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Firstly, this is not my situation.
Can anyone clarify the consequences of the following please:
A household which consists of a part house owner and two tenants. The part house owner is growing cannabis for his own use in his own room, despite protests from the two tenants.
Who in the household, would be held accountable if the cannabis was discovered?
There is a response on 'Growing-cannabis – epetition response click here from No 10 PM which states:
"The Government seeks to balance the wishes of some individuals on the one hand with the greater public health and welfare considerations on the other. In so doing, we consider that it makes sense, on health grounds, for cannabis to remain a controlled drug whose unauthorised production (including domestic cultivation), supply and possession are, and will remain, illegal and subject to criminal sanctions.
There is, therefore, no prospect of the Government decriminalising cannabis to enable cannabis users to grow the plant for personal use."
I would have thought that the person responsible for the crime is the one that is prosecuted.
Section 8 of The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 deals with controlled drugs on premises.
This states that the occupier (not the owner) or one concerned in the management of the premises knowingly permits or suffers any of the follwowing activities to take place on thsoe premises:
Unlawful production or attempted production of a controlled drug.
Unlawfully supply of controlled drugs
Preparing opium for smoking
Smoking cannabis, cannabis resin or prepared opium.
As you can see there is no offence for the owner in circumstances of mere possession.
The important word in the offence is "knowingly" and embraces 'wilful blindness' i.e. suspecting what is going on but turning a blind eye.
This covers where a person is smoking cannabis in their hotel room and everyone walking by the door can smell it. Access or lack of access does not appear relevant but it would be for someone to prove they had no knowledge in spite of the circumstances.
The person concerned does have all the Paraphernalia.
Does that make a difference?
If the house is split and you have no right of access to the part occupied by the owner then you could claim you are not an occupier of that part of the house neither are you a manager.
However if you have access to the whole house including the room in which the drugs are being grown then you could be described as an occupier.
I think there is a risk the tenants make be guilty of aiding and abetting the growing if they fail to take action/report it.
The apparent knowledge that "The person concerned does have all the Paraphernalia." could easily be held as abetting the act.
Perhaps the tenants need to make the situation known to someone in authority to resolve the situation. If they advise, say, a Council official and nothing is done then at least they have attempted to take action which could be used as a defence.
To aid an offender you have to assist the offender to commit the principle offence.
To abet an offender you have to encourage the perpetrator.
It is therefroe the case that to commit such an offence you have to actually do something.
Doing nothing does not constitute aiding or abetting.
The house is privately owned and ownership shared by 4 siblings - one of which lives in the house (the 'part owner'). One of the tenents is a relative.
It is a very tricky situation. Maybe there won't be a definative answer?
Shared houses often have one person growing or at least using cannabis, the smell is strong and can affect the other tenants. It is best to state your case for not using or wanting to be involved with drugs. If people are related then they seem to be using this as a bullying tactic, so that the tenants are being manipulated into silence.
After all they are paying tenants and this gives then legal rights. For most shared housing, the insurers will not even accept smoking indoors. If reasonable discusson does not resolve the situation, my personal reaction would be to look for elsewhere to live. That is because of the legal, insurance and health issues involved.
Where I live police regularly raid properties if there is a suspicion of growing cannabis. Home grown cannabis is much stronger than the sort from abroad that has been mixed with inane substances to make it cheaper. so as well as being stronger there are new strains being introduced and different parts of the plant, such as the female part, which is much stronger id being used. It is for these reasons that cannabis was reclassified back to a B drug and is being taken more seriously. I don't know what sort your friend is growing, but the short answer is that they would be in trouble with the law if there was a tip off and it would probably not be in your friend's favour if it were known that they were turning a blind eye, but the person growing it would probably be the only one prosecuted.
If the 'part owner' and other tenant's are related, then this could prove to be a 'soul searching' problem for all parties. Cannabis is still an illegal substance in this country, and the way the police deal with it, can depend on amounts found and on the person involved.
One thought for consideration, is the strong smell of cannabis, which could taint other peoples property, and may result in a 'stop check and search' at certain locations, possibly causing embarrassment at the most inconvenient moment.
I think one remedy to a possible solution to the question, is to contact a local drug advice organisation (there are plenty about)and ask their advice and opinion. By doing this, things may remain confidential, with a good ending!.
A further point to think about. If there is a police raid at the property (usually from intelligence gathered), then all the rooms and occupant's may become involved in a search procedure, at whatever the day or time.
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