How a cannabis farm cured my fear of nature | Zoe Williams

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A factory with more than 800 plants has been discovered in a building beside the Bank of England – and the news had an unexpected effect on me

There’s always a detail in apocalypse fiction that looms horrifically in your subconscious from your first encounter with the genre, when you were a bit too young for it. Mine is plants bursting through concrete, that stark reminder that mankind is evanescent and nature is stronger. As a child, it was the most terrible thing I could imagine: grass growing through pavement, creepers tendrilling out of defunct offices. I think I got this phobia from The Day of the Triffids, possibly the only book in the British canon where the plants are the bad guy.

It’s easy to imagine it happening in the City of London, which is deader than every other dead place, eerie and full of foreboding. What happened instead was that someone established a cannabis factory of “significant size” (according to the police) right next to the Bank of England. It wasn’t the gigantic tent with the 826 plants that gave it away, but rather the strong smell commonly associated with the class B drug. Can you call a smell a smell when there’s nobody around to smell it? Philosophically, maybe not, but yes, in the eyes of the law.

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