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Super-strength ‘glass’ cannabis that’s FOUR times stronger than weed flogged to British teens on Instagram
- 2 Jan 2020, 17:56
- Updated : 2 Jan 2020, 19:47
- Invalid Date,
DEALERS are using Twitter and Instagram to flog new ultra-strength “glass” cannabis costing almost as much as gold, a Sun Online probe reveals.
British-based drug pushers are using the social-media websites to advertise the potent products – some even brazenly posting videos of their illegal weed farms.
Our investigation found the new ultra-powerful form of the drug – known as cannabis concentrates – are now flooding the UK market and they are so strong they can spark psychosis and make some users pass out.
Web dealers are constantly advertising the concentrates, known as shatter, dabs or wax, and just one gram of the product can go for as much as £30.
Shatter is a rapidly growing party of the legal marijuana market in the US but illegal pushers in the States are flogging the drug to UK dealers and its now becoming more and more popular to Brit users.
We found dozens of Instagram pages advertising the weed extracts in London, Glasgow, Kent, the West Midlands and Newcastle to name a few.
The ultra-strong substance – which either comes in a glass or wax-like form – has extraordinarily high THC levels ranging from 40 to 80 per cent and can have extreme effects on users.
THC is the chemical found in cannabis which gets users stoned.
FOUR TIMES STRONGER
Shatter is four times stronger than high-grade “weed” sold by street dealers, which is usually less than 20 per cent THC.
Some producers advertise the purity of shatter as being as high as 97.5 per cent THC.
Instagram told us it has a trained team of reviewers who check reports of drug pushers “24/7 and work quickly to remove” them.
And experts have warned of the dangers of the drug saying it can even cause some people to lose consciousness.
A statement from global drug rehab firm, The Cabin Group, said: “While an overdose is not typically deadly, the potency of shatter can cause users to pass out, enter temporary drug induced psychosis, cause panic attacks, and create an uncomfortable high.
“Even pro-cannabis advocates are concerned about the increase — stating that such overdoses never happened until more potent concentrates such as shatter became popular.
“And, with more intense highs, comes quicker tolerance and the need to do more and more of the drug – which easily leads to dependence.”
Shatter is legal in a number of states in the US – where many UK dealers buy their product from in bulk.
Instagram is helping the UK drug pushers to provide so-called “dial-a-deal” services for the product imported from The States.
Dozens of accounts linked to dealers in our cities included photographs of the drug on offer.
Several accounts found using various hashtags, which we have chosen not to publish, featured offers such as “free shipping” and “bulk discounts”.
High-strength plant strains branded with names such as “Wedding Cake”, “Gittlez”, “Star Dawg” and “Gelato” are also being widely flogged.
All have a THC content of around 28 per cent, compared to the typical 15 per cent average for domestically grown products.
We discovered there is currently a craze for so-called “Cali” type cannabis which can also change hands for upwards of £30 for a gram.
This is three times the normal price and it commonly comes in small sealed tins with a ring-pull lid.
In an attempt to disguise their activities, drug dealers write that their goods are “not for sale”, while providing phone numbers and usernames for encrypted messaging apps, such as Wickr, for teens to contact them.
Dealers also use emojis as a code to advertise drugs without breaking social media rules.
A horse represents ketamine, a nose or a snowflake represents cocaine, while a pig, rat or snake denotes another user who has reported an account to moderators or the police, the report said.
Once users make contact with the dealers, a meeting is arranged to hand over the drugs or they can be sent in the post.
Dealers will often include warnings on their online profiles urging customers against suspicious private messages over fears of police entrapment.
Types of cannabis
- Hash/cannabis resin
A black or brown lump which is not seen in the UK very often anymore.
This is the most common form of cannabis.
It is composed of the dried leaves and flowering parts of the cannabis plant and resembles compressed dried herbs.
Cannabis oil is a sticky, thick yellowy/brown liquid.
A super-strength type of cannabis which comes in a glass-like form or can look like wax.
Much of the cannabis in use in the UK is homegrown either under grow lights or in greenhouse conditions using ‘hydroponic’ techniques like growing plants in nutrient-rich liquids rather than in soil.
This produces a stronger more potent form of the drug which is sometimes referred to as Skunk.
Many accounts included warning such as: “Nothing is for sale. Bait DMs will not be tolerated,” “no sales, stop asking,” or even “no sales, educational purposes”.
One page we came across said: “Do not sell. All weed pics are from legal grows and are for personal use.”
Cali is commanding prices in the UK that almost match the value of gold.
In the UK, domestic cannabis is generally sold for around £30 for 3.5 grams tut high-strength Cali can sell for £100 or more.
Cali typically sells for £30 per gram – in comparison 22 carat scrap gold can be bought for around £31.61 a gram.
One UK cop chief has fired a warning at users and producers of shatter – adding the production process can be potentially deadly.
Detective Chief Inspector Alan Cairns, of Northumbria Police organised crime team, said: “It is stronger than your normal cannabis, but the real danger is to those who are producing the drug in the first place.
“Not only is it illegal but you have to use highly flammable butane gas to strip the chemicals from the plants and that puts you at huge risks.”
He added: “Buying and selling illicit substances online is a serious criminal offence which could ultimately land you behind bars.
“Don’t be naïve enough to think that the law does not apply or we won’t catch up with you because you’re using an online platform.
“We know the majority of organised criminal groups involved in Cannabis supply use the proceeds to fund other illicit activities.”
The Government has been urged to force Instagram and Snapchat to report drug dealers after a quarter of young people said they had seen cannabis, coke or other drugs advertised while browsing social networking apps.
The report by the think tank Volteface revealed a quarter of 16 to 24-year-olds have seen illegal drugs advertised for sale on social media sites or apps.
In a matter of hours, Sun Online found dozens of Instagram pages advertising shatter and high-strength plant cannabis.
An Instagram spokesman said: “We don’t allow the sale or purchase of illegal or prescription drugs on Instagram and we work closely with the police to detect and keep illegal material off our platform.
“We encourage anyone to report this kind of content immediately so we can review and take appropriate action.”
Our story comes a week after we revealed how the impact this is having on the NHS.
Cannabis laws in the UK
Cannabis remains illegal to possess, grow, distribute, sell or grow in the UK.
Being caught with cannabis comes with a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.
While being convicted of producing and supplying the Class B drug carries up to 14 years behind bars, an unlimited fine, or both.
Police can issue a warning or on-the-spot fine if you’re caught with a small amount – generally less than one ounce – if it is deemed for personal use.
Medical forms of marijuana are available over the counter or by prescription in the UK – but it is heavily monitored and regulated.
Doctors were given the go-ahead to prescribe cannabis products to patients from November 1, 2018.
The new rules apply to England, Wales and Scotland.
It follows several high-profile cases, including young epilepsy sufferers Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, whose conditions appeared to be helped by cannabis oil.
There were more than 30,000 hospital admissions linked to zombie drug Spice, weed and other cannabinoids last year – up six times from 2008.
In 2018, there were 33,364 hospital admissions. It is the highest figure ever recorded and compares to 5,943 in 2008.
Admissions linked to the drug have risen by 52 per cent in four years to 30,130 a year with most patients being in their 20s and 30s, NHS figures reveal.
The figures come after a study by King’s College London found smoking cannabis increases the risk of serious mental illness five-fold.
Researchers estimated a third of new cases of psychosis in London are linked to potent skunk with high levels of active ingredient THC.
Around 94 per cent of the cannabis sold on the streets of the capital is now this super-strength type.
A Met Police spokesman said: “Cannabis concentrate products are illegal to possess and supply, and controlled under the Misuse of Drug Act 1971.
“Anyone found in possession of, or supplying cannabis concentrates are liable to face police action and prosecution.
Information received about retailers stocking and cannabis concentrates and products containing THC will be reviewed by officers, and the appropriate action taken.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Illegal drugs and associated criminal action devastate lives and communities.
“We are aware that drug dealers use social media to supply drugs and evade law enforcement and social media companies must go further and faster in reducing the risks their platforms pose – we expect them to have robust processes in place to swiftly remove illegal content.
“Our Online Harms White Paper sets out plans for world-leading legislation to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online and hold companies to account for tackling a wide range of online harms.”Super-strength ‘glass’ cannabis that’s FOUR times stronger than weed flogged to British teens on Instagram 2 Jan 2020, 17:56 Updated : 2 Jan 2020, 19:47 Invalid Date, ]]>