Neighbourhood group discovers bin bags full of cannabis dumped on roadside



Neighbourhood group discovers bin bags full of cannabis dumped on roadside


Patrol finds bin bags full of cannabis left on Fenley Road, Sparkhill


A newly-formed neighbourhood group discovered black bin bags full of drugs whilst out on patrol.

Members of Streetwatch were walking with local police on Fernley Road, Sparkhill, on Friday afternoon when they found the discarded bags.

When they took a closer look, they found the household bin liners were full of illegal drugs which would be worth a small fortune.

Police were called and the illicit haul will now be destroyed.





A spokeswoman from Streetwatch, said: “It’s so shocking that this was just left on the streets.

“We are taking drugs off the streets. We are working with the community .”


Springfield WMP tweeted: “A huge haul of drugs found by our Streetwatch team and @SpringfieldWMP pcsos whilst out on patrol. Joint patrol with our communities is bringing results.

“Thank you team. More drugs taken off the streets.”





Bloke rams police because car was ‘so full of weed smoke he couldn’t see’



Bloke rams police because car was ‘so full of weed smoke he couldn’t see’


A TEEN who rammed a police car, breaking an officer’s leg, has the worst excuse in the world.


Daily Star


Benjamin Saurian admitted driving away from police and accidentally side-swiping a cop car but says he couldn’t see out of his vehicle because it was so full of marijuana smoke.

Benjamin, 19, who didn’t actually have a driving licence, had been smoking with some friends when he spotted the cops and – fearing he was “going to be jumped” accelerated away from the scene.

As he did so his car collided with a police cruiser, briefly trapping a senior constable and breaking his leg.

The following day he saw a news report about the injured cop and realised how much trouble he was in.

7 News Australia reports that Benjamin then tried to dump his car and destroy his number plates so he couldn’t be tracked down.


But after police called his parents’ home in Sunbury, outside Melbourne, Benjamin agreed to turn himself in.

He has been ordered to keep an 8pm curfew and agree to no longer drive or take drugs.

He was initially charged with 14 offences, including ramming an emergency vehicle, assaulting a police officer, conduct endangering life and unlicensed driving. 


nstead of facing the full wrath of the courts, however, Benjamin will have to attend a drugs education course and agree not to fraternise with anyone else who was in his car on that night.

As in the UK, marijuana is legal across Australia for medical use, but it is still illegal to sell or use it for recreational purposes.

A recent survey showed that nearly half of people across the UK favour complete legalisation.





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Police find huge cannabis farm inside home



Police find huge cannabis farm inside home


They recovered the drugs at the address in Hedon on Friday morning



Police officers discovered £4,500 of cannabis after raiding a property in Hedon.

Humberside Police attended an address in Baildon Court at around 9am on Friday morning.

While inside the property, they uncovered a large number of cannabis plants as well as drugs paraphernalia.

A man was arrested following the raid at the address and remains in custody, officers have said.

Inspector Paul Bennett from the proactive team said: “This is another terrific success is our mission to tackle drugs and drug crime across the Humberside Police force area.

“This warrant came about after information was reported to us by members of the public and I’d just like to say thank you to anyone that calls in with information about crime in their area.


“Without the help of those that live and work in a community we wouldn’t be able to carry out as many warrants as we do, taking action against those that commit drug crime.”



Police raid finds £600,000 cannabis farm in Walton house



Police raid finds £600,000 cannabis farm in Walton house


Detectives discovered the haul while following up reports of a ‘burglary’ in the area





Police found a cannabis farm worth around £600,000 while investigating reports of a burglary in Walton.

Officers were called out to a house on Pym Street at around 10.30pm on Wednesday night after reports of a break-in. 

Police then found a drug farm with around 150 plants inside.

Police said to the ECHO that the plants had an estimated annual yield of around £600,000.

A 41-year-old man of no fixed address was detained and arrested on suspicion of burglary and cannabis production.  He has since been released under investigation.






Matt Brown, manager of the police’s cannabis dismantling team, said: “The estimated annual yield of these plants would have been around £600,000 and thankfully, these drugs have now been prevented from reaching our communities.

“Criminal groups involved in the growing of cannabis are often involved in other serious organised crime and will use any property they can, often in the heart of our communities, to grow cannabis.

“No one wants to live or work next door to a cannabis farm and I would appeal to the public to continue to give us information so we can take action, recover the drugs and put those responsible before the courts.”







The Cannabis Debate: What’s the way forward on cannabis reform? Our experts give their verdict



The Cannabis Debate: What’s the way forward on cannabis reform? Our experts give their verdict


evening standard


 What do health experts, criminal justice practitioners and political thinkers say is the best way forward on cannabis? Do any of the legalisation models we have reported on so far in our investigation into cannabis reform — Canada, Colorado, California or Uruguay — convince them?  The Evening Standard asked if the supply and consumption of cannabis should be legalised, decriminalised or left as it is?  All backed either decriminalisation or legalisation, with support for the latter  subject to control over the strength  of intoxicating THC and its ratio to  non-intoxicating CBD.


‘Cannabis makes depressed people even more depressed’
Morris Zwi 

Consultant adolescent psychotherapist, formerly with Whittington Health NHS Trust

I worked for 33 years in the NHS, mostly with teenagers suffering from depression, anxiety and challenging behaviour, and I saw that teenagers who use cannabis to self-medicate for depression usually become more depressed. I like the way they decriminalised cannabis in Portugal because it allows dependent users to seek medical help. Legalisation would bring advantages because cannabis would be labelled and people would know what strength they’re taking, and with that information I could wean them off. My worry is whether full legalisation would lead to a rise in use among young people, though reassuringly that hasn’t happened so far in Colorado or Canada. We probably need more time to assess the impact in Canada. On the other hand, keeping cannabis illegal keeps it in the hands of criminals, the least safe option. For these reasons I feel divided.
Verdict: Decriminalise and seek more evidence on legalisation in Canada 


‘Rise of concentrates with 80% THC potency was unexpected in US’
Tom Freeman  

Psychopharmacologist, University of Bath


Legalisation could make cannabis use safer by replacing high THC/low CBD cannabis that currently dominate illicit markets with safer low THC/high CBD forms of cannabis. However, in parts of the US where they have legalised, there has been a rise in cannabis with higher THC concentrations (15-20 per cent) that could carry greater risks. What’s more, about 20 per cent of cannabis sales are newer products called concentrates, which can have over 80 per cent THC. This outcome was not anticipated in the US. To make cannabis use safer, products could be taxed according to THC content. Additionally, guidelines based on THC and CBD consumption could help people use cannabis more safely, in the same way that alcohol units can help people minimise the harms of drinking.
Verdict: Legalisation and regulation of THC and CBD content is preferred


‘Cannabis is less harmful than alcohol but not without risks’

Wayne Hall 

Professor at Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland and visiting professor at National Addiction Centre,  King’s College London

The current system seeks to reduce cannabis consumption by criminalising use and is hard to defend as effective or fair. Legalising it would reap clear economic advantages because we could bring it into the regular economy and tax it. The downside is that once you create a legal industry, its interests lie in increasing daily use and that could mean rising mental health harms and more young people becoming dependent. That hasn’t happened in Canada or the US so far, which is reassuring. I think there’s a real chance legalisation will happen in the UK in the next 10 years. Cannabis is not as harmful as alcohol, but it is not without its risks. 

Verdict: Qualified support for legalisation


‘Criminalisation has not worked and is a waste of police resources’
Ron Hogg 
Durham Police and Crime Commissioner

In my 40 years experience in the force, three things have changed radically: the harm of cannabis has increased, revenue going to organised crime groups has never been higher (over £2.5 billion) and violence around drugs has risen. The War on Drugs has failed and unless we want to arrest three million people, we need a new approach. 
I have written to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for a thorough debate on cannabis strategy and for government to arrange fact-finding missions to Colorado, Uruguay and Canada. Each has a different system: free market in Colorado; state control in Uruguay; public health in Canada. 
In Durham, we no longer pursue people for possessing or smoking cannabis. We’re on the right side of history, but history, it seems, still has a way to go.
Verdict: Legalisation coupled with regulation will reduce harm


‘10 hours on my police shift: how do people want me to spend it?’
Simon Kempton  
Operational policing lead, Police Federation (represents rank and file officers)

We changed our policy as a federation 12 months ago to say prohibition has not worked. 
The question I put to the public is this: if I’ve got 10 hours on my shift, how do you want me to spend it? Chasing serious criminals or people who smoke cannabis? The question I ask myself is: what action would make my daughter at university safer? Prohibition has made her less safe because it’s more difficult to have an honest discussion around drugs. 
Prohibition gives us black markets and black markets give us skunk and contaminated drugs and sadly people die from that. We reduced the number of people who smoke cigarettes, not by making them illegal, but by education and letting people make their own  judgment. We need a fresh public debate. We should start by looking to how Canada has prioritised education and public health to make cannabis legal but less harmful.
Verdict: Criminalisation has failed and discussion on legalisation is overdue


‘Only way to get rid of skunk, make cannabis safer is to legalise’
Baroness  Meacher 
Crossbench peer and co-chairwoman of  all-party parliamentary group on drug  policy reform

The latest 2019 research by Marta Di Forti at King’s College London concluded that low-potency cannabis has no increased likelihood of psychotic episodes compared to those who never used cannabis. There is also a growing body of research challenging the causal link between cannabis and psychosis. A 2018 study says the causal effect is the other way and a Swedish study says it’s familial risk and not cannabis that causes schizophrenia. 
Criminalisation has been a disaster for young people, giving them criminal records and driving up use of ever stronger cannabis known as skunk. The only way to get skunk off our streets and make cannabis safer is to legalise and regulate cannabis to limit potency, specifying a maximum ratio of THC to CBD. The whole motivation of the law should be to create a safer world for young people.
Verdict: Legalise and regulate potency


‘Let’s decriminalise and see what happens’
Daniel Hannan 
Conservative MEP, a founder of Vote Leave, and editor-in-chief of The Conservative, a journal of centre-Right political thought 

We should decriminalise cannabis for a two-year trial period and then, having seen the evidence, hold a vote in Parliament on whether to make that change permanent. A bit like when we experimentally changed British Summer Time. Only then should we think about legalising as decriminalisation still leaves drug supply in the hands of criminals.
Verdict: Decriminalise





Docs unwilling to prescribe medicinal cannabis until it’s tested



Docs unwilling to prescribe medicinal cannabis until it’s tested




Doctors are unwilling to prescribe medicinal cannabis because they know it has not been adequately tested, MPs have revealed.

A House of Commons health select committee said that the public were misinformed about access to the drug when doctors were permitted to prescribe it from November last year.

Medical professionals say “there is a perception that cannabis-based medicinal products work in areas where there is little or no evidence”.


Since 1 November 2018, doctors in the UK have been permitted to prescribe cannabis products that have not undergone clinical trials.

But in the lead up to the legalisation, almost 170 medics warned the change had been ‘rushed’.


Dr Rajesh Munglani, a Consultant in Pain Medicine at St Thomas Hospital London, said there was too little evidence of the drugs’ benefits to prescribe it freely.

He told The Times, politicians can’t ask doctors “to justify it on medical grounds if the evidence is not there”.

Inadequate trials

The President of the British Paediatric Neurology Association revealed that adequate trials were not carried out on cannabis products before they were licensed.

And the Chief Medical Officer for England also told MPs there is not enough evidence to prove that medicinal cannabis products are safe.

Consequently many doctors are refusing to prescribe the drug.


‘Exaggerated claims’

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, said: “Expectations were unfairly raised that these products would become widely and readily available, and there needs to be far clearer communication that this is not the case.”

“At present there are too many gaps in the evidence to allow most forms of medicinal cannabis to be licensed for use”.

Dr Amir Englund, a researcher in psychopharmacology at King’s College London, said the “exaggerated claims of cannabis as a treatment for various conditions which circulate online and in news articles” need to be addressed.


Media bias

He told the committee, “clinical trials have found that a number of patients with epilepsy become seizure-free on medical grade [cannabis], however this only happens to roughly 5% of patients – which naturally becomes the focus of news stories”.

“The other side of the coin is that some patients in these trials drop out either because they felt no improvement or were experiencing side-effects.”



Black market cannabis 57 per cent cheaper than legal pot: Statistics Canada



Black market cannabis 57 per cent cheaper than legal pot: Statistics Canada


Getty Images


Black market cannabis continues to undercut Canada’s legal market by a wide margin, according to the latest crowdsourced price data released by Statistics Canada.

The federal agency found the average cost of dried cannabis in the second quarter fell two per cent to $7.87 from $8.03 in the first quarter.


The decline was attributed to lower reported illegal prices, which fell to $5.93 from $6.23. That offset a jump in legal prices, including online and in-store purchases, which rose to $10.65 from $10.21.


The share of participants reporting “legal cannabis being too expensive” climbed to 34 per cent from 27 per cent in the first quarter of 2019. Respondents who said they purchased from illegal sources jumped to 59 per cent versus 55 per cent in the previous period.

The price quotes were gathered using the StatsCannabis crowdsourcing application between April 1 and June 30. The agency has said caution should be used when interpreting crowdsourced findings, noting a limited and self-selected pool of data.



Global cannabis expert calls on NZ doctors to upskill – Helius Therapeutics



Global cannabis expert calls on NZ doctors to upskill – Helius Therapeutics


It’s absolutely essential that New Zealand doctors better inform themselves about medicinal cannabis. Many patients will soon be seeking professional advice on their options, and frankly time is running short,” says Professor Mike Barnes, Director of Education for The Academy of Medical Cannabis, based in London.

The comments from the British neurologist and Europe’s pre-eminent medicinal cannabis expert come as he prepares to lead three training events designed specifically for healthcare professionals in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch at the end of this month.

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) has endorsed the ‘Masterclass in Medical Cannabis’ events. This marks New Zealand’s first RNZCGP-endorsed professional training of its kind on medicinal cannabis. The events are sponsored at arms-length by the country’s largest medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics.

This week the Ministry of Health released its discussion document on proposed regulations for New Zealand’s Medicinal Cannabis Scheme. Widespread concern has since been raised over a specialist recommendation being required before a GP can prescribe – a move many medical and industry experts think would substantially impede patient access to medicinal cannabis. Public consultation closes on 7 August.

Professor Barnes says New Zealand can learn a lot from Britain’s recent experiences where many doctors found themselves completely unprepared for the enormous number of patients seeking advice on medicinal cannabis.

“In New Zealand, political and public support for medicinal cannabis is extremely high. However, if your doctors are not fully informed, they’ll be reluctant to give advice. That’s exactly what we’ve seen in the UK where around 80% of doctors support cannabis for medicinal use, but they’ve been slow to offer their professional opinion to patients because they’re just not confident enough,” he says.

A recent survey of healthcare professionals, commissioned by Helius, revealed many Kiwi doctors remain poorly informed about medicinal cannabis and how to prescribe it. A majority of physicians feel more training is needed to understand how medicinal cannabis products work, in order to administer the best possible care to their patients.

“Your Parliament has been so strong on this, with the Ministry of Health now working hard to get the right regulatory framework in place, all while hundreds of thousands of suffering New Zealanders patiently wait. If your doctors are not ready on day-one to respond to all the medicinal cannabis enquiries, it will cause a large amount of patient frustration, as we’ve seen in the UK.


“That’s why we set up The Academy of Medical Cannabis and that’s why the masterclasses I’m leading in New Zealand at the end of this month are critical. Doctors need a balanced set of internationally-recognised and accredited resources to give them the confidence to consult on medicinal cannabis,” he says.

London-based training organisation, The Academy of Medical Cannabis, with sponsorship from Helius Therapeutics, is offering the masterclasses free of charge to healthcare professionals in Auckland on Wednesday 24 July; Wellington on Thursday 25 July; and Christchurch on Friday 26 July. Those interested in attending can book through Helius’ website.

Professor Barnes applauds the initiative and leadership from Helius Therapeutics in sponsoring the three events.


Executive Director of Helius Therapeutics, Paul Manning, says as the country’s largest medicinal cannabis firm, it’s incumbent on Helius to invest in education opportunities for the healthcare professionals in what is a rapidly emerging field of clinical practice.

“Helius is focused on delivering many of New Zealand’s first cannabis-based medicinal products as we strongly believe every Kiwi has a natural right to a pain-free existence. However, access will not improve unless doctors are well-informed about medicinal cannabis and how to prescribe the products. Thousands of patients will be relying on their GPs for advice about, and access to, medicinal cannabis.”


Mr Manning says Professor Barnes’ inaugural visit is already generating considerable interest in medical, industry and media circles.

“We’re delighted to be sponsoring these masterclasses, which are led by a globally-recognised figure whose insights and expertise are in such high demand. To have secured Professor Barnes is a major coup for New Zealand, with Europe’s experience in medicinal cannabis being relatable to what New Zealand is now going through,” he says.

The masterclasses will provide physicians a sound foundation of knowledge in how medicinal cannabis works, safety and risk management considerations, through to how to consult with patients and prescribe products, where there is a sufficient evidence base for application.


Professor Mike Barnes became more widely known after the UK Government commissioned him in 2016 to assess evidence for the medicinal use of cannabis. Now known as ‘The Barnes Report’, his work changed the direction of legislation in the UK and acted as a catalyst to the eventual rescheduling of medicinal cannabis in November 2018. He is also the author of more than a dozen books and 200 published papers.


Professor Barnes also famously consulted to Alfie Dingley’s case in England – a six-year-old boy who suffers from a rare form epilepsy that was causing up to 150 seizures a month. His seizures have been since dramatically reduced after being given cannabis products.


Mr Manning says New Zealand doctors now have a unique opportunity to get well ahead of the game – one they should seriously consider for the sake of many patients who have found other treatments ineffective, or have resorted to the black market, and have been waiting a long time to seek advice from their doctor on medicinal cannabis.

Parliament passed The Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill late last year with the regulations, licensing rules and quality standards to be set this year. Then, in 2020, medicinal cannabis products are expected to become legally and more widely available, most likely through doctor prescription.


A survey Helius released recently showed 34% of adults in New Zealand are likely to seek advice on medicinal cannabis in the next year, with a majority of GPs already seeing a surge in enquiries from patients and their families seeking a range of therapeutic possibilities.


Professor Barnes says all Kiwis can play a positive role in encouraging their doctors and healthcare professionals to prepare and educate themselves.

“I’m coming out because Kiwi doctors need to get prepared now. They owe it to their patients to be able to confidently consult on medicinal cannabis and potentially prescribe it. After all the New Zealand public has said it wants a workable scheme that delivers from day one,” says Professor Mike Barnes.



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