New Zealand's premier cannabis culture and marijuana law reform magazine.
NORML News Kindle Edition December 2012 Waimate Weed Daktory Raided Waikato Hemp Cancer Cure? www.norml.org.nz Contents: Daktory Raid: p19 Court Protest: p19 Buzz Davis: p20 Stephen McIntyre: p20 Breaking Taboo: p21 Editorial: p3 Global J-Day: p4 Law Commission: p6 Branch Reports: p7 Hemp Project: p8 Cr Mulqueen: p11 Operation Lime: p12 Billy McKee: p14 Ann Vernon: p15 Petition: p15 Weed Science: p16 Liberty Party: p18 2 Dutch Cafes: p22 World News: p24 U.S. News: p26 Lebanonâ€™s War: p29 New Forums: p30 Social Media: p30 Bushlawyer: p31 Editorial: Welcome to the first electronic edition of NORML News. Like many magazines Norml News was too expensive to print and distribute but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, New Zealand’s favourite cannabis culture and activism magazine is back on Kindle, Android, Apple and Windows. International eviBy Julian Crawford dence of the benefits of regulating cannabis is growing by the day. From Do not hesitate to get in touch the numerous medical benwith NORML if you would like to efits to the profound ecowrite for future issues of nomic and social benefits, NORML News. the cannabis plant never ceases to be as useful as Send an email to it is controversial. NORML President: It may seem like the firstname.lastname@example.org government is unwilling to budge on the cannabis Or Email NORML issue but an anonymous Vice-president Abe Gray: statement leaked from a state-sector manager email@example.com ing the height of the recesPrivate correspondance should be sion in 2009 demonstrates sent to NORML Secretary the reason government dePhil Saxby: partments won’t speak out on the cannabis issue. firstname.lastname@example.org “We have noticed And for medical advice email that times are getting hard, NORML medical co-ordinator most of us do actually give Billy McKee: a shit. But we have hit a problem, we are drowning email@example.com in well meaning law and process that has had bad (c) 2012 NORML News NORML New Zealand Inc outcomes. The reason you don’t hear from us much is because we are only allowed to speak though corporate communications in case we say something the wrong way.” “This means that no one in the New Zealand police can ever write down an argument that might be true but is a bit contentious. The statement ‘Were illicit drugs decriminalised in a carefully regulated way, it would free up 4000 police officers, halve the prison population and destroy the power-base of organised crime in New Zealand’ would never be put in a document even if just for discussion, because it contradicts policy and the media would have a field day with it. It becomes an unwritten truth, one of those things that we Can’t Do Anything About, so we roll our eyes and carry on beating our heads against an impossible problem.” However, times are slowly changing with the vote to legalise in Colorado and Washington (p28) and the rejection of the weedpass in Holland (p22). The New Zealand Government will be rewriting the Misuse of Drugs Act in the next few years opening up plenty of opportunities to lobby MPs. 3 J - Day 2012 200 Cities Worldwide Thousands of people enjoyed the annual joint day in May. The international celebration of cannabis culture and protest against prohibition is held in over 200 cities around the world. J-Day is on the first Saturday of May every year. This year Bulletproof, Jah Love Sounds, Exile, Locksteady & Prospect, JRed, Jafa Mafia, Jah Red Lion and Silva MC entertained the Auckland crowd. Norml extends a big thanks to all the volunteers, artists, sponsors and organisers who make J Day happen. 4 5 Government Vs Law Commission While the government has adopted many of the Law Commissionâ€™s recommendations from its review of drug laws, it has ignored the recommendations relating to cannabis. So-called synthetic cannabis may become legal if it passes a $1-2 million testing regime but substances already banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 cannot even be considered for approval. As a result, new laws which were supposed to replace outdated legislation are instead tied to the same prohibitionist logic of the previous Act. 6 The Law Commission called on the Government to initiate clinical trials of cannabis but Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said it was not the Governmentâ€˜s role to undertake such trials. However, no pharmaceutical companies have lobbied for clinical trials either becuase the cannabis plant cannot be patented. Once again medical users of the plant have been left in limbo waiting for adequate access to their medicine. It has been left up to district court judges to issue lenient sentences to medical marijuana users, sending a message to the government to stop ignoring the Law Commission. The Law Commission also called for leniency for social dealing of cannabis and a system of three warnings before any arrest for personal use of cannabis. However, the police are still able to make arrests for personal amounts of cannabis and their warning system is more often used for rich white kids, lending weight to the claim that the war on cannabis has been a war against Maori and other minorities. Otago NORML Report Wellington NORML Report BY ABE GRAY Our branch meets twice weekly at 4:20 on Wednesday and Friday with usually around 35 people per meeting on average. The 420 weekly gatherings have been happening continuously for eight years in a row now with not a single week missed. A news story got into the local media earlier in the year that the University installed a sophisticated security camera to monitor our meetings, and how we thwarted their efforts by building a mini Waihopai spy-dome. We were in the media a few other times this year with the highlights being a response to the Dunedin Study claiming that you lose IQ points if you smoke too much weed too young. An interview on TV One was picked up by major international media in the US, Europe and Asia. In addition we still do the Overgrown radio show every Friday from 9-11pm on 91 fm in Dunedin and streaming live on www.r1.co.nz. We passed our 200th show and 5 years on air milestones this year. We also had a ruling in our favour from the Broadcasting Standards Authority in relation to a complaint against us. A rural GP from Australia was listening to our show on the internet and took exception to us inciting our listeners to smoke cannabis during the show. But the BSA described our advocating people to smoke weed as an act of protest as “high value speech”. The Wellington branch have continued to hold regular white flag meetings at Parliament. Earlier in the year Wellington NORML representatives meet with opposition MPs. Kevin Hague from the Greens and Iain LeesGalloway from Labour were optomistic about a Select Committe’s implementation of the Law Commission’s review of the Misuse of Drugs Act. We hope to build on this communication by holding an event at parliament, involving a range of groups, early in 2013, J-Day continues to be held at Frank Kitts park. Auckland Branch Continue Protests It has been an active year for law reform in Auckland with a number of protests taking place. Vocal protests outside the Waitakere District Court have become a regular occurrence, being held every time a Dakta appears in court. The police have continued to harass the Daktory forcing Auckland NORML to seek new headquarters for 2013. Monthly protests have also been held at Potters Park, where signs and banners are displayed at a busy intersection, attracting a lot of tooting. Regular pro-pot gatherings have also begun being held in the central city allowing different groups from the law reform community to meet each other. As well as protesting, the Auckland branch has been involved in a fortnightly community cleanup called Project Twin Streams. Litter and weeds are removed from a stream in Henderson by the group. 7 Waikato’s Te BY JULIAN CRAWFORD Located amongst rolling farmland east of Hamilton, the Waikato Hemp Project is the jewel in the crown of New Zealand’s emerging hemp industry. Last March, ten hectares of flowering 8-foot sativas covered the landscape, producing a pungent sweet odour. The Waikato Hemp Project was the brain-child of Dave Jordan who is licenced by the Ministry of Health to grow low-THC cannabis varieties. “One hectare of hemp can produce over one tonne of highly nutritious seed and 10 tonnes of biomass in less than 100 days, literally eating CO2 from out of 8 the atmosphere,” Jordan told NORML News. “We wish to help industry transition to the use of organic, infinitely recyclable feed stocks that regenerate air, water and soil.“ Jordan believes Industrial Hemp could transform New Zealand’s sluggish economy. “We can develop materials that sequester millions of tonnes of CO2 into consumer products that are later composted,” he said. “Hemp food, clothing, shelter and fuel is possible now and we want to do it with like-minded people.” Jordan harvested the crop at the end of march and has collected the seed to press for oil. “Hemp seeds were collected fresh from the plant. Some will be replanted at the hemp farm and the rest pressed for oil,” he said. Hemp seed contains Omega 3, 6 and 9 oils in ideal ratio for human consumption and are high in protien. Jordan sells hemp seed oil from his website www.hempfarm.co.nz to help fund his ongoing research. Hemp seed oil retails for $20 for a 250ml bottle and $38 for 500ml. The oil is also available in 500mg and 100mg capsules. The rest of the plant has also been utilised by Jordan, with the stalks baled for later use. en Hectare Hemp Project â€œThe bales will be used for hemp building projects, loads of people are asking about them so we plan to offer our first hemp building course in the very near future.â€? Hemp construction is becoming an increas- ingly popular way to build. A hemp-crete mix is made from hemp, limestone and water. When the mix sets the hemp petrifies into concrete making it an ideal material for insulating walls. 9 Hemp buildings have lower energy costs compared to conventional houses and are significantly cheaper to build. Jordan hopes to turn his bumper crop into some dream homes built with modern hemp-crete techniques. He has received some high-level assistance for his research from the University of Waikato. “Waikato Hemp Project are collaborating with Waikato University’s Materials and Engineering faculty to begin designing the future,” Jordan said. Asscociate Professor Dr Kim Pickering is working with PhD students to develop advanced polymers from the Waikato hemp. “It makes sense to incorporate these fibres within other materials to produce a composite material. This enables fibres to 10 be used in structures, and modification of mechanical and physical properties can be made,” Dr Pickering said. “Composites will increasingly replace conventional engineering materials to give improved performance. Technology learnt with advanced composites like carbon fibre, can be applied to natural fibre composites.” Pickering said hemp could also be a natural resource used to make plastics. “Waikato University research has been involved in development of polymer matrices from bioderivable materials,” she said. “With New Zealand’s natural fibres resources, there is a great potential to tap into composite design and technology to produce improved structural materials that are cost efficient.” Waikato Hemp Project have also been researching the potential use of hemp as a source of bio-fuel. The New Zealand Biogas company has been working with them to extract hemp fuels in the form of Bio-Ethanol, BioCharcoal and Bio-Diesel. Jordan said he was able to grow hemp thanks to legislation introduced by former Norml News editor and MP Nandor Tanczos. In 2001 Tanczos’ Bill was adopted by the Labour Government. “This bill is an elegant piece of legislation,” then Greens leader Rod Donald said. “This initiative is long overdue recognition of the fact that industrial hemp is not a drug. It is a potentially lucrative crop that should be treated alongside other arable farming revenue streams.” Mulqueen: Waimate needs Weed Take a small South Island town with a struggling economy and a lack of prospects for youth and you have a district which could benefit from legalising cannabis. Waimate District Councillor Sandra Mulqueen introduced a proposal to the council’s tenyear plan which would have seen Waimate trial the legalisation of cannabis. Not only did her measure get opposed by the mayor and voted down by council, she also upset locals who had police monitor the launch of her We Desire Change campaign. The venue for the campaign launch even had to be moved following local harassment. Unfortunately, at the same time as one of four local police was busy keeping an eye on the cannabis campaign, a local psychopath went missing and was desperately sought by other cops in the hours before he killed a hitch-hiker and himself in a remote forestry block. The efforts of locals to prevent the town getting a reputation for cannabis were over-shadowed by a reputation for violent offenders. Many offenders are released from Roll- Councillor Sandy Mulqueen courted controversy when she admitted on live radio that she used to drive passenger buses in Auckland while high on cannabis. eston Prison and relocated to Waimate by Corrections. This is a town that drastically needs to turn around its prospects for youth and Cr Mulqueen’s proposal would have done just that, bringing money to the area and creating numerous jobs for residents. “It could help provide the district’s young people with the sense of responsibility they needed to straighten up and fly right,” Mulqueen said. Local farmland could be used to grow cannabis and workers would be employed to tend to the crops and harvest them. They would have to be dried, manicured and stored, before being delivered to retail outlets who would package the buds and sell them to visitors to the area. Other companies could begin developing medical products and edible forms of cannabis for pharmacies. Mulqueen is already one the most successful business people in Waimate, managing the Waimate Knitwear shop. She is also responsible for large signs promoting the turn off to Waimate on State Highway 1. She has now moved to Milton to continue her work and has resigned from council but she says her resignation has nothing to do with the rejection of her cannabis proposal and she will keep fighting for cannabis law reform in Milton. 11 Switched on Gardener not a Gang A two-year police undercover operation against Switched on Gardener resulted in two convictions at a nine-week jury trial. Owner Michael Quinlan and general manager Peter Bennett were found guilty in December of 17 representative charges of supplying equipment capable of being used for the cultivation of cannabis at stores nationwide. The jury found them not guilty of being part of an organised criminal group. 12 Senior Switched on Gardener staff, business manager Ricky Cochrane, distribution manager Andrew Mai and South Island manager Paul Barlow were found not guilty of all charges. The five men faced up to 19 charges each, including two charges of participating in an organised crime group, one of possessing equipment and material used to cultivate cannabis and up to 16 charges each of supplying the equipment and materials used to cultivate cannabis. The organised criminal group charges failed because it requires three or more people to be involved in the criminal enterprise. They were arrested when the undercover phase of police Operation Lime closed on April 27, 2010 with the arrest of 250 people. Quinlan and Bennett are on bail until February, despite Crown opposition. Operation Lime Charges Dismissed A hydroponics shop owner, targeted by undercover officers during a nationwide cannabis operation, is happy charges against him were thrown out of court, but is angry he’s $100,000 out of pocket. Easy Grow hydroponics was charged in 2010 with knowingly selling equipment to cannabis growers as part of the police crackdown, Operation Lime. But in September, all charges against the company were thrown out by a judge who said the crown case lacked vital evidence. Easy Grow owner Keith Millar told NORML he was relieved the case had been dismissed but was unhappy it cost him two years of his life and a ton of cash. “We were pretty confident of being acquitted by the jury, and I was looking forward to taking the stand to give evidence, but a series of mistakes by police led to a mistrial.” Millar said. “It is a relief to have it over and done with, but it cost me $100,000. I had to pay for all our staff’s legal fees.” Millar said his shop does not sell equipment to people who ask about growing cannabis, but he does offer advice on growing tobacco. “Undercovers asked silly questions like ‘how much smoke will I get’,” he said. “When I replied, they thought that I was talking about marijuana, but I was talking about tobacco. “We are breaking the law if we knowingly sell equipment to be used to grow cannabis, and we have had to turn people away from the store if they ask for cannabis growing equipment.” Millar said police also tried to get a conviction based on the fact that Easy Grow advertised in NORML News magazine. “I had been advertising with NORML for over six years without police saying it was wrong,” he said. “Police were alleging that we were trying to attract cannabis growers. “NORML News had a print run of 50,000 and it’s a political magazine rather than a grow guide.” Millar’s lawyer argued that NORML News was available in Whitcoulls and other mainstream magazine retailers, and therefore not illegal. A ruling by the Chief Censor in 2010 also stated that NORML News was legal but had an R18 age restriction on some issues. NORML welcomed the outcome of the case but feel justice should not be so expensive. 13 Billy McKee found guilty by Jury BY METIRIA TUREI Sick and injured New Zealanders deserve respect and dignity, but the prohibition laws on cannabis persecute and punish. The Green Party highlighted this before, put legislation up to fix the system and to make it possible for people to use cannabis as a medicine. Thousands of New Zealanders agree with a compassionate law, but not yet the politicians. But the issue is urgent because people are being convicted for medicinal use. The most recent high profile case is that of Billy Mckee. Billy should never have been arrested let alone convicted. There is a growing campaign to support him. Billy McKee was convicted by a jury on five charges and sentenced to 12 months Home Detention. Billy McKee, who 14 hosts the GreenCross NZ medical cannabis users website, was arrested in 2010 on charges relating to his medical cannabis use. Billy campaigns for legalisation of cannabis, and considers that it is one of the best medications to deal with chronic pain. Billy lost a leg below the knee when a drunk driver deliberately rammed his motorbike over 30 years ago. The incident resulted in him being confined to a wheelchair and in constant pain from nerve damage to the stump as well as suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. The pain medications he was prescribed by doctors caused intolerable side effects where even driving was considered unsafe. He found that the only thing that controlled his pain, depression, irritability and other symptoms, while still allowing him to function, was cannabis. This led him to study the medical benefits of cannabis, become a counsellor and form GreenCross, an organisation devoted to helping sick people obtain relief through the medicinal use of cannabis. McKee potentially faced jail time for running GreenCross and helping sick patients obtain their medicine. He was entrapped by an undercover police officer posing as someone suffering from severe migraines. McKee said that migraines can indicate the early stages of brain tumors and many people have found that cannabis relieves the symptoms of migraines and allows them to function normally. McKee accepted the young man as being a genuine sufferer. The undercover cop appealed to his compassion in asking Billy to supply him with cannabis. Billy said, â€œI was really worried about him.â€? No Cannabis Conviction for Vernon Ann Vernon has chronic intractable pain and had been charged with cannabis cultivation after police found cannabis at her house. In November she was discharged without conviction when she appeared in the Waihi District Court. The charge of cultivation was not proven, so the charge was amended to permitting premises to be used for cultivation and when the judge heard mitigating medical evidence from her doctor, she was discharged without a conviction. Ann has been suffer- ing chronic pain for many years after being trampled by horses when she was quite young. “I received back injuries. Then later on I had an unrelated surgery and severe emotional trauma which caused PTSD. “I have pain pretty much throughout my whole body. Two and a half years ago, a medical specialist suggested she try cannabis to help relieve her pain. Speaker sends petition to committee A medical marijuana petition which was tabled in Parliament on November 27 has been sent to a select committee for further consideration by MPs At the start of question time speaker Lockwood Smith said “a petition has been delivered to the Clerk for presentation”. The Clerk of the house addressed all MPs to draw their attention the petition “The petition of William Joseph Rea requesting that the house give urgent attention to the Law Commission’s recommen- dations regarding medical cannabis use and know that 2765 people have signed a petition supporting this request,” she said. The announcement was followed with a determination from the speaker: “that petition stands referred to a select committee allocated by the Clerk.” This means that MPs will once again have to consider the Law Commission’s recommendation of clinical trials for cannabis. 15 Cannabinoid stops spread of cancer Dr Desprez (left) and Dr Sean McAllister say their early trial results are very promising A compound found in cannabis could halt the spread of many forms of aggressive cancer, scientists say. Researchers found that the compound, called cannabidiol, had the ability to ‘switch off’ the gene responsible for metastasis in an aggressive form of breast cancer. Importantly, this substance does not produce the psychoactive properties of the cannabis plant. The team from the California Pacific Medical Center, in San Francisco, first spotted its potential five years ago, after it stopped the proliferation of human breast cancer cells in the lab. Last year they published a study that found a similar effect in mice. Now they say they are on the verge of publishing further animal study results that 16 expand these results further. Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle, study co-leader Dr Sean McAllister, said: ‘The preclinical trial data is very strong, and there’s no toxicity. There’s really a lot of research to move ahead with and to get people excited.’ While he, along with colleague Dr Pierre Desprez acknowledge that they are some way off from turning their finding into a pill, they are already developing human trial models. They hope to eventually test the drug in combination with current chemotherapies. Professor Desprez had previously found that a protein called ID-1 seemed to play a role in causing breast cancer to spread. Meanwhile Dr McAllister had discovered the cannabidiol had anti-cancer po- tential. The pair teamed up to see if they could treat a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer called ‘triple negative.’ This form, which affects 15 per cent of patients, doesn’t have three hormone receptors that the most successful therapies target. Cells from this cancer have high levels of ID-1. When they exposed cells from this cancer to cannabidiol they were shocked to find the cells not only stopped acting ‘crazy’ but also returned to a healthy normal state. They discovered that the compound had turned off the overexpression of ID-1, stopping them from travelling to distant tissues. - UK Daily Mail Endocannabinoid fights off autism Retrograde signalling is performed by the endocannabinoid 2-AG at the neuronal synapse. Naturally occuring cannabis-like chemicals in the brain may help combat the leading genetic cause of autism, research has shown. Scientists linked blockages in a signalling pathway dependent on the compounds, called 2-AG endocannabinoid transmitters, with symptoms of Fragile X syndrome. Correcting the fault with drugs led to dramatic behavioural improvements in mice with a version of the condition. Fragile X syndrome is the most common known genetic cause of autism. It results from a mutation in the FMR1 gene on the female X chromosome. Men possess one copy of the chromosome, paired with a male Y chromosome, and women two. Boys are much more likely to be born with Fragile X than girls. This is thought to be because with two X chromosomes, a defect in one may be compensated for by the other. People with the syndrome suffer mental impairment, learning difficulties, and may be hyperactive or impulsive. They also possess notable physical characteristics such as an elongated face, flat feet and large ears. The scientists, writing in the journal Nature Communications, stress that while their discovery may help people with Fragile X syndrome it will not provide a cure. “What we hope is to one day increase the ability of people with Fragile X syndrome to socialise and engage in normal cognitive functions,” said lead researcher Professor Daniele Piomelli, from the University of California at Irvine in the United States. The study was the first to identify the role of endocannabinoids in the neurobiology of Fragile X, she said. Endocannabinoid compounds are created naturally in the body and share a similar chemical structure with THC, the primary psychoactive component of the marijuana plant. Endocannabinoids are distinctive because they link with protein molecule receptors -- called cannabinoid receptors -- on the surface of cells. For instance, when a person smokes marijuana, the cannabinoid THC activates these receptors. And because the body’s natural cannabinoids control a variety of factors -- such as pain, mood and appetite -- they’re attractive targets for drug discovery and development. Piomelli is one of the world’s leading endocannabinoid researchers. His groundbreaking work is showing that this system can be exploited by new treatments to combat anxiety, pain, depression and obesity. - www.nature.com 17 Liberty party backs cannabis reform A new political party based on personal liberty is making cannabis legalisation a core policy. Members of the Libertarianz, ACT, True Liberals and ALCP met in Auckland in October to discuss forming a new right-wing party committeed to cannabis law reform. The party will aim to fill the void left by former ACT leader Don Brash and attract ACT members disgruntled with John Banksâ€™ opposition to cannabis law reform. Dakta Green was a guest speaker at the conference and he gave an 18 impassioned speech about the double standard between alcohol and cannabis laws. He told the story of his imprisonment for 23 months following his politically motivated prosecution by the Solicitor General in 2010. Former broadcaster Lindsay Perigo also spoke at the conference about using the internet to develop a free-market. He said the internet had given rise to the greatest example of personal liberty and tax-free transactions in modern times. Auckland City Coucil- lor Dick Quax spoke about council debt problems. The Liberty Party plans to stand candidates in the 2014 election and could offer National an alternative coalition partner if elected to parliament. To gain political experience the Liberty Party will also launch a nationwide local government party to contest local body elections in 2013. As well as supporting the right to grow, buy, sell and advertise cannabis, the liberty party wants to focus on tax reductions, balanced budgets and less regulation. Dakta Green faces 14 years in jail Just days after being released from a year in prison Dakta Green was again arrested and now faces the prospect of up to 14 more years in prison. Police swooped on the Daktory in June, seizing cannabis, $3000 cash and a ‘’large assortment’’ of drug paraphernalia at the New Lynn property. Police arrested two men and a woman who were charged with drugrelated offences including possession of cannabis, possession for supply and possession of a class B controlled drug for supply. Charges were also laid for allowing the Delta Ave premises to be used for offending against the Misuse of Drugs Act and possession of drug related utensils. A police spokesman said The Daktory was raided again around 8.20pm on June 22 after police witnessed a car leaving the clubrooms. One of the car’s two occupants told police he had bought and smoked cannabis at the premises, prompting police to search the Daktory. The bust was the fourth on The Daktory in three months. Since Dakta Green’s arrest in June he has had 14 visits from the police at the Daktory, doing “bail checks” that Dakta considers harassment. Police have made it clear that they want the Daktory to stay closed and Dakta Green to leave town. “The Daktory still gets visitors from out of town and out of the country and it is sad to have to turn them away.” Dakta Green said. “To purchase cannabis, see your local gang. They are still in business and not bothered by the police.” While the Daktory cannot continue in its present location, the concept behind it is not going to die. Plans are being made to re-establish the Daktory in a new location with a new format. Green said New Zealand remains stuck in the dark ages of prohibition. “The government steadfastly ignores any attempt to even discuss an alternative to the current regime but inevitably prohibition will fall like the Berlin wall,” Dakta Green said. “A corrupt and broken system won’t last forever.” 19 Obituaries: Buzz Davis was a kind, helpful man Golden Bay activist Victoria Davis paid tribute to her husband of 36 years, Buzz, who died in September following a heart attack. “I’m so so grateful that he lived through all of his hardships and I got to have him for this long. I feel so lucky to have had such a wonderful soulmate. It’s made my life very rich, and I will miss him immensely. “He was a lovely man, he was very kind, generous and helpful. “Even though he was disabled he helped me as much as he could. People would always come up to me and say what a positive attitude Buzz had.” Mrs Davis was discharged without conviction after being caught growing 62 cannabis plants which she said helped Mr Davis relieve terrible phantom limb pain She said the police investigation and court appearance had been very stressful but Buzz was relived at the outcome. Former President was gentle activist Former NORML president and Director of Auckland GreenCross Stephen McIntyre died suddenly in July Stephen apparently took his own life while on bail awaiting trial for alleged 20 involvemnt in the supply of medical cannabis. His wife Reiko Yanai said McIntyre was initially upbeat about fighting the charges but his mood changed after police offi- cers turned up at the family home to check on bail conditions, eight days before his death. Yanai claimed McIntyre, who was teaching guitar lessons at the time of the police visit, was threatened by the officers. She said the officers told her husband they could smell cannabis. Police also asked McIntyre how he was going to plead and told him he could face further charges. “His security and privacy was unjustifiably violated. He felt scared and intimidated.” Celebrities are Breaking the Taboo Celebrities and former world leaders are “Breaking the Taboo“ by calling for an end to the war on cannabis and other drugs, a new documentary reveals. Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Virgin founder Richard Branson and actors Morgan Freeman and Kate Winslet are among those speaking out on the issue. The Breaking the Taboo documentary was made by Richard Branson’s son Sam Branson and was released in December to international acclaim. The documentary follows the high powered Global Commission on Drug Policy as it tries to correct the failures of the War on Drugs. It makes the case that escalating violence by drug cartels in Central America was caused by a military style approach to the Drug War. “If all you do is try to find a police or military solution to the problem, a lot of people die and it doesn’t solve the problem,” Bill Clinton said. Policies which were pushed by the US and the UN have had devastating impacts on countries like Mexico where the cartels are arming themselves to combat the military. In New Zealand the same Drug War has fuel led massive black-market profits for gangs. A new website has been set-up to encourage New Zealanders to start a national conversation about cannabis. The website features exclusive video content which the site plans to play on TV once fundraising goals have been reached. “The debate in this country has always been very polarized, and it can get pretty extreme on both sides,” the group said. “Some would have you believe that cannabis is an evil drug, destroying the minds of our society’s youth. “Others contend that it’s a miracle plant, sent down from the heavens to solve all of earth’s problems.” All New Zealanders, regardless of whether they support legalisation, are encouraged to contribute their views about cannabis online Conversation has a dedicated Youtube channel, facebook page and twitter account. The site encourages users to post video responses on its Youtube and comment on social media. Visit the website at: www.conversation.org.nz Starting the Cannabis Conversation 21 Thousands march in The Netherland Amsterdam, for decades renowned as the European haven for cannabis smokers, was cracking down big time this year. The Netherlands decriminalised possession of less than five grams of cannabis back in 1976. But plans for a weedpass would have meant casual tourists would no longer be able to buy joints in the city’s famed coffee shops. It will come as a shock to many that, in these supposedly “enlightened” times, a Western nation should get tougher on cannabis. But in reality, this has been coming for years. As visitors have 22 known for a long time, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is the one place in the country you would not want to be caught with even a small amount. In 2006 alone, as part of the Dutch zero tolerance policy on airline passengers carrying drugs, there were nearly 21,000 prosecutions. Three years earlier than that, then-Justice Minster Piet Hein Donner revealed government plans to stop coffee shops from selling soft drugs to nonDutch residents. Then 18 months ago the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Dutch government were legally able to do this. In October strong cannabis was reclassified as a hard drug, amid concerns about its potentially psychotic effects. The move forced cannabis coffee shops to remove the more popular, stronger varieties from their shelves. Amsterdam has been the last bastion of drug availability within Holland, and the city’s businesses especially in the hotel and food sector - know that income will be badly affected. It’s believed that up to one-third of visitors to Amsterdam come because of cannabis. The coffee shop owners themselves estimated ds against introduction of Weed-Pass the proposed rules would cost them up to 90% of their business. In May last year, the Dutch government announced that tourists would be banned from Dutch coffee shops, starting in the southern provinces. Justifying this in a letter to parliament, the country’s health and justice ministers said it was: “In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug-trafficking.” The city had to give in, and make plans to issue ‘weed passes’ to residents over the age of 18. Under government rules, coffee shops were to become members-only clubs, with each club only being allowed 2,000 members. There has been widespread opposition to the new laws from among the cannabis community. Marc Josemans, who runs a coffee shop in Maastricht, told the BBC the new law - designed to cut crime - will actually be counterproductive. He said: “People come here because they know they can buy cannabis. After the ban they will still come but when they find they’re not allowed inside then they will go outside and the dangerous criminal drug dealers will be waiting for them with open arms.” Mr Josemans says his cafe, along with many others, will boycott the new law. Even Amsterdam’s mayor, Eberhard van der Laan, is opposed to the proposal. Thankfully a change in government in Holland has seen the weed-pass plans abandoned Protesters were successful in challenging this proposal and now have turned their attention to challenging the rules surrounding cannabis that is more than 15% THC. Unless they can reverse the proposals for banning skunk cannabis, Amsterdam still risks losing tourists to other weed friendly destinations. 23 Worldwide Cannabis News AUSTRALIA: The Western Australian government’s new $400,000 anti-cannabis campaign is urging drug users to “grab a hammer and smash their bong to pieces.” One of the government’s print advertisements reads: “By getting rid of your bong, you will be less likely to be tempted to use - out of sight, out of mind.” Other suggestions include going for a run or cooking a meal to fight the urge to smoke. The West Australian reports that the state has the second-highest cannabis use in the nation, behind the Northern Territory. The adverts are part of the “Cannabis Messes With Your Mind” campaign, in response to statistics showing 13.4 per cent of people were cannabis smokers. 24 Surveys have given mixed messages about Australians’ attitude to drugs. More than half of Australians support reduced legal penalties for use of drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy, according to a federal government survey. But a Herald/Nielsen poll published the previous day showed two-thirds of people opposed decriminalisation. Alison Ritter, who heads a drug policy modelling program at the national drug and alcohol research centre at the University of NSW, said the results were influenced by the way questions were asked. The Herald/Nielsen poll had simply asked: ‘’Do you support or oppose decriminalising drug use?’’ Cannabis still tops the charts as the most-seized drug in Australia, with 72 per cent of drug seizures by number. The Australian Crime Commission says there were nearly 70,000 seizures in the 2010-11 financial year, the biggest number in a decade. Cannabis accounted for nearly 70 per cent of arrests. Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare says the re- port’s findings do not mean drug use is on the rise. “When you dig into the data, you find that the price of drugs and the number of users has remained stable,” he said. “[That] indicates that you’re not seeing an increase in the total number of imports; what you’re seeing is an increase in the number of seizures.” UNITED KINGDOM: A juror who smoked cannabis during a break in a rape trial has been fined. Shezad Hussain, 26, was outside Bolton Crown Court when he was seen smoking a joint by a juror on another case, who reported him to police. The juror collected the discarded stub as evidence. The trial was halted and Hussain was discharged from the jury and fined $942 for contempt of court. His lawyer said “There’s no suggestion that his demeanour was such that he was not able to comprehend what was being said. “He accepts that he was smoking cannabis whilst carrying out a very serious duty, whilst so proximate to the court that it could disturb and upset other jurors, witnesses, defendants and general members of the public.” The judge told him: “I could not take the risk that somebody considering the evidence and in due course the verdict would be adversely affected by cannabis. “You have embarrassed yourself and brought shame on yourself.“ A university lecturer believes hemp fibre could replace carbon fibre in automobile bodywork. James Meredith and colleagues at Warwick University reported that hemp composite material performed as well as expensive carbon fibre composites in impact tests. His research backed up the work of Canadian company Motive Industries Inc, which has created a prototype car built from hemp composites. The car is called the Kestrel, and designers are looking for manufacturers to get the vehicle into production. A Devon man with a history of drug offences was given a lecture - but spared a prison term - after being caught with canabis. Shannon Trott, 32, pleaded guilty of possession and was given a suspended sentence and a $1,000 fine. Archibald Warner, senior magistrate, told him: “The core issue for you is mentally you refuse to accept that marijuana is dangerous for you. “It’s the root that led you to other drugs and it’s illegal for a good reason — you’re telling me that marijuana makes you feel good?” Trott replied: “I’m just being honest.” Mr Warner told him he was sparing him a jail term to give him “another chance for you to get your thinking right.” The national Daily Mail newspaper reports that some air passengers entering Britain with cannabis had been let off with a warning. The government imposes a jail term of up to 14 years for anyone caught with the illegal Class B drug in their luggage. But the newspaper reported that in some cases, inspectors at Gatwick airport had given an oral warning, confiscated the drug and allowed the passengers to continue their journey. The newspaper said this had happened in four cases over two months, in April and May last year. The paper wrote: “The revelations have prompted fears that cannabis laws are being widely ignored across Britain’s airports, leading to a virtual ‘open door’ situation for drug smugglers who know they have every chance of escaping any punishment even if caught.” IRELAND: A man who was promised 5,000 Euros ($8,400) for storing cannabis worth over $2 million has been jailed for 13 years. Jason Keogh, 45, was described as “an intelligent man” by the judge. Keogh admitted possession of 100kg of cannabis with intent to supply. Judge Michael O’Shea said Keogh was a good man who “took a gamble, took a risk, and the gamble did not come off.” 25 United States of Cannabiz US Newswire: A boater off the coast of California alerted harbour patrol to what turned out to be nearly $5 million of marijuana floating in the sea. Authorities off the coast of Dana Point, south of Los Angeles, fished out almost 3.6 tonnes of the drug, in some 160 bales. The bales were seen bobbing about 15 miles from the shore. One investigator said: “Generally in these cases we’re aware they’re being dumped. What’s more unusual is that the bales were floating with no boat in sight.” A Supreme Court justice from New York has told how medical marijuana helped him with his Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer. Gustin L. Reichenbach told the New York Times that smoking marijuana was “the only medicine that gives me some re26 lief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep. “Rather than watch the agony of my suffering, friends have chosen, at some personal risk, to provide the substance. I find a few puffs of marijuana before dinner gives me ammunition in the battle to eat. A few more puffs at bedtime permits desperately needed sleep. “This is not a law-andorder issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue.” The New Jersey Assembly is to vote on a bill to decriminalise possession of small amounts of cannabis. But those who are caught with up to half an ounce would still be in trouble. Possession would be made a civil offence, with fines of between $100 and $500. Governor Christie has proposed mandatory treatment rather than jail for nonviolent drug offenders. A clinical study at the University of California shows cannabis may be an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis. The study of 30 adult patients showed it lessened spasticity - a common and disabling symptom of the disease. Professor Jody Corey-Bloom, said: “We found that smoked cannabis was superior to placebo in reducing symptoms and pain in patients with treatment-resistant spasticity, or excessive muscle contractions.” The current study is the fifth clinical test of the possible efficacy of cannabis for clinical use reported by the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR). Four other human studies on control of neuropathic pain also reported positive results. San Francisco Delivering BY ANDY MORRIS “Hello, welcome to Medithrive, this is Judy.” “Hey Judy, I’d like to order some cannabis products please. Do you have any deals on right now?” “We sure do. Four grams for the price of 3.5, and we pay your 8.5% sales tax. And there’s a complimentary joint with every delivery.” “Delivery?!” “Yes, we deliver free and you can pay by cash at the door or by card over the phone.” Welcome to San Francisco. The year is 2012, the sun is shining over the Golden Gate Bridge, the surf is up at Ocean Beach...and cannabis is free delivery. This is a state so health-conscious that dentists must display warnings that chemicals within the amalgam have been known to cause cancer. Same for soft drinks like Sprite. Marijuana is legal for medicinal use. Which in practice means if you have a slight cold and $50 in your wallet, you can walk into any “approved and licensed doctor” and be issued with a medical cannabis card. My partner went in, ready to tell the full story of all her aches and pains and her psychological conditions. The doctor interrupted her after five minutes and said: “Here is your medical cannabis card, please sign it.” This was (I am deadly serious) a Dr Toke. Dr Anitha B. Toke, to be exact, but you have to believe he was born for the job. Once you have your medical marijuana card, you can go to any of the many dispensaries in the city and buy any cannabis products you like. Medithrive is a business that is showing the way forward. When the city government ordered that all dispensaries within a mile of a school be shut down last year, most closed for good. Medithrive went “on the road”, and quickly became known as the best cannabis delivery service in the city. Their menu is categorised by flowers, pre rolls, concentrates, edibles, seeds and clones. No more trial-and-error when it comes to finding the right strength for your needs. You will find the Northern Lights X Bubba Kush listed as “strength: 3, type: I, Flavor: Sw, Density: C”. So you really do know what you are getting - and there are six reviews giving it an average of four stars out of five. If smoking is not your thing, there are many who would recommend edibles like the $7 chocolate chip cookie or peanut brownie, each made with “a sativa dominant canna-butter.” I would make room for a tub of canna-butter in my fridge. 27 Colorado & Washington Legalise Hundreds of marijuana enthusiasts huddled near Seattle ‘s famed Space Needle tower at Midnight on December 7 with pipes, bongs and hand-rolled joints to celebrate Washington ‘s new status as the first state in the US to legalise pot for adult recreational use. The new law, passed by voters on election day, could set the state up for a showdown with the federal government. Initiative 502 removes criminal sanctions for anyone 21 or older possessing 1 ounce (28.5 grams) or less of pot for personal use. Colorado voters likewise chose to legalize pot for personal recreational use, but that measure is not due to take effect until 2013. Both states are among 18 that have already allowed for medical use of marijuana. The Washington law also legalizes possession of up to 16 ounces (0.45 kg) of solid cannabis-infused goods - such as brownies - and up to 72 ounces (2.4 kg) of weed in liquid form. But driving under the influence of cannabis or imbibing in public places, where the consumption of 28 alcohol is already banned, remain illegal. The new law ultimately will permit cannabis to be legally sold and taxed at state-licensed stores in a system to be modeled after those in many states for alcohol sales. The state Liquor Control Board, along with agriculture and public health officials, have until December 2013 to set up such a system. For now, it remains a crime to sell, cultivate or even share one’s own stash, even though the law allows individuals to purchase a limited amount for personal possession. Ironically, the first known court challenge of the law came from a medical marijuana patient in Olympia, who filed suit last week seeking to block enforcement of a new standard for marijuana impairment while driving, similar to the blood-alcohol standard for drunken driving. The plaintiff, Arthur West, says the new legal limit, 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood of THC, would unfairly subject him to prosecution for a THC level at which he routinely drives without impairment. Little if any of the law’s finer points seemed to matter to the mellow group of about 300 people - from college-age tokers to middle-aged Baby Boomers - who assembled at the Seattle Center fountain, a short distance from the Space Needle. Convivial laughter, laid-back conversation and occasional coughing filled the air as the pungent smell of marijuana wafted through the crowd, many wearing sweatshirt hoodies to ward off the chill, on a cold, crisp evening. Carrying a sign, “marijuana is safer than alcohol,” Jared Allaway, 30, described the night as “iconic.” “Seattle’s always been friendly to cannabis,” Allaway said. “Hopefully this will spread to eastern Washington. You get outside of Seattle, it’s a different world.” Seated in a wheelchair that sported a “Goddess” sticker, medical marijuana patient Penny Simons, 52, said she traveled with friends from Renton, Washington, south of Seattle, to attend the smoke-in. “It’s history,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about the people across the country who are jailed for this. It’s nice to see things change.” - ABC news Lebanese Fighting War on Cannabis On Guard: Marijuana growers in Lebanon protecting their crops from government forces. Marijuana farmers in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley wielded weapons much stronger than pitchforks when government security forces threatened to destroy their crops in July. The government sent tractors and armored vehicles to flatten the illegal cannabis crops but farmers retaliated with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortars, ultimately forcing security forces to back down. There was an exchange of fire but no casualties were reported, although two security vehi- cles were bombarded with bullets. The Lebanese government has often tried to wipe out cannabis farms, but the farmers, many of whom rely on the lucrative crop to support their impoverished communities, are known to respond with aggressive defense tactics, most likely backed by wellfunded drug traffickers. During Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, Bekaa Valley produced up to 1,000 tons of cannabis and 50 tons of opium annually, but it was eradicated under a UN program in 1993. Since that effort, the valley has re-emerged but the government are regrouping and organising a new plan to take down the crop. Farmers say they are fed up with the area’s deprivation and the failure of various governments to develop the region. A member of one of the area’s cannabis growing clans, believes poverty forces residents to depend on cannabis. Ten dunums of cannabis can earn $20,000 a year, paying tuition for children and living costs. 29 Join the New Norml Forum Today Due to popular demand the Norml forums are back online and ready for you to use. To access the forums go to www.norml.org.nz and click on Join the Discussion. Then you will be able to browse a range of topics from activism to cannabis culture. To start posting simply click on register and supply a username, email and password. Once your account is set-up you can start posting. The Norml forum has only just been re-started recently so we need as many posts as we can get to restore the forum to its former glory. 30 Norml on Social Media From NORMLâ€™s website www.norml.org.nz you can link to a range of social media and connect with our campaign Like our facebook page to get regular updates from: www.facebook.com/ normlnz You can also keep up-to-date with NORML by following us on Twitter. Find our profile at: www. twitter.com/normlnz Send us a tweet or a message about your views on the cannabis laws and make a suggestion on how to end cannabis prohibition in New Zealand. No Comment is best defence in bust Despite the criminal prohibition of cannabis remaining in force, the ability to avoid cannabis charges from police and convictions from judges appears to have increased Police now have an official cautioning scheme available for low level offenders including those in possession of personal amounts of cannabis. This involves police exercising discretion and issuing what is called a ‘pre-charge warning‘ in cases where the offender is not known to police and shows remorse. So if you encounter the police try to be polite in the first instance and see if they will let you off. If the police do choose to arrest you, the best option is to physically cooperate but remain silent. If the police do try to elicit a statement from you, politely respond that you would prefer not to make a statement until you have had the opportunity to speak to a lawyer. By not making a statement you retain the maximum amount of freedom to clarify the details of the situation in front of a judge, without being influ- enced by police suggestion and intimidation. For the justice system to deal with the sheer volume of cannabis cases put before it, the police rely on defendants self-incriminating, pleading guilty and not requesting full disclosure of evidence. By avoiding these three pitfalls, you can maximise your chances of a more favourable outcome in court. Self-incriminating can be easily avoided by remaining silent at the time of arrest. Avoid pleading guilty until you have had every opportunity to discuss alternatives with your lawyer. This may require entering no plea at your first appearances in order to give yourself time to have proper legal consultation, but this cannot be held against you later in the case. The first step in making sure that you are receiving robust legal advice is to see that your lawyer requests ‘full disclosure‘. This allows you to see every piece of evidence and documentation that the police plan to use to make their case. If all the documentation is not included or appropriately filled out, or if the police evidence leaves room for a reasonable doubt that the offences alleged were actually committed by the person charged, then the case is likely to be dismissed or result in acquittal. For example, if a cannabis plant is found being cultivated in the common area of a shared accommodation and no one makes a statement to police as to who the cannabis belongs to, then it is impossible, without additional evidence, for the police to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the cannabis was cultivated by any particular resident. In this type of situation pleading not guilty and defending the charge would be worthwhile. Another avenue for leniency is discharge without conviction. If the consequences of the punishment would be out of proportion to the seriousness of the offending, a judge may discharge the defendant without conviction, and this is becoming more and more common in medical cannabis prosecutions. If you are a medical user and you have a doctor’s note, you may get off. 31 Listen Live: www.r1.co.nz Archive: www.otagonorml.com