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Complainant Name:
Peter Reynolds

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Herts and Essex Observer


Peter Reynolds, leader of Cannabis Law Reform, complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published inaccurate information in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code. A video on its website included the inaccurate claim (made by an interview subject) that cannabis plants produce "very, very harmful" spores; in fact, cannabis does not release spores.


The matter was resolved when the PCC negotiated the re-editing of the video to remove the inaccurate claim and the publication of the following clarification on the newspaper's website:

Police strike at Dunmow cannabis factory: clarification

In a video relating to a story on this website headlined "VIDEO: Police strike at Dunmow cannabis factory", which was published on May 17, 2011, PC Rebecca Hawkins, Essex Police's lead officer on the raid, said that cannabis spores can be "very, very harmful" and cause "serious illness" to officers if ingested.

We would like to clarify that cannabis is a seed-bearing plant and, as such, does not release spores, although it is prone to mould infestation and mould, being a fungus, does produce spores, although these are unlikely to cause serious harm or illness.

Date Published: 20/09/2011

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