Going soft on cannabis is the worst thing I've seen in 28 years' policing

By KomodoMK · Oct 17, 2008 · ·
  1. KomodoMK
    Going soft on cannabis is the worst thing I've seen in 28 years' policing, says stab horror officer.

    A senior police officer delivered a fierce attack on the reclassification of cannabis yesterday after a long-term user who ignored medical pleas to kick the habit was jailed for murdering his girlfriend.

    Detective Superintendent Andy West said the decision to downgrade the drug from Class B to C was the 'worst thing' he had seen in 28 years of policing.

    He spoke out after a judge jailed Marc Middlebrook for the murder of Stephanie Barton, a 32-year-old trainee accountant.

    Middlebrook, the 27-year- old son of a teacher, had been a cannabis user for ten years when he stabbed Miss Barton 15 times with three knives as she lay naked in his bed.

    The former agricultural college student had become convinced she was part of a conspiracy to kill him.

    He admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was convicted of murder at Lincoln Crown Court after prosecutors said he 'stubbornly' ignored doctors' advice to stop using the drug.

    After Middlebrook was jailed for life yesterday and ordered to serve a minimum 13 years, Mr West, who led the police investigation, said: 'I have stood here five or six times and I have listened to excuses put forward by young people about the amount of alcohol they have drunk, hard drugs they have taken and how it's diminished their responsibility.

    'Today it's about cannabis. You have to take responsibility. As a police officer of 28 years I can say the worst thing legislators did was to reduce the classification of cannabis to Class C and we are now starting to see the long-term issues of this drug.

    'This man is going to serve over 12 years so when people say this is a safe drug I don't agree.'

    He added: 'I believe legislators need to take a look at the evidence that is starting to emerge regarding the use of cannabis, particularly as the substance has been in circulation now for some two or three generations.

    'The idea of drug use being used as a line of defence worries me.'

    Mr West, of Lincolnshire Police, spoke out as Home Secretary Jacqui Smith moved ahead with plans to end Labour's four-year experiment with downgrading the drug, by returning it to its former Class B grading.

    Critics claim it is a toothless crackdown however as this week she introduced a 'three strikes' policy under which only third time offenders caught with cannabis would be arrested.

    Mr West was backed by Middlebrook's father Colin Gigner, an engineer, who said: 'Government policy should be tougher on drugs. That would have changed things. This wouldn't have happened.'

    Miss Barton's mother, Jackie, added: 'There is a risk attached to any abuse of any drug.'

    Police were called to Middlebrook's home in Boston, Lincolnshire, on December 4 last year after he sent a text message to Miss Barton's mother.

    It said: 'Hopefully you'll be better off without me. I love you. I love her, but it had gone too far.'

    Officers broke in and found Miss Barton's body on the bed.

    Middlebrook, who had been going out with her for five months, was also naked and had cut his neck and wrists in a failed suicide attempt.

    Police and paramedics reported the pungent smell of cannabis in the room and empty beer cans.

    Middlebrook told police he acted because he feared for his life and that 'she was in cahoots with a group of lads who are trying to kill me'.

    A post-mortem examination found Miss Barton had also smoked cannabis before her death.

    The case is the latest involving a cannabis user who carried out a violent crime.

    Last month, Kamuzu Munroe was sent to a secure hospital after stabbing a stranger to death at a bus stop in East London. The paranoid-schizophrenic was high on cannabis at the time of the attack.

    Daniel Wilson, 28, was sent to a secure hospital indefinitely last year for knifing his father to death after becoming convinced he had abused him as a child.

    A Home Office spokesman yesterday said ministers were increasingly concerned about the use of stronger strains of cannabis.

    'That is why we are reclassifying cannabis to Class B from January 29 2009. We are not prepared to "wait and see" on the potential mental health effects.'

    Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-years-policing-says-stab-horror-officer.html

    # Andrew Levy
    # Mail Online
    # October 17, 2008

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  1. NeuroChi
    Uh oh. :s

    Reefer Madness again?
  2. bennett211085
    Amazing the magnitude of alcohol related murders that never hit the headlines. In my mind the media is just a tool used to control peoples opinion, something with such influence would not be left to its own devices to spread unbiased information.

    If everyone smoking weed was the norm, then half the BS that goes on wouldnt be taken seriously.:s
  3. Herbal Healer 019
    The issue here isn't cannabis it's the fact the the guy was schizo...the media always loves to blame cannabis...Funny how they also found beer cans in the room, why didnt they blame the alcohol? quote 'Government policy should be tougher on drugs. That would have changed things. This wouldn't have happened.' in America they're tough on drugs but that doesnt stop ppl from using them soo wtf
  4. imsobored
    cannabis played no part in this crime. people may argue that cannabis made him paranoid, but that is not cannabis's fault. that is the way marijuana is, has always been, and always will be.

    the kid did not take responsibility for his actions. enough said. when swim got taken to a phsyciatrist for severe depression and suicidal tendancies almost a year ago, did swim blame drugs(at that point, namely marijuana, along with a heavy use of codine for about 2-3 weeks.)? no. infact, hell no. when he talked with his therapist, the therapist brought up the idea that drugs were the primary cause of what had been diagnosed as, "major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, as well and mild social anxiety," swim said no. swim said he KNEW drugs were not the cause. the therapist asked why, and swim simply stated that if drugs altered his brain and made him depressed, it was his own damn fault for using them, knowing very well what the risk was. swim was put on medication. after a break from the drugs to allow swim to focus solely on recovery, swim still uses opiates(the class codine falls under), he has begun using methylphenidate("speed"- akin to amphetamines.) recreationally, and smokes marijuana when he can get his hands on some(swim says, oddly, that marijuana is rather hard to get where he lives, and he would much rather not waste his time and buy/use drugs that are readily available to him.) swim has never gone back to depression. swim has noticed a change within himself, as well as others noticing a clear change with him. swim sadly admits he once was a "cutter," but no more. he had tried to commit suicide once or twice, but after treatment, he has only thought about suicide out of curiosity- to see if he still felt it was a good idea, which he doesnt. swim appreciates his life, in a sense, as a tiny, fragile newborn child- he sees it as a canvas. something in which he can fill with the most wonderful experiences- fill it with intense thought and philosophy beuond which most people can comprehend. and to all around become a better person- and hopefully better the world- even if just a tiny bit.

    sorry about getting into swims life story :p but i feel his story just goes to show- drugs dont cause problems with people. people cause it themselves. swim thinks drugs can be an incredible tool into philosophy and bettering your life if used responsibly and for the right reasons, but can be deadly if used for the wrong reasons or irresponsibly.

    in conclusion:)P), this young man deserves what he got. he -chose- to use drugs, he -chose- to murder his girlfriend, even if he was intoxicated, but he -knew- he would become intoxicated once he smoked marijuana. however- this does give some negative press to marijuana. marijuana is a wonderful thing, and should not be class B, class A, or class ZYX for that matter. it should be legal, and seen as what it really is.

    if your still reading this post, thanks for listening and sorry for the long post. it just gets me worked up when good people like my friend swim are depicted as ugly criminals, like in this story.
  5. Ilsa

    swim also finds it frustrating when authorities seeking to vilify a given substance do so by harping on it's presence in relation to a crime to attempt to make the drug a cause of the crime. bullshit, the cause is the choice of a person to commit the crime. period.

    swim has been on lots of different medically acceptable drugs, none of which (except benzos) ever helped--in fact effexor withdrawals nearly drove swim to suicide ( and she quit effexor the proper way, weaning off and such). why is it ok to be addicted to antidepressants that don't work rather than smoke some bud (not dependence-inducing) and feel way better than she ever did on any a.d.'s? money folks---those pharm companies aren't gonna recoup their costs promoting natural alternatives. swim will cut this potentially very long rant short. she knows she preaches to the choir. just a thought though: how can an inanimate thing, like a drug, 'make' someone do something? it can't. we humans have the power to choose and are responsible for the consequences. whoever blames the problems they create for themselves--based on the choice they made to take a drug of any kind--is spineless and leaves the evryone else to pick up their slack. no thanks.
  6. Ilsa

    ditto--no shit!!!! alcohol and violence are clearly linked, but whatever substance the gov't is seeking to demonize at the time is gonna be emphasized and sensationalized to the greatest degree possible--my question is this: why is the cause (depression, schizophrenia, etc) never the focus of attention?? it's typical of the americal medical establishment and news media to treat/draw attention to the symptom, not the problem. retarded.
  7. ComfortablyNumb
    I dont know why you guys are getting so riled up about this. Yes its nice to voice your opinion on the internet, thats what its there for, venting, but you guys must realise that no matter what you say or do, nothing will change. No because you guys dont have the power to change things, but because the government has fucked themself up into a whole. Of course they know how much more lethal alchohol is than most common drugs, but they cant just suddenly say, "Oh, well, drugs arent really that bad, i guess we could be leniant about them" because that would make them look like idiots, not like they need any help... but because they have a bunch of people who believe every word they say, now we got so many idiots who, with out even knowing anything about the drug they are talking about, now say "oh my god, what the fuck, you took a whole extacy pill? You wanna die?"
    :) venting is fun.

    Also i started to get excited when i read in the papers that they were thinking about downgrading xtc and lsd down to class b, but then i read exactly the same article in the same paper 5 months down the line, then again another 3 months down the line, now nearly a year later im not expecting any miracles :/
  8. cannabis-sam
    Notice a common theme in all of these scare stories. Diminished responsibility. Now that couldn't be a more likely reason people are blaming the weed.

    Swim remember being told by his dad who did some study on it back in the day that cannabis got it's reputation as the gateway drug because (this was the 60s 70s) people who said that there's nothing wrong with it got harsher sentences than the ones who said it's stupid and leads to harder drugs got let off light, thus the myth was perpetuated.
  9. entheogensmurf
    Going hard on cannabis is the worst thing I've seen.
  10. enquirewithin
    When cannabis was first prohibited in the US, people tried to use this excuse, but it was soon found invalid.

    Why are the opinions of police officers as pig ignorant as this quoted? Indeed, why are the police even allowed to make such statements in public. Their job is not to make moral or polical judgments, assuming they even had the brains to make informed ones.
  11. Sven99
    Newsflash for the Police Officer - most of his cannabis smoking happened when it was class B - so how the hell does he make a connection between this and the murder? Perhaps if they'd not changed the legislation he'd have realised it was a dangerous mind affecting drug and quit? I think not.

    Alcohol is involved in thousands of domestic abuse cases, alot of which end in murder. And yet somehow it doesn't get blamed. And when drink driving is in the news again, nobody blames alcohol for that - they blame the driver. I love the smell of double-standards in the morning.
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