Cannabis seizures double in a year as critics say drug is flooding into UK because it is ‘effectivel

Cannabis seizures double in a year as critics say drug is flooding into UK because it is ‘effectively decriminalised’:

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 Cannabis seizures have more than doubled in a year amid claims that the drug is flooding into UK because it has effectively been decriminalised, official figures revealed today.  Seizures of herbal cannabis rose by 142 percent to 28.6 tonnes last year, cannabis resin seizures were up by 33 percent to almost eight tonnes and plant seizures rose by 10 percent to 352,000.  The home office figures come amid calls by some police leaders and politicians including William Hague for the drug to be decriminalised because they say the war on cannabis has been lost.  Between 2010 and 2017, the number of cannabis possession offences fell by 48 percent from 160,733 to 83,591 as campaigner say officers turn a blind eye to focus on other priorities. A study last year revealed young people found it easier to buy cannabis than alcohol.  Demands for decriminalisation have intensified after ministers lifted restrictions on the use of medical cannabis following this summer’s controversy over the confiscation of cannabis oil that was being used to treat the epilepsy of Billy Caldwell, 12.  Although the amount of cannabis seized increased, the number of seizures fell by 2 percent to 98,000, suggesting border force and police are targeting large-scale importers and cultivators. This is the lowest number of cannabis seizures since 2004. Number of drugs seizures over three months  The bulk of the cannabis was seized by border force officers, rising from 8.4 tonnes to 25.6 tonnes, which today’s home office report attributed to an overall rise in the average quantity per seizure rather than one or two big captures.  By contrast to the surge in cannabis, there was a 39 percent fall in seizures of cocaine down from 5.5 tonnes in 2016/17 to 3.4 tonnes in the last year.  This is similar to the amount seized each year between 2011/12 and 2014/15.  Heroin seizures were also down, by 37 percent to 494 kilogrammes compared to 783 kilogrammes in the previous year.  Seizures of crack, however, were up by 64 percent to 64 kilogrammes in 2017/18, from 25 kilogrammes in the previous year.  There was also an increase of 37 percent in the quantity of ecstasy seized in 2017/18  to more than 498,000 doses compared with 683,000 in the previous year.  Cannabis was the most commonly seized drug, which was involved in 72 percent of all drug seizures in England and Wales in 2017/18. The second most commonly seized drug was cocaine, which was involved in 11 percent of all seizures.  Greg de Hoedt, founder of UK Cannabis social clubs and a campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis for medical users, said: “It is a sensible decision by police to go after large-scale cultivators based on their experience in the war on drugs. They see people making huge profits on cannabis as a problem, rather than individual consumers.  “One plant can yield around 49g of cannabis. If someone is growing 100 plants and selling at £10 per gram, that’s a £50,000 operation.  “All they need to do is plant seeds an
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