Cheers in court as ex cannabis cafe owner who had 202 plants in wardrobe spared jail

Gary Youds pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis resin after plants were found in a wardrobe


Cheers were heard in court today as a former owner of a cannabis cafe avoided jail.

Gary Youds, of Cavan Road, West Derby, had pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis resin after 202 plants were found in a wardrobe at his home by police on March 3, 2019.

The 50-year-old appeared in a packed court room at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, as supporters from across the country gathered to publicly stand by the dad-of-two


At a previous hearing, on February 12, Youds pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis and producing a controlled drug, namely cannabis.

Cheryl Mottram, prosecuting, said police raided Youds’ home and found the plants in a wardrobe.

She said Youds accepted the plants were on his property, but he didn’t have the means to sustain all of the plants in the environment or grow them.


And at an earlier hearing Brendan Carville, defending, said his client said they were “only just plants because they didn’t have roots – they were just cuttings.”


Ms Mottram added that because Mr Youds suffers from arthritis, he had the cannabis plants at his property because “he doesn’t take prescription medication for his condition”.

She told the court: “He had grown them from seeds and they were CBD plants, which he said were legal and he was growing them to help with his arthritis.”


Ms Mottram said a yield could not be determined by police from the hundreds of plants seized, as they had not developed enough to say how much worth they would have had.

Sentencing, Judge Anil Murray spared Youds a jail sentence.

Youds was given a community order for 12 months and told to attend 25 days of rehab for possessing cannabis.


He was then given another 12 month community order for producing cannabis, to run concurrently with his other sentence.

Claps could be heard from the public gallery as Youds was given his sentence, as some of his entourage of supporters thanked the judge while leaving the court room.

While relieved Youds did not receive a custodial sentence, some of his supporters claimed he should not have been arrested in the first place.


A supporter of Youds’, Callie Blackwell said: “The community order is completely unfair, he’s done nothing wrong.”

Under UK law, cannabis is a Class B drug and those found to possess it can fave up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

Another supporter of his, Jannette Clements, said it was “ironic” Youds was given a community order when “he’s been doing a community service for others”


The ECHO reported in 2017 how Youds was told to pay back just £600 of his £25,000 profits from his cannabis caf e.

Youds – described as a “martyr” for legalisation of the drug – was sentenced to nine months in January 2017 .


He was locked up after being caught running the illegal business in Holt Road, Kensington for the third time.

Police discovered £11,000 of cannabis, along with electronic scales and cash, when they raided the cafe on June 18, 2015.

Ms Clements, from East Surrey, said Youds was instrumental in bringing the community together, and argued his cafe was a force for good.


Agreeing, Ms Blackwell said: “He got people in the community a job. He got people off the dole and he was helping people.”

Youds first applied to Liverpool council to convert the former taxi office into a “private members club” for cannabis smokers in 2002.


When councillors rejected his plans for the Tea Cafe in Holt Road, Kensington, the former property developer went ahead and set it up anyway.

Youds was then handed a conditional discharge for letting The Chillin’ Rooms cafe be used for smoking cannabis in 2005.

He ignored the punishment and was locked up for 12 months in 2006, after he also admitted to growing a crop at his home and dealing the drug.


Judge Brian Lewis, sentencing, on that occasion said: “Either you wanted to martyr yourself in the cause of the pro-cannabis lobby or you wanted to set up a cafe, a deliberate and blatant challenge to the law.”

Hemp Houses are Being 3D-Printed in Australia




Hemp Houses are Being 3D-Printed in Australia

Author: Sara Burrows
3 minutes

Soon, we’ll be able to order 3D-printed hemp houses!


A Dutch town will host the world’s first five livable 3D-printed homes, with residents set to move in next year. Credit: Project Milestone

An Australian company is 3D-printing hemp bioplastic walls, floors and roofs to be used in the construction of eco-friendly prefabricated homes.

The carbon-neutral homes will take only weeks to construct and will store massive amounts of CO2 in their walls.

The company, Mirreco, hopes their 3D-printed hemp polymer panels will become the material of choice for residential and commercial builders around the world.

Not only is hemp bioplastic easier to work with than concrete, it’s way more environmentally friendly.

The hemp biomass used to make it sequesters carbon dioxide when its growing and stores it “forever” when its turned into plastic.

And unlike concrete, hemp is a renewable resource. There is simply not enough sand in the world to sustain the growing demand for conventional concrete, Business Insider explains.

“The specific type of sand needed for concrete is often harvested from riverbeds, which destroys ecosystems and threatens the biodiversity of plants, fish, and animals,” The Mind Unleashed notes.

Mirreco says their hemp plastic panels are “structurally sound, easy to produce, and provide superior thermal performance.”

The company has teamed up with an architecture firm to create digital prototypes of the homes it will soon “print.”87561497_497574580886468_331183925749193
Once the panels are printed, the homes can be put together in a matter of weeks, as opposed to the typical months or years required to build traditional houses. 87542041_545175659681855_282461860122538

The walls, roof and floors will be made of Mirreco’s patented hemp polymer, while the windows will incorporate cutting-edge technology that converts UV light passing through into electricity.


Meanwhile, the Dutch town of Bosrijk will soon become home to the world’s first inhabitable 3D-printed houses.


Credit: Project Milestone

Project Milestone consists of five 3D-printed sustainable Stonehenge-shaped houses, with residents expected to move in next year.

The project has been described by developers as a “game changer” which will “stimulate 3D building” worldwide.

“With this technology we can do things we couldn’t do before,” Eindhoven University of Technology professor Theo Salet says. “We can create shapes that normally can hardly be made.”



Could UK’s new damning drug report bring about decriminalisation or is funding treatment the only way?



Could UK’s new damning drug report bring about decriminalisation or is funding treatment the only way?

We’re in Glasgow where Dame Carol Black has just delivered a pretty blisteringly critical account of the role the drug market played in causing serious violence to rocket in the UK. She was asked by the former Home Secretary Sajid Javid to look at current drug use and today she has delivered in comprehensive, blow-the-doors-off fashion for Boris Johnson.

Being in the room as she delivered her assessment you could see tables of senior police officers and politicians shift uncomfortably in their seats at various parts.

You can read the report for yourself here. It describes a “perfect storm”: an increase in drugs coming into the UK and a purer quality to those drugs alongside a drop in what she calls the “protective” factors – treatment for drug addiction and recovery as well as the protection of children who, through cuts to youth services and increases in exclusions from school, have been sucked into organised crime.


Black told me this what the thing that shocked her most -the number of children involved in drug dealing, but also their drug taking.

Firstly, the nature of the drugs market in the UK. The smell of cannabis is so prevalent on our streets that sometimes you might think it’s cannabis sales driving the violence. The same might be true for politicians’ penchant for mentioning cocaine – I remember at the time he commissioned this review, the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid was keen on telling us that middle class cocaine users were driving the county lines problem.

The ‘woke folk’ who like avocado on toast and almond milk were, went the argument, driving the exploitation of the vulnerable.


That definitely did not tally with what we were seeing on the grounds in our reporting and today Black’s report confirms he wasn’t right: of the £9.4bn drug market they identify the lion’s share is heroin (41% or £4bn) and powder cocaine is half this (20% or £2bn).

Cannabis is the second largest part of the market – 25% or £2bn – but still far behind heroin. Surprisingly low is crack cocaine (14% or £1bn) but the combination preferred by many street addicts – crack and heroin – makes up 50% of all the drugs market. It is not middle class drug use driving this problem (though of course it is in the mix)… it’s the addiction of much poorer, desperate individuals.


Black’s review will get headlines for saying law enforcement has “deprioritised policing drugs” because of too few resources. She also has some uncomfortable stats on how well law enforcement is currently stopping drugs from getting in to the country – just 1 per cent of heroin is intercepted by border police. I think a forthcoming review of the NCA may see them receive more funding for this kind of operation.

But she wants everyone to be “realistic about this route”. To be fair to them, a great many senior police figures have been saying this to me for a couple of years now.

It would then usually be routine for us all to ask about whether the drug laws are right… but here we reach a brick wall: the government strictly forbid Dame Carol Black from looking at whether our drug laws work. Given this, it is then odd that this afternoon at the government’s own drugs summit, they will hear from the Portuguese.

That country decriminalised drug use and made it punishable with an appearance before a committee which took a proactive interest in helping a user come off the drug.

The result? In Portugal, they have four drug deaths per million; in the UK we have ten times that. But as I say, a brick wall. When I asked Dame Black if she thought Portugal was the way to go, she refused to be drawn.

Instead she seems to believe she must get the government to invest in treatment. Drugs cost the UK economy £20bn, but we spend just £600m on treatment.


“If you have cancer or diabetes, you would get the best drugs around” she put to the conference. “I ask you to reflect on what we might do for people with a different chronic condition – addiction?”

She points to evidence that treatment leads to fewer people taking drugs. What form this treatment should take – whether the government cuts to drugs services since 2010 should be totally reversed or more than that – wasn’t clear. The government has already given the go ahead for more heroin assisted treatment rooms in Middlesborough. Should there be more of them around the country? It wasn’t clear.

Off the back of this report, the policing minister Kit Malthouse told the conference he would gather with other home affairs ministers from the devolved nations and regions in four weeks time to decide what to do next. To be fair to him, he did seem to understand his government needed to have something to say. He told the conference he woken up that morning and reflected on his 20 years in politics and concluded that he couldn’t remember a time when drugs were as prolific as they are right now.

The prime minister has said he wants to “totally wind up” county lines. If he’s to do that, he’d do well to listen to Dame Carol Black. They would then have a (hopefully) fertile conversation about funding drug treatment. He then might close the door and ask this woman who has authored such a thorough detailed report what she would also do, if there really were no no-go areas.





Drugs are now killing TWICE as many people as car crashes thanks to a rise in ‘woke coke’ middle-class cocaine users



Drugs are now killing TWICE as many people as car crashes thanks to a rise in ‘woke coke’ middle-class cocaine users


Daily Mail


Britons are now twice as likely to die from drugs than a road accident, a police chief revealed yesterday.

The shocking fact lays bare the scale of the drug menace gripping the country.

It was revealed by top police officer Andy Cooke. He also told how drug dealers are peddling ‘woke coke’, attracting middle-class users with the claim that drugs are ‘ethically-sourced’ and ‘no-one had been harmed in the production of this cocaine’.

The figures emerged on the day a major report warned of the unprecedented number of children and teenagers being drawn into the drug trade through county lines gangs.


Dame Carol Black’s drugs review revealed that deaths due to misuse of substances were the highest on record, with a total of 4,104 in the UK in 2018, with 2,917 recorded in England and Wales and 1,187 in Scotland.

Yesterday Chief Constable Cooke, who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Council on crime operations, said the rising death toll was more than double the 1,784 killed on Britain’s roads in the same year.

He called for police forces to ‘come down hard’ on all types of drug offences, including possession of cannabis.

Deaths involving cocaine doubled between 2015 and 2018 and the number of deaths overall from misuse of drugs rose by 16 per cent between 2017 and 2018.

‘It’s shocking, but sadly not surprising, that you are now twice as likely to die a drugs-related death than from a road accident,’ he said.

‘It’s why everyone must focus more on dealing with addiction, alongside the police work to target the dealers.

‘It is a hidden shift, because no real attention has been paid to the number of drug deaths … until county lines became an issue.’

County lines drug gangs are named for the phone lines used to arrange deals outside major cities.

Mr Cooke added: ‘People have realised it is not just an issue for Manchester, Merseyside or Birmingham, it is an issue for every town and city.’

The Merseyside Chief Constable spoke at the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners summit as he condemned middle-class users for fuelling a trade which is costing society around £19billion a year.


He said: ‘I heard the most ridiculous thing recently that some drug dealers were claiming they had ethically sourced cocaine. There is nothing ethical about the production of cocaine.

‘Both nationally and internationally, people die as a result of it. We see people shot and stabbed all the time, we see turf wars in relation to drugs. We need to continue to target those individuals involved in violent criminality on the back of the drug trade more strongly than ever.’

He added: ‘People think that they have to go and buy vegan food or organic food, but they are quite happy to go and buy cocaine on the streets. It is just hypocritical and it is targeted at the middle-class drug user who should know better.’

Mr Cooke said forces should treat cannabis offending as seriously as other drugs. 

‘We get more people shot and stabbed on the streets of Merseyside as a result of cannabis wars than other issues.’

Dame Carol Black’s review for the Home Office said a resurgence in crack cocaine use led to a rise in killings while the growth of county lines gangs has increased levels of violence.

The proportion of killings in London which are drug-related stands at 56 per cent, the report revealed, while in the north of England it is 42 per cent.

In the south, Midlands and Wales it is 37 per cent.


Dealers with business cards who deliver in just 27 minutes

Hard drugs are as easy to obtain as a takeaway pizza because organised crime is flooding Britain’s streets with ‘abundant’ supplies, a Government analyst warns.

Substances such as cocaine and ecstasy can be delivered to the door in minutes by dealers – in some cases more quickly than a 12-inch pepperoni. Many dealers even carry business cards.

An official Home Office study revealed violent county lines gangs have usurped local dealers in virtually every part of the country and are intimately linked with a ‘dramatic increase in violence’.

Report author Dame Carol Black, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, told a Home Office drugs conference in Glasgow: ‘You can buy whichever drug you want almost anywhere. It’s almost – for some drugs – as easy as getting your pizza.’

A BBC investigation found it took just 27 minutes to get hold of an order of cocaine from a dealer in Leeds, who had his own business cards.

A reporter texted a dealer at 7.35pm, received a reply 20 minutes later, and seven minutes after that handed over £60 cash for two small bags of drugs.

Dame Carol’s review said organised crime is driving use of hard drugs and other illegal substances in rural areas.

County lines gangs use dedicated phone lines to sell drugs – mainly heroin and crack cocaine – out of major cities and into shire counties, market towns and coastal resorts.

Dame Carol said: ‘The county lines model now stretches all over the country and has largely displaced local dealers.’

Increasingly, local children are being recruited to work for the gangs rather than youths shipped in from urban areas, she added.

‘It is a very violent business model, both for victims and between groups,’ she said.

‘Potential future saturation of county lines markets raises the threat of violence still further.’


Top Hitter


Maybe they should spend more time catching dealers than Motorists then.



exxypat, Pattaya, Thailand,




Legislation that allows nursing homes to administer medical cannabis gains momentum



Legislation that allows nursing homes to administer medical cannabis gains momentum

Providers in Virginia are excited about a proposal that would allow nursing homes to administer CBD and THC-A oil to certified residents. 

“We really believe that the legislation is moving toward positive aging for all Virginians,” Dana Parsons, vice president & legislative counsel for LeadingAge Virginia, told McKnight’s


Senate Bill 185, which would also apply to assisted living facilities and hospice programs, allows employees to administer the medications to residents who have been issued a valid, written certification for it. Current state law restricts the use of CBD and THC-A oil to Board of Pharmacy-registered patients.  

The legislation is now making its rounds through the state House after passing the Senate. Providers believe there’s a good change the legislation will be passed and signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

The legislation comes during a time when cannabis use continues to rise among older Americans. More than 30 states have also either legalized medical cannabis or CBD oil. 

“If the resident and [their] practitioner believes that this is a good alternative for them to use, then we believe that this law will support that. [This] could be an overall benefit to the resident,” Parsons said. 


The Virginia Health Care Association – Virginia Center for Assisted Living also expressed excitement for the legislation, adding that it worked with bill sponsor Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R) and its state agency partners on the bill. 


“Under Dunnavant’s leadership, Virginia is taking steps in the right direction to help nursing facilities and assisted living communities navigate the issues around resident’s use and possession of CBD or THC-A,” said April Payne, LNHA, the association’s vice president of quality improvement and director of VCAL. 

If the law is passed, the association encouraged providers to draft policies on the regulation and also include copies of resident certifications. 

“We will be working with our members to support them with this,” Parsons said. 


With marijuana being listed as a schedule I drug, Parsons said some providers have been concerned about the federal implications if the law is passed and implemented. Schedule I drugs are those that have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” as defined by the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

“For those certified communities, we will continue to work with them and seek guidance from [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] on how they could move forward with implementing the new law,” Parsons said. 


Parsons added she doesn’t believe there is much chance the regulation could be abused since residents need to have written certification and state approval before being given the medication. 

“There’s a lot of accountability in place. I don’t see that being a concern,” she said.







Sheffield drug farmer claimed he would ‘smoke £21,000 worth of cannabis’



Sheffield drug farmer claimed he would ‘smoke £21,000 worth of cannabis’

A Sheffield man was found running a cannabis factory when police called at his home searching for another man, a court heard.


Officers discovered 25 plants at Kurdu Faquia’s Mount Street home when they called on January 25, last year, said prosecutor Laura Marshall.

If the yield was sold in £10 street deals it would have fetched between £7,000 to £21,000, she said, but he claimed it was for personal use.

Clarkson Baptiste, mitigating, said Faquia, who has no previous convictions, arrived from Iraq 20 years ago, after facing “hardships and extraordinary situations in his life.”


Faquia, 51, pleaded guilty to production of the Class B drug, at South Yorkshire Magistrates Court.

Recorder Matthew Happold sentenced him to six months, suspended for 12 months, and ordered 150 hours of unpaid work and five rehabilitation days.







Man arrested and £8,000 worth of cannabis seized in Hatfield



Man arrested and £8,000 worth of cannabis seized in Hatfield


On Monday February 10, Operation Scorpion – who are tasked with investigating drug offences – attempted to detain a man on Aviation Avenue, which led to a lengthy foot chase through the town. This ended in Cunningham Avenue, where the man was arrested on suspicion of possession of class B drugs with intent to supply, and obstructing police.

The man’s property was searched and large amount of cannabis, alongside a baton, and over £500 in cash were found.

He was also arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and has been released on bail until Monday, March 9.

PC Angela Wilcox said: “I am pleased to say that over £8,000 worth of cannabis is now off the streets of Welwyn Hatfield.

“The drugs trade preys on vulnerable people and it often goes hand-in-hand with other types of crime. We understand the misery it causes to the local community and that’s why we do all we can to tackle it.

“If you suspect drug use or drug dealing in Welwyn Hatfield, please don’t hesitate to let us know. The more information we have, the more we can take action.”

You can also report information online at or speak to an operator via an online web chat at 

Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via the independent charity’s untraceable online form at

You can tell Herts Police what matters most to you about policing, crime or anti-social behaviour in Welwyn Hatfield using echo. Go to and have your say.



Police seize more than 200 cannabis plants after raid at property



Police seize more than 200 cannabis plants after raid at property

More than 200 cannabis plants have been discovered at a property in Bowthorpe.

Norwich West Safer Neighbourhood team executed a drugs warrant at an address in Braithwait Close at about 9am on Thursday (February 27).

A Norfolk Police spokesman said a man, aged in his 20s, has been arrested on suspicion of the production of cannabis.

The spokesman said he remains in police custody at this time.

Officers publicised news of the raid on social media.

Norwich Police tweeted: “Norwich West Safer Neighbourhood team have executed a drugs warrant this morning in the Bowthorpe area. An excellent result with the discovery of over 200 Cannabis plants being grown. One suspect arrested and is currently in custody #NWSNT #PC820”.


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