A man who runs a hemp shop in Glastonbury has been surreptitiously dropping cannabis seeds into public flower displays for two decades, thereby getting the council to water the plants.
His activities were discovered when a cannabis plant that had grown in a public display outside his shop for almost 20 years was ripped up by the council after someone complained to police.
Business owner and campaigner Free Cannabis, who changed his name from Rob by deed poll in 1997, said the removal of the plant from the display outside his shop, Hemp in Avalon, was “sad and shocking”.
The plant had become an unofficial part of the display outside the shop for 18 years, the business owner told SomersetLive.
He said: “I and others come along and drop the seeds into the tubs, they get watered by nature – and the council.
“I am amazed that people get so excited about this, it's a sad reflection of society's hemp-phobia."
A town councillor confirmed cannabis plants had cropped up “from time to time”, but that they were usually removed.
Mr Cannabis also won the 1998 Glastonbury in Bloom award in 1998 for a display featuring the plant. However on that occasion the authorities also stepped in and Mr Cannabis received a 12-month conditional discharge.
Despite the setback for Mr Cannabis, the plant lived on, until this week, when the council removed the it following the complaint made on a Glastonbury community Facebook page.
PC Stuart Ball said: "The small, single plant was removed by the council on Tuesday, having been found in a council-owned basket.
“Cannabis is a controlled substance and we would take a vigorous approach to anyone found growing it for supply purposes
The Independent was unable to contact Free Cannabis for comment.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies