Cannabis cultivation a 'growing' trend says expert

PUBLISHED: 10:20 10 February 2010 | UPDATED: 00:53 16 June 2010

Expert Allan Morgan.

Expert Allan Morgan.

Copyright Archant Ltd

A LEADING UK drug expert, who lives in Honiton, claims cannabis cultivation is a growing problem nationwide. Former police officer Allen Morgan says the availability of equipment and high selling prices has led to more people growing the drug.

A LEADING UK drug expert, who lives in Honiton, claims cannabis cultivation is a growing problem nationwide.

Former police officer Allen Morgan says the availability of equipment and high selling prices has led to more people growing the drug.

And the founder of Allen Morgan Associates said the trend was starting to emerge in East Devon.

He said: "I think it's going to occur naturally. It's happening all round the country so it's inevitable that East Devon is going to encounter it as well.

"The strength of cannabis they're producing, coupled with risks to the property they develop it in, such as making it prone to fires, make it an issue. Of course, it also increases the local availability of the drug.

"Cannabis has links with mental health issues, which show it's probably not as harmless as painted in years gone by.

"Drug trafficking can reap a huge amount of profit in a short space of time, which is a massive motivating factor to do it."

He believes local vigilance is the key to tackling drug cultivation, trafficking and use.

Mr Morgan, who has a masters degree in drug use and addiction, specialises in 'cannabis farms' and drug valuations. He offers courses, primarily aimed at police officers and forensic scientists, who may need to investigate crimes involving the production of the drug.

But he argues that class A drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, cause greater problems, both physically and socially - with links to criminal activity.

He argues such drugs are available in the area, but not as accessible as in bigger cities.

He said: "There is a problem, but it's no worse than anywhere else. I would say there is lower use here than the majority of places I have been to.

"Drug use is usually linked to issues of poor quality of life, high level of unemployment, and availability. If there's ready access and the right setting, there's always the risk people will experiment."

He said the relatively high standard of living, lack of nearby major cities, and police activity, helped keep the problem down locally.

He said: "Drug use hasn't become as normalised in East Devon as it has in a lot of areas in the country. Suppliers of drugs are less likely to want to come into an area where there's a high level of police activity."

He believes there are more established supply chains in bigger cities and the dealers are more protected from detection.

Mr Morgan is a regular lecturer on drug-related issues and has given a number of presentations to Home Office ministers, MPs and the Home Office Policing Standards Unit.

He has recently started a drug user survey and will be publishing the results of the research in the next 12 months. To take part or for further information, visit www.drugexpert.co.uk

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