Cannabis festival probed by police, but not over drugs

A weekend-long event hosted by a cannabis club has been investigated by police – but not to deal with people taking the Class B drug.

Last weekend the Canna Camp Fest – billed as the “3rd Annual Smoke Out” – took place in Redcar, with hundreds of people attending.

Cleveland Police investigated the event, but only to gather evidence on music licensing, according to the organiser, Michael Fisher.

Breaking the law

Fisher said: “We don’t encourage or condone breaking the law but they could have come down mob-handed and locked up 500 stoners for personal possession of cannabis.”

He said in his view that would have been a “waste of resources”.

He also stated that “zero arrests were made nor was anyone to our knowledge questioned or hassled by Cleveland Police”.

No allegations

However, the police did investigate concerns over licensing and came to the event to assess music levels.

Despite the nature of the publicity for the festival, Cleveland Police said: “This event took place without any reports to police of cannabis being consumed from members of the public or organisers of the event.

“Had any allegations of offences been made then officers would have dealt with those offences appropriately.

“Cleveland Police does not tolerate illegal drug use and will always act upon reports of controlled drug misuse.”

Under fire

Last year Ron Hogg, a former senior officer for Cleveland Police and the current Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham, outlined a softer approach to prosecuting cannabis users.

He said cases where the plants are grown for personal use are “unlikely” to be taken to court.

Hogg came under fire for effectively decriminalising cannabis – a drug that can damage mental health and lead to other substance abuse.

Wholly wrong

At the time Dr Max Pemberton said it is “wholly wrong” for police officers to be “deciding, rather than enforcing, drug policy”.

He added, “when it comes to cannabis, I am resolute in my position: it’s dangerous and should remain illegal. This isn’t borne out of some reactionary, fuddy-duddy stance. It’s based on clear evidence that cannabis ruins lives”.