Bags stuffed full of weed after police find cannabis farm in Salford

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Bags stuffed full of weed after police find cannabis farm in Salford

 

Investigations are ongoing following the discovery, the force said

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This massive cannabis farm was discovered in Salford.

Officers were called to a disturbance at a property in the Broughton Park area on Monday (September 23).

When they got there, they found rooms full of potted cannabis plants.

The setup was fairly sophisticated.

Dozens of marijuana plants were seized by police.

Images posted on the GMP Salford Twitter page showed a room covered with white sheets.

 

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Hydroponic lamps can be seen hanging from the ceiling, with filters and vents placed around the room.

Another image shows a similar scene in another room.

 

Cops also posted an image of nine huge bags stuffed with plants.

Investigations are ongoing, GMP said.

 

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/bags-stuffed-full-weed-after-16966268

 

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High time for legal cannabis in Europe?

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High time for legal cannabis in Europe?

 

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This article is part of “Health Care 2024,” a survey-driven series of online debates in which POLITICO explores how the European Union can best tackle health policy.

Europe’s most commonly used illicit drug has moved from the coffee shops of Amsterdam to mainstream political debate. But EU governments remain deeply divided in their attitudes to cannabis.

In this installment of Health Care 2024 — a series of symposiums asking leading experts to weigh in on the health care priorities for the next European Commission — POLITICO asks: What’s the right path for Europe to take on cannabis, and where does Brussels’ role lie?

 

 

Legalize and regulate

Maria Arena is a Socialist member of the European Parliament from Belgium.

Over the past 20 years, there has been a surge of interest by patients and scientists in using cannabis and cannabinoids to treat conditions ranging from cancer pain to depression to sleep and neurological disorders. As a result, most EU countries allow, or plan to allow, the medical use of cannabis or cannabinoids in some form.

But there’s great variation across the bloc in terms of which products are authorized and how regulatory frameworks govern their supply. Often possession of small amounts of recreational cannabis has been decriminalized but the sale and production remains prohibited. The result is something of a policy paradox. Efforts to ban recreational cannabis have failed to curb consumption in Europe, but it remains difficult to access for medicinal purposes.

 

 

A better approach would be to legalize cannabis production, sale and use within a public monopoly framework so that we can control consumption and enable prevention. The state would set the price higher than it is today to guarantee stability in the number of consumers and the quantity consumed. This option would generate also significant tax revenues and reduce public spending on law enforcement.

 

To be sure, various experiments with legalization are already underway, including in Luxembourg. But a wider European approach would help consumers further by guaranteeing phytosanitary standards. It would also provide stronger guarantees for the patient, a better knowledge of the products for doctors and more investment in research.  In addition, legalized

production would create economic opportunities in agriculture.

 

 

 

Be careful

Bart Morlion is president of the European Pain Federation EFIC.

Chronic pain affects around one in five Europeans. Its management is challenging, and treatment strategies are urgently needed. However, we have to treat cannabis and cannabis-based medicines with caution in the context of chronic pain.

 

We still lack solid evidence on the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicines for the treatment of pain. Clinical guidelines are lacking in the 37 European countries surveyed by the European Pain Federation EFIC, which prompted us to publish in 2018 a position paper on the appropriate use of cannabis-based medicines and medical cannabis for chronic pain management.

A distinction must be drawn between recreational and medical use, as well as the legal and regulatory issues underpinning both issues. Smoking cannabis should not be recommended by any medical professional. Nevertheless, trained medical professionals may reasonably consider the use of cannabis-based medicines — such as oils, capsules or vaporized substances — for chronic neuropathic pain.

We also need further research to understand the role that cannabis-based medicines could play within chronic pain treatment. EFIC will continue to monitor and organize education for responsible use of cannabis in the context of multidisciplinary and multimodal pain treatment. For now, clinicians should remain vigilant and seek further education and training to guide their patients.

Write a European rulebook

Alexandra Curley is head of insights at Prohibition Partners.

 

From a regulatory perspective, Europe resembles the United States in its patchwork of inconsistent regulations. This provides a variety of changes, some of which can be addressed through cooperation between neighboring countries. For example, a government might permit patients using medicinal cannabis to bring it with them on holiday, even if it’s not legal in the country they’re visiting. Others might make allowances for producers to use their airspace and ports when importing and exporting their product to markets where it is legal.

 

But what Europe really needs when it comes to medical cannabis is an overarching infrastructure at the EU level that would facilitate trade, data-sharing and the cross-border transport of supplies. This approach can only succeed if individual countries put in place dedicated medical cannabis agencies. There is already a marked difference between the success of the industry in countries with dedicated agencies, such as the Netherlands, Germany and Canada, and the struggling markets of countries without them, including the U.K., Ireland and France.

 

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Consider legalizing recreational use

Piernicola Pedicini is a member of the European Parliament from Italy’s 5Stars Movement.

The debate over the legalization of recreational cannabis is divisive, but it shouldn’t hold back much-needed legal developments regarding the medical and industrial uses of cannabis.

Governments remain divided because people remain divided. There’s a strong cultural stigma around this incredibly versatile plant. Cannabis can be used to produce medicines, food, textiles, bioplastics, biofuels, cosmetics and green buildings, just to name a few examples. It also has an important environmental value for land rehabilitation. Furthermore, “medical cannabis” doesn’t refer just to cannabis-derived products authorized at EU level, but to cannabis preparations such as raw cannabis, plant oils, cannabis extracts and others.

 

 

The recreational adult use of cannabis is something we might explore because control over the entire chain, from production to acquisition, could bring benefits to society and ensure that only safe products are sold on the market. With the appropriate legal framework and a good enforcement system, legalization could help phase out black markets and move revenue streams from organized crime to public programs. However, it would be necessary to gather and analyze data from the experience of those EU countries that have already legalized recreational cannabis to weigh the pros and cons of such a policy change.

 

Prioritize access

Jacqueline Poitras is president of Mothers for Cannabis.

The most efficient way to regulate cannabis is through complete legalization. As long as we separate medical and recreational use, we’re making it more difficult for people who require cannabis for medical use to have easy access. Why? Because the medical community is used to working with certain standards. They need rigorous studies and a classification of specific conditions for which cannabis can be prescribed. They have to agree which specializations are licensed to prescribe. Taken together, these factors end up excluding patients instead of including them.

 

Cannabis is useful in an extremely wide variety of conditions. It has been proven through centuries of experience to be a safe and effective tool in the therapeutic process. In the end, the choice of employing cannabis is a decision best left to the doctor and patient. By over-regulating we’re cutting off a vast number of patients, leaving them to the mercy of the black market.

 

 

The only way to avoid this trap is to make cannabis an open market. Only by legalizing entirely can we regulate entirely. Canada is an excellent example. They’ve legalized and regulated, and are now reaping the benefits of their decision.

What Brussels can do is feed information to member states through tools like directives. This is something it could do right now with medical cannabis, but it has not yet taken the initiative. So each member state has no idea what it should do about the medical use of cannabis in terms of EU policy. To be sure, Brussels cannot obligate a country to conform to a directive. But for any EU member trying to legalize cannabis, this would lead to more immediate and homogeneous changes in the law throughout the EU.

 

https://www.politico.eu/article/high-time-for-legal-cannabis-in-europe-weed-marijuana-health-care-eu-brussels/

 

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Gardener asked BBC to identify plant stunned to find it’s cannabis: ‘Destroy it’

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Gardener asked BBC to identify plant stunned to find it’s cannabis: ‘Destroy it’

 

The green-fingered reader was baffled by their exotic looking shrub

 

A reader who asked BBC Gardeners’ World magazine to identify a “mystery plant” was told it was cannabis.

Page 149 of the September 2019 issue contains an email from Barry Thorp who sent a picture of the shrub with the question: “Can you identify this mystery plant from my garden?”

Responding in the Gardeners’ Question Time section, expert Anne Swithinbank identified it as hemp and pointed out it is illegal to grow cannabis at home.

She advised Barry to destroy it immediately, but warned against burning it on a bonfire…

 

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Her answer read: “It looks like hemp (Cannabis sativa). It is, of course, illegal to grow and probably germinated from bird seed.

 

Although it has obviously thrived in the warm summer, you had better destroy it.

She added: “It is safe to put on the compost heap but I would advise against a bonfire.”

A picture of the query was posted online, where social media users have poked fun at the innocent seeming exchange.

 

One user joked: “Suddenly everyone in the neighbourhood is reeeaally happy and awesome.”

Another posted: “I heard that is how Pablo Escobar got started “.

A third said: “Hahaha sure it was germinated by bird seed Barry.”

 

And another wrote: “Hahahhahahah kinda wish the ‘birds’ would give me that lol.”

Hemp is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant species, grown for for use in various products as an alternative to cotton or oils used in beauty products.

Licences to cultivate hemp, which contains tetrahydrocannabinol, are issued by the Home Office under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

 

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/gardener-asked-bbc-identify-plant-20168677

 

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Hidden cannabis farm on Great Barr street uncovered by police

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Hidden cannabis farm on Great Barr street uncovered by police

 

West Midlands Police took to Twitter to share pictures of fully-grown plans and a sophisticated electrical set up after executing a drugs warrant at an address on Tanhouse Avenue, Hamstead

 

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Police have revealed pictures of a major cannabis raid on a Great Barr property.

West Midlands Police took to Twitter to share pictures of fully-grown plans, as well as some in their infancy, and a sophisticated electrical set up.

The West Bromwich Police account revealed it had executed a drugs warrant at an address on Tanhouse Avenue, Hamstead, this morning (September 26).

A man was arrested in the house – after cops found him hiding in a cupboard.

The force Tweeted: “Another result!

 

A drugs warrant has been executed at an address on Tanhouse Avenue, Hamstead, this morning by the Neighbourhood Team.

“Cannabis plants growing in every room of this residential property, male arrested inside after being found hiding in an upstairs cupboard.”

This comes just days after police raided a secret cannabis farm in Kidderminster following tip-offs from the local community.

 

Officers discovered and seized a substantial amount of the class-b drug at an Church Street on September 23.

The warrant was carried out after the force received information from the community.

Police also shared a shocking image showing the huge haul of cannabis that was found. You can see the image below:

 

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/black-country/hidden-cannabis-farm-great-barr-16984774

 

Photo Gallery

 

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GW Pharma’s cannabis-derived epilepsy drug approved in EU

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GW Pharma’s cannabis-derived epilepsy drug approved in EU

 

GW Pharmaceuticals’ cannabis-derived drug Epidyolex has been approved in Europe for two kinds of rare childhood epilepsy.

The European Commission approved the drug, an oral solution containing highly purified plant-derived cannabidiol, for use in adjunctive therapy of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome.

Epidyolex can be used in conjunction with clobazam for patients two years of age and older, following a positive opinion from the CHMP scientific committee in July.

The drug is specially formulated to relieve symptoms but does not produce the “high” associated with illegal recreational cannabis and has got to market ahead of several rival drugs in the pharma pipeline.

 

US biotech Zynerba last week announced a positive phase 2 readout of its Zygel (cannabidiol gel) in developmental epileptic encephalopathies (DEEs), including Dravet’s and LGS, and is due to meet with the FDA to discuss a pathway to approval early next year.

 

Takeda and Ovid are in the hunt too, with TAK-395 in early-to-mid stage development for several epilepsy conditions including Dravet’s and LGS.

US biotech Zogenix has a Dravet drug in late stage development but earlier this year delayed an FDA filing because of missing toxicology data.

The decision paves the way for launches across Europe, and follows approval in the US in June last year under a slightly different brand name, Epidiolex.

UK-based GW can now launch the drug in all 28 countries of the EU, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

 

Epidyolex is expected to become a blockbuster if it is approved by the major regulators in a third indication, tuberous sclerosis complex.

Sales are already mounting in the US following the FDA approval – in Q2 revenues were $68.4 million, and sales for the first half of the year were nearly $102 million.

At the time of the Q2 results statement at the end of June GW said 12,000 patients had received Epdiolex since launch, and more than 2,500 doctors had prescribed it.

There is a need for new treatments for LGS and Dravet syndrome: both are serious and often resistant to the drugs that are currently on the market.

In the UK GW is working the NICE to reach a funding agreement for NHS patients – the cost-effectiveness body said rejected the drug in first draft guidance in an early review shortly after the CHMP’s recommendation.

 

The number of patients affected by the diseases was slightly too large for the drug to be reviewed under a specialist commissioning pathway that gives more leeway on pricing.

The approval of cannabidiol oral solution is based on results from four randomised, controlled Phase 3 trials. These studies incorporate data from more than 714 patients with either LGS or Dravet syndrome.

GW’s CEO Justin Gover said: “This approval is the culmination of many years of dedication and collaboration between GW, physicians and the epilepsy community. We believe patients and physicians deserve access to rigorously tested and evaluated cannabis-based medicines, manufactured to the highest standards and approved by medicines regulators, and we are delighted to be the first to offer this solution to the epilepsy community.”

 

https://pharmaphorum.com/news/gw-pharmas-cannabis-derived-epilepsy-drug-approved-in-eu/

 

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Police have seized a cannabis farm with a street value of one million pounds in Blackley

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Police have seized a cannabis farm with a street value of one million pounds in Blackley

 

 

Police have seized a cannabis farm with a street value of approximately one million pounds in Blackley.

As part of an ongoing operation by GMP’s City of Manchester Challenger team, officers entered a property in Blackley on Monday 23 September 2019 and discovered the large farm.

No arrests have been made and a scene remains in place as enquiries continue.

 Detective Constable Helen Rutter, of GMP’s City of Manchester Challenger team, said: “The seizure of this cannabis farm is a significant recovery in our ongoing efforts to tackle and disrupt organised crime in Manchester.

 

 “We believe that the street value of the farm is approximately one million pounds so, not only have we stopped a large amount of drugs from hitting the streets, but we have also struck those responsible directly in the pocket.

“Our team is committed to bringing those involved in organised crime to justice but in order to do that we need intelligence from the local community regarding the activities of individuals connected to organised crime groups.

 

“Thankfully we have a good relationship with many of our local communities, who are supportive of the work that we do, and we hope that can continue so I want to ask that anybody with information about this cannabis farm, or anybody connected to it, please contact us.”

 

 

https://aboutmanchester.co.uk/police-have-seized-a-cannabis-farm-with-a-street-value-of-one-million-pounds-in-blackley/

 

Photo On Link

 

Bongme 

 

UK Approves Another Medicinal Cannabis Product

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UK Approves Another Medicinal Cannabis Product

 

 

Yesterday, GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) announced the European Commission’s approval of plant-derived cannabidiol drug EPIDYOLEX. The drug is indicated as adjunctive therapy for seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of childhood-onset epilepsy, Lennox‑Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. This approval marks EPIDYOLEX’s entry into all European countries, including the United Kingdom. The development follows a positive opinion by the European Medicine Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use. To learn more about the scope for medical cannabis in Europe, read European Market: Medical Cannabis Is Heating Up.

 

Despite the approval, however, concerns remain about access to EPIDYOLEX in the United Kingdom. On August 23, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended against the NHS (National Health Service) reimbursing EPIDYOLEX. In its draft guidance, the institute raised concerns about the drug’s long-term efficacy. It also questioned the company’s method of modeling to demonstrate the effect of the drug on the length and quality of life of patients. However, the agency is keen to work with GW Pharmaceuticals to resolve the economic modeling issues. It’s also ready to guide the company in reducing the cost of EPIDYOLEX for the NHS.

 

Launch preparations for Europe

According to GW Pharmaceuticals’ investor presentation, it’s already set up a commercial team to support the launch of the drug in five major European markets. It’s also set up an early access program for these markets. As of September, the program includes more than 800 registered patients. GW Pharmaceuticals has also planned pricing and reimbursement decisions for the next wave of ten countries in Europe.

GW Pharmaceuticals aims to launch EPIDYOLEX in Germany, the United Kingdom, and France in the fourth quarter. The company has recruited sales professionals for the French and German markets. However, it’s planned future launches of the drug in Italy and Spain based on pricing and reimbursement decisions. To learn more about GW Pharmaceuticals’ European market strategy, read GW Pharmaceuticals’ European Launch and Payer Access for Epidiolex.

 

GW Pharmaceuticals already has a cannabis-based drug in the United Kingdom

According to GW Pharmaceuticals’ investor presentation, it already sells another cannabis-based drug, Sativex (nabiximols), for the treatment of multiple sclerosis–related spasticity in the United Kingdom. The drug is approved in more than 25 ex-US markets. The company, however, distributes the drug through marketing partners.

GW Pharmaceuticals is now working to secure FDA approval and launch Sativex in the US. According to its second-quarter earnings call, the company will enroll around 450 patients in a Phase 3 trial in late 2019. This trial will evaluate Sativex for treating MS-associated spasticity. The company will also be studying Sativex in two small studies with 35 patients each in this indication.

 

Epidiolex has demonstrated robust uptake in the US market

In June 2018, the FDA first approved the drug with the brand name EPIDIOLEX. According to GW Pharmaceuticals’ investor presentation, it launched Epidiolex in the US on November 1, 2018. The company reported revenue of $68.4 million in the second quarter and $101.9 million in the first half of 2019. Most of this revenue is associated with sales of EPIDIOLEX.

According to GW Pharmaceuticals, more than 2,500 physicians have prescribed EPIDIOLEX to more than 12,500 patients. To learn more about GW Pharmaceuticals’ US strategy, read GW Pharmaceuticals Focuses on Epidiolex’s US Commercial Launch.

 

Assessing medical cannabis market in the United Kingdom

On October 31, 2018, the NHS provided new guidance for medicinal use of cannabis-based products in the United Kingdom. Accordingly, all cannabis-based products excluding Sativex are deemed unlicensed medicines. Only clinicians listed on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council can prescribe these medicines. The law doesn’t allow a general practitioner to prescribe cannabis-based medicinal products. The guidance also requires prescriptions to be on “named patient” basis.

The Financial Times expects the size of the cannabis market in the United Kingdom to reach 16.5 billion British pounds by the next decade. This makes the market an attractive opportunity for North American cannabis players. On June 25, Tilray (TLRY) announced its import of a bulk supply of cannabis oil in the United Kingdom. The company has already secured regulatory approval for six cannabis-based products in the United Kingdom.

On January 21, Canopy Growth (CGC) announced its entry into the UK market for cannabis-based medicinal products via a new company, Spectrum Biomedical UK. On August 9, the company further strengthened its position in the UK medicinal cannabis market through the acquisition of medical researcher Beckley Canopy Therapeutics.

 

https://articles2.marketrealist.com/2019/09/uk-approves-another-medicinal-cannabis-product/

 

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Peter Dutton calls new laws legalising recreation cannabis use ‘dangerous’ as federal government weighs up a challenge

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Peter Dutton calls new laws legalising recreation cannabis use ‘dangerous’ as federal government weighs up a challenge

 

Daily Mail

 

The federal government is considering challenging ACT laws legalising the recreational use of cannabis.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has described the new laws as unconscionable.

‘I think it might be trendy for the ACT government to go down this path, and they’ll say they’re enlightened and progressive and all the rest of it,’ Mr Dutton told 2GB radio on Thursday.

 

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton (pictured) has described the new laws that will come into effect into the ACT next year legalising personal cannabis as unconscionable

 

The laws allow residents over 18 to possess up to 50 grams and grow two plants. Under existing laws, people with up to 50 grams or two plants for personal use face fines. Pictured: Ganja Faeries make their way down the main street of Nimbin during MardiGrass

 

‘But I think it’s dangerous.

‘Christian Porter is having a look at it at the moment.’

Mr Porter, the federal attorney-general, previously indicated the Commonwealth was not weighing a legal challenge.

 

‘This is a matter for the ACT, but where Commonwealth laws apply they remain enforceable,’ he told AAP on Wednesday.

The laws allow residents over 18 to possess up to 50 grams and grow two plants.

Under existing laws, people with up to 50 grams or two plants for personal use face fines.

If paid within 60 days, it won’t appear on someone’s criminal record.

ACT’s chief minister has shrugged off concerns Canberrans will be targeted by federal prosecutors when the new scheme comes into effect next January.

 

The territory’s police have been balancing the overlap with Commonwealth for nearly three decades, Andrew Barr says.

‘Does anyone seriously think the Commonwealth DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) is going to spend all of their time, or a considerable amount of their time, prosecuting individuals in the ACT for the possession of less than 50 grams of cannabis?’ he told ABC’s Radio National on Thursday.

‘It’s one thing for police to arrest someone, it’s another thing to successfully prosecute someone.’

The existence of the ACT legislation is a defence if people are charged under commonwealth laws, Mr Barr says.

 

ACT's chief minister has shrugged off concerns Canberrans will be targeted by federal prosecutors when the new scheme comes into effect next January (Pictured: Melbourne Free Cannabis Community 420 Rally)

 

My advice to everyone, is that this is an evolution not a revolution,’ he said.

The territory’s shadow attorney-general Jeremy Hanson still thinks it’s sending the wrong message, citing research showing marijuana’s link to psychosis.

Mr Hanson is concerned it will lead to more drug driving and doesn’t believe the laws are enough of a deterrent.

But he doesn’t expect the federal government to test the overlap in the courts.

‘A greater concern is an individual out there thinking they’re doing the right thing, thinking they’re doing something legal and finding themselves being charged with a commonwealth offence,’ he told Sky News.

‘The reality is we had a pretty good regime up until yesterday, it’s not like people were being thrown into jail for cannabis use holus-bolus.’

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7505821/Peter-Dutton-calls-ACT-laws-legalising-recreation-cannabis-use-dangerous.html

 

3 comments

 

 

 

top hitter at this time 

 

He is right, the laws are dangerous, they don’t go far enough, cannabis should not be illegal at all !

 

sibocart , Calpe, Spain,

 

Bongme 

 

‘Cannabis will be allowed on site’ at new education centre to open in Somerset

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‘Cannabis will be allowed on site’ at new education centre to open in Somerset

 

.A.C.E.S is “potentially revolutionary”.

 

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The UK’s first “cannabis education centre” set to open in Weston-super-Mare is already helping two former crack addicts who want kids to learn from their mistakes.

The “potentially revolutionary” facility will soon open in Station Road in a building that has stood empty for years. 

F.A.C.E.S, or Free Addiction Cannabis Education and Support, is the brainchild of Steve Melhuish – a project manager until his brother, 24-year-old Robert Cox, was stabbed to death in a home for people with drink, drug and have mental health issues.

He has battled “dinosaurs” at Town Hall and damaging rumours about his plans, but is convinced he can make a difference.

FACES, a registered charity, seeks to educate about the benefits and risks of cannabis. 

Steve, who grew up in Weston and started smoking the drug aged 14, said: “I’ve put two years of stress, blood, sweat and tears into this. 

 

“North Somerset Council gave me lots of grief. They wouldn’t talk to me. After the election they said it can go ahead.

“[Deputy leader] Mike Bell and [council leader] Don Davies are good people but there are so many dinosaurs in that council. If it wasn’t for the council I would have opened four months ago.

“There are problems in Weston with County Lines [drug gangs] and knife crime. 

“By educating kids from a younger age, stabbings will go down. Drug dealing will go down. What we will be doing will be second to none.”

Steve and the people helping him realise his vision will be able to draw on some heartbreaking personal experiences at the death of his brother in 2013.

 

“My brother started smoking cannabis when he was young,” he said.

“He had major issues. He was massively addicted to it. It affected what was already there. He had schizophrenia. It brought it out of him.

“This all came about after he was stabbed. I decided I wanted to do something to educate cannabis users. I was working in logistics but lost my passion for it. I needed something to occupy my brain. 

“I’ve suffered from all sorts of mental health issues. My use is under control now. I’m 38. I’m not trying to show off to anyone. 

“I will be able to pass what I’ve learned on to kids – about how to get out of that hole. 

“This place will be somewhere to come and learn self-defence instead of using knives, or the benefits and dangers of cannabis. 

“We’re going to have a 420 radio station, art exhibitions, live music and comedy nights, a mentoring room.”

The centre will also have a test facility, where users will be able to find out exactly what is in the drugs they buy on the street. 

Downstairs there will be a cafe with games consoles and a pool table. 

Steve said he is well versed in the law and everything will be above board.

He said: “We’re going to allow cannabis on site but there will be no selling on site, and there will be strict guidelines. It will be for the adult evenings. We will be within the legal guidelines. The only thing that will be illegal will be possession.”

 

People will be able to smoke outside, but Steve said the area will have its own access and be separate from the centre: “What people do in there is their own responsibility.”

Once the centre is set up, he plans to give it back to the community, only keeping 10 per cent for himself. Then he will move on, and he is already lining up his next project, a CBD restaurant. 

 

Cannabidiol (or  CBD  oil) is a substance derived from cannabis plants and its infusion with food is becoming a popular trend.

Organisations up and down the country are keeping a close eye on FACES to see how its experiment works. 

Lin Toulcher, an artist who has rallied a host of artists to decorate the centre, said: “This is long overdue. There are no youth clubs. This is giving kids somewhere to go, but more importantly it allows parents and siblings to be there with them. 

“It will bring back that old-fashioned social framework. It’s a safe place.

 

“If you stand outside any fast food outlet in this town you can see kids as young as 10 selling drugs. That’s where County Lines come in, gangs asking them to carry a package. 

“I see it all over the place. It’s shocking what goes on in Weston. 

“Unless you’re aware you can probably walk past without realising. There’s crack dealing going on left, right and centre. The dealers probably make more money than Tesco some days.”

Lin will help out as a mentor and is training to be a counsellor. 

 

In a way, the centre will build on her own experience looking after Weston lads she dubbed the “lost boys”.

“When my son was at home he was going through various teenage problems. I didn’t want him out on the streets, so I made my home almost like a drop-in centre. 

“I’d rather he and his friends be at home where they can chat and chill. They couldn’t do anything I hadn’t done in the past. It was pure chaos at the start. 

“Everyone had teenage problems, and then issues with various drugs came on top, they had their spats with the police. 

“Some of them have criminal records. They find it hard to find proper employment. Some didn’t have proper homes to go to. Over the years there were 15 to 20 lost boys. 

“Some went on to be bad boys. The majority have turned their lives around.”

 

One of those turning his life around is Ben, a former crack addict. Smoking cannabis helped him get off harder drugs

“Helping out here keeps me occupied,” he said. “If it helps kids get more educated it will help them. It will be a safe haven for them. 

“I’ve been off hard drugs for some time. I’m going to become a mentor and work with under 18s. I’ve lived the life they are heading down. 

“I’ve gone through drugs. There’s so much more to life. 

 

“I had to have a hip replacement 10 years ago. I was on painkillers but your body becomes immune to them. I ended up with an opioid habit. 

“That’s when I started getting involved with street drugs. It’s one of the biggest mistakes of my life. 

“Now I’ve managed to pull away from street drugs and prescription drugs. 

“I want to use myself as an example. These kids are at a crossroads. 

 

“They can make something good of their lives, or they can spend 20 years in jail. 

“They can come here with no obligation and talk to us in confidence.

 

“Dealing is a massive issue in Weston. It’s the rehab centre of the country. That’s why this is such a fantastic idea. 

“Heroin and crack is a really big problem. County Lines gangs come down here from London, Birmingham, Liverpool. They try to groom the kids to get them to sell their drugs.

“We will keep them away from that. Otherwise they will end up one of two ways: dead or in jail. 

 

“I’m an ex-addict. I’ve done things I’m not proud of. It’s nice to be given a chance to turn that around.”

Jay, another of the Lost Boys, said: “I started from a young age because I was bored and had money around me.

 

“I started smoking weed at 11. At 13 I was sniffing coke. At 15 I was smoking crack. 

“At first I had the money to support my habit. You do things you don’t realise. I’ve been in prison. 

“If I was educated in the right way, maybe I wouldn’t have taken drugs. But if I didn’t smoke crack, I wouldn’t have done the things that led me to this point.

“Everyone has a couple of hiccups. Everyone has to suffer a bit in their life. 

“When I was a kid, they were closing all the youth clubs. We didn’t have nothing like this. Something like this might have made a difference for me. 

“You don’t have to hit rock bottom. I had to learn the hard way. 

 

“Prison made me more of a criminal. When I got out I started selling drugs again, but drugs that would make me more money. 

“The second time I went to prison I did a lot of things I thought I wasn’t capable of. That’s what made me realise I didn’t want to be in that environment any more. 

“You have to grow up at some point in your life. 

“It doesn’t help to have parents who don’t give a f**k about their children. If there’s a problem at home, there’s going to be a problem wherever they go. I would like to see some family counselling here. 

 

“I’m going to create a radio station and a studio here, and give studio time to underprivileged kids. 

“When I grew up, music was my escape. I lost that when I started abusing drugs.

 

I got clean the hard way. I was addicted to crack, but it’s expensive in prison. Spice was the cheapest and easiest thing.

“I didn’t realise how addicted I was until I got released and started waking up in the middle of the night trying to find it. 

“I tried to keep my addiction hidden for a long time, I was mixing it with cannabis. 

“Then I met a girl and she caught me smoking it. We’ve had an argument. Since then I’ve never touched crack or spice again. I had my eyes opened.

“I’ve spent two years clean.”

 

Jay was raised a Catholic but said he found Islam after his barber suggested he read the Koran. It helped him to accept who he really was. 

“Before, everything was a persona. I had to wear a mask. You can’t lie to yourself.

“I don’t need these false people around. They were only there for the good times. I have a support network now.

“When you stop selling drugs, it’s hard. I made a lot of money. Now I can’t get a job.

“I’m lucky to have people around to show me what I’m capable of.”

 

Lin’s son Carter said was an habitual weed smoker but he never had a problem with harder substances. 

He said FACES was “potentially revolutionary”.

 

https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/cannabis-allowed-site-new-education-3362023

 

Vid On Link

 

Bongme 

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