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Cannabis seeds

Cannabis seeds

Someone phoned me the other day and said he was looking for an accountant to help him with his new business selling cannabis seeds. He was going to import them from Holland and sell them as "souvenirs" or for genetic testing. Believe it or not, it is apparently perfectly legal in this country to sell cannabis seeds (or hemp as he called them) so long as you don't grow them into plants or give any advice on germination. In fact, there is already a firm called Attitude Seeds doing this. He reckoned it was just the same as garden centres selling hydroponic equipment for growing tomatoes indoors. Everyone knows what they are really for, he said.

I phoned the ACCA for advice. They said it was OK to act for him provided it didn't bring the accountancy profession into disrepute. Thanks a lot guys - that was a big help! I ended up turning him down. I said that unless his main clients were buying them for industrial use, or he did something to render the seeds unusable as drugs (maybe roasting them like peanuts) I couldn't take the chance.

Was I being a bit unfair or would other members have done the same?

Chris

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06th Jan 2011 12:17

Sensible approach to me

Your decision seems sensible to me. Others may argue that it is not up to you to judge and if the activity is legal (or not illegal may be more accurate) then there is no problem but I would imagine that you would only end up with other concerns from a client like this.  

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06th Jan 2011 12:26

Ethical minefield

Even if he was perfectly above board, I wouldn't want the idea that one of his customers might be a major drug dealer and it would all come back to me.

I think you were spot on with your approach.  And I have now learned you can sell canabis seeds!

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By mwngiol
06th Jan 2011 12:38

No problem

Personally I wouldn't have a problem acting.

The two key questions are 1. Is it legal? and 2. Am I morally/ethically opposed.

The answer to the first question is entirely a matter of fact, but the second is very much personal.

As long as he only does what he says then personally I wouldn't be morally or ethically opposed. If he started any activity which changed the answer to the first question then the second question becomes irrelevant.

It is a very personal thing though, and if you are more comfortable not acting then I don't see why anyone could have a problem with your decision.

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06th Jan 2011 12:39

I agree

Well done for saying no.  I wouldn't want a client like that.  You certainly don't want him recommending you to his dodgy friends either....

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DuaneJAckson
19th Jan 2012 09:40

wow
Soo..we cannot buy or use cannabis or you go to jail, but you can buy and use seeds legally which are much more potent than the leaves? Weird..anyway and lots of people have profited from this idea and made businesses like Cannabis-seeds.co.uk that are perfectly legal and make tons of profits.

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06th Jan 2011 12:55

Similiar items

The whole "souvenir" argument is questionable. A similar case is usually given when selling those belt buckles that just happen to have a detachable knuckler duster and other "novelties". The seller is attempting to achieve plausible deniability but I am unsure as to what protection this affords them. 

It seems to me that a client who is looking to base a business around legal loopholes is not exactly risk averse and will most likely be difficult to act for.

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06th Jan 2011 13:02

It's up to you

Of course it is entirely up to you who you act for - you don't HAVE to act for everybody who asks you.

With this particular potential client there is the possibility that, at some time in the future, you may receive information which causes you to suspect that he has broken the law.  If your suspicion is (for example) that he has received payment for goods sold illegally then you would have an obligation to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with your firm's MLRO or SOCA under MLR 2007 and s330 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.  Your report may also have to detail your client's customers whom you suspect have illegally purchased those goods if you have information which identifies them.

Similarly if you came to suspect that your client was himself growing and selling cannabis, or that someone else was doing so (and you had information which could assist the authorities to identify them or the location at which the cannabis was being grown) you would then be obliged to file a SAR.

This may be an area which you simply prefer to steer well clear of . . .

David

www.MLROsupport.co.uk

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By ACDWebb
06th Jan 2011 13:21

So how would you feel about acting for

Dream Pharma?

Today programme

0732
The BBC has learnt that drugs used in some forms of the
lethal injection in the US have been supplied by a British businessman, who runs a small driving school in West London. Correspondent Andrew Hosken reports on how a Freedom of Information request was used to establish that Mr Mahdi Alavi's company, Dream Pharma, supplied the state of Arizona with the drugs last September.

EDIT - Sorry a thread hijack. Becky feel free to remove

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06th Jan 2011 13:56

Morals -

Legally - you could act for them - although I would want to get it in writing that the seeds were sold only as souvenirs.

Morally - thats a personal decision. You are effectively deciding that the seeds "could" be grown into canabis plants, and therefore you dont want to act for this client.

We have a client who sells firearms (shotguns to farmers etc). All perfectly legal. Now it is "possible" that someone could saw the barels off and hold up the bank - do we cease to act on the basis of what "could" happen? 

Another client sells antiques, and included in that are deactivated firearms, swords etc. Again these "could" be turned back into lethal weapons. 

Should a vegitarian have a butcher as a client?  Should a "green" accountant turn away clients who drive gas guzzlers? Should a devout Christian refuse to act for Muslim clients?  Should an Arsenal supporter have Tottenham supporting clients?  It can all get a bit daft if you're not careful.

Once making moral judgements comes into play you are in a minefield of choices - where exactly do you draw the line.   

 

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06th Jan 2011 13:59

Interesting one

I'd second mwngiol on this.

Your question brought to mind two recent threads on Any Answers.  Firstly the question last month about a client giving the OP a significant Xmas present and whether it was OK to accept and secondly another a couple of months back on whether personal preferences should come into play when deciding whether to act for clients.

As the seeds are reasonably cheap and assuming I wasn't given more than my fair share, so to speak, I'd have no problem accepting a little surprise to enjoy after my nut roast.  On that basis therefore I would also probably have said yes to acting for him although, as hinted above, it would be necessary to take extra care when considering suspicions.  As with most things it's a case of getting to know your client.

As a final thought, if he'd have been a Turkey or Dairy farmer I'd have turned him down.

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06th Jan 2011 14:03

CD we crossed again

As if by magic though I anticipated your question.

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06th Jan 2011 14:22

As if by magic though I anticipated your question.

 

That is the beauty of having your own business - you can act for who you like (in theory).  Isn't it a bit odd though that you can refuse to act for a client because you don't approve of his business and you could even quote slogans such as "all meat is murder", BUT, you can't turn a potential client away on the grounds of his religion, race, sexual orientation etc without getting hit by anti-discrimination legislation.  

In other words it's OK to discriminate against a butcher, but it could be risky to discriminate against a gay butcher.  What a pigs ear our laws are thanks to the Harriet Harmans of this world. 

 

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06th Jan 2011 15:19

Harriet who?

Despite the initial furrowed brow over what discrimination is or isn't OK you will notice that most of the No-No's concern attributes that are a matter of birth or DNA, eg race, sex, age, sexual orientation with religion inbred enough to also be that side of the fence. 

Other attributes/activities, against which I feel OK to discriminate, are more a matter of that person's personal choice.  So I'd turn away a pig breeder regardless of whether s/he was gay, Chapel, purple or whatever.

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By mwngiol
06th Jan 2011 15:28

Discrimination

"In other words it's OK to discriminate against a butcher, but it could be risky to discriminate against a gay butcher"

Basically you can't discriminate against someone because of what they are i.e. gay/straight, black/white, old/young etc but you can because of what they do i.e. sell guns or dead animal chunks.

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By mwngiol
06th Jan 2011 15:30

Paul

I think you made the same point in a better way!

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06th Jan 2011 15:42

my guess is that you are being highly selective

with your ethics - mind you arent we all

would you act for a call girl or a rent boy who wanted to pay their taxes ?

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By mwngiol
06th Jan 2011 15:55

Sex industry

That would depend entirely on circumstances. So many people in the sex industry are in it against their will and under the control of criminals/gangs. Then again some are in it totally voluntarily (mainly under the 'escort' heading which isn't actually against the law). It's a moral minefield so any decision would have to be based on individual circumstances.

Anyone in it against their will probably needs a different kind of help than I could provide, but by and large if they genuinely wanted help with their taxes then I probably would help them. Not sure I'd do it via the practice where I work though, as I'm quite sure I'd have to immediately report them under ML regs so trying to help would be counter-productive.

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06th Jan 2011 15:57

Is it VATable too ?

would you act for a call girl or a rent boy who wanted to pay their taxes ?

 

Posted by carnmores on Thu, 06/01/2011 - 15:42

 

This reminds me of the old case where a prostitute was sent a tax bill by some enterprising tax inspector.

The source of income was described as "entertainer".

An accountant pointed out to Inland Revenue that the law required a "reasonably accurate" description of the source of income, and that the lady was a prostitute, not an entertainer.  

He invited Inland Revenue to re-issue the estimated assessment with a proper description of the source of income, and indicated that he would of course copy it to the press as evidence that the government was willing to profit from immoral earnings.

Strangely Inland Revenue declined his invitation and cancelled the estimated assesment. 

  

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06th Jan 2011 16:01

Prostitutes

I would be very surprised if those who are in it against their will submit tax returns.  I doubt their pimps who go round threatening people do either.  If they are happy to break the law regarding prostitution I can't see them filing tax returns.

I do remember a certain Ms Payne getting a lot of media attention in the late 80s runnning her lunch club, or whatever it was she called it in Streatham however, and I think that is a different scenario - sordid maybe, but consenting adults (I assume - don't shout me down,, I didn't know her personally...).

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06th Jan 2011 16:14

Unspecified source of income on assessment

SOCA are authorised to raise tax assessments on income generated by criminal conduct, without specifying on the assessment the source of the income - s319 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 but the income must be generated by conduct which is itself criminal (as opposed to situations in which a crime is committed by a person who has legitimate income but dishonestly does not declare it).

David

www.AccountingEvidence.com

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By cfield
06th Jan 2011 17:37

You've got me all wrong!

Many thanks to you all for such a plethora of replies in a short space of time. I come back from a couple of hours shopping with the wife, switch on the PC expecting 2 or 3 replies and see all this! I thought accountants were supposed to be busy at this time of year!

Anyway, most of you seem to imagine I'm making some kind of moral choice here, but actually I'm not. It's more of a commercial one really. Like most of us, I had one or 2 drags on joints being passed round at student parties in my younger years, even though I'm not a smoker, and I tend to be quite liberal about that kind of thing although I'm glad they finally banned smoking in pubs and restaurants (which was a nuisance for other customers and a health risk for the staff) and on balance I think it's right for cannabis to remain banned, although I have sympathy for those who need it for pain relief. I think legalising cannabis would be the thin end of a nasty wedge, making it easier for people to move on to much worse drugs, and I wouldn't like to see the sort of cannabis based products you see in Dutch shops being sold here. Having said that, I see growing cannabis as a misdemeanour more than a crime and I wouldn't turn down a client who smoked it.

No, my main reason is the one that David highlighted, ie the real possibility that I might end up having to file MLR reports and the risk that my firm's reputation could be tarnished. Plus I don't want any run-ins with the ACCA  if someone there does think that it brings them into disrepute. In that sense, it was a commercial decision. It's all part of deciding who you want your clients to be. I prefer service companies to cash based traders for obvious reasons, as I'm sure we all do, although I wouldn't necessarily turn down such a client. It's up to all of us how far we want to take our personal preferences when it comes to new clients. In this particular case, the cannabis seed seller came down on the wrong side of the line, both commercial and moral, although mainly the former.

By the way, can't resist this one! If CD smoked a cannabis joint being passed around at a party, would it be a Welsh Drag?

Chris

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06th Jan 2011 19:19

@CD Much more pragmatic now...

 HMRC seem to have moved on...

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/bimmanual/bim65001.htm

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06th Jan 2011 21:30

Real (but old) case

We did have a prostitute as a client, although her officially identified trade was dancer, known only by her first name of Petra.  It was just coincidental that her level of income was entirely inconsistent with her declared earnings and slightly below the tax threshold.  After a couple of years we asked how she got by and she said that she had gifts from 'boyfriends' - her quotation marks.

What can I say?  I was young and innocent and was probably too shy to either ask that many additional questions or ask for the option of paying our fees on a barter basis, but the meaning was plain.  I never did clarify in my own mind what the borderline could be between genuine prostitution and actually gifts from boyfriends and I would hate to have been the Inspector trying to distinguish between the two.  Five boyfriends a night might be the former but an unspoken contributory £50 on the bedside table?

In the end, the lovely Petra gave it all up to go into public relations, which she told me without the slightest hint of irony about having been in that trade all along.

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06th Jan 2011 22:39

WT
@CD Much more pragmatic now...HMRC seem to have moved on... 

Posted by WhichTyler on Thu, 06/01/2011 - 19:19

 

The case I quoted was in a 2nd hand (very) text book I read - and that was around 1970 so I realise it is just a little out of date :)  

 

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06th Jan 2011 23:34

commercial & professional

Chris - don't think anyone got you wrong, you made it quite clear what your difficulty was but, as is the nature of these threads, the personal experiences & missions of responders will cause topic drift, especially when the OP is off shopping!

In this case I agree with you, I would have commercial doubt over the potential risks but, in such cases, where I decide to give it a go, I'd make the client aware of my position.  As I said, it's then my job to get to know the client properly to reduce or even expose any risk and, in this particular case, to avoid asking him for a quote! 

As far as the ACCA or any other regulator is concerned, they rightly leave it to your professional judgment.

In the other cases mentioned, where it appears as though I or others might have a moral objection to dealing with someone, I feel it is quite often more of a professional decision.  I have no business problem with butchers, what they do is legal and the majority of the country are grateful for them.  I have chosen, for personal reasons, not to have anything to do with meat products and so, whilst I am capable of doing a set of accounts or tax return for a butcher, I would have a conflict of interest and so would not be able to provide the unhindered professional advice s/he would deserve.

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By libris
07th Jan 2011 09:31

A rose by any other name...

I've spent most of my career working in London's Soho, in Film & TV I hasten to add, and I have fond memories of an old "qualified by experience" chap who rented an office from my employer many years ago. He had quite an extensive portfolio of "Models" as they were generally known. I also have an mate who's ex-Revenue who, about 20 years ago, dealt with the same issue on the other side of the fence. He tells me they were categorised under "erection/demolition". (He swears that's a true story!)

But to the question at hand. Making a moral judgement on your contact's activities is a highly subjective exercise and is, I would suggest, something best left to philospohers rather than accountants in Public Practice.  If we get into the moral judgement business we all bring a different set of rules to the game and there lies chaos.

The real issue, as touched on above, is Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering. A suspicion is enough to put a huge onus on the accountant and frankly, I'm suspicious just reading about this bloke! Personally, I wouldn't touch it with tongs. 

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07th Jan 2011 09:38

Early contender for quote of the year!

"In the end, the lovely Petra gave it all up to go into public relations, which she told me without the slightest hint of irony about having been in that trade all along."

Thanks Marion (or should I call you "Duke"?) - as a jaded, cynical journalist you made my day with that one.

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07th Jan 2011 10:27

Morals - we've all got them - and they are all different.

 

 

I can't help but compare the stance taken by some that they would not represent this person or that person because of what they do, with the position of the legal profession, where everyone is entitled the the best representation regardless of who they are or what they have (allegedly) done.

I wonder how some posters would cope with the idea of representing a convicted rapist, or maybe the Yorkshire Ripper, if their professional body stated quite clearly that they had no choice in the matter.  Or, do posters think that it would be acceptable for some people to be condemned to being unrepresented in court?  And what really is the difference between denying representation in a court, and denying representation against HMRC?

 

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07th Jan 2011 10:40

Question for CD

So are you saying that you never apply any other standard to selecting clients other than those who will present good business to you? (In that you will act for a drug dealer so long as he writes up his books nicely and gives it to you in good time)

You have to have some standards for your clients - as far as I can help it, I won't work with dishonest clients and those who have questionable business practices (phoenix companies etc).

I do admit that this is for practical reasons too - a client who is happy to rip of suppliers when it suits them is somewhat unlikely to settle my fee.

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07th Jan 2011 11:06

Roland

So are you saying that you never apply any other standard to selecting clients other than those who will present good business to you? (In that you will act for a drug dealer so long as he writes up his books nicely and gives it to you in good time)

 

Posted by Roland195 on Fri, 07/01/2011 - 10:40

 

Roland, I'm not saying you should act for anyone regardless of what they do, their honesty, what business sense it makes, etc.  What I am doing is comparing it with the situation in the legal profession where everyone is entitled to representation and officially you have no say in who you will represent.

Yes I would turn away anyone I considered to be dishonest, or someone who was unlikely to pay, but I wonder just where the line can reasonably be drawn.

Is it really acceptable, and indeed professional, to turn away perfectly respectable honest clients simply because of our personal views (to use an earlier example, a vegitarian accountant refusing to represent a pig farmer).

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07th Jan 2011 11:59

Multi-tasking

Roland, having watched CD plough this boring mud-filled furrow several times now you should note that he operates over 2 professions. 

I could ask the same pointless question about operating partly as an accountant and then as a sewage worker, but I never have because, even though I knew what I was getting into I still went ahead and took the job.

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07th Jan 2011 15:44

Paul
Multi-tasking

Roland, having watched CD plough this boring mud-filled furrow several times now you should note that he operates over 2 professions. 

I could ask the same pointless question about operating partly as an accountant and then as a sewage worker, but I never have because, even though I knew what I was getting into I still went ahead and took the job.

 

Posted by Paul Scholes on Fri, 07/01/2011 - 11:59

 

If, as you say, it's boring to you, then why do you bother to comment upon it? 

In court everyone is entitled to professional representation against the might of "the state" in the form of the police & CPS and if you are considered the best person to provide that representation then you have no choice but to do so to the absolute best of your ability.  Your personal opinions, prejudices, and views must not affect your professional obligations.

With accountants, everyone should be entitled to professional representation against the might of "the state" in the form of HMRC.  However, accountants are allowed to deny that representation and pick & choose who they will and wont represent, even basing that decision of purely personal prejudices.

I am merely questioning whether that is really fair, or indeed whether it is how professionals should behave.  If your doctor refused to treat you because he didnt approve of you being overweight, or smoking, or having red hair, or whatever, I#m certain you would not think he was behaving professionally.  Why should accountants be so different ?

 

 

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07th Jan 2011 16:49

C_D spot on......... again!

what could be more ethical than ensuring the right amount of tax is paid- its also moral and entirely legal - most accounants i know suffer terribly from constipation   ie they are full of xxxx

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07th Jan 2011 17:16

'Taxi Rank'

In court everyone is entitled to professional representation against the might of "the state" in the form of the police & CPS and if you are considered the best person to provide that representation then you have no choice but to do so to the absolute best of your ability.  Your personal opinions, prejudices, and views must not affect your professional obligations.

So if Harriet Harman asked you to represent her in a (hypothetical) driving offence case, because of your expertise in dismantling police 'evidence', would you be happy to take the case?

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07th Jan 2011 17:43

A little disingenuous?

C_D, this is a well-trodden path. It would be simpler for you just to provide links to your previous posts on the subject. While you are at it you could provide a link to posts where you appear to contradict yourself - ie. how you are able to circumvent the tax-rank principle by pleading ignorance of the subject matter or over-work. After all, aren't these the very excuses accountants will give prospects they do not wish to work with?

Perhaps we are not so different after all.

-- Kind regards Andy

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07th Jan 2011 17:56

C_D you see i told you

we are a very constipated bunch........

come back Mary Whitehouse ......  all is forgiven

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07th Jan 2011 18:05

@ WhichTyler & David

So if Harriet Harman asked you to represent her in a (hypothetical) driving offence case, because of your expertise in dismantling police 'evidence', would you be happy to take the case?

 

Posted by WhichTyler on Fri, 07/01/2011 - 17:16

 

Yes - and more to the point - assuming it fell within my area of expertise and I didn't have prior committments making it impossible to represent her, then I would have no choice legally or morally but to do so.

Of course, my specialist field is sexual assault / rape and any man accused of such an offence against her would surely be acquitted on a plea of insanity :)

 

____________________________________________________

Hopefully the judge, sitting in the middle, is doling out justice.

 

Posted by davidwinch on Fri, 07/01/2011 - 17:45

 

Wash your mouth out David, how dare you mention the "J" word when referring to our legal system :)

Let's face it, our system is an adversarial system, there is a winner, and a loser.   Very often "justice" lies somewhere in the middle, but our system (for very good reason) doesn't allow for that.

Personally I simply hope the judge is actually awake and not day-dreaming, and maybe has the wit to follow the evidence. I'm afraid I've heard so many flawed and frankly ridiculous statements by some judges to lack much faith in some of them.

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07th Jan 2011 18:30

Cannabis Seeds

We had a client who sold Hydroponics Equipment.  It turned 90% of his business came through people growing cannabis.  We were recommended by another client.  He took the business partly in exchange for a debt originally,  not thinking  exactly what he was getting into and ran it for a short time (less than  a year) and sold it to the opposition, more or less for what he would have paid for it.  We learned a lot about the selling of equipment and seeds.  For instance, you can sell seeds but you must not tell buyers how to grow them or give any advice. On the other hand you can sell books on the growing of cannabis plants. There was a pensioner who used to ride his bicycle over to the business premises, some 6 miles away, to stock up on goods to take back to his rest home/care home where he grew cannabis plants in his wardrobe to ease his arthritis.   My client's mother was a Jehova Witness and she was extremely upset about his business so he got out of it as soon as he could to escape her wrath.

My view now is that I would not act for this type of business, having been the victim of a let property being "converted" into a cannabis factory with some £15,000+ worth of damage. Not good. 

Incidentally, when I started in Taxes the District  had a prostitute described as a "bonnet seller" on the assessment - many years ago.  Does anyone know the origin of this description?

 

 

TheAncientOne

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By chatman
10th Jan 2011 21:58

I would love to know...

1. how making cannabis legal makes it easier for people to take other drugs, and

2. whether those who think it should remain illegal feel that tobacco and alcohol should also be illegal.

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By JC
11th Jan 2011 08:16

What about farmers growing hemp ...

This is a perfectly legal crop which has many uses

http://www.fwi.co.uk/community/forums/hemp-farming-in-the-uk-is-very-profitable-if-you-13524.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp

Without knowing genus etc. how can one make a value judgement

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11th Jan 2011 10:38

Out of interest only, and not as your community manager

@Chatman

1. how making cannabis legal makes it easier for people to take other drugs.

I don't believe it does. You can go into any British town, village or city and if you talk to the right people can get your hands on any drug you could think of with relative ease. This is a fact, I often wonder why the police find it so hard but that is another debate for another time.

As far as I am concerned it is a myth that smoking cannabis leads to the taking of other drugs, ergo making it legal has no impact on the uptake of other drugs whatsoever (in my view).

There is benefit to legalising cannabis: it could be taxed, and it could be managed and regulated by the state. There would always be a black market for it, but if users could buy it legitimately and legally, pay their taxes and choose the appropriate strength for their tolerance level because the state could moderate the level of THC in every crop and do some serious research into the health benefits and psychological and social impact.

2. whether those who think it should remain illegal feel that tobacco and alcohol should also be illegal.

I think it should be legalised for a whole multitude of reasons, only some of which I have touched on here in the interest of brevity. I think tobacco should be more expensive, and I think alcohol should be better regulated as well.

As an aside, I know of more people who have got into trouble both health wise and with the law through abuse of alcohol than have through smoking cannabis.

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11th Jan 2011 11:14

Becky

The arguement against legalising canabis is essentially that -

It's use leads to phycological problemsIt's use renders users unfit to drive (like drink), but, is not easily detected at the roadside (yet).I'm a bit unsure that my clients would like me doing their accounts or representing them in court whilst stoned. 

 

As for tobacco - face facts, if governments actually wanted to stop smoking (on health grounds etc) they would simply raise the tax to £50 on a pack of cigarettes.

The simple fact is that they use "health" as a convenient excuse for raising tax, but, pitch it at a level that will not deter most smokers, and therefore wont reduce the overall tax take.

Not that I'm cynical you understand :)

 

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By Luke
11th Jan 2011 11:34

Psychological ill health

Agreed with CD re arguments for not legalising cannabis. 

My sister works in mental health and has seen many many cases of long term cannabis use causing psychological problems.  In many cases there are ongoing psychotic behaviour problems which continue for life after prolonged cannabis use.

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11th Jan 2011 11:40

Mental health issues

It's all relative isn't it? As far as my understanding goes, and that of my housemate who is a mental health nurse, it will only exacerbate pre-existing tendencies for ill mental health. I always compare it to alcohol, alcohol causes death and injury on a daily basis, I've yet to hear of a case where someone has died (or caused the death of another) from smoking weed.

I know people who have smoked it for years, are still 'normal' in terms of their behaviour, and who lead perfectly adequate lives holding down jobs and contributing to society. I'm afraid I may be the cynical one here who believes that not everything you read in the media is true, and is always over sensationalised using worst case scenario as the norm.

@CD, how would your clients know if you had done their accounts under the influence of alcohol (which is perfectly legal)? The point is that it is down to personal responsibility. I wouldn't do anything important if I'd had a drink, but as an aside, I used to babysit in my teenage years and the parents would come home drunk and take over the care of their offspring. Totally their choice, but left me feeling a little anxious. And you sort of proved my point about making cannabis legal for tax purposes.

I fear I may have taken the topic off course here, apologies to the OP and others.

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By mwngiol
11th Jan 2011 11:48

Cannabis

In my opinion, if you want to ban something then you should have to prove that it's use has a harmful or negative effect on other people. The role of the law should be to protect people from other people. Protecting people from themselves should be the role of education.

What harm are cannabis users doing to other people? The only possible argument is the passive smoking argument which is easily navigated. Go to any A&E department on a weekend and you'll see the harm that alcohol users do to other people. Likewise cocaine, which turns people into aggressive idiots much like alcohol only more so.

Cannabis isn't addictive like heroin so there isn't an argument that it leads to theft etc to fund the habit. If you steal in order to be able to buy weed then you're the kind of person who'd steal to buy anything you can't afford. It doesn't drive you to crime like heroin.

As for the psychological damage argument, I think we all know people who have been seriously affected psychologically by alcohol. Plus like I said, if you ban things to protect people from themselves then surely CD should be banned from riding motorbikes, Becky should be banned from caving, Sir Edmund Hilary should never have been allowed to climb Everest.

As long as you do no harm to anyone else then do what you like.

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By mwngiol
11th Jan 2011 11:58

CD

"I'm a bit unsure that my clients would like me doing their accounts or representing them in court whilst stoned."

That reminds me of an argument against legalising cannabis which I read once by Richard Littlejohn who said "We wouldn't have won the Battle of Britain if cannabis was legal and all our pilots were stoned". No we wouldn't but if cannabis was legal why would all our RAF pilots be stoned??? Alcohol was legal and they weren't all drunk were they?

Surely you wouldn't represent your clients whilst stoned any more than you'd represent them whilst drunk?

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11th Jan 2011 12:40

I am honourned

To sit next to the great Sir Hilary in a sentence!

"The role of the law should be to protect people from other people. Protecting people from themselves should be the role of education." - I think this is best summary I have ever read.

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By KH
11th Jan 2011 13:59

Rob Free Cannabis

i have only just seen this lead, and I honestly say that I don't see where morals come into it ... locally we have a shop which is owned by a one "Bob Free The Weed", or something similar, and that's his real legal name ... he's a really nice guy, and his shop, naturally enough, sells everything cannabis you can think of, from string to hemp seeds, to resin lampshades, to ... well, let your imagination run riot, all the way down to various grades of cannabis seeds ... or at least his shop used to, but I can't guarantee that it still does since I haven't been in there for yonks. And he has an accountant, and he files his accounts and returns annually.-- KH

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By chatman
11th Jan 2011 14:11

I agree with Becky and mwngiol

'"The role of the law should be to protect people from other people. Protecting people from themselves should be the role of education." - I think this is best summary I have ever read.' 

Me too. Hit the nail on the head. Anything else is control-freakery.

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By chatman
11th Jan 2011 14:13

Richard Littlejohn Comment

I would be very worried if Richard Littlejohn had said something that made sense; I would have had to re-evaluate my entire reality.

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