South Yorkshire Police weed bust.

South Yorkshire Police weed bust.

By Akash Hashmi

It’s that time again! Yet another police force is posting about a relatively small cannabis bust, despite the danger of being publicly ridiculed.

You’d think they’d learn by now that most of the public really don’t appreciate these posts, and that their pandering to prohibitionist policies is just a part of a bigger picture forming the failed war on drugs. At least this time they didn’t attempt to pull a slightly inflated ‘street value’ out from thin air.

What’s nice about this post from South Yorkshire Police is the fact that it doesn’t seem to be bragging as much as others in the past from have. I seem to remember Sheffield police bragging online about how they managed to find out the identity of a dealer who used Instagram for their main point of sale, and then threatening anyone who had come into contact with them with a knock on the door. Yikes.

If anyone can capture the mood of what’s going on with cannabis policing in Sheffield, it’s Joe Public. Here’s a look at what a few people following the South Yorkshire Police page had to say about the bust:

“Why don’t you go after GW pharmaceuticals oh yeah that’s right they have a licence these poor blokes don’t so let’s throw them in jail”

“So outside of London, South Yorkshire has the highest increase in knife crime. 1000 incidents reported in a year to Sept 18. 8 dead. But nah let’s bust farmers instead…”

Screenshot of comments on South Yorkshire Police Facebook page.

Commenters ruthlessly take the piss out of South Yorkshire Police for bragging on Facebook about a cannabis bust.

“On the whole, the public doesn’t back this. It’s a waste of time and money, prosecuting people for something that should be legal. The excuse that you must target people over cannabis wore thin a long time ago. You pick and choose. You can’t spend a day arresting someone over cannabis but ignore illegal fox hunting, and still claim it’s about the illegality.

“This is about the police choosing to prioritise cannabis, against the wishes of the public. I blame the police for choosing to believe misinformation (ignorance) about cannabis and performance-related pay.”

At the end of the day, it’s understandable that the police are still going after cannabis grows, with South Yorkshire Police reiterating that in many cases these grows contribute proceeds to actual crime and more dangerous individuals.

Dr Alan Billings, Police & Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire

Dr Alan Billings, PCC for South Yorkshire.

As understandable as this is, you’d think by now that forces up and down the country would have learned by now that these posts are harming their image in the eyes of the general public. It isn’t in the public interest to be going after cannabis cultivators when at the end of the day, the public want cannabis to be legal.

I’d like to invite SYP’s Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings for mediated talks with Sheffield MPs, patients and other PCCs such as Arfon Jones that are applying progressive strategies in regards to cannabis policing, until the law catches up.

I understand that from talks with the Cannabis Social Clubs that Dr Billings is happy to have these conversations, all it takes is these first steps to secure real change for patients. More police forces opting to take North Wales’ and Durham’s approach means more traction for the cannabis movement nationwide.

There is a simpler way to stop cannabis funding real criminals. Decriminalise, legalise, regulate. Job done!

If anybody would like to get in touch, please get in contact on twitter (@Akashmash).

Photo of Akash Hashmi, journalist.

Akash Hashmi is a Journalism MA student from Sheffield with an undergraduate in Forensic Science. You can follow him on Twitter: @Akashmash.

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