Words of warning

“Those whose minds are steeped in cannabis are capable of quite extraordinary criminality. Your brain has been steeped in cannabis for most of your adult life.”
Judge Anthony Niblett, jailing 33-year-old Peter West for life after West punched his girlfriend and burnt down her house: ‘Cannabis smoking leads to criminality, judge tells arsonist’

“This was an appalling attack of extreme and persistent violence. And I have no doubt it would not have happened if you had not consumed cannabis.”
Judge Findlay Baker, QC, 9 October 2006, jailing Laurie Draper for life for stabbing a friend to death with a pair of garden shears: ‘Cannabis session led to soldier killing teacher’

“I am for anything that gets the message across to people, particularly young people, that cannabis is very, very dangerous. Joanna started smoking the drug when she was very young and it progressed when she went to university… It was like she was in a vicious circle where the drug would be the only thing to relax her but also worsened her health. Joanna’s death is such a waste. She had her whole life in front of her. She was a beautiful girl and very talented. I don’t think many youngsters understand the extent to which it can affect people.”
Father of Joanna Barton-Harvey, who killed herself in 2003 at the age of 33 after smoking cannabis since she was a student: Father of daughter who committed suicide: “Cannabis is very, very dangerous”

‘Cannabis has ruined my life.’
Words of a note left by Charles King, 23, who killed himself in 2003: ‘Cannabis linked to student’s suicide’

“We firmly believe cannabis was the catalyst in a chain of events that ended with Lee’s death. Children who smoke cannabis are playing Russian Roulette with their lives, particularly if they are at risk from suffering mental ill health. The government should be making everyone aware that cannabis is harmful.”
Parents of Lee Wellock, who killed himself in 2005 after smoking cannabis since his teens: ‘Parents’ blast after cannabis led to son’s death’

“We believe that cannabis was a directly-contributing factor towards his death and no one will ever convince me otherwise. He was a perfectly healthy and happy young man until he started to use cannabis. Eventually, it caused his depression and he was smoking it to heal himself. There are a lot of young people out there killing themselves through drug use and more needs to be done to raise awareness. We believe cannabis caused the depression and more should be done to investigate its links with mental illnesses.”
Parents of Stephen Breheny, who killed himself in December 2004 at the age of 22: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/family-blame-drug-use-for-student-1067367

“I hate to think of other families going through the nightmare we endured. We will never recover from this, any of us. Guy may have taken his own life, but it was cannabis that killed him.”
Mother of Guy Summers, who killed himself in 2004 at the age of 17 after smoking cannabis for over a year: ‘Skunk killed my beloved son’

“People think nothing of cannabis nowadays. They just don’t realise this drug can tip you over the edge. A lot of people try it. With the government downgrading it, I think young people assume it is completely harmless. But it can destroy your mind.”
Mother of Laura Bower-McKnight, who killed herself in 2007: ‘Mother blames cannabis for suicide of promising violinist daughter’

“I don’t subscribe to the view it’s recreational and it’s no big deal to be smoking or selling cannabis. My experience of people I see in this court is that almost without exception they are seriously damaged by the use of cannabis. It certainly leads to mental illness. It is in my judgement a dangerous drug.”
Judge John Boggis, QC, 2007: ‘Judge’s warning on cannabis danger as teenager is jailed’

“Time and again we are getting cases where alcohol and cannabis seem to have resulted in violence. They just don’t seem to mix.”
Judge Peter Armstrong, 2008: ‘Concerns over rise in cannabis and alcohol-fuelled violence’

“There had recently been discussions by politicians as to whether or not it was a mistake to reclassify cannabis and whether or not it should be reclassified as B rather than C. When considering possible reclassification those whose duty it is to do so may reflect upon the death of Stuart Lester. The use of cannabis can lead to devastating effects. It may be thought that this may not have happened had this young man not used cannabis as a child.”
Coroner Stanley Hooper, on the suicide of 21-year-old Stuart Lester, 2008: ‘Cannabis linked to man’s suicide’

“There is a misconception that cannabis is not harmful and clearly this case demonstrates that it is. Heavy use of cannabis can impact on a person’s mental health. Mr Cooper Taylor was an upstanding member of the community who went to help a neighbour. He tragically lost his life and this poor elderly lady has been left physically and mentally scarred.”
Detective Chief Inspector Damian Allain, on the sentencing to life in prison of Rafiq Kashmiri, who in May 2006 killed Mr Cooper Taylor by stabbing him over 100 times with a pair of scissors after he had come to the aid of an elderly neighbour Kashmiri was attacking in her home: ‘Cannabis addict jailed for life for stabbing Good Samaritan to death as he tried to protect elderly neighbour’

“If you lie down with dogs you are going to get fleas. It is bad news, but the real bad news started when he first got arrested for smoking cannabis. Once he took that path we couldn’t get him off it. And it will happen to hundreds of others his age.”
John Butler, after his son Anthony was jailed for seven years for using an axe during an armed robbery in 2008: ‘Axe attack father: cannabis ruined my son’

“When I see that from the age of 10 you have been taking cannabis on a regular basis and even at 14 you were taking cocaine and ecstasy, any right-thinking person is going to think there has got to be something wrong in our society. It must be every victim’s worst nightmare to awake from a deep sleep and find an intruder armed with a knife. It is truly a picture of horror. You have had such an awful effect on this lady’s life.”
Judge Kerry Macgill, jailing 15-year-old Jordan Webster for the rape of a 58-year-old neighbour in her home in 2008: ‘Cannabis-addicted boy aged just 14 raped 58-year-old woman at knifepoint in her home’

“As I have already remarked, your case is a cautionary tale for those who think cannabis is a harmless drug. Quite how you managed to persuade yourself that an offence of the gravity of this charge was something you were prepared to do I confess I cannot really begin to imagine. It was a planned robbery and you took a weapon, a screwdriver.”
Judge William Hart, jailing Damon Woodhouse for armed robbery in 2008: ‘Cannabis addict’s student career wrecked after being jailed for robbing elderly shop assistant’

“This was a cruel and cowardly attack on a young man who had done nothing wrong. You showed scarce regard for human life. Your initial motivation was robbery to get money to buy cannabis. In my judgement you got caught up in a frenzy of violence.”
Judge Adele Williams, jailing two 17-year-old boys for an attack on a fellow schoolboy in 2008 that left him in a coma: Teenage cannabis smokers jailed over mugging which left boy in coma

“This was a tragedy waiting to happen. It is true that one of the risk factors for your mental illness is genetic, within the family. The other risk factor is your persistent use of strong cannabis, known as skunk. The more you abused that unlawful drug, the more psychotic you became, to the understandable concern of your family. You had even smoked cannabis before you set out on the day in question and you bear responsibility for the taking of that drug.”
Judge Giles Forrester, sentencing 21-year-old Imran Khan to life in prison for the murder of a teenage boy, 2009: ‘Cannabis-smoking father jailed for life after fatal stabbing’

“This is a very tragic story. He was an intelligent, likeable young man who went to university, and I suspect it was there that he came into contact with cannabis. Cannabis is a dangerous drug and is harming more and more people. It is as dangerous as hard drugs.”
Coroner Michael Rose on the case of Ryan Peter Quinney, who committed suicide in 2010: ‘Cannabis warning’ following suicide

“It is always worth underscoring this is not a harmless substance. In the hands of a 14-year-old, it’s the starting point of a disastrous sequence of events.”
Coroner Richard Hulett on the case of Chris Benning, who committed suicide in 2011 at the age of 30, having smoked cannabis from the age of 14: ‘Cannabis blamed for former Marlow man’s suicide’

‘I’m trying to make sure Oskar is happy and safe and while you are addicted to weed and violent and abusive he’s not safe at all.’

‘You throw him around like a toy, suffocate him, stick your finger down his f***ing throat! And he’s always in the middle of our arguments and fights. If you aren’t going to protect your son and be a f***ing dad then I’m leaving.’

‘If you want to be in our lives if you really care about me and our son you would quit. You come home and suffocate our son because you can’t be arsed with him because you want weed.’

Messages from Tia Jobey, 19, to Kane Kennedy, regarding their seven-month-old son Oskar, whom Kane smothered to death in February 2015: ‘Killer dad smothered baby son to death in rage ‘triggered by smoking cannabis every day”

“He hopes that if he can get himself off cannabis it will reduce the risk of him reoffending.”
Kelly Shooter, defending Joshua Webster: Cannabis-smoking teenage dad told to ‘grow up’ after admitting assaulting a woman

“Cannabis f****d him up. He’s smoked it all his life.”
Brother of Joe Xuereb: ‘Pictured: Office worker fighting for life with mother after horrifying hammer attack as family of man, 27, charged say “cannabis messed him up and he was sectioned eight years ago”’

“If any case demonstrates the dangers and potentially tragic consequences of cannabis abuse, such as you had taken part in for many years, this is such a case.”
Judge David Hatton, QC, jailing a 25-year-old man for the attempted murder of his infant son, 8 November 2018: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-46136374#

Are these people, and many like them, completely wrong? Or are they on to something? If you agree with us that it’s the latter, please sign our parliamentary petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/231109