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.”
Mr Justice Niblett: ‘Cannabis smoking leads to criminality, judge tells arsonist’ (Daily Telegraph, 7th Oct 2005)

“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.”
Mr Justice Baker, QC: ‘Cannabis session led to soldier killing teacher’ (Guardian, 10th Oct 2006)

‘From the limited evidence which was available to the Independent Investigation Team, it appears possible that, if MB had been fully compliant with anti-psychotic medication and had refrained from misuse of cannabis, then he may not have suffered from a relapse of his psychotic illness. In these circumstances, the death of Gemma Simpson might have been prevented.’
NHS England ‘Independent investigation into the care and treatment of MB [Martin Bell], March 2018’

“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: ‘Drugs warning by tragic Joanna’s dad’ (Harborough Mail, 12th Feb 2004)

‘Cannabis has ruined my life.’
Words of a note left by Charles King, 23: ‘Cannabis linked to student’s suicide’ (Times, 9th Sep 2003)

“At the time of this consultation I believed Salem’s cannabis intake was the main source of his symptoms.”
GP Dr Oliver Lutte: ‘Dad who suffocated wife and drowned two children in bath GUILTY of murder’ (Liverpool Echo, 19th Apr 2018)

“Your deteriorating mental health had much to do with your history of drug use and in particular your cannabis habit. This is another example of the danger of cannabis use and its ability to induce psychotic behaviour in young men.”
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave: ‘Worksop man Kamil Dantes jailed for parents’ stab killings’ (BBC News, 21st July 2015)

“You were someone who did not take your medication and you did take cannabis which sometimes made you more paranoid than usual.”
Mrs Justice Cheema: ‘GUILTY: Train-rage killer was schizophrenic cannabis-addicted gangster with 30 convictions who psychiatrist had ruled was NO DANGER to himself or others – just 24 hours before he stabbed father 18 times in front of his son, 14’ (Daily Mail, 12th July 2019)

“I do not subscribe to the notion that this is a harmless recreational drug. In your case, I think that it may well have contributed to your being unable to make the distinction between fantasy and reality which is essential for normal moral judgements.”
Judge Lord Nimmo Smith: ‘Jodi’s killer to serve at least 20 years in jail’ (Guardian, 12th Feb 2005)

“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: ‘Parents’ blast after cannabis led to son’s death’ (Bury Times, 13th Apr 2006)

“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: ‘Family blame drug use for student death’ (Manchester Evening News, 13th June 2005)

“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: ‘Skunk killed my beloved son’ (Daily Telegraph, 26th Mar 2007)

“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: ‘Mother blames cannabis for suicide of promising violinist daughter’ (Evening Standard, 5th Sep 2007)

“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’ (Southern Daily Echo, 5th Dec 2007)

“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’ (Northern Echo, 5th Mar 2008)

“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: ‘Cannabis addict jailed for life for stabbing Good Samaritan to death as he tried to protect elderly neighbour’ (Daily Mail, 16th July 2008)

“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: ‘Axe attack father: cannabis ruined my son’ (Lancashire Post, 12th Sep 2008)

“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: ‘Cannabis-addicted boy aged just 14 raped 58-year-old woman at knifepoint in her home’ (Daily Mail, 20th Oct 2008)

“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: ‘Cannabis addict’s student career wrecked after being jailed for robbing elderly shop assistant’ (Daily Mail, 24th Oct 2008)

“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: ‘Teenagers jailed over mugging which left boy in coma’ (Daily Telegraph, 13th Jan 2009)

“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: ‘Cannabis-smoking father jailed for life after fatal stabbing’ (Daily Telegraph, 27th Mar 2009)

“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: ‘Cannabis warning following A303 death’ (Chard & Ilminster News, 21st Apr 2010)

“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: ‘Cannabis blamed for former Marlow man’s suicide’ (Bucks Free Press, 9th Apr 2012)

‘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: ‘Killer dad smothered baby son to death in rage ‘triggered by smoking cannabis every day” (Daily Mirror, 15th Dec 2016)

“He hopes that if he can get himself off cannabis it will reduce the risk of him reoffending.”
Kelly Shooter, defending Joshua Webster: ‘Derby teen dad Joshua Webster is ‘risking losing everything’ after assaulting woman at her home’ (Derbyshire Live, 25th Aug 2017)

“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”’ (Daily Mail, 21st Aug 2018)

“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: ‘Dad jailed for ‘cannabis-induced’ baby murder attempt’ (BBC News, 8th Nov 2018)

“There is a chronic mental illness. This is exacerbated by very heavy cannabis use. It seems you have been able to continue cannabis use in prison.”
Judge Rosalind Coe QC: ‘DJ jailed for firing shotgun in street just days after he was released from mental health unit’ (Daily Mirror, 26th Jan 2017)

“At the time of committing the offence the defendant was suffering from a mental disease. It was an acute transient psychotic disorder. I accept, as does Mr Berry, that is was brought about by the use of cannabis in the days leading up to it.”
Defence barrister Alex Daymond: ‘Man launched “ferocious” attack on Hilperton woman while high on cannabis’ (Wiltshire Times, 30th Apr 2013)

“You are an adult responsible for your own actions. The problems you face in your life are not their fault. You can’t blame them. You must address the issue of misuse of cannabis.”
Judge Andrew Long: ‘Man who terrorised his own gran and left her with £17,000 debt’ (Manchester Evening News, 29th Mar 2017)

“Cannabis took my son from me”.
Mother of Richard Harris: ‘Cannabis made my boy a killer’ (Wales Online, 5th Aug 2007)

“He’d smoked too much cannabis and flipped out. Your Honour will have told many defendants it’s not the harmless drug that many young people think it is. It has deleterious effects … what else could explain his conduct other than he was completely out of it when his cannabis supply was cut off[?]”
James Varley, mitigating: ‘Jail for man who shot girlfriend 13 times with airgun’ (Leicestershire Live, 27th July 2017)

“Your violent urges were exacerbated, as you knew, by your long-standing use of cannabis. Even if cannabis did not play any direct part in your offending at the time of the attacks, you [sic] smoking of cannabis was one of the triggers for the killings.”
Mrs Justice Carr: ‘Church-going cannabis user who strangled his grandmother and drowned his aunt is jailed for life’ (Daily Telegraph, 21st Nov 2016)