Last Week in Weed
In this week’s Last Week In Weed, Justin Bieber partners with Palms to launch his line of cannabis pre-rolls, a UK prison guard locked up for smuggling cannabis, and a wife in the UK calls police to help find her vulnerable husband and ends up getting them both busted for cannabis cultivation.
Justin Bieber partners with Palms to launch pre-rolled ‘Peaches’
The Canadian singer announced last week to his 199 million Instagram followers that he was partnering with the LA-based cannabis brand Palms (Tres Palmas Inc) to launch his own line of pre-rolled cannabis joints called ‘Peaches.’
Bieber’s new ‘Peaches’ brand is produced in partnership with Tres Palmas Inc, a specialist pre-roll cannabis brand based in LA, California. The limited-edition collaboration pack contains 3.5 grams of total flower in seven 0.5g joints and comes with a custom Bic lighter.
The brand, which is cleverly named after one of the singers’ recent hit songs that features the chorus “I got my peaches out in Georgia. I get my weed in California” is available now in California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Although financial details of the brand deal are being kept secret we do know that the profits from the sale of the Peaches pre-rolls will go towards two projects.
Those projects are The Last Prison Project – A US non-profit ‘fighting criminal injustice and reimaging drug policy’ that ‘will not rest and will not stop until the last cannabis prisoner is set free.’ The second is Veterans Walk and Talk, a US veteran community group that advocates for the outdoors, psychedelic therapy, and cannabis.
While I applaud the gesture and the move by Bieber to support these causes, I cannot help but feel it misses a much larger point here. Why should celebrities and corporations be made into community champions, why aren’t we allowed to grow ourselves out of the mess this kind of greedy corporate cannibalism caused in the first damn place.
Last year Justin Bieber opened up about his battle with drug dependency issues in the YouTube documentary series ‘Justin Bieber Seasons.’ In the series, Bieber candidly discusses drugs, his mental health and first consuming cannabis when he was 12 or 13 and becoming dependant on it. Bieber also discusses his relationships with other drugs like prescription pills, codeine lean, and MDMA which he regularly utilised to help manage and mitigate the stresses and anxiety of such a high level of fame.
The first time I smoked weed was in my backyard here — got super-stoned, and then I realized I liked weed a lot. That’s when my desire to smoke weed started, and then I started smoking weed for a while. And then started getting really dependent on it, and that’s when I realized that I had to stop. I don’t think it’s bad. It’s just that for me, it can be a dependency.” – Justin Bieber, ‘Justin Bieber Seasons’
Justin Bieber is just the latest in a long line of celebrities partnering with brands to create cannabis products and lines. Like it or not celebrity cannabis brands and endorsements are here to stay, well at least for the foreseeable future.
Prison guard locked up for smuggling cannabis resin into prison
A prison guard at a category C men’s prison in Rutland, England has been locked up after being paid to smuggle cannabis resin into HMP Stocken. The guard who was paid to smuggle several large bars of cannabis resin before being caught back in 2019 was sentenced last week.
The conspiracy was brought to light when a sniffer dog indicated that he may have contraband in his vehicle. A subsequent search revealed two blocks of resin in his glove box, that were wrapped in cling film ready to be smuggled into the prison in his trousers. A further 100g of resin linked to the guard was also discovered hidden in a prison cell on the grounds
During the police and internal investigation, it was revealed that the 29-year-old guard had originally started sneaking in tobacco to help him cover personal debts. It quickly escalated to being paid £4000 by an inmate to smuggle in the resin. The price of ‘illegal’ drugs in UK prisons is currently about 10 times that of ‘street price’ making it a rather attractive proposition to an individual on low pay and in debt.
“On the street, this haul was worth just over £3,055, but behind bars, drugs are much more valuable. We estimated these men could have made in excess of £30,000 from the blocks we seized and not just that, the rivalry that can come from the vying for such illicit commodities by inmates can have serious repercussions for the stability of the prison environment” – Detective Inspector Dan Evans
There were five men in total involved in procuring the resin from a dealer in Liverpool, transporting it to the East Midlands, smuggling it into the prison, and organising the various money transfers. All five men plead not guilty during their trial at Leicester Crown Court last week and all five were found guilty by the court.
The prison guard was sentenced to one year and four months for ‘conspiracy to supply class B drugs’ ‘Possession with intent to supply class B drugs’ and ‘Conveying a prohibited item into prison.’ The other four men received sentences ranging from twenty months to three years for their part in the cannabis conspiracy.
“HMP Stocken will not tolerate corruption in any form and works in partnership with the police to bring to account all those who attempt to supply contraband into our prisons. ‘The sentence imposed by the court today will be welcomed by our hardworking and courageous staff, whose safety is undermined by the dishonest actions of a small number of corrupt individuals’ –Prison governor Neil Thomas
A further investigation and hearing to determine if there are any grounds for seizure of any criminal gains made by the men as per the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 will happen in due course. This case highlights just how the economics of supply and demand work in a microcosm like a prison. Most people imagine prisons to be drug-free when in reality nothing could be further from the truth.
A 2020 Guardian investigation found that the number of drugs seized in UK prisons rose 18% to 21,575. The same article highlighted that since 2015 over 200 HMP and non-direct HMP contractors have been dismissed for smuggling contraband into HMP facilities. This led to 88 subsequent convictions and 10 police cautions being given.
There is no such thing as a drug-free prison no more than there could ever be such a thing as a drug-free world. The existence and prevalence of drugs in society is a fact, however, there continued prohibition is very much a choice. A choice that our leaders continue to make again and again despite the ever-mounting evidence that their draconian policies cause far more harm than these substances ever could.
Wife calls police to help find vulnerable husband, ends up getting them both busted for cultivation
Last week saw the conclusion of a trial in Lancashire, UK that has been nearly four years in the making. Back in 2018, the wife of a man with a ‘history of mental health issues’ from Ormskirk, West Lancashire called the police to report him missing. A few hours later they were both arrested for the ‘illegal’ cultivation and possession of cannabis.
The discovery of their cultivation setup happen on May 15th 2018, after the husband had gone missing from the family home. His wife clearly concerned for his health and well-being rang the local police to report him missing. Unfortunately, the woman isn’t too wise to police procedure and didn’t realise that they would have to search her property for the missing man.
When officers arrived to take a statement and search for her husband, who would later be found at a local hospital, she told them ‘I can’t deal with this’ and ‘can you come back in an hour?’. They explained they needed to conduct a thorough search of the property. This led to the discovery of 30 plants in the couple’s garage, confronted with this evidence the wife admitted there was a further 150 plants in the cellar.
The police described the couples set up as a ‘professional’ with a potential to produce a yield of 4.2 – 12.6kg of dry flower, worth an estimated £84,000 – £126,000. Initially, the couple claimed that they were tricked into allowing others to grow in their garage before being ‘threatened’ into allowing it to continue. This defence was wholly dismissed by the prosecution as ‘nonsense’, with Judge Richard Gioserano speaking directly to the couple at Preston Crown Court saying “The two of you couldn’t even come up with the same nonsense as you couldn’t get your stories straight.”
The husband pleaded guilty to the ‘production of a Class B drug’ while the wife admitted to the lesser charge of ‘allowing premises to be used for the production of a class B drug.’ The Judge took into consideration the length of time it took to get them to trial and their lack of offending since their arrest. He subsequently spared them any jail time giving the man a two-year suspended sentence, a 12-month curfew, and an order to complete 20-days in a rehabilitation facility. The woman was given a 122-month community order and is subject to the same curfew as her husband.
Speaking during his summation, Judge Gioserano explained his decision saying that “I’m dealing with you three-and-a-half years after the event and very little of that delay is of your making. It took 18 months just for the two of you to be charged and then the Covid pandemic has caused further delay. Both of you have been in no further trouble in that time.”
This is another unfortunate case where instead of being the public’s protector, the police are their persecutor. It does make you wonder how many cannabis growers and consumers are forced to go without such a vital public service unable to call the police in an emergency for fear of being arrested for minor cannabis offences. Ending the war on drugs makes communities safer, stronger, and less in need of uniformed intervention in the first place.
Written by Simpa for TheSimpaLife.com