Mum's anger at cannabis seeds shop

By Danielle NuttallA SHOP selling cannabis seeds and the specialist equipment needed to cultivate them insisted last night it was doing nothing wrong.

By Danielle Nuttall

A SHOP selling cannabis seeds and the specialist equipment needed to cultivate them insisted last night it was doing nothing wrong.

The Grow Systems business has opened in a former post office in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, and said it could legally sell the items - despite admitting they were likely to be used for illegal practices later.

Jamie Cottington, who runs the shop, added: “A good proportion of our customers grow for medicinal use. It's a proven pain relief.

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“I think people find a lot of benefit and this is why we think the law is wrong to prosecute hobby growers.”

Grow Systems is part of a franchise with shops in Norwich, Cambridge and Peterborough and was originally funded by Prince Charles' charity the Prince's Trust.

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Its shops sell cannabis seeds, tobacco papers, pipes and specialist growing equipment, including strong lights and nutrients.

But it is not breaking the law as it is not illegal to sell cannabis seeds or the equipment to grow it - it only becomes illegal when the buyer germinates the seed when they get home.

Mr Cottington insisted the shop had a number of clients buying products to grow orchids and other show flowers, as well as cannabis.

But Maureen Griffiths, whose son Shaun killed himself a day before his 17th birthday at the family home in Castle Hedingham 16 years ago, spoke of her concern at the shop's purpose.

“It's not illegal to sell the equipment that can used for growing cannabis as well as other plants,” she said.

“However, the dangers of using/smoking cannabis need to be emphasised again and again in case anyone who buys the equipment may be tempted to grow and use or sell cannabis.

“It's now a proven fact that using/smoking cannabis can have harmful effects on the brain and cause depression, mental illness or mental instability.”

Mr Cottington, a partner of the Ipswich franchise, said the shop did not encourage cannabis use and simply provided advice on growing hydroponics.

“We obviously do not intend to cause any offence. Basically, the shop is a hydroponics shop promoting growth without soil. The shelves contain nutrients, which are definitely not tailored just for marijuana,” he added.

“It's for personal entertainment. Some of our clients come in and grow marijuana, but hydroponics equipment is not exclusively for marijuana.

“We don't serve children. If an individual appears to be young, we ask for proof of ID if he asks to buy smoking equipment.

“It's a new way of growing and people seem to enjoy it. Our job is not to encourage cannabis use, but it's to give advice on growing hydroponics.”

Shaun Griffiths was discovered by his father, John, with a rope around his neck and a plastic bag around his head.

His mother has no doubt that cannabis had disturbed his mind, possibly even prompting paranoid delusions or schizophrenia.

“My own son Shaun tragically killed himself in 1988 aged 16 when his behaviour changed and he became depressed after he had secretly smoked cannabis for several months,” she said.

“Parents and children beware, do not let another tragic loss of life occur needlessly. Remember, cannabis is a harmless drug and life is precious.”

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