U.K.: 20 Cannabis Farms Found A Day — 6,800 Last Year


Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA
PC Chloe Snell examines what the Brits like calling a “cannabis factory” in a house in East London, 2008

​More than 6,800 cannabis farms — or “factories,” as the sensationalist British press puts it — were discovered by police in the United Kingdom last year.

Almost 20 commercial cannabis growing operations were found by police every day in the past year by authorities, according to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), making the total for 2009/2010 6,886 — more than double the 3,032 discovered two years ago, and more than eight times the annual average of 800 between 2004 and 2007, reports the U.K. Press Association.

So, U.K., how’s that rescheduling cannabis under a more restrictive law working out for you?

Metropolitan Police
Commander Allen Gibson trumpets “… the need for continued robust enforcement.” Oh, and just coincidentally, job security so he doesn’t have to do any real work.

​The findings come as no surprise, according to Commander Allen Gibson, who said the rise was in part due to “increased focus” on the issue by the authorities.
“The police response is now stronger and more effective through better coordination and intelligence sharing between forces and other agencies and more covert operations against the operators,” Gibson said, showing an aching need for quotability training.
“The level of publicity around cannabis since its reclassification in 2008 has meant that more members of the community are now reporting any unusual signs of habitation in buildings and houses, which is leading to more detections,” Gibson said.
“This profile gives us a better understanding of the current picture of the commercial cultivation of cannabis in the U.K., and the need for continued robust enforcement,” Gibson nonsensically said, seemingly unaware of the deep futility of his war on cannabis.
ACPO’s report found a variety of locations being used for cannabis cultivation, from industrial buildings to former pubs, cinemas, nightclubs, printworks and banks, reports AFP.
Blacked-out windows, condensation, “strange smells” and people coming and going at all hours are possible signs of a dreaded “marijuana factory,” police advise.
More than 1.3 million plants with an estimated value of about £150 million ($233 million) were recovered over the last year, according to police.
The face of cannabis growing in Britain is changing, according to the report, with more white offenders than ever before, the majority of them between the ages of 18 and 35.
The largest cannabis farm was found in an industrial unit in Haddenham, Cambridgeshire, where more than 7,600 plants were recovered with an cop-estimated value of £2.5 million (about $3.8 million).

The typically sensationalistic U.K. press was quick to spin the news of Britain’s thriving cannabis cultivation industry in the most negative ways possible.

“Cannabis farm boom fuelling rise of violence in Britain, The Guardian cluelessly trumpeted, while even BBC News lamented about supposed “Trafficked children working in UK ‘cannabis farms.'”