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The Hempire News - September 03

Legalisation News
On the 12th September ACPO (the Association of Chief Police Officers) stated how cannabis possession will be policed following reclassification. These guidelines have been promised for almost a year and I, for one, couldn't wait to see them.

The purpose of the guidelines is to state under what circumstances an individual can be arrested for possessing cannabis. These circumstances include: smoking in public; smoking repeatedly (or getting caught doing so); smoking around young people or if young people are smoking. Oh and at other times at the discretion of the police officer concerned.

So on the face of it not much has changed. For many years most police officers exercised their discretion when dealing with cannabis. But you never knew if the next copper you saw was the one who'd take the hard line. Now the burden of proof has shifted. Any police officer will need a pretty good reason to arrest you, else their desk sergeant, their chief constable or your lawyer will take them to task.

The public smoking clause is the one that most affects cafés and there are two points about this which stand out. The first is that the author of the guidelines, Andy Hayman - Chief Constable of Norfolk, wanted to emphasise that public smoking was not "in the spirit of reclassification". The second is that rank and file officers so obviously wanted to retain total discretion over who was arrested and when.

The police seem to fear that once reclassification takes place they'll have hoards of dope smoking yobs blowing smoke in their face. The good news is their fear could work in our favour. Expect to be hassled by idiots and the nice, quiet, respectful, individuals in a café will seem like angels in comparison. Angels not worth bothering with - hopefully!
- The guidelines
- The Guardian's report
- not far enough, says The Telegraph
- no change in Scotland yet
- The Daily Mail's view
- lunatic twisted-knicker prohibitionist

Medical News
The medical steamroller trundles on. There's lots more evidence about cannabis's ability to manage pain. Belgium and Australia look at offering cannabis on prescription. Holland actually does so. Not that this is a good thing if Canada is anything to go by. Their Government grown weed is so bad patients are demanding a refund. Now that's a conversation I'd like to have with the chemist on Junction Road.

The most interesting story for me though is the one suggesting the high in cannabis is a vital factor in aiding recovery. So much of the emphasis from the US (in particular) and GW Pharmaceuticals has been about removing what one author ironically refers to as the ‘evil euphoria'. I am mystified as to why being happy should be so abhorrent but it seems some people wont be content until we're all as miserable as them.
- it's good to get high
- pain management
- Holland leads Europe, again
- What Dutch pharmaceutical dope looks like
- Belgium
- Australia
- Canada

Café News
Jeff Ditchfield opened his café, the Beggars Belief, in Rhyl earlier this month. Or at least he tried to. The police raided the shop minutes before it was due to open arresting Jeff and a couple of supporters. Richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable of North Wales, has often spoken of his desire to see all drugs legalised but obviously felt he couldn't unilaterally implement a change in the law.

Support for the café came from some unexpected quarters. Parents Against Lethal Addictive Drugs, an anti-drug group, described the cafe as a "great asset for the people of Rhyl." This organisation started out with a prohibitionist approach but then changed their view after reading the facts available. Now if only Ann Widdecombe could learn to open her mind.
- Rhyl opens
- Rhyl is closed
- Jeff is charged
- anti-drugs group support café

News Stories of the Month

Tobacco giant's secret papers revealed
Excerpt: "Without nicotine in sufficient quantity to satisfy the needs of the smoker, the smoker can a) give up altogether, b) cut back to a low purchase level, c) keep switching brands." Because the last thing we want is to make it easy for the smoker to give up altogether or smoke less often. The fact this will kill them is of small concern.
- full story here

Amsterdam's Key Stoned Cops Face Drug Cafe Ban
Clapham's Café Cairo used to get regular, recreational, police visits. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported over 40% of police officers in the UK had tried cannabis, but the Dutch - as ever - have gone one step further. I wont spoil the joke but do read what happened when their police tried E.
- full story here

Tommy Chong Gets The Joint
Spare a moment for good old Tommy Chong. He's been sentenced to nine months in prison and a $20,000 fine. Not for selling dope, not even for selling paraphernalia, but for allowing his image to be used on a bong. This is all part of Operation Pipe Dream, a campaign in the US to punish Rizla sellers. Are you sure these are the people we want running the free world?
- full story here