Cannabis is often thought of as a popular and seemingly accepted in the diverse city of Bristol.
But while most of us would just ignore a slight whiff in the air as we pass houses and people in the street, for others it can be a real issue.
It may be more difficult to have a relaxed stance if you’re living next to a cannabis factory or knowing your neighbours were using drugs with children in the house.
Is cannabis legal?
No, is the simple answer. But Avon and Somerset Police has confirmed in the past that it does not target the personal use of cannabis.
There has been a significant drop in arrests for possession of the drug as a result, falling from a high of 4,558 in 2011 to just 1,457 in 2015.
But the force insists it is not ignoring the drug – and says it will not tolerate cannabis being smoked in front of vulnerable people, such as children, or near schools and colleges.
And officers will continue to crack down on the drug’s commercial production and cannabis factories.
The Avon and Somerset police statement, first issued last year, stated: “We have never targeted the personal use of cannabis, colloquially known as weed, unless that use is in itself creating a more harmful situation and endangering vulnerable people (i.e. the smoking of cannabis around children or close to educational premises).
“We do receive information from the public about suspected cannabis cultivation sites on a daily basis, so the growing of cannabis is clearly a concern for many within our communities. As the public would expect, that intelligence is researched and when appropriate, a warrant is applied for and executed.
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“We do, however, target organised groups who are responsible for the supply and production of cannabis on a commercial scale and some of the tactics used by these groups can involve small grow sites consistent with ‘personal use’.
“These sites are taken very seriously as they can often involve vulnerable people being forced to grow cannabis against their will.”
Will your neighbours know if you report it?
The police in Derby say no.
A spokeswoman said that police would “never give away a caller’s identity”.
She said: “We wouldn’t say information has come from a neighbour as that narrows it down. We’d just say we received a call about x.”
She added that officers on patrol might also use tip-offs to inform where they go on patrol.
If they were to smell the cannabis themselves, they might knock on the door and broach the subject that way.
She added that people could always call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if they wanted to remain anonymous throughout the process.
What will happen to my neighbours if you called the police?
That would depend on whether they were growing or just smoking and what was found by the police.
Those in possession of cannabis face up to five years in prison, or an unlimited fine or both.
In Avon and Somerset last year 721 people were arrested for the possession of cannabis, but just 158 were cautioned and 360 charged.
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Meanwhile those looking to supply the class B drug can face up to 14 years in prison, or an unlimited fine or both.
Of those caught in 2016, 131 were arrested, just three cautioned and 53 charged.
If they’re renting, what about telling my neighbour’s landlord?
Telling a landlord is an option, but they are not bound to keep your identity a secret. If the tenancy agreement has been drawn up properly, they’ll be in breach of it.
But you also need to bear in mind that there are constraints as to what a landlord can do.
A spokesman for the National Landlords Association, said that, if landlords suspect cannabis use, they should “arrange for a visit to the property, provided they have given the tenant advance warning”.
(Image: Jon kent)
He said: “If they see or smell what they believe to be evidence of cannabis use, they should remind and warn the tenant/s that such actions are in violation of the tenancy agreement.
“If, when they next visit the property, they see the same evidence they may then wish to resort to serving a section 21, or eviction, notice.”
I am the landlord. What can I do to stop cannabis being used at my property?
Chris Norris, of the National Landlords Association, said: “While we recommend taking references of prospective tenants from former employers or landlords before offering a tenancy, it can also be necessary to make checks on the property after they have moved in.
“These should be carried out quarterly if there are any concerns but make sure that you give the tenant or tenants sufficient notice beforehand so as not to disrupt privacy.
“Lastly, get to know the neighbours and local residents, as they can help alert you should they either see or smell what they suspect to be cannabis use on the property.”
How can I find out who the landlord of a property is?
A good starting point is to find out who the Land Registry have as the owner of the property.
It’ll cost a few quid but you can get the information from the Land Registry Documents website.