Recent weeks have seen increasing numbers of cannabis factories being raided and shut down by police across the UK.
The ‘factories’ are located in houses where hydroponic equipment is employed to grow large quantities of intensively cultivated cannabis. They are often run by Vietnamese organised crime groups and staffed by illegally trafficked immigrants—sometimes children. To pay off their debt to the trafficking groups, they live, eat and sleep in squalid houses overseeing the growing process. The lives of those who tend the plants under these conditions can resemble those of prisoners.
This circumstance has led the Yorkshire Post to state that: “Those who kid themselves that the trade in cannabis is a victimless crime should take a long hard look at the experience of those forced to work in it.” The blame for the situation is laid at the door of cannabis consumers in the UK. However, we would wish to remind the Post and its readers that the lack of a regulated cannabis industry is what allows criminal gangs to operate in this way. It is a direct result of the failed project of drug prohibition. Human rights abuses and criminal control of drug production will continue to exist until that fundamental fact changes.