Fears over Cannabis meeting in Dorchester tomorrow

Dorset Echo: Fears over Cannabis Awareness meeting in Dorchester tomorrow Fears over Cannabis Awareness meeting in Dorchester tomorrow

COMMUNITY leaders in Dorchester have expressed fears over a controversial ‘Cannabis Awareness Day’ that will take place in Maumbury Rings tomorrow.

This is to be the first ever event organised by the Dorset Cannabis Community - which is a branch of the UK Cannabis Social Clubs and campaign to de-stigmatise, decriminalise and regulate cannabis consumption.

Event organiser Dave Smith states the event is planned to 'educate the general public on the many positive uses of cannabis such as medicinal, spiritual and industrial use.'

It was originally called a 'smokeup' but Mr Smith changed it to reflect the meeting's intentions.

The event comes after months of work by Dorset Police in Dorchester to curb the spread of class B drug cannabis use among teenagers in the county town.

The fact that the event is near the skate park, used by local teenagers, has councillors and police worried that the over 18's only event may draw attention from a younger crowd.

Inspector Steve Marsh said that people need to keep in mind that cannabis is still a Class B drug and is illegal to possess.

He said: "I respect the right for anyone to discuss the current law and peacefully explain an opposing point of view.

"That is a fundamental right in this country.

"However organisers of the event in question should understand that if any offences are suspected under the misuse of drugs act, my officers will take positive action. "

He added: "I am concerned that the area chosen is used regularly by young people and families and ask that any meeting takes this into account and thinks very carefully about the messages they communicate to those that attend."

Organiser Dave Smith, of Gillingham said: “We chose Dorchester because it was central in the county for our first ever awareness day.

“We have a few members in Dorset now so we wanted to organise this regional meet up to spread the message and therefore we will have several key speakers.

"The Dorset Cannabis Community is working to raise awareness of the many uses of cannabis and the dangers of prohibiting this plant.

“We want to remove the black market trade of cannabis in the UK that is currently controlled by organised criminals who are making huge amounts of money from producing and selling cannabis.

“Organised criminals don't pay tax, they use money raised from cannabis sales to fund other forms of crime such as human trafficking, they are happy to sell to young people in the name of profit and they are not put off by the legality, in fact many are aware that if cannabis was legalised and regulated they would be out of a job.

He added: “You do not have to be a cannabis consumer to get involved and we welcome all peaceful members of society to come and check out what we are doing.

“People can come and smoke at their own risk but anyone aged under the age of 18 will be asked to leave.”

Around the country cannabis social clubs are holding their inaugural public protests or awareness days.

Four weeks ago a similar 'smokeup' event was organised called the Berkshire Cannabis Protest Picnic and police officers from Thames Valley Police turned up to confiscate cannabis from those attending the protest.

Dorchester councillor David Taylor, who sits on the Dorchester Crime Prevention Panel, said he has concerns about the event.

He said: “In Dorchester the police and council have worked very hard to stop the encouragement of using drugs such as cannabis and my concern is that this event will make it look 'cool' to the young people and that it is okay to be part of this set.”

The meeting starts at 2pm but talks will take place from 3pm onwards.

Cannabis and the law

  • · Cannabis is a Class B drug - it's illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
  • · Possession is illegal whatever you're using it for, including pain relief. The penalty is up to five years in jail.
  • · Supplying someone else can get you fourteen years and an unlimited fine.
  • · Supplying friends, even if you give it away, is also considered 'supplying' under the law.

The arguments for and against the legalisation of cannabis

Many influential politicians and celebrities have called for the legalisation of cannabis.

Last month Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton claimed the war on drugs had failed and said decriminalisation was the best way to wrestle power away from criminal gangs.

The UK Cannabis Social Club believe that consumers should not be criminalised or treated differently than any other member of society or culture or those that use another social or medical drug. The group aims to remove the criminal black market and divert funds away from organized crime by replacing it with a community based and or regulated outlets.

UKCSC support the right to domestic cultivation for personal and medicinal use without fear or having their peace breached by the force of the law.

The group say that users should not be forced to buy their cannabis from sources where proceeds go towards real crime or funding gangs that create real victims. This is a completely artificial chain that has been created entirely by the continued enforcement of prohibition.

The United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs say they are here to help bring an end to this by replacing the criminal supply chain with a community based system similar to that which is working in other parts of Europe.

AGAINST

The NHS has issued several warnings about health risks linked to cannabis use.

These include dependency problems, mental health problems and lung damage, further cautions are.

* Even hardcore smokers can become anxious, panicky, suspicious or paranoid.

* It affects co-ordination. Drug-driving is illegal.

* The drug has lots of chemicals, which can cause lung disease and possibly cancer with long term or heavy use.

* Cannabis increases the heart rate and can affect blood pressure.

* It can cause paranoia in the short term, and in those with a pre-existing psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia, it can contribute to relapse.

* Strong herbal cannabis (also known as skunk) can cause more powerful dangerous affects.

Panel Cannabis and the law • Cannabis is a Class B drug - it's illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.

• Possession is illegal whatever you're using it for, including pain relief. The penalty is up to five years in jail.

• Supplying someone else can get you fourteen years and an unlimited fine.

• Supplying friends, even if you give it away, is also considered 'supplying' under the law.

Dorset Echo: Inspector Steve Marsh of Dorchester police sectio

Opinion by Inspector Steve Marsh

I am aware that some members of the community want to see certain drugs decriminalised, in particular Cannabis.

One of the arguments used is the medical benefit cannabis can give to those suffering from certain illnesses.

I see this as being an entirely separate argument from the general legalisation of what is currently a Class B drug.

This means it is illegal to possess and supply etc.
My teams have recently carried out several drugs warrants at premises within the town as a result of increased community concern, in particular in connection to the supply of Cannabis to young people.

We continue to work closely with local schools to ensure that all parents and pupils are well informed regarding the risks associated with cannabis.

I am keen to ensure that those most vulnerable are fully aware of the potential risks associated with smoking cannabis not only from a criminal justice point of view but as importantly their own personal health and well being.

I respect the right for anyone to discuss the current law and peacefully explain an opposing point of view.

That is a fundamental right in this country. However organisers of the event in question should understand that if any offences are suspected under the misuse of drugs act, my officers will take positive action.

I am concerned that the area chosen is used regularly by young people and families and ask that any meeting takes this into account and thinks very carefully about the messages they communicate to those that attend.

Let us know what you think

Send your opinions to newsdesk@dorsetecho.co.uk or leave a comment below

Comments (15)

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6:13am Fri 1 Nov 13

Tinytone says...

So it's like a taster session?
So it's like a taster session? Tinytone

6:53am Fri 1 Nov 13

RobinofLocksley says...

Tinytone wrote:
So it's like a taster session?
Nice idea, but Plod might take a dim view
[quote][p][bold]Tinytone[/bold] wrote: So it's like a taster session?[/p][/quote]Nice idea, but Plod might take a dim view RobinofLocksley

7:14am Fri 1 Nov 13

cj07589 says...

What a stupid headline! Personally I'd be far more worried about the fear and danger that legal high products (aka plant food) represent. This meeting presents far less danger than the clientel of any local pub. People die everyday from alcohol abuse do some facts and education is a good thing and should be supported!
What a stupid headline! Personally I'd be far more worried about the fear and danger that legal high products (aka plant food) represent. This meeting presents far less danger than the clientel of any local pub. People die everyday from alcohol abuse do some facts and education is a good thing and should be supported! cj07589

8:15am Fri 1 Nov 13

beerbottle says...

Make it legal, the price will drop, people will not set up factorys to grow it, you could have a couple of plants in your greenhouse. This would cut down crime it would also save a lot of police time wasted giving people warnings.
Make it legal, the price will drop, people will not set up factorys to grow it, you could have a couple of plants in your greenhouse. This would cut down crime it would also save a lot of police time wasted giving people warnings. beerbottle

8:18am Fri 1 Nov 13

arlbergbahn says...

Oh jeez, Moral Panic again. The Echo does seem to be trying to emulate the Daily Mail in the silly moral outrage of its headlines. Of course, you'd expect out-of-the-ark moral outrage from Councillors and Community Leaders, whatever they are, such as councillor David Taylor:

"He said: “In Dorchester the police and council have worked very hard to stop the encouragement of using drugs such as cannabis and my concern is that this event will make it look 'cool' to the young people and that it is okay to be part of this set.”

This set? welcome to 1968, man. Can we presume crime is so negligible to non-existent in Dorchester that the Police can afford to work so hard on something so trivial?
Oh jeez, Moral Panic again. The Echo does seem to be trying to emulate the Daily Mail in the silly moral outrage of its headlines. Of course, you'd expect out-of-the-ark moral outrage from Councillors and Community Leaders, whatever they are, such as councillor David Taylor: "He said: “In Dorchester the police and council have worked very hard to stop the encouragement of using drugs such as cannabis and my concern is that this event will make it look 'cool' to the young people and that it is okay to be part of this set.” This set? welcome to 1968, man. Can we presume crime is so negligible to non-existent in Dorchester that the Police can afford to work so hard on something so trivial? arlbergbahn

8:36am Fri 1 Nov 13

JamesYoung says...

arlbergbahn wrote:
Oh jeez, Moral Panic again. The Echo does seem to be trying to emulate the Daily Mail in the silly moral outrage of its headlines. Of course, you'd expect out-of-the-ark moral outrage from Councillors and Community Leaders, whatever they are, such as councillor David Taylor:

"He said: “In Dorchester the police and council have worked very hard to stop the encouragement of using drugs such as cannabis and my concern is that this event will make it look 'cool' to the young people and that it is okay to be part of this set.”

This set? welcome to 1968, man. Can we presume crime is so negligible to non-existent in Dorchester that the Police can afford to work so hard on something so trivial?
I have to say they are not doing a particularly good job. Nearly every time i walk into Dorchester i smell it. I have no strong view on it but decriminalising something that is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco seems like a good idea so that the government can benefit from the profits rather than the gangs. I also note that cannabis is being seriously studied as a possible cancer treatment, so the health challenges listed above might be a little one sided.
If cannabis is an addictive gateway drug, i wonder how much of this is caused by the fact it is illegal in the first place.
[quote][p][bold]arlbergbahn[/bold] wrote: Oh jeez, Moral Panic again. The Echo does seem to be trying to emulate the Daily Mail in the silly moral outrage of its headlines. Of course, you'd expect out-of-the-ark moral outrage from Councillors and Community Leaders, whatever they are, such as councillor David Taylor: "He said: “In Dorchester the police and council have worked very hard to stop the encouragement of using drugs such as cannabis and my concern is that this event will make it look 'cool' to the young people and that it is okay to be part of this set.” This set? welcome to 1968, man. Can we presume crime is so negligible to non-existent in Dorchester that the Police can afford to work so hard on something so trivial?[/p][/quote]I have to say they are not doing a particularly good job. Nearly every time i walk into Dorchester i smell it. I have no strong view on it but decriminalising something that is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco seems like a good idea so that the government can benefit from the profits rather than the gangs. I also note that cannabis is being seriously studied as a possible cancer treatment, so the health challenges listed above might be a little one sided. If cannabis is an addictive gateway drug, i wonder how much of this is caused by the fact it is illegal in the first place. JamesYoung

10:32am Fri 1 Nov 13

AB3 says...

regarding the claim about the number of chemicals in cannabis - all plants contain a large number of "chemicals" but that does not make them bad or dangerous - and tap water contains many more which have been added.

regarding the cannabis meet -p protest picnic - well of course many people don't want to be around cannabis smoke, so why not give users a place to go in safety, away from the public, free of fear of arrest, where they can socialise?

those that choose to drink alcohol have pubs, clubs and restaurants - and we all know just how dangerous that drug can be - fortunately people are not allowed to drink on the streets or in our parks.

and of course any crime committed against people or property should be prosecuted whether the person is sober, druunk or high
regarding the claim about the number of chemicals in cannabis - all plants contain a large number of "chemicals" but that does not make them bad or dangerous - and tap water contains many more which have been added. regarding the cannabis meet -p protest picnic - well of course many people don't want to be around cannabis smoke, so why not give users a place to go in safety, away from the public, free of fear of arrest, where they can socialise? those that choose to drink alcohol have pubs, clubs and restaurants - and we all know just how dangerous that drug can be - fortunately people are not allowed to drink on the streets or in our parks. and of course any crime committed against people or property should be prosecuted whether the person is sober, druunk or high AB3

11:24am Fri 1 Nov 13

arlbergbahn says...

AB3 wrote:
regarding the claim about the number of chemicals in cannabis - all plants contain a large number of "chemicals" but that does not make them bad or dangerous - and tap water contains many more which have been added.

regarding the cannabis meet -p protest picnic - well of course many people don't want to be around cannabis smoke, so why not give users a place to go in safety, away from the public, free of fear of arrest, where they can socialise?

those that choose to drink alcohol have pubs, clubs and restaurants - and we all know just how dangerous that drug can be - fortunately people are not allowed to drink on the streets or in our parks.

and of course any crime committed against people or property should be prosecuted whether the person is sober, druunk or high
I wouldn't mind betting that something grown naturally with no added preservatives or colourings has a good deal less "chemicals" in it than most food products that any buys in the shops.
[quote][p][bold]AB3[/bold] wrote: regarding the claim about the number of chemicals in cannabis - all plants contain a large number of "chemicals" but that does not make them bad or dangerous - and tap water contains many more which have been added. regarding the cannabis meet -p protest picnic - well of course many people don't want to be around cannabis smoke, so why not give users a place to go in safety, away from the public, free of fear of arrest, where they can socialise? those that choose to drink alcohol have pubs, clubs and restaurants - and we all know just how dangerous that drug can be - fortunately people are not allowed to drink on the streets or in our parks. and of course any crime committed against people or property should be prosecuted whether the person is sober, druunk or high[/p][/quote]I wouldn't mind betting that something grown naturally with no added preservatives or colourings has a good deal less "chemicals" in it than most food products that any buys in the shops. arlbergbahn

12:11pm Fri 1 Nov 13

dorset & proud says...

I hope all the local food outlets are well prepared for the mass bout of the munchies when this finishes.
I hope all the local food outlets are well prepared for the mass bout of the munchies when this finishes. dorset & proud

1:27pm Fri 1 Nov 13

ElseCares says...

The only reason Cannabis remains illegal in this country is it would take a huge chunk of money from Pharmaceutical companies. This naturally occurring weed has vast amounts of health benefits with virtually no side effects.
The Goverment who say it has no medicinal value are letting it be grown by GW Pharmaceuticals under licence in this country as 'Sativex' spray to help MS sufferers. Yet the product is too expensive for GP's to prescribe.
It is about time this country followed many other countries in decriminalising this plant. If they were to tax it, they'd make a fortune & take away the risks of buying it from organised crime.
No one has ever died from smoking Cannabis. Shame we can't say that with tobacco & alcohol.
No Victim No Crime
The only reason Cannabis remains illegal in this country is it would take a huge chunk of money from Pharmaceutical companies. This naturally occurring weed has vast amounts of health benefits with virtually no side effects. The Goverment who say it has no medicinal value are letting it be grown by GW Pharmaceuticals under licence in this country as 'Sativex' spray to help MS sufferers. Yet the product is too expensive for GP's to prescribe. It is about time this country followed many other countries in decriminalising this plant. If they were to tax it, they'd make a fortune & take away the risks of buying it from organised crime. No one has ever died from smoking Cannabis. Shame we can't say that with tobacco & alcohol. No Victim No Crime ElseCares

2:24pm Fri 1 Nov 13

beerbottle says...

My two plumbers smoke it they are a bit funny sometimes but they always get the job done in the end also what ever they do works.
And there British. Do they sound like your plumbers?
My two plumbers smoke it they are a bit funny sometimes but they always get the job done in the end also what ever they do works. And there British. Do they sound like your plumbers? beerbottle

2:25pm Fri 1 Nov 13

beerbottle says...

My two plumbers smoke it they are a bit funny sometimes but they always get the job done in the end also what ever they do works.
And there British. Do they sound like your plumbers?
My two plumbers smoke it they are a bit funny sometimes but they always get the job done in the end also what ever they do works. And there British. Do they sound like your plumbers? beerbottle

6:12pm Fri 1 Nov 13

majorlee says...

so the echo supports the prohibition and mafia/criminal contained regulation with this silly stance on recreational drugs

way to go huh!

your headline is misleading and has an obvious agenda to it, cannabis will be decriminalized in 2014 globally and i hope everything else does as well so we can clean up this mess put in place by very out of touch minds to the current state of affairs in this area, country and globally

lets stop making kids into criminals and ruining lives with unjust and draconion laws,
so the echo supports the prohibition and mafia/criminal contained regulation with this silly stance on recreational drugs way to go huh! your headline is misleading and has an obvious agenda to it, cannabis will be decriminalized in 2014 globally and i hope everything else does as well so we can clean up this mess put in place by very out of touch minds to the current state of affairs in this area, country and globally lets stop making kids into criminals and ruining lives with unjust and draconion laws, majorlee

11:03am Sun 3 Nov 13

Dr Martin says...

Okay Ladies and Gentlemen you read it here "global decriminalisation of Cannabis in 2014."

Thank you for the comedian for that statement.
Okay Ladies and Gentlemen you read it here "global decriminalisation of Cannabis in 2014." Thank you for the comedian for that statement. Dr Martin

5:00pm Sun 3 Nov 13

profondo asbo says...

the stoner circle jerk. brother can you spare some kleenex?

our lives are so hollow and empty we need to escape the mundanity of our own existence yeah. high five me spammer reynolds.
the stoner circle jerk. brother can you spare some kleenex? our lives are so hollow and empty we need to escape the mundanity of our own existence yeah. high five me spammer reynolds. profondo asbo
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