Cannabis in Blackpool: Concerns raised about 'visible' use throughout the resort

Concerns have been raised about the level of 'visible' cannabis use across Blackpool including in tourist areas.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Friday, 27th May 2022, 2:04 pm
Updated Friday, 27th May 2022, 2:29 pm

Councillors quizzed police about the use of the class B drug at a meeting where they were updated about work to tackle drug taking in the resort.

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Minutes from the meeting of the adult social care and health scrutiny committee held on May 11, say concerns were raised "that smoking cannabis was very visible and that it could often be smelled around the town centre, on the promenade and even in residential neighbourhoods."

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Cannabis plants found during a police raid in Blackpool in March 2022 (image Blackpool Police)

Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Clarke, of Lancashire Constabulary, told councillors balance had to be achieved between tackling the problem and ensuring young people were not brought into the criminal justice system unnecessarily.

The minutes add "investment had been made to educate young people on the dangers of cannabis use and understand the reasons behind why they were using it. It was noted however, that there was a certain level of social acceptability regarding its use."

There are fears cannabis use can lead to stronger drug taking.

A police raid of premises at an undisclosed address in Blackpool in March this year uncovered more than 1,200 cannabis plants growing in pots.

The discovery came less than a month after another cannabis farm with 520 plants was busted in the Foxhall Square area of the town and a similar sized operation was shut down in January in Lonsdale Road.

Blackpool has the highest rate of drug related deaths in England, with a rate of 22.1 per 100,000 which is four times higher than the England average of five per 100,000.

The committee has been carrying out ongoing inquiries into the high level of drug deaths in the resort.

A panel led by the police was set up in May 2019 and has set out an action plan to "understand the drivers behind problematic heroin, crack and relateddrug misuse to gain a better understanding of why there have been increases in drug related deaths".

The £5m Home Office funded Blackpool ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery) project was launched in January 2021.

Up until March this year it had led to more than 200 arrests in the town for drug possession and trafficking offences, helped break up drugs gangs and stopped the exploitation of vulnerable people.

More than 600 people have also been helped into treatment for substance misuse, giving them chance to recover and move towards more stable lives with their own homes and jobs.