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Concern over shop selling ‘drug equipment’ in Shoebury
SHOPS which openly sell everything needed to set up a cannabis factory have been criticised by councillors.
Grozone, in Ness Road, Shoebury , is one of several outlets which have sprung up across the town selling nutrients, lighting, and extraction and irrigation equipment, which enable the cultivation of cannabis using hydroponic systems.
While there is nothing illegal in selling the equipment, some councillors have highlighted the irony of a system which allows such outlets to operate, while police are pouring resources into tracking down cannabis factories in residential homes.
Ann Chalk, Independent Shoebury councillor, called for a change in the law.
She said: “I am extremely concerned about these places, as police go to great lengths to get rid of drugs.
“At the moment it is perfectly legal for them to open shops like that.
“They may say they are for growing innocent crops and we can’t prove otherwise.
“There needs to be a change in the law, because having this kind of thing in a residential shopping area appears to legitimise it.”
Fellow Independent councillor for Shoebury, Mike Assenheim, said he was also worried.
He said: “I raised concerns when it first opened, but what can you do if it’s legal?
“Let’s hope they don’t start selling the equipment needed to make heroin.
“I agree there needs to be a change in the law.”
He added: “I have concerns about the motives behind these shops and what they could be used for.”
The owner of Grozone, who asked not to be named, said: “Hydroponic equipment is used for all sorts of indoor growing. It’s used by hydroponic professionals, for growing cannabis and by people who have indoor gardens. People use them to grow chillis, tomatoes and even bananas.
“We don’t sell cannabis seeds. We sell lighting, extraction and food. There are other shops across the town, including in St Helen’s Road, Westcliff and Woodgrange Drive, and there is a big one due to open on the Progress Road Industrial Estate.”
Grozone’s website carries a disclaimer pointing out that it is illegal to cultivate cannabis and that the store does not incite anyone to break the law.
It adds the site can only be viewed by those over 18 “purely for entertainment”.
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