Utility companies are trying to use the theft of electricity by illegal cannabis farms run by gangs as a way of increasing the average consumers bill whilst avoiding corperation tax to the sum of £1billion.
Ofgem is the Governments Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, and after a recent survey estimate there are around 25,000 cases of electricity theft every year, and last week put forward tough new rules to encourage suppliers to take action to prevent cannabis growers diverting electricity. This could include fines if suppliers do not investigate swiftly.
I tuned into the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 yesterday and the cover presenter seemed to be speaking very obnoxiously about cannabis and the types of people that grow it. Speaking with head of ACPO who was also on the show you would come to the conclusion that anyone that looks Asian and rents a house by themselves is potentially a cannabis farmer and therefore a menace to society. You should call the police on them and pat yourselves on the back for being a racist, prejudiced but “good citizen”. It is a shame BBC 2 had a completely bias set of opinions coming in about electricity theft when it came to talking about cannabis and refused to call me back so that NORML UK and the UKCSC could interject with some logic.
Prohibition allows HUGE international criminal crime gangs (yes many Asian but mainly Vietnamese gangs have come to the UK) to make MASSIVE profits over a plant that everyone of an adult age should be lawfully able to consume or grow in their own home if they so choose. The scientific evidence to support how much safer it is to consume than other recreational and pharmaceutical drugs is almost endless now.
The report by Ofgem stated that £7 per year is added to the annual cost of every electricity consumer for theft from illegally operating full scale cannabis farms which are said to consume up to 40% more electricity than a normal house hold, but the cost to the public to enforce prohibition is a staggering £20billion a year and the TAX PAYER foots the bill.
Electricity theft of this kind is a product of prohibition. Gangs growing cannabis for ridiculous profits are a product of prohibition. £7 added on to everyone else’s electricity bill is a product of prohibition. All the while without really realising it you are funding the system that allows for this exploitation to happen to you.
Surely it would be a much more sensible approach to rent out the large warehouses that the growers use for commercial scale cannabis cultivation (like they do in the legal marijuana industry in Colorado), and make money not only off the fact that the electricity bills will be paid because they are not trying to avoid detection but it would also stop the electricity companies having to go and investigate where all this electricity is “vanishing” to. Energy companies would be loving it if the so called “green-rush” came to the UK in a way that they could benefit. There are too many commercial properties that are sitting empty in UK industrial estates at the moment going to waste which could be put to far better use and employ people legally. This helps income revenue, reduces unemployment, increases industry and stops buildings becoming derelict. Oh yeah…and it wouldn’t be the gangs bank rolling without contributing back to it and you would stop ciminalising anyone that used or grew cannabis – between 2 and 6 million people a year.
Both the energy companies and the police are fighting a losing battle trying to shut down so called “cannabis factories” and they know it. They don’t care because they are “just doing their job” and are passing the bill onto the public and using it as an excuse to inflate prices. Hell, it’s propping up their jobs to the tune of £500million a year. It certainly gives the authorities more of a tangible excuse to snoop around properties and find otherwise law abiding citizens growing a 1m tent in their spare bedroom to get busted and waste the tax payer a hell of a lot more money.
We should also remember that it was only a few months back in April and then reaffirmed in June that both energy and water companies were being grilled and under the spotlight for not paying corporation tax despite “significant profits”. The telegraph reports that £1billion has been avoided from being paid to the treasury. Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said it was unfair that many utility companies are not paying their fair share at a time when the rising cost of gas, electricity and water has added £384 to the average household expenses since 2010. Mr Elphicke called on the Government and utility regulators to take action immediately, either through a “windfall tax or a reduction of bills to customers”.
So to get this srtaight…gangs that grow cannabis for profits to engage in criminal activities raising £320billion a year that do harm society (which costs £20billion to attempt to control) and don’t pay tax on it because they can’t because it’s illegal, are stealing electricity from companies that are avoiding paying a £1billon in corperation tax and the response to this is to add £7 on to those who do pay thier energy bill. Yeah fair enough it sounds like the logic of this country.
Cannabis is the largest cash crop in the world.
Let’s start getting serious about this. More cannabis farms are set up each day than the police can even manage to find and raid. West Midlands police’s special dedicated Cannabis Disposal Team raided 1000 properties in 18 months. What has been the result? I live in the West Midlands and getting hold of cannabis is easier than any other drug out there. I can appreciate that they go after the big gangs that are involved but this still does not stop the everyday otherwise law abiding citizen and patient getting caught in the crossfire.
But this just goes to show that it is not just gangs that can grow cannabis…more and more people are turning to it because they A) do not want to involve themselves with criminal activity or anti social behaviour B) want to know what they are getting to smoke, that its clean and not contaminated and C) because it is so much cheaper than £10 a gram that would go towards funding more serious crime. Going after cannabis growers that grow for ethical reasons and to lessen the problems inflicted upon society by prohibition is unethical, absurd and a downright abuse of human rights and the Misuse of Drugs Acts initial intentions.
Former Cheif Constable for Cambridegshire Tom Lloyd after a lengthy career involved in policing the Miduse of Drugs Act 1971 says “prohibition is an expensive, harmful, counterproductive failure.”
“I’ve been in a situation where 100 dealers were taken off of the street, hours, days, weeks later the market will go back to what it was, very quickly adapt and supply those drugs.
The scale of the industry is so vast that any attempt to curb it is just going to raise the harms to society and increase the profitablibity in it and therefore scale it is farmed at.
The fact of the matter is, gangs wouldn’t be the ones growing cannabis if it were to be legally regulated for commercial scale, it would be the people that care about it, the hard working – doing it for the love and the right reason kinds of people that have spent years perfecting the art and science of cultivation of this specific plant. And one’s that pay their electricity bills.
Cannabis is the largest cash crop in the world, estimated at $14billion a year in California alone says Cheryl Shuman (watch the video with Peirs Morgan below) a cannabis marketing consultant in California who came out the closet about her medical cannabis use after using it to treat her cancer. There are 19 States and Washington DC with Medical Marijuana laws, not to mention Colorado and Washington that are now fully legal for all 21s and over; there is no way we can raid and arrest our way out of this and if we want to reduce the harm caused to society we need to repeal prohibition and allow a regulated commercial growing industry to be legitimised. Some Medical Marijuana gardens cost $2m a year to run and employ several dozen staff (who would otherwise be criminalised in the UK). Cheryl Shman says “Cannabis is here to stay, the toothpaste is out of the tube, it’s not going away, it’s not only a plant that can heal a multitue of illnesses, it can heal our economy.”
The UK Home Office already allow GW Pharmaceuticals to grow 300 tonnes a year in Kent, but I bet they aren’t stealing electricity or involved in international crime gangs that smuggle weapons and traffic humans.