8 May 2016
In the first report they write
Cannabis users will be able to grow the substance for their own consumption after a police force relaxed their drugs policy.
Durham Constabulary will no longer target individuals who have cannabis plants at home after they declared the illegal activity is not a priority.
But the force said they would still prosecute operators of commercial cannabis farms or those who were being “blatant”.
Durham Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg outlined the plans and said he hopes the chance to avoid prosecution will stop the cycle of reoffending.
Mr Hogg said: “We are not prioritising people who have a small number of cannabis plants for their own use. In low level cases we say it is better to work with them and put them in a position where they can recover.
“In these cases the most likely way of dealing with them would be with a caution and by taking the plants away and disposing of them. It is unlikely that a case like that would be brought before a court.
In the second report the Mirror writes..
But Mr Hogg quickly backed down after angry campaigners and Tory Ministers insisted all drug users should be prosecuted.
“Growing cannabis is illegal, and those who do so can face significant jail sentences,” said Policing Minister Mike Penning.
Addiction UK director of casework Simon Stephens said: “His comments aren’t particularly helpful.
“It does send a message that drugs are OK – there can be no doubt that there a significant amount of people with mental health problems brought on by cannabis.”
In a hastily-issued statement, Mr Hogg later denied going soft on users but claimed ‘we need to stop the cycle of re-offending’.
“It is not the case that the police will not proactively seek out and detect so-called small scale cannabis growers,” he said in the statement.