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The Hempire News - August 05

UK News
Newspapers call July and August the 'silly season'. Nothing much happens in the summer so the papers fill their pages with nonsense stories about animals attacking (ants, bees, turtles), the sighting of monsters (aliens, Nessie) and fascinating new theories (the moon is hollow and was consciously designed as an 'incubator for life on earth' - the Daily Mail).

This summer, however, the real stupidness comes from the Crown Prosecution Service. Against all reason and logic they have decided to prosecute THC4MS for conspiracy to supply cannabis. A charge which could see three people who have done nothing other than ease suffering locked up for years.

No matter that THC4MS have immeasurably improved the quality of life for thousands of people with MS. No matter that this has been done without charge to patients but at great cost to themselves. No, what matters here is that cannabis is illegal and no one, but no one, can defy a drug law.

In order for the CPS to prosecute they must be convinced of two things: that the chance of conviction is likely, and that the prosecution is in the public interest. A conviction is likely but by no means certain, many other medicinal prosecutions have resulted in a derisory punishment or no punishment at all.

So is it in the public interest? Well it's certainly not in the interest of those whose supply has been cut off. Either they remain in agony or they find somewhere else to get their medicine; no simple task for ill people who don't have ready access to dealers nor to the money demanded for the high quality stuff they rely upon. It's also not in the interest of the 85% of Britons who support cannabis for medicinal use. In fact, there isn't a single member of the public who will benefit from this prosecution.

The only people who will benefit are a few dealers and more than a few politicians. Our leaders are so desperate not to be seen to be losing the war on drugs they will make villains out of people who should be celebrated as heroes.

This is a face-saving exercise with no merit and even less justification. If you want to register your disapproval there is loads you can do, see the THC4MS site for more details. If you just want add your name to the hundreds who oppose this prosecution, please sign the petition below.
- the petition

To some newspapers reclassification is a disaster waiting to happen. These papers, and I bet you can guess which ones, print endless articles about teenagers using cannabis and the fabric-ripping ruination of society which will inevitably result. We've seen pictures of kids in school uniform smoking fat joints, we've heard experts fret about 'time-bombs' and we've read editorials urging the Government to reverse its decision before it's too late.

What we've not had is any evidence to support their view. In fact, the latest figures from the Department of Health show the number of English schoolchildren using cannabis actually went down after the law was changed. In 2003, thirteen percent had taken cannabis at least once, today it's eleven percent. This figure is consistent with a British Crime Survey report from earlier this year which found the total number of people using cannabis fell once the law was relaxed.

Whilst these findings run contrary to the common-sense view that easing the law will see an increase in use they are entirely in line with the view of campaigners and the experience of history. The law acts as a deterrent to some but an encouragement to many. Reclassification should not be reversed it should be continued. All the way to legalisation.
- teen use
- overall use - p2

You'd think that if 40 coppers, including a dozen from the riot squad, busted through two 5" doors to raid a cannabis cafe, that would be the end of it. But Mikey Allday isn't the sort to give up easily. He installed even thicker doors, added better security and two short weeks later, opened up again.
- closed
- open

Mo Mowlam was one of the very few senior politicians willing to stand up and say that the drug war emperor is naked and acting insanely. We can but hope her book calling for legalisation will carry more weight when it is published next year. However, we will miss her being around to defend it and we will miss all the other valuable contributions she would have made to this debate.

I hope she's given a sunny spot in heaven.
- full story here

Medical News
New guidelines for Australian doctors state that cannabis has no role in acute pain management. Which is strange, because if you talk to people experiencing the pain they'll tell you it works pretty well indeed.

There are two main forms of pain relief, one reduces the level of pain received, the other affects how the pain is perceived. Some people with acute pain claim that cannabis does a good job on the second, though it might not affect the first. But even if it only works for a few, and even if the only benefit is perceptual, why make it illegal and punish those who choose it?
- full story here

Add Inflammatory Bowel Disease to the ever-lengthening list of illnesses which might be made more bearable with cannabis medicines. A study by the University of Bath discovered that patients with the disease have more than the usual number of cannabinoid receptors in their stomachs. This, the researchers believe, could be the body's natural attempt to seek out whatever cannabinoids it can get its hands on to calm the inflammation.

Once again there are two problems with using cannabis, psychoactive and legal. Some people don't want to get high and that's fine. For others the psychoactive problem is mostly in the minds of doctors. However, the legal issues are very real and completely unnecessary. We cannot deny the ill their medicine just because it makes prosecuting the healthy more difficult.
- full story here

International News
We don't know much about Marc Emery in the UK but he's a hero to Canadian puffers and a big, big, villain to the DEA. So much so they invaded Canada (albeit with permission) and raided his home, his shop and his political party. He was arrested and has been charged with conspiracy to cultivate marijuana, conspiracy to launder money, and conspiracy to distribute marijuana seeds.

Now facing extradition to the U.S. and a possible life sentence Marc needs our help. Why bother? Well firstly because all the money he has earned has gone back into the movement. His campaigning has given Canada one of the world's more liberal laws. He has helped numerous medicinal users. He has donated thousands of pounds to our Cannabis March and Festival. And because he's one of us and he needs us and it's right. Oh and because the DEA hates him. Surely that alone is reason enough.
- helping you
- helping him

Prohibitionists don't want drug taking portrayed as in any way normal. We're supposed to be freaks, the bogeymen kids are warned about. So imagine their horror when a primetime show has as its star an ordinary suburban mom who knocks out puff as a sideline. 'Weeds' is the one currently winding them up, though' Six Feet Under', 'That 70s Show', 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' and even 'The West Wing' have all felt the wrath of the right for not being anti-cannabis enough.

Fortunately, and as with all their others, this fight is doomed to failure. Drug taking is normal, or at least permeates almost every part of society. Drama will have no relevance and thus no audience unless it reflects society, so the depiction of drug taking is inevitable. Plus, controversy generates publicity and that isn't exactly off-putting for programme-makers who want their work to be noticed.
- full story here

Many people think Lewis Carol was on drugs when he wrote Alice in Wonderland. After all, it's difficult to image logic that twisted originating from a completely straight mind. The world he created was obviously made up, the world the DEA inhabits is supposedly real. However, we already know they can't tell truth from fiction and now they're trying to emulate his absurdity.

Earlier this year Angel Raich, was denied access to cannabis even though it's the only substance keeping her alive. In its judgement the Supreme Court declared that "medicine by regulation is better than medicine by referendum."

The University of Mississippi took them at their word and is currently fighting for the right to grow cannabis of a quality suitable for scientific testing. The DEA opposes this of course, stating that: "Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." A situation which occurs precisely because the DEA prevents anyone proving otherwise.
- full story here

Miscellaneous News
Daniel Garcia was on his way to court when he realised it probably wasn't a bright idea to take $1,500 worth of dope with him. Unfortunately his chosen hiding place wasn't a great improvement being right in front of a police station. When he returned to his stash he found a note telling him to look up at the two officers watching his every move.
- full story here

Back in February the burghers of Lichtenstein decided against feeding their cows hemp in case trace elements of THC found their way into milk. Animal feed is a bit more scarce in Russia and they can't throw away a field of maize just because it surrounds 40 tons of cannabis. A spokeswoman worried she "didn't know what the milk would be like after this". Even better with cereal for a start.
- full story here

Shaun Ryder has a new career, television critic for the stoner community. His first tip, don't watch Teletubbies while stoned - they'll do your head in. I'm sure he's got a point but I don't think we've got much to worry about. How many stoners do you know are up that early in the morning?
- full story here

All these, and more, right here