Essential Guide to Getting Away with Smoking Cannabis in England

NORML UK’s Six Stage Essential Guide to Getting Away with Smoking Cannabis in England

By Simon Doherty

  1. Don’t walk down the street or drive your car smoking it.

Of course it is tempting to roll ‘one for the road’ as it does make journeys 100% more interesting and bearable but it leaves you well open to persecution. Remember, your local police forces are fed resources and bonuses based on the number of people they arrest. That makes it much more attractive for them to arrest 10 docile tokers than spend time, effort and resources arresting violent offenders or someone engaging in serious crime which is likely to involve a substantial investigation.

It’s a clever system as it allows the government to present statistics showing a crackdown on crime – great for votes. Yes, people are getting caught with weed but what about the aggressive drunks, sex offenders, burglars and so on? Limited resources are being drawn away from serious crime and channelled into petty delinquency. Don’t play into their hands, comrades; light up at home before you go out or when you get to where you are going.

  1. Be white and middle class.
Police stop and search black people disproportionately in the UK.

You are 28 more times to be stopped in a drug bust in Britain if you are black.

Perhaps the most important variable in determining whether you are picked out for a search is your race and socio-economic status. Interesting research, published in 2010 and titled ‘Stop and Think’, from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) draws our attention to the fact that a black person is 28 times more likely to be stopped in an attempted drug bust than a white person.

A follow up studyhe EHRC in 2013 confirmed that the police have introduced steps to address the ethnic disparity in stop and searches. Drug charity Release argued that this is not good enough in their research, also published last year, highlighting that black people are subject to immediate custody at a rate of 5 times that of white people for drug possession offences.

“It is difficult to explain to children why they are being treated differently than their white peers and it is difficult to report any other crimes to police as I have lost all confidence in their ability to protect me and my family. I distrust the police and think most of them have a racial bias against black people.” Black African male.

Taken from data collected by Release in 2013

  1. Safety is found in numbers.

The police do not have the resources to prosecute large numbers of people who are openly using the herb. This is demonstrated beautifully both at the annual 4/20 protest, the result of a collaboration between NORML UK and the UK Cannabis Social Clubs, and at festivals throughout the land. And we all know that one pub that turns a blind eye to funny smells in the smoking area.

At the infamous 4/20 in London there are between 5-10,000 people in the park toking, smoking and more recently dabbing the afternoon away with little or no authoritarian intervention- if arrests are made it is seldom for a cannabis possession.

Cannabis protest at Hyde Park, London

Hyde Park 4/20

  1. Know the Law – and Cite It

The police often don’t know the legislation they are employed to uphold, having a degree in law is certainly not a prerequisite of assuming their role.

If you are stopped by the police they will often have no ‘reasonable suspicion’ that you have committed a crime and therefore no jurisdiction to search you. However, the individual who has been stopped often gives them this reasonable suspicion during the conversation.

If you are pulled over they may ask what at first seems to be benign questions such as “where are you going to/from?” Don’t answer and don’t be fooled; they might act friendly but they are not your friend. Everyone has vested interests in this conversation; his/hers is to win an increased bonus by catching you with weed and yours is to protect your future employment prospects. Believe me you need to protect those prospects in the current job market.

So instead of answering anything ask them questions such as “am I being detained or am I under arrest?” At that stage, if they say the word “no” immediately walk away saying nothing further. You will be astonished how effective this technique is.

If they confirm they are detaining you they will usually cite the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) as a cause to search you but they rarely know what this means. Let’s face it they’re not the sharpest knives in the drawer. If they were they probably wouldn’t choose to wrestle drunken people for a living. I know these blogs go quite far so if a police officer is reading this and I have offended you: GOOD. Your discrimination offends me on a daily basis.

At this stage you may speak. Only to ask them what is their reasonable cause for detaining you is, also state that you will require all the paperwork after the search. This will often scare off the confused and lazy officers. If it actually gets to the search, and they do cite reasonable suspicion, they can only search your outer coat, jackets and bag. It is interesting to note that they cannot search your boxers, bra, socks Ect.

Here is the PACE Act. Read it, learn it and carry it around if you need to.

  1. If arrested say nothing. No really.

When the police arrest you they will say the following: ‘anything you say will be used against you’. This means exactly that so DON’T SAY ANYTHING, at all, at any stage. You should confer with your solicitor and try and determine that the search was illegal.

If they never had their reasonable suspicion, which according to research published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary last year is in around 27% of cases, you get off with it regardless of the amount you got caught with. Believe me the police are wholly incompetent at their job but if you admit it at any stage instead of going down fighting you are finished and they have won.

  1. End prohibition with a march on October 4th 2014

For us not to have to adhere to the rules set out above we must dismantle the most physically and socially dangerous policy in the history of the world: the incessant and discriminatory ‘war’ on drugs.

If you agree then we will see you in London on our END PROHIBITION FREEDOM MARCH. It will take place on October 4th 2014 at Hyde Park, Speakers Corner. We will be marching to the BBC HQ in Portland Place making our point that we have had enough of drug laws that are more dangerous than the drugs themselves that serve merely to marginalise, discriminate against and socially exclude individuals.


 *This article is designed purely for entertainment only. Although we vehemently campaign for an end to the discrimination levied at cannabis users in the UK neither the author nor NORML UK condone, endorse or encourage any type of activity which is currently deemed illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

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  1. Step 1. Don’t be a dick. If they want to search you they will. If you are polite they will have less reason to want to bother you, police are just people doing a job. If you haven’t hidden your weed, they are very likely to find it. If you have been a smartass they’ll keep bothering you and probably give you a worse punishment. It’s pretty hard to get caught nowadays, there’s lots of blind eyes.

  2. i smoke weed daily but only on an evening and only ever at home ,a neighbour 2 doors down decided to phone the police and say we were dealing which is definitely not true but none the less they raided our home and treat us like the worst of criminals ,i would really like to know how they can raid your house because some one says so surely that is a breach of human rights its been over 1 week now and we have not slept or eaten very much due to worry .does anyone have any advice

  3. See following This all started when I was arrested in Portsmouth for possession of a small quantity of a so-called class B drug, namely in Police jargon ‘Herbal cannabis’ at Ca. 15:00 on Thursday the 5th April 2012. When the police officer at the house where I was staying asked me if I had any of the aforementioned substance I handed him my tobacco tin with a couple of grams of the illicit material.
    We then drove to the main police station where I was duly processed, i.e. photo, dabs and DNA swabs. I was then released on police bail with a document telling me that I had to appear at Portsmouth magistrate’s court at 09:45 on the 27th of April to answer to the charge.
    After I inquired about the location of economical ‘Back-packer’ hostels one of the officers said he would drive me to a homeless shelter. This turned out to be quite hospitable, even though it meant sharing a dormitory with 4 other men and 2 women. The regular residents had a wide screen TV, as well as tea and coffee making necessaries. The following morning I got up early and took the first available train home.
    On the following Monday I wrote to the court and told them that as I had already admitted to the possession, and the fact that it would cost me around £200 to attend the court hearing, would the court accept my postal statement of guilty as charged? I didn’t hear anything further until 17:45 on the 29th of May. See following entry.
    * * *
    29.05.2012 As usual I was woken by the ’dawn chorus’ so I got up had a quick wash, made fresh coffee and went back to bed and read and smoked until around 07:30. Got up had my breakfast – yoghurt with honey – watched the news, checked and answered my e-mails.
    Ca 10:35 I went and bought some groceries. When I got home I made my midday repast – ‘Zanzibar chicken’- last night’s dinner micro-waved. From two until four I played cards at the village social club without any success.
    Ca 17:45 I was washing yesterday’s dishes prior to making my evening meal; poached salmon fillet with broccoli, new potatoes, and a spicy parsley sauce, when I heard a knock at the front door.
    Drying my hands I went to see who it was my door to find an attractive young police officer, who was in the process of calling her colleague, on his way around to the back of my bungalow.
    After she had shown me her ID and warrant for my arrest, because of my no show at Portsmouth magistrate court on the 27th of April, I was allowed to pack some necessary items as I would be spending the night in a holding cell in Goole police station before being transported to Portsmouth by a security company the next day.
    On arrival I was duly processed, i.e. photo, dabs and DNA swabs. I was then shown into my abode for the night until my departure the following morning. Dave, the charging officer, asked if I would like a cup of tea and something to eat – coffee wasn’t available – too expensive; he rattled off a list of micro-wave meals. I chose Cottage pie, which was delivered piping hot, however the mashed potato had the appearance and texture of wallpaper paste. Nevertheless, it filled me up and after I’d eaten I was questioned by the police nurse about any illnesses or medication. During and after this examination I chatted and joked with the station staff. I asked the young police woman if she had been selected for the Olympic reinforcement ‘gravy-train’, which brought a round of jeers from her fellow officers. When I returned to my cell I drank some more tea and read until I’d finished the penultimate chapter in my current book. I buzzed the front desk and Dave came and asked if I needed anything to which I asked him to turn down the light, which he did and wished me a pleasant night’s sleep.
    Thursday 30.05.2012 I was woken by the sun and the sound of the early morning traffic. The night officer brought me a cup of tea around 06:00 and asked me what I would like breakfast. The choice was micro-wave beans, potato and sausages, or scrambled eggs and bacon. I chose the former; the beans were OK, the sausages appeared to be made of sawdust soaked in Soy sauce.
    Shortly after 07:00 I was released from my cell and handed over to the two security officers from GEO-AMEY. They immediately handcuffed me and one of the guards attached himself to my right wrist with a second set of ’cuffs for the three metres to the transport vehicle. It was fitted out to carry up to six prisoners from jail to the courts and vice-versa. Before getting into the van I asked one of the guards if I could have a smoke before we left. He said no, but he would make me a roll-up as soon as we got on the road.
    We drove 4 hours non-stop and arrived at Portsmouth Magistrates court at 011:20 where I was handed over to the court security personnel with the same procedure I endured on departure. The security supervisor asked me if I would like the services of the duty solicitor, to which I replied, ‘Why not?’
    As in Goole I was given something to drink and a short while later I was cuffed and escorted to an interview room where I met the aforesaid lawyer. She already had my file and said we should play it as it transpired. Cuffed again I was taken back to the holding cell.
    At approximately at 13:00 as far as I could estimate I was given another micro-wave meal; Thai red curry with rice which was piquant as a poor Lancashire Hotpot.
    Just after 14:15 I was once again cuffed by a rather jovial magistrate’s prison guard and escorted to the dock, which was a wooden cage with triple-layer bullet proof glass facing the bench with its three ‘worships ‘in the courtroom.
    The current hearing was coming to an end as we entered the chamber and the guard removed the cuffs and told me to be seated. The chairman of the court then called my name and the solicitor indicated that I should stand and answer. He then informed me that if I pleaded not guilty the case would be passed to the crown court. I thought briefly, ‘Is it worth the hassle and expense to the taxpayers to show how stupid the law can be.’
    But then, having paid the piper several times, I have frequently called the tune’ so I responded, ‘Guilty, as I had done when first arrested five and a half weeks ago.’ The duty solicitor then told me that I shouldn’t say anything unless asked. She then presented my case. The panel went into a huddle for a couple of minutes and the Chair told me that they had considered every aspect of the case and the court would fine me £100, which was commuted because I had already spent over twenty hours in custody. He then said that there was a ‘victim surcharge’ of £15 and did I have the means to pay this? Before I could reply the clerk of the court said that this also could be commuted.
    I’d paid my debt and was once again ‘a free man’. The guard looked at me and grinned, ‘Wher’ve yow come from?’ as we made our way back down to the holding cells. When I told him he said, ‘Yow’ll be needin a travel warrant, then? He told me to sit in the reception cell, which was furnished with a table and two utility chairs, while he got my belongings and a travel warrant block. He gave me the warrant and told me that the station was five minutes round the corner. I acquired a ticket to York for £150 at the ticket window. 14:50 and I was on a train to Waterloo.
    17:25: I was on an East coast train to York with amicable fellow travellers and arrived in York, where I had time for a pint and a spliff before catching the last bus home. Got home shortly after 21:00 and went to bed at 23:00. BTW; I ate the salmon for dinner on Thursday.

  4. Besides the law which is a big problem/tool of oppression from the gov to the people, who are raised with good values an such to try an be the nice guys an bread winners, like Russel says the media are a very big voice of the people an once your brains getting drilled and its to cold raining and dark to go outside and people ill need to stay warm and fed having a smoke keeps you warm and cosseted and is more efficient in a group share, so there are no coffeeshops, no smoking indoors and people are bred with a selfish backward defensive ignorance which is destructive in most social means accept the fowardness of requested business which in its self has its own floors. Friendship has been decieved by business locality has been decieved by the distance of internet, everything has been corrupted and people have become more difficult refusing to work for or even with any type of business policed by the police because they are working as a corrupted and criminal entity who enforce social cleansing and the bread winners and girl groupies for success are seen as a destructive entity by the poor who have more security than corrupted individuals consumeristical minds, who are a product of enviroment and circumstance and often suffer from health issues and want to work with an honest framework and be good people.

    Logistics and cash are a big part of keeping your endocannabanoid enriched and staying healthy under prohibition this costs at around ten pounds a gram between 3650 pounds for one gram a day habit upto 7300 pounds per annum for two grams a day so its not cheap, mostly goes this on logistics and product cost based on this theoretical example. Money can be saved but the higher up the foodchain the more risk, logistics and whole sale it becomes and you become marginalised with the cash hungry ignorant folk. Law helps create a climate of fear and oppression and also unescessary pressure on poor victimised individuals in a climate of social cleansing. Don’t get pissed off reading this cause its a basic fact that things cost money and you are responisble for choosing your own social partners and friends but until things change the landscape will stay the same.

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