Milton Keynes dubbed 'cannabis city' as residents complain about stink of weed
'The stuff seems to be smoked everywhere' people complain
A social media post about the smell of cannabis being smoked all over MK has prompted a debate on social media.
A householder complained the smell was drifted through his windows every time he opened them this summer, but he couldn't work out where it was coming from.
Other replied saying they had the same problem - and the smell seemed to be everywhere.
"Wherever I go these days I can smell weed being smoked. People are smoking it in the parks, the recreations grounds, on the redways, the streets and outside shops. They don't seem to care who sees of smells it," said one woman.
Another said: "Milton Keynes ought to re-named cannabis city. I've never known it so bad."
Parents have described how they have to cross the road with their young children and babies to avoid them breathing in the smoke from cannabis.
"I understand it's people's choice to smoke it but I wish they wouldn't do it in such public places. We all know about the dangers of breathing in second hand tobacco smoke, but the thought of my baby breathing in cannabis fumes too is quite distressing," said one young mum.
Police have raided several cannabis factories in Milton Keynes during lockdown. The locations range from ordinary houses on estates to disused buildings. Officers have ordered the destruction of thousands of plants and prosecuted the people responsible.
But members of the public say the problem is worse than ever at the moment throughout the city.
"It’s disgusting. I’m not sure what’s happened but suddenly it seems to be everywhere like it’s no longer illegal or something," said one social media user.
Another said: "Hardly anybody smoked it when I was young, It's seems pretty much the norm in MK now though."
Cannabis is the most widely-used illegal drug in Britain, according to drugs advice service Frank. It contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which affects the mind and mood.
Under current law, it's illegal to possess, grow, distribute, sell or grow cannabis. It is also illegal to smoke weed anywhere in the UK - including on your own property.
Being caught with cannabis can result in a maximum of five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Police can issue a warning or on-the-spot fine if anyone is caught with a small amount if it is deemed for personal use.
Being convicted of producing and supplying the Class B drug carries up to 14 years behind bars, an unlimited fine, or both.
But some campaigners say the drug should be made legal. London Mayor Sadiq Khan pledged to look at decriminalising cannabis as part of his successful re-election campaign in May, promising to set up an independent commission to look at the potential health, economic and criminal justice benefits of legalising the drug.
Medicines made from cannabis are permitted in the UK to treat conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. In Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal and many US states recreational use of the drug is now legal.
Critics say the prohibition of cannabis has created an illegal market, which has caused violence and exploitation to spiral. Decriminalisation would also free up police time to focus on more serious crimes.
But others disagree, saying research has shown around one in nine cannabis users develop an addiction. It has also shown regular use can trigger and exacerbate mental problems.