A Cheltenham man who imported 20 pounds of low-concentration cannabis and set up a company called “Oh Wow Hemp Ltd” to sell the drug did not realize it was illegal, a court said this week. Wayne Parker, 37, of Mersey Road, Cheltenham, made no attempt to hide what he was doing and the import documents for the three cannabis packages he received had clearly indicated what was there, he said. Gloucester Crown Court.
Parker’s attorney, Steve Young, said, “Yes, I should have noticed that what I was doing was illegal. he did and assumed the product was legal. “
Parker pleaded guilty to being involved in the supply of Class B drug cannabis between September 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020, and of being in possession of cannabis with intent to supply it on September 14, 2020. September 2021. He also admitted that the crimes were committed in violation. of a 21-month suspended prison sentence he had received for possession of cannabis and “monkey powder.”
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Since he has been in pre-trial detention since his arrest for import offenses last fall, he had already served the equivalent of an 18-month sentence, the court reported. Judge Ian Lawrie QC said he would reflect on approving a community order with unpaid work requirements, that is, Parker’s immediate release.
Prosecutor Christopher Smyth told the court Wednesday (June 1) that Border Force officers intercepted three packages aimed at Parker containing cannabis: two weighing five pounds and a third weighing ten pounds. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. known as CBD (cannabidiol), which had escaped detection by the Border Force agency, “he said.
“A class B drug expert, Dr. Potter, explains in his court report that there are three types of cannabis: type one has a high content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive component of cannabis; type two has the same THC and CBD content and the third type has a low THC content. The cannabis involved in the Parker case has the lowest THC content with the highest CBD content. Cannabis is the flowering material of the female head and, by law, regardless of the THC content, is a controlled class B drug.
“There is a theory abroad that if the THC content is less than 0.2 percent, that makes it legal in places like Italy. There is no limit in this country that is acceptable. When sold in Italy it is made clear that it should not be used for human consumption, and Dr. Potter states that it is a disguise for the sale of drugs for recreational use.
“The prosecution says that regardless of the THC content, this is cannabis and therefore a controlled drug. When Parker’s cannabis was analyzed it was said to contain 0.5 percent THC, which is illegal. in Italy.
“The prosecution agrees that cannabis has a lower concentration than is normally confiscated and is typically found to contain between 10 and 15 percent THC. It is accepted that CBD is used for relaxing and medicinal purposes, but for legal purposes it would occur in a different way.
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“To be authorized in this country, the processor would need a license. Parker did not have this license.
“However, it appears that Parker was led to believe that the product he was importing was legal.”
The packages intercepted by the Border Forces Agency weighed five kilograms on October 1, 2020, five kilograms more on October 14, 2020 and 10 kilograms on November 2, 2020. “If this had been cannabis from quite normal, this weight could have a street value of over £ 20,000.
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“The address of Parker’s house was later searched and 4.4 kilograms of cannabis were found at various locations. Other drug paraphernalia were also found on the property,” Smyth added.
By Parker’s mitigation, Steve Young said it was “an unusual case that has been imposed on the best legal minds” in considering the legality of this type of cannabis. “This case started out as the normal type of cannabis offense on the street, but it has evolved into a whole new world into something quite different,” he said.
“There are two types of offenses in the case of Parker. Yes, there is the normal street cannabis – grass, if you prefer – of which he admits to having 1.6 kilograms and then there are the CBD cannabis flower heads.
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“I do not dispute the facts about cannabis as documented by the expert’s report, as it was quite an education. CBD is a derivative of cannabis that can be delivered as oil and is quite legal, but the CBD flower heads are illegal and cannot be legally sold in this country.
“However, Parker, like many others, believed that the CBD flower was legal in this country. He needed Dr. Potter’s report to persuade him otherwise and to understand that it was not legal.
“This was not the case with a man who deliberately set out to import cannabis illegally. in which the maximum legal level is 0.2% in Europe and 0.1% in Switzerland.
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“This is where the expert says this proposal comes from. Cannabis is legal to this point: how misunderstood its legality has been. Parker was also found in possession of 4.5 kilograms of flower heads. of CBD, but the extra 20 kilograms he had requested were intercepted at the border before they could be delivered.
“Parker even set up a company, Oh Wow Hemp Ltd, to legally sell this cannabis. He did it publicly to sell cannabis flower heads. He had a website and it was no secret about his operation.
“Parker totally believed that what he was doing was legal, as a lot of information on the Internet is inaccurate. There are even two retail premises within 100 meters of this court that sell the same product, obtained from the same producer in Italy.
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“The flower head is not designed to give a stop.” One of these companies, Dr. Fosters, located in Gloucester Docks, has these exact items on sale today.
“Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like Parker aint for me either.
“Customs documentation even states that the package contains cannabis that has less than 0.2 percent CBD content. We asked a private investigator to investigate this for us and concluded that the import of CBD flower heads it was common throughout the country.
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“While Parker has been detained, he has made good use of his time and a couple of prison officers have written testimonies on his behalf because he has actively assisted them in the operation of the prison. He has effectively served any prison sentence while I was in pretrial detention. “
Judge Lawrie told Parker he would be released from prison because of the time he had already served and added, “This is an unusual case in which you have also failed to serve your suspended sentence.”
But he said he would not pass a prison sentence in light of all the unusual circumstances in this case, including that the import documents indicate that the package contained cannabis. “This suggests that you think what you were doing was legal. You were not doing anything by subterfuge. However, now you admit that you were wrong,” the judge said.
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“I have read reports from two prison officers showing a very different Mr. Parker from the one who originally appeared before me. One of them states that he was very fortunate to have met Wayne.
“Your mitigation is extremely unusual and convincing. However, this case exceeds the custody threshold, but as it has already served the duration of the sentence it would have imposed, it will now be subject to an 18-month community order that includes 21 days of demanding rehabilitation activity and you will have to take on 100 unpaid hours, work and have monthly court reviews ”.
The judge warned Parker that he would be subjected to a hearing on the proceeds of the crime. He also ordered the confiscation of all drugs and fined him £ 50 for breach of his suspended sentence order.
The Companies House website shows that Parker created Oh Wow Hemp Ltd in June 2018 and disbanded in April last year. The description of the company on the website is “Manufacture of homogenized food preparations and dietetic foods”. Parker is listed as the sole director.