Judges set tougher sentences for cannabis traffickers
Senior Justices in the Isle of Man have rejected existing guidelines for convicting cannabis traffickers and set new tougher sentences.
There followed an explosion in the number of convictions, with seizures of Class B drugs at an all time high.
The total weight of herbal cannabis seizures jumped 17,000%, from 186 grams in 2011 to 31.7 kilograms in 2020.
The market value has also increased. It was stable at around Â£ 6 per gram before tripling to Â£ 20 per gram in 2016 and now stands at Â£ 30 per gram.
It sells for around Â£ 10 a gram in England and Wales.
This makes the Isle of Man a “particularly lucrative and attractive market for Merseyside drug traffickers,” say appellate judge Jeremy Storey and Deemsters Montgomerie and Teare, adding: “Drugs are readily available and use recreation is high because the cost is within reach among many, including young people.
“There is clear evidence of English organized criminal gangs targeting the Isle of Man.”
In 2020, new forms of cannabis products have appeared on the island, such as ‘shatter’ and ‘crumble’, costing between Â£ 100-150 per gram and much more potent than weed or cannabis. cannabis resin.
And the involvement of minors has gone from being virtually non-existent in 2011, with one arrest, to 28 arrests in 2020.
The judges rejected a suggestion that adults and vulnerable minors forced to bring cannabis to the island should be protected from harsh penalties, saying: “It is not for this court to assess the economic merits and social costs of reducing jail terms and spending savings on improving education, family support, prevention and rehabilitation and thus minimize any desire to explore the risky trade of cannabis trafficking .
âIt’s up to Tynwald to decide how best to spend the island’s limited resources. “
Prison sentences have been increased under the new guidelines that come into effect immediately.
The penalties are higher than in England and Wales, but lower than in Jersey and Guernsey.
Cannabis traffickers can expect sentences of one to three years for importing up to 2 kg of herbal cannabis, two to five years for up to 5 kg, four to seven years up to 10 kg, from six to nine years up to 30 kg and a minimum of eight years for traffic over 30 kg.
The judges say: âWe consider that there are now clear and convincing reasons to introduce a higher tariff for the trafficking of class B drugs.
Cannabis smuggling on the Isle of Man:
– Arrests more than tripled from 43 in 2011 to 157 in 2020. Even if 2020 was an exceptional year, there were 128 arrests in 2019
– The number of large-scale productions has increased and the methods are more and more sophisticated.
– The number of prosecutions has doubled in the past 10 years, while in England the numbers have declined.
– The market value of herbal cannabis and cannabis resin has increased from Â£ 37,400 in 2011 to Â£ 622,400 in 2020, an increase of 1,565%.