03 Sep UK Police Campaign On Cannabis Farms Is A Confidence Trick

DCS Bill Jephson, National Policing Lead for Cannabis

DCS Bill Jephson, National Policing Lead for Cannabis

Peter reynolds

Peter Reynolds

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has launched yet another propaganda campaign against people who grow cannabis. As usual this consists of fact free scaremongering and a complete distortion of the facts and evidence about the possible harms. Once again, Detective Chief Superintendent Bill Jephson, National Policing Lead for Cannabis-related Crime, is in charge of delivering a message that seeks to frighten the public with myth, misinformation and manipulation of data.

DCS Jephson claims that in the UK “increasingly potent and dangerous cannabis…can have lasting physical and mental health effects on users”. Meanwhile in 23 US states, Canada, Israel and every country in Europe apart from UK, France and Ireland, the story is completely different. In these enlightened and progressive jurisdictions, the cannabis market has been regulated and the result has been falling crime, falling accident and suicide rates, lower alcohol consumption, fewer painkiller overdoses, less use by adolescents, better healthcare and millions in new tax revenue for spending on schools, hospitals and public services.

In direct contradiction of DCS Jephson, the facts show that virtually all the harms around cannabis farms are caused not by cannabis but by the laws against it and police enforcement action. Nothing the police or government can do will reduce the demand for cannabis and the harder they try to crack down the higher the price rises and the more profitable the trade becomes for unscrupulous criminals. It is the law, supported only by a misled minority, that forces cannabis cultivation into hidden locations, creating fire risk and destroying property. With a more rational, evidence-based policy there would be tens of thousands of new jobs in legitimate cannabis farms. Children would be better protected as street dealers are replaced with licensed outlets which sell properly labelled products and require proof of age. Everyone, whether they use cannabis or not, would be safer in a properly controlled, sensibly regulated environment.

Peter Reynolds, President and elected leader of CLEAR, commented:

“Of course, we understand that the police can’t change the law. Weak politicians have put them in an impossible position which creates division and tension within communities. Spiteful and misdirected initiatives like the Crimestoppers scratch ‘n’ sniff cards don’t catch criminal gangs because they have sophisticated odour control and ventilation systems. Instead, this nasty and divisive campaign turns neighbour against neighbour. The people it catches are the MS patient who has been refused access to Sativex or the grandmother growng a few plants to treat her arthritis.”