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The Hempire News - April 04

The Cannabis March and Festival
The annual cannabis march and festival, or liberation day as we like to call it, takes place next Saturday, the 8th of May.

It all starts at noon in Kennington Park where the march gathers. We then meander gently up and through Brixton, accompanied by the waves and cheers of local residents, to an awaiting free festival in Brockwell Park.

If you haven't been before it's a great day out. The march is very peaceful and as good natured as you'd expect. The festival itself is a wonderful opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, learn more about hemp, get the low-down on growing, listen to great music, munch on great food or just hang out on the grass or in the tents.

This is a free festival but it costs nigh on £60,000 to stage. So in order we all have clothes to wear next month we need you to come down (we make money on beer and there's a suggested donation of £3 as you enter).

Oh and bring all your friends too.
--- www.thecannabisfestival.co.uk

Medical News
There's more evidence that men trying to conceive should lay off dope. The effect of cannabis on sperm motility is quite well documented, it slows them down as much as it slows us down. Cannabis doesn't make sperm as hungry though. In fact a new study indicates the seeming difficulty those tiny tadpoles have eating through the egg's protective enzymes and so fertilising the egg.

It's not effective birth control though boys.
- full story here

And there's more evidence that young men should take it easy with dope. We know the instances of cannabis related schizophrenia and psychosis are more common amongst smokers who start young. Now there's indication young people - men in particular - may be at greater risk of stroke.

Dr. Thomas Geller, of St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri, reported cases of three boys who suffered strokes that could not be put down to the usual causes. All three admitted recently smoking cannabis and two of them died. Dr. Geller surmised: "We think that adolescents - maybe only male ones - who binge on marijuana may put themselves at a risk that they are not aware of."
- full story here

On the other hand, a California paediatrician and medical professor has suggested cannabis may be a suitable medicine for adolescents with Attention Deficit Disorder. Dr. Claudia Jensen found the plant helps sufferers ease their symptomatic mood swings, lack of focus, their anxiety and irritability.

Predictably her claims were ridiculed by those who'd prefer children to take Ritalin and other medicines with more serious side-affects. Ideally, we don't want to give children any drugs at all, but when no other option is available surely it's our responsibility to find the best medicine - regardless of its current legal state.
- Dr. Jensen
- objections

Drug War News
Despite the millions of pounds thrown at it, a recent survey shows the war against teenage drug taking is having little or no effect. Forty per cent of children aged 15 have taken drugs, as have 20 per cent of those aged 11 to 15. It's not just illegal drugs either, young people sniff a lot of poppers and 25 per cent of them have about one and a half drinks on an average day.

This is the most damaging cost of prohibition. Drug testing wont stop it, nor will enforcement continued along current lines. We've got to make it harder for young people to come across drugs and we've got to make sure they understand the dangers of such risky behaviour. The only way we can do this is through legalisation.

The above figures show alcohol is harder to get than cannabis - simply because most licensees aren't willing to lose their business by selling to under-age kids. More importantly, drug information will always be tainted when it comes from a position of prohibition. No knowledge is useful unless delivered by a credible source. And the Government simply isn't a credible source on drugs for as long as it bans them.
- full story here

Last month we learnt how the US Government had been given official permission to take "such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use" of certain controlled substances. Or in other words, lie. One of the ways in which they dress up opinions as facts is through the funding of studies whose sole intention is to support the war on drugs.

Most money for drug studies, over 85 per cent of it, comes from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse - an organisation whose purpose it is to bolster prohibition. NIDA only likes research which proves how right current policies are. Research which aims to oppose prohibition simply doesn't funded. A useful fact to bear in mind when reading the doom and gloom reports the US is so fond of.
- experts?
- lying politicians

International News
Another month, another reason never to vote conservative.

You'd think a party which called itself the Christian Democratic Alliance would be, well, Christian and Democratic. Not so in Holland, where the CDA wants to ban the sale of super-skunk and wants to prevent other Europeans from being able to buy any cannabis at all. No matter that Christ himself used cannabis in his anointing oil. No matter that in the single market such practices may be illegal and are certainly undemocratic.

Fortunately, local authorities are strongly opposed to the change. As they put it "the government is trying to fix a system that is not broken".
- no skunk
- no tourists
- no way

Meanwhile in Kansas the government has come up with an ingenious mechanism for raising revenue. All illegal drugs sold in the state must be accompanied by a drug tax stamp. The stamp doesn't make the drug legal and paying the tax doesn't give you any more rights. Even though possessing or selling drugs remains illegal you can apply for the tax stamps anonymously. not that they expect anyone to do so. However, if you don't have the stamp you'll not only end up in jail but will also pay a second fine for tax evasion.
- full story here

Miscellaneous News
Alex Higgins has never been one to abide by the rules, especially not when attending a play celebrating his rebellious life. Unfortunately, the management of the Arts Theatre in London took a dim view when they found him openly smoking a joint. Alex took the ejection well, he walked out onto the street, calmly finished his joint and then rejoined the theatre crowd. According to The Sun that is.
- full story here

Steve Coogan has been in the newspaper recently with stories of drug-fuelled orgies. In a further attempt to ingratiate himself with the drug community, he's now produced a sitcom for BBC3 which stars Johnny Vegas as a small-time dope dealer. Back of the net.
- full story here

If you're ever in Australia in May do visit the Nimbin Mardi Gras and Cannabis Law Reform Weekend. Forget the long title for a second and concentrate on what they call the Hemp Olympix, with events such as joint-rolling, bong throwing, and an Iron Man competition for cannabis growers. Surely the only thing missing is Dead Lions (last person to move wins).
- full story here