A major British railway station was evacuated earlier this week amid reports of a suspicious package.
The item that set off the panic? A weed grinder.
OK, it wasn’t just any grinder, but one that was “in the shape of a grenade,” according to BBC.
The evacuation occurred on Monday at Birmingham New Street Station.
According to BBC, all “services in and out of the station were suspended after reports of a suspicious package” at about 3:00 in the afternoon local time.
“Experts discovered the item, found on a platform, was actually a cannabis grinder in the shape of a grenade,” BBC reported. “Commuters were allowed back in at about [4:40], but disruption is expected to last until the end of the day.”
The Mirror has more details on the false alarm:
“Passengers were told to get ‘as far away from the building as possible’ according to some people at the scene amid the security threat. The bomb incident at the busy train station saw all lines blocked and all services running in and out of the station delayed as a 100 metre cordon was put in place. One person at the station claimed the conductor on the 15:28 from Derby told passengers a suspected grenade had been found at the station on platform 1.”
According to The Mirror, the station was “evacuated entirely and on the ground,” and there were “alarms going off as people were warned to get away from the station as police and ambulances descended on the scene of the incident.”
But, per the BBC, experts discovered the item was just a grinder.
“The item has now been assessed and deemed non-suspicious. It’s a cannabis grinder designed to resemble a hand grenade,” a spokesperson for the British Transport police told Birmingham Live.
“Officers received a report of a suspicious item on a platform at Birmingham New Street at 3pm today (31 October),” the spokesperson said earlier in the day, as quoted by Birmingham Live. “The station has been evacuated as a precaution and a cordon is in place while specialist officers attend to assess the item.”
Under the law in the United Kingdom, cannabis is classified as a “Class B” drug, dubbed an “intermediary category” that also includes amphetamines and barbiturates. “Class B” drugs carry potential penalties of up to five years in prison for possession, and as many as 14 years for trafficking and cultivation/production.
There were reports last month that the U.K.’s home secretary, Suella Braverman, had designs on imposing the stricter “Class A” on classification on cannabis.
“Class A” drugs include the likes of heroin and cocaine, and impose potential penalties of seven years in prison for possession, and possibly a life sentence for production.
Downing Street ultimately squashed Braverman’s idea, saying the government had no plans to change cannabis’ classification.
“There’s no plans to change the laws around cannabis,” a spokesperson for the prime minister’s office said at the time, as quoted by BBC. “Our priority is on cracking down on illegal drugs and the crime they drive. We’ve launched a drug strategy backed by record investment to deliver a whole-system approach to tackling supply and demand.”
Braverman’s proposal was widely criticized.
Per the BBC, “Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf was also critical of the idea, describing it as ‘regressive’ and ‘dangerous.’”
Yousaf “said one of the first things he would want to do if Scotland became independent would be to implement a ‘progressive’ approach to dealing with drug use to ‘break the cycle of poverty’ and substance abuse,” according to the BBC.