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The Hempire News - May 04

The Cannabis March and Festival
The annual cannabis march and festival takes place this Saturday, 5th June. Everything has been confirmed, the stages are up, the ground is dry and the forecast is good; sunshine and a balmy 23 degrees.

The march gathers in Kennington Park at noon. About 3,000 good natured, funny and dedicated individuals then wander up towards Brixton accompanied by samba dancers and a couple of sound systems. If you're not swayed by the music or the thought of making a stand against prohibition just think of the exercise you'll get.

The end point of the march is the start point of the festival which, as mentioned last month, is a great day out. There's music, food, hemp tents and the chance to buy growing equipment and paraphernalia. We've got a kids area, cheap beer and free sex – well you'll find tens of thousands of like-minded individuals there, pulling them is your responsibility.

This is our event. It's the one time in the year we can get together, have a good time and call for the freedom we so richly deserve. So when you wake up on Saturday morning and see the blue skies outside your window, remember to do your lounging outside your lounge. For this one day at least.
--- www.thecannabisfestival.co.uk
------------------------------



Medical News
It seems every month there's more news of the trouble GW Pharmaceuticals has getting a licence for Sativex, its medicinal cannabis spray. Their latest estimate is for sometime in the third quarter of this year, though analysts are concerned about the number of i llnesses it will now be approved for.

The problem is politics . The original Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) declared cannabis to have no medicinal value, partly because a sceptical public needed to be convinced of the plant's dangers. Politicians have trouble admitting they were wrong about the medical side lest people conclude they must be wrong about recreational use too. So they'll limit the applications Sativex can be put to – and force more people to suffer needlessly - all in order to support the ever more failing war on drugs.
- full story here


The other thing that seems to happen every month is news of another ailment made better by cannabis. This time it's severe morning sickness and the report came in the usually sober Mothering Magazine. A correspondent reported the story of her five pregnancies. Without cannabis she lost a significant amount of weight, was hospitalised many times and her baby was delivered by emergency caesarean weighing under 5lbs.

With cannabis she expe rienced normal, happy, pregnancies, free of complications and her four other children were "healthy, pink, chubby little angels." Her research uncovered that cannabis has little to no effect on the foetus (although it can't be called safe) and has been used by midwives for thousands of years.

And it stopped her migraines too.
- full story here
------------------------------



Growing News
One of the effects of reclassification is that more people are growing their own, according to the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency that is. Apparently the price of hash has dropped from £100 an ounce two years ago to £32 now. Which is either the consequence of hitherto unknown largesse by dealers – or more supply than demand.
- full story here


Meanwhile in England another seed selling shop has suffered the wrath of an MP – can you guess from which party? Planet Bong sells seeds and pipes and mushrooms in the conservative town of Leamington Spa. A fact which gets right up the nose of local MP Peter Luff. Which has to be good.
- Planet Bong
- Planet Bonkers
------------------------------



International News
A few months ago we reported that Russia was removing jail terms for personal possession of all drugs. Their new law allows users to carry up to ten times the amount of a single dose without being arrested. However, the law couldn't be implemented until precise figures were determined. Which now they are. It's 20 grams of cannabis, five of hash, 1.5 of cocaine and 1 gram of heroin. Anyone with less than that faces a maximum fine of 40,000 rubles ($1,380) or community service. They cannot legally be detained.
- full story here


The next country to go could be Sri Lanka. Cannabis is an essential ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine, a treatment increasingly sought out by young and old islanders. Doctors are demanding easier access to the raw material and so the government is considering limited legal cultivation. Whilst this is a small change there could be a significant knock-on effect. Sri Lankans, just like Britons, have been told cannabis is a dangerous drug. So who knows what will happen when this lie is exposed.
- full story here


U-turn of the month comes from the ex US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey. His recent article in the Wall Street Journal, itself a great defender of prohibition, stated that the current laws enjoy little public or political support, are ineffective and that just about all interested parties favour change. If only he'd felt the same way when he was in a position of power.
- full story here
------------------------------



Drug War News
Three studies last month show the differing approach journalists have to cannabis related stories. One came from the discredited US National Institute on Drug Abuse who claimed thousands more black and Hispanic people are addicted to cannabis due to its increased potency. There's no evidence to back up these claims, just supposition, assumptions and hypothesis. Nonetheless they were repeated almost verbatim by news services around the world.
- just one example
- why to ignore it


An alternative view, that decriminalisation makes no difference to the amount of cannabis consumed, wasn't so widely reported. This study compared rates of use in Amsterdam and San Francisco and found there were "consistently strong similarities in patterns of cannabis use, despite vastly different national drug policies." Or in other words the main claim of prohibitionists – that the law reduces use – is not born out by fact.
- full story here


You wont be surprised to hear a third report, published in The Lancet, which stated that cannabis is not linked with psychological harm, also couldn't be found anywhere in The Daily Mail. This report reviewed 48 long-term studies and found: "the evidence that cannabis use it itself causes psychological and social problems is not strong." They were keen to point out that cannabis is not harmless but that claims about its dangers "are often overstated".

They also found a high correlation between young people with problem behaviour who also smoked pot, but found "little to suggest it makes them problem kids." This is an NHS funded study and was one of the most comprehensive of its kind. Why our newspapers ignored it we'll never know – all we know is they did.
- full story here
------------------------------



Drug Testing News
Random drug testing is decried in America. Top schools in England and Scotland abandon their policy of excluding pupils for possession. Drug testing is proven to be ineffective, invasive and counter-productive. So what do secondary schools do? Employ sniffer dogs.

Drugscope reports that dogs are regularly used in more than 100 secondary schools in England and Wales. Kent police have gone one step further and use sniffer dogs in primary schools – they say for demonstration purposes.

Revolt has reached that bastion of civil unrest, Eton. The school declared an amnesty for cannabis use, but then expelled four pupils who'd voluntarily submitted themselves for a follicle test. This didn't go down well with their friends, more than 800 of whom took part in what's known as a midnight howl (no smutty jokes please). Now all we've got to do is wait 30 years before they're in Government.
- schools abandon
- doctors decry
- send in the dogs
- alienate your kids
- it's an Eton mess
------------------------------



Miscellaneous News
He might look square, but our Tony raised no objections when Robert Altman skinned up in his presence. Maybe it was the fact Cherie had left earlier, maybe he was too shy to tell off a 70 year-old celebrated film director. Either way he didn't partake but he didn't complain. So if it's alright for his friends...
- full story here


Most reports of cannabis use state that people give up in their 40s. Now it seems older folk are also keen on the occasional toke. According to the American Medical Association the rate of cannabis use among adults aged 45-64 surged by 355 percent in the past decade. Perhaps now would be a good time to buy shares in Werther's Originals.
- full story here