Weed, bud, draw – whatever you want to call it.
You might not have seen it before but being in London you would have definitely smelt it. It creeps up your nose and it’s often hard to find out exactly where the smell is coming from.
All the cannabis has to be grown somewhere. It might surprise you to find out some of it could be tended to next door. Not in a dingy loft, set up under spotlights, but in the garden of a terraced London house.
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Three cannabis growers from around the capital have revealed to MyLondon how they use their backyards to grow their own cannabis.
They told us that they grow weed for personal use and have been doing so under their neighbours’ noses for years – those neighbours being none the wiser.
One of them explained that growing their own cannabis was to keep money out of criminals hands and away from gang violence in London.
The gardeners range from 19 to 35 and share their gardens with their young families and older parents. All planted their most recent crops this year in May.
The process is pretty easy and the seeds are very simple and cheap to purchase online. Currently cannabis is a class B drug, coming with a maximum 14 year sentence if charged with selling or growing it. However, it is currently not illegal to sell and buy cannabis seeds.
A quick Google search and many easily accessible sites show up which sell seeds for as little as £5. Tutorials on starting growing are available across sites such as YouTube.
Keeping money away from gangs was Dave’s priority – their name has been changed to protect their identity. The same goes for Michael below.
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He said: “You just add a bit of water each day and in 10 weeks have around two hundred pounds worth of weed per plant.
“That’s two hundred pounds that doesn’t go into the hands of criminals. I feel less guilty because when I used to buy weed off dealers they would be small boys like 13-14. Every time I heard of another murder due to gang fights and crime I felt guilty. That’s the main reason I looked into weed growing.”
The 23-year-old explained the ease of growing the class B drug in his West London garden, he said: “The neighbours aren’t suspicious. I just put it in a pot amongst all the other plants growing in my garden and you can hardly notice it. It smells, but everywhere in London smells of weed now, so no one pays any attention.”
Through the summer months it’s easier to grow cannabis outside due to higher temperatures and less extreme conditions which keep the plants more stable.
Sources have explained how allotments, gardens, shrubbery in parks, and open fields, are just a few of the places reported to be good for growing weed.
Michael, 34, recently changed his job and has moved back in with his parents, he has started growing the plants in the families London garden, he lives in the house with his two year old son, he said: “I’m middle class and so are my neighbours. They don’t suspect a thing; I don’t think they’d ever imagine someone doing this in their area so I feel pretty safe.
“I grow about 4-5 plants each summer and just keep them for myself. I have friends who use their allotments and know people using greenhouses in their gardens. They grow lots more than me and we are all able to grow loads from the seeds, which only cost about a fiver each.
“I’m not scared of being caught. I don’t think it’s a bad thing and I’m still a firm believer that it should be legal. I’ve got a good job and still live in my parents’ house, I don’t think this would change if I was to be caught.”
Dr. Laura Garius is the Policy Lead for Release. Release is the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law in the UK.
She said: “Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug, with around one in three adults in England and Wales having used cannabis at some point in their lives.
“We know that the criminalisation of cannabis use in particular is driving police stop and search, and furthermore, driving racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
“We also know that home cultivation for personal use has grown to account for a significant proportion of cannabis consumption in the UK, and that those growing their own cannabis do so to ensure a good quality product, and to avoid contact with the criminal justice system – which can have far-reaching negative consequences for people’s lives”.
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A spokesman for the Metropolitan police, said: “It is the aim of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) that the powers used by staff when policing matters of cannabis possession are executed fairly, responsibly, respectfully and without any unlawful discrimination. Cannabis possession is an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act.”
If you want to report suspected cannabis growth you can do so by contacting 101 or reporting anonymously with crime stoppers at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/