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The Hempire News - October 05

UK News
Last month I said that David Cameron didn't stand much chance of being elected leader of the Tory party, which was a good thing because otherwise we'd face a very tough choice. Well it seems I was wrong. On both counts. Not only is Cameron favourite to beat David Davis but if he does our choice is clear; we should vote Conservative.

I'd better explain. Cameron wants to legalise cannabis. The only reason he - or any other politician - wont change the law is because of the fear they'll lose votes. There are around four million cannabis users in the UK. If just one quarter of us voted for the same party we would vastly outnumber our opponents and give politicians the incentive they need.

The problem is we can't vote Labour. Firstly because Labour want to make cannabis class B again. Secondly, and more importantly, because that's what we're expected to do. Only if we switch our votes from Labour to the Tories do we gain any influence, only then do we become floating voters and only then will politicians start caring about what we want.

Of course the downside of a Conservative government which wants to legalise drugs is a Conservative government full stop. This would be a big problem were Howard or Davis in charge. However, is there really much difference between Blair or even Brown and Cameron? If you were blindfolded could you tell them apart? I'm not sure I could.

Moreover, some issues are so important they supersede others and should cause us to cross traditional voting lines. The War on Drugs is one. The War on Drugs is the single most disastrous policy affecting Britain today. This war enriches gangsters, destabilises economies, divides society, devours resources and harms users and non-users alike. It can never be won, shouldn't even be fought and must be ended as quickly as possible.

Of course we could only vote Tory if they promised to decriminalise cannabis. But were Cameron to have a million new votes dangled before him, a million votes which would otherwise go to Labour, a million votes which could make the difference between winning and losing the next election, it's a fairly safe bet he'll see things our way.

If he does two things will happen. Firstly, Labour will jump on the bandwagon and we'll get decriminalisation either way. Secondly, it will signal the beginning of the end of the war on drugs. I'd take four years of the Tories for that.
- would you?


Of course, not everyone will be happy if cannabis is legalised, Judge Anthony Niblett for one. When sentencing a man for a pretty horrific crime Judge Niblett commented that: "Those whose minds are steeped in cannabis are capable of quite extraordinary criminality." Which, it turns out, is a fairly selective interpretation of events.

We know that Peter West set fire to his girlfriend's house while she lay in bed with her children. We know he was a cannabis user. We also know he was a heroin user. And a crack user. And he was drunk on vodka at the time. So why cannabis was blamed is anyone's guess.
- full story here


Someone else who wont be happy is Dr John Stuttaford of The Times. Dr Stuttaford hates cannabis and often writes about its dangers, its harms and its downright evilness. He is one of the remaining few still questioning its use in medicine and is convinced we are on the brink of a mental health epidemic.

There are two things you should know about Dr Stuttaford. First, he was a Conservative MP (in the bad old days, before they were worthy of our vote). Second, he likes a drink.

Stuttaford believes alcohol "allows us to be our natural selves" and that it "enables the weary worker to shrug off the worries of the day and concentrate on his family". This theme was continued in a book entitled: 'To Your Good Health: The Wise Drinker's Guide', which is less about promoting good health and wisdom than it is providing alcoholics with justification for their behaviour.

The irony of railing against one drug whilst actively promoting another, more dangerous, more destructive and more addictive one is, unfortunately, lost on Stuttaford. And his editor at The Times.
- his latest rant
- his book reviewed
-----------------------------



Medical News
Prohibitionists love repeating the claim that one joint is as harmful as four cigarettes. No studies have ever proved this, but little things like evidence don't dissuade our opponents from making statements of fact. They wont be able to get away with this one for much longer though, not now Robert Melamede's review of the evidence has been published.

Melamede examined all the studies available but could not find any which linked cannabis to the cancers associated with tobacco smoking. On the contrary, he found several which showed cannabis might kill cancer of the lung, breast, prostate and skin as well as leukaemia and lymphoma.

We shouldn't relax just yet though. These findings are not conclusive and relate only to people who use cannabis without tobacco. In addition, smoking anything causes respiratory problems, the only solution to which is to use a vaporiser. The one thing we can say with any certainty is that this proves prohibitionists wrong again. Though that's not exactly news.
- full story here


Prohibitionists also like to claim that cannabis makes you stupid. Now it is true some of us appear a little thick when we're blasted and we do do some pretty stupid things at times. But a new study from an international group of researchers has discovered that cannabis can actually help brain cells grow.

Admittedly, the brain cells grown were those of rats and only then when they were given a synthetic cannabinoid known as HU210, a cannabinoid described as the most powerful in the world. But when HU210 was given to rats for a fortnight the researchers found new neurons had grown and were still growing a month after the treatment ended.

These neurons helped the rats improve their mood and reduce their anxiety, all of which I'm sure many a human subject would confirm. The rats were also better able to deal with strange new environments, something I suggest wouldn't be true for those of us without tails.

Of course the other drugs people take: cocaine, any of the opiates, alcohol or nicotine all kill brain cells. Which makes this cannabinoid unique and something which could be used to treat anxiety and depression, two of the ailments most afflicting modern society.

In fact it is becoming increasingly hard to find a serious illness in which cannabis medicines don't play a part. The only reason cannabis is not already an essential element of the medicine cabinet is because of the stigma associated with its use. A stigma prohibition is solely responsible for.
- full story here
-----------------------------



International News
First, some news about wheat. Wheat is one of the largest crops in the world. It is found in produce such as: bread, cereals, pasta, biscuits, cakes, pastry, beer and whiskey. Canada produces more wheat per capita than almost anywhere else on the globe. Yet their entire annual wheat production is worth just one third of all the cannabis they grow.

This is a direct result of prohibition and not just because of the price-inflating nature of the policy. Canada was once a large importer of cannabis but then the customs guys got too good at intercepting shipments and production moved within their own borders. Now it is believed that Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto each contain up to 20,000 grow houses.

The total value of all the cannabis sold in Canada is estimated at an enormous US$8.5bn annually. Authorities reckon were it all lumped together the crop would weigh about 2.5 million kilos. And this despite them uprooting over one and a half million plants a year.
- full story here


You don't have to be an expert in world politics to know North Korea and South Korea aren't best friends. But cannabis is bringing them together. The first ever joint venture between the two nations has been created by the Pyongyang Hemp Textile Company. It is a business with very few employees and even fewer products, but even if they just sat around and got stoned, tensions in one of the most volatile areas of the world would surely decrease a little.
- full story here


You don't have to be an expert in the drug war to know prohibitionists and the truth aren't even acquainted. Their lies are so frequent and so numerous as to be barely worth a mention anymore. It takes something special to stand out and be noticed. It takes Karen Tandy, chief of the DEA, to write an astonishing article entitled: "Marijuana: The Myths Are Killing Us".

I'm sure you wont need reminding that most of the deadly myths about marijuana are propagated by the very office Tandy heads. Myths such as cannabis is not a medicine, the Dutch system is a huge failure and that cannabis causes people to take heroin.

What is truly astonishing about Tandy is her unwavering ability to disregard the truth and pick out only those elements which support her argument. Normally this talent naturally disqualifies people from high office. When it comes to the drug war however, it's what gets you to the top.
- full story here
-----------------------------



Miscellaneous News
In terms of things you shouldn't say to policemen "It's funny, that you can't arrest me when I'm smoking a spliff?" comes pretty high up the list. Especially when, like Colin Lack, you're sitting on three-quarters of a kilo all parcelled and ready to go.
- full story here


The 70s was a rough time for hotel rooms. Rock stars spent their post-gig downtime smashing them to smithereens and now Shirley MacLaine has revealed she once got the munchies so bad she ate the furniture. MacLaine tells young actors to stay off drugs because they are fattening, though I suggest putting on weight is probably less of a problem than trying to digest a sofa.
- full story here