A campaigner against Britain’s drugs laws has welcomed the crackdown on cannabis factories being launched by police forces across the North West from Monday, March 5th.
Tameside’s Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies says that a targeted campaign against serious criminals has his full support, although he believes the law on drugs is an ass.
According to government figures, more than one third of the British population have used illegal drugs at some point in their lives. The number of cannabis ‘farms’ detected across the UK has increased from 3,032 to 6,866 over the past four years. Often located in private houses, many are said to be run by criminal gangs. Chris Davies says that the police crackdown on criminals makes more sense than arresting drug users who may be causing no harm to anyone other than themselves.
But the Liberal Democrat MEP says the production and sale of drugs should be legalised, licensed, taxed and accompanied by health warnings.
He said: “We celebrate the owners of breweries and distilleries as captains of industry, yet their products are every bit as harmful as cannabis. Drugs prohibition has failed across the world because it puts their production and supply into the hands of some evil people. The criminality associated with the drugs trade causes vastly more harm to society than their use. Drugs use should be matter for health professionals not law enforcement officers.”
A new law in Switzerland allows any citizen to grow up to four cannabis plants for their personal use, an approach to destroying the criminal supply chain that Chris describes as making good sense.
Guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers says that cannabis ‘farms’ are usually located in private dwellings. While some are of little commercial value the largest ever discovered, in Cambridgeshire in 2010, led to the seizure of 7,600 plants with a value of £2.5 million.
The number of plants is not relevant. A property will be treated as a ‘farm’ if it possesses either high intensity lighting, ventilation, a hydroponics system or is bypassing an electrical
Commercial cannabis production has been associated with trafficking of adults and their children from China and Vietnam.
ACPO says: “It is believed that there are a small number of teams who specialise in specific aspects of the cultivation chain. Higher level criminals are coordinating these teams and are highly organised.