Police reveal why they raided Plymouth ‘cbd shop’ as two people arrested
Two people have been arrested on suspicion of supplying drugs following morning police operation
Police have said they were “legally obliged” to carry out their operation this morning after evidence revealed items being sold in a city store were deemed illegal by law.
Two people – a 35-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman – have been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class B drugs after police executed two search warrants this morning. The man has also been arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
Shortly after 7.30am officers from Plymouth police’s south and central CID and neighbourhood teams attended a flat in a residential property in Houndiscombe Road, Mutley, where they carried out a search.
Keys were acquired and officers carried out a further search of the Holy Smoke hut-like store which sits near the Voodoo Lounge club and the Jigsaw Garden.
Police have told Plymouth Live a four-figure sum of cash was seized from the residential property along with cultivation equipment including grow lamps, tents, trays and fertilizer.
Police revealed that a “substantial quantity of suspected cannabis” and other drug-related paraphernalia was also found at the property. A number of bottles of “e-liquid” purporting to contain “90 percent THC” have also been seized.
Detectives also seized a number of mobile phones, a laptop, a SUV Dodge Nitro vehicle and a quantity of documentation including invoices.
Scene of Crime Officers have also been at the property to carry out forensic examinations.
Officers also seized CCTV recording equipment from the Holy Smoke store, which is rented from the nearby Methodist Central Hall.
This morning’s operation was described as pre-planned and police have revealed it came about following analysis of herbal material recovered from juveniles arrest following a theft from the Holy Smoke store.
Insp Robin Loveridge, neighbourhood inspector for the city centre, told Plymouth Live the theft of bell jars containing herbal matter from the store was reported to police. Two juveniles were traced and the jar and its contents were recovered, but police took the step of having the material tested in a laboratory.
Insp Loveridge said: “It came back as positive for THC – we don’t look at percentages with regard to cannabis. In effect, it is a class B drug and our view was we have to investigate this as the suspected selling of a class B drug.
We went to our force legal department for advice and looked at the Home Office guidelines on the matter.
“Officer from the neighbourhood team went to the store and spoke to the proprietor. He has produced a certificate which we passed to our force legal department.
“Home Office guidelines show that you have to have certain licences to grow cannabis. There are no licences to sell cannabis to the public.
“Our CID team has carried out the investigation and executed the search warrants and the neighbourhood policing teams will pick up the community fall-out from today’s operation
Insp Loveridge stressed the reason there appeared to be a large number of officers involved in what was considered a small and simple operation was because a number of the officers involved were undergoing training alongside tutor officers. He said the operation gave them opportunity to learn the process of a section 8 PACE [Police and Criminal Evidence Act] search warrant.
He added: “This was a pre-planned operation and had been in the planning stage for some time, certainly well before the article [about the Holy Smoke store] appeared on the Plymouth Live website.
“The article did not change our time frame for out action.
“We would like to point out at this stage that once evidence is gathered it will be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for their decision about further action or disposal.”
In a further police statement, Det Con Pablo Beckhurst, who is leading the investigation, noted that under current law any substance which has any level of THC in it is an illegal substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
He added that following with the Devon and Cornwall Police legal department “the issue is not so much what is on the packaging but rather what the substance contains, ie any THC.
CBD: The facts
What is CBD oil?
Government advisers at the MHRA made it legal to buy cannabidiol (CBD) oil in 2016 after they admitted that it has a ‘restoring, correcting or modifying’ effect on humans.
Suppliers in England and Wales have to obtain a licence to sell it as a medicine, following the decision in October two years ago.
Manufacturers are able to avoid the strict regulation by selling it as a food supplement – ignoring the lengthy process of gaining a medicinal licence.
CBD products comes in many forms, the most popular being an oil – which users spray under their tongue – or gel tablets which melt slowly in the mouth.
Cannabis oil, which is different to CBD oil because it contains THC – the compound that gives users a ‘high’ – is illegal under UK laws.
Billy Caldwell, from Castlederg, Northern Ireland, made headlines last April when he became the first Briton to be prescribed it on the NHS.
Cannabis oil, which reportedly has no side effects, influences the release and uptake of ‘feel good’ chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.
Is it legal?
Yes. Because CBD does not contain the psychoactive ingredient THC, it is entirely legal to buy and take CBD supplements in the UK.
And because CBD is a legal ingredient, it is not tested for in drug tests used to detect illegal drugs.
Suppliers have to obtain a licence to sell it as a medicine. But manufacturers are able to avoid regulation by selling it as a food supplement – ignoring the lengthy process of gaining a medicinal licence.
However, cannabis oil, which contains THC – the compound that gives users a ‘high’ – is illegal under UK laws.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s announcement in July that medicinal cannabis will be available on prescription from this autumn opened the door for oils to be given the green light if approved by the drug regulator.
Sativex, a mouth spray which contains THC and CBD, is already approved for use in the UK by the MHRA as a treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Is it addictive?
No, CBD is not addictive. An addiction to marijuana can develop as a severe form of ‘marijuana use disorder’, which affects an estimated 30 per cent of marijuana users.
This develops out of a person’s dependence on the psychoactive effects of THC – the ingredient in the marijuana plant which causes a high and results in withdrawal symptoms.
CBD comes from an entirely different plant – the hemp plant – that contains only trace amounts of THC which are not enough to cause a high.
Instead, CBD works by enhancing the effects of other brain chemicals such as serotonin and anandamide.
It does not activate the receptors that make marijuana psychoactive and addictive.
In fact, the effects of cannabidiol are opposite to those of THC and can actually block some of the psychoactive effects of THC, which is why CBD is added to medical forms of marijuana prescribed to treat certain disorders.
Is CBD oil safe?
CBD oil is recognised as safe and well-tolerated in healthy people, with few side effects.
A World Health Organization report has confirmed it does not have any potential for abuse or to cause harm, and it is therefore not classed as a controlled substance.
The Cannabis Trades Association UK recommends that CBD should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18.