“Those whose minds are steeped in cannabis are capable of quite extraordinary criminality.”
Judge Anthony Niblett, 2005
Attacker Smoked Cannabis is a unique online catalogue of acts of suicide and psychopathic violence committed by cannabis smokers. Originally created to support my parliamentary petition calling for an inquiry into the link between cannabis and violence, the site is now an important source of information for those who oppose the spread of cannabis, and those who believe cannabis is a ‘soft’ drug and miracle medicine that ought to be legalised.
The name is the crude formulation with which I began my online search for cases of cannabis smokers committing violence, which currently returns over 500,000 results. (Perhaps more tellingly, ‘cannabis and violence’ returns over 40 million.) Faced with a global mass of violent criminality, I decided to limit the catalogue to the UK (where I live) and Ireland (which I love).
Once one learns the characteristics of psychopathic violence committed by cannabis smokers – frenzied, savage, sustained, unprovoked, random – such violence becomes easy to spot. A young father violently killing his infant child? A victim stabbed 10, 20, 50, 100 times? A son shooting dead his family, then calmly handing himself in to the police? Such crimes used to be rare in the UK and Ireland, if they happened at all. In 2019, there were more than two dozen before Easter.
Faced with this tidal wave of horror, many people reach for all sorts of erroneous explanations: police cuts, gun laws, absent fathers, Islam, video games, racism, immigration, the EU, global warming. Above all, though, they’ll blame the cannabis trade, claiming that it would be free of violence were cannabis legalised and ‘regulated’. They do not consider, or will not admit, that it is the consumption of this powerful mind-altering drug, not a desire to control the trade in it, that destroys the mental barrier that prevents most people from plunging a knife into a fellow human being.
That cannabis is a common factor in many acts of suicide and psychopathic violence is undeniable. The question is whether it is an important factor. Dope heads will say it is as irrelevant as drinking tea or eating pizza, or will point out that in a number of cases there was alcohol or other drugs involved. I argue these points frequently on Twitter (@ross_grainger), and never cease to be amazed at how stubbornly people will refuse to consider the possibility that, just as many fights and scuffles would not have happened without alcohol, many acts of suicide or violence would not have occurred without cannabis.
My interest in cannabis as a social evil began in 2015 when I read The War We Never Fought: the British Establishment’s Surrender to Drugs, by the Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, along with his many blog posts and columns on the link between cannabis and violence. I consider him the general in the war of words against Big Cannabis and myself a willing foot soldier. It is a war that may yet still be won.
Using the myth of ‘medical’ marijuana as a smokescreen, the smooth charlatans of Big Cannabis have, over the last 40 years or so, softened attitudes to marijuana so successfully in Britain that, until quite recently, legalisation appeared unstoppable. I believe, though, that the conviction in February of 16-year-old Aaron Campbell for the rape and murder of six-year-old Alesha MacPhail caused a shift in the cannabis zeitgeist, from a slow drift towards acceptance and legalisation, to the realisation that, far from being a ‘soft’ drug and miracle medicine, this powerful psychoactive narcotic is extremely dangerous, and that, to quote the words at the top of this page and in the subtitle of this site, “Those whose minds are steeped in cannabis are capable of quite extraordinary criminality.”