fo Jo r f in re N e d OR e l ML iv er y!
NEW ZEALAND MARIJUANA CULTURE . HEMP . MEDICINE . ACTIVISM . LAW REFORM
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DRUG LAW INQUIRY:
DRUGS & DRIVING all about the new law
have your say
timeline for change
they don’t want you to know about alcohol
UK Drug boss
one year on
fired for telling the truth!
pot smokers confess
Was jesus a stoner? the spiritual use of cannabis
set to legalise
y p p a H y a d h t Bir
L M R NO
of freedom fighting!
CLONING for beginners
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
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N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
NORML NeWS Issue 45: SUMMER 2010
Note: we are using a new numbering format (was Vol 13.3) ISSN 1172-9074 30,000 COPIES PRINTED DEC. 2009 P U BLISHED BY N OR M L NZ INC. PO Box 3307, Auckland, NZ. Phone: 09 302-5255 Fax: 09 303-1309 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.norml.org.nz
The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) was formed in New Zealand in 1979. NORML is a nonprofit organisation that campaigns to end marijuana prohibition. Our aims are: • To reform New Zealand’s marijuana laws • To provide neutral, unbiased information about cannabis • To engage in political action appropriate to our aims • To inform people of their rights • To give advice and support to victims of prohibition
ABOUT NORML NEW ZEALAND INC.
New Zealand NEWS 4 6 8
Police to issue warnings for cannabis The Daktory’s 1st Birthday by Harry Cording NORML’s Timeline for Change by Phil Saxby
Editor & design: Chris Fowlie
Contributors: Harry Cording, Jonathan Rennie, Phil
Saxby, Brandon Hutchison, Jenny Joint, Dakta Green, Geoff Noller, Naomi, Happy Huka, Indoor Herb and assorted recruits. Want to contribute? Send us articles, ideas, letters, photos, comments, grow tips etc. Enclose a stamped envelope if you would like it returned. Thanks to our contributors, advertisers, distributors, IACM, NORML USA, and drugpolicycentral.org for hosting our website. Advertising: 09 302 5255 or email@example.com Printer: PMP
Distributor: G&G 09 979 3000
Mailed free to NORML members (join on p49) and available while Introduci ng our cover star: stocks last at selected outlets including: WHANGAREI Pied Piper, Switched
On Gardener DARGAVILLE B_Arch Wear SILVERDALE The Grow & Brew Shop AUCKLAND Cosmic Corner, Easy Grow, Erox, The Hempstore, Now & Then, Pipe Dreams, Real Groovy, Treasure Box, Switched On Gardener HAMILTON Frankton Pipe Shop, Green Thumb Hydro, Greens Office, Needle Exchange, Rota, Switched On Gardener THAMES Boot’s N All, Crystal Ball Clinic TAURANGA Curiosity, Switched On Gardener MT MAUNGANUI Antipodes, Green Day, Nemms TE PUKE Wild Thingz ROTORUA Skingraft, Wild Thingz GISBORNE Cultural Experience NAPIER Earthsong, King of Swords HASTINGS Switched On Gardener TAUPO Switched On Gardener TE AWAMUTU Groovee Thingz NEW PLYMOUTH Guru Gardener, Mindfuel, Net, Stardust Creations, Trick or Treat WANGANUI Drugs & Health Development Project, Stardust Creations PALMERSTON NORTH IV Union, Lotz of Pots OTAKI Hipsta! WELLINGTON Cosmic Corner, Real Groovy, San Jewellery, Switched On Gardener LOWER HUTT Devine, House of Hydro, Stardust Creations PORIRUA Stardust Creations NELSON Gizmo’s, Switched On Gardener MOTUEKA Flurmo BLENHEIM Boots ‘n’ All WEST COAST Granity Rocks, Planet Funk CHRISTCHURCH Avon Backpackers, Cosmic Corner, Embassy, Penny Lane, Switched On Gardener GREYMOUTH Planet Funk TIMARU Dizzy Spell DUNEDIN Community Law Centre, Cosmic Corner, DIVO, Funk That!, Hemphatic, Radio One, Switched On Gardener INVERCARGILL Europa Hydro, Impuls’d, Large As Life.
Disclaimer & LEGAL NOTICE: The views expressed in Norml News may or may not be the opinion of Norml News, NORML New Zealand Inc, our advertisers distributors or printers. Norml News is provided with no warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. The publisher assumes no responsibility for and disclaims all liability for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. Some content within Norml News is included for “fair use” research, review, education and information purposes. Norml News and the publisher are not responsible for the content of advertising contained within. Publication of an advertisement does not imply our endorsement of any particular product or claims made by any advertiser. Makes sense, really.
22 24 28 32
The new Drug-Driving law by Brandon Hutchison 10 Things They Don’t Want You to Know About Alcohol Hidden Voices by Geoff Noller The Holy Oil & the Holy Ghost by Jonathan Rennie
Home & Garden 36 40 44 50
Cloning for beginners by The Happy Huka Indoor Garden Guide by Indoor Herb DNA Genetics interview by Chris Fowlie Show Your Grow by you, The Reader!
REGULARS World News with Harry Cording Medicinal Cannabis research with Chris Fowlie & the IACM Safer cannabis use - NORML’s harm reduction advice Know your rights and lawyers list Activist Corner How you can help change the law NORML membership/subscription form & shop
Summer 2010 N O R M L
12 16 46 47 48 49 NeWS 3
Although not ‘officially’ registered for another six months, NORML New Zealand was formed in spirit at the 1979 Nambassa music festival, shown here. Thirty years and over one million copies of NORML News later, all the people involved with NORML over the years can stand proud. While we have not ended cannabis prohibition (yet!), NORML has helped define and celebrate Aotearoa’s cannabis culture with J Day’s, Bob Marley days, parties and bus tours. We have helped protect and empower our people from the worst aspects of the drug war, with civil rights campaigns, court support, and political lobbying, and have shone light on injustice and oppression waged in the name of eradicating this plant and our culture. And the fight continues. After thirty years, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is finally under review. Read about it on pages 8-10 and spread the word. Forget the inquiries of the past: this is the number one priority right now. More than ever, we must raise our voices and demand our freedom!
TOP 5 RETAILERS Thanks for buying this copy of Norml News. Your contribution means we can pay the bills, and carry on our essential work trying to end cannabis prohibition. We’re now available in more than 200 stores nationwide. Here are the top stores for the previous issue - a big thanks to them all and their customers! Rank
Switched On Gardener (Wellington)
The Hempstore (Auckland)
Pipe Dreams (Auckland)
Green Thumb Hydro (Hamilton)
Guru Gardener (New Plymouth)
* of stores who returned sales figures to us by 7/12/09.
Get NORML News delivered & support drug law reform efforts. See p49 now!
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
MELON BUD/Dakta Green
Editorial Happy 30th Birthday NORML!
Study finds cannabis health costs are only $20 per user
he credibility of the Drug Harm Index, authored by business consultancy BERL for the Police, has taken another tumble with research from Canada showing the health costs relating to cannabis are only $20 per user. According to a report published in the B r i t ish C olu mbi a M en ta l H e a lt h a n d A ddict ions J ou r na l , annual health-related costs per user are eight times higher for drinkers than they are for those who use cannabis, and are more than 40 times higher for tobacco smokers. “In terms of [health-related] costs per user: tobacco-related health costs are over $800 per user, alcohol-related health costs are much lower at $165 per user, and cannabis-related health costs are the lowest at $20 per user.” In contrast, BERL’s Drug Harm Index concocted a figure of $1694 per cannabis user per year, which included a lot of made-up numbers and costs that do not exist in reality - but are useful for police to trumpet to the media.
The Canadian study reported that ”94 percent of social costs for cannabis are linked to [law] enforcement” and found that reducing social costs related to cannabis “will likely involve s h i f t i n g its lega l st at u s b y decriminalising casual use, to reduce the high enforcement costs.” Researchers said “Such a shift may be warranted given the apparent lower health risk associated with most cannabis use.” According to a recent poll, more than two-thirds of Americans believe that alcohol is “more dangerous” than marijuana - as shown in this book we have to give away.
To celebrate our 30th, we have 3 copies of Marijuana Is Safer to give away. To go in the draw, send us an amusing story, rumour or anecdote involving NORML (email firstname.lastname@example.org) www.NORML.org.nz
Issue warnings for cannabis, say on-to-it police bosses.
uckland Police are taking action where politicians fear to tread. After decades of lies and cheating from their political masters, police bosses decided to take the initiative, and by issuing formal warnings instead of going to court, they have effectively decriminalised personal amounts of cannabis. Following a successful 3-month trial on the North Shore, the scheme wa s r e c ent l y w idened to c over all of Auckland, and includes any offence punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment. Police say it w ill eventually cover the whole country. Even the stodgy old New Zealand Hera ld sa id t he z er o -tolera nc e ph i l o s o p h i e s o f t h e 9 0 ’s w e r e “discredited” and the new approach “serves the public interest far more than inflexible approaches which, whatever their supposed folk wisdom, have failed in practice.” Ev idence of the sh ift in police thinking is in new research from Massey University’s SHORE Centre
that shows arrests for the use of cannabis fell 30% in the years 20042008 compared to 1999-2003, although there has been a slight increase in the past two years. It’s worth noting that many of the overseas experiments in alternative d r u g p o l i c ie s w e r e s t a r te d o r sanctioned by police. The problem is that while the police are slowly changing, most politicians still support “tough on crime” laws that win votes but also waste police time and fill courts and prisons. If you have any experience of the new police ‘warning system’, we’d like to hear from you.
Inequity is in the law By Metiria Turei, Green MP
In the last month or so I have been focusing on the impacts of inequity, its costs and its harms. The recent UN Human Development Report showed that NZ has the sixth-biggest gap between rich and poor among countries with very high human development, with a similar inequality score to India and Russia. We do not have a society where fairness is the overriding value. And as a result we have impacts like those identified in the Children’s Social Health Monitor showing that children who live in severe hardship are more likely to go without fruit, veges, raincoats, shoes, or visits to the doctor. The inequity in New Zealand plays out in many different ways. And one is in the cannabis prohibition laws. The law is used discriminately against those with the least education, income and social status. The impact of the law, whether in the humiliation of the questioning and arrest process, the costs of court attendance, conviction and imprisonment or simply in the creation of disrespect and mistrust against those who www.NORML.org.nz
exercise power affects whole families, children and communities. Detractors will claim that operating within the prohibition law is a wiser choice if you want to avoid the consequences. But the justification of the existence of such a law with these effects is at the heart of the debate. It may be safer to follow the rules, but it doesn’t make the rules right or excuse apathy in the face of their misuse. At the NORML conference in Turangi we talked about the campaign to reform the law against prostitution, how it worked and how long it took – many years. That fight too was one against inequity, one where a vulnerable community was under greater threat because of the intolerance of the community and the use of the law to abuse sex workers. Those who consume cannabis are also subject to prejudice, intolerance and abuse via the law. The campaign for cannabis law reform continues and we, like others in the past, will prevail if we stick together, support our activists, and educate our community. Its in our hands. Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
NZ law reformers
Inside with Dakta Grower by Harry Cording
This year the NORML conference was close to Rangipo Prison, where Brian Borland - Dakta Grower - is currently caged, so I took the opportunity to visit him. After forming a company called the Roaring Lion Cannabis Shoppe to sell cannabis to consenting adults, Brian was sentenced in August to 2 years 4 months for cultivating cannabis and possession for supply. Ten of us drove to the prison in the Cannabus, which caused considerable excitement among the prison staff at the gate. They let the bus through the barrier, then ordered everybody off so they could search it. Dakta Green objected that, if they intended to search the bus, they should not have let it through the barrier. His objections were brushed aside as the search continued. It took six prison officers and a sniffer dog to eventually find...nothing. The prison superintendent appeared and, recalling “some interesting conversations”, recognised Dakta Green from when he was an inmate at Rangipo. Rangipo is a better environment than Mt Eden, where Brian was before, and he was looking reasonably well. The block where he is held is modern and built around a large lawn and a tennis court. He said the hardest part is passing the time, but fortunately he has a job in the prison library, so he gets some good books as they come in. He confirmed that despite the tough talk from the government, prisons are not drug free - nor will they ever be, as long as there are drugs and money to be made from them. The day of my visit was six months to the day since Brian was sentenced. He will become eligible for parole in February. Prior to his parole hearing, Brian may be required to attend a “drug education” course - although he would be more qualified to teach that course than any Corrections Department bozo. The course is not available at Rangipo, so Brian is expecting to be transferred to Waikeria or Spring Hill before February. Brian would be glad to receive letters, books and phone cards (for pay phones - not mobiles). You can write to him at: Brian Borland, Private Bag 500, Turangi. For more about Brian see previous issues of NORML News or www.norml.org.nz/forums
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
The Daktory celebrates one year T
he Daktory celebrated its first birthday on November 19. As New Zealand’s first cannabis club, it has survived against all odds and provided a model for the time when cannabis is legal and adults can enjoy the herb in premises dedicated to the purpose. During the past year police have not set foot inside the Daktory. While this news may surprise some people, it reflects a pragmatic common sense approach and the realisation that they would be giving themselves a great deal of trouble and a potential public relations disaster. Furthermore, despite coverage on TV One, The Herald and even the BBC, there have been no complaints from the public - indeed, no one should have any reason to complain about club members peacefully enjoying themselves in a building discreetly located in an quiet industrial zone. The Daktory operates on a BYO basis for members in anticipation of the time when it can provide legal, regulated sales of cannabis to adults. It is a model which organisers say can be adapted to any community, providing a legitimate source of jobs and tax revenue when cannabis is restored to its rightful status as a legal substance.
Dakta Green goes to court D
akta Green, founder of the Daktory and Auckland coordinator for NORML, goes to court on December 21 to apply for a stay of proceedings on numerous cannabis charges. Dakta is facing a long list of charges following police harassment relating to his law reform activities, both as coordinator of the Auckland Friday 420 weekly protests and the nationwide CannaBus tour. Dakta is basing his application for a stay of proceedings on Section 9 of the Bill of Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right not to be subjected to torture or to cruel, degrading, or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment.” Mr Green’s argument, which he will put to the court, is that to be subject to imprisonment for possession of the benign plant cannabis amounts to disproportionately severe treatment or punishment. Simply put, the
health costs relating to cannabis use - which we reported elsewhere in this magazine amount to a paltry $20 per user - do not justify the injustices waged in the name of the war on drugs. If his application succeeds, the prosecution will not proceed, and could set a historic precedent that could help finally bring about the end of cannabis prohibition in New Zealand. Dakta Green’s hearing will take place in the Auckland District Court. He would like as many supporters as possible to be there. A rally will be held at Albert Park from 8 to 9 am on December 21 and supporters will march to the court from there. Bring a banner or wear your favourite propot T shirt. Supporters can contact Dakta Green at the Daktory: phone (09)948 1049; email email@example.com www.NORML.org.nz
Sweet, Irie sounds of the South Pacific
eading a new wave of “sunshine” reggae music from the South Pacific is Sweet & Irie, who will be performing at Raggamuffin, Australasia’s biggest reggae festival. The creation of singersongwriter Edward Ru. Sweet & Irie puts out an “irie sound”. Irie, of course, being Jamaican parlance for nice, or a positive feeling following a blazing spliff of collie weed, although Ru claims “we never really thought of it that way.” Whatever! Born in South Auckland and raised in Otara, Ru was witness to a tough upbringing that later fuelled his song writing. “We grew up the hard way, and I thought I didn’t want the same things for my kids,” explains Ed.
Sweet & Irie first gained attention in 2006 after releasing “Ban the Burn”, an anti methamphetamine song “for my people”, which was picked up by the Maori Party. Soon afterwards Ru bumped into Dawn Raid’s Brotha D who invited them into the studio. The result of that effort is an album called Localize It - a play on Peter Tosh’s landmark recording Legalize It - that debuted at No 16 on the NZ album charts. “I was shocked!” At Raggamuffin in Rotorua on January 23rd they will share the stage www.NORML.org.nz
SPACE with reggae legends Sly & Robbie, Wyclef Jean and Shaggy, but he’s most looking forward to seeing Lauryn Hill and Julian Marley. “I still can’t believe it. I haven’t been in music for that long, and I look at the poster and see me on it! Last year I went to Raggamuffin with Ali Campbell [of UB40] and now I’m playing there!” NORML will also be there, with this year’s stall aimed especially at encouraging Maori to participate in the Law Commission’s review of the Misuse of Drugs Act. It’s an issue Ed is keen to discuss. “I think it’s crazy, but I’m not the government or the law, I’m just Sweet and Irie. That’s the way I live my life and everyone else lives their lives they way they want to live,” he says. “What’s happening out in the world is a bit sad. I just come back to the Bible which says no man should judge no man. “ Amen to that! Sweet & irie’s new album ‘Localize It’ is in stores, and catch them at Raggamuffin in Rototua on Sat 23 January 2010. Look out for NORML’s stall there too!
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NZ Law Reform
Winning Hearts and Minds NORML’s Law Commission Outreach Plan By Phil Saxby, norml president
aybe Jeremy Clarkson, the Top Gear host, said it best on why the “war on drugs” is lost.
Why everyone wants to emigrate from Britain, he wrote recently, was “they see the stupid war on drugs and the war on drink and the war on smoking and the war on hunting and the war on fun and the war on scientists … and they think, “I’ve had enough of this. I’m off”. It’s symbolic of the public revolution in attitude taking place around the world, and even extending to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The public is turning away from the fantasy of thinking that outlawing drugs is an effective way of controlling them. Even in New Zealand, National MPs and ACT MPs know they were not elected to limit freedoms – the overwhelming referendum vote on child discipline was a sharp reminder of that. Public debate to start in February NORML needs to be ready for the public debate that will certainly follow the release in February of the Law Commission “issues paper” on the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. As discussed at our T urangi Conference, NORML plans to
TIMELINE FOR REFORM
take the debate as widely as possible, with the objective of winning hearts and minds! Present policies (essentially, prohibition) on most psychoactive drugs have failed. Prohibition retains significant support in NZ not because it works but because the alternatives to prohibition are little understood and much maligned. That situation could be about to change! It is expected that the Law Commission will recommend better, fairer, ways of controlling drugs in Aotearoa/New Zea la nd. Eu ropea n cou ntries a re increasingly looking at health-based approaches to drug problems. Why not here? Why put up with failure, parents of school-age children should be asking? Why should we be satisfied with the present law, under which NZ and Australia have the world’s highest rates of teenage cannabis use? Why can’t we find a better way of dealing with risky behaviour involving drugs than simply passing a law against their use? Isn’t it overdue to treat those who use alcohol and those who use other drugs more consistently and fairly? Along with the NZ Drug Foundation and
21 Dec: Auckland District. Court - Bill of Rights hearing. Spread the word, and come along and show your support. www.thedaktory.co.nz
other groups, NORML supporters need to help stimulate an informed debate leading to well-informed submissions to the Law Commission. Fixing the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 At last, after more than 30 years of the Misuse of Drugs Act, a full, official, study of the Act is under way. The Law Commission may or may not produce the blueprint for change that is so long overdue – but any progress will depend a lot on the public’s reaction. That is why it is vital for NORML to reach out beyond our core supporters to the NZ public. Reform will happen only when the public sees the failure of present policies and supports a new approach. * We need to re-establish active NORML branches to lobby local MPs and the news media. We need to join up new members, especially people with campaign experience. * Branch members need to find clever ways of getting the issue in front of the public – on the street, on the job and on the Internet. * We need better links with allied groups such as trade unions and Maori groups, student and health organisations and political parties. Many of these
Jan/Feb: Law Commission “issues paper” released at the end of January/early February.
6 Feb – Waitangi Day March on Parliament
(to be confirmed)
Feb: NORML will issue a Guide to submissions, with supporting information. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to help with guide.
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
ACTIVISM NORML people: at our conference in Turangi
represent the victims of prohibition – those who are fined, jailed or hurt in other ways. * We e v e n ne e d o ut-r e ac h to uncommitted, mainstream or even hostile groups. * Service clubs and the education sector are important – teachers, school boards of trustees, and principals. We need to work closely with Green Cross as part of supporting medicinal cannabis use. We should demand that drug policy be health-oriented, not crime-oriented – treatment and help for those who need it, and leave the others alone! We need effective drug education, especia l ly for you ng people. Misinformation, such as the Police’s so-called Drug Harm Index, should be junked. At this time of financial crisis, we need a fair assessment of the role of illegal drugs in our economy, and we need to look at the potential for ca n nabis ta x to replace the hugely expensive cost of cannabis prohibition. Branches The main centres provide most of our activists, but its vital to demonstrate support for drug law reform in cities
Campaign 1000 like Whangarei, Hamilton, Rotorua and Timaru, as well as regions like the West Coast, Taranaki and Otago. How? We have to challenge friends who are supportive to become members, and find new, young members as well as re-activating some of the former members. This is what they worked so hard for, and we can’t miss this chance! It isn’t always easy. For some, it’s a personal decision to “out” yourself. Still, you can make a private submission to the Law Commission, asking for your real name not to be used. People are “out” only if they choose to be! (NORML membership is not made public – it is confidential to the Board and approved NORML organisers.) And we live in a democracy, which means that everyone has a legal right to next page>
Student Club days: all universities and polytechs 22-29 March: Drug Awareness Week email@example.com or your local NORML contact
1 May: J Day It is almost certain that some late submissions would be accepted.
Mar 2010 apr 2010 may 2010
30 April? Likely deadline for submissions on Law Commission’s issues paper www.NORML.org.nz
July: The Final Law Commission report is expected.
Become a secret NORML supporter!
ORML has now campaigned for thirty years, thanks to the dedication of volunteers and the goodwill of our many supporters - people who have given their time, energy and often money. People like you! Some of our generous supporters make regular automatic payments every month or so; others make a donation from time to time, based on what they can afford. Every donation is very much appreciated… but there is always a need for more funds, and with the Law Commission paper due in January we could really use more money right now, for leaflets, stickers, posters and banners, not to mention postage costs and all the other expenses required to run a successful campaign. Many of our supporters want to be anonymous. They don’t want publicity. If that sounds like you, there is still a way for you (and your friends) to help - make an online donation today to NORML! If just 1% of cannabis consumers gave us $10 or $20, NORML would receive 3000 donations! We decided to aim at getting just 1000 donations before the Law Commission reports in June/July next year - that’s our “Campaign 1000” and we ask you to donate today - and get others to join the campaign. The Bank account is 12-3057-0594667-00. In the payee reference column, put “1000” to show you are part of Campaign 1000. And if you prefer to post a donation to PO Box 3307 Auckland 1010, please tell us you are supporting “Campaign 1000”. And of course, you can make as many payments to the campaign as you like – or even better, start an autopayment. A huge “Thanks” from the NORML Board to those who have already donated to Campaign 1000! Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
NZ Law Reform
Thirty years too long! NORML’s 2009 Conference marks three decades
< continued from previous page
The beauty of the surroundings helped create a spirit of reflection on past successes and confidence in the future. And there was a lot of smoke, not all of it from the fireworks… (We didn’t know there was a fire ban at the time!)
advocate changes to the law of this country.
Members, supporters and activists The objective is to get more and better reform submissions during the 3 months open for public comment next year (probably Feb to April). Older, experienced members or supporters are needed to help train our newer members to be effective campaigners, even if it’s just doing small support jobs – signing up new members, or helping with an information stall. Being Prepared We don’t yet know what options the Law Commission will recommend. All we can do is get prepared for the debate that will take place early next year. It’s our big chance – and we don’t want the debate to be dominated by the ignorant and prejudiced. Our preferred option is regulated sales, with the Netherlands being the best-known example of a regulated market in cannabis. But NORML will need to respond to whatever proposals or options are offered for discussion. When the final Commission report appears in June 2010, we will need to campaign to push Parliament into acting on it. It’s time, as Jeremy said, to end the stupid war on drugs. Reference: Jeremy Clarkson quoted in The Listener 12/12/09, tinyurl.com/yabnywe
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
CHRIS FOWLIE / HEMLOCK’S TASTY BUDS AGAIN!
onference 2009 in Turangi was more a celebration than anything else. Despite the theme of “Thirty Years Too Long – Stop the NZ Drug Wars!” nobody was depressed. The company was great, the guest speakers were encouraging and even inspiring, and the food was excellent!
MP’s Iain Lees-Galloway (Lab.) and Metiria Turei (Grn.)
support of Roaring Lion Brian Borland who is serving 2 years and 4 months on cannabis charges. Conference ended with a chocolateBrian went public for cannabis law cake celebration of NORML’s 30th reform, at the Daktory and also on birthday. Over the years, campaigns tour with Maryjane in 2008. Fellow in Aotearoa/New Zealand for Daktory activist, Dakta Green, cannabis law reform have had reported to the conference some success – such as two on an historic challenge to Health Select Committee the Misuse of Drugs Act, reports, in 1998 and 2003, in which the Auckland that identified the failures 30 YEARS! District Court will hear a of prohibition policies and Bill of Rights argument that recommended law reform. imprisonment on cannabis As recently as 2009, the same charges would be “disproportionately Health Committee proposed improved severe” punishment. Supporters of access to medicinal cannabis. Hemp Dakta Green will be there in force on was legalised and Sativex approved. 21 December, to hear him argue that Outreach Plan cannabis is a benign plant. Finding successful ways to reach Drug Rights, MPs, Medpot a wider public with the reform and Drug Harm Index message was a key theme of the Along with a panel featuring Labour conference. President Phil Saxby and Green MPs, the conference held outlined the new Outreach Plan, and sessions on drug rights, lobbying, the conference spent time discussion medicinal marijuana and the Police’s ways of implementing it. Guest “Drug Harm Index”. speaker Catherine Healy from the NZ Elections to the NORML Board saw Prostitutes Collective provided a case study on how to achieve public support some keen new faces added to the “old hands”. The election of Chris Fowlie as for an unpopular cause – and how to a Life Member of NORML was warmly deal with vehement opposition, often applauded! coming from religious moralists. With delegates from seven North Cannabus “Daktavism” Island and 2 South Island centres, the Parked outside our conference venue conference was a great opportunity and in plain sight of State Highway to learn, think, argue and go away 1, Maryjane the Cannabus received refreshed, invigorated and ready for many admiring toots! Maryjane made an exciting year of activity in 2010. a visit to nearby Rangipo Prison, in - Phil Saxby www.NORML.org.nz
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
WORLD wide weed WITH HARRY
California leads the next
American Revolution GROWING SUPPORT FOR REFORMS, SAY POLLS
A Zogby poll in May showed that 52% of Americans support legalising cannabis - the first time that poll has recorded a pro-reform majority. Another poll, by Gallup in October, found 44% support for legalisation, up from 31% in 2000. A previous ABC News/ Washington Post poll found 46 percent in support. In California, a Field Poll found 56 percent backing legalization. A recent R asmussen Reports survey found 63% of Americans say patients should be allowed to smoke marijuana if prescribed by a doctor. The survey also found 41% of voters think the US should legalise and tax marijuana to help solve the nation’s financial problems, and 57% think Obama’s decision not to pursue marijuana cases in states that allow medicinal use will lead to full legalisation.
n 1996 California became the first state in the USA to legalise medicinal use of cannabis. Now it is on the verge of full legalisation, with a bill before the state assembly to legalise, tax and regulate cannabis sales. The bill is the brainchild of Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco. He said momentum for legalisation has grown in recent years, especially as the state’s finances have remained sour. “A lot of people that were initially resistant or even ridiculed it have come aboard.” California voters may also have the chance to decide on legalisation, as signatures are now being collected for three separate ballot initiatives. If they get enough signatures, they will be put to the vote in next year’s state elections. California takes democracy to a level unknown in New Zealand. Any proposal that gathers enough signatures can appear on the ballot, and if it is approved
by voters, it instantly becomes law. This is how the 1996 medical cannabis initiative known as Proposition 215 became law, against serious opposition from politicians and police. Proponents of the leading ballot initiative have collected nearly 300,000 signatures, easily on track to qualify for the ballot. Richard Lee, longtime marijuana activist and founder of Oaksterdam University, has raised nearly US$1 million for the campaign. “Voters are ripping the petitions out of our hands,” he said. “All of us in the movement have had the feeling that we’ve been running into the wind for years,” said James Gray, a retired judge and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “Now we sense we are running with the wind.” With California is facing a severe budget crisis, tax officials estimate that legalisation could bring in US$1.4
Thank Barrack! Obama keeps MED-POT promise “The war on drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalise our nation’s marijuana laws.” -Barack Obama, January 2004
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
uring his election campaign, US president Barack Obama promised to end federal raids on medical cannabis patients and dispensaries in states where medicinal use is legal. In October he made good on that promise, as the Department of Justice told its prosecutors that they “should not focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” US Attorney General Eric Holder stated, “It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana. But we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal.” While the language may seem unsatisfyingly vague to some, there is no doubt that, with the economy in trouble and budgets stretched to the
limit, “not a priority” means it won’t be happening any time soon. NORML USA executive director Allen St. Pierre stated: “This is major news and a historic change in the federal government’s 72-year anti-cannabis policies. Considering how much effort went into criticizing Obama for not ending medical dispensary raids starting the moment he took office, the announcement fulfilling Obama’s promise, sort of, should be treated with a lot more importance than it’s getting. “This is significant everywhere in the world, it opens the doors for other countries afraid of similar reforms because of American pressure, it is a major step forward, a key day in history, and should be acknowledged as such.” NORML USA launched the first lawsuit to recognize medical cannabis as a medicine in 1972. So far 14 states permit medical use, with bills pending in several others (see opposite page). www.NORML.org.nz
WORLD wide weed
US states DRIVing law reform
Inside America’s first
oters in the United States have overwhelmingly approved cannabis law reform almost every time they get the opportunity, and while many elected representatives continue to resist the will of the people, others have realised that marijuana law reform is no longer a political liability; it’s a political opportunity! Maine is the latest US state to permit medicinal cannabis, after voters overwhelmingly approved the Maine Marijuana Medical Act. The new law establishes a confidential patient registry, expands the list of conditions for which a doctor can recommend medicinal cannabis, and enables the creation of state-licensed nonprofit dispensaries to distribute medical cannabis to qualified patients. The only opposition to the bill came from law enforcement groups, as arresting sick people is easier than confronting real criminals. COLORADO: The State Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice recommended legislators reduce marijuana penalties so that the possession of up to four ounces of pot would classified as a petty offense. In the town of Breckenridge, voters elected to amend the town’s code to remove all criminal and civil penalties, including fines, for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. WISCONSIN: A bill is currently before the state legislature to allow medicinal cannabis use by Wisconsin residents. Governor Jim Doyle is a former
county prosecutor and state attorney general who has always maintained a tough stance when it comes to drug use. However, he has recently come out in favour of legalising medical cannabis, making the point that restricting the use of medical marijuana is senseless when doctors can already prescribe more powerful drugs such as morphine. WASHINGTON: Incoming Seattle city attorney Peter Holmes has announced his office will no longer charge anyone with simple marijuana possession offenses. ‘We’re not going to bring any more (marijuana possession) charges,’ he said. ‘There are other more important, more pressing public safety matters in need of attention with the limited resources we have.’ RHODE ISL AND: In 2009 Rhode Island’s legislature became only the second to approve laws licensing the establishment of medical cannabis dispensaries. PENNSYLVANIA: In December 2009 lawmakers will hold their first hearing ever on legalizing the use of medical cannabis. Legislators in several other states, including California, Arkansas, New Hampshire and Texas, are also expected to debate marijuana legalisation proposals in 2010.
billion a year with a $50 per ounce sales tax. Currently, sales of medical cannabis are estimated at around US$2 billion annually, and legal recreational sales could amount to 10 times that figure. California law enforcement groups are opposing legalisation, in case they have to go out and confront real criminals instead of enriching themselves with assets seized from the cannabis community. Last year California police made around 78,500 arrests for cannabis, up from about 74,000 in 2007, and seizures of cannabis plants grew to record levels. If California legalises cannabis sales for the general public, it will be in conflict with federal law - but it could open the door to further reforms of America’s drug laws. In October the Department of Justice announced it would not prosecute users and providers of medical cannabis who obey state law, finally making good on one of President Barack Obama’s campaign promises.
However, in a memorandum outlining the medical marijuana g uidelines, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden said marijuana was “a dangerous drug, and the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime,” adding that “no state can authorize violations of federal law.” Another California ballot initiative is designed to direct many more drug users caught by police into treatment and keep them out of prison. It would increase funding for both adults and young people, allocating more resources to treatment, probation and parole at an estimated cost of US $1 billion a year - and it could save California even more than that in incarceration costs. Known as the ‘Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act’, it is sponsored by George Soros, the billionaire financier who helped fund Prop 215, and other wealthy visionaries who support rational and humane drug policies.
merica’s first Dutch-style coffeeshop is open in Portland, Oregon. While 14 states allow medical use of cannabis, Oregon is the first to permit an outlet where patients can consume herb on the premises. Patrons of the café, who must be in good standing with the state’s medical marijuana program as well as a member of Oregon NORML, may consume cannabis on the premises. Unlike conventional marijuana dispensaries that operate in states like California and Colorado, medical cannabis is not sold on the premises, nor is the primary function of the café to dispense marijuana. “This is not a medic al marijuana dispensary with a café; this is a café for medical marijuana patients,” says Madeline Martinez (pictured above), a former prison warden and now executive director of NORML’s Oregon chapter, which operates the Cannabis Cafe. About 24,000 Oregon residents hold medical marijuana cards. A $5 door charge goes toward operating costs. Once inside, patients can freely consume as much cannabis as they want. “It really is a revolutionary model in that the cannabis isn’t being bought and sold,” says Russ Belville, national outreach coordinator for NORML USA. “It’s better than having a sex club, a strip joint or a bar full of drunks open down the street,” neighbour Claudia Nix says. Portland police say they have not received any complaints, and the cafe is not under any special scrutiny. NORML chose Portland because the city forbids local police from assisting with investigations or prosecutions of people acting under the state’s medical marijuana act. Jim Hickam, 58, got a medical marijuana card after a back injury left him dependent on painkillers. He is now able to work again. “It’s really a nice place to hang out. It’s real mellow,” he says. Martinez would like to see the state of Oregon become the primary supplier. “They could grow it in state prisons,” she said. “The best growers are already in there.”
More: see www.oaksterdam.org; canorml.org
2010 will be a historic year for marijuana law reform. How will you help? Get active, join NORML, and be the change you want to see!
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
Dana Beal arrested: was he framed? High profile American cannabis activist Dana Beal (interviewed in the last issue of NORML News) remains in jail after police allegedly found 150lbs of cannabis in the van he was travelling in. Dana and two companions were driving through Nebraska, returning to New York from NORML USA’s annual conference in San Francisco. The police version of events is widely regarded as fiction in the American cannabis community, and there is a possibility he was set up. According to police, they stopped the van because of “driving erratically”. Dana Beal, who is 62, has been an activist for nearly 40 years. He is a founder of the Global Marijuana March, which has spread to over 200 cities, and established Cures Not Wars, devoted to alternative treatment for drug addiction using ibogaine. He visited New Zealand earlier this year to attend an addiction conference. Through his activism Dana has been arrested many times. In 2008 he was arrested in Illinois and charged with money laundering after police found $150,000 cash and a small amount of cannabis in his car. The money laundering charges were thrown out by the court, but he has never got his money back.
Farmer’s hemp protest W
hile the New Zealand hemp industry continues to struggle, a group of American farmers and business leaders took their message to the Drug En forcement Ad m i n ist ration headquarters in Washington, pl a nt i ng he mp se e d s i n t he lawn. Although the seeds were toasted, and therefore infertile, the farmers were arrested for trespassing. D a v i d B r o n n e r, p Caption resident of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a long established and successful company, was among those arrested. Dr. Bronner’s uses hemp seed oil in its soaps, and sources its hemp from Canada. As police handcuffed him, Bronner said “Our kids are going to come to this museum and say, ‘My God. Your generation was crazy. What the hell is wrong with you people?’”
Jack Herer suffers heart attack Hemp activist Jack Herer collapsed with a heart attach after giving a speech at the Portland ‘HempStalk’ festival in September. According to the latest reports available, he is not yet fully recovered and is being cared for in a nursing facility in Oregon. Jack had a major stroke 10 years ago and major heart surgery 5 years ago. Jack Herer is a long-time activist for cannabis and hemp and the author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes, a comprehensive history of cannabis and its prohibition. A popular strain of cannabis is named after him: Jack Herer by Sensi Seeds is a potent cross of Skunk#1 x Northern Lights#5 x Haze that won the High Times Cannabis Cup in 1994 and 1999. For updates, see www.jackherer.com
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
Inside the DEA Museum is a display of hemp products. “In the 1600s hemp landed in the Americas where it was used to make rope, clothing, paper,” an exhibit said. “Today hemp fibres are used in clothing and jewellery.” Also arrested were farmers Wayne Hauge and Will Allen. Hauge is licensed to grow hemp by the state of North Dakota - one of 8 states that allow industrial hemp production or research - but federal law bans hemp cultivation. Hauge is suing the government for the right to grow hemp. The farmers asked a DEA official if he knew the difference between hemp and marijuana. He wasn’t sure. “It’s a cousin, right? Or is it an uncle?” In yet another example of drug war insanity, American companies can legally sell hemp products - a business worth an estimated US$360 million
annually - but all their raw material has to be imported. Hemp grows wild throughout the USA, but the DEA is funded to destroy it. New Zealand hemp regulations are just as crazy. Kiwi farmers can grow hemp only if they have a permit issued by the rather-uninterested medicines regulatory agency MedSafe. It costs $500 per year and comes with several conditions, including testing the crop’s THC content. However, the biggest hurdle facing local farmers is not growing the hemp, but selling it. This is because the most lucrative market for hemp products making nutritious and delicious hemp foods - is banned here for the insane reason that it is too good for you. Hempseeds contain more protein than any other food source, are nature’s best source of Omega oils, and have heaps of vitamins and minerals. Health officials backed hemp foods, saying they would lower rates of disease and save taxpayers money. However our all-knowing politicians fretted that if people knew hemp was good for you, they might start smoking pot too. So they banned all hemp foods, only giving NZ an exemption for hempseed oil. The only commercially-successful local hemp growers so far have been a group of farmers centred around Ashburton who supply hemp seeds for pressing into oil, mostly for export. T he Hempstor e i n Auck l a nd i s currently fighting a seizure by Customs - under orders from the NZ Food Safety Authority - of a shipment of hemp lollypops and chocolates, which they have previously imported for more than ten years. More info: www.votehemp.org; www.medsafe.govt. nz; www.hempstore.co.nz www.NORML.org.nz
PHOTOS: CHRIS; INDYMEDIA; SUDDEN INSPIRATION; MARIE II
WORLD wide weed WITH HARRY
WORLD wide weed
Dutch among lowest pot users in Europe
ccording to a new report the Dutch are among the lowest users of marijuana in Europe, despite - or perhaps because of - their well-known tolerance of the herb. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction found that only 5.4% of Dutch adults used cannabis. The EU agency said a higher percentage of adults in Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and France used cannabis in the past year, with the highest being Italy at 14.6 percent. The latest figures show about 18% of New Zealand adults use cannabis. The Netherlands policy on marijuana is one of the most liberal in Europe. They allow for the sale of marijuana at coffeeshops, the home cultivation of up to 5 plants,
decades, and possession of up to 5 grams. Nearly a fifth of the 228 coffee shops in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam are scheduled to be shut down by the end of 2011 because they are too close to schools. The plan received universal condemnation among local schools and police, who prefer the regulated coffeeshops to the illicit street dealers who will replace them when they are closed.
Aussie fines failure
estern Australia prov ides a perfect example of why instant fines for cannabis do nothing but perpetuate injustice. In the past year almost 70 per cent of cannabis fines were not paid, according to police. I n We s t e r n A u s t r a l i a , i n f r i ngement notic es (or ‘instant fines’) apply for up to 30 grams of cannabis, two cannabis plants or a smoking implement. Police figures show that of 1884 infringement notices last financial year, only 486 people paid the $100 fine within the required 28 days. Unpaid fines
are usually converted back to the original charge. Australian research has shown that police are more likely to fine people they would otherwise not arrest, and many officers are also more likely to keep fining the same toker every time they see them. The current Liberal state government plans to make matters even worse by lowering the amount of cannabis to 10 grams, setting up mandatory education programs for first offenders, scrapping the twoplant allowance and increasing penalties for dealers.
For the latest international cannabis news, download
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or listen at www.norml.org.nz www.NORML.org.nz
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
Cannabis News You Won’t See in the Mainstream Media
Patient update: Police vs. Ganja Granny Paeroa gr andmother and medical marijuana user Dawn Danby is fighting to keep her home. Dawn says she had not tried cannabis until she was 66, and grew some plants in the back garden for pain relief because conventional medicines did not work. In 2007 she was raided by police who also found her savings - kept in cash at home. Danby denied selling any pot but the 71-year-old was sentenced at Tauranga District Court to a year’s home detention and 300 hours community work on charges of growing, selling and possessing cannabis for supply. Now police want to take her Paeroa home too, which Danby says was bought legitimately and has been mortgage-free for more than 15 years. It’s “like a bad dream,” she told Sunday News. “This is my home.” http://tinyurl.com/dznvn5
Classic cannabis criminal A New Plymouth woman who played classical music to help her medicinal cannabis grow has been sentenced to community work. Mother-of-three Zarah Murphy grew 20 cannabis plants in a room lined with photos of sticky buds and resinous plants as “role models” and played them “nice classical music”. Her lawyer Pamela Jensen said the plants were for Murphy’s own use, to help alliviate her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Judge Allan Roberts sentenced Murphy to 250 hours’ community work.
Grow shop grow-op A Nelson hydro shop owner who grew 180 plants out the back says he did it in anticipation of a Green Party bill to legalise the medicinal use of cannabis. Police searched Kevin Yates’ shop Indoor Exotic in June and found a “sophisticated indoor cannabis operation”. The bill to legalise cannabis for medical purposes was debated in Parliament in July but was defeated 38 - 47. Law yer Mark Dollimore said Yates was confident that had it become law, “he would have had a start in the situation”. Judge David McKegg said this was “naive and misguided” and sentenced Yates, 46, to five months’ home detention and 200 hours’ community work. Patient’s Support Group www.greencross.org.nz
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
American Medical Association supports improved access to cannabis
pponents of compassionate medicinal marijuana laws have always had one prestigious ally they could rely on to endorse their position: the American Medical Association. But after 72 years the AMA has reversed its long-standing endorsement of cannabis’ Schedule I status and urged the government to do the same. The US Schedule I federal classification of cannabis - which states that, by law, the plant and its natural compounds have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment” - is known as the “Schedule I lie” because of the mounting evidence showing cannabis is a safe and effective medicine. Gaining the necessary clearance to study a Schedule 1 drug under current rules is a near-impossible bureaucratic nightmare that involves multiple government agencies, and approved studies ca n on ly use notoriously low-potency pot f rom the government’s only legal grow-op at the University of Mississippi. “As a result,” said physician and AMA board member Edward Langston, “only a small number of randomised, controlled trials have been conducted on smoked cannabis.” The AMA’s policy regarding the medical use of cannabis no longer “recommends that marijuana be retained in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.” Rather, the Association resolved “that marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of
cannabinoid-based medicines.” T he A M A a lso adopted a report drafted by its Council on Science and Public Health (CSAPH) entitled, “Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes,” which states, “Results of short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.” The change of position by the largest physician-based group in the country follows an announcement by the Obama Administration in October discouraging US prosecutors from taking enforcement actions in medical marijuana states. In February 2008, a similar resolution was adopted by the American College of Physicians (ACP), the country’s second largest physician group and the largest organisation of doctors of internal medicine. The California Medical Association went further and called the criminal prohibition of marijuana a “failed public health policy” and urged debate about the laws on marijuana use. www.NORML.org.nz
Cannabis extract Sativex reduces cancer pain
clinical study of the cannabis extract Sativex has found it reduces pain in patients with advanced cancer pain not fully relieved by strong opioids. In a two-week placebo-controlled trial, 177 patients suffering from pain not sufficiently controlled by opiates received either Sativex, which contains equal amounts of THC and CBD, or a cannabis extract rich in THC, or a placebo. Patients continued to use their other pain medication during the study. The average reduction in pain was significantly superior in among those who received Sativex compared to the placebo group, but interestingly those who received only THC did not get this benefit. Source: Johnson et al., J Pain Symp Mnge. 2009 Nov 4.
Marijuana’s so-called “withdrawal” is mild, short-lived & affects few
ne of the great things about marijuana is that it is not add ictive. W hen consumers want to take some time off the weed, it’s usually not a big deal. Fou r Germa n u n iversities examined the withdrawal symptoms of 73 subjects diag nosed w ith “cannabis dependence” and found symptoms associated with socalled “withdrawal” are relatively mild, short-lived, and “may only be expected in a subgroup of ... patients.” Less that half the trial subjects reported physical or psychological w ithd rawa l sy mptoms, a nd “most sy mptoms ra nged on average between low to moderate intensity.”
This is actually the first study to investigate withdrawal symptoms a mong patients d iag nosed as cannabis dependent. It found “only a subgroup experienced a cannabis withdrawal syndrome of clinical significance despite the fact that all patients had a diagnosis of cannabis dependence according to DSM-IV criteria.” In a 1999 review the US Institute of Medicine reported that marijuana’s w it hd rawa l s y mptom s, whe n identified, are typically “mild and subtle” compared to the profound physica l a nd psycholog ica l syndromes associated with most other intoxicants, including alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/19783382
Med laws around the world
> USA: 13 states have legalised medicinal cannabis. A few patients receive joints from the Federal government. Patients may also be prescribed synthetic THC. > Canada: patients can either get Sativex, grow their own, or are given cannabis by the Government. > The Netherlands: patients can grow up to 5 plants, or be supplied with herbal cannabis grown for the Government. > Germany: patients can purchase Dutch medicinal cannabis from German pharmacies, or may be prescribed synthetic THC. > Spain: patients can grow their own or be prescribed Sativex. > Israel: patients can grow their own, or are supplied with an extract made from police seizures. > Australia: NSW to allow patients to grow their own or be prescribed Sativex. > New Zealand: Patients can apply to the Minister of Health for permission to use Sativex. If patients grow their own, they may be arrested and/or jailed.
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
Jack White, Rodney District
Detection of cannabis The National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore, USA, has found THC may be detected in the blood for more than 6 days after last cannabis use. A study of 25 chronic users found 9 (36 per cent) had no measurable THC during 7 days of cannabis abstinence, and 16 had at least one positive test, but not necessarily on the first day. Six full days after cannabis abstinence, six participants still had detectable THC concentrations and all 25 had measurable concentrations of THC-COOH. In another study - also from NIDA of people who received high doses of oral THC for seven days, average THC concentrations in the blood 22.5 hours after last dose were 3.8 ng/ml and THCCOOH concentrations were 197 ng/ml. Source: Karschner, et al. Addiction 2009 Oct 5; Schwilke EW, et al. Clin Chem 2009 Oct 15.
Cannabis safety evaluated Dr. Mark Ware from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, investigated the safety and side effects of standardised herbal cannabis dispensed to 215 pain patients for one year. There was no difference in serious adverse effects, compared to 216 controls who received no cannabis. The average cannabis dose was 1.86 grams per day. Researchers concluded that “cannabis use for chronic pain over one year is not associated with major changes in lung, endocrine, cognitive function or serious adverse events.” Source: 5th IACM Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine in Cologne, Germany, 2-3 Oct 2009.
Epilepsy Researchers at the Universit y of Rome, Italy, have found levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide are lower in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with untreated newly diagnosed temporal lobe epilepsy. Other researchers, at the University of Reading in the UK, found the natural cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) inhibited epileptic activity in animals. They concluded that this demonstrates “the potential of CBD as a novel antiepileptic drug.” Source: Romigi A, et al. Epilepsia 2009 Oct 8; Jones NA, et al. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2009 Nov 11.
the latest research is at www.cannabis-med.org
N O R M L N e W S Spring Summer2009 2010
Marijuana Use Associated With ‘Improved Neurocognition’ In Bipolar Patients
annabis use is associated with “improved neurocognition” in subjects diagnosed with bipolar disorder, according to clinical trial data published online by the journal Psychological Medicine. Investigators at Norway’s Institute of Psychiatry at the University of Oslo investigated the association between cannabis and neurocognition in 133 patients with bipolar disorder. Researchers reported that subjects who used cannabis performed better than non-users on a series of tests. Authors said marijuana use was associated with “statistically significant” improvement in attention, executive function, verbal fluency, logistical memory-learning, and logical memory-recall. However contrasting results were associated with the use of marijuana among subjects diagnosed with schizophrenia. Investigators concluded, “The findings suggest that cannabis use may be related to improved neurocognition in bipolar disorder and compromised neurocognition in schizophrenia.” The findings conflict with those of a 2007 study published in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biology Psychiatry that reported that cannabis use was not associated with a decline in cognitive function in schizophrenic patients, and might even improve it. Source: http://tinyurl.com/yazg8dw
More doubt on Pot-Schizophrenia link
eefer madness claims have taken another hit with new research from the UK showing that if it does happen, it doesn’t happen much at all. Researchers at the University of Bristol, UK, calculated the additional risk for cannabis users to get schizophrenia, assuming there is a causal link between cannabis use and schizophrenia. They found that for men there would be only one additional case of schizophrenia for every 2800 heavy cannabis users aged 20-24 years and one additional case for every 4700 heavy cannabis users aged 35-39 years.
In women the numbers ranged from one additional case of schizophrenia for every 5470 heavy cannabis users in those aged 25-29, to 1-in-10870 in 35 to 39-year-olds. The risks for occasional users were even lower. In June scientists from Keele University in the UK reported that while cannabis use had increased from 1996 to 2005, their study of 600,000 people had found rates of schizophrenia and psychosis were either stable or declining. Source: Hickman M, et al. Addiction 2009;104(11):1856-61; Frisher, Schizophr Res. 2009 Jun 26.
MEDiCiNAL CANNABiS Maine 5th US state to allow dispensaries Maine voters have decided by 59% to allow cannabis dispensaries. Advocates say it wonâ€™t become like California, where hundreds of cannabis shops have opened, because Maine dispensaries will be licensed by the state. Thirteen US states have legalised the medical use of cannabis: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. While California has about 1000 dispensaries and at least 250,000 registered patients, in New Mexico there are only 755 registered patients who are allowed to use cannabis. The state has licensed five producers, each of whom are allowed to produce up to 95 plants. The amount of people registered to legally use cannabis for medicinal purposes in Colorado has more than tripled in the last year to 15,000.
YOUR BACK YARD!
Source: Associated Press 4 Nov 2009; Aspen Daily News 8 Oct 2009.
Worldwide pot use An estimated 166 million people worldwide have either tried cannabis or are active users of the it despite laws to the contrary. The 2006 figure, taken from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), means one in every 25 people between the ages 15 and 64 admitted to smoking some pot that year. Source: Reuters 15 October 2009
Vaporizer research Studious pot researchers at Leiden University in The Netherlands have found the commercially available Volcano vaporizing device generates fewer by-products than smoked cannabis. Vaporisers heat cannabis to 170-230 degrees Celsius, avoiding combustion of the plant material. Source: Pomahacova B, et al. Inhal Toxicol 2009;21(13):1108-12.
Cannabinoids may help stroke victims German researchers have found that activation of the CB2 cannabinoid receptor protected nerve cells during ischaemia (reduced blood supply) following a stroke, by inhibiting the activation of neutrophils, a type of white blood cells. Source: Murikinati S, et al. FASEB J. 2009 Nov 2
THC vs. CBD Kingâ€™s College researchers have shown THC and CBD have opposite effects on the brain. They gave healthy volunteers the cannabinoids and examined their brain function with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The Jack White finding helps explain the different effects of various strains of cannabis, and also why the effects change as cannabis ages (THC degrades to CBD). They also found pre-treatment with CBD blocked the high from THC! Source: Bhattacharyya S, et al. Neuropsychopharmacology 2009 Nov 18
the latest research is at www.cannabis-med.org www.NORML.org.nz
Summer O RS M19 L NeWS Autumn 2009 N O R2010 M L N eNW
DRUG POLICY ANALYSIS
A Tale of three Scientists, and the government Science and wise drug policy lose out to government prejudice
n this article Brandon Hutchison describes and compares three recent incidents: the sacking of Prof David Nutt, an advisor to the UK government on drug policy, and here in New Zealand, the recommendation by paediatrician Prof Sir Peter Gluckman, science advisor to the Prime Minister, to ban the popular nasal decongestant pseudoephedrine, and the tour by Doug Sellman promoting the “5+ Solution” to alcohol law reform. Sacked for giving the “wrong” advice Late in October Professor David Nutt, the UK government’s chief drug adviser and chair of the advisory council on the misuse of drugs (ACMD) was told to resign after claiming that ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol. In a paper stating this, he had also criticised the government for distorting a nd deva lu i ng resea rch ev idence pertaining to drugs. He asserted that some supposed top research journals published some very poor quality research on the harms of drugs Health Minister Alan Johnson said Nutt’s comments “damage efforts to give the public clear messages about the dangers of drugs”. This was a particularly curious statement, for what could be clearer than simple factual statements on the issue, coming from an expert advisor, unless of course, the government’s “clear messages” are wrong. The Minister further stated: “We remain determined to crack down on all illegal substances and minimise their harm to health and society as a whole”. In other words, they are illegal, and that is the end of the matter. Never mind how they came to be illegal or whether they should remain so.
The sacking of Nutt prompted some other members of the ACMD to resign in sympathy and generated outrage across the British scientific community who now wonder what is the point of giving scientific advice to the government, when you get sacked if they don’t like it. What Nutt has said that riled the UK health minister • Cannabis, LSD and ecstasy are safer than alcohol; • Horse riding is more risky than using ecstasy; • If you offered a peanut or an ecstasy tablet to someone who had not tried either, the ecstasy tablet poses a much smaller risk. Nutt’s drug harm scale Noting that “the current classification system has evolved in an unsystematic way from somewhat arbitrary foundations with seemingly little scientific basis”, Nutt set out to establish a systematic consistent method of assessing the harmfulness of various drugs. He had experts assess each drug against nine factors of harm, related to harm to the user, both immediate and long term, risks of dependence and social harms, for example damage caused by an intoxicated user, or stress on a family due to addiction. The factors used represent genuine harms, not the
Table of relative drug harm (approx), extracted from Nutt’s Lancet paper
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
more fanciful measures used by BERL in their Drug Harm Index as described in previous issues of NORML N ews . However, Nutt has been criticised by some commentators for including harms that are caused or aggravated by prohibition policy rather than by drugs per se. These include for example, crime generated by the illicit market, or infections spread through the use of dirty needles. Gluckman’s pseudoephedrine report In New Zealand, Science is poorly funded, poorly understood by the media and the public and often given insufficient weight in policy direction. It therefore seemed a pleasing innovation by the new Prime Minister to employ his own science adviser, and especially someone of the calibre and prestige of Sir Peter Gluckman. However, John Key soon showed that there was no great idealism behind this appointment when he announced that the first task of the new adviser would be to look into the possibility of banning pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient of cold and flu medications but also an ingredient for manufacturing methamphetamine. Drug matters are the concern of the Minister of Health, and drug scheduling recommendations are the role of the expert advisory committee on drugs. ( EACD). Although important areas of expertise are missing from this committee, it is at least an attempt, like its UK ACMD counterpart, to schedule drugs using objective criteria. It seems strange then that the Prime Minister in conjunction with his science adviser should take over this role. Perhaps th is is more politica l ly driven, as National has repeatedly and erroneously - berated the Labour Government for doing nothing about “P” (methamphetamine). This problem seems to be more of a moral panic than a significant social problem and Labour certainly joined and helped spread this panic ($38million for ESR www.NORML.org.nz
MARIJUANA IS SAFER!
to analyse seizures, rescheduling to class A, and creation of community propaganda groups called CAYADS). Other than bringing back hanging, banning pseudoephedrine was about all that was left for National to appear “tough on drugs”. Gluckman’s 11 page report to John Key skims over many of the complex areas of drug policy, ignoring important issues of sociology of drugs, user’s rights and behaviour, efficacy of prohibition, and costs and benefits. It cites Police and UNODC references and US legislative experience; sources which are notorious for extreme positions on drugs. Of the six options for pseudoephedrine presented by Gluck ma n, just a nd sensible options such as tighter tracking of Flu medicine sales by pharmacists, or restricting it to prescription only, are skipped over in favour of what is effectively a total ban (you can have pseudoephedrine prescribed if you are in hospital). Thus Prime Minster John Key got the science that he wanted to support his predetermined course of action. This prejudiced cart-before-the-horse approach with pseudoephedrine, as well as the sacking of Prof Nutt described above show governments are determined to drive drug matters by their own moralistic viewpoint rather than by any objective evidence, and science is only involved in so far as it supports the prevailing view, and is discarded when it doesn’t. It is there to justify policy by giving it a “sciencey” feel rather than providing the firm basis for policy. Sellman’s anti-alcohol tour Meanwhile Prof Doug Sellman of Christchurch, addiction expert and member of the EACD, has launched a major campaign against alcohol abuse. Prof Sellman hosted Prof Nutt when he visited New Zealand in February 2008. Prof Sellman has just completed 40 presentations across the country listing the “10 things the alcohol industry won’t www.NORML.org.nz
tell you about alcohol” (see p24) and what he calls the 5+ plan. Alcohol is known to cause violent crime, car smashes, death by overdose, cancer, brain damage, foetal damage, obesity, liver disease and so on. His plan addresses purchases age, sales and accessibility, and more drink driving controls but he places the blame fair and square on the alcohol industry with their huge effort to promote alcohol use, excessive or otherwise, to all including young people. $200,000 per day is spent on this promotion by the industry. Sellman sees government “pragmatism” as a stumbling block to change and asserts that alcohol would be a class B drug if classified under the Misuse of Drugs Act and says the alcohol problem is far worse than the methamphetamine problem. By implication, the rhetoric directed against meth would be more appropriately directed at alcohol. There is a spectrum of control with prohibition at one end and open free market at the other end. Sellman is clear that we should aim for a middle ground of effective regulation and certainly not prohibition. In contrast, Govt Minister Jonathan Coleman said in a debate in July on a bill to ban alcohol adverts on TV that this would harm TV advertising revenues so would not be supported by the government. So, the UK government sacks it advisor for presenting scientific findings that are contrary to government policy, The New Zealand PM tells his advisor what he plans to do with pseudoephedrine and seeks advice from him to match, which is dutifully supplied, bypassing the EACD. A member of the EACD runs a major campaign to change policy and reduce harm from our most dangerous drug (alcohol). Aspects of this campaign are at odds with government policy. Watch your back Doug!
Te Kakariki, Auckland
Blue Meanies The real killer...
See www.alcoholaction.co.nz and http:// tinyurl.com/nn-4501 Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
DRUGS & DRIVING
new drug-driving law takes effect
he Land Transport Amendment Bill (no. 4) bill passed in June and came into effect 1 November, writes Brandon Hutchison. Introduced by Labour in 2007 after agitation from groups such as “Candor”, the new law accepts to some extent NORML’s position that the focus should be on actual impairment, as indicated by a sobriety test, rather than drug use per se. Transport Minister Stephen Joyce said “The drugged driving legislation is only aimed at drivers who pose a road safety risk. A driver who is not impaired will not be affected by this law.” The new legislation: * Creates an offence of driving while impaired and with evidence in the bloodstream of a controlled drug or a prescription medicine. * Empowers Police to determine whether or not a driver is impaired by means of a “compulsory impairment test” (CIT test) If the test shows that the driver is impaired it will be followed by a blood test to determine whether controlled drugs or prescription medicines are present. * Imposes penalties which are aligned to the penalties for drink driving. * Creates a further new offence of driving with Class A controlled drugs in the bloodstream in cases where a driver is injured, is in hospital or a doctor’s surgery, and is unable to undertake the impairment test. * Makes it an offence to refuse to take the CIT test The roadside check: Where a Police officer has “good cause to suspect” that a driver has consumed a drug or drugs, the officer may require the driver to take a compulsory impairment test. Grounds for having good cause to suspect include erratic driving or, if the driver has been stopped for another reason, “A single glass of wine will impair your driving more than smoking a joint. And under certain test conditions, the complex way alcohol and cannabis combine to affect driving behaviour suggests that someone who has taken both may drive less recklessly than a person who is simply drunk.” New Scientist March 2002 “Cannabis leads to a more cautious style of driving, [but] it has a negative impact on decision time and trajectory. [However,] this in itself does not mean that drivers under the influence of cannabis represent a traffic safety risk. … Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving.” Canadian Senate Special Committee
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appearing to be under the influence of drugs. An example of the latter is the person stopped at an alcohol checkpoint who is behaving in an intoxicated manner but there is no evidence of drink driving. Other factors might include the smell of drugs or the presence of drug paraphernalia. The CIT test is administered by a trained officer (there are 500 trained at present but eventually the police hope to have 8000 trained, or over 70% of the entire staff). A driver who is not able to satisfactorily complete the test will be required to provide a blood sample. The compulsory test will involve: * an eye assessment: Pupil size, reaction to light, lack of convergence, and ability to focus on and track a moving object without drifting off target * a walk and turn assessment: The driver must take a number of heel-to-toe steps along a straight line, then turn and repeat the steps in the opposite direction. There are eight signs of impairment in this task: losing balance at the start of the test, starting the test before instructions have been completed, stepping off the line, not touching heel to toe, using arms to maintain balance, improper turn (not as demonstrated), stopping mid-test and taking the wrong number of steps. Exhibiting two or more of these signs of impairment constitutes failure to complete the test to the satisfaction of an officer. * a one leg stand assessment: This requires the driver to stand on one leg with the other leg raised in front of them. The driver must then count from 1000 to 1030.There are four signs of impairment for this test: placing the raised foot on the ground, hopping, swaying and using arms to balance. The
on Illegal Drugs, 2002. … The results to date of crash culpability studies have failed to demonstrate that drivers with cannabinoids in the blood are significantly more likely than drug-free drivers to be culpable in road crashes. … [In] cases in which THC was the only drug present were analyzed, the culpability ratio was found to be not significantly different from the no-drug group.” Chesher and Longo, 2002. Cannabis and alcohol in motor vehicle accidents. In contr a s t to the compens ator y behavior exhibited by subjects under marijuana treatment, subjects who have received alcohol tend to drive in a more risky manner. Both substances impair performance; however, the more cautious behavior of subjects who have
received marijuana decreases the impact of the drug on performance, whereas the opposite holds true for alcohol.” A. Smiley, 1999. Marijuana: On-Road and Driving-Simulator Studies. “Drivers under the influence of marijuana retain insight in their performance and will compensate where they can, for example, by slowing down or increasing effort. As a consequence, THC’s adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small.” Robbe, NHTSA 1993 A review of the scientific evidence is at norml.org/ index.cfm?Group_ID=5450. A summary of road trials of cannabis and driving compiled by the UK Department of Transport (2000) is at http:// tinyurl.com/nn45-1 www.NORML.org.nz
Detection Of THC In Blood Not Indicative Of Recent Pot Use
Walk the line:
How to avoid or beat the test
1. Don’t drive under the influence of drugs. Have a designated sober driver 2. Always drive carefully, safely and legally 3. Practise the tasks in the CIT test - eg standing on one leg and counting, or walking a line 4. Don’t have a car that stinks of weed, and keep paraphernalia well out of sight 5. If you have the gear, have a friend video the test (many cellphones and most Digital cameras can take video) or at least have friends carefully observe the test and take notes. 6. If the worst happens, shut up, stall for time, and don’t say anything until you have talked to a lawyer driver fails to satisfactorily complete the test if they exhibit two or more of these signs of impairment or if they place their raised foot on the ground more than three times. It is the testing officer’s decision as to whether the test has been completed satisfactorily, rather than it simply being a pass or fail Concerns about the new law Two MPS on the select committee considering the new law took the CIT test in front of the committee. Both passed but found it challenging, implying that any impairment for any reason could lead to failure. For example a sore or arthritic leg or ankle joint would almost certainly cause a driver to fail the one-leg-stand test, without them necessarily being a hazard on the road. Consistent with the view of the transport minister, impaired drivers should be off the road, but that surely should mean impaired for any reason: For example tiredness, emotional upset, old age, illness, and intoxication by alcohol and other drugs. There are several studies that show that the detrimental effect of cannabis use on driving safety is slight or that cannabis users may even be safer drivers. While important factors such as reaction time and tracking ability are clearly degraded by cannabis use, this may be compensated for by greater vigilance and reduced speed. NORML is also concerned that the compulsory tests may be used to further add to the harassment of young people and minorities by the police rather than to address road safety. Studies have shown that Maori and young males, compared with other groups, are much more likely to be arrested for www.NORML.org.nz
nder the new roadside drug-driving tests any trace of THC in the blood will be enough for conviction, justified under the assumption THC was only in the blood while users are high. However a new clinical trial published in Addiction showed trace levels of THC may be identifiable in the blood of heavy cannabis users for up to seven days after their use has stopped.
Investigators at the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore measured blood THC concentrations in 25 chronic cannabis users over a period of seven days of continuous monitored abstinence. Researchers reported, “On day seven, six full days after entering the unit, six participants still displayed detectable THC (blood) concentrations. ... The highest observed THC concentrations on admission (day 1) and day seven were 7.0 and 3.0 ng/ml, respectively.” They concluded, “Substantial whole blood THC concentrations persist multiple days after drug discontinuation in heavy chronic cannabis users.” Previous studies had indicated that low levels of THC typically remain present in the blood of chronic users for less than 48 hours. Investigators noted that all of the subjects who tested positive for the presence of THC in their blood on day seven were female, however, body mass index did not correlate with time until the last THC-positive specimen. Researchers also noted that several subjects continued to test positive for THC in their blood even after initially testing negative for it on day one. These findings show that the detection of low levels of THC in blood are necessarily associated with recent cannabis use or impairment, and call into question the use of per se DUI drug driving laws, which treat drivers with any levels of THC in their blood as criminally impaired. This study shows once again that drug testing results possess limited value when making judgments regarding marijuana use or impairment. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19804462
cannabis offences despite similar rates of use. Is this law in effect adding more tools to extend this harassment? This is worsened by the subjective aspects of the tests: the testing officer decides whether it has been completed satisfactorily. There is no record of the test - police cars don’t routinely, if ever carry video cameras, unlike their US counterparts on “Cops”, so it all rests entirely on the honesty and integrity of the officer. Sadly, despite New Zealand having perhaps one of the best Police forces in the world, many NORML supporters will know from experience that some police officers at times display inadequate integrity and honesty. Moreover, unlike for excess blood alcohol offences, there is no threshold level for drugs stipulated. Any level detected in the blood will constitute an offence even when this could not possibly cause impairment. This will almost certainly lead to cases of injustice and is at odds with the purported aims of the new law. The law should be amended to include thresholds for all the drug that it is subject to and these should be reviewed frequently as indicated by future studies.. At present, research would support 10ng THC/ml of blood as a threshold comparable with that of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Sources: www.transport.govt.nz; www.drugfoundation.org.nz; www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17916224 Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
DRUG POLICY ANALYSIS
things they don’t want you to know about
rofessor Doug Sellman recently toured New Zealand on behalf of the newly formed Alcohol Action Group. Sellman is a member of the government’s Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs and director of the National Addiction Centre at the University of Otago. He places blame for alcohol harms not on the individual drinker but on the liquor companies which he says are multinational corporations aimed at making a profit who take no responsibility for the harm they create. This is his list of 10 things the alcohol industry doesn’t want you to know!
1. Alcohol is a highly intoxicating drug which is fairly easy to overdose on.
In terms of intoxication, alcohol is more intoxicating than heroin.1 Deaths this year from H1N1 (swine flu): less that 20 Deaths from the “P” Epidemic: less than 20 Deaths this year from alcohol: more than 1000
2. Alcohol can cause brain damage. Brain imaging show areas in the brain that have been depleted by the effects of heavy drinking.2
3. Alcohol causes aggression. For example, In NZ 70,000 physical and sexual assaults each year involve alcohol.3
4. Alcohol is fattening in moderate
There are more than 600 calories in a bottle of wine, which is 1/3 of your daily intake.
5. Alcohol causes cancer. Group 1 Carcinogens include Asbestos, Benzene,
Cyclophosphamide, Formaldehyde, Hep B and C viruses, and Ethanol (alcohol).
6. Alcohol cardio-protection has been talked up.
Many of the studies that show alcohol to be cardioprotective were paid for by the alcohol industry!
7. The alcohol industry actively markets alcohol to young people.
Alcohol company insiders have admitted the industry deliberately targets young people by sweetening ready-todrink “alco pops” to mask the taste of alcohol.4
8. Low risk drinking means drinking low amounts of alcohol. That means less than two drinks per day. Consider this: If alcohol was a communicable disease a national emergency would be declared.5
9. A lot of the alcohol industry profit comes from heavy drinking. The alcohol industry spends over $200,000.00 a day on alcohol advertising.
10. There is a solution:
“The 5+ Solution”.
The Alcohol Action Coalition believes some of the answers lie in taking these steps. THE 5+ SOLUTION
1. Raise alcohol prices 2. Raise the purchase age. 3. Reduce alcohol accessibility. 4. Reduce marketing and advertising. 5. Increase drink driving counter measures. References: 1. Hilts 1994, quoted by Room 2009 2. Harper, 2009 3. Connor et al 2009 4. The Age, August 6, 2007 5. William C Menniger, 1957 For more information see www.alcoholaction.co.nz
World alcohol consumption per capita
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What do you think about the 5+ Solution? Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org with 5+ in the subject line, or visit norml.org.nz/ forums www.NORML.org.nz
Saturday 1 May 2010 STOP ALL CANNABIS ARRESTS LIBERATE MARIJUANA STOP THE DRUG WAR RELEASE THE MEDICINE
Wellington Frank Kitts
The Octagon & over 200 cities around the world!
See WWW.WORLDWIDEMARIJUANAMARCH.ORG & www.norml.org.nz/events
www.NORML.org.nz 2010 to N O Rbe M Linvolved! N e W S 25 Sponsors, bands, stalls, helpers needed: contact your local norml rep Summer if you want
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
Hidden Voices A study of New Zealand cannabis users
By Geoff Noller
etween 2002-2007 Otago University Phd candidate Geoff Noller interviewed 80 cannabis users as part of a study on New Zealand cannabis use. Unlike much research, which focuses on the negative health and societal implications of use, Noller wanted to understand how users viewed their cannabis use. While health oriented studies produce data helpful in describing some basic phenomena associated with drug use, including harms and risks, they are primarily descriptive and don’t really engage with the meaningfulness of use for users. As a medical anthropologist, Noller wished to examine the social implications of cannabis use, considering it as a social practice. In the following article he discusses some of his findings in the context of research, public health, policy and every day life in Aotearoa.
When we consider the information available to us concerning cannabis use and users, almost the first thing apparent is a rather impersonal focus on people’s behaviour. If it’s the media reporting on a recently published study then we learn that so many people use cannabis or that they are exposed to certain risks. These might relate to their physical health or to some action they take when using cannabis, such as driving. Similarly we may hear about the increasing strength of skunk or that weed bought from tinny houses may be laced with ‘P’, thereby posing an even greater threat. Very rarely do we learn about actual people. If we do they are most commonly characterized as ‘criminals’, appearing in court. Sometimes, if the amount they were caught with is significant the person might be described as addicted to cannabis; they may even apply this description themselves, perhaps in the hope that by playing to the commonly held notion of the drug user as necessarily dependent, they will receive the court’s leniency. In the mainstream media—as
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distinct from the plethora of Internet and alternative print forums—the voice of the cannabis user is all but silent. If they are described at all it is likely to be in association with some pathology, either physical or social, for example the ill, the socially deviant. Cannabis users almost never speak publicly for themselves unless it is to confess. In acknowledging the preponderance of medical and epidemiological data but also a need to consider broader issues, I felt it would be useful, when beginning my study in 2002, to provide a space for the user’s voice to balance what was represented about them. Thus participants had the opportunity to discuss health and deviance from their perspective, as well as a greater range of issues many considered more relevant to their own experiences. First, of course, a group of cannabis-using participants had to be found. In ethnographic studies, i.e. where the researcher speaks face-to-face with a number of individuals rather than simply phoning them up or mailing out a questionnaire, even though the numbers required are small it is sometimes difficult getting them. As cannabis use is illegal I’d thought this might be even more of a problem. I placed two advertisements in the local free community newspaper and waited. The phones rang hot! In five weeks 160 people contacted me and of these 80 were signed up, the number deemed necessary for statistical, as well as qualitative data collection. It appeared that not only was there a large number of cannabis users in Dunedin, but many of them were willing to talk. With any study involving a group of people, but particularly those examining behaviour and seeking to generalize the findings to a larger population, it is important to know how representative the group being studied is. Where do they fit into the local population in terms of age, gender, education, income etc? In the present case, was the sample of 80 participants just regular folks or did it represent a very specific group, perhaps a marginal one?
o answer such questions some basic descriptive statistical tests were applied to the sample. These indicated the participants were mostly very similar to the www.NORML.org.nz
work or study. Twenty-six percent noted specific times of the day they would not use. Of parents, all but one claimed they would not use in front of their children. Participants also identified appropriate and inappropriate emotional states with which to use, for example being creative, happy, relaxed or inspired. Interestingly, while 4% considered being angry an appropriate emotional state for use, 7% specifically identified this emotion as unsuitable for use. Overall most participants self-identified a range of rules they applied to their use. These were often exclusory, i.e. inappropriate times and places were named, suggesting a set of safe-use practices informing use. Nonetheless more positive than negative states were identified. Of potential significance for drug education, those claiming to more rigorously adhere to rules were statistically less likely receive a diagnosis of abuse or dependence.
hile the questionnaire offered some interesting insights into participants’ behaviours, as with all such surveys, it didn’t really engage with the meaning of use for users. To do this, one must actually listen to the voices of users. This is the strength of ethnographic research, which creates a space for participants to represent themselves. In the present study, through providing this space, a range of themes emerged. These included narratives on deviance, rules, ‘personhood’, use as a cultural practice and the benefits of using cannabis. One of the first issues raised with participants was their use of an illegal substance and what it meant for them:
I’m not a criminal. I am a criminal strictly speaking because probably at least once a week except in dry times I break the law. Right now at this time of year I’m breaking the law and if I got a visit I’d be busted for cultivation. Even though I’ve only got my half a dozen
general Dunedin population. Their ages ranged from 18-64, with comparable ratios for each decile, and compared with the city’s population they had similar levels of education, employment, income and ethnic proportionality. They were students, tradespeople, professionals, parents, employed and beneficiaries. The sole statistically significant difference concerned gender, with two thirds of the sample being male, though this is typical of a cannabis-using population. Two further skews concerned the level of cannabis use, with half the sample using daily or there abouts, and the fact that 25% of participants had either been arrested for a cannabis offence or successfully prosecuted for one. Thus while participants generally reflected the Dunedin population, they were a group of heavier users and were much more likely than the general population to have been arrested for a cannabis offence. These are important points because they suggest some of the motivations participants might have had for taking part in the study. Along with the interviews, the study also used a detailed questionnaire featuring over 600 questions. This had initially been developed for use in Amsterdam in the late 1990’s and then subsequently deployed in San Francisco, as well as in Canadian studies. It examined a whole range of use patterns and other behaviours. Many of these questions were innovative, such as those about rules that users might have, which are discussed below. However, one section that was more medically oriented, examined dependence and abuse. To do this the original authors of the questionnaire had combined two major diagnostic tools, the DSM-IV-R and the ICD-10, which, through a series of specific questions, determine whether a person is abusing or dependent on substances. Through their responses in this study, 58% of participants were defined as having suffered from cannabis ‘abuse’ and 59% from dependence at some point in their lives. However, the fact that the two instruments had been combined and that they were applied to users’ entire cannabis careers may have skewed the results. Typically, a diagnosis of dependence or abuse takes in use over a discrete twelvemonth period, not a lifetime. This is an example of how research, if done inappropriately, can generate data that might not accurately reflect the circumstances of a given situation. In the case of a highly emotive issue like drug dependence this can have far-reaching implications for how people perceive a particular group or their behaviour. Nonetheless, these data also indicate that cannabis use does present some people with problems. Like any drug used recreationally, there are risks as well as pleasures associated with use. In a different vein, however, the questionnaire examined rules that cannabis users might have. The idea that illegal drug use might incorporate rules is not commonly examined in mainstream discourse. Users are often considered to be ‘out of control’ as a consequence of their use or their desire to use. When asked if they had rules around their cannabis use many participants said no. However, by questioning use in different situations it became apparent that 75% actually had quite a variety of rules. Of this proportion, 54% stuck to their rules ‘rigorously’ and 42% ‘reasonably’. Almost half the sample (46%) spontaneously reported they would not use before
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FEATURE on car crashes—compare the two. What’s more harmful?
Te Kakariki, Auckland plants out there, because hopefully that’s going to do me the year, but I don’t consider myself to be a criminal when it comes down to ethics and morals, I’m not hurting anybody, I’m just indulging my gardening passion and my preference to cannabis as my drug of choice.
I mean I’ve been drunk many times myself too, and it’s a completely different feeling. Like when I’m drunk I’m not in control. The morning after I look back at things I did and think: oh my-gosh, that wasn’t me. But with weed it’s different, I won’t do anything that I really don’t want to do. And I’m more cautious I think. —Female, 18, student
—Female,45, self-employed, grandmother This response is typical. In fact none of the participants considered themselves criminals. As a group they drew a distinction between the law and their personal morality. Even the study’s only current non-user, who’d quit because he felt cannabis had damaged his mental health, was clear about this distinction:
Well as far as if I was caught with it, I’d be pulled up before the court and some people would look in the court news in the morning and say: yes well [name] is a criminal. So from that perspective some people would think I was a criminal. But for most part I live a pretty satisfactory life without breaking the law. I don’t speed. I try and pay my parking meter. I pay my rent on time. I don’t steal from supermarkets or anything, so you know the rest of the time I obey the law. —Male, 37, student, no longer using Similarly, participants held very consistent ideas about the advantages of cannabis over alcohol:
I enjoy [cannabis]. And also I don’t like alcohol. And the older that I’m getting—like when I was a teenager I partied up and drank until I was spewing in the gutter and you know, had quite a few messy states, but as I get older I don’t enjoy it, I don’t like the feeling of getting drunk. I don’t enjoy the feeling of slowly losing control of what I’m saying and what I’m doing, because with alcohol the more you take, the worse you become. — Female, 25, teacher
I mean all you have to do is look in the court news any given day. People who are being had up for cannabis, they’re being had up for supply, for possession, for smoking. People who are being up on drunk charges they’re up on assaults, they’re up on murders, they’re up 30
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There was less consensus, however, around participants’ views concerning cannabis use and work:
Well it’s a bit like people with alcohol, I mean you wouldn’t go to work drunk. I don’t go to work stoned. It’s that smoking pot is an at home or with a group of friends in the weekend thing, it’s not something that I do to go and work. I don’t believe that you should ever go to work stoned. Just like I would never go to work drunk. I just don’t want to be seen as a pothead teacher I suppose, it wouldn’t be ethical to go to school stoned. —Female, 25, teacher And:
The last job I worked for, she was full on mate. You started work at half seven. I had to be there by twenty past to get the knives [for “spotting” cannabis] set up you know. And then there was another sesh [session] at 10, another sesh at 12. Go back to the boss’s house and have a sesh up there. And he used to supply.
INTERVIEWER: And that didn’t undermine your work? You weren’t sort of painting over the windows or…?
No. No-no-no, not at all…we did a lot of work for millionaires at that time, and I think it was just because we were so picky and so fussy and if that line wasn’t straight we’d keep doing it until it was straight. And these millionaires were into that and they liked it. They liked the fact that if they got stressed out at their job, they could come round and have a smoke. —Male, 35, tradesman, father These quotes suggest that one’s type of employment might mediate the choice to use at work. The study’s participants included two teachers, both of whom were adamant that they would never use at work, while two professional painters did and had even been supplied by their employers. www.NORML.org.nz
—Female, 37, home-maker, de facto, parent, As with the self-reported rules above, these last two quotes imply a concern about control, the desire for which was a dominant theme in the narratives of users. For many of them, their preference for using cannabis was associated with altering their consciousnesses in an enjoyable but safe way. Conversely, despite many participants also using alcohol, there was a strong narrative identifying problems associated with its use. Alcohol was seen as promoting aggression and generally leading to problematic and unpleasant situations. Many users felt it was unreasonable to be penalized for their cannabis use while alcohol was freely available and was clearly associated with so many problems. The relative risks posed by these two drugs was also noted by the study’s youngest participant:
Te Kakariki, Auckland However, neither of two carpenter participants would use at work, citing risks associated with powertools and the need to recall measurements etc. Participants perceived many benefits. These included medicinal use (47%), use during creative processes (30%), celebration, gaining a sense of perspective and distressing after work:
I find marijuana hugely reflective. That’s partly why I find it useful actually in my work in a way because I have really stressful moments, which on reflection, after having smoked I’ll put things in perspective. I think it allows me to not focus narrowly on say a problem—if I’ve had an incident where it’s maybe on my mind—it allows me to think of the severity of it. How important is it really for me to carry on worrying about it? It allows me to think about it in terms of all my other work that I do, or the day or life in general. —Male, 29, teacher The phenomenon of altered perspective was also evident in a more challenging set of narratives around parents who were affected by cannabis while actively involved with their children:
I remember smoking when I was a bit younger with my first child and she would have been three or four months and just started playing with her and I thought to myself: oh just for a moment there I could see it from the baby’s perspective. You know little things like sitting down in a moment and putting myself in their shoes and their reality and from their perspective, it’s the little things like bubbles in the bath. What do you find so interesting about them? Oh but if you’re looking at it from their angle and actually—well rainbows! —Female, 24, student/part-time worker, married, mother For many, the act of occasionally parenting while affected by cannabis conferred a sense of perspective on their parenting and relationships, particularly with their young children. Others mentioned reduced stress and increased enjoyment. If references to stress are included with comments about medicinal use, fully 75% of the total sample would claim to have experienced some broadly medicinal www.NORML.org.nz
benefit from cannabis. Although benefits were most commonly discussed by participants, harms were also frequently noted. However, while typical health concerns focused on lungs, mental health and inappropriate use (e.g. driving), there was also an awareness of the harms generated by prohibition. These were made explicit by one participant, a grandmother, who along with her daughter, had been busted by the police, with on-going effects on her granddaughter:
Now when that happened she [granddaughter] was about five or six I think. And she was just absolutely disgusted, she couldn’t get her head round—like she kept on coming back to it, and back to it, and back to it for months afterwards…about that’s what police do. That’s what police do. Police wreck houses. And how do you tell a child: if you’re lost you find a policeman? When that’s what police do. If you need help you find a policeman, but what’s a policeman going to do? Policemen trash houses. Policemen take your family away. —Female, 45, grandmother, self-employed
ollectively, these thoughts and experiences offered by a group of everyday New Zealanders construct cannabis users quite differently in comparison to their typical portrayal in mainstream society. While it was clear that some had at times struggled with their use, many described positive experiences with cannabis, suggesting that for them their choice to use was both reasonable and rational. This presents a major challenge to contemporary cannabis policy in New Zealand. As it presently stands it runs the risk of alienating many otherwise law abiding, productive citizens while simultaneously failing to address the genuine harms associated with cannabis, particularly for vulnerable populations such as youth and those at increased risk of mental ill-health. Dr Geoff Noller resides in Dunedin and works as an independent researcher / consultant, specialising in substance use and policy analysis. The views expressed are his own. He can be contacted at email@example.com Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
The Holy Oil
the Holy Ghost Why Cannabis Prohibition is Anti-Christian By Jonathan Rennie
his Christm a s, NOR M L N e w s looks at how Christianity is rooted in the spiritual use of cannabis, in accordance with common ancient religious practices of the middle east. A child was born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago who would grow up to become a revolutionary advocate for medical and spiritual marijuana-use. In an age when sickness was equated with sinfulness, a man who brought effective medicine to the masses became forever associated with divine forgiveness. Jesus Christ “The Anointed” healed multitudes with cannabispowered holy oils that were supposed to be for high priests and kings alone... Exodus 30: 22-25 tells how Moses received from Yahweh instructions to make an holy anointing oil that contained 9 pounds of ganja extracted into about 6.5 litres of olive oil, with cinnamon to taste. God explains how this potion is to be smothered all over the tabernacle altar. He instructs that
hand-picked high priests be anointed with the oil, which meant being doused, and stipulates that only the most highly initiated should experience this powerful dose. But it would also gently waft about the rest of the congregation in the tabernacle, mingling and rising with the ever burning incense (see BOXES 1 & 2). Only the high priests of the shaman-like Levite order would receive the full head-dousing of anointment (Leviticus 21:10-12; Numbers 3:3), until Samuel introduced its use for coronation of the Hebrew kings. King Solomon got a good drenching at the beginning of his reign and the profound entheogenic experience this induced probably contributed to his famed wisdom. Cannabis laced oils were also burned as incense, which was likely inhaled Scythian style (see Box 5). Solomon’s 1. Holy Anointing Oil & Incense Contains Cannabis eventual fall from grace In 1936, Polish anthropologist Sula Benet established that the true identity of the herb called was associated with his kaneh-bosm, or “fragrant cane” in Hebrew scripture is cannabis. She built on this in 1976, suggesting hilltop incense-burning that cannabis was the active ingredient of ritually burned incense in the Biblical world. practice, because he was The Hebrew University of Israel confirmed Benet’s kaneh-bosm translation in 1980. Subsequent making offerings to the research has further supported the thesis, although some Rabis have penned objections that Hebrew Goddess Ashera appear more political than scholarly. (The Queen of Heaven) as In the 1964 edition of the authoritative Ben-Yehuda Hebrew-English / English-Hebrew dictionary, well as Yahweh. produced by the Academy of the Hebrew Language, page 140, “kaneh-bosm” is defined as This association between “cannabis hemp.” incense-burning and the “Kaneh” is Hebrew for cane, hemp or reed, while “bosm” means sweetly aromatic. old Hebrew Goddess cult Kanehbosm was miss-translated as calamus, a stimulating spice, in the earliest Greek version of saw spiritual cannabisthe Bible, the Septuagint (circa 300BC). But calamus is a weak candidate for the “fragrant cane” use fall into disfavour that powers-up the anointing and incense oils of the ancient Hebrew priesthood. It is a stimulant among the Jewish but hardly an entheogen. orthodoxy. In the 2nd “Kaneh” is a linguistic cognate to the Sanskrit “cana”, the Assyrian “qunubu”, the Persian “kannab”, book of Kings, Josiah goes and the Chaldean “kanbun” all meaning “hemp.” The Semitic addition on a rampage against “bosm” completes the etymology of the Latin word “cannabis”. all pagan-ish practices,
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
2. Cannabis in the Cannon The five mentions of kanehbosm in the Bible are: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of kanehbosm, 500 shekels of cassia… and a hind of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend…’” Exodus 30:22-33 “Come with me from Lebanon, my bride… how delightful is your love... How much more pleasing is … the fragrance of your ointment than any spice!… your herbs are… saffron, kaneh and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree.” Song of Songs 4:8-14 “You have not brought any spicy kanehbosm for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your delinquency.” Isaiah 43:23-24 “What do I care about incense from Sheba or kanehbosm from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.” Jeremiah 6: 20 “Danites and Greeks from Uzal bought your merchandise; they exchanged wrought iron, cassia and kaneh for your wares.” Ezekiel 27:19 (Addressing the kingdom of Tyre, which had fallen into disfavour with Jahweh.) Holy kanehbosm oils like that described in Exodus were also burned as incense. The “incense from Sheba” (above) was probably a cannabis preparation. Numerous trippy scenes in the Bible unfold amid clouds of incense smoke. For example, Isaiah 6: 4-7, where winged Seraphims (literally “smoke drinkers”) bring a smoking coal to the prophet’s lips and his sins are instantly obliterated. Chris Bennet argues that the Seraphims were costumed, shaman-priests initiating Isaiah into the canna-bliss mysteries, leading to his prophetic break-through. especially incense-burning, to make up for Solomon’s tolerant approach. The urban Jewish priesthood was increasingly patriarchal and had no taste for nature-worshippers. Also, botanical entheogens that allow direct communion with the Divine threaten to evolve theology and undermine doctrine. By the time of Jeremiah, incense-burning was rejected, and suddenly Yahweh supposedly no longer digs on ganja (Jeremiah 6: 20 see Box 1). By the time of Jesus, Israel was a nation physically dominated by a foreign power, and spiritually suffocated by various conceited clerical orders. The commoners were povertystricken, disease-ridden and desperate. Then out of Galilee strides this dreadlocked Nazarene who goes among the populace promising the benevolent imminence of Jah and bringing a good supply of Holy Anointing Oil. In the ancient Judean cultural context, physical sickness was equated directly with sin. Now Jesus and his band of Hebrew hippies laid about with an arsenal of curative soaps, balms and oils that almost certainly contained cannabis as an active ingredient. With ganja’s potent pain-killing, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-pruritus, anti-nausea and anti-depressant powers, this medicine would have been effective against many common illnesses of the time. To the commoners, the mass ablutive healing would have been interpreted quite literally as a washing away of sins. By administering Grandpa Moses’ medicine, Jesus provided both a vital medical service and a positive spiritual message to those in need. He knew that ganja medicine could cause entheogenic experiences that were only meant to be for priests and kings, but he wanted to deliver effective medicine to the masses, and also bring them into direct communion with the www.NORML.org.nz
BELOW: “The Burning Bush” by Froment. Cannabis sativa is represented by Virgin Mary, the burning bush and the mirror. OPPOSITE PAGE: in this detail of a painting by Verrocchio, Jesus is annoited with potent cannabis oil.
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
FEATURE Healing Oil and The Anointed Christians in Early Records
“They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”- Mark 6:13 “...The Samaritan gave nothing but wine and oil to the wounded man. It is nothing other than the ointment. It healed the wounds, for ‘love covers a multitude of sins’”- Gospel of Philip “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.” - James 5:14-5 “Thou holy oil given unto us for sanctification, secret mystery whereby the cross was shown unto us, thou art the straightener of the crooked limbs” -Acts of Thomas:121
“The Jews had before been directed to compose a sacred oil, with which those who were called... might be anointed... on this account we call Him Christ, the Anointed, who in Hebrew is called the Messias.” - Chapter 7 of The Divine Institutes by Lactantius, 4th century “For we stand in need of a deaconess, for... the baptism of women... as the priests and kings were formerly anointed... as being Christians, or anointed, from Christ the Anointed” - Book 3, Section 2 of Apostolic Constitutions, excerpted from the Didascalia Apostolorum, Church Order, Syria, circa. AD 250 “The chrism is superior to baptism, for it is from the word ‘Chrism’ that we have been called ‘Christians,’ certainly not because of the word ‘baptism’. And it is because of the Chrism that ‘the Christ’ has his name..” - Gospel of Philip
absorbed through the skin, the oil would have soaked into the capillaries in his head and from there been sucked up by his superior brain. In large quantities cannabis activity crosses the psychedelic threshold and Jesus’ trip was probably already coming on as he was ritually dunked in the river Jordan. For the already psychically developed young man who had lived and trained in a mystic community this experience was staggeringly profound: The heavens open, God descends as a dove and speaks Words of Love... wild beasts, Satan and angels are to follow. Once anointed himself, Jesus gained the authority to initiate his disciples, who could then anoint others, as part of baptism. The earliest Christians continued the anointing practice as a central feature of their spiritual development (see BOX 3) They plainly define their cult by the rite of anointment with the “Chrism” or holy oil: an entheogenic medium that carried the Holy Spirit into the initiate. Spiritual Cannabis-Use in Proximity to Ancient Israel But by the time of the early Roman Church, use of Kanehbosm oil had Examples of ancient world cannabis use rights, the Assyrians called cannabis v i rtua l ly d isappea red. T he fi rst (qunubu), which they inhaled as incense, in central-western Eurasia: translation of the Old Testament “Greek historian Herodotus, in the the “medicine for sadness” scriptures into Greek call kanehbosm fifth century B.C., observed that the The Hindus have used Cannabis since the spicy stimulant calamus. How Scythians used the plant to purge earliest times. Aryu-vedic texts make could this mistake not have been themselves after funerals by throwing regular mention of its medical uses. In the picked up by later translators? The hemp seedheads on heated stones 1100 BC Atharva Veda, ganja is described true Chrism must have been lost to to create a thick vapour, inhaling the as one of five most sacred medicines. The some Christians already, perhaps the smoke and becoming intoxicated. ‘The Shivite cults of wandering Sadhu mystics translators even wanted the identity Scythians howl with joy for the vapour grow dreadlocks and smoke Ganja in of the active ingredient covered up. In bath’” (Herodotus, IV: 142).] Scythian honour of Shiva still today. As do the any case, Roman Christianity appears marijuana-use has been confirmed Rastafarians in honour of Jah. not to have known of the entheogenic The Zoroastrians, culturally related by a number of archaeological burial anointing ritual and Paul does not finds in which well preserved shamans to the ancient Hindus, were the original mention it. Perhaps, due to an uneasy and warrior queens have been found monotheists, who also list Ganja in relationship with the Nazarenes, Paul complete with weapons, tattoos, ganja their top medicines, number one out was never initiated into the mystery of stash. The Scythians are thought to have of ten thousand. Pollen samples from the Holy Oil. Then it was a Christianity burned cannabis in mountain caves in recent excavations at Kara Kum suggest empty of its eponymous earthly energyhonour of their Great Goddess, Tabiti- cannabis was the original active ingredient source that Paul propagated into the Hestia. of Homa (cognate to the Sanskrit Soma), world. And without the fortitude of the In connection with Scythian funeral super-potion of enlightenment. fragrant cane the resulting religion has
Loving God. So Jesus busted out the good oil for everyone. As Uncle Bob would echo nearly two thousand years later, “Herb is the healing of the Nation”, and with that herb, Jesus paved the way for national psychic nourishment on a scale that threatened to render redundant the notion of a priesthood interceding between individuals and God. No wonder they wanted him dead: the young upstart from the House of David was sparking-up a spiritual revolution. Christ, from the Greek, literally means “Anointed”, as does the Hebrew word Messiah. So the ministry of Jesus marked the return of the Hebrew anointed kings. According to Gnostic scriptures Jesus was anointed by John as part of his baptism. This would not have been a mere dabbing on the forehead but a full dousing in Holy Oil, Levitican style. The kid from Galilee was dosed. Rapidly
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
OUR PEOPLE From left: Sadhu’s in India have legal protection to practise their devotion to Shiva; the Holy Annoiting Oil; Islamic Sufis also include cannabis among their sacraments.
How to make Holy Anointing Oil
proved a menace as often as a mercy. The herb’s use appears to have gone back underground with the early Gnostic Christian sects who were, not surprisingly, oppressed as heretics by the Roman Church. From them, knowledge of cannabis was probably passed down to an Islamic mystical movement that would become known as Sufism. The Sufis are the keepers of the inner life of the Muslim faith. However it is widely thought that the root of their knowledge reaches back through the Gnostics, then back further still to the Zoroastrian Magi themselves. The Zend-Avesta, the central scripture of Zoroastrianism, names cannabis as the number one most important healing herb on earth. Sufis did not anoint with the Chrism like their Gnostic forbears, but ate the hash, or in later times, smoked it. Being the mystical path of Islam, the Sufis have sometimes been persecuted by the Muslim orthodoxy. Prohibitions against cannabis-use were a favourite instrument of various Sultans and theocrats for terrorising peaceful Sufi communities, echoing the brutalisation of the incense-burners by Josiah. Even as some of history’s most diligent searchers for Truth have held fast to the holy herb, there have often been those who try to sunder this magical relationship. But none of the pot prohibitions of the past come near to the viciousness and scale of the modern “war on drugs”. It is ironic that so many of the “moral” drivers of prohibition fondly imagine themselves to be upholding some kind of Christian value. Seeking to stamp out human involvement with the fragrant cane is not merely foolish but an appalling blasphemy. Modern day Christians ought to denounce prohibition and reconnect with the enlightening Holy Chrism that Jesus made available to everyone.
REFERENCES: Kaneh Bosm: Cannabis in the Old Testament, Chris Bennett – Cannabis Culture, 1996; Cannabis: A History, Martin Booth, 2003; The Assembly of the Church of the Universe, Abridged Theological Discussion, Reverend Tucker; Benet, Sula; ‘Early Diffusions and Folk Uses of Hemp’, in ‘Cannabis And Culture’, Vera Rubin Editor, The Hague: Moutan 1975; Wikipedia: “kaneh bosm”; thc-ministry.com www.NORML.org.nz
This method is currently in use by Chrism revivalists. Bear in mind: the casual use of cannabis would likely have offended Jesus, and to make and use the Holy Oil without genuine spiritual or medical motive is a sacrilege. Set aside about 30 minutes of un-interrupted time to concentrate on this sacred service. Wash your hands. Turnoff all distracting devices. Breathe deeply and relax. Enjoy. Have a Bible opened to Exodus 30:23 and Mark 6:13 to give thanks to God, to Moses and to Jesus, the anointed and the anointer. Remember this is a Hebrew/Christian lineage we are following. It’s a mandate from old to continue the tradition of anointing for the wellbeing of the tribe. Ingredients & EQUIPMENT A double boiler or two 2-cup Pyrex measuring cups, a small, electric coffee grinder to grind the cannabis, a stainless steel strainer, and a clean, white cloth (12” x 12” or so); 1/4 Oz. Premium Cannabis flowers; 1 cup organic extra virgin olive oil; Premium “essential oils”: 30 drops of myrrh, 15 drops of cinnamon and 30 drops of cassia (cinnamon leaf) Method Heat the olive oil in a double boiler until quite warm. Add ground herb & heat for 20 min, being careful not to scorch the mixture. With a sieve drain the oil off, through the clean white cloth to filter it, squeezing all the oil out of the herb. Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring gently let cool and package. If you don’t have a double boiler: Put one cup of olive oil in a Pyrex cup. Put the Pyrex cup in a saucepan of water. Heat the saucepan until the water boils for a few minutes and the oil gets hot. Add the ground Cannabis to the hot olive oil. Re-heat the mixture of oil and Cannabis on low temp for approximately 5-10 min (Boil the water - not the oil). The (very hot!) Pyrex cup with the oil and cannabis is ready to be poured through the cloth and strainer into another Pyrex cup. Squeeze the remaining buds and oil mash to get most of the liquid mixture into the second Pyrex cup. Add 30 drops of myrrh, 15 of cinnamon and 30 of cassia. Add prayer, intention, blessing, song, chant, music. Pour into smaller bottles as desired. It is done. Offer the aroma first. Most people love the smell. Note: once the aroma is on a person, it is in the person. Start with an ‘underdose’: a few drops on the inner wrist pulse-points, then rub wrists together. Next put some under the nose and inhale the 3,300 year old sacred recipe deeply. Finally administer about ten drops on the crown of the head, as in “anoint your head with oil”. Blessed anointing to you! Source: Roger Christie, www.thc-ministry.org
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
GROW YOUR OWN
CLONING a step-by-step guide for beginners E
very grower should learn how to clone. Growing each crop from seeds introduces a whole lot of unknown factors, such as the possibility of males or hermaphrodites as well as random genetics that may only produce low-yielding bush weed. Not to mention the risks and dangers of sourcing seeds. With cloning you remove all the random factors; you know exactly what you’re getting from crop to crop, and with the following technique you can go from cutting to bud chamber in 4 weeks. In theory you can keep on doing this for as long as you like. Some people say that cloning results in an inferior plant after a while, but I’ve personally grown plants from cuttings that were older than 10 years with good results and I know of mothers dating from the 1980s that are still alive in Holland and still producing cuttings! Cloning is the only way to guarantee consistency harvest after harvest and allows for a quick turnaround time between crops. Over the years I’ve built up this technique with bits and pieces of knowledge gleaned from various wise old growers. Cloning is essentially a simple process, and if you follow a few
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
By The Happy Huka
basic steps you’ll be rewarded with success each and every time. Of course there’s no substitute for quality, and having good quality gene stock is vital for good quality clones. Try to take a clone off a mother that’s never been flowered. This way it’ll be more vigorous when it’s clones are flowered; first timers are also bigger producers than plants that have been through the flowering process. Having said that if all you have is a flowered mother of some killer bud, then take a clone (or two) – you can always breed from her in the future, but she’ll certainly still produce clones that will produce buds again. 1. Gather your tools Before you begin make sure you have all the tools. These photos show the tools you’ll need: • fresh scalpel blade • cloning gel or powder • scissors (optional) • glass of water (rain or distilled if possible) • clean board for cutting on • sprayer for misting clones • cloning dome or tent (or similar) • cloning medium such as oasis cubes or rockwool • potting medium such as clay balls or vermiculite • light source, preferably fluorescent tubes. It’s essential to use a fresh scalpel blade each time you clone - clean gear is good gear! Some people don’t use cloning gel or powder but I’ve always had more success when using them, particularly the 2 brands shown Yates and Burnetts. Burnetts
CLONING SPECIAL is my favourite at the moment as it’s cheaper than Yates and has been giving me 100% success rates. I’ve always found it easier to use a pair of scissors when taking the cutting off the mother plant rather than a scalpel, but these are optional. I use the glass of water, preferably distilled (or boiled water that’s been cooled) or rain water, to hold cuttings while you work on others. The water acts as an air barrier, preventing air from entering your clones and creating an embolism in the stem, potentially killing them. A clean board for cutting on is essential, as is a sprayer like the one shown. This is used to mist your clones and is available for a few dollars from The Warehouse or your local garden centre. The cloning tent or dome can also be purchased from the same places and provides a perfect environment for clones to take root. You’ll also need a light source, preferably fluorescent lights as they don’t generate too much heat and stimulate strong roots, but I’ve used everything from the MH lamp in my veg chamber to keeping them in a sunny spot in my garden. Finally you’ll need some potting medium such as clay balls or vermiculite. I’ve found clay balls are cleaner and easier to use than vermiculite in my hydroponic system but both work well. The only downside to clay balls is that they tend to get everywhere! 2. Choosing cutting sites You will of course need a good mother plant to take your cuttings from. The photo (left) shows a mother pla nt w ith some example sites to take the cuttings from. I would usually take 8 – 10 cuttings every 2 weeks from a plant this size. Choose good cutting sites that are near the top of the plant as these w ill tend to be stronger and stand a better chance of rooting. You also Choose a cutting site want a cutting that is near the top strong enough to be pushed into the oasis cubes without bending; a stem that’s too weak may bend or break during this phase and will be weaker overall. 3. Taking cuttings Take your cutting from about the 3rd or 4th inter-node from the tip, about 5-7 cm long. For this step I use scissors which are easier to handle when getting in amongst the foliage of the mother. Make sure the scissors are clean though! Trim most of the leaves apart from the final couple of sets and place into your glass of water. The ideal cutting will have a couple of immature leaves just coming through and one large www.NORML.org.nz
Taking a cutting
mature leaf. Cut off all other leaves. Don’t worry if this mature leaf turns yellow later on during the cloning process; this leaf is feeding the clone and helping it to change from a cutting into a stand-alone plant. I usually take about 4 or 5 cuttings at a time, placing Put cuttings in a glass of them into the glass of water water while you work until I have a full glass. Placing them in the water prevents air Trim excess leaves and from entering the stem which cut stalk on 45º angle ca n create a n embol ism, potentially killing it. Once you have 4 or 5 cuttings in your glass, take one of them and, with your scalpel, make a cut at 45 degrees just above the last inter-node. This gives us a nice long stem with which to place into our cube. The next step is to make some very slight perpendicular cuts in the stem again using the scalpel blade. Be very careful not to slice through the stem at this point. The action is more like a tap, or resting the blade ever-so-slightly on the stem, slowly turning the stem ‘tapping’ the end of in your other hand as you go. the stem About a half dozen small cuts up the bottom 2cms of the stem will do. These cuts allow the cloning agent to penetrate the protective outside layer on the plants stem. Now dunk the stem in the cloning gel making sure you get at least 2-3 cms of coverage, enough to cover the small cuts in the previous step. Some people argue that the cloning agent merely performs the same task as the water above (preventing an air embolism), and this may be true as I’ve experimented with water-only cloning (which does work well); but I’ve not had the consistent 100% success rates with water-only Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
GROW YOUR OWN all about
cloning methods that I get with the method 2: don’t touch the cuttings at all! Dunk the cutting in described in this article. So my advice is to Don’t wet the leaves too much, just a clone gel use a cloning agent, it’s only a few dollars light mist. Lightly misting the seedlings from the gardening shop and it lasts for ages allows the plants to take in moisture so it’s good value for money IMO :) via their leaf systems until their roots You’re now ready to place the cutting into develop. This is also greatly helped by the the cloning medium. I prefer the oasis cubes use of the dome, which creates a humid because they’re easy to work with and I’ve and warm environment for the cuttings had good success with them in the past. to develop roots. The dome helps prevent I do prefer rock wool over oasis cubes for water loss through transpiration. sprouting seeds, however. A grower once I’ve experimented with cloning wax told me the oasis cubes have a small amount sprays, which do work but are a bit of a of NPK in them; I’m not sure if that’s true but pain, are an extra cost and you don’t need they certainly work well for me. The newer them if you use a tent or dome. oasis cubes also only seem to come preLess is more when it comes to cloning. holed, which is a pain because the hole they come with is too The less you touch them, the more success you’ll have! large for most cannabis cuttings, so I just place the cutting in Seriously, if you follow my instructions above, whack the lid one corner of the cube. I also just use the cutting itself to pierce on the dome for 2 weeks and don’t touch them you’ll have great the cube, I don’t pre-drill it with anything. This ensures the results. The newly forming roots of a clone are very sensitive cube remains tight around the cutting stem; you don’t want and can be easily damaged. You should check the cubes for any air getting in between the cube and the cutting and drying moisture once or twice during the next 2 weeks but no more it out. Just push your cutting into one corner of the cube, don’t should be necessary. In a properly setup (airtight) dome worry if it’s on an angle or straight. Try not to push it out the moisture loss shouldn’t be a problem. bottom of the cube, and leave a gap of 1-2cm between the top * Light & heat issues of the cube and the cutting’s leaves. I’ve experimented with many different light sources for my Don’t worry if the cutting is a little droopy by this stage, in clones, from cheap mechanics lights, fish-tank fluoros, HPS a day or two it will have perked up again. & MH lamps to Jah’s beautiful sunlight, which is the best * Fill your dome producer for plants but I found it awkward to keep chasing the Repeat this process sun around the house with my domes. While the HID lights until you have enough are fine for cloning, I’ve found fluoros give the best results. cuttings or until your They produce very little heat so can be placed much closer to dome is full. Try not to growing clones. They also don’t use as much electricity and overfill your dome as produce clones with vigorous root growth. I use 3 fluorescent some of the cuttings office tubes which provides ample light. w o n’t g e t e n o u g h One thing to note with lighting is heat. Make sure that your light and won’t take. dome isn’t getting too hot. It’s normal to see moisture building I prefer the smaller up on the inside of your dome, but if it’s running down the sides d o m e s (t h e y c a n in small rivers you’ve probably got heat problems. Move the The dome keeps cuttings moist f it ab out a doz en light further away to see if this helps. While clones like a bit of and warm cuttings in each) and warmth to encourage root growth, too much heat at this stage I rotate between 2 of can kill the plants fragile root systems. Excessive heat can also them. Taking cuttings from 2 mothers on alternative weeks, cause the cubes to dry out too quickly, stressing your clones. meaning I’ve always got a least 24 cuttings on the go at various Some people recommend a heat pad for rooting clones. I’ve stages of growth at any one time. always found that this is only necessary in the coldest parts As you can see in the photo I’ve used clay balls around my of winter, and even then the light from the fluoros is enough clones to keep the cubes moist. You can also use vermiculite to keep them warm. I also run my lights at night, saving on here, but I find the clay balls are cleaner and easier to deal cooling costs during the summer and heating costs during the with. The important thing is to keep the cubes moist but not winter. If you are going to use a heating pad be careful that it soaking. You don’t want the cubes to dry out during the next doesn’t get too hot and dry out the cubes. As always be careful 2 weeks but you also don’t want to drown the immature roots, when using electricity near water! which will prevent them from growing. Using the dome ensures While you can place clones in a 24-hour-on light cycle I’ve that the cubes won’t dry out while the clones are rooting. found the extra costs to my electricity bill don’t warrant it. In the photo you can see that I also use a couple of clear Clones will do fine in a 18 hours on/ 6 hours off light cycle, and plastic (takeaway) containers to hold the cubes. This is so I can in about 2 weeks you should see the 1st roots showing through check the clones safely without disturbing their roots. the cubes. I usually leave them another week so that they have a nice set of roots coming out and then introduce them straight * Tips & tricks into my vege chamber. In about 2-3 weeks the plants should There are two secrets to getting great results from cloning be big enough to transplant into the flower chamber. using this method: Happy growing! 1: lightly mist the cuttings with the sprayer once before putting the lid on the dome, and
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
GROW YOUR OWN Hemlock
cloning the gaps C
BY INDOOR HERB
lones are an important part of the growth life cycle. With timing and effort your garden can produce a harvest every 9 weeks (allowing a week to harvest, clean and prepare the flowering room for the next cycle.) A well constructed grow op will contain at least 2 lights. One is for flowering your plants: this room will run on a 12-on/12-off light cycle. Always use a timer as they are cheap and reliable and you will forget. The other light is for the vegetative room which this contains your mother plants, your vegetative plants (ready to slide in to flowering) and finally your clones. At any one time, most hobby growers need only a couple of clones, maybe one mother plant and of course your next generation ready to go. For this purpose I cannot recommend enough CFL’s (Compact Fluorescent Lamps). Like standard fluorescent lamps CFL’s produce very little heat, but unlike standard lamps, compact fluorescent lamps generate greater initial light intensity (130w), enough to grow your mothers, your vegetative plants and to raise your little clones to the next level. Emphasis should be put on air movement (as always), the most undervalued area of any indoor garden. Not only will air movement help control temperature, the fresh cool air will bring much needed CO2 that your plants will need in order to grow. For this reason the lid of the clone’s humidity dome should be lifted at least once a day to allow fresh air for your clones. 40
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
Tips for keeping a regular cycle in your garden: Take new clones as soon as your vegetative plants enter the flowering room. The compact growth provided by the CFL tubes will ensure your next generation do not grow too fast, and have ample nodes. The extra growing time will allow you to “Tip” your plants: removing the growing “tip” of each branch will force a branching to form, and each new branch is a new flowering site, so tip your plants like mad. Tipping also helps the smaller lateral branches to grow to the height of the tops, and an even canopy is key to maximising yield. When taking new clones always take a few more than you need as some may not make the transition to plant, and even if they all do you will want to flower the strongest most perfectly formed plant to ensure the strongest possible flowering plant and maximum yield. Each clone takes on the genetic age of the “mother” plant so taking clones from a 2 year old plant will create a 2 year old clone. This is important because plants need to mature before they can be flowered. Plants grown from seed should be 3 months old before flowering in order to achieve the genetic potential of the plant. Clones should not be taken from stems that have become “woody”. This woodiness develops as the plant ages physically rather than genetically. If you find your www.NORML.org.nz
GROW YOUR OWN
PHOTO: HEMLOCK / CHRIS FOWLIE
Te Kakariki - grown from clones!
The Unwanted Male Search and destroy on sight! Or you want to breed: keep it away from your females, collect the pollen and use a paint brush to apply it to the female buds of your choice. That way, only some of them will be seeded.
mother plant becoming “woody” I’d suggest choosing your best candidate clone and using that to replace your mother. Mother plants should be replaced every couple of years or if the stems become woody. While seeds are perfect for obtaining great new genetics, clones are a perfect way to maintain your garden. Seeds are the perfect way to refresh your genetics. If you can secure seeds from a good seed company do so. Germinate a couple of seeds, choose the best plant to become your mother plant and you are on the road to a plentiful garden of high quality female plants. www.NORML.org.nz
There is still time to put plants in the ground for later crops or smaller, more discreet plants. In fact, it’s never too late to plant, it will just effect your yield. Planting clones or using feminised seeds will ensure they are all female. If temperatures are still dropping too much at night (under 10º) protect with a cover of plastic or glass. Keeping plants out of the wind and putting mulch around their roots will help prevent water loss, meaning less work for you. Use nearby foliage to shade large plants from the hottest midday sun, as it will slow growth and increase water loss if it is too hot.
Heat causes plants to grow taller and produce light, fluffy buds. Keep your room in the low-to-mid 20º’s, definitely under 30º. If heat is an issue, get more ventilation, run the lights at night or move to the basement. With heat comes more smells - and more insects. Be careful not to transport pests into your room on your clothing, supplies or equipment. Humidity - use fans, vents, and dehumidifiers to keep it at about 50% for flowering, or slightly more for vegetative growth. Will your garden suffer if you go away for a holiday? Get some extra large reservoirs if you are hydro, and rig them up in series. For dirt growers, you could invest in a drip line irrigation system. The temperature of the room will greatly effect how much water the plants will need while you are away.
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
GROW YOUR OWN
Got a grow question?
Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Herb, I have some seed and I want to grow some weed but I don’t have a light or anything to grow with. What’s the best light to get? Hey bro, sounds like you have a job on your hands, you really need to sort yourself a grow room or wardrobe or tent to grow in, a light to grow under and a fan to move the air out of your room. Start with your grow room, something big enough to grow a couple of plants, about 1.2m wide, 1.2 meters deep and at least 1.8m high (remember you need to account for the lights and the pot the plant grows in.) Tents are great because you can put them up in any room and whip them down if you need to. Wardrobes whether built in or built for the purpose will require a wee bit more construction. The advantage is they contain sound better (ideal for fans and pumps air and water) The best light without doubt is a 600 watt high pressure sodium lamp. You can experiment with different watts, you can mix and match 400, 600 and 1000 watt lamps, but the first light you should buy is a 600 watt high pressure sodium. Always buy a timer with your light - they are cheap, reliable and will never forget to turn the light off! You will need an extractor fan. Sure, you can get a cheap bathroom extractor, but it will not move the volume of air you need to keep your room cool enough to grow in. Buy a centrifugal fan at least 150mm in diameter. As your plants flower, you will need to add a carbon filter to control smells, and this is where your centrifugal fan proves its worth. Growing pot is not hard - if you have the right equipment!
Aurora Indica, Auckland: grown from clones.
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
CHRIS / HEMLOCK
tdoor Hemlock’s ou Herb, my fan is making heaps of noise. I’m worried my neighbour next door might be able to hear the noise coming from my fan but if I shut it off my plants start to die after a while. Help! Fan noise is a common complaint, and the answer is simple. The noise most people complain of is not actually the fan blades spinning making noise, but in fact the air moving through the ducting. If you want a demonstration stick you head out the window next time you are on the motorway - there is no fan making that rushing air sound. Having said that, fans do make some noise, so if we tackle both causes of sound we can minimise the amount of noise being made. To begin with take the fan and wrap it. You can use just about anything you like. I prefer sound batts insulated sound proofing fibre, it’s easy to use, damps a heap of sound and can be easily wrapped around your fan. Failing that just about anything will do: old blankets, towels, even just building a box around the fan to muffle any possible fan noises. Next muffle the exhaust; in much the same way a car exhaust muffles (or amplifies depending on your car) you can “muffle” the sound of air moving through your exhaust fan/ ducting arrangement. Any good grow shop will be able to sell you a muffler unit for your exhaust fan.
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
GROW YOUR OWN
DNA Genetics: the best of California in Amsterdam
Interview and photos by Chris Fowlie
I was like, we got better weed in LA. We came out to Denmark and we ended up on a couch in this little town in Belgium at some dudes house that we didn’t even know, and three weeks had gone by so we were like ‘lets go to Amsterdam and we can party for a couple of weeks and bounce out’. We ended up getting a job at a hostel, and in the end it manifested itself into this. He had seeds saved in his vault from forever, I had seeds saved from my vault forever, family members and this and that, and it all came together into this smorgasbord in Holland. How do you come up with your new strains?
NA Genetics has taken the cannabis world by storm, winning 32 prestigious prizes in their first six years of business. Originally from California, Don and Aaron (DNA, get it?) moved to Amsterdam with the aim of presenting the best American cannabis genetics to the world. The DNA store in the heart of Amsterdam stocks high-quality bongs, clothing, and of course regular and feminised seeds including their cup-winning strains LA Confidential and Martian Mean Green. DNA’s philosophy is to “circulate and preserve the pool of cannabis genetics” which is carried over to their new sub-label Reserva Privada, which showcases heirloom strains from a West Coast (USA) collective of breeders who, although protected by medicinal cannabis laws, wanted to remain nameless.
So Don and Aaron, tell us how you got started. Aaron: Don and I had been really good friends for a long time. I guess our relationship was based around cannabis from the very get go. Don had just moved into the neighbourhood, somebody he knew through me needed some medicine and it started there – around 94 or 95. We were selling weed in the alley. It was basically the USC, University of Street Cannabis! When we moved out here Prop 215 had just started. Don: It passed in 96 but didn’t get rolling till 2002. Those years in between, it wasn’t like you could go to a dispensary or be a vendor. Back then it had to be like cancer or AIDS or glaucoma, it was so hard core. I didn’t want to take anything away from the true medical patients, so we moved and it blossomed while we
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
were over here. A: We’ve been smoking since almost 13. Don’s mom is sitting right here. How long have you been smoking weed for mom? Don’s Mom: 1974 was my first year of smoking weed. D: I remember as a kid that mom would be smoking a bong and we didn’t know it was bad. She used to bong out in the bedroom! We went to the DARE program where they try to brainwash a kid to snitch your family or something. I remember my parents sit me down and they were like “listen their program is good but weed isn’t a drug and they are going to try and make you think it is a drug and you just know that we are telling the truth.” And I knew right then as a kid that the whole system is shit. For years I came out here to Amsterdam on vacations, smoking weed out here and
D: You have two and they have babies and you see what comes out of it. We’re real strict about our selection. A: The bottom line is you want the best and whether you select from 100, 2000, or 10,000 finding that one that is special to you is really something. You are playing God, saying this one is going to stay alive, this one is going to die. So what are you looking for? A: You gotta look for the total package, you want it to put off a phenomenal smell, you want it to taste very well, put off the same kind of flavours, and hash if you can have that it is a plus. We are not so worried about yield or strength, because all of the cannabis these days has been so hybridised that everything is going to get you medicated. It really comes down to enjoying the cannabis. You don’t want to smoke it just to smoke it, you want to enjoy it. You want to savour the flavour. D: DNA Genetics is based on two guy’s opinions. We feel that this - whatever product we’re talking about - has reached it’s level. Doesn’t mean it will be your favourite or even our favourite. We do selections and we have a taste test of whoever’s around and we’ll take a popular opinion, and maybe it’s not what we wanted but the popular opinion says we should select it. Which are your favourites? D: The LA Confidential we will sacrifice yield for the flavour every day of the week, and we will always have some growing indoors, because we love the www.NORML.org.nz
flavour, and it is strong. Shark’s Breath or Cannalope Haze, we like it, it will get you high and we grew it for years but we are over it. Now it is deemed commercial in our mind. It is still really good pot but for us it is kinda like really good mediocre pot. A: LA Confidential, I’ll never get sick of it. Yield is not the best, but who gives a fuck about yield when you are looking at your personal stash. We can grow the Cannalope Haze and it comes out phenomenal, but it is like I could grow my best crop, I’m still not saving it. I will sell it all cos I would rather smoke the LA or the Martian. Sweet Haze, originally came from Neville as a Super Silver Haze or Silver Haze grown by another really big activist in the cannabis community Todd McCormick. I had purchased some weed from Todd and I found some seeds and brought those seeds back with me to Amsterdam and grew them out. It was like a Skunk Haze, a sweet tasty hazy strain. We took that female and crossed it with our Cannaloupe and brought out the Sweet Haze. What should the outdoor grower in NZ be growing? D&A: Sour Cream, Connie Chong, C13 because these are sativas and perfect for outdoors.
LA Confidential. Left: the trophy cabinet Opposite page: Don (left) and Aaron (right) with pot mouth sprays at the Cup. Are any particularly resistant to mould? A: LA Confidential is pretty resistant to the powdery white mildews you get outside. Chocoloupe and Cannaloupe does well. I would stay away from the bigger buds like the Sharks Breath, the Recon. Most of them can and will do good, depending on where you live. Tell us about the Cannabis Cup. A: We always put in 150% towards the Cup, seeing as how all these people travel from throughout the world to sample the best weed in Amsterdam. We smoke out over a kilo and a half of grass with people and it’s a good time for us. The most successful winners? D: Chocoloupe, LA Confidential, Lemon Skunk, Marsh Mean Green, Cole Train, Kush Berry has won a couple. Connie Chong just won the Slovakian 10th Annual Cannabis Harvest Cup! Are you concerned about feminised seeds? A: Who knows what is going to happen? You might sell a feminised seed, say Chocoloupe, and then the next person down the line might say ‘I’ve got a really
good breeding male’ and then they breed that into the feminised line and we don’t know what is going to happen. Whether we agree with it morally has nothing to do with it, we want to do good business and 80% are screaming for this. D: Right now, feminised seeds go for more than regular seeds, but we’re the opposite: our feminised seeds are cheaper than our regular seeds. Do you get any heat? Is operating in Amsterdam similar to other countries? A: We try to keep our mouths shut and we don’t tell anybody anything. Here, it’s hard to be anonymous because people know we’re DNA and they’re smoking our weed at the coffeeshops. They know what we do but we don’t throw it in their faces. We let the guys like Arjan, Derry and Soma put their heads way out there. We like the limelight a little bit, but we’re American and those motherfuckers [Dutch authorities] could come in here and swoop us up any time they want. DNA Genetics are available at their shop in Amsterdam, or see www. youknowit.com
Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
Although the vast majority of cannabis consumers do so responsibly and suffer no harm, it is not without risks and some people can experience problems. This guide is intended to help you make an informed choice so you can stay safe. Harm reduction > The main thing is to ensure that your cannabis use does not impair your health, family, employment and education. It’s also good to have regular periods of reducing use or not consuming cannabis. > Remember that “Less is More” - the less you use, the less you will need - and the more high you will get! > Heavy long term cannabis use may lead to some respiratory damage. Deep tokes and long breath duration are more harmful to the lungs. Take it easy! > Water pipes and bongs help cool the smoke, filter solids, and absorb the most harmful tars in the water. Bongs can make the smoke very smooth, so avoid inhaling too deeply. Replace bong water each time and regularly sterilise your pipe or bong (eg using meths, alcohol or denture cleaning tablets). > If you’re into spotting, try using a lower temperature. Red hot is too hot! Cooler knives will give you a much better taste and smoother hit with no coughing. 46
> Try other ways of ingesting cannabis, such as eating or drinking it, or using a vaporiser to heat the herb and release THC without combustion.
> When eating cannabis preparations, start with a small piece and wait an hour before increasing the amount, if desired. The effects of edible cannabis products may be stronger than smoked cannabis. > NORML recommends consuming organic cannabis whenever possible.
Health ADVICE > Cannabis is best avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. > Meningitis and other diseases can be transmitted through saliva, so don’t share spit on joints or pipes. Try using your hands like a chillum to hold the joint. > People with a history of severe mental illness should reduce any cannabis use to a level agreed with their clinician, or avoid cannabis
altogether. > People on digitalis or other heart medications should consult their doctors before using cannabis. > Never consume cannabis that appears artificially coloured, as it may have been sprayed with a blue toxic poison by the Police. If cannabis has a chemical taste or smell it may contain residue of fertilisers or pesticides. > Do not use any cannabis that appears contaminated
NORML’s Principles of Responsible Marijuana Use Adults Only. Cannabis consumption is for adults only. It is irresponsible to provide cannabis to children. Set and Setting. The responsible cannabis user will carefully consider his/her mindset and physical setting, and regulate use accordingly.
Resist Abuse. Use of cannabis, to the extent that it impairs health, personal development or achievement, is abuse, to be resisted by responsible cannabis users.
N O R M L N e W S Summer 2010
Safe Driving. The responsible cannabis consumer does not operate a motor vehicle or other heavy machinery while impaired by cannabis, nor (like other responsible citizens) impaired by any other substance or condition, including prescription medicines or fatigue.
Respect the Rights of Others. Responsible cannabis users do not violate the rights of others, observe accepted standards of courtesy, and respect the preferences of those who wish to avoid cannabis.
or has mould or fungus on it as it could be very harmful if inhaled. > Be cautious about mixing drugs, as the effect of combining substances is more unpredictable and can increase health risks. Especially use caution when mixing cannabis with depressants such as alcohol as it can make you more out of it than you intended. > Mixing cannabis with tobacco will cause more smoke damage to your lungs, and may make you become nicotine dependent. > Smoking cannabis as a way of dealing with unpleasant feelings or emotions can sometimes intensify these feelings, or stop you sorting out the problem. If you experience anxiety or paranoia prior to using cannabis it may be made worse. Avoid using cannabis to deal with bad acid trips, as it could intensify the experience. > While no-one has ever died from using cannabis, drug prohibition causes crime and violence Being arrested is also a significant harm, so make sure you stay safe and know your rights.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS E Tu! Kia Kaha!
Police Questioning: you have the right to remain silent! · Yes, just like on TV you really do have the right to remain silent – and this includes not making a statement or answering questions - but if suspected of a crime you must give your correct name and address and in some cases your date of birth. · Talk to a lawyer before saying anything else. · If the Police want you to go with them, ask if you have been arrested. · You have the right to talk to your own or a free lawyer on the Bill of Rights list if you are being questioning about an offence. · If you’re under 17 you have the right to have a supportive adult of your choice with you at the police station. Searches: refuse consent! · Always ask why you are being searched. If you don’t want to be searched you must say so. Silence is consent! · The police can only search you, your bag or car if you let them; or after being arrested; or they have a search warrant; or they have reasonable grounds to think you have drugs, or an offensive weapon. · The police can search your home if: you let them; or they have a search warrant; or they have reasonable grounds to think it contains drugs. You are entitled to witness a search but not to obstruct police. · If you are female usually only a policewoman can search you.
Arrests, Detainment and Charges: do not make a statement! · Always ask if you’re being arrested, detained or charged and why. · Don’t run away or resist arrest. · Ask to make a phone call and TEXT NORML phone someone you trust. TO 343 · You don’t have to answer any questions or make a statement. for the latest list of lawyers You have the right to talk to & civil rights information a free lawyer. Tell police you want to talk to one on the Bill of Rights list before talking to them. · Preparing your defence: write everything down · You have the right to get bail unless there is a in as much detail as possible. Go through the good reason for holding you or you have been police evidence and identify any discrepancies charged with a very serious offence. or errors. Search the internet, local law libraries Going To Court: know your and courts.govt.nz for relevant cases. options Remember to stay calm. · First appearance: you can enter “no plea”, Be smart, don’t get smart! and before your next appearance ask for “full disclosure” of the evidence against you, and seek · Try to get all the police officer’s names, legal advice. Check with the court registrar if you numbers and police stations. Try to get someone to witness what the police do. can get legal aid or, see the duty solicitor. · If the police breach your rights tell your · If it is your first arrest, you may be eligible for lawyer/a duty solicitor or make a police the police diversion scheme. Ask your lawyer or complaint later, rather than argue at the time. the police’s duty sergeant for more information. · Otherwise, you can plead Guilty and accept the Police Complaints punishment given to you, or plead Not Guilty · Independent Police Conduct Authority 0800 and fight the charges. 503 728; Talk to YouthLaw, your lawyer or · If you plead Not Guilty you can plea bargain at NORML. Write down everything that happened a pre-trial “status hearing”. Try to strike a deal while you remember. Get photos of any injuries that gets the charges dropped, or negotiate a and see a doctor. reduced sentence.
Civil rights advice & support www.norml.org.nz/rights or TXT NORML TO 343 Call NORML: 09 302 5255 or in the South Island: 021 399 822 (Please call weekday daytime only. Our priority is to norml members. Texts cost 99c)
LAW YERS with experience defending Owen Harold 09 6304969; Rodney Harrison 09 MORE INFORMATION cannabis charges. Whangarei: David Sayes 09 4382154; Nick Leader 09 4384039 Auckland: Peter Winter 09 3797658; Johnnie Kovacevich 09 3093364 or 021 653933; Matt Goodwin 09 3750052 or 0274-999433, Rob Weir 09 3099636; Colin Amery 09 2665910; Marie Dyhrberg 09 3604550; Adam Couchman 09 3733592; Charl Hirschfeld 09 3076997; Maria Pecotic 09 5227399;
3034157 Hamilton: Roger Layborne 07 8396288 Rotorua: Simon Lance 07 3460796 Palmerston North: Peter Coles 06 3581075 Wairarapa: Peter Broad 021 3264547 or 06-3798049 Wellington: Michael Appleby 0274 403363; Chris Tennet 021 626878 or 04 4711952; Christchurch: David Ruth 03 3745486 Timaru: Tony Shaw 03 6886056 Invercargill: John Pringle 03 2144069
> Under 25? YouthLaw.co.nz Ph 09 3096967 > Low income? www.communitylaw.org.nz > Help with prisoners: www.pars.org.nz > Legal Aid: www.lsa.govt.nz ph 0800 600 090 > Find a lawyer: www.lawsociety.org.nz > How courts work: www.courtsofnz.govt.nz > Laws & Statutes: www.legislation.govt.nz Summer 2010 N O R M L N e W S
You can help
White Widow, Auckland
you can hel There are heaps of ways to Here are some easy ways get started. > 10 MINUTES
Email your MP > The format is firstname.lastname@ parliament.govt.nz or see ww w.norml.org.nz/emailMP Buy a copy of NORML News rather than expecting it for free! It costs money and takes a lot of time for us to produce. Buying NORML News is an easy and effective way of supporting our law reform efforts. Donate online > 12-3057-0594 667-00 Join NORML > on the opposit e page. Support the Canna-Bus > don ations can be made to the Canna-Bus account: 12-305 7-0594667-03 Write a letter to the editor Learn your rights > on page 47 Join our monthly email list > email “subscribe normlnz” to email@example.com
SO > 1 HOUReOR an > learn how to hold your own in Raise your voic z/topic8.html argument at www.norml.org.n morning Visit your MP on any Saturday sion’s review of the Take part in the Law Commis www.lawcom. see 5 Misuse of Drugs Act 197 d! wor the govt.nz and spread r doctor. Medical users > talk with you your town. Find und aro s New ml Nor ute Distrib ds for NORML. fun e rais new outlets. Sell mags to l.org.nz/forums and Get informed > visit www.norm 0 online members. join the discussion with our 850
> 1 DAY OR SO Organise
an event like a local J Day con cert, demonstration, public talk, pet ition, movie showing or social evening. Grow hemp > apply for a permit from MedSafe. Apply for a medical permit > get the backing of your doctor then write to the Ministe r of Health. Form a local anti-prohibition group > and get active in your area! discuss your ideas
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a with leonor op left: ction in 75 t produ time from y and Whiteite widow “goodite berry “fruit’s y her wh ing”; wh mr happ flower k ass high”; t grown n a pl day of ic e ite and a k .5oz from on HPS”; wh ud sweet ino “25 nder 1200w b r rh u e o it y wh ically u DED! Send us to news@ NEE hydropon tion pics to PHOTOS resolu TOS OR a CD berry. igh h il ur! HO a h P C t . Em . d porn z or pos 307 Aucklan .org.n 3 norml PO Box News, NORML
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