The following article by Ross Grainger will feature in our February Crime Special Issue.

Ya what? You reckon there’s a link between violence and alcohol? Rubbish. How could you possibly know? What’s that? You’ve found a case of a drunk person committing violence? And? One case, big deal. Sorry? You’ve found thousands of cases? Attacker Drank Alcohol? Catchy name. Who cares, though? They all drank coffee, wore socks and had mobiles. A load of them were probably on cocaine, MDMA or some other drugs. Most people who drink alcohol have a laugh, or fall asleep, or only hurt a kebab. And besides, red wine’s good for you, innit? Love a bit of medical Malbec, me.

Swap ‘alcohol’ for ‘cannabis’ in the above paragraph and you have a snapshot of the responses I receive from cannabis smokers and supporters who cannot accept that their mind-altering pleasure drug is a relevant factor in countless cases of mental illness, suicide and psychopathic violence.

The evidence is the same as when I wrote about this issue for Bournbrook in July last year, following the conviction of Darren Pencile for the murder of Lee Pomeroy. Cases of frenzied, seemingly inexplicable stabbings used to be rare in this country. Now, they are so common that they are usually reported only in local newspapers, though not always accurately, as we shall see.

In choosing a few hundred such cases for my new book Attacker Smoked Cannabis, based on my website of the same name, I was careful to pick those violent crimes and suicides that are strongly linked to paranoia, one of many unpleasant emotional states that cannabis induces.

Take the case of thirty-year-old Yemeni immigrant Sami Salem. In April 2017, he suffocated his wife and drowned their two young children in the bath after becoming convinced that his wife was plotting to move back to Yemen with the children. After committing the triple murder, he spent some hours smoking cigarettes before dousing the flat in petrol, turning on the gas and taking an overdose, all of which failed to kill him. Despite his claim that a ‘midget’ told him to commit the crime, he was found guilty of murder. During the trial, his GP recalled that during one consultation Salem had told him he smoked a gram-and-a-half of cannabis a day, adding, ‘I believed Salem’s cannabis intake was the main source of his symptoms.’

This case is interesting for another reason, which is that in no news story about Salem’s conviction was it reported that he smoked cannabis, even though this was mentioned at least fifteen times during his trial. When I challenged local paper the Liverpool Echo about this, the journalist who wrote the main story, having also reported on the trial, angrily dismissed my work, calling it ‘ridiculous’ and a ‘crusade’, and claiming I did not know the meaning of the word ‘psychopathic’.

How many cases could this stand for? A thousand? Ten thousand?

How many times has a major newspaper failed to mention that a particular violent criminal smoked cannabis?

As I describe in my book, two of the biggest offenders in this regard are the Evening Standard and the Daily Telegraph. However, were I to write a follow-up, I would devote an entire chapter to the astonishing lack of objectivity in this matter at the BBC, the nadir of which was the recent Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special, in which the smoking of cannabis was depicted as harmless, fun and amusing.

I should also devote much more space to exposing the “medical” cannabis argument for the bogus nonsense that it is. For those just joining us, “medical” marijuana is a red herring to give the pleasure drug a good name, and a Trojan horse by which to deliver legalisation of it. Anyone who won’t acknowledge this is a charlatan, and anyone who can’t see it is a fool.

For evidence of this, look at the present situation in Oklahoma, the most staunchly Republican state in the USA. A year and a half after voters there approved “medical” marijuana at the ballot, the state is awash with “dispensaries” (2,200 in total, more per capita than any other state), and one-in-thirteen residents has a “patient card”, which requires no qualifying conditions, last for two years and cost around $100.

As it is, my book offers more than enough evidence to give pause for thought. As well as hundreds of carefully chosen stories of cannabis smokers committing terrible violence, I provide evidence of the aforementioned media bias towards cannabis, the pitiful leniency of the police and courts in dealing with cannabis smokers, and the scale of Big Dope, which is now firmly allied with Big Tobacco.

This was emotionally a hard book to put together. I often think of the many cases of infanticide, and the pathologists who had to examine and tally every injury to every tiny body, as well as the pathologist who examined and tallied the 117 separate injuries Aaron Campbell inflicted on six-year-old Alesha MacPhail, and declared that he had never seen anything like what Campbell did to her private parts. At other times, I recall the following line in the news report of the conviction of Sean Mercer for the murder of eleven-year-old Rhys Jones in 2007: ‘He died at the scene in the arms of his mother.’

All I can do now is hope the right people read this book, and that it weighs as heavily on their minds as it will do in their hands.

‘Attacker Smoked Cannabis’ is available on Amazon, HERE.


Photo by GoToVan on Flickr.