Police say cannabis growers are moving away from commercial and industrial sites towards ordinary houses. But how can you spot a cannabis farm in your street?
Cannabis growing in the suburbs is soaring, with about 21 farms or factories being discovered every day, a new report by the Association of Chief Police Officers says.
The problem has persisted for a while, with insurer Aviva reporting a 30% year-on-year increase in cannabis damage claims last year as criminals turned to rented houses to cultivate plants.
Now the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) says most of the cannabis consumed in Britain is homegrown and is urging the public to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhood.
And householders might just want to know for their own sake too.
Drugs and society
Over the last two decades arrests for cannabis possession have halved, despite a police reassurance that they are not soft on drugs. Massey University drug researcher Chris Wilkins tells Breakfast it might be society that has gone soft instead.
Armed dial-a-tinny drug dealers are stepping up their operation in Auckland, delivering drugs to workplaces and hospitals, and touting for customers by handing out business cards in local malls, police say.
The gang-linked dealers are also carrying out standovers to steal vehicles and are trading cars in when they know they are "hot".
Police say the crews, aged in their late teens and early 20s, are routinely being caught in cars laden with cannabis and cash and with cellphones full of text message orders.
"It's absolutely rife and when you speak to anyone on the street, it's blatant - they're handing cards out - every area seems to be doing it," Acting Sergeant John Nicol of the Counties Manukau Road Crime Unit said.
A tiny Spanish village has voted to lease land for growing marijuana as a source of desperately needed revenue - a unique but legally questionable way of battling an economic crisis highlighted by staggering unemployment and a looming recession.
A government official with the National Drug Plan said such planting would in fact be against the law and that prosecutors would intervene as soon as the first pot seed was sown.
The village of Rasquera, population 900 and in the northeastern Catalonia region, said its town hall councillors approved the plan yesterday in a 4-3 vote.
Rasquera is a picturesque, compact hamlet of stone buildings at the foot of a mountain range in Tarragona province. It has a castle that dates back to the 12th century.
Police seized more than $2 million worth of cannabis in just one week across the greater Auckland area and blame ''premium growing conditions'' for some plants topping two metres tall.
Twenty-three people were arrested and 14 firearms were confiscated from suspected drug growers as part of a national cannabis recovery operation run by police and the air force.
Those arrested face cultivation of cannabis and possession of firearms charges.
Firearms recovered included shotguns, rifles and semi-automatics.
An air force Iroquois from Ohakea flew to Whenuapai for the operation run with North Shore and Waitakere police and the Waitemata law enforcement team.
Some of the 2000 plants netted were reached by police winched into plantations from a helicopter.
Many plants were the highest they had ever seized at 2.1m tall.
A 71-year-old pensioner charged with cultivating 121 cannabis plants was arrested after his 10-year-old son took cannabis to his primary school.
Edward Stadler, who rents a property on State Highway 1 at Te Horo and also uses the surname Grunert, appeared in Levin District Court yesterday. He was remanded on bail to reappear later this month.
Police raided his property on February 9 and charged him with cultivation.
A controversial Church of Scientology drug-awareness programme has received government funding to spread its unorthodox views through schools and community groups.
In the past six months, drug-free ambassadors linked to the church have circulated 130,000 drug education booklets around New Zealand, paid for in part by the Department of Internal Affairs' Community Organisations Grant Scheme.
The ambassadors claim at least 18 community groups – including their "partners" the Maori Wardens – plus at least seven high schools, endorse and use the materials.
Advice offered in the pamphlets is based on research by Scientology's controversial founder, LRon Hubbard, who did not believe in medical drugs or psychiatry but instead in purging oneself of painful experiences to gain immortality.
Getting behind the wheel after smoking cannabis will almost double your chance of having a serious or fatal crash, new research has shown.
This comes as more and more Kiwis are being caught drug driving following the introduction of roadside drug tests at the end of 2009.
Figures released to Fairfax Media recently showed since then, 514 people had appeared to be sufficiently impaired for police to perform a drug test – and 455 drivers were found to be under the influence of drugs.
More than half were under the influence of cannabis, with methamphetamine or BZP the next most common drugs.
Canadian research published recently in the British Medical Journal reviewed previous studies on the subject and found acute cannabis consumption could be linked to an increase in crash rates, particularly fatal crashes.
The research found cannabis significantly impaired the psychomotor response, or muscle activity linked to mental processes.
The Government pays about $5000 to test each product it suspects may be synthetic cannabis - a cost Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says it is "prepared to bear".
"We currently have the Temporary Drug Class Notices regime which is focused on delivering safety first for young New Zealanders. This regime is specifically temporary."
Next year, a permanent law will be introduced which will require manufacturers to prove the safety of their products and pay for associated expenses.
On Saturday Enjoi Products released a repackaged and modified version of its Amsterdam Cafe synthetic cannabis to convenience stores across Auckland.
The Ministry of Health ignored advice from police and Customs that legislation to ban synthetic cannabis products was incomplete and could lead to the re-emergence of legal highs.
Yesterday it was revealed that a new legal version of Amsterdam Cafe, a synthetic cannabis product, went on sale on Saturday.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said yesterday that three new synthetic cannabinoid substances - the chemicals used to produce products like Kronic - had been banned.
Packages of all three were intercepted at the border by Customs. One of them was destined for Enjoi Products, the manufacturer of Amsterdam Cafe.
Mr Dunne said Ministry of Health officials had made contact with Enjoi Products to determine if the intercepted cannabinoids were used in the new version of Amsterdam Cafe.
If it was, the product could be off shelves by next week, otherwise tests would be carried out to determine its contents.