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The Hempire News - September 05

UK News
Unjust laws are often so entrenched as to be immovable by reason and logic alone. It takes an act of defiance by someone the public can sympathise with to demonstrate their absurdity. The coverage given to an arrest and conviction draws the attention of right thinking individuals and creates a call for change which cannot be ignored.

This is a tactic cannabis campaigners have frequently tried, the problem being not enough people care whether a few stoners get locked up. Grannies, however, are another matter entirely.

Granny Pat received enormous press attention when she was first arrested, well it's not every day a pensioner freely admits growing and supplying cannabis. Her judge hated the publicity she received but couldn't quite send her down so suspended the sentence. Now she's been busted again it seems jail is likely and even more coverage inevitable.

The media love Pat because she represents an appealing face of the medical movement. She breaks the law only to ease the suffering of herself and her peers. She accepts her fate willingly and is prepared to go to prison for her cause. She throws fresh light on a topic many people care about and few disagree with. She is definitely not your archetypal user.

As a result this arrest will generate more publicity than the first and the arguments for medicinal use will reach an ever wider audience. At the very least this will put pressure on the Government and could even be the tipping point we've been waiting for. It will certainly be interesting to see how those in charge defend their decision to prosecute.
- the raid
- the consequences


The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has met and we should know whether cannabis is to be re-reclassified by the end of the year. Both the Home Secretary and Prime Minister want the move to be made - but theirs is a view borne more of political expediency than of what's right and proper.

Fortunately the experts they're consulting aren't in a beauty contest and so aren't likely to accede to their demands. First the ACMD said a change is unlikely because there's no new evidence to consider. Now senior police are worried skunk will be assigned a higher class, making an already confused law even more difficult to fathom.

Unfortunately, the views of experts are ultimately less important than the views of the public. Even if the police, drug experts, drug charities, mental health charities, the ACMD and Uncle Tom Cobbley says that the law should not be changed the Government might change it anyway if they think there's votes to be won.
- full story here


Right before the ACMD was to due to meet the Sunday Times published an article warning about the mental health consequences for kids who use cannabis. The story was based on worrying information from the drug charity Addaction which showed the number of children treated for cannabis related psychosis has quadrupled since reclassification.

Or rather, that's what the Sunday Times claimed the information showed. Addaction denounced the article as “a distortion and factually wrong”. Their director of communications said the story was "entirely misleading" and bore "little relation" to any information they had supplied, moreover that the timing seemed designed to influence and mislead the ACMD.

We too are being mislead, dangerously so. There are risks to using cannabis but each time they're exaggerated the real ones become harder to detect. Non users might believe the hype but users will see this as just more drug war propaganda. With the result they'll dismiss valuable information from people who do actually have their best interests at heart.
- the article
- Addaction



It may be time to think the unthinkable, it may be time to vote Tory. David Cameron, an outside contender for leader of their party, has called for the UN to consider legalising all drugs and said it would be "disappointing" if radical options to the laws on cannabis weren’t examined.

Cameron sat on the Home Affairs Select Committee which recommended reclassification, so his views don't come out of the blue. However, it is remarkable for someone said to represent the future of the Conservatives to so publicly support legalisation, especially when he's trying to win the votes of those who most vigorously oppose it.

Since it is unlikely Cameron will be elected leader we probably wont have to choose between the many benefits of legalisation and the many drawbacks of having the Tories in power again. Nonetheless, he deserves our praise as the first prominent politician to call for legalisation whilst seeking patronage and his stand paves the way for other MPs to come out of the closet and say what they know to be right.
- full story here


The other remarkable element about Cameron's statement is how little condemnation he received. He may even have prompted the Sun to print a long article suggesting the only way out of the mess we've got ourselves in to is to legalise all drugs.
- full story here
-----------------------------



Medical News
One of the arguments given against legalising for medicinal use is that it sends a mixed message to children. Prohibitionists want us to believe that cannabis has no redeeming qualities and worry any suggestion otherwise will give young people an excuse to get high.

As usual these views are based on conjecture and disproved by evidence. A new study, conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance in America, examined state and federal government statistics to prove children in states which have a medical marijuana programme are no more likely to use cannabis than children in other states.

A possible reason for this was outlined by the study's author, Mitch Earleywine, who suggested the policy sends a very different message to the one opponents imagine. If cannabis is seen as a medicine children might view it as a: "treatment for serious illness, not a toy", something which requires "cautious and careful handling”.
- full story here
-----------------------------



Miscellaneous News
Lord Whaddon, a Labour Peer, passed away recently. His daughter was making the funeral arrangements when the vicar and undertaker called. Naturally she served them tea and biscuits as any good hostess would.

These weren't any old biscuits of course, they were cannabis-laced ones her father used to medicate his MS. However, the mistake was noticed too late and the suggestion others might be preferable was dismissed because the current ones tasted so good.
- full story here


We’ve heard tales of growers reporting the theft of their plants to the police, but Anthony Martin had an entirely new experience. First he reported his plants stolen, then when the police came to investigate he found they'd all reappeared. Martin claimed someone had put them back without his knowledge though it's much more likely he forgot where he planted them in the first place.
- full story here


As getaway cars go, bikes aren’t very good. Not only is it difficult to outrun anything but you can’t even hide your loot. Police claim Dwayne Earl Anthony Etzel was seen pedalling down the road, in broad daylight, with three uprooted plants and a big grin on his face. A smile which presumably vanished as soon as he heard the siren.
- full story here


When the former mayor of a Kansas town was found with cannabis plants growing in his back yard police thought they’d scored a major coup. Only problem is the plants were actually sunflowers, some of which were in bloom at the time. Their mistake is even more puzzling because Kansas is known as the Sunflower State and the flower is prominently displayed on their flag.
- full story here
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All these, and more, right here