25,000 adults and children are treated in hospital annually for the effects of 'super-skunk' Cannabis and it is estimated that 70,000 outpatient mental patients are also treated for the effects. Cannabis factories are multiplying in the UK. Houses are converted and ordinary terraced or semi-detached houses are bought or rented as a place to grow cannabis. They are kitted out with special hydroponic equipment, which allow the plants to grow without soil and with added nutrients. Up to £70,000-worth of cannabis can be produced every 11 or 12 weeks.
As electrical mains are often bypassed to power the factories, the systems can electrocute people or catch fire. In some cases, booby traps are left in the houses.
This has also been a huge problem in Canada and, as in the UK, the business was masterminded by Vietnamese criminals. Young Vietnamese boys were trafficked into the country in order to tend the plants, they could not be charged as they were underage and were genuinely unable to give information to the police.
The solution? Well, the Canadian police found that they were getting overwhelmed by the problem. It was taking so long to gather sufficient information in order to get a search warrant and so much time to sort out any criminal case that they took the prevention route. They asked the electricity companies to inform them when enormous amounts of electricity appeared to be being used, targeted areas where there were suspicious numbers of hydroponics shops and investigated them.They asked a health and safety officer and a fire officer to inspect suspicious properties and closed the houses down, cutting off water and electricity. The problem has largely been solved in Canada. However, the problem has not been entirely resolved , simply moved on.
Where has it been moved to. Why, the UK of course. Could we do something as simple. Of course not. The problem is growing and no doubt in the future Mr Brown will announce an initiative. Perhaps a dedicated police force, a national policy and extra funds, reclassification of cannabis and perhaps a few more criminals crushed into our overcrowded prisons And of course the problem will simply eat more and more resources and will still not be resolved. Have a look at the number of hydroponics firms near you.