Skip to main content

Cannabis

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what types of cannabis were seized by police in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and what estimate she has made of the percentage of cannabis seized which was skunk, home grown or sinsemilla in each year. (200037)

The Home Office collects and publishes figures on seizures by the police in England and Wales of cannabis (herbal), cannabis resin and cannabis plants. Figures for the years 2001 to 2005 (the most recent published period) are shown in the following table.

The Home Office has undertaken a project to identify the market share of sinsemilla to other forms of cannabis (resin and traditional imported cannabis products) and their respective mean tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinoid (CBD) content. The findings of this project, which have been shared with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs as part of its review of the classification of cannabis, will be published in due course. However, an early finding from samples submitted over a three month period in 2007-08 by a number of police forces in England and Wales suggests that sinsemilla accounts for 80 per cent. of the market share of police seizures.

Number and quantity of police1 seizures of cannabis by type2, England and Wales, 2001-05

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005s

Number of seizures

Cannabis (herbal)

28,532

36,911

32,858

38,595

69,766

Cannabis plants

1,711

2,199

2,680

2,780

4,098

Cannabis resin

46,626

44,662

40,976

32,727

38,572

Total cannabis3

73,220

74,250

79,600

74,613

111,212

Quantity of seizures (weighed)4

Cannabis (herbal) (kg)

7,183

3,823

13,909

2,789

2,905

Cannabis resin (kg)

20,011

8,657

27,861

21,676

25,045

Quantity of seizures (unweighted)

Cannabis plants (plants)

67,679

52,118

80,498

88,674

208,357

1 Includes seizures by the National Crime Squad, but not joint operations with HM Revenue and Customs.

2 Categorisation of drug type broadly follows the lists scheduled in the Misuse of Drugs Acts.

3 The totals are lower than the sum of the constituent parts, as some seizures contain more than one drug type.

4 These drug types have been converted from other units using standard conversion factors. These factors were revised in 2005, so 2005 weighed quantities should not be compared with those for previous years.

5 Increases in cannabis seizures in 2005 are thought to be associated with the introduction of cannabis warnings on 1 April 2004.