ISMOKEHERB.CO.UK | ISMOKE MAGAZINE - THE NEW VOICE FOR CANNABIS USERS NATIONWIDE
EDITORIAL | NUFF SAID
Welcome to the all-important first issue of ISMOKE Magazine, the new voice for stoners nationwide. And by stoners, I am referring to people from all walks of life, from business men to window cleaners, whatever industry you imagine you can bet that there are some people working in it who like nothing better than to light up a fatty after a hard day at work. But Cannabis is a plant which gets a hard time in the media. Believe it or not, the majority of people either no little about or deeply dislike this benevolent plant. And so this magazine is my attempt at raising awareness about cannabis with thoughtful and original articles, so that people can see this beautiful plant as I see it. In almost every country across the world weed/cannabis/marijuana is enjoyed by millions of people, whether part of their culture or for recreational fun. Not to mention the wide range of uses, helping
Editor Nuff Said Contributors Nuff Said Jason Reed Peter Reynolds Alun Buffry Cure Ukay David Morris Tina Silva Levi Blank
illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis and Depression among many others. What you see and hear about it in most of the media is usually full to the brim with propaganda, misinformation and ignorance, although thankfully recently people seem to be a bit more switched on to the benefits of cannabis. I will leave you with this thought: Cannabis has been around for a very, very long time. Ancient people drank SOMA, a drink containing poppies and cannabis. The Indian culture has used Cannabis for thousands of years, going back to the first recorded use of cannabis - a few thousand years ago. So next time somebody tries to argue that alcohol can be accepted because it has been around for a long time, you can answer that cannabis has been used far longer, and therefore how can you justify its illegality in a modern, supposedly forwardthinking society? Nuff Said.
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In This Issue
PAGE 03 | EDITORIAL By Nuff Said
PAGE 06-09 | CANNABIS IN THE NEWS: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly PAGE 12-15 | PROPOSITION 19 & THE WILD WEST By Jason Reed PAGE 18-22 | AN INTERVIEW WITH PETER REYNOLDS PAGE 24-33 | CANNABIS IN CARTOONS By Nuff Said PAGE 36-39 | THE POLITICS OF CANNABIS BY PETER REYNOLDS PAGE 40-41 | A WORD FROM THE LCA By Alun Buffry
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PAGE 42-43 | ISMOKE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU PAGE 44-45 | STATESIDE: WHY ARE WE BEHIND OUR AMERICAN COUSINS? By Nuff Said PAGE 48-49 | WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING WITH? PAGE 52-54 | “UK DRUG POLICY IS A CONTRADICTORARY MESS, STUCK IN THE 1970S” By David Morris PAGE 56-63 | WILL SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN? THE PROBLEMS CAUSED BY PROHIBITION By Cure Ukay PAGE 64-65 | MY STORY: HOW I WAS TREATED AS A SELF-MEDICATING CANNABIS USER By Tina Silva
(IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING) ISMOKE | 05
CANNABIS IN THE NEWS Each issue we will feature a Cannabis in the News section, split into three parts - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly where we will give a brief summary of how and why cannabis has been in the news, and whether it has been given a fair portrayal. If you have any news-worthy stories for the next issue, please email them to email@example.com.
Wasted Police Money Raiding Home For Gunia Pigs Posted 12th Jan 2011 This article made me chuckle. Police have basically raided a Bradford woman named Pam Hardcastle because her guinea pig pen was giving off heat. The BBC News site states: “Police swooped on a suspected cannabis factory at a house in Bradford - only to find the suspicious heat source was for two guinea pigs... "I went home and there were two policemen who came in the house with me and I've got a big picture of Bob Marley with cannabis growing behind him so I thought: 'Oh my God, don't turn round'."” Although Mrs Hardcastle did not criticise the police for their efforts, this story highlights the stupidity of spending taxpayer’s money on raiding properties for cannabis without certainty that plants are even there in the first place. Breakingnews.ie sums up the story excellently: However, after entering the garage, they realised it was simply a heater for the small furry pets. Pam said: "When I opened it up and they saw the guinea pigs, they didn't say anything. They were in the garage two seconds and they left." The police have since apologised for the "distress" caused by the raid. Sources: http://bbc.in/fXzYpf http://bit.ly/ereXRe ISMOKE | 07
CANNABIS IN THE NEWS the bad: The CHW has called on UK health regulators to follow the US by working with such groups to prevent drug misuse.
Dr Hans-Christian Raabe Appointed to the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) Posted 23rd Jan 2011 by The Guardian This article from the Guardian is listed in the “Bad” News section, not because of the source, but because of its content. Dr Raabe, a Manchester GP and part of the Maranatha Community (a Christian movement) has been appointed to the ACMD.
“Studies have shown that religious commitment, religious involvement or being part of a religious community significantly reduces the risk of alcohol, nicotine and drug misuse, and reduces the risk of depression and suicide,” the Council for Health and Wholeness said. Raabe rejected concerns that his faith would influence his advice, saying society was in danger of believing “that if you are a Christian you are not fit for public office or you are biased or a bigot”. If this picture is anything to go by there are tough times ahead for the cannabis community: http://bit.ly/gm0Qb0 Source: http://bit.ly/eQH5DI
Dr Raabe is currently under fire, according to the article for his views on homosexuality, and also co-signed a letter to a national newspaper back in 2004, warning the government not to re-classify cannabis as a class C drug. He wants to take a harder approach towards drugs, and disagrees with Nutt’s suggestions for a more rational riskbased classification system. This is not the sort of person we need on a committee already less worried about science and fact than what they think is right, and the same committee that sacked David Nutt October 2009 just for pointing out that LSD and ecstacy were less dangerous than alcohol. (Read David’s Blog here: http://bit.ly/ebKQ2x)
The article states: The claims run counter to those of Professor Nutt, who has said that smoking cannabis creates only a “relatively small risk” of psychotic illness. “The appointment of Dr Raabe confirms in my mind that the ACMD cannot be considered to be a body that has science at the heart of its decision-making,.” Raabe’s appointment will raise concerns about the role of religious groups in influencing policy and the direction of the committee under the coalition. ISMOKE | 08
Prof. David Nutt
CANNABIS IN THE NEWS the ugly: Daily Mail Rubbish: Cannabis Blamed for Arizona Shootings POSTED 17th January 2011 by The Daily Mail Being desensatised to all the negative portrayals of cannabis I hear in the media, rare is the time when I get this outraged over a news story.
The title of the article says it all: “The crazed smile that says: It’s the little packets of madness that we really need to fear.” In short, the article blames, of all things, cannabis for the shootings committed by Jared Loughners who happened to smoke it. It then goes on to compare cannabis to guns and violence, actually deeming them a bigger problem for society.
fectively legal in Britain and in several parts of the USA, where this dangerous and unpredictable poison is ironically permitted for ‘medical use’.” Not only is this article filled with lies, its writer has not even bothered to do their research.
When was the last time that you heard cannabis referred to as “dangerous and unpredictable”. This is utter nonsense, based on no scientific fact. This is the hate-filled lies of one person, that sadly will be lapped up by naive Joe Public. We have to stop things like this reaching the masses, and education is the best way forward. This writer has obviously never encountered marijuana, as they are sprouting the same old nonsense made famous by Harry J. Anslinger in the days of “Reefer Madness” between the 1930s-1960s. Source: http://bit.ly/gonf3H
Below is an extract from the article, filled to the brim with lies, deceitfulness and propaganda, you can read the full load of rubbish if you have any desire to here: http://bit.ly/f1RTmW “Loughner has been, for much of his short life, a habitual smoker of this so-called ‘soft’ organic drug. This is not in doubt. ... the accounts of several friends confirm that Loughner is a marijuana victim. Yes, I know. Not all cannabis-smokers lose their minds. And not all cigarette-smokers get cancer. But in both cases the risk is enough to cause concern. When police caught him driving a car that stank of marijuana, Loughner was let off, as he would have been here. So much (as usual) for the nonexistent ‘war against drugs’. Cannabis is now efISMOKE | 09
Proposition 19 & the Wild West Jason Reed
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So, Proposition 19 has been and gone and the road to marijuana regulation was missed by the Californian populace. Some may see this as a loss for harm reduction and regulation, and without wishing to sound like a dribblerly politician who emphatically pronounces victory as he cleans out his desk and pets the office fish one last time before being removed forcibly from office; “I told you I won! Please let me stay, just for one more day?” “No, but here’s your fish. Enjoy.” …this is by no means a step back in the effort for regulation. To understand why, you have to understand the “cannabis fraternity” of America. The situation in the UK and California are leagues apart, we’re humming on the same issues, but we are not whistling the same tunes. The UK is now firmly the proverbial wild west with cannabis in a literal sense, it has become as feral as prohibition America in the 1920's, we have the same degree of gang involvement, (although maybe not as high profile but no less dangerous) and we have the same by-products of the health fallout and distinct lack of health education. Not to mention the crucial point of quality control on the substance itself. In California, and North America in general, marijuana is not the enigma that the UK still loosely tries to portray. The substance is so mainstream that all other arguments in the debate are futile. The stance of “It’s here, it’s prevalent, how are we to deal with it” is now the full debate. This is also true of the UK, but we still chose our best King Canute act.
“BIG FONT QUOTE GOES HERE” Todd McCormick - http://bit.ly/h5HpyF
For decades, California has been the unofficial home of marijuana, and its leap into medicinal cannabis was somewhat abused. Many true medical campaigners, although pleased access was granted to non toxic mediation, felt that the Californian model didn’t do any favours for anyone but the actual state itself. Todd McCormick, (a prolific figure amongst medicinal cannabis campaigners who served 5 years in prison despite defeating numerous different cancers with cannabis) spoke of the mockery of the Californian model recently. The ease and malaise of the prescribing doctors of California may have diminished respect for the true issue of medical use. This is purely the result of a lazy attempt of regulation due to the politics that inevitably run alongside of the subject. It’s also worth noting that indolent regulation has not fully appeased the gang problems of California. ISMOKE | 13
The reason the marijuana proposition was not passed is not due to a left and right issue of political gesticulation, it’s not based on health and related campaigns, it was based purely on who gets control of cannabis and the profits. When the Tea Party and Sarah Palin (perhaps one of the furthest right in the U.S) back the regulation of cannabis, you know this is no longer a battle of politics, this is a battle in capitalistic terms.
Abstainers of the vote included:
Then we have the actual cannabis community; feeling protective over the plant due to the rocky history with politics and big business, saying no to prop 19 was a vote for personal empowerment and to deflect big business away from marijuana. Proposition 19 was also seen as path that would directly effect product quality detrimentally, and consequently, health. The whole debate was indeed turned on its head and fragmented. When viewed from the polls of 46.2% for - 53.8% against, this paints one picture, but when on the ground and embroiled in the issue, the disjointed cannabis community were the breakers of Prop 19 - it was seen as not good enough by a weighty portion of voters. Not to mention a conflict of interest for existing cash croppers.
The student vote who didn’t care one way or another, being de facto legal anyway, they did not see it as any degree of change.
In California, and North America in general, marijuana is not the enigma that the UK still loosely tries to portray.
Cannabis in California and North America tends to be viewed cheekily and many users are blazon in their use, celebrity culture also surrounds cannabis. Marijuana is talked about openly, and therefore, is not feared and perspective has been reached on responsibility of user. Although many would not consider marijuana a problem in North America, the fragmented laws and lack of regulatory consistency may be the point of contention and harm.
Comparing the UK to this, and the distinct lack of understanding due to the cries of “heretic” any time it's up for discussion and debate, the consequences are tragically inventible. We have entered the dark ages, and as said, the UK is now the wild west. Due to the UK’s totalitarian ethic with cannabis, information has been the casualty. What is the specific difference between California and the UK? Well, to know cannabis is to know how to reduce potential harm.
Sarah Palin - http://bit.ly/gfN7Bc ISMOKE | 14
Basic emplacements are needed. In essence, California have a quasi age check system through their less than perfect model, and any user will be aware of simple factors;
saying no to prop 19 was a vote for personal empowerment and to deflect big business away from marijuana.
Dosage What strain (there are thousands) What THC and CBD content Harvesting traits Ingestion methods and potency therein.
If you do not know these factors, then you do not know cannabis; therefore, you should not ingest. I ask, how many in the UK are actually aware of these simple measures? California, to a degree, have always had this baseline knowledge, and certainly have with their current existing system. It is also interesting how we talk of the same subject with our American cousins, but each country has differing media weapons. The UK focuses mainly on the word “psychosis” whereas America’s version is that marijuana kills brain cells, this is mainly due to the Rupert Heath study on monkeys in 1974. [8 minutes in]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
“Jason Reed is from the South East UK. Jason was a mid level front man, guitarist and bassist in a popular Kent and London based band for a decade. Being disabled most of his life, prescription medication had a tumultuous legacy of leaving Jason blind, numb and with paralysis - and with allergies to alcohol and caffeine - his research of cannabis and drug policy began in earnest in 2004. When failing health meant he had to take early retirement from music, Jason began to forge personal new realms in the writing world and blogosphere to raise awareness of prohibition under the pseudonym ‘HomeGrownOutlaw’. You can find and contact him via his blog: http:// www.homegrownoutlaw.blogspot.com/ or see him on his video channel: http://www.youtube.com/HomeGrownOutlaw or follow Jason on twitter @HomeGrwnOutlaw “
The Heath study turned out to be a tragic exercise in trying to make the facts fit the picture as opposed to the actuality of scientific study; the monkeys tested were starved of oxygen to achieve the desired and decisive result. Pseudo-science is transatlantic. So, it is a strange world we live in where social perspectives are awry from all manner of outlooks, California rejected a model of regulation due to it not being good enough while the UK adopt the burying of the head stance. Neither are perfect, but at least the former model of California addresses personal harms of users and abates accordingly - and dare I say it - act as grown ups. Whereas the UK’s method of full and undulated prohibition adds exponentially to the potential harm. One thing is for sure though, when the UK paper The Daily Mail - put out a well reasoned, logical and progressive piece for regulation, you know change is coming. The lessons to be learned from California is to get regulation right and you won’t have to mop up the insidious loose ends of half measures. Perhaps Britain is set to lead the way after all... ISMOKE | 15
Photograph: Levi Blank
An Interview With Peter Reynolds
â€œThe misinformation about how cannabis is much stronger these days completely overlooks the great hash we used to get...â€? ISMOKE | 18
Peter Reynolds is a writer who’s blog does wonders for the cannabis campaign with regular political updates on the misinformation portrayed in mainstream media and by politicians. ISMOKE MAG has had the pleasure of an interview, see below: 1. Please give a bit of background about yourself for our readers, who you are, what you do and how you came to be where you are today. Yes, I want to be straight up front with you about this Nuff, after all the rumour and mudslinging there's been recently. True my hair is short and I'm not wearing any beads but I am through and through, undoubtedly, indubitably, a HIPPY and proud of it! To me, being a hippy means you believe in love, peace and the life enhancing, truth giving, healing properties of God's herb. I fall 100% into that category. As to the more mundane stuff, I'm a writer. I worked in the advertising industry for more than 20 years, eventually becoming a creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi. I then worked as a communications consultant specialising in medicine and technology. I've also worked as a freelance journalist throughout my career. I had a regular column in The Independent for a while and I'm now just starting my third novel. I’ve had two wives, one after the other but now I have two dogs, simultaneously. I find that a much better arrangement. As they say, if you want true love, get a dog. I’m greedy that’s why I have two! I also have two sons, one aged 24 who has just qualified as a lawyer. The other, aged 21, is at university in Bristol studying property development. I live in Dorset, amidst the most glorious countryside, just a mile from the sea, between Weymouth and Dorchester. 2. How long ago did you start smoking cannabis, and when did it become a passion of yours? I first smoked when I was 14. I remember it vividly. My mate John Pooler brought back a quid deal of Pakistani black from school and we skinned up, probably on a Grateful Dead or Bob Dylan LP cover in his bedroom. I remember being violently sick into my coffee mug but it didn’t put me off. Over the next couple of years I learned to appreciate its wonderful, beneficial effects. It was mainly Lebanese hash in those days.
3. What (if anything) caused you to start smoking, and how has it since enhanced your life? I blame it all on John and the other reprobates that I used to hang out with. I was a mere grammar school boy. They were all privileged poseurs from Merchant Taylors public school and they led me astray. We were in a band of course. It was called "Jif ". That's what the local skinheads used to call us hippies. "'Ere, he's an F-ing jif. 'it 'im!". I was a very passionate but not too clever lead guitarist. John was Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead. Steve was Jerry Garcia and Rick was Bob Dylan. My big solo was on "All Along the Watchtower" although we used to bring the house down with "Sympathy for The Devil". Our biggest gig was in front of 600 people at Merchant Taylor's School hall. It all started to go seriously awry when after our "O" levels in the summer of 1974, eight of us got on a boat to Amsterdam. I didn't come back for two years. 4. What is your favourite type of cannabis? Probably the one I've just run out of! I don't know. The truth is it's probably the next one because variety is an essential ingredient of a happy cannabis career. You build tolerance to one type so it's good to ring the changes. Of course, it's virtually all weed nowadays but I do love a good bit of hash. I've always preferred to smoke neat even in those times when I've had a tobacco habit. Good clean hash in a small brass pipe is a delightful method, very discreet and economical too. The misinformation about how cannabis is much stronger these days completely overlooks the great hash we used to get, Nepalese temple balls, hand rubbed charas from Citral. Even when it comes to weed, I remember Thai Sticks that were just as strong as anything you get these days. 5. What is your favourite method of consuming cannabis? I smoke small joints of neat weed now. Perhaps four or five a day. It's only rarely, even on weekends, that I will smoke before late afternoon. I remember in Vondel Park, Amsterdam, we used to smoke these incredible chillums. They could pump smoke down in your lungs like it was compressed air. Everyone had their own paisley or psychedelic patterned chillum scarf. I'm too old for that now!
Continued... ISMOKE | 19
6. What do you think is wrong about British society today? What? Sorry, have I just been transported to a different dimension? Is this some subversive attempt to trick me into talking about mainstream politics? Alright Mr Dimbleby, I'll have a go... It's da yoof innit and dat Jezza Kyle,. I blame him for everyfink including da bad spelling and excessif consumption of cannabis. And Cameron and his poodle. Bring back Maggie I say! Dem was da days when men was men, girls wore shorter skirts an' a quar'er was a tenner. 7. If you could change one thing in British society what would it be? I think reform, the end of prohibition and proper fact and evidence-based regulation of all drugs would transform society. Which might well be why the excellent organisation called Transform chose its name. Quite seriously, I think the effects would be far more wide ranging than you might think, not least that there would be a net benefit to the economy of around ÂŁ10 billion per annum. That just happens to be the same amount that the recent VAT increase will bring in by the way. I think we would have a far healthier, more honest and inclusive society with much less street crime and more tolerant attitudes. More broadly, I think a of lack honesty and integrity amongst politcians and the media is the greatest evil of our age. While I don't endorse everything about WikiLeaks, I think such developments are crucial to a better, fairer society. I think we probably need a written constitution. I think the media should be much more tightly regulated so that the lies and misinformation put about by the Daily Mail et al can be stopped. I'm not just talking about cannabis but about the whole disgusting, prurient celebrity culture. The trivialisation of issues and the distorted priorities infuriate me. I also think we should have an effective, meaningful complaints system to call MPs to account. We have to enhance democracy. At present we live in a part-elected oligarchy where politicans and the media cook the books between themselves. The most powerful, corrupt and malevolent people in Britain today are newspaper editors and media owners. They need to be knocked off their lofty perches for good. We need new, responsible, accountable replacements. ISMOKE | 20
I'd also sack Jeremy Kyle, nationalise all the utilities and railways and reform the planning laws to allow people to build homes on land they own. I'm not a socialist though. I believe in small government, competition and self-reliance. I would also break up the banks and entirely separate the banking system from casino and investment banking. In the process I would sack the majority of the old guard in the City and reform the legalised fraud that is called insurance. I would legislate to force banks to lend money to businesses based on fixed criteria. Do you want more? Oh sorry you said just one thing didn't you? It's short term memory loss you see? 8. What are your thoughts on the laws on cannabis in Britain? They are irrational, unscientific, unjust, undemocratic, dumb, stupid and in, the case of the prohibition of medicinal use, evil and sadistic. 9. How would you change them? I would introduce fact and evidence based regulation. I think the regime currently applied to tobacco is probably appropriate for cannabis. I would regulate commercial cultivation to ensure quality and safety and restrict personal cultivation to say 20 plants maximum. If the evidence required it I would be ready for tighter restrictions. 10. Where is your favourite place in the world, and why? It has to be the beautiful Dorset valley where I live and which I write about regularly in my Paradise Valley blog. Every morning, rain or shine, gale or summer breeze, my dogs and I walk a good three or four miles up and down steep hills with sensational views over the English Channel and the Isle Of Portland. For me it is heaven on earth. 11. Are there any useful links and/or resources which you can tell our readers in reference to cannabis? Of course there's my site: www.peter-reynolds. co.uk. There's also the most remarkable collection of links called "Granny's List". It's 422 pages of links to everything you could possibly want to know about cannabis. Whenever anyone is introduced to it for the first time all they can say is â€œWow!â€?
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It's up to us though. We can't drift along in some unrealistic haze of exhaled puff. The apathy and infighting, the bickering and jostling for some imaginary advantage has to stop.
Google "Granny's List" for everything you need to know and give thanks and praise to Granny Storm Crow herself. 12. Where do you see cannabis legislation in 5 years time? That's the $64,000 question isn't it? If you go back five, ten, 15 or even 30 years, most people would be astonished we haven't made more progress by now, particularly as the evidence of medicinal benefits has become overwhelming in the last 10 years. I know you want me to stick my neck out so I will. I'd say we will have some form of medicinal use within five years. Once we've made that breakthrough then wider availability should follow shortly thereafter. In very down to earth, practical terms, I think we might get medicinal use during this parliament but not recreational use. In the next parliament we might have a chance. It's up to us though. We can't drift along in some unrealistic haze of exhaled puff. The apathy and infighting, the bickering and jostling for some imaginary advantage has to stop. We have to unite and we have to STAND UP for our rights. The campaign to date has been a failure. We could have been far further along if it had been handled correctly and professionally and if the bong had been kept in the cupboard until the meeting was over. In the future, I believe those who use cannabis will go through the same rehabilitation as the gay comISMOKE | 22
munity did. We will win our self-evident right to use the plant of our choice just as the suffragettes won the right to vote. Looking back, the prohibition of cannabis will look just as ridiculous, as evil, prejudiced and politically incorrect as homophobia does today. It will be just as much an anachronism that we weren't allowed to use cannabis as that women weren't allowed to vote. That day is coming. We will be free. (cue "Land of Hope and Glory") 13. And finally, please tell our readers why you love cannabis I love cannabis because it enhances every aspect of my life. We spend so much time with intellectual and scientific arguments that sometimes we forget the most important thing. We forget the wonderful, beneficial, delightful, life-enhancing qualities of the plant. Cannabis is good. It does you good. It’s done so much good for me and for so many people that I know. It opens hearts and minds and understanding. It reveals truth and beauty and music and conversation and the sheer joy of existence. Now, the positive benefits of God’s herb, which have been known for thousands of years are finally being explained by science. The endocannabinoid system is now known to be fundamental to life and outside the body the only source of cannabinoids is cannabis. That is an extraordinary and important truth. Cannabis is a nutritious and important natural supplement. Something that none of us should have to do without.
CANNABIS IN CARTOONS Nuff Said
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Cannabis and cartoons are undoubtedly two of my favourite guilty pleasures in life. And they mix so well. There is little I enjoy more than sitting comfortably and watching an episode of South Park while toking on a joint of an evening. Increasingly cartoons have begun to touch on deep political messages intertwined into their storylines in a quasi-original manner, often with similar events happening to the characters that we know and love. The media today is a vast unequivocal free-for-all, filled with every different viewpoint imaginable. Cartoon writers sometimes seem to be a voice of reason in this madness. The social commentary of episodes of adult-themed cartoons can be highlighted, often providing meaningful insights into topical political issues around the time that they air, much as each cartoon described below has taken a viewpoint on the cannabis campaign around the time of its creation. Due to the steady rise of the internet over the past decade there are a rising number of accessible programmes on subjects such as racism, sexism, violence, drugs and crime (i.e programmes you may not see on television, or at least before the watershed), and also many primarily Americanfunded programmes that we as little Englanders would previously not have had access to. And this means a wealth of programmes on my favourite topic – yes, you’ve guessed it – cannabis. Over the last couple of years I have encountered cannabis-themed episodes of South Park, Boondocks, Family Guy and The Simpsons, and while they all take slightly different angles on the subject, each in my opinion does wonders for promoting awareness of the cannabis campaign. Over the next pages I will analyze each show in turn, and describe how they show a leap forward in views on cannabis in today’s society. It is worth noting that all of the cartoons analysed are American, as this can only further highlight the backwardness of Britain on the subject, but I will discuss this further later.
“Medicinal Fried Chicken” Season 14 Episode 3 Originally broadcast 31st March 2010 (US) and 4 days later here in Britain, , Medicinal Fried Chicken is an episode that will rarely be forgotten. ISMOKE | 25
The show, popular for its controversial adult themes takes on the Medicinal Marijuana subject head-on, and the episode is primarily about the character Randy Marsh and how he cheats the medicinal system after his doctor will not prescribe him cannabis by intentionally giving himself testicular cancer. Meanwhile, as Medicinal Marijuana is legalised in South Park, KFC is made illegal in low-income areas, meaning that Eric Cartman does not have access to his favourite food in the world. His addiction drives him mad to say the least, and he goes through stages of cold-turkey, violence and crime in order to get his ‘fix’ from the Colonel . This parallel storyline highlights the stupidity of making something illegal – a kick in the teeth for prohibitionists everywhere, and ends in the usual, brilliant South Park fashion, with things getting way out of hand. In this case the Colonel’s hitmen burst into Cartman’s hideout, killing several people in a scene loosely based around the movie Scarface. The episode is a social commentary, sparked by Colorado’s move to change the laws around marijuana and also to restrict fast-food restaurants. There is a strong political message throughout – the illegalisation of people’s lifestyle choices will inevitably lead one way - to a black market.
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The episode’s conclusion further exposes the stupidity of current marijuana laws in a rhetorical manner: Police Officer Barbrady: “Last November this town passed a bill that seemed silly to some. Since then we’ve had been underground black markets, crime, death and shootings. But now the bill has been repealed, and I am relieved to announce that once again Marijuana is illegal.” Doctor: “And another bill has been repealed as well. Because ever since we got rid of KFC we’ve seen a great rise in cancer. But today we welcome back KFC, and all the medical benefits it gives us.” Typical of South Park, the irony of this statement is that it was making KFC illegal, not making Marijuana legal which had caused most of the problems that it sought to remove by re-illegalislation. However Randy’s actions in the episode (giving himself cancer to get onto the medicinal marijuana programme) also highlight abuse to the medicinal marijuana system in America. When I first watched this episode, I thought it was a god-send for the cause of a rational cannabis debate. Highlighting our cause and exposing it to the masses of people who never give cannabis a second thought can only be a good thing.
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“Weekend At Burnsies” Season 13 Episode 16 The Simpsons episode is the earliest episode of the four, first being broadcast 9 years ago on 7th April 2002. Some themes in this episode are still relevant today, however it is worth noting at this point that cannabis has become a little more accepted since the original air date. Weekend At Burnsies takes a less-serious approach, ascertaining to show a comical side of cannabis rather than to promote a serious political message. Cannabis is prescribed to Homer Simpson by Dr. Hibbert after he gets an injury, and as he enjoys it more and more he changes as a person, becoming generally happier and more interested in things such as Ned Flanders’ Bible (a subject he would hate in sobriety). Homer’s actions in the episode also get him promoted to vice-president of the Springfield Power Plant. But with Homer’s unwitting help a bill gets passed to re-illegalise medicinal marijuana, closing the everlasting and unchanging circle that often encompasses sitcoms and cartoons. Political relevance, however, does come into play because this episode was banned from television on Channel 4, and is only allowed to be shown after 9pm on Sky 1, no doubt due to its cannabis content. What does this say about Britain? It seems odd that they cannot show a cartoon depicting medicinal marijuana on the television station which, to be frank has some of the most rational programmes and documentaries shown on British television. Once again, thank God for the internet, and its uncensored hosting of cannabis-related content. This episode does not seem to promote cannabis in either a strictly positive or negative light – in fact homer’s actions seem to show cannabis as making him lazy, scruffy and a bit mad. However there are still several good references to cannabis throughout the episode, for example Lisa questioning her beliefs that it is wrong as it is a drug and “drugs are bad” when it stops Homer being angry all of the time, and also Homer’s getting a promotion because he is high. However, this can appear outweighed
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towards the end of the episode when Homer appears at a rally in his honour in a dirty suit, as well as getting the date wrong, meaning he is too late to vote against cannabis re-illegalisation. Another scene sees Homer Simpson and Waylon Smithers smoking a joint, which causes them to forget about Mr Burns in the bath and leave him to drown. In part due to the time of release this episode is unlikely to convert people on the fence about the issue of cannabis decriminalisation, although its good references to cannabis are still worth being noted.
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“420” Season 7 Episode 12 420 was aired on 19th April 2009, the day before 4/20 (Cannabis Day for stoners in America), and once again shows an underlying voice of reason in society. Although famed for its controversial subjects and denounced by some, Family Guy has come through with a brilliant episode about cannabis. The focus of this episode is Brian Griffin, coincidently the voice of reason within the cartoon itself. Peter kills Quagmire’s cat, and as him and Brian attempt to hide the body (covered in blood) they are pulled over by police. The police see nothing wrong, and are about to leave when they notice a small amount of cannabis on Brian. He is arrested for drug possession and thrown in a cell for a quarter ounce of weed – portraying an interesting social commentary that the police are more interested in small amounts of cannabis than much more serious crimes. Brian then goes on a campaign to get cannabis legalised in Quahog. There are several logical statements made about cannabis throughout the episode, for example at one point Brian says: “What’s sick is making marijuana illegal when its been proven to do less damage than alcohol.” But these statements are not followed up with further debate. The most memorable section of this episode is the 3 minute song sung by Stewie and Brian Griffin. Titled “Bag of Weed”, the song is a hilarious yet relevant take on cannabis culture, and the message throughout is “Everything is better with a bag of weed.” (youtube link http://bit.ly/fjvAsR ). What follows are some brilliant scenes with many Family Guys characters very, very stoned. However Louis Griffin’s father runs a paper business which will be driven out by the new booming hemp industry, and so he persuades Brian to get cannabis re-illegalised in exchange for publishing his novel. This in itself is a major reference to the smear campaign on cannabis in the 1930s by several competing industries including paper, petrochemical and cotton (http://bit.ly/dTpuGB), and there
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are also several other references to the stupidity of cannabis prohibition throughout the episode, for example Peter creates an anti-cannabis video using old film of Hitler with a spliff drawn in his mouth. There are also references to cannabis culture in previous Family Guy episodes; Brian, his son, Peter and Louis all getting high in at least two other shows, and this seems to suggest that the writers appreciate cannabis in its own right.
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“Mr Medicinal” Season 3 Episode 12 This is the most recent episode studied, airing 18th July 2010 in America. It is also perhaps the least well-known of the cartoon series discussed, but has the most significant and thought-inspiring portrayal of Cannabis. In this episode, Robert Freeman, voiced by John Witherspoon (of the infamous “Friday” film trilogy) goes to the doctor with high levels of stress. The doctor informs him that he could die, and he is prescribed a number of pharmaceutical pills designed to lower his stress levels . However on learning of some comically serious side effects on the medicine (Total Scrotal Implosion), he is persuaded to try cannabis by Thugnificent – a local rapper, and this enhances every aspect of his life. Robert enjoys food more, loves his family and generally has a better time in his day-to-day activities. The whole episode can be described as showing a brilliant portrayal of cannabis, as the usually grumpy “Grandad” character becomes happy, thoughtful and fulfilled. He also goes to meet Thugnificent’s dealer, “The Weed King Pin”, who turns out to be a middle-class well-mannered character, exactly the opposite of the expected drug-dealer stereotype. However things turn bad for Robert when he gets caught smoking cannabis – twice. The judge makes an excellent comment, stating he can either go California where it is absolutely fine to smoke for medicinal purposes, or stay where he is and face jail time. This highlights the flaws of the current medicinal marijuana laws which differ from state to state in America. Another satirical take on the current system of prohibition occurs when Robert’s friend, a lawyer, says: “Look Robert, I get it. Everybody needs a way to escape from their problems. But there’s a legal way to do it.” It then cuts to them drinking heavily, and they exhibit many traits typical of inebriated people: violence, vomiting and lewd behaviour, further highlighting the fact the effects of cannabis are not in comparison to alcohol. The
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message behind this episode is that cannabis really isn’t a negative thing, and that all of the problems that it seems to cause are a direct result of its prohibition rather than the plant itself. Although Robert Freeman ends up doing an anti-cannabis advert as part of his community service, this in itself can be seen to highlight the system of scaremongering which exists against people caught with small amounts of cannabis who are often given two options – rehab or jail.
All four cartoons studied were from across the Atlantic, and this denotes that our American cousins are much more ready to accept cannabis than we are here in Britain. This is already apparent due to medicinal marijuana laws in some states, and I think that it is only a matter of time before a more successful version of Proposition 19 comes to pass (I would estimate 2012), leading to the control and taxation of cannabis rather than prohibition in at least some parts of America. How long will it take the people of Britain to follow suit? In most respects these cartoons do an excellent job of raising awareness for the cannabis community. It is a sad fact, however, that out of the many re-runs of each cartoon, the least likely episodes we are to see on our televisions happen to be the ones about cannabis. Our society still sees Cannabis as a harmful substance, a viewpoint which we need to change. In a way, cartoon writers with high ratings and millions of fans have paved the way, and it is up to you and I, as supporters of the cannabis campaign to educate as many people as possible to the benefits of cannabis and to eliminate its misjudging stereotypes while the topic is still hot.
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THE POLITICS OF CANNABIS
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Cannabis is a political issue. Make no mistake about it. The scientific, moral, medical and health arguments have all been won. What we need to do now is find a way to make change happen. It’s in the prohibitionists’ interests to keep debating all the ins and outs and going through the evidence because it diverts from the imperative for change. We have to keep repeating the truth. We have to cut through their deception and scaremongering but above all, we have to demand action. In the US, they’ve gone way, way past the silly and irrelevant arguments about cannabis being dangerous or harmful. We like to think that we’re smarter, a more mature democracy but so many Brits are still suckers for a Daily Mail scare story. The propaganda and bigotry still prevails here. In America they simply accept that if you abuse or misuse something it may cause you harm. They rarely even mention the psychosis theory. Even after Congresswoman Giffords’ shooting and the stories of Jared Loughner’s marijuana use, his friends were quick to step forward and say he’d stopped some time ago and actually seemed worse and more unstable without self-medicating on cannabis. More importantly than that, the US media reported what his friends said rather than hushing it up because it wasn’t sensational enough. Peter Hitchens, the Mail On Sunday columnist wrote a disgusting rant about the shooting, blaming it all on cannabis and having nothing to do with the truth at all. Now the US media are ridiculing him about Britain’s Reefer Madness. He really is an example of the very worst in journalism. The truth means nothing to him. He is a liar and a mendacious frightener of the vulnerable, the elderly, of children and their parents. You will be interested to know that the Legalise Cannabis Alliance has drawn a line in the sand. We will no longer let such nonsense go unchallenged.. A formal complaint is being made in the LCA’s name to the Press Complaints Commission. It will be the first of many. We will no longer allow the British media to distribute lies without calling
them to account. Prohibition is fundamentally immoral. It is nothing less than the unjustified oppression of a section of society. It is as pernicious and evil as racism, sexism, homophobia or any other form of prejudice. It says that, irrespective of facts, evidence, science or justice, just because we disagree with you, we will make your activity illegal. We will criminalise you, imprison you, ruin your career, endanger your family, smear you with unjustified innuendo and suspicion. We will cause you far more harm than the activity you choose ever will. It is pretty well accepted now, worldwide, that Nixon's war on drugs can never be won. It makes Vietnam or Afghanistan look like a little skirmish in some backwater. It has been responsible for far more death, misery and destruction than any war since Nixon first declared it. There are still those who cling to its ambitions, like our favourite preppy, baby face minister James Brokenshire. But he is rather like one of those Japanese soldiers, found on some remote Pacific island, thrity years after his Emperor surrendered - still dangerous, still committed to his cause but hopelessly out of touch, in need of re-education, a very, very sad case. The war on prohibition is now in full flow and this is a campaign than can and must be won. It is a war that has right and justice and common sense on its side. It is time that we marshall our forces, determine our strategy, plan our tactics and hold fast to our courage as we advance on the enemy. I believe that this year or next marijuana will be legalised in at least one state in America. Once the dam is broken, progress will begin to flood all over the world. I believe that the Legalise Cannabis Alliance is the standard around which we shouild rally. We are responsible, respectable, reasonable citizens and we need to unite to fight the war on prohibition. What is vital is that the LCA communicates ISMOKE | 37
its messages effectively to the right people. It seems to me that one of, if not the most important audience is MPs. They, after all, are the only people who can actually change the law. We therefore have to play their game by their rules. In the documentary “In Pot We Trust”, Aaron Housten of the Marijuana Policy Project says that one man in short hair and a suit, lobbying congressmen can achieve more than hundreds marching in the street. I think he's right. The LCA must re-launch its campaign. We must overhaul our image, update the logo and the website. We must become conscious of our communications, control and deliver our messages with ruthless effect, use all the spin doctor tricks and techniques, just as any other political party or pressure group. I will put on a suit and tie for the LCA because that's what is needed to make progress with politicians, through the media and, most importantly, with the great God of public opinion. I think we also have to consider our name. Not throw it out for the sake of something new but recognise that "Legalise" is a word that frightens people. They think it means an uncontrolled free for all, whereas what we argue for is fact and evidence based regulation. We also need to consider the word cannabis. People are frightened to have it on their Facebook profile and concerned that it may come up in a Google search when they're applying for a new job. We have to consider these things. I would argue that instead of saying "Legalise
Subscribe to Peter’s Blog www.peter-reynolds.co.uk. for regular insightful political updates.
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Cannabis”, we might say “End Prohibition”. So we also need to become much more professional about our communications and image. Anything put out in our name needs to be “on message” in every sense of the phrase - look, feel, content, style, etc. Each target audience needs to be addressed on its terms. We need an analysis and a plan for each individual MP and constituency. We need a rota of pro-active media communications. We need to enlist the help of celebrities who support our cause. This needs to be done consistently and repeatedly. We need a team of people all over the country working together with a plan to succeed. I also believe that we should re-register as a political party and field candidates in every byelection. In fact, I would propose that we field the same candidate in every byelection and we build.the campaign and awareness over time. I don’t expect us to win a seat in parliament but I do expect us to start being taken seriously. I want to see us on Newsnight and on Question Time. When Debra Bell is asked for a quote or is interviewed about a cannabis story, I want us to be quoted as well and to be on the other side of the TV sofa facing down her mischief and misinformation. Cannabis is a political issue. If we get our act together and get serious about the war on prohibition, get serious about achieving results, explain the facts, expose the lies, then we can prevail. We can see the truth revealed. We can win!
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A Word From The Legalise Cannabis Alliance... Alun Buffry
The Legalise Cannabis Alliance was founded in 1999, originally as a political party that fought in over 70 elections in the UK on the issue of cannabis legalisation. The party de-registered in 2006 and continues to function as a pressure group. Our policy is based upon the legalisation and utilisation of cannabis - marijuana - hemp in Britain. The LCA is the largest UK cannabis campaigning group. The people in the LCA come from a variety of backgrounds, beliefs and experiences. The LCA provides a platform for cannabis campaigners to speak for themselves as well as a network and an active forum for news and debate. The LCA is run on money raised through donations and membership. We organise and support cannabis events, broadcast news and issue newsletters, lobby MP's and others, whether organised by ourselves or others. We work closely with information sites such as The Cannabis Campaigners' Guide, and ENCOD. Description from http://www.lca-uk.org/
PIGS - The Enemies of Legalisation. *P*is for paranoia and fear of persecution.
This prevents cannabis users and non-users with a huge barrier to overcome before they can publicly speak out against prohibition. Users fear raids from the police and arrest, loss of employment and even imprisonment. Many professional people such as Doctors, Teachers, Lawyers, Probation Officers, Social Workers etc, although privately supporting legalisation or some lesser form of change in law, are afraid of persecution from people in power and the press. MP's of all parties can be silenced and pressurised to change their statements, by the Party Whips. Many Doctors quietly advise patients that cannabis is of possible benefit to them but will not make a public statement on the issue. If you are one of those professionals please speak out and help call an end to the suffering caused to hundreds
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of thousands of citizens of the UK, every year, under the inefficient and expensive attempts at suppressing freedom of choice, in general, cannabis in particular. If you are a user, fear not, for to express an opinion on the law is not an offence and does not indicate that you are a user. Many non-users advocate legalisation too.
*I*is for indifference and for ignorance.
Many non-users and people who are alienated from society through illness, poverty or riches and power, remain unconcerned or unaware of the disastrous social and environmental effects of prohibition. These people need to be awoken. Many of them are on drugs - heroin addicts, alcoholics, Valium addicts, at all rungs of the social ladder; they just don't care. But others do
care, they just either donâ€™t know or donâ€™t know what they can do. It is up to activists to educate and guide these people to the postbox and the ballot boxes. Then, when they do care, we need to reassure them to avoid them slipping into the description of P.
for greed. These are the highly profit-motivated suppliers of illegal cannabis, often of dubious quality, and those directors (and their minions) of the multinational corporations that profit by billions from their environmentally damaging synthetic and dangerous alternatives. These include petroleum companies who risk losses if hemp seed oil becomes widely available; pharmaceutical companies who companies who fear that the use of home grown cannabis would decrease the sales of their highly dangerous legal drugs; national and international criminal and terrorist organisations who profit from illegal cannabis, possibly even the secret services of certain countries (not yours, of course); police, solicitors, barristers, judges and prison staff, with all the associated industry at colossal public expense, who may be out of a job if 250,000 less people are searched and 100,000 less prosecuted, annually.
*S*is for squabblers and for separation..
Those people who continually insist upon arguing over matters of minor or academic differences which distract from the general cause of delay action towards the consensus aim of legalisation. Such arguments are divisive and unproductive, often originating from personal grievances. Sometimes such arguments are introduced by insincere campaigners, even infiltrators from corners supporting prohibition, whose aim is to suppress by division and mistrust. Other times the arguments may be prolonged by sincere people. When the squabble, due to personal grievances, interferes with actions of the
general movement for legalisation, or any particular event or group, then the squabblers become enemies of the movement. Don't be any part of PIGS. Wake up, learn, act, cooperate, become involved in this movement which is all about freedom of choice, lifestyle and religion. It is about the very rights granted by the United Nations Charters. Prohibition of cannabis is a prolonged attempt at mis-education and tyrannical control, and must be resisted by the masses.
Legalise Cannabis Alliance PO Box 764 Salfords Surrey RH1 9BN Lca@lca-uk.org http://www.lca-uk.org/join.php http://www.lca-uk.org/endorse.php As we go to press, LCA Members are deciding by a vote whether to re-register as apolitical party and whether or not to elect a leader - click into LCA Forum to follow the debate and see the results of the vote http://www.lca-uk.org/lcaforum
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ISMOKE MAG would love to hear from you! cating
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Send us your completed grow blogs for a new section coming soon ISMOKE | 43
State side - Why are we behind our American Cousins? One can't help but wonder why we are so behind America when it comes to the issue of Cannabis. In The US, 15 separate states, as well as the Nation's capital Washington DC have enacted laws making medical marijuana available. Even just across the North Sea in Holland Cannabis is widely accepted and used by millions with no problems resulting from its tolerance by the Dutch. And yet in Britain, where we are supposed to be forward-thinking and intelligent, living in one of the greatest countries in the world, the government still has a backward way of thinking towards cannabis. People are ignorant to its beneficial properties, and see only what a bias media delivers to them - the majority of which is misinformation and propaganda, lies around since our grandparents were Na誰ve enough to believe them. The internet is the greatest tool for freedom of speech in human history. We have the chance to use it to enlighten the masses of our cause and help make cannabis legal in Britain. Help make a change, and promote the legalisation of Cannabis in the UK. Nuff Said.
http://ismokeherb.co.uk- ISMOKE Blog http://www.lca-uk.org/ - The Legalise Cannabis Alliance http://s321561233.websitehome.co.uk/ David Nutt's Blog - Evidence Not Exaggeration http://peterreynolds.wordpress.com Peter Reynolds' Blog http://www.bmcr.co.cc/ - British Medicinal Cannabis Register http://homegrownoutlaw.blogspot.com/ - HomeGrownOutlaw's Blog ISMOKE | 44
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“UK Drug Policy is a contradictory mess, stuck in the 1970s”
by David Morris
Whatever your personal views are about drugs and their legality, it seems fair to say that there should be laws controlling their use. Real hard drugs, like heroin and cocaine, have the potential to deeply harm our society and need to be kept away from vulnerable people. Presumably the purpose of the Misuse of Drugs Act is to protect these people as much as possible, yet as well as failing on this front, it also has the unfortunate side effect of turning harmless members of our society into criminals. While some turn to drugs out of desperation, others use drugs simply for enjoyment and still lead productive and often successful lives, yet are they placed in the same legal bracket as heroin addicts. This is the most significant of many contradictions within current UK drug laws and is worth exploring. The Misuse of Drugs Act was passed in 1971 and despite seeing many amendments over the years, still has effectively the same format. Dividing drugs into Class A, B & C is so familiar in the UK now it is almost taken for granted. Yet the classifications given to specific drugs seem to make no logical sense. The government appointed Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) lies at the heart of the controversy. The former head of the board, Professor David Nutt was unceremoniously removed from his position in 2008/9 and has since become a cult hero for a young, progressive portion of the country who look beyond the biased media portrayal of drugs. Professor Nutt’s role was to offer scientific advice to the government on drugs policy. In keeping with this role his team produced research into how harmful drugs are, based not only on health implications, both physical and mental, but also their effects on society. The results proved very interesting, as many ‘Class A’ drugs such as ecstasy and LSD showed very little evidence of causing significant harm, while the legal drugs alcohol and tobacco were among the most harmful. The implication was clear, the classification system in place was not based on scientific ISMOKE | 52
evidence. So surely it was only based on an ill-formed public perception of what the dangers involved with these drugs were. Scaremongering tabloid newspapers fuelled these misperceptions and supported a drug policy founded on fallacy. Unsurprisingly the Labour government at the time was unwilling to risk public opposition to their policy, so Professor Nutt’s findings were duly ignored. It is a testament to Professor Nutt’s character that he continued in his role unfazed and became increasingly outspoken about his findings. Tensions were clearly growing between the ACMD and the government, Nutt brazenly announcing that more people died riding horses in 2008 than died taking ecstasy. Despite this being a certifiable fact, the tabloids naturally vilified him and the conclusion to this story was becoming inevitable. The final straw for the government came in a lecture Professor Nutt gave at UCL, in which he remarked that the government’s decision to re-classify cannabis from Class C to Class B was based on politics rather than scientific evidence. Considering his advice to the government had been to do the opposite, it seems fairly obvious that it was a political decision. Especially as the decision was made on the grounds that ‘new strains of skunk’ presented a danger that apparently didn’t exist a few years earlier when it was declassified to Class C, carefully ignoring the fact that these strains of skunks have existed since the 70s when these laws were originally written. Nevertheless Home Secretary Alan Johnson was less than impressed. The Home Office wrote to Nutt suggesting that he resign, as by making these statements, he had ‘politicised’ his job. Naturally, Nutt replied that he saw no reason to resign as he had done nothing but tell the truth, to which he received a reply from Johnson’s assistant offering a ‘translation’ of the original letter. ‘You’re Fired’. Commendably, a large section of Nutt’s team also resigned in protest, leaving the drug advisory committee rather thinned out. The icing on the cake came when the shadow home secretary, Chris Grayling, agreed that Nutt’s sacking was inevitable, effectively stating that the opposition would have made the same decision. Let’s explore the contradictions here. This is
a qualified academic getting sacked by the government for giving a lecture at one of the country’s top Universities and telling the truth. This implies a very serious dismissal of scientific evidence, or indeed any type of evidence, in government decision-making. The fact that the Tory’s agreed with this decision is not surprising, but particularly worrying, as it implies that any government in power in Britain is inclined to ignore science in favour of popular sentiment, no matter how misguided. The charge against Nutt of ‘politicising’ his job is equally absurd, his job was by definition political. This is made all the more ridiculous when we look at the man who is now in charge of the panel, Dr Hans-Christian Raabe. A Manchester GP, so immediately less qualified then Professor Nutt anyway, Dr Raabe has some controversial views of his own. Radically Christian, Dr Raabe’s views can be demonstrated by quotes included in the briefing documents he has produced for MPs. “Marriage is associated with greater happiness, less depression, less alcohol abuse and
less smoking,” he argues. This is in contrast to ‘the homosexual lifestyle’. “The media and gay movement portray the homosexual lifestyle as happy, healthy and fulfilled. However, the homosexual lifestyle is associated with a large number of very serious physical and emotional health consequences. A high proportion of homosexual men engage in a destructive lifestyle, for example contracting HIV/Aids or other STIs and develop addictions to drugs or alcohol. There is a higher burden of depression, (and) attempted or completed suicide among the ‘gay population.’” So far, so bigoted, but he doesn’t stop there. “While the majority of homosexuals are not involved in paedophilia, it is of grave concern that there is a disproportionately greater number of homosexuals among paedophiles and an overlap between the gay movement and the movement to make paedophilia acceptable.” I see no need to patronize readers by explaining the many reasons that this hate-filled nonsense. At the risk of repeating myself, it is surely worrying that a well-qualified Professor is...
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...dismissed by the Government for telling the truth to students and replaced with an underqualified homophobe. If Dr Raabe isn’t politicising his job, but Professor Nutt is, then we live in a considerably less tolerant society then I would have hoped. This sorry saga doesn’t end there. Once again Professor Nutt showed why he deserves so much respect, and set up his own, independent body to investigate drug policy from a scientific perspective. His findings were a published a few months ago and caused another stir. This time he investigated which drugs actually had the most harmful effect on society, and naturally alcohol topped the list, despite fierce competition from heroine and crack cocaine. ‘Alcohol more harmful than heroin, surely not?’ was the predictable cry from our ‘trustworthy’ tabloids and beyond. In an interview on BBC News Professor Nutt calmly explained that the reason alcohol had topped the list was because it was the most used drug and therefore produced the most harm, and that if heroin was as widely used as alcohol it would top the list. Naturally this was ignored by the media, keen to dismissively label him the ‘Nutty Professor’ in a typically witty display from our headline writers. The BBC interviewer couldn’t even get her head around the fact that Nutt was openly saying on afternoon national TV that if someone did a small amount of heroin every night it would be no less physically harmful than drink-
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-ing a glass of wine every night. It seems that people only want to know the truth if it doesn’t offend their long-held sensibilities and assumptions. So if science and evidence don’t dictate our drug laws, then what does? It seems that popularity-obsessed governments are willing to dismiss truth, evidence and reason in order to appease an ill-informed public who lap up whatever drivel is written to sell newspapers. We are caught in a cycle where the truth is constantly subverted because people don’t want to hear it. There is little hope of any improvement either, as the only large political party who have showed any indication they would consider reforming drug laws are the Liberal Democrats. Considering they completely ignored their pre-election pledge to vote against any rises to tuition fees, I don’t see them pursuing a liberal drug policy any time soon. The only hope lies in the future. A new generation of informed voters can force change, but it will take years. David Morris is a writer, DJ and cannabis activist living in Birmingham, UK.
CANNABIS LINKS www.frankdontknowjack.co.uk
www.farmertomsallnatural.com/ ISMOKE | 55
Won't Somebody Please Think of The Children? The Problems Caused by Prohibition By Cure Ukay ISMOKE | 56
Overcoming a lifetime of propaganda
Growing up, I was always told to stay away from cannabis. My parents would tell my two brothers and I stories of the nice, promising young friends they had known during their school days who had ruined their lives and never amounted to anything because of their interaction with the herb. And the one story of the young boy that had lost all of his friends, left school with no education, unable to find a job who eventually killed himself by accidently overdosing on Heroin - has always stuck in my head...oh yeah that's right - it all happened because he started by smoking CANNABIS!!! Cannabis is well known as the 'gateway' drug responsible for stealing the life from the hands of the young user, litterally as they are smoking on a joint. Their life will amount to nothing and they will increase their risk of developing a psychological or mental health problem by 40% with that one white, addictive stick. Paranoia will dominate their day, eventually leading them to stay inside their house, cutting themselves off from their friends and family to live out a lonely and depressed life of isolation and fatasy. The sad, downward spiraling tale will end with either; one of the multiple chronic health difficulties that cannabis causes such as brain cancer, or the alternative is the once promising youngster will kill themselves to stop the voices inside their head that never seem to silence.
Unintentional Fear Mongering
As funny as it may seem to some of you reading this, it's what i thought was the truth up until i was only a few weeks away from being 17. I had even fallen out with several people who i had previously considered good and loyal friends after finding out they had tried cannabis. It really makes me sick to the stomach that i was so prejudice over something that should be about as much to worry about as...well what is there really to worry about? The fact of the matter is, these claims are completely unfounded, with not only no real
evidence to back them up but with increasing evidence from scientists across the globe to prove quite the opposite. The sad fact of the matter is though, that this is the view of cannabis that the majority of the British public accepts, believes and repeats. It may also seem funny to some of you and even a suprise to hear me say, I do not blame my parents for telling me these lies, I am not even angry at my parents for it and I have made it quite clear to them that this is the way I feel. My parents, no matter how much I may have thought it at some points growing up, especially after they found out I had been 'experimenting' with cannabis, didn't just want me to lead a boring life because for all they knew they were telling me the truth. To them that truth is that they only wanted the best for me. But this isn't the result a parentâ€™s love delivers when it is shown in this all too comman and natural way.
Intentional Fear Mongering
It is very easy to listen to all the good advice that the mass media like to give us when it comes to cannabis. Why should we believe anything different, the evidence is so overwhelming isn't it? Consistantly to the unfortunate British population, the Government believe that it is. This scientifically unfounded advice that surrounds cannabis is what I believe is causing many of the problems that cannabis is blamed for. If you look at the arguments presented by the prohibitionists (such as James Brokenshire MP), to maintain the current method of 'control' to deal with 'the cannabis problem' but take away the part of the equation that prohibition plays, many of the negative effects of cannabis also seem to make themselves scarse. Here me out. First of all we need to address the argument being made against cannabis by identifying the key points that are consistently highlighted in the mass media such as The ISMOKE | 57
Sun, The Daily Mail, and daytime TV spacefillers like Jeremy Kyle.
"It should remain illegal to possess cannabis in any form because children as young as 10 are found to be smoking it."
There are also 10 year olds that steal alcohol from their parents drinks cabinet and smoke cigarettes they stole from their mothers handbags on a daily basis. Not only do I not read about this in a newspaper every other week, but I haven't come across any calls to ban either of these two easily obtainable but well regulated recreational relaxing devices. What we have seen though is more warning labels on these substances packaging warning of the dangers and health risks that they significantly pose to the user and other around them. I would deem this as 'education'. By making the consumer aware of the products they use, they can make a decision for themselves as to weather they want to take the risks assosiated. For alcohol and tobacco this is accepted. Why can't this be the same for cannabis?
‘Cannabis is a 'gateway-drug' that leads users onto harder and more addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin."
This is probably one of the biggest 'Marijuana Myths' in circulation and I feel that it is one of the most important to address. Being the most common unregulated illicit drug consumed by Britons everyday (government statistics suggest that there are 6 million regular cannabis users in the UK) it is no suprise that when 17 year old James realises that cannabis isnt dangerous and hasnt sent him loopy might say "yeah, sure why not" when his is ISMOKE | 58
offered cocaine by the same guy he trusts to get his pot off. They lied to James about cannabis right? They must have been lying about cocaine too surely... This situation is pretty comman. Street dealers do not care what they are pushing, they just want the money. If it wasn’t about the money then surely they wouldnt be cutting contaminents into their product. Cannabis has been proven to be less addictive than caffine so the chances that it will induce an appetite or craving for harder drugs like cocaine and heroin are biologically impossible. Cannabis works with our body in a way completely different to the way cocaine or opiates do. This is down to the Endo-Cannabinoid System, a dense, vast network of unique receptors that when activated by one of the many different cannabinoids either found naturally in the body or externally in the form of the cannabis plant (THC, CBD, CBC etc), helps regulate all body function and every major organ. It has been proven to teach cells within your body that have forgotton how to die, also known as tumors, how to die. Our political leaders have been learning these facts since the 1970’s when the Drug War really began and they have purposefully kept this froom you. That may seem like a long winded way to make an arguement against the ‘gateway theory’ but it is just the cold hard facts and the truth. Street Dealers are the gateway, and they will try to push young and vulnerable customers through it because they just want that £20 note.
“Cannabis use of any kind, short or long term, can induce a significant and increased risks of Psychosis and a number of other acute and chronic mental health problems.”
This sort of rhetoric dates back to our days of the Bristish Empire where, in India we had started trading cannabis as a narcotic much for the same desired effects that opium was offerring at the time. Circa 1880’s, we were already peddling the Opium to China so it made perfect sense to use the market we already had captive to embark on a new wealth
making venture. The quality and range of preparations that Ganja was offering made it too hard to resist. To the Empire’s dismay the Indian tradesmen caught onto this new found use for the plant and jumped on the bandwagon. The authorities decided to start taxing the trade of cannabis and when it became clear that they were unable to control it in this way, stories of psychotic epidemics started to arise in British Newspapers. It was reported that in Bengal there was a Mental Health Hospital that was full of ‘Ganja addicts’. The plant quickly became illegal when trade could not be confined to the British Empire, a move that echo’s an act that was earlier introduced in the 1680’s that banned Hemp products (among others) as they were also traded by the the rival empire of the Dutch. The same slurs that cannabis was inficted with by the British rule 150 years ago are still being repeated, but the scary part of this is it is even easier for them to do so now more than ever. There are so many more to infitrate the minds of our youth today. The ever increasing number of social networks, Newspapers, Glossy Mags, and Television channels now available gives them an open platform to pump out propaganda to a mass audience never before possible. Daytime chat shows such as Richard and Judy who feature the ‘horror’ stories of Propagandists and shameless self promoters such as Debra Bell and her former waster of a son William who began smoking ‘Super Skunk’ as a teenager. You can read about Williams poor attitude to life as a teenager that is blamed on cannabis by going to Amazon and spending £7.49 on his mother Debra’s book ‘The Cannabis Diaries’ - or you can do what I did and read the pathetic story without all the BS at www.talkingaboutcannabis.com “William is now seventeen, and the eldest of three boys. The others are now 15 and 11. He’d been adored by all of us from the minute he was born. He was a lovely looking child, with bright blue eyes, olive skin and tight blonde curls. He’d always been a loving, responsible and outgoing child. He’d done well at school right from the beginning. He had a tendency to be a bit lazy, but what boy isn’t occasionally? Our problems began when he started smoking at 14, and soon started experimenting
with cannabis. I’d always thought cannabis to be pretty harmless, I’d smoked some myself at university and the worst it did to me was to make me want to pass out into a deep sleep ten minutes later!”
You can also e-mail her at this address debra@ talkingaboutcannabis.com and let her know that she should probably just be lobbying for tobacco to be illegal seing as this is how he started smoking cannabis yes? If the 'gateway theory' is of course true that is. In 2009 Keel University published a study on behalf of the Government which if you read the excerpt below you will see that they try to make it quite clear, like glass, that cannabis use does NOT appear to be linked with psychosis. "For the new study, British investigators at Keele University Medical School compared trends in cannabis use and instances of schizophrenia in the United Kingdom from 1996 to 2005. The research showed that even as marijuana use soared among the general population, “incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia and psychoses were either stable or declining” during this period. The authors concluded that an expected rise in diagnoses of schizophrenia and psychoses did not occur over the decade under study. “This study does not therefore support the … link between cannabis use and incidence of psychotic disorders,” the study concludes, adding: “This concurs with other reports indicating that increases in population cannabis use have not been followed by increases in psychotic incidence.” ISMOKE | 59
By repeatedly telling youngsters that they have mental health issues because they are experiencing their teenage years, and just happen to be using cannabis is a dangerous act. It is likely that they will start to worry that they are having mental health problems and that could lead to paranoia.
to reduce the psychoactive damage caused by cannabis, clearly don’t hold any water. If you get a chance to read through the medical information provided with Marinol, see it aso indicates that it is, once you have become adjusted to the medication that you are fine to drive...
“Cannabis users suffer with paranoia”
“If cannabis is made legal we would see an increased number of road traffic accidents due to so many people driving under the influence.”
No, way! You’re killing me right now! Anyone that does anything that could lead them into trouble with the Police is likely to show some signs of paranoid behavior. Is it really paranoia or is it being over cautious? I’m sure shoplifters also suffer with paranoia, but when there is a risk that involves possible neggative consequenses by the law or even a parent or teacher at the end of it, surely it is only natural for them to get alittle worried. This is often exasperated when parents question their children about their cannabis use or put their kids in a situation where they feel they have to lie because they fear what might happen to them. They are then constantly looking over their shoulder and hiding things about their normal life that they would have otherwise shared if they had not been worried that it would clue their parents up to their cannabis use. This doorway to a double and secret life is more likely to be a significance and relative catalyst in argument that there is a causual link between cannabis and psychosis. People worry that if cannabis were legalised we would see a huge rise in those with mental health problems, but this quite simply is not the case. I don’t want to go completely the other way on this issue because yes, THC has been shown to make people a little more jumpy in synthetic, lab created, medically accepted and pharmacutically manufatured Marinol. Yes, that’s right THC - the same cannabinoid that is blamed for inducing psychosis due to its high potency of around 20% in Skunk, is prescribable in pill form containing 100% THC. The claims by the Government non scientists that Skunk causes psychosis because it is genetically and purposely bread to contain more THC resulting in the plants producing lower and in some cases 0% CBD, which is claimed ISMOKE | 60
Cannabis is being used already, and i’m sure there are many many of those using it that have driven or do regulary drive under the influence: “… Evidence of impairment from the consumption of cannabis has been reported by studies using laboratory tests, driving simulators and on-road observation. ... Both simulation and road trials generally find that driving behavior shortly after consumption of larger doses of cannabis results in (i) a more cautious driving style; (ii) increased variability in lane position (and headway); and (iii) longer decision times. Whereas these results indicate a ‘change’ from normal conditions, they do not necessarily reflect ‘impairment’ in terms of performance effectiveness since few studies report increased accident risk.” REFERENCE: UK Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (Road Safety Division). 2000. Cannabis and Driving: A Review of the Literature and Commentary. Crowthorne, Berks: TRL Limited.
This report has been replicated many multiple times around the world and even the American Government have given the OK for certified THC pill poppers to drive with active cannabis metabolites in their bloodstreams. It is important to point out at this point that when i was younger and I used cannabis recreationally with my friends, we were unable to smoke in any of our houses, and there wasnt a safe location where we could go to get high - but a coupe of us did have cars. This meant we could drive out to the middle of nowhere or an isolated country road, hot box the car with two or three joints and then roll on home feeling super chilled and tired after an extremely funny and giggly few hours.
Because we were forced to find somewhere for us to smoke that we deemed safe (which meant not getting caught) it meant one of us had to sit in the car and not smoke so we could get home... what a lie! I don't think it matters how good a friend you may think you are, I know I wasnt going to drive my mates somewhere to get high while I didnt and then drive them home. Nope, we all got high, all the time and one of us was always driving. This put us at more risk of getting in trouble with the authorities which again starts to trigger some of the previous problems prohibition causes. Of course, getting in touble with the Police is one thing for cannabis, it’s worse while driving a car at the same time - it isn’t looking good.
“Cannabis users cannot get jobs and sponge off society”
Cannabis users can get jobs, we just have to pretend that we don’t use cannabis... ISMOKE | 61
For those that are unable to get jobs because of an unfortunate interaction with the Police this might be nearer the truth. But is it not clear enough to see that it is the prohibition of the plant that is causing cannabis users to be unable to get jobs, not the plant itself? I have worked in the same job for over 5 years, smoked cannabis throughout that whole time and for the last year smoked on most of my shifts at lunch and always finish off a joint before walking through the doors in the morning. It has never been detrimental to my job; I cannot work without it with my medical needs, as i suffer from Crohn's Disease which can at times be very debilitating. In one branch I worked in I was very open about my use, and my manager at the time even pointed out to me that my work had improved since I had told him about my necesity for it not the result that he was expecting.
At that time I was also the only member of staff that did not use alcohol (and still dont). I have never gone into work with any ill effects from cannabis or called off work because of a 'heavy night out', but at least 3 times every month one of the other 5 members of staff would because of their alcohol use. The problem is never blamed on alcohol but rather their choice to consume it in an irrisponsible way that effects their work and the rest of the team they have now put extra pressure on. Why can't it be the same for Cannabis?
"Most cannabis is smoked and smoking in any form is dangerous"
Dr Donald P. Tashkin, M.D. Emeritus, Professor of Medicine & Medical Director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory at UCLA thinks otherwise, for good reason - here’s why: “We know that there are as many or more ISMOKE | 62
carcinogens and co-carcinogens in marijuana smoke as in cigarettes,” researcher Donald Tashkin, MD, of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine tells WebMD. “But we did not find any evidence for an increase in cancer risk for even heavy marijuana smoking.” Carcinogens are substances that cause cancer. The heaviest marijuana users in the study had smoked more than 22,000 joints, while moderately heavy smokers had smoked between 11,000 and 22,000 joints. While two-pack-a-day or more cigarette smokers were found to have a 20-fold increase in lung cancer risk, no elevation in risk was seen for even the very heaviest marijuana smokers." "The more tobacco a person smoked, the greater their risk of developing lung cancer and other cancers of the head and neck. But people who smoked more marijuana were not at increased risk compared with people who smoked less and people who didn’t smoke at all." The biggest danger facing cannabis smokers in Britain today is the fact that there are too many that smoke herb mixed with tobacco. This is a habbit I personally stopped in 2009 and I have never looked back. I guess you coud say I have been a purist ever since. The price of cannabis really does make this something quite hard to do for so many smokers, espescially the young ones that are able to buy it on the streets - without I.D of course. Mixing a bit in with some tobacco makes it last longer because there is more of something else to burn. We are all too aware of the risks assosiated with tobacco - lung and heart disease, cancer and emphasema. Do young cannabis consumers need to be putting chemicals into their body that are proven to be toxic when it could so easily be avoided? Why is it so easy to get hold of a legally produced harmful product as opposed to a non toxic alternative that actually counteracts the effects of tobacco? There are also between 300 and 600 chemicals added to tobacco that are deemed as secret ingredients to achieve the flavour that are more harmful to the user than the tobacco is itself. Do these young herbalists need to run the risk of developing a tobacco habbit? Chances are like myself, when there wasn’t any pot around I would roll up a cigarette, a habit that I didn’t notice creeping up.
Luckily I managed to nip that one in the bud before it became anything too seious and giving up was far from a problem. In California Medical Marijuana is even being used as a remedy to give up tobacco and better still as a treatment for lung cancer itself for some patients and for others who choose or need radio or chemotherapy it is used to counteract the negative side effects such as nausea and severe pain, depression, insomnia and to stimulate their appetite. Quite the opposite story to the one we are being fed by the truck load in the United Kingdom by our elected Government and our Mainstream Media. We need to put an end to this. It is all very well telling each other these facts about cannabis, but the truth is the majority of us already know it. That’s not to say we should stop, but take it to the next level. We need to start showing that cannabis can be consumed in a responsible way, and does not pose the 'significant and detrimental' damaging effects that i have debunked above. The people we need to be reaching out to right now are the middle ground, the populus that havent made their minds up about cannabis yet, and we need to get there before our opposers do. They already have the brain washing powers of Jeremy Kyle working on their side and they already use the tabloid media to filter their propagandist stories of wonderfulturned-psychotic-children such as Wiliam Bell and more recently in The Daily & Sunday Mail the heart-wrenching story of Henry Cockburn who succombed to scizophrenia. All of this is more simply put this way: Prohibition is to blame not Cannabis. So won’t somebody please, think of the chidren? It is the arguement that we have had to fight against time after time, and if we can con-
-vince the parents that their children will be much safer if cannabis was regulated rather than prohibited then we will start seeing a more possitive movement in the right direction in ending the War or adult and medical cannabis consumers across the United Kingdom. We need to be united in the United Kingdom. We need to speak up for our rights for the sake of our future generations. I really do not want have to bring my children into a world where they will face all of the above and who knows what else if we let the current system carry on the way it is. Many are unable voice their views and this is understandable of course. This is why many are starting to take it upon themselves to get the word out. Reach out to these people. I myself have started a Podcast which can be found at http://cureuk.podomatic.com and a new episode will be uploaded weekly ready for your listening pleasure every Sunday by noon. Please take the time to listen, subscribe and feedback anything about the show so that we can work together to remove cannabis from the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and have it declared as a prescribable medication for the millions that are currently being denied it by a government that still maintain that cannabis has no medicinal benefit in its herbal form. If you would like to learn more about me you can follow my blog at http://cannabiscures.wordpress.com. Cure Ukay is a British activist for the cannabis movement. He is the also host of brand new podcast Cannabis Cure UK. Cure has suffered with Crohn’s Disease since the age of 14 and began using cannabis as his medicine at aged 22. Since finding a relief from the constant cramps, pain, nausea, vomiting and diorreah in the form of smoked herbal cannabis he has dedicated all if his time to the cause to firstly achieve the goal of attaining cannabis’ accepted medical value so that is available in a prescribable form to the countless of patients in the UK that are desperate for it, and to then liberate it for the rest of the population. To learn more about Cure Ukay and his efforts to free the weed and stand up for the rights of all the medical users in the UK including himself go to http://cureuk.podomatic.com He is also contactable at www.facebook.com/cureuk and you can follow him on twitter @CannabisCureUK. ISMOKE | 63
MY STORY: How I Was Treated as A SelfMedicating Cannabis User by Tina Silva Five months ago began just like any other Thursday morning, I needed electric, so I went to the shop before setting of to the Youth Offending Team where I work to do a young person pick up. As I was driving out of Swanage there were two police vehicles parked on the left side of the road, a van and car. I just went about my business and carried on driving. A few minutes later I saw another three police cars driving into Swanage and my heart sank. After driving for about 30/40 minutes I received a text from a friend telling me that the police had made their way into my back garden and were in my shed. I immediately did a u-turn and drove back to Swanage, instructing my friend to look after my child. On arrival at back at my house there were police cars and vans all around, and when I entered there were between 10-14 police officers inside. I was arrested for cultivating cannabis and possession with intent to supply a class B drug, under the misuse of drugs act 1971. I later found out that the police had also arrested my husband, as well as my sixteenyear-old daughter. My daughter was bailed, but was required to return to the police station two days later. Luckily, a close family friend came to the rescue and went with my daughter to the station - no further action was taken. After arriving at the house I cooperated with the police. I made a point to inform them that I was a medical cannabis user and that I had an incurable, untreatable neurologic condition. Everything that they found was all for my personal use. I also explained that I was allergic to many medications, that I had letters to prove this and that I had also attended many pain clinics and tried both conventional homeopathic medications. However, none had worked and therefore there was nothing that they could give me apart from Oral MorISMOKE | 64
-phine (for chronic pain), so my choice was clear - either cannabis or morphine. I also explained that all of my doctors knew that I was growing cannabis, and that I was using it for pain-relief. I have self-medicated for many years, and both my specialists and professors of neurology are all in agreement that if cannabis is an effective treatment for my condition then I should carry on using it. I explained all of this to the police and stated that I had letters stating this as proof. I was manhandled by the police and treated like a criminal. Both myself and my husband were taken in separate cars to the police station, where we were stripped searched and kept apart. A doctor had to be called for me because I was so ill, and we were both kept in a cell for six hours. After being interviewed by police we were released on bail pending further inquiries. The police then informed the both the housing people and social services that they had found a â€˜factoryâ€™ on my premises and I was treated like a criminal - the housing people threatened to seek repossession if I was found guilty and social services told me that they were concerned for my child. I have never had to see social services about my children in my life, yet because of this incident with the police they were at my door. It was horrible. We then began the long process of the Magistrates court. This was adjourned when after many weeks my solicitor managed to get us a caution for the production of cannabis. My daughter is now receiving counselling to help her deal with the events, and both my husband and I have been diagnosed with chronic depression since it happened. My neurologic condition is a rare genetic condition called CMT Type 1A
(http://bit.ly/e5zBnB). It is hard enough to deal with my condition without any extra stress. I am often in a wheelchair, and I have had operations on my feet to help me walk. I am reviewed twice a year as there is nothing they can do to cure me. I am a medical cannabis user, and I would like to know why we are treated like common criminals - what is the crime and who is the victim? We are victims of the law and the government. Even though my doctors who are specialists (some even professors of medicine) advise that I use cannabis, even writing letters that I should not stop using it as it reduces the amount of morphine I need for pain this is not taken into consideration by our government. Why does the government insist on saying that cannabis has no medical purpose when I am proof otherwise? How can our government deny somebody in chronic pain their right to medicate? I stress again that both my doctors and I say that I need this medication to alleviate my pain. And so I to turn to organised drugs crime to get my medication - do these people not realise that the reason that I was growing cannabis in the first place was to be able to medicate without dealing with drug dealers and criminals, being either ripped off or buying cannabis contaminated with horrible things? I am ashamed of how my government stated before the 2010 elections that they were compassionate towards medical cannabis users, but once in power we were shoved in a locked draw and the key was thrown away. It is sad that we have to live in chronic pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year. Sad, and barbaric. What do politicians know about pain relief or using cannabis as a medication? Surely politics should be left to the politicians and medicine and science to doctors and scientists. Tina Silva
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