ITV: Britain’s Booming Cannabis Industry

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“Legalisation would put me out of business” – says violent cannabis grow room burglar on ITV’s report, ‘Exposing Britain’s Booming Cannabis Industry’

Is prohibition really working?

By Greg de Hoedt

In an ITV documentary aired last night director Connor Woodman interviewed a man who was more than happy to admit to the horrific nature of his job – to go around and steal cannabis grows and beat and torture the growers or homeowner to find out if there is another grow they can steal.

Wrenches, hammers, duct tape, and 2×4 are used to intimidate and hurt other cannabis growers because of the vast tax-free profits involved in an activity that is prohibited. Criminals are attracted to it because the illegality increases the price – if they are prepared to commit these kind of atrocities to other humans then stealing and selling a plant is irrelevant when you can get £20,000 a night from just one burglary.

You can bet that Prime Minister David Cameron wasn’t watching, who himself was caught smoking cannabis during his time at the exclusive public school, Eton, which is extremely unfortunate because the violent criminal who openly admitted to these terrible crimes also said legalisation would put him out of business. Cameron needs to know violent criminals agree with and support his policy to not change Britain’s cannabis laws.

Until change happens ...” – Violent Grow Robber

Cannabis bud samples show in ITV documentary, Exploring Britain's Booming Cannabis Trade.
Two samples of cannabis seized by the police.

Watch the full episode here on ITV Player.

Orson Boon, founder of London Cannabis Club and United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs, was also interviewed for the hour long show. The London Cannabis Club has been around for over two years and has the largest online cannabis following in the UK. Orson works in the medical profession and has seen the difference cannabis makes to pharmaceuticals in a patients daily life.

“We have meet ups all over London.

“Think of wine tasting, but you have people putting their noses in jars and sniffing and rubbing their fingers to get the smells and effects.

“It’s people getting together eating good food, socialising and even having conversations about politics,” said Orson.

London saw 10,000 people congregate in Hyde park on the international cannabis holiday April 20th – 4/20.

Tom Lloyd, former Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, features in ITV documentary, Exploring Britain's Booming Cannabis Trade.
Ex-Chief Constable, Tom Lloyd, supports reforming Britain’s drug laws.

Tom Lloyd QPM MA (Oxon), International Drug Policy Adviser and a former Chief Constable, also had his say on the programme. He explained  how bad the problem was and that the police were well aware this was happening.

“As soon as you take one dealer off the streets there is another business opportunity for one or two more.

“The police are effectively at least doubling the problem they are trying to solve. As the Home Affairs Select Committee report said it’s time to ‘Break The Cycle’ “, concluded Mr Lloyd.

It is well known that cannabis is one of the most transcultural commodities, but it also crosses the class barrier and this was almost shrugged off as more than a given. You mainly hear about drugs being associated with anti-social behaviour but hear you have criminals telling you that they have a large client base of upper class customers that like Class A drugs as well as cannabis.

Reactions to the documentary on Facebook have shown just how deeply prohibition has managed to get in and damage communities and attract young people into organised crime.

Sheffield Cannabis Club admin Jay Blaze said “Big argument won for a safe and regulated market – I’m sick of the criminals, I’ve been beaten, stabbed, hospitalised and put in prison for my cannabis consumption, I am not a criminal, I’m a patient.”

Another patient said “It is a shame they didn’t show a medical garden and how they help people – that side was missing.”

It may be that no one was willing to come forward and show that side of the UK cannabis community for fear of loosing their medical crop and not being able to help patients. THC4MS were helping hundreds of MS patients with cannabis chocolates in the 90s and early 2000’s, before they were raided and organisers were prosecuted and sent to prison. GW Pharma, after donating a large amount of money to the Labour Party, were subsequently granted their licence to grow and produce their Cannabis medicine, Sativex, for MS patients.

The documentary highlighted how the lack of control over the illicit drugs market has allowed it to thrive. People either have to turn to growing themselves, another crime – in order to steer clear of organised crime, or buy from the criminal black market. Some home growers have excess herb and this gets sold on and can even end up being sold on the streets, where people can make double the money for a plant that takes eight weeks to flower! The recession has forced many into hard times where they have had to turn to the only way they know to make enough money to feed themselves and their families and keep a roof over their head,  i.e., grow cannabis. This then creates opportunities for violent criminals to come and muscle their way in with violence to steal what they think is theirs because it is in the area that operates outside the law.

Instead of criminalising this industry the UK Cannabis Social Clubs believe that allowing the domestic cultivation of cannabis should be legal and Cannabis Social Clubs should be allowed their place in society. People who grow would be able to get their cannabis tested and any excess can be distributed through a safe and age regulated market, so the young and those who are most vulnerable can be protected. This would not only provide legal and taxable jobs for many who are currently unemployed, because of their cannabis lifestyle, it would also remove the massive profits from going into the pockets of organised crime and save the tax payer at least half a billion pounds a year of valuable and very tight police time and resources, especially in these times of austerity. Colorado and Washington have voted for legal and regulated markets for both medical and recreational cannabis; Uruguay is in the process of doing the same. Ten countries in Europe, and counting, are legislating for the decriminalisation of cannabis. The UK can simply not afford to keep gifting this industry to the wrong people and pay for it in the process while holding back some of the most incredible people by such barbaric and draconian laws.

Chris Bovey, spokesperson for NORML UK said: “On the whole I felt the programme made a very strong case for reforming Britain’s cannabis laws. Whenever you hear there is going to be a programme about cannabis on the television one always dreads it will be full of the usual dishonest ‘Reefer Madness’ nonsense, this was not the case last night and I congratulate the programme makers for a fair and honest documentary. I hope our MPs were watching last night since I cannot imagine any intelligent person would have watched that programme and come to the conclusion that Britain’s drug laws are working.

“I urge people to write to their MPs about the cannabis issue and also get active, join NORML UK, find out if there is a local Cannabis Social Club in your area. The louder the six million cannabis consumers in the UK make their voices heard the more chance there is that our politicians will listen and reform our unfair and unjust cannabis laws”, said Mr Bovey.

Please let us know what your response to Exposing Britain’s Blooming Cannabis Industry is in the comments below, we will be featuring another article with your reactions.

8 thoughts on “ITV: Britain’s Booming Cannabis Industry

  1. If the program was meant to be anti it back fired, so a good result from it either way.
    I have e-mails with the Home office overdue an answer, and a letter exposing the hypocrisy of our drug laws with my MP. I’m not holding my breathe on a reply to either.

  2. Gavin,that’s incorrect,they were busted,put through the system and then sativex became available,but it took a few years to get it properly licensed in the UK and it’s still not available as it’s blacklisted in many pct areas

  3. I think this documentary showed the side of the cannabis industry that the government is most oblivious to, we’ve been telling them for years that it needs to be legalised to stop the violence and crime, but they dont live the life most of us do that see this going on around us on a daily basis thus think our claims are exaggerated and as an excuse for us to just smoke and not get arrested, i cant see any MP justifying the claims their policies are working if they took an hour to see this video. Cannabis needs to be legalised, regulated, and treated seriously as a drug that is scientifically proven to be less harmful than pretty much any illegal and legal drug out there, they need took make a brave but right decision, legalise!

  4. I think last nights show highlighted 2 very different sides of the cannabis scene. I think as these docs go it wasn’t as biased as I expected.
    It showed the intellegent cannabis grower happily being self sufficient and entirely removing themselves from the black market altogether and the other side if the coin with the violent criminals who are directly facilitated by prohibition.
    Hopefully we will see a pro cannabis documentary made soon with a focus on good that it does for medical patients and the positive side of a legal and regulated industry.

  5. Thc4ms organisers never went to prison but got suspended sentences because the judge acknowledged that their motives were altruistic and they never profited from
    it,even though they supplied over half a million pounds worth of cannabis,however the lack of support from many in the cannabis community and the personal cost to them for going through it all made them draw back from it all,mark and Lezley are personal friends of mine and like a lot of ppl I donated active ingredients for the chocolate.oz

      1. Gavin,that’s incorrect,they were busted,put through the system and then sativex became available,but it took a few years to get it properly licensed in the UK and it’s still not available as it’s blacklisted in many pct areas

  6. I really enjoyed watching this documentary yesterday. There was some bias, but at the end of the day it explained one thing very clearly; whatever your views on cannabis and it’s effects, how is prohibition helping to stomp out crime?

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