Canada's War on Marijuana Expanding on All Fronts
Canada is escalating its war on cannabis and the casualties are piling up on several fronts across the nation. It seems like it was just a few years ago that Canadian marijuana users were feeling hopeful about the future of the country's drug laws. The turn of the century ushered in significant reform to Canada's medical marijuana laws, allowing patients access to cannabis through a federal medical licensing program. In 2002, after interviewing hundreds of experts and studying the issue for two years, the Senate of Canada recommended that marijuana be completely legalized. Activist entrepreneur Marc Emery sold cannabis seeds openly and toured the country during the "Summer of Legalization". And a Liberal Prime Minister promised country-wide decriminalization of marijuana, but half-jokingly cautioned, "don't start to smoke yet".
His words would turn out to be foreshadowing of things to come in Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Canada, where delays in medical marijuana licenses are now turning sick Canadians into criminals; where Marc Emery has been arrested and exiled to a run-down US prison; and where the Senate of Canada has passed legislation making non-violent cannabis crimes punishable by American-style mandatory minimum sentences – in preparation for a massive expansion of the country's prison system. Health Canada Delays Turn Medicine into Contraband Though Canada has a functioning medical marijuana program; there is growing debate over just how well it actually functions. Report after report after report has exposed Health Canada's inability to get medical marijuana users their licenses and renewals on time, but the government has done little to fix the problem and stands silently by as formerly-legal medical marijuana users are raided, arrested and left without electricity for the winter.
Man Charged After £200k Cannabis Raid
A man who is not being named at this present time is due to appear in court after he was arrested by police officers in connection with a police raid which uncovered roughly £200,000 worth of cannabis at a house in Belfast. The 45 year old man faces a variety of different changes ranging from possession of a class B drug, cultivation of cannabis and even intent to supply a class B drug.
This man was pursued by police after a raid which took place on Thursday in a house located just off of London Street in the Ravenhill Road. At the house during the police raid police found approximately £200,000 worth of marijuana. The man is now due to appear in court on Friday where he will face the charges which have been put against him.
Police Tipped Off About Cannabis Factory By Local Pedestrians
A £1million cannabis factory has been raided after passers-by were overpowered by the smell. Police found 1,400 plants on three floors after tip offs from the public, who raised the alarm because of the strong odour from the disused Lancashire mill. Insp Paul Leigh, from Nelson Police, said that the site was formally a cash and carry but recently it had been taken over by organised criminals and could potentially put lives at risk. He said: 'This was a sophisticated and professional set up and one of the largest we have ever seen in the division. 'These factories are set up by organised criminals and not only perpetrate the large scale supply of illicit drugs but also commit significant environmental damage. 'United Utilities have estimated the electricity abstracted on a set up of this scale would be in the region of £30,000.
'Members of the public told us there was a strong smell coming from the building.
'Supported by other information, we executed a warrant. 'The building is a significant fire risk and could have put people's lives at risk. 'Organised criminals have started to move into this area, there is massive financial gain for them and we are seeing an increase in it. 'But it is something that we are determined to tackle.' As well as the cannabis, officers also seized lighting and heating equipment used to cultivate the plants. A second address in Edith Street, believed to be linked to the factory, was also raided, although nobody has so far been arrested.
Forensic experts have been gathering evidence from the scene and continue to investigate the drugs seized, Police officers are also now looking into who the owner of the building is as he may well be needed for questioning. Insp Leigh added: 'The quantity of drugs found would suggest that they were destined not just for the streets of Nelson and Pendle but probably across the whole of East Lancashire. 'An investigation is now under way to identify the people responsible and I urge anyone with information to come forward.'
The raid, which happened on Monday morning, follows a number of other major seizures in the past 12 months. Last June officers discovered 1,700 plants growing at a business premises in Gate Street, Accrington. Four hundred plants were discovered last May at a house in Royds Avenue, Accrington. In 2009 more than 1,300 plants were discovered at a house in Nelson and The Duke of York pub, in Burnley. Coun Eileen Ansar, who represents the Cloverhill ward on Pendle Council, said the premises were last used by a cash and carry business but had remained empty for some time.
£7m Worth Of Cannabis Found In Lorry
Northamptonshire’s Organised Crime Unit seized more than £7 million worth of cannabis from a lorry delivering to a distribution warehouse in the Corby area. The load was found within a large shipment of assorted goods which was destined for various outlets all over the UK, having been shipped to Tilbury Docks from Cuba via Jamaica. The truck was stopped in the county a little while after leaving the holding depot at Dirft in Daventry. The pallets of goods had been loaded as normal but there was still loose boxes on top of the pallets containing Cannabis.
The container was home to roughly 44 boxes of Marijuana weighing in about 1,307kg with a street value of about £7 million. The container was also carrying a brown liquid which officials belive to be a cannabis oil commonly used to make hashish, The oils weighing in roughly 10kg and also has a street value of about £150,000. Detective Chief Inspector Tom Davies, of the Organised Crime Unit, said: “Enquiries were made internationally with other law enforcement agencies and these are continuing. “We are looking to arrest a man in connection with this seizure and we maintain an open mind as to the eventual destination of this drugs consignment, but don’t believe at this time it was intended for Northamptonshire. “However, the re-assurance is that this is a very significant recovery of drugs nationally and demonstrates the level of organisation now being used by criminal groups. “Northamptonshire Police will continue to tackle organised criminality effectively.”
Fourth Amendment before U.S. Supreme Court
WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Police smelling marijuana coming from behind an apartment door can enter the home without a warrant in some instances, some U.S. Supreme Court Justices said.
The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday heard arguments that could have Fourth Amendment implications, The Washington Post reported.
The Kentucky Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Hollis King, saying police didn't have the right to kick his door down after smelling marijuana coming from the apartment.
Police had announced their presence, and when they heard flushing sounds decided evidence was being destroyed and entered the apartment.
The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. Justice Elena Kagan found some problems with the King case.
"One of the points of the Fourth Amendment is to ensure that when people search your home, they have a warrant, and of course there are exceptions to that," Kagan said.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also found problems with the Kentucky search.
"They (could) go to the apartment building and ... sniff at every door," Ginsburg proposed, to find cause to search.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor also had issues with the case. She said in many instances police could enter without a warrant if they thought drugs were being used on the other side because police could always say they feared the evidence would be destroyed.
Justice Antonin Scalia said police did nothing wrong in the Kentucky case.
"Everything done was perfectly lawful," Scalia said. "It's unfair to the criminal? Is that the problem? I really don't understand the problem."
Scalia said law enforcement has many constraints "and the one thing that it has going for it is that criminals are stupid."
Bradford Cannabis Raid Finds Guinea Pig Heater
Police swooped on a suspected cannabis factory at a house in Bradford f only to find the suspicious heat source was for two guinea pigs. Officers arrived last week after the West Yorkshire Police helicopter detected a hotspot on the roof of the garage in Huddersfield Road, Odsal. A hotspot is often a sign of specialist heating systems used to grow cannabis. Police have apologised for any distress the raid caused to the guinea pigs' owner, 42-year-old Pam Hardcastle. Mrs Hardcastle, a learning mentor at Bradford Moor primary school, said: "On Wednesday I'd gone to work and got a call from my mum who said you need to come home. "The police came on the phone and said: 'We think you're growing cannabis in your garage. "I said: 'No, it's a heater to keep my guinea pigs warm because it's been so cold. "I went home and there were two policemen who came in the house with me and I've got a big picture of Bob Marley with cannabis growing behind him so I thought: 'Oh my God, don't turn round'."
'Unfortunate it was me' Mrs Hardcastle said that despite the embarrassment the incident had caused, she did not criticise the police. "I think the police do a really good job and I do understand why they did it," she said. "It 's just unfortunate it was me." Insp Darren Brown, of the Queensbury, Royds and Wibsey neighbourhood policing team, said: "A majority of operations of this nature are intelligence-based and often rely upon swift action.
"Due to the location of the garage, we could not make further observations without alerting the occupants. "On this occasion, it transpired that the significant heat source coming from the property was not connected to the production of cannabis. "Officers who attended explained the full circumstances to the occupant and discussed any damage. "I would like to apologise for the distress this may have caused. "However, I would point out that these tactics are essential in tackling drugs across the district." He reassured Mrs Hardcastle that her details would not be kept on police records.
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