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The Hempire News - April 03

Cafe News
I'd love to be able to tell you we've got planning permission, have agreed terms with the landlord and are finalising agreements with the other investors. But as you've already guessed - I can't. Although the last two items have moved on quite a bit since we last spoke.

We're now concentrating on turning expressions of interest into cold hard contracts. Plenty of people will say they're interested in a project, a few of them will even say they would like to invest. But six months later, and when it comes to actually anteing up, it's natural to expect many to go missing. I am pleased to say that's not the case here and the honest, true and thoroughly decent people involved in this project have kept their word. Nothing is signed yet so it's too early to celebrate, but if the council could only see the light then everything else would become a lot easier.

Legalisation News
This was the month the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs met in Vienna. Now don't laugh but five years ago the UN declared it's mission was to create a drug-free world by 2008. According to the press release issued at the end of the conference the UN is on course for achieving this remarkable objective and is calling on all those beastly countries who have adopted a more realistic approach to start slapping their citizens around again.

The good news is the European Community (except the pariah states of Sweden and France) are pretty scornful of this arm of the UN. The UK have already rejected its criticism of reclassification and Holland, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria etc just ignore their blustering. So there's probably no need to worry about them for now. Though how they're going to explain the existence of drugs in five years time is anyone's guess.
--- Transform criticises
--- The Guardian criticises

Get Involved
Right now, the best thing anyone can do to help the movement is to get smoking -surely something that's easier than writing to your MP! Be brave and skin up wherever you see fit (although not around kids obviously). The idea is to get people used to the smell of cannabis and the sight of cannabis users. The end result being either a) people will become so desensitised to cannabis smoke we'll be able to get away with it anywhere or b) the call will go up to get smokers into designated spaces and away from those who don't want the smell around them.

This is also the time of year to Sow those Seeds. Just gather up all the seeds you find and distribute them into the wild. More details here:
--- Sow the Seeds

News Stories of the Month
In France you can be busted for just having a picture of a cannabis leaf on a t-shirt. In Russia a town has chosen the symbol for it's flag. The town, Novozybkovo, was a major supplier of hemp rope and sails for the Russian navy and is justly proud of the value of this humble weed. Surprisingly, the only people who've complained so far are the communists - they wanted the colour to be red.
--- full story here

We know that cannabis is good for multiple sclerosis suffers, cancer and AIDS patients, people with glaucoma, anorexia and premenstrual syndrome (amongst many other things) but two new studies have suggested even more medical uses. The first says that cannabis could be the aspirin of the 21st Century and could protect us against Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntingdon's and motor neurone diseases. The second reports that a good guffaw can boost your immune system by up to 40%.
--- Take this at bedtime
--- Laughter therapy

The closer Canada gets toward decriminalising cannabis the more it winds up the White House. So much so that Tom Riley, public affairs director for the office of drug control policy has described the move as "akin to Canada unilaterally setting up open-air toxic waste sites along the border." That's quite a comparison there Tom. Thank God we've got people in charge of drug policy who really know their stuff.
--- full story here