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The Hempire News - October 04

UK News
Tony Blair probably lied to the country about Iraq, he seems to have neutered the BBC and may well have committed the unpardonable act of helping Bush get re-elected. But when it comes to that other war he is not - and will never be - as bad as the Tories.

David Davis, a Home Secretary who'd make Blunkett look left-wing, plans to make the War on Drugs his party's top priority. He sees the problem not that the war could never be won but that it hasn't been fought hard enough. Apparently what we need are more policies like America's. Because of course they're working brilliantly.
- David Davis
- A suitable riposte


Not all Tories are bad though. One, Peter Lilley, is a great friend to our movement. He makes the very good point that cannabis consumes 80 per cent of the war on drugs effort when other drugs do much more harm to many more people. He also thinks it would be somewhat sensible to try and break the link between drugs like cannabis and drugs like heroin. The radical.

Peter Lilley can speak openly because he doesn't need to score cheap political points. David Davis desperately wants to get the Tories into power. So he ignores facts and inflames fears. It's the classic gangster method of control: make them scared, offer them protection. And it's disgraceful, but it works.
- full story here


Cannabis is used by about 10% of Britons of voting age. But many of us don't bother going to the polls - understandably given the Hobson's choice of a party who'd hurt us a little over a party who'd hurt us a lot. If just a quarter of us voted Lib Dem, just once and just for their drug policy, we could make them the second biggest party in Parliament.

We have huge power. We need to use it.
- full story here


We don't actually need to convince politicians we're right. As one MP told me last week, none of his colleagues support prohibition in private. To get more to speak out we require two things: 1) Greater public support for change and 2) A roadmap for what happens when change is achieved.

Thankfully Transform provides the latter. Britain's leading organisation for drug law reform launched its latest report 'After the War on Drugs, Options for Control' at Portcullis House with the support of senior journalists, policy makers, key thinkers, a Lord, a Knight and some very brave MPs.

The report is essential because, unlike the Iraq war, it shows we've got a plan for winning the peace. It provides an excellent summary of how prohibition came to be, what its faults are, what the solution is and when Armistice Day will come. Its authority and absoluteness creates certainty in unsure MPs. To help those who speak out remain in office we must win the hearts and minds of the public at large.
- the drug war is lost
- the report
- Transform
- more of their work
------------------------------



Medical News
Whilst we wait for the Government to provide a licence for GW Pharmaceuticals, five men go to the highest court in the land to appeal against their conviction for using medicinal cannabis. Currently judges define necessity as that which saves life or prevents serious injury, and pain relief doesn't qualify.

The two men in the report below suffer severe pain. Like most other medicinal users the other drugs they've tried haven't worked. Cannabis does. Cannabis significantly improves their quality of life without costing the NHS a penny.

Why is this a crime?
- full story here


If these cases succeed the law will be changed. Meanwhile, courts around the country continue to give sufferers the minimum sentence possible. At the vanguard is a judge who last month sentenced a man to a conditional discharge for growing cannabis for his son. Under normal circumstances this would be a crime of supply, and dealers aren't generally let off.
- full story here
------------------------------



US News
Not sure how many U.S. cousins we have on the list, but just in case here are more good reasons to vote for Kerry tomorrow. He'd end the raids on Medical Marijuana co-ops, he'd allow more research into the benefits cannabis can bring and his "disposition is personally favourable" to the use of cannabis in medicine.
- full story here


Of course if Bush does win the best option is probably to go somewhere the sunshine-loving, holiday-taking, cowboy, fears to tread. Alaska for instance. In the morning their citizens have an opportunity to create a law making it legal to use, buy and sell cannabis in the state.
- full story here


John Ashcroft would like us to believe America doesn't arrest many people for cannabis possession. Apparently to claim so means we're a lot of whinging-moaners, whereas they're lovely, cuddly, people who only catch the bad guys.

Unfortunately the truth has a way of catching Ashcroft out. This time it's with the release of figures showing an all-time record number of cannabis arrests, nearly 90% of which were simple possession cases. More people were arrested for cannabis than for all violent crimes combined. Glad to see you've got your priorities straight John.
- full story here
------------------------------



International News
Canada has tried to decriminalise cannabis a few times, so far without success. But their government has the tenacity of a Mountie and plans the introduction of another bill in favour next month. George won't like it, but hey anything which annoys him has got to be good.
- full story here


Canada's fourth estate broadly supports the proposal. One element of which, The Brock Press, recently called for grow houses to be legalised. They say this would prevent the stealing of electricity - which pushes prices up for legitimate users. Would make grow rooms less prone to fire risk - as amateur electricians wont be rewiring the grid. And would remove the need for booby traps - which growers sometimes employ to keep thieves away.
- full story here


The Dutch, ahead of us in all these areas, now has a company which wants to insure growers. Again the reason is safety as again illegal grow-ops present a fire hazard. However, anyone claiming the loss of their crop should be sure they're calling Interpolis and not that other organisation of similar name.
- full story here


Another Dutch company making strides to fully legitimise cannabis is PePTalk, a mobile phone call provider. The company is targeting 675,000 Dutch smokers in a none-too-subtle way; their tag-line is 'Pep Your Addiction, they have a cannabis leaf as their logo and place another on the SIM card.
- the story
- the company


Belgium used to have a cannabis policy similar to ours; use it in private and you'll be okay, more or less. However, the courts have now annulled the law for leaving too much room for police interpretation.

There are two ways this could go. They could go back to rigid enforcement. Or they could move further towards decriminalisation. Given the comments of their justice minister my money's on the latter.
- full story here
------------------------------



Cost of Prohibition News
An Australian has been sentenced to 12 years in the Philippines for possessing half an ounce. That's about a year a gram.
- full story here


It's looking worse for another Australian accused of importing 4.5kg of hash into Indonesia. If Schapelle Leigh Corby is charged with drug trafficking she'll get the death penalty. Her best hope is 20 years for possession.
- full story here


Corby probably won't be executed because she comes from a Western country. Other nationalities don't fare as well. Lam Ming Hwa, a Malaysian, will be hanged in Brunei for possessing a kilo of hash.
- full story here
------------------------------



Miscellaneous News
Last month's story about the German teenager who offered dope to a party full of off-duty police has just been topped by Gareth Sands, a Scot who takes front to the next level. Not only did he walk into the prosecutor fiscal's office before offering to sort them out. But then his stash turned out to be soap. No, not soap bar. Real, frothy, wash under your armpits, Imperial Leather. Or as he puts it 'quality stuff'.
- full story here


With Jackass, Dirty Sanchez and The Osbournes, MTV has more than enough programming to annoy middle-England. So stand by for the furore when Top Buzzer, a drama series about two small time dope dealers, airs at the end of November.
- full story here


Most of the dealers I know try and keep their heads down. Some are starting to hand out business cards but all still want a low profile. Not so in Buffalo where dealers solved the tricky business of finding the pick-up location by painting their houses bright blue.
- full story here