UK: Busted – Cheltenham man imports 20 kilos of low-strength cannabis and sets up a company called “Oh Wow Hemp Ltd”


A Cheltenham man who imported 20 kilos of low-strength cannabis and set up a company called “Oh Wow Hemp Ltd” to sell the drug did not realise that it was illegal, a court was told this week. Wayne Parker, 37, of Mersey Road, Cheltenham, made no attempt to hide what he was doing and the importation documents for the three packages of cannabis he received had clearly stated what was in them, Gloucester Crown Court was told.

Parker’s defence lawyer, Steve Young, said “Yes, he should have realised what he was doing was illegal. But there is so much contradictory information out there that I am not surprised he came to the conclusion he did and assumed that the product was legal.”

Parker pleaded guilty to being concerned with the supply of Class B drug cannabis between September 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020 and being in possession of cannabis with intent to supply on September 14, 2021. He also admitted that the offences were committed in breach of a 21 month suspended jail sentence that he had received for possession of cannabis and ‘monkey dust.’

Because he has been in custody on remand since his arrest for the importation offences last autumn he had already served the equivalent of an 18-month sentence, the court was told. Judge Ian Lawrie QC said he would reflect that by passing a community order with unpaid work requirements – meaning Parker’s immediate release.

Prosecutor Christopher Smyth told the court on Wednesday (June 1) that Border Force officers intercepted three packages addressed to Parker that contained cannabis – two weighing five kilograms and a third of ten kilograms. “Police attended Parker’s home address on September 14th last year to question him about the importation and found a quantity of cannabis in the property – both the regular street dealing quality and a different variety, commonly known as CBD (cannabidiol) which had escaped detection by the Border Force agency,” he said.

“An expert in the Class B drug, Dr Potter, explains in his report to the court that there are three types of cannabis – type one has a strong content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive component of cannabis; type two has equal THC and CBD content and third type has a low THC content. The cannabis involved in Parker’s case has the lowest THC content with a higher CBD content. The cannabis is the female head flowering material and in law, regardless of THC content, that is a controlled drug of Class B.

“There is a theory abroad that if the THC content is less than 0.2 per cent this renders it as legal in places such as Italy. There is no limit in this country that is acceptable. When it is sold in Italy it is made clear it should not be used for human consumption. Dr Potter states that this is guise for sale of the drug for recreational use.

“The prosecution say that regardless of THC content this is cannabis and therefore a controlled drug. When Parker’s cannabis was analysed it was said to contain 0.5 per cent THC, which is illegal in Italy.

“The prosecution accept the cannabis is lower in strength to that which is normally seized and which is normally found to contain THC in the range of 10 to 15 percent. It is accepted that CBD is used for relaxation and medicinal purposes, but for legal purposes it would be produced in a different form.

“To be allowed in this country the processor would need a licence. Parker did not have such a licence.

“However, it appears that Parker led himself to believe the product he was importing was legal.”

The packages intercepted by the Border Forces Agency weighed five kilograms on October 1, 2020, a further five kilograms on October 14, 2020 and 10 kilograms on November 2, 2020. “Had this been normal strength cannabis this weight could have a street value of over £20,000.

“Parker’s home address was subsequently searched and 4.4 kilograms of cannabis was found inside at various locations. Other drug paraphernalia was also found in the property,” added Mr Smyth.

Mitigating for Parker, Steve Young said it was ‘an unusual case that has taxed the best legal minds’ in considering the legality of this type of cannabis. “This case started as being the normal type of street cannabis offence but has evolved into a whole new world into something rather different,” he said.

“There are two types of offence in Parker’s case. Yes, there is there is the normal street cannabis – weed, if you prefer – of which he admits possessing 1.6 kilograms and then there is the CBD cannabis flower heads.

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