlled – is calling for the BPNA to change its guidance.
The parents have accused the association of ignoring England’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, who recommended medicinal cannabis be available to all eligible epilepsy patients.
This comes after 17 children with the condition were denied prescriptions despite campaigners fighting for their right to the drug in the movement End Our Pain, its director Peter Carroll said.
Alfie Dingley was part of the campaign and is one of just six children Professor Barnes knows to have been given medicinal cannabis since the law change.
One of these youngsters is 12-year-old Billy Caldwell, whose mother had seven bottles of cannabis oil confiscated at Heathrow Airport customs on June 11.
The campaign group United Patients Alliance estimates a million people in the UK take cannabis illegally to help manage their health conditions.
But non-medicinal marijuana can contain a host of contaminants and has an unknown strength.
Jon Liebling – the alliance’s political director – claims by not prescribing medicinal cannabis, doctors are making patients vulnerable to ‘the criminal market’.
He added he knows of just two medics who are willing and able to write these prescriptions.
Alfie Dingley was the first person to receive medicinal cannabis in the UK under a special licence before the law change.
Before the legislation came into effect, his mother claims one doctor told her ‘if you talk to me about cannabis again I’ll report you to social services’.
It then took eight doctors to complete the administrative procedures required to get Alfie the drug, which Ms Deacon compared to ‘trying to import plutonium’.
Doctors then asked Ms Deacon to switch Alfie back to CBD products without THC, which she called ‘unethical’.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a component of cannabis that has never been restricted in the UK and is even available on the High Street as an oil or spray.
Up until November 1 the drug Sativex – which contains both CBD and THC – was the only medicinal-cannabis product licensed in the UK and was given to MS patients with spasticity.
Products that contain both CBD and THC may be prepared from cannabis-plant material.
Products include Bedrocan, Bedrobinol, Bediol, Bedica, and Bedrolite, which are all made by the pharma company Bedrocan in the Netherlands.
MailOnline has approached the BPNA for comment.
If this Sunday’s Oscars speeches are a little more bizarre than usual it may have something to do with what was in the nominees’ $100,000 gift bags.
The legendary goodie bags, distributed to the 25 nominees in acting and directing, will include hand-made chocolate truffles infused with cannabis.
California recently legalised the drug for recreational use. So if nominees feel like calming their awards nerves during the ceremony in Los Angeles, they can do so on camera without fear of arrest.
Their swag bags will also feature skin care products infused with the drug, including a cannabis facial moisturiser, and free membership of the first cannabis-friendly social club in Los Angeles.
Other freebies for the Hollywood stars will include private “phobia relief” sessions with “the world’s number one phobia expert”.
They will get the choice of a boat trip down the Amazon or to the Galapagos Islands, and a week in a California spa worth $10,000. The quirkiest gift is a distinctive-looking “Mister Poop” toilet plunger.
The cannabis truffles won first prize in the High Times Colorado Cup and come in three flavours – burnt caramel, earl grey, and juniper lemon.
Each chocolate in the “Crescendo Collection” contains 10mg of THC, the high-inducing part of the cannabis.
The company that makes them warns if people are unused to cannabis, they should “start low and go slow” rather than eating the whole box all at once.
Swag bags will be delivered to nominees including Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Richard E Grant.
They are put together by a company called Distinctive Assets, which is not officially affiliated with the organisers of the Oscars.
Lash Fary, founder of Divine Assets, said they decided to include cannabis gifts for the stars after the drug was legalised in California last year, but admitted it was still somewhat of a hot potato.
He said: “This year, we are so excited about the legalisation of cannabis in California so we will be including a number of items in that category.
“But there are quite a few regulations surrounding distribution of cannabis, so we are treading lightly this year as we dip our toe into those waters.”
For example, as they take their gift bags home with them the A-list stars will need to remember that transporting cannabis to other states where it is still illegal could land them in trouble.
Mr Fary added: “These are folks who have access to everything and can afford to buy anything they want, so we just want this to be fun for them.
“Hopefully we are also introducing them to some new brands and experiences they wouldn’t otherwise know about.”
In 2013 Susan Sarandon, the Oscar-winning actress, admitted she had been high on cannabis at many Hollywood events, although not the Oscars. She said: “I would say almost all, except the Oscars.”
It comes as the Oscars ceremony faces a potential debacle this year with no host, after comedian Kevin Hart dropped out.
There has also been a controversy over a plan to give out some awards during TV advert breaks, which enraged many senior Hollywood figures
Last year, the ceremony, presented by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, got its lowest TV ratings ever.