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The Hempire News - November 05

Breaking News
According to reports the Government has decided it will be possible to carry up to four ounces of cannabis and still only be charged with possession. Other proposed thresholds are seven grams of heroin, seven grams of crack, seven grams of cocaine, fourteen grams of speed and ten pills.

The original Daily Telegraph report has so far been picked up by The Times, The Sun and The Mirror. The Lib Dem and the Tory spokespeople have given their reaction and the Home Office has not issued a denial. All of which indicates it's true. If it is it means we can get away with lugging around more weed than just about anyone outside Amsterdam or Alaska.

More analysis of this important development next month.
- full story here



UK News
At last some good news for medicinal users. MS patients who ask their doctor nicely enough can finally get Sativex on prescription. They can't get it directly of course, that would be way too easy. Instead doctors must ask Canada, the only country where Sativex is legally available, to ship the stuff back to the UK - the country it came from in the first place. It's a good job the NHS isn't short of money or anything.

Still it does mean that multiple sclerosis sufferers no longer have to risk imprisonment or pay through the nose to get a medicine which works. It's not clear if other people who might benefit, such as those with cancer, AIDS, Parkinson's, or any of the numerous other ailments, will be as lucky. At present Sativex can be prescribed only when a doctor takes personal responsibility for an individuals' use. In theory this just applies to individuals with MS, but who knows what might happen if a friendly physician could be found.

So is it good news for the rest of us? Not necessarily, GW Pharmaceuticals are the only company in the UK allowed to create cannabis medicines and Sativex is patented. They've got a lot of investment to protect and will be tempted to use their influence to stop people growing their own. In addition, the Government can now resist calls for further liberalisation by referring people to their doctor.

On the other hand, this is the first time a cannabis medicine has been legally permitted in the UK and it makes the classification of cannabis as a schedule 1 narcotic with no therapeutic use impossible to defend. It is also an essential part of the normalisation process, is another defeat for prohibitionists and has forced the Daily Mail to print a good news cannabis story for once.

In truth nobody really knows whether this will work for or against us. We do know that legalisation is an absolute inevitability so even if this does result in a setback for recreational users it will only be a temporary one. And if until then it means seriously ill people get a measure of pain relief who among us would complain about that?
- the decision
- its impact


Meanwhile Granny Pat faces imprisonment and eviction. Despite using cannabis to ease ailments conventional medicines can't treat, despite only being caught with four plants, Pat has been charged with the very serious offence of Production. If convicted she could be sent to jail for 14 years. It is highly likely she'll spend at least some time at Her Majesty's pleasure as she's already on a six month suspended sentence for possession with intent to supply. She wasn't supplying kids outside school gates you understand, just other ill pensioners.

For some reason the police are trying to rush the case through and have said they want her in jail by Christmas. The council aren't happy either and have warned she'll be evicted if convicted. Pat isn't bowed by this and has demanded to be heard by a jury of her peers. The question now is are the British public as heartless as two of the bodies whose job it is to protect her.
- full story here


Rumours are the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) will recommend cannabis stay as class C. The Times was first to break the story and even though the ACMD say no decision has been made Transform's sources confirm the rumour. Which is good because whilst the Times can't be trusted when it comes to cannabis Transform are very reliable indeed.

This decision was always expected, what's interesting is how politicians and newspapers will react. Because if the ACMD does recommend no change then it will do so after examining a supposed glut of new evidence proving cannabis causes psychosis. The lack of any such proof will, of course, cause our leaders and the media to admit their mistake, apologise for misleading us and beg for forgiveness. Right after the new air traffic control centre for pigs is built, obviously.
- full story here


Even if cannabis stays as class C people in Brixton will again face arrest for possession from December 12th. The policy has been introduced to combat street dealers who aggressively tout their wares and drug tourists brought in by a reputation the area wants to lose.

Street dealers are a pain in the arse but there's a reason both they and drug tourism exist. Demand needs supply and people will naturally congregate where they feel safe. Clearly the only way to get rid of both dealers and tourists is to create coffeeshops throughout the UK. Or rather this is blindingly clear to us, prohibitionists are just blind.
- full story here
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Medical News
Another month, another myth busted. Last month we heard that cannabis makes rats' brains grow and can protect users from some types of cancer. This month we learn that cannabis users are not as depressed as those who never touch the stuff.

Predictably drug warriors claim the 4,400 people questioned represent a skewed sample because they are all hardcore users. Which is strange because until now these same drug warriors have claimed hardcore users are the ones most likely to suffer from cannabis-caused depression.
- full story here


A new report indicates that cannabis may help people with Crohn's disease. Sufferers who use the substance say they have an increased appetite and experience less pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and depression. They also say cannabis helps them put on weight, reduces the number of stools they pass and that the disease flares up less often and with less severity. Oh and they also use fewer of the other medicines they are prescribed.

Only twelve people were examined and the survey was undertaken by the California Society for Cannabis Clinicians, so it's not exactly comprehensive or impartial. However, many of these findings are well known and the rest can easily be believed. It certainly doesn't stretch credibility to suggest that whilst cannabis may not cure disease its palliative effects are unrivalled.
- full story here


According to a survey published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, many people who use cannabis medicinally do so because it was recommended by their doctor. Of those, almost seventy percent said it significantly relieved their symptoms with just under half reporting cannabis produces better results than prescription medicines.

The people most likely to use the substance were young people, men and those who had used cannabis recreationally. Which indicates that some people are put off what could be a highly effective medicine because of the stigma prohibition attaches to its use and because they stand a very real threat of prosecution. As Grandma Pat will testify.
- full story here
-----------------------------



International News
Someone else who suffered the wrath of prohibition was Jonathan Magbie, a 27 year-old paralysed as a child when a drunk driver crashed into him. Last year Jonathan was caught in possession of a tiny amount of marijuana and despite this being his first offence was sentenced to ten days in jail. Four days after being imprisoned he died.

Jonathan's case has been taken up by Colbert King of the Washington Post. In his latest article King reveals a catalogue of "incompetence, neglect and dishonesty" by many of those responsible for putting a quadriplegic in jail and abandoning him once there. His piece makes shocking reading but should be compulsory for anyone promoting this war.
- full story here


One of the many problems prohibitionists face is the loss of public support. No modern war can be fought for long without it and theirs is dropping rapidly. The latest place to go is Denver, which has just voted to allow its citizens to carry up to one ounce of cannabis without being prosecuted. Many other states have lowered the penalty for possession but Denver is the first city to make it fully legal.
- full story here


There is also increasing evidence the sky doesn't fall in when drug laws are liberalised. In Britain the number of cannabis users has gone down since reclassification and there has been a similar lack of apocalypse in Seattle in the two years since they demanded a change in law enforcement priorities.
- full story here
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Miscellaneous News
Sometimes the danger of jinxing yourself is only revealed through experience. For example, the more knowledgeable amongst us would recognise the risks inherrent in advertising dope for sale on the very popular Craig's List site and then boasting you're not worried about being caught.
- full story here


Jamie Oliver has decided to offer treatment for chefs at Fifteen who like getting stoned too much. It seems the difficult training and unsociable hours lead to stress which some employees are self-medicating with dope. Either that or they've decided his food tastes even better with the munchies.
- full story here


Mike Nelson has come up with an ingenious disguise for his growroom, he's made it into an art installation. Okay, Mike's plants aren't real but everything else, from the irrigation to the lights to the ventilation, is. Given what the boys in Camden market sell he'll probably find an outlet for his fake crop too.
- full story here
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All these, and more, right here