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Police raid found 2,000 marijuana plants at Gala Bingo Hall, Northamptonshire

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Police officers found almost£3mof marijuana growing inside a disguised bingo hall during a search in Northamptonshire. Officials seized 2,000 plants and sophisticated hydroponic growing equipment when they raided the disguised Gala Bingo Hall in Kettering. The amount of marijuana that was being grown in the area was extremely large and could be worth billions.

Police officials were taken aback and said the operation could have generated around £2.8m each year.The police became suspicious when officers said they could smell the drug coming from the derelict building, located in Kettering High Street, which was closed in January. When the officials scanned the place for thermal imaging, it revealed heat sources coming from the building despite it lying empty after it shut down earlier this year.

Around 25 officers, along with police dogs, barged in the doors of the building at 10.30 A.M. on Friday morning. PC Colin Gray, from the force’s proactive team said that the discovery of such amount of marijuana would disrupt organised crime groups and the distribution of cannabis locally and further afield. He said that it was the largest he had ever seen, even as compared to a site they found in Corby earlier this year.

In June 2018, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) estimated that United Kingdom’s illicit marijuana market is worth £2.5bn each year, that is distributed to just over 3 million users of the drug. Mr. Gray said that these crime groups blight society by creating and selling controlled drugs in Northamptonshire. He added that the police force will never stop trying to combat these and bring them down or any such activity.

Although nobody was found inside the cannabis factory but the kitchen traces suggested recent activity in the area. The plants were coming of age and would be ready for harvest and distribution in just 3 weeks from the raid. The people behind it must have invested heavily in the proper production and manufacturing of cannabis in such huge amounts, but to their disappointment the police raided it before they could process and sell it further illegally.

The IEA’s 2018 report also calculated the UK’s total cannabis consumption which came out to be 255 tonnes each year, meaning that the drug would be worth  £1bn in tax revenue alone if legalized. An influx of high potency cannabis has been blamed for London since it has the highest rate of psychosis on record in Europe.

Cannabis contains a chemical compound named THC, tetrahydro cannabinoid that alters the state of mind and produces hallucinations. If used for a longer period of time in high potency, THC can lead to mental disorders such as epilepsy, seizures, forgetfulness, memory loss or even Alzheimer’s in worst case scenarios.

Legal cannabis contains low or negligible traces of THC and has high concentration of CBD. Popularly known as CBD, cannabinoid is another chemical found in cannabis, but contrary to the effects of THC, it is a soothing and healing compound that helps relieve stress, anxiety, insomnia and many other ailments. Legal cannabis is used to treat severe diseases such as epileptic fits, Tourette, Alzheimer’s and cancer in rare cases. CBD has anti-inflammatory and non-psychoactive properties that can help reduce pain, inflammation, swelling, irritability and also give a soothing effect on the skin.

Many celebrities have been using CBD for their red carpet evenings to prevent feet numbness and soreness from standing too long for photographs in events. CBD infused products such as creams, ointments, topicals, creams, oils have been flourishing in the market and are easily accessible now. The UK law allows medicinal cannabis for treating severe forms of epilepsy that can not be controlled by regular prescription drugs otherwise.

Parents like Lisa and Karen, who have been using CBD to treat their 6-year-olds with epilepsy have found the drug to be highly effective. But the UK has strict regulations regarding medicinal marijuana as well and allows only a handful of drugs. The controlled medicines available in the area differs, which has led Lisa, a former police officer to smuggle cannabis-based medicines from Netherlands.

Epidiolex, a legal medicinal drug is available in the UK under a compassionate program run by its manufacturer GWPharma. But, Karen whose sun Murray suffers from Doose syndrome stopped responding to even Epidiolex after just 3 months of use. Though the drug was highly effective in the beginning, it just didn’t work after 3 months on the child which has made Karen also a smuggler for illicit marijuana medicines from Netherlands.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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