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Our Clayton’s Bill of Rights Cannabis News & Research Busting the myths about cannabis

Drug policy policy review: review: Drug

have your say

J Day Sat 6 May 2006

Show your your support! support! Help Help End End Marijuana Marijuana Prohibition Prohibition Show AUTUMN 2006 N O R M L NeWS



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CONWelcome to the “harvest” issue of Norml News. We hope you enjoy reading about cannabis, the law and how you can help end prohibition. Also this issue, we discuss the National Drug Policy review (p4), the latest marijuana news and research, including the so-called “gateway effect”, the failure of our Bill of Rights, and there’s a bumper Bush Doctor section brimming with beautiful bud shots. Happy reading!

NZ drug policy review have your say New Zealand News tinnies, cops and greypower You can help end marijuana prohibition by Duncan Eddy Medical Marijuana Research & News International News by Harry Cording J Day - Saturday 6 May 2006 show your support! Gateway study supports reform by Jonathan Rennie A Clayton’s Bill of Rights by David Haywood Know your rights or no rights Legal News Presumption of supply; drug testing methods NORML membership form & shop Join our campaign!

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The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML NZ Inc) is a non-profit organisation that has campaigned to end marijuana prohibition since 1979. NORML supports the right of all adults to possess, use and grow their own marijuana. We recognise that a market for marijuana will always exist, and we call for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to look at how best to regulate and control that market. Our aims are to: • reform New Zealand’s marijuana laws • provide information about cannabis • engage in political action appropriate to our aims • inform people of their rights • give advice and support to victims of prohibition

Special thanks to: AUTUMN 2006 N O R M L NeWS


nz news Drug policy review - have your say by CHRIS FOWLIE The Government has announced a review of the National Drug Policy and this means it is your chance to have your say. The current policy is harm minimisation, which means policies and government agencies should seek to reduce overall harm even if it means people continue to use drugs. One example is the > assess the effectiveness of the needle exchange and methadone current policy network. Another example is > review the impact of the NDP NORML’s tips for safer cannain terms of stakeholder support bis use printed on the opposite and its contribution to reduction page. New Zealand led the world of drug related harm in introducing this policy, and > identify options for future although evidence shows harm drug policy directions minimisation is the most effec> determine the best approach tive policy, it is not without it’s for a future National Drug Policy critics including many politicians including the relative focus on who campaign on “tough on strategic versus action oriented crime” platforms. This includes approaches United Future’s Peter Dunne, > develop a draft Strategy for who has tried to get the wordendorsement by Government, ing of the policy changed so including a process for evaluatthat it is more orientated around ing the effectiveness of that abstinence. The document outlines areas of supply control, demand reduction and problem limitation. Proposals range from toughening a focus on issues for Maori, will law enforcement, better drug be held in Auckland, Wellington, education, more work on pricing Christchurch, Whangarei, Gisand tax policy for alcohol and borne and Rotorua. tobacco, and improving access Written or emailed submissions to treatment. It also said more can also be made. needed to be done on collectThe cannabis inquiry held from ing data. 1999-2003 was greatly promising Associate Health Minister Jim until the evidence was overridden Anderton said the policy tried to by the politics and grandstanding. take a more economic view of Don’t let it happen again. Have the harms caused by drugs, rather your say and help make New than just the health effects. Zealand’s drug policy evidenceHe emphasised legal drugs such based. as alcohol and tobacco caused far more harm than illegal drugs The draft document is avail— between 70-90 per cent of able at and criminal activity related to alcoyou have until 26 May to make hol use and 4700 deaths a year a submission. were from tobacco use. Five regional meetings will be held in Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Separate hui, with


NDP review is to:

N O R M L POLICY Stop arresting cannabis users: The Government should immediately declare a moratorium on arresting cannabis users. Every day another twenty cannabis users are made criminals. Decriminalisation: remove all penalties for the use, possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults for personal use and the non-profit transfer of small amounts. The draconian search provisions of the Misuse of Drugs Act should be removed and criminal records for cannabis offences wiped. Regulation: A commercial market for marijuana will always exist, and it is better to control that market by law than to leave it to organised crime. We support the introduction of Dutch-style cannabis cafes. Overseas experience shows cannabis law changes have not been associated with an increase in use. Reasonable restrictions: As with alcohol consumption, cannabis use should be limited to adults. Driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence should remain prohibited. NORML has attempted to define acceptable conduct with our ‘Principles of Responsible Cannabis Use’. Harm minimisation: All drugs, including cannabis, can be abused. Cannabis policies should discourage irresponsible use, including use by adolescents. Only in a climate where marijuana is viewed from a public health perspective, instead


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Other law changes in the pipeline include: Sale of Liquor Act - review of the drinking age and advertising Tobacco - Hone Harawira’s bill to extend cannabis prohibition to tobacco will be similarly disastrous. Proceeds of Crimes - oppose Phil Goff’s bill to increase police powers and reverse the burden of proof when seizing assets from suspects. We encourage you to get involved in the political process for these bills. Write a submission and have your say. Make your views


see p17 for details

tips for safer cannabis use > While cannabis has been shown to be safe for the vast majority of people who use it, there will always be some who experience problems. Ensure that your cannabis use does not impair your health, family, employment and education, and try to have periods of not consuming cannabis. Harm reduction:

> Less is More: the less you smoke, the less you will need, and the more high you will get. Heavy long term use may lead to some respiratory damage. > NORML recommends consuming organic cannabis whenever possible. > Mixing cannabis with alcohol can make you more out of it than you intended. The anti-nausea effect of cannabis may also cause people to drink more. > Mixing cannabis with tobacco means more smoke damage to your lungs, and may make you become nicotine dependent. > 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 more psychoactive than smoked cannabis. > Deep tokes and long breath duration are more harmful to the lungs. Water pipes and bongs can cool the smoke, filter solids, and absorb some of 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 alcohol or denture cleaning tablets) > 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. Contraindications:

> Cannabis is best avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women, or women who might soon become pregnant. > People with a history of severe mental illness should reduce any cannabis use to a level agreed with their clinician, or avoid cannabis altogether. > Those receiving digitalis or other heart medications should consult their doctors before using cannabis.

NORML’s Principles of Responsible Marijuana Use Adults Only. Cannabis consumption is for adults only. It is irresponsible to provide cannabis to people aged under 18.

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 some prescription medicines or fatigue. Set and Setting. The responsible cannabis user will carefully consider his/her mind-set 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. Respect the Rights of Others. The re-

sponsible cannabis user does not violate the rights of others, observes accepted standards of courtesy, and respects the preferences of those who wish to avoid cannabis.



nz news

Marijuana arrests drop again, but hundreds still in jail

Were any tinnies really laced with P?

by CHRIS FOWLIE The latest crime stats show police are continuing a four-year trend and arresting fewer people on cannabis charges, but there are still hundreds of people in jail on cannabis charges - enough to fill a medium-sized prison such at Mt Eden. In the down 2005 calendar police recorded 14,560 cannabis ofevery year chasing cannabis fences, 11% fromyear, 2004,

Earlier this year reports appeared about teenagers buying pot laced with P from tinnie houses. The source of these reports was police inspector Jim Wilson in Auckland, and his claims were accepted without question by mainstream media. By the time it had been reported on TV, radio and in various newspapers, it was taken as gospel. I contacted the Central Leader, an Auckland community paper, and asked the reporter what evidence the police had provided. None, she said - “I just took their word for it.” If it were true, it would support the case for legalising cannabis (and therefore ensuring it’s purity, consistency and dosage) but simple economics make this story look ridiculous. P (methamphetamine) sells for $1000 a gram. There would probably have to be $30 to $50 worth of P in a $20 tinnie to produce a reasonable buzz - why would anyone bother? Furthermore, P is not actually smoked - it’s heated in the bowl of a glass pipe and the vapor is inhaled. If it’s heated too much, the crystals burn and are wasted - as would happen if they were mixed with marijuana. Back in the 1970s police claimed that gangs were selling marijuana laced with heroin to unsuspecting punters in hopes of getting them hooked. Now they are claiming it is laced with P. As the old saying goes - the more things change, the more they remain the same.


N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006


by Harry Cording

which itself was down 15% on the year before. The high was 24,071 recorded offences in 1998. More than 100,000 possession charges have been laid since 1996. In 2003, only 520 of them got a diversion. Most were prosecuted in court. In 2003 alone, 558 people were jailed who had cannabis as their most serious offence, and of these 260 were jailed for more than one year. New Zealand continues to have the world’s highest arrest rate for marijuana, with 350 arrests per 100,000 population, compared to 280 per 100,000 in the United States. The costs are enormous. Police waste around 300,000 hours

“offenders”. Each person in jail costs more than $54,000 each per year. While NORML applauds the NZ Police for doing what the politicians do not have the guts to do, we think there is still a long way to go. They could start by exercising their power of discretion in a fair and consistent way so that anyone caught with personal amounts is let go without arrest. Police already do this for drivers speeding less than 10kmh over the limit. Let’s have the same tolerance for New Zealand’s cannabis community.

Grey Power wants everyone tested for drugs BY DUNCAN EDDY Delegates at a regional Grey Power meeting in Motueka in February voted to support random, compulsory drug and alcohol testing for all workers, school children and beneficiaries presumably including superannuitants.

Police said the suggestion has serious implications for civil liberty and would be impossible to enforce. Grey Power members around the country have expressed dismay at the remit from the top of the south Grey Power Top of the South regional director Roy Reid said the idea came about to ‘eliminate the horrific assaults and murders that drug users are committing against the older age sector’.

He said police would have to have reasonable grounds for suspecting illegal drug use had been committed before conducting a search. When asked how this law would function in regards to alcohol, Mr Reid said that it was illegal to be drunk in public Acting Nelson Bays police area commander Tony Bernards said the proposal had serious implications for civil liberties and would be impossible to administer with current police resources. One anonymous medicinal cannabis user said he believed a lot of Grey Power members rely on the medicinal properties of the plant. “It’s cannabis tea that puts many to sleep at night and ails the bones.” Roy Reid later conceded he could see the sense in increas-

ing funding for alcohol and other drug education and treatment rather than increased law enforcement. It’s a pity no one talked to him about that before the proposal was heard at the regional conference. The remit will be put to the grey power national conference in nelson in the last weekend of April. If the remit were successful Grey Power would lobby govt to bring this draconian policy into law. It embarrassing that a group which claims to exist to represent all people over 50 is considering such an unconstructive kneejerk reaction. We encourage all readers aged 50 and over to contact their local Grey power office and say no to random tests. More info at





You can Help End Marijuana Prohibition Here’s how: Come to J Day or organise a pro-law reform event in your town. Hook up with local like minded people and norml contacts and help out with J Day or organise your own event... concerts, rallies, demonstrations, movie screenings and public debates are all good ways to help promote cannabis law reform. Resist prohibition in your day to day life. Don’t let prohibition force you to live with fear and suspicion. Donate money, services or your time to law reform efforts, or set up a regular donation of $5 or $10 a week into our fundraising account: “NORML NZ” ASB 12-3057-0594667-00 Write to newspapers & call talkback radio. Letters to the editor and talkback radio reach large audiences, and are a free way of promoting cannabis law reform to a diverse audience. Keep it short and simple so everyone can understand your point. Linking cannabis law reform to ‘hot’ local issues in local media helps broaden opposition to the criminalisaton of cannabis users. Build understanding based on common concerns in your community. Tell parents, friends, workmates, and concerned or influential groups and individuals in your community how prohibition increases, rather than decreases, harm. Think about where they’re coming from and try to approach the subject in a way they’ll be open to. If you try to understand your audience, it’s more likely they’ll understand you! Write to your MP. Or Email them. Letters to any MP c/- Parliament Buildings are freepost. The email format is Be sure to ask them a question, such as where they stand on the issue – and ask them to respond. Let NORML know what they say. Talk-


N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006

ing to MP’s in person is even better. Call their office and make an appointment, or attend a public meeting they’re speaking at. Be polite even if they’re not! Check out for handy facts and figures related to cannabis and the law. Be a newshawk: email drug related media articles to the Media Awareness Project’s media archives. Check out www. to find out how, and utilise the www. media page for links to national media. Distribute information Contact us for leaflets or magazines. Set an example. Be a Functioning Pothead. Resist the negative stereotypes about pot smokers. Join NORML and get involved in local and national law reform activities! See page 25 If you’re busted, plead Not Guilty and/or enter no plea on your first appearance. The police and courts couldn’t enforce prohibition if cannabis users didn’t plead guilty. This would place greater strain on an already overstressed ‘justice’ system. Prohibition would be gone by lunchtime. For further information: Check out NORML’s ‘Get Active’ guide at for indepth advice including letter writing tips and materials, media directory and an easy “email your MP” feature. NZ newspaper articles on drugs and drug law are archived at:

Hemp harvest

Serious about Hemp?

Join the New Zealand Hemp Industries Assoc Inc. $100 full membership or $20 supporter. Full membership includes 2 annual copies of the Journal of the International Hemp Assoc - a must read for hemp industrialists. Join the NZHIA today, and help us to represent the NZ hemp industry. If you would like to receive a membership application form, please send your contact details to: NZHIA, PO Box 38392 Howick, Auckland. Fax 09 273 7396

These photos are from Golden Bay’s first hemp crop. An acre was planted, predominantly for seed for future plantings, while the fibre will be used to experiment with hemp-earth building. The queen of the crop was 3.7mtrs tall, and the grower reported the only problem was birds, which took out 90% of a second 2ha crop. Another interesting hemp crop this season was grown by Dr Mike Nicholls, formerly of Massey University, who is working with the Fielding sewage treatment plant. Treated

Join the

waste water, which is still high in nutrients that feed algae and suffocate waterways, is irrigated over a hemp field, which soaks it up. A hemp crop in Canterbury was found to have absorbed 400kg of nitrogen, and 100kg of

send $5 to ALCP PO Box 13486 Christch-





Hi, I’m Billy Mckee, the new facilitator for Green Cross which is a N.Z. support group for medical cannabis users. We offer an identification card (bank card style) that proves the person holding it is a registered medical user and asks for Police to exercise their powers of discretion and not to charge this person with any cannabis offences as it is for medical reasons. There is a lot of sympathy in the community and even in parliament for medicinal use of cannabis and I would like to see this taken advantage of and more effort put into partial decriminalisation. Medical users must have a legal means of supply at affordable prices. This group is struggling to make the impression that it has the potential to make and help is desperately required. Someone with the skills to manage our website and someone to help with writing press releases would be well utilised. Similar Medical support groups in other countries have made a huge impact on helping sick, injured and consequently generally poor people to obtain the only medicine that suits them, this can be life saving, what is more important than that?. I would like to see Green Cross make legal challenges for registered medical user prosecutions. We have a mobile member experienced and willing to help. The new supreme court would be a good place to take our appeals. Persecution of sick and injured people is a breach of our basic human rights and would be worth taking to the Human Rights Commission for a hearing. To join Green cross is easy and accessible to most people, this herb has been used medically for many years, just go to our web site on nz Cheers,

Billy Mckee. 10

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THC protects oxygen-depleted heart cells Researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel showed that THC protects heart cells (cardiomyocytes) against the damage caused by reduced oxygen concentration in the blood, known as hypoxia. Leakage of LDH (lactate dehydrogenase) from cells is a sign of cell damage. Pretreatment of cultures of cardiomyocytes with THC for 24 hours prevented leakage of LDH induced by hypoxia. This protective effect of THC was mediated by the CB2 receptor. CB2 receptor activation by THC induced the production of nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide signals the smooth muscles of blood vessels to relax, thus dilating the artery and increasing blood flow. This underlies the action of nitroglycerin and other drugs used in the treatment of heart disease, since these compounds are converted to nitric oxide in the body. Researchers noted that THC also “probably pre-trains the cardiomyocytes to hypoxic conditions.” They concluded that their research “demonstrates that THC has beneficial effects on cardiac cells and supports the consideration of marijuana for specific medical uses.” Source: Shmist YA et al. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol protects cardiac cells from hypoxia via CB2 receptor activation and nitric oxide production. Mol Cell Biochem 2006;283(1-

And destroys cancer cells

Researchers investigating the role of cannabis in cancer therapy reveal it has the potential to destroy leukaemia cells, in a paper published in the March 2006 edition of Letters in Drug Design & Discovery.

Led by Dr Wai Man Liu, at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, the team has followed up on their findings of 2005 which showed that THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis, has the potential to be used effectively against some forms of cancer. THC and its related compounds have been shown to attack cancer cells by interfering with important growthprocessing pathways, but it has not been known exactly how this is achieved. Dr Liu and his colleagues used highly sophisticated microarray technology that allowed them to simultaneously detect changes in more than 18,000 genes in cells treated with THC and uncover fur-

More delays for cannabis extract Sativex UK firm GW Pharmaceuticals has announced mixed results from a phase III clinical trial using the cannabis extract Sativex with people with spasticity related to MS, that could see a delay in regulatory approval, and ultimately, a longer wait before it is available here. The company said multiple sclerosis patients who stuck to the trial’s protocols did benefit. But an analysis of all study participants whether or not they complied to the protocol - found no statistically significant advantage compared with a placebo. All 335 patients who had participated in the trial reported on 17 March were taking best available anti-spasticity medication and remained on such medication through the trial. Hence, any improvements seen in the trial were obtained over and above currently available treatment. The primary outcome measure was the improvement in spasticity as measured on a 0-10 numeric rating scale. The results mean that GW will delay filing for regulatory approval of Sativex in the UK, while it decides whether to seek to have Sativex approved for spascity, or to try another route and submit data it also has that supports the use of Sativex for neuropathic pain relief. GW received approval from U.S. regulators in January to conduct a Phase III study into its cannabis extract Sativex as a treatment

for cancer pain. The randomised clinical trial will involve 250 people and is likely to last between 24 and 36 months, suggesting Sativex will not be ready for launch in the U.S. marketplace until towards the end of the decade. The delay in UK approval means New Zealand patients will probably have to keep waiting for the extract to become available here. The New Zealand Government’s stance on medical marijuana is to wait for Sativex to be approved in the UK before it will consider allowing it here. Sativex is already approved in Canada, and available through pharmacies there. In a curious twist of the medical regulations, it may be privately imported back to the UK by doctors for “off-label” prescription. The same could happen here. The NZ Medicines Act allows doctors to import and prescribe medicines that have been approved in another country. All it takes is a doctor willing to do it. Sources: Press release of GW Pharmaceuticals of 17 March 2006, Reuters of 4 January and 17


Seniors benefit from medi-weed

Two recent studies find THC reduces nocturnal agitation in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and reduces inflammation from arthritis. Scientists in Berlin presented a small study with positive effects of THC on nocturnal agitation in six patients with advanced dementia, among them five patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Participants received 2.5 mg THC in the evening for two weeks, and nocturnal movements reduced to 59 per cent of baseline values on average. In an accompanied assessment of neuropsychological symptoms, a positive influence of THC on motor behaviour, agitation, irritability, and appetite disturbances was observed. The new study confirms investigations of 1997 and 2003, which showed reduction of agitation by THC in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The authors of the current study note that THC could help to prevent costly and long-term

hospitalisation. A somewhat higher dosing may possibly have an even higher therapeutic efficacy. In cell studies with cartilage cells British researchers investigated the effects of two synthetic cannabinoids on degradation of cartilage constituents that was induced by Interleukin-1-alpha. Interleukin-1 is a protein involved in inflammation. The cannabinoids protected the cartilage matrix from degradation, an effect that was possibly mediated by cannabinoid receptors. Sources: Source: Walther S, Mahlberg R, Eichmann U, Kunz D. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol for nighttime agitation in severe dementia. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 7 March 2006; Mbvundula EC, et al. J Pharm Pharmacol 2006;58(3):351-8

GREEN CROSS Medicinal Cannabis Support Group of NZ (Inc) PO Box 27-209 Mt Roskill, Auckland Email: Phone: 06 368 8181 - anytime AUTUMN 2006 N O R M L NeWS


m e d i c a l

Study finds average cannabis use does not impair memory or attention


Argentinian court allows medical use

Researchers of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands did not find any differences in the performance of moderate regular cannabis users and non-users in tasks on working memory and selective attention. They also did not

The Argentine judiciary has for the first time ruled the possession of cannabis is justified if it is for therapeutic purposes. The court of appeals revoked the conviction of a woman convicted for the possession of cannabis by a lower court, because it did not take the reason for the use of the drug into account. María Romilda Servini de Cubría said that she used cannabis to alleviate her pain resulting from a spinal cord disease, and to improve her sleep. Source: El Pais, 13 March 2006

Cannabis pharmacy planned in Holland Patients seeking pain relief may soon be heading for the Dutch city of Groningen to buy affordable and potent medical cannabis in the country’s first pharmacy specialising in the drug. Although cannabis is readily available in the country’s famous coffee shops, the Netherlands Foundation for Medicinal Cannabis wants to launch a pharmacy in the northern Dutch city so patients can buy high-grade cannabis at affordable prices. The price of Groningen’s medicinal cannabis will be around 5 euros per gram, which is similar to prices in coffee shops. The Dutch Health Ministry’s Office of Medicinal Cannabis and the community of Groningen as well as the local police all support the endeavour. Two more cannabis pharmacies are planned in Hoogezand and Assen. Source: Reuters, 1 Feb 2006

Oregon pot limit

On 1 January a law took effect that increases the number of cannabis plants and the amount of dried cannabis that registered medical cannabis patients are allowed to possess in Oregon. Patients will now be allowed to grow up to six mature plants and 18 seedlings and to possess 24 ounces (about 700 grams) of dried cannabis. Source: Associated Press, 26 Dec 2005 12

N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006 med-pot news Glaucoma

find differences in overall patterns of brain activity measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The “moderate regular cannabis users” had used between 675 and 5400 cannabis joints during their life and between 75 and 900 (median: 350) joints in the past year, and were abstinent from the drug in the week leading up to the test. Non-users had used between 0 and 15 joints during their life. Researchers concluded that they “did not find evidence for robust long-term deficits in working memory and selective attention in frequent but relatively moderate cannabis users after 1 week of abstinence.” Most previous studies involved extremely heavy users who are not representative of the majority of recreational cannabis users. Source: Jager G, et al. Long-term effects of frequent cannabis use on working memory and attention: an fMRI study. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2006 Mar 7.


A synthetic cannabinoid (WIN552122) and the endocannabinoid anandamide induced relaxation of the artery that supplies blood to the retina. This effect was mediated by the CB1 receptor. Since one cause of glaucoma may be reduced blood supply, not only the reduction of intraocular pressure but also the improvement of circulation by cannabinoids may be helpful in the disease.

A synthetic cannabinoid (HU210) reduced nerve damage that was caused by the chemical agent peroxynitrite. This effect was caused by the direct action of the cannabinoid. The authors concluded the beneficial effects of cannabinoids on nerve damage associated with multiple sclerosis are achieved by their direct action.


Inflammation on the brain

Source: Romano MR and Lograno MD. Br J Pharmacol 2006 Feb 13

Researchers found that the endocannabinoid system was altered in women suffering from migraine. Anandamide levels were reduced in their blood due to increased degradation of the endocannabinoid by platelets. No changes were found in men suffering from migraine compared to healthy controls. Scientists conclude that the reduced anandamide concentration “might reduce the pain threshold and possibly explain the prevalence of migraine in women.” Source: Cupini L et al. Cephalalgia 2006;26(3):277-81

Source: Yang C et al. Brain Res 2006 Feb 10;

German researchers demonstrated that during inflammation of the brain the level of the endocannabinoid anandamide is elevated and protects nerve cells from damage by its effect on microglial cells. Microglial cells are immune cells in the nervous system. Their activity was controlled by anandamide. Source: Eljaschewitsch E, et al. Neuron 2006;49(1):67-79

Research supports pot for pain Researchers of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester reviewed the scientific evidence on the use of cannabinoids for chronic pain. In an article for the journal Annals of Pharmacotherapy they conclude: “Cannabinoids provide a potential approach to pain management with a novel therapeutic target and mechanism. Chronic pain often requires a olypharmaceutical approach to management, and cannabinoids are a potential addition to the arsenal of treatment options.”

mouse model of inflammatory pain. Scientists concluded that “the combination of cannabinoids and NSAIDs may have utility in the pharmacotherapy of pain.” Source: Ulugol A, et al. Anesth Analg 2006;102(2):443-7

The analgesic activity of the commonly used painkiller paracetamol is prevented by the blockade of cannabinoid CB1 receptors, a new study found. Researchers said these results suggest that pain inhibition by paracetamol “involves the cannabinoid system.”

Researchers of the University of Virginia in Richmond found a synergistic effect of THC and morphine in the reduction of pain in healthy subjects. All participants received the following four treatments at four different times: 5 mg oral THC or placebo and 90 minutes later 0.02 mg/kg morphine intravenously or placebo. 15 minutes later subjects rated the pain associated with the application of thermal stimuli to the skin. While there was no effect of the combination of THC and morphine on the sensory component of pain (pain intensity), there was a significant reduction on the affective component, the stress associated with pain.

Source: Ottani A, et al. Eur J Pharmacol 2006 Jan 23

Source: Roberts JD, et al. Eur J Pharmacol 2005 Dec 20

New research demonstrated that the synthetic cannabinoid WIN55212-2 and the nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) ketorolac exerted additive analgesic effects in a

read more at the website of the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine:

Source: Burns TL, Ineck JR. Ann Pharmacother 2006 Jan 31




Changing views According to a poll by Zogby International 46 per cent of Americans support an amendment of the federal law “to let states legally regulate and tax marijuana the way they do liquor and gambling.” 49 per cent of respondents opposed this amendment of the law and five per cent were undecided. Zogby interviewed 1,004 adults. Another survey published on March 28 by the Pew Research Center on modern morals of Americans found that smoking cannabis is regarded not as bad as getting drunk. 1,502 people were asked to rank 10 issues and at the top of the list, about 88 per cent of respondents said married people having an affair was wrong. Third on the morality scale was drinking too much alcohol (61 per cent) while smoking cannabis was number 5 (50 per cent). Source: NORML USA, 16 March 2006;

Dutch seed grown in Horowhenua. Banana optional.

Canada lurches to the right Canada’s recently elected Conservative government has no plans to relax marijuana laws, and might roll back the progress that has been made. The Conservatives, who have formed a minority government with 124 of the 308 seats in parliament, have proposed mandatory minimum sentences for drug dealing, including marijuana growing and selling, and opposed decriminalisation for personal use. A bill to decriminalise possession for personal use stalled in the Canadian parliament before the election.

Mama mia! Italy raises penalties for pot Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi - who sent troops to Iraq - is joining the USA’s war against cannabis with a new law that puts penalties for marijuana on a par with cocaine and heroin.

The move has been greeted mostly with dismay by opposition MPs and drug treatment professionals. Opposition leaders said it would be one of the first laws they abolish if they win power in April’s elections. Protesters held a smoke-in outside parliament when the law was passed, and at least one opposition MP joined in. According to recent statistics, a third of teenagers in Italy have smoked marijuana at least once, and 10% of adults are said to smoke it on a regular basis. Last year the Italian city of Bologna hosted the world’s largest ever anti-prohibition rally, which drew over 100,000 people. Meanwhile Health Minister Francesco Storace set a new precedent for Italy and issued a certificate of exemption to a man from South Tyrol with multiple sclerosis that allows him the medical use of the cannabis extract Sativex.

for the latest news and research go to 14

N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006

The new prime minister, Stephen Harper, is an admirer of George W. Bush, and Canadians can expect American-style fundamentalist policies from their new government - including a war on drugs. Meanwhile Marc Emery, Canada’s leading marijuana activist who is facing extradition to the USA, was profiled on 60 Minutes recently and drew

an audience of approximately 12 million Americans. He told interviewer Bob Simon that everything in the U.S. indictment against him is true, estimating that he sold cannabis seeds over the internet to about 70,000 Americans. U.S. prosecutor John McKay told Simon the charges against Emery are not political; the issue is the amount of Canadian bud crossing the border. He described it as “great pot.”

Australian war on drugs

John Howard is an American poodle in many ways - not least his antidrug hysteria. Despite cannabis use declining by 37% from 1998 to 2004, according to household survey figures, Howard wants to escalate the war on cannabis. His government recently gave a $600,000 grant over three years to toria following a 12-month trial. Drug Free Australia to “advocate From July, officers will be able to abstinence-based approaches to test drivers for ecstasy, marijuana drug issues” while cutting the and amphetamines. grant of the harm-reduction foIn the trial police tested the sacused Alcohol and Other Drugs liva of more than 13,000 drivers. Council. The proportion of drivers that Howard has tried to bully Austested positive - one in 46 - was tralian states into toughening more than five times the average their drug laws, especially South number of drivers caught by Australia, which has the most alcohol testing. This could have liberal laws in the country. He something to do with the fact that has also proposed federal laws police targeted rave parties and which would introduce heavy long-haul truck routes. penalties for mere possession of According to car insurance firm some drugs. AAMI, one in four Australian Meanwhile, New South Wales men under 25 admit to driving is introducing laws that will under the influence of drugs such double penalties for hydroponias marijuana, cocaine, speed or cally-grown cannabis., to up to ecstasy. 20 years’ jail and/or a $550,000 fine for growing 200 or more hydroponic plants. Random roadside drug testing will be made permanent in Vic-

Dutch pot laws under a cloud The mayor of Maastricht, Gerd Leers, sees the need for further reform of Holland’s marijuana laws. He wants to start a pilot project to regulate marijuana growing, and Maastricht has offered to host an experiment in cultivating cannabis under supervision to supply local coffee shops. Dutch coffeeshop operators are caught in an anomaly of the law. While they are allowed to sell reflecting widespread Dutch comfort with a liberal marijuana small quantities, they can only policy. But the ruling Christian keep 500 grams in the shop at a time. This means they may need Democratic Party, which has increasingly tightened the rules to restock several times a day. Technically it is illegal for on coffeeshops, opposes it. the shop to acquire its stock. The mayor got into a rap duel with Dutch justice minister If a delivery is intercepted by police, they seize the goods Piet Hein Donner over the law. Leers lent his modest rapping and the delivery person gets arrested. Furthermore, growtalents to a song called That’s Just Dope, released as a single. ing cannabis remains illegal, so The minister replied with an coffeshops have no guaranteed anti-drug rap, renaming himself sources of supply. The Don for the occasion. On Therefore growing remains the justice ministry’s website is under the influence of gangs a photo of Donner at a microwho also deal in hard drugs. phone looking deeply uncomLeers and other advocates say fortable. legalising growing will drive Meanwhile, Amsterdam has out the criminal element and introduced street signs banning boost responsible purveyors. cannabis smoking in parts of A majority in parliament the city. The signs, believed to has come out in favor of the be the first of their kind, show bill to decriminalise growing,

‘Horowhenua Ice’ - from Dutch seed

a red circle around a joint in a cloud of smoke sparked by white marijuana leaves. They have been installed at one square and surrounding streets where young cannabis smokers are seen as a nuisance. Soon after installation the first signs were stolen. Soon after that, the local council started selling them. The “no joints” signs sell

for 90 euros ($NZ160). About 75% go the United States, and others have gone to Singapore, Australia, and other European countries. Profits will be donated to charity.



What is J Day?

A worldwide celebration of cannabis and protest against prohibition. Come along and show your support. Leave any paranoia behind. Meet like-minded individuals. Help out and join the movement for cannabis law reform. How about organising a J Day activity in your town? If you are keen please contact us for advice and support.


N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006




Gateway study shows dangers of prohibiBy Jonathan Rennie Research from Christchurch appears to confirm there is a link between cannabis use and other illicit drug use, but here we explain why the reasons are tied to prohibition and could be solved by law reform. The Christchurch Health and Development study, led by Professor David Fergusson, has tracked 1265 individuals since birth, studying various aspects of their lives, including drug use. The researchers have returned to the question of the “gateway” theory this year and released a paper titled “Cannabis use and other illicit drug use: testing the cannabis gateway hypothesis.” After controlling for “confounders” such as socio-economic background, the results showed that those who used cannabis, especially when younger, were more likely to use other illicit drugs. True to form, mainstream media ran scary anti-drug headlines such as “Cannabis

Use Leads to Hard Drugs” etc. Often the emphasis of the reporting carried a prohibitionist spin, even though Fergusson himself cautiously favours decriminalisation. Last year he described Nandor’s decrim bill as “thoughtful and reasonable” and commented that “the frequency with which [cannabis] is being used makes it unrealistic to continue with prohibition.” He has also pointed out that the vast majority of cannabis users do so moderately and suffer no ill effects, and do not go on to use other illicit drugs. Although Fergusson is confidant that a link between cannabis and other illicit drug-use has been established, he is careful to note that the underlying causes for the link are unknown,

It still doesn’t work. “The current prohibition regime is not effective in limiting cannabis use ... It also facilitates the black market, and potentially exposes cannabis users to harder drugs.” - NZ Health Select Committee report into the public health strategies and legal status of cannabis, 2003. 18

N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006

and just what those causes are carries implications for the law reform debate. Fergusson believes there are at least three possible pathways by which cannabis use may lead to other illicit drug use: biochemical; individual learning; and differential association. A biochemical cause assumes increased use of cannabis alters the user’s brain chemistry in such a way as to make them more sensitive to the enjoyable effects of other drugs. It does not explain why most people do not choose to try other illicit drugs after becoming familiar with cannabis. In the individual learning scenario, however, users experiment with cannabis and experience pleasurable results with relatively few adverse effects, so this encourages them to try other drugs. Certainly, most of the Christchurch cohort reported their cannabis experiences to be mainly positive, and this could have made them mistrustful of scare tactic-style drug “education”, thus ignoring warnings against more dangerous drugs. The differential association hypothesis focuses on the fact that by using cannabis, individuals place themselves in a different social context from non-users, with different attitudes toward - and increased access to - illegal drugs. In particular, individuals must form and maintain links with illicit drug dealers, thus increasing their likelihood of trying other drugs. Fergusson’s paper says that, on the one hand, the biochemical and individual learning scenarios imply that it is the experience of cannabis use itself that creates the gateway effect

and this would support arguments against the liberalization of cannabis laws; but on the other hand, the differential association scenario implies that the gateway effect arises from the social context of cannabis-use and supply, which favours law reform, in order to break the links between the illicit drug culture and the use of cannabis. Evidence in favour of “differential association” comes from various studies (Cohen and Sas, 1996; van Ours, 2003) which show far fewer cannabis users go on to use cocaine in Holland than in other countries. This, says Fergusson, suggests that the Dutch attempt to separate marijuana from other illegal drug markets (through the de facto legalisation of cannabis) has had some success. Even if the “biochemical” and “individual association” ideas hold water, and prove to be correct, it is flawed reasoning to say they support a prohibitionist law because that assumes prohibition is effective in curtailing cannabis use. Fergusson’s own research supplies ample evidence to the contrary: 80% of his cohort have tried cannabis by the age of 25, despite growing up in NZ, which has the highest personal-use arrest rate in the world. The obvious retort from prohibitionists would be that cannabis-use may rise even higher without prohibition, however research into the effects of relaxing cannabis laws overseas shows this is not the case. In an exhaustive review of the data from several different countries, MacCoun and Reuter (1997) found that depenalisation for personal use did not cause an increase in cannabis


continued over page


the frequency with which [cannabis] is being used makes it unrealistic to continue with prohibition.

- Prof David Fergusson, study author

continued from page 19

use in Holland following the policy’s introduction in 1976. Also, in South Australia, decriminalisation has not resulted in a rise in cannabis use (Abel, 1997; Single et al., 2000) nor in the Australian Capitol Territory (Hall, 1997; McGeorge & Aitken, 1997). There was a worldwide rise in cannabis use from 1992 to 1996 which was felt equally by Holland and the USA, despite their very different drug policies. This implies that the phenomenon of drug-use behaviour is often governed by cultural forces which are indifferent to drug laws (MacCoun and Reuter 1997). It seems the only real effect of prohibition is to compound the drug user’s difficulties. Drug laws and their enforcement load upon users additional layers of anxiety and harm besides those naturally caused by the drugs (MacCoun and Reuter 1997). Therefore, even under the worse-case-scenario that cannabis use by itself exerts some mysterious force on youngsters, compelling them to try other drugs, the current policy of prohibition does nothing to help. The “gateway” theory provides no compelling reason to persist with prohibition, and may be a sound argument for ending it.

Prevalence of Substance Use: Lifetime & Past year Marijuana: 21% 4.5%








A Clayton’s Bill of Rights

NORML has long expressed concern that the Misuse of Drugs Act does not comply with the Bill of Rights Act, in particular: > Section 18 that grants police the power to search without warrant; > Schedule 5 which lists quantities of drugs over which the defendant is presumed guilty of supply, unless they can prove their innocence.



the net

NORML NZ civil rights page: The Ministry of Justice website has case notes to help lawyers & defendants: Judicial decisions of public interest - a selection of important recent cases:


N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006

Bill of Rights Act: www. Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Society - useful information on prison regulations, rehabilitation and visiting rights: www. Youthlaw Project page on drugs and the law: www.

Most people would have little complaint with the protections that the New Zealand Bill of Rights purports to offer. It is a worthy document that has been developed by a group of highly intelligent and capable people. But what is - or should be - of major concern is a single extraordinary fact: the New Zealand Bill of Rights actually offers almost no protection at all. Despite its title, it is not really a Bill of Rights as ordinarily understood. What is a Bill of Rights? It is a special piece of legislation that is designed to protect the civil and political rights of the public from the actions of government. At first glance, the New Zealand Bill of Rights would appear to do an excellent job of this. In commendably plain language it sets out the rights of the public in relation to Ministers of the Crown, Parliament, and the Judiciary. These include: Life and Security of the Person; Democratic and Civil Rights; Non-Discrimination and Minority Rights; and Search, Arrest, and Detention. A Bill of Rights only applies to the activities of government - a fact which is frequently misunderstood. In no way does it place any constraints on private citizens, organizations, or companies. However, in order to fully protect the public, a true Bill of Rights must incorporate two other important features. Firstly, it must be entrenched legislation. Entrenchment would mean that a government could only change the Bill of Rights under special circumstances, for example: by holding a referendum of voters. Secondly, it must be supreme law. This would mean that the Bill of Rights had supremacy over all other legislation. If another law contradicted the Bill of Rights, then that law would be struck down. These two extra features are

obviously essential. After all, what is the point of a Bill of Rights that is not entrenched? If a government wanted to violate a protected right then - by the simple majority that enables it to govern in the first place - it could merely amend the Bill of Rights to make its actions legitimate. Even more nonsensical is a Bill of Rights that is not supreme law. This gives a determined government carte blanche to ignore the Bill of Rights altogether, and simply overrule it with other legislation. Unfortunately, this is exactly the ludicrous situation that applies to the current New Zealand Bill of Rights. It is not entrenched, and neither is it supreme law. It can be changed or abolished by the government at any time. And the government can also pass new legislation which directly contradicts the Bill of Rights. In fact, New Zealand governments have done this on at least six occasions. On one of these occasions the enacted legislation also breached the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These significant flaws in our Clayton’s Bill of Rights are well known. Such legal eminences as Lord Cooke of Thorndon have observed that it is: “regarded internationally as one of the weakest affirmations of human rights”. And - to their great embarrassment - the New Zealand government has been repeatedly taken to task by the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations for providing inadequate protection of human rights. So why isn’t our Bill of Rights entrenched as supreme law? It comes down to the very thing that the Bill of Rights is trying to protect us from - the government. Because the majority of voters have elected them to govern, our politicians claim that any check

BY David Haywood The New Zealand Bill of Rights can be a dangerous subject. As constitutional lawyer (and former Prime Minister) Geoffrey Palmer has observed: “Extremely eccentric people seem to gravitate to constitutional issues and lavish their attention upon them.” And he should know. But with the ongoing Ahmed Zaoui case and the recent controversies over freedom of speech - or, at any rate, the freedom to draw cartoons - it seems a good time to reconsider our precarious Bill of Rights legislation.

on their behaviour by unelected judges or jurors would be a violation of the fundamental principles of democracy This is plainly a nonsense argument. It implies that the will of the majority is more important than basic human rights. True, the politicians have been elected to govern, and no judge or jury should attempt to interfere with that. But there are clearly some areas where the government - regardless of the size of its majority - has no business. For example, a government has no right to determine what religion the public should follow, or to prohibit the speaking of certain languages, or to order the imprisonment of anybody without a fair trial. If a government attempts to interfere in these areas, then there must be a mechanism whereby their actions can be challenged through the legal system. Most New Zealanders would be quick to acknowledge the fallibility of our politicians, and indeed - occasionally - of the voting public. From time to time it is inevitable that governments are elected who will be tempted to bend the rules on human rights. Don’t forget that - in the absence of a Bill of Rights that is supreme law - the current government has incarcerated a refugee, Ahmed Zaoui, for over two years without convicting him of any crime. Amnesty International’s investigation of the Zaoui case has found that his treatment did not meet international standards for human rights. In fact, a Bill of Rights is especially important to a democracy like New Zealand, because we have none of the other checks on government power - such as an upper house or president - that are features of the political systems in other countries. A Bill of Rights can never, of course, offer complete protection against a govern-

ment determined to tyrannize the populace. But it is an important safeguard against the gradual erosion of human rights that can occur through the misguided actions of politicians. And, in a post-September 11 world, this is something that can happen all too easily. The current New Zealand Bill of Rights took a long time to become legislation. It was first proposed at an official level in 1985, but proved so contentious that it was not finally enacted until 1990. Many politicians were vehemently opposed to its implementation, and predicted that it would lead to the collapse of the New Zealand government in a cloud of litigation. Obviously these fears were unfounded, and - over the years - even its opponents have gradually become resigned to its existence. Our own Bill of Rights is now 16 years old, and this seems an appropriate age for it to grow up. The next election would be the ideal time for a referendum that seeks to entrench the New Zealand Bill of Rights as supreme law. Only by taking this step can we fully protect important liberties such as freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial. Otherwise the New Zealand Bill of Rights will continue to be only what it is now - merely a collection of fine words. Abridged from an article originally posted in Public Address. The

KNOW your RIGHTS! A brief guide to your rights with the police

Police Questioning · You have the right to remain silent – including not making a statement - but you must give your correct name and address and in some cases date of birth. Talk to a lawyer before saying anything else. · If the Police want you to go with them always ask if you’ve been arrested because you only have to go with the police if you’ve been arrested, or if you’re under 17 and drunk, high or at risk of being harmed or harming someone. · You have the right to talk to your own or a free lawyer if you’re being questioning about an offence. Tell the police you want to speak to one on the Bill of Rights list. · If you’re under 17 you also have the right to have a supportive adult of your choice with you at the police station. If you don’t name someone the police must get another adult to be with you (not a police officer). Searches · Always ask why you are being searched. · The police can only search you, your bag or car if you let them; or they arrest you; 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. · If you don’t agree to a search you must say so. Silence is consent! · If you are female usually only a policewoman can search you. Arrests, Detainment and Charges · If you are 17 or over the police can arrest you if they have good cause to suspect you have “breached the peace” (caused a disturbance) or committed an offence punishable by imprisonment. · Don’t run away or resist arrest. · Always ask if you’re being arrested, detained or charged and why. · Ask to make a phone call and phone someone you trust. · You don’t have to answer any questions or make a statement. · You have the right to talk to a free lawyer. Tell the police you want to talk to one on the Bill of Rights list before talking to them. Tell your lawyer if you need medical attention. · You have the right to get bail unless there is a good reason for holding you in custody or you have been charged with a very serious offence or offences. Going To Court · You can enter “no plea” the first time you’re in court. In the week or two that you are then given by the court you can get a copy of your police file from the police and get legal advice. Check with the court if you can get legal aid or see the duty solicitor at court on the day of your case. Remember · Stay calm and don’t get smart. · Try to get the police officer’s name, number and police station. · Try to get someone to witness what the police do. · If the police breach your rights tell your lawyer/a duty solicitor or make a police complaint later, rather than argue at the time. Complaints About the Police · Freephone the Police Complaints Authority 0800 503 728; or · The Senior Sergeant at the police station; or · Your local community law centre, YouthLaw, a lawyer or NORML. · Write down everything that happened and who did it, while you remember. Get photos of any injuries and see a doctor. To contact NORML about civil rights advice & legal support, AUTUMN 2006 N O R M L NeWS



Say nothing until you have spoken to

PETER WINTER BA LLB Barrister Specialist in Criminal Law

Hobson St Chambers, Auckland City. Phone 09 379-7658 Mobile 0274 499-987

Also available for trials in Northland & the Waikato


Chris Tennet Mob. 021 626 878 - Ph. (07) 571 0966 20 + years experience Knowledgeable Reasonable rates


Drug cases in Bay of Plenty Westpac Trust Building, Level 4, 2 Devonport Road, Tauranga Ph: (07) 579-0400 Mobile: (0274) 999-433 (24 hrs) Solicitor referral may be required


Whangarei: David Sayes 09 4382154; Nick Leader 09 4384039; Wellsford: Gary Sellars 09 4238022; Auckland: Peter Winter 09 3797658; Graeme Minchin 025 2122704; Johnnie Kovacevich 021 653933 or 09 3093364; Marie Dyhrberg 09 3604550; Maria Pecotic 09 5227399; Owen Harold 09 6304969; Gary Gotlieb 09 3766806; Barry Hart 09 3789732; Rodney Harrison 09 3034157; Grey Lynn Community Law: 09 3786085; Waikato/Bay of Plenty: Chris Tennet 021 626 878 or 07 5710966; Matt Goodwin 07 5790400 Hamilton: Roger Layborne 07 8396288; Emily Coupland 07 8381069; Rotorua: Simon Lance 07 3460796; Gisborne: Phil Dreyfrus 06 8671379; Hastings: Community Law Centre 06 8797625; Palmerston North: Peter Coles 06 3581075; Wellington: Michael Appleby 0274 403363; Community Law Centre 04 4992928; Christchurch: David Ruth 03 3745486 Community Law Centre 03 3666870; Timaru: Tony Shaw 03 6886056; Dunedin: Community Law Centre 03 4779562; Invercargill: John Pringle 03 2144069; Community Law Centre 03 2143180; Youth Law: a free confidential legal

22 22


N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006

legal news

Supreme Court to rule on supply presumption amounts for cannabis

The question of how much weed one person could smoke was put to the nation’s highest court in February in an appeal from a man jailed for having cannabis for sale.

The Supreme Court is reviewing the “presumption of supply” in the Misuse of Drugs Act, which presumes that anyone caught with more than 28 grams - or 10 plants or 100 cigarettes - is guilty of having it for supply unless they can prove otherwise. Paul Rodney Hansen, 50, and another man were found at Hansen’s Glenorchy home in May 2003 manicuring a freshly harvested crop of outdoor cannabis. The cannabis weighed 1.8kg and Hansen admitted half was his, saying it was his annual supply He was convicted in Invercargill District Court last March of possessing cannabis for supply and sentenced to three years’ jail, which was reduced to 2 1/2

years on appeal. Hansen’s lawyer, Sonia Vidal, told the Supreme Court there was no evidence her client had been selling cannabis. She told the court laws prescribing personal use as one month’s supply were unrealistic, as a cultivator growing outdoor plants could harvest cannabis only once a year. Under the Bill of Rights Act, people accused of crimes were presumed innocent until proven guilty, she said. The five-judge bench reserved its decision. When the decision is released, it will be made available online at

Drug Detection time of THC is shorter than often assumed Good news for marijuana smokers, according to a review in the March 2006 issue of the journal Drug Court Review “it is uncommon for occasional marijuana smokers to test positive for cannabinoids in urine for longer than seven days using standard cutoff concentrations.”

The author, Dr. Paul Cary of the University of Missouri, noted that it is usually assumed by scientists, the legal system and users of cannabis that the use of cannabis is detectable in the urine by drug screenings 30 days or longer after last consumption. However, he points out that many studies that found a long detection time had major methodical weaknesses. The most serious of these limiting factors would be “the inability

to assure marijuana abstinence of the subjects during the studies.” His analysis revealed that very long cannabinoid detection times (30 days or more) are rare. The average detection window for the THC metabolite THC-COOH in urine of regular cannabis users at a cut-off concentration of 20 ng/ml was 14 days. By first using a cut-off of 50 ng/ml in drug screening assays - as most laboratories do - the detection window would typically be not longer than ten days for regular users and between 3-4 days for occasional users. Source: Cary PL. The marijuana detection window, Drug Court Rev 2005;5(1):23-58. The full text is available at:




N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006


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N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006


Autumn Chores It’s that time of year again, all of a sudden the night temperatures have dropped, trees are changing colour and the outdoor buds are fattening up nicely.

Those sweltering nights and searing days, which saw phenomenal vegetative growth throughout January, have thankfully cooled down. All outdoor growers should now be looking at healthy green plants which have stopped growing taller and are covered with immature buds. Most of us pot gardeners just love looking at our gardens at this stage. The initial hard work of preparing the garden and propagating the plants has been done. We’ve been caring for our babies with water, nutrients and good vibes for months and the results look really promising. Healthy, well fed plants with heaps of swelling flowering sites. When you get your nose right into the buds you can anticipate what it’s going to taste like in a few

weeks. Only a few weeks now. However, right now is when the outdoor garden is at its most vulnerable too. That gorgeous smell we’re starting to drool over is also really attractive to a plethora of wildlife which will beat you to harvest unless you take precautions. So make sure the cage/fencing/netting or whatever you use is strong enough to cope with everything from feral goats to rats. When you think about it, it’s quite amazing really how many different species of bugs and animals love consuming cannabis. But hey, as pot garden creators, we have every right to keep all those critters off our precious crop. Setting a few possum traps around the garden is a good idea provided they aren’t booby traps designed for

people. The less possums around to attack our plants the better, and the surrounding bush won’t miss them either. Booby traps in the bush are a pretty ugly thing aren’t they, as are vicious dogs and stompers. As potheads, we generally don’t like to deal with negative, violent stuff like that, but as pot growers those awful things sometimes come and find us. If something shitty happens to your garden this year, like it gets pinched, please let’s not react by booby trapping it next year. Some innocent may stumble into it, not necessarily a stomper. And if on our bush walkabouts, we accidentally discover someone’s outdoor secret, be cool and keep moving. It’s only


continued over page





a bit of pot that someone has put time and care into, it’s no big deal and there’s enough pot to go around so no-one needs to pinch any of it. But back to the garden. In the northern half of the North Island there is still time to feed your plants for the last time with some kind of soluble fertilizer which is high in potassium and phosphorous but very low in nitrogen. Really good flowering formula fertilizers also contain all micronutrients like calcium and magnesium which generally speaking our NZ soils are low to deficient in. On the mainland, you guys are probably already past this stage and are almost ready to harvest. If at all possible, make sure the root zones get lots of water during the last couple of weeks. Obviously it’s not a good idea to drown them especially if your spot is already pretty wet, but lots of water flowing through a well drained root system helps the plant really put on weight in the last week or so and also flushes away any unpleasant BACKYARD WESTIE WESTIE BACKYARD (ALSO ABOVE ABOVE LEFT) LEFT) (ALSO


N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006

tasting fertilizer residues. So keep the roots wet, but try to keep the plant dry. Any moisture trapped inside a sticky bud can start the moulding process and turn something beautiful into mush amazingly quickly. A bit of plastic, or tarp elevated over the garden can really save your crop on those odd really wet days just before harvest time. Then, finally, the harvest. After spending months caring for the garden, and lovingly growing those fragrant, sticky buds it’s time to rip them out, manicure and dry them. Now over the years this bush doctor has seen, tried, heard and read about so many different drying and curing methods, and most of them are just excuses for potheads to handle their product. Every time you touch a mature bud you knock off a few trichromes and damage more remaining ones. The terpines released as we’re doing that is lovely though. It smells great, but it degrades the bud a little.

So I recommend you cut the plant down into manageable pieces, and remove the excess leaf material as soon as you cut the plant, while it’s still wet and resilient. Hang the manicured branches upside down to dry. I find it’s best to hang them in a cool, dark, dry and well ventilated space. It should ideally take between 6-14 days to dry it down to the correct consistency. Any faster than 6 days, and the pot generally tastes a bit harsh, any longer than 14 and it generally grows other flavours in with it (like an old potato bin). Applying heat in the drying process cooks away flavours too and is a strict no no. Dehumidifiers can work well in really damp situations, but be careful as they can crisp your buds very quickly. Anyway here’s wishing you all a happy harvest. We all know a well grown and dried bud is still the best buzz there is.




TOP Hunter/Taranaki MIDDLE: Poppa Chubby BELOW: Gilmore’s/Waikato RIGHT: Skunkpunk


N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006







N O R M L N e W S AUTUMN 2006

Norml News Autumn 2006  

Norml News Autumn 2006 NZ drug policy review have your say 4 J Day - Saturday 6 May 2006 show your support! 17 Gateway study supports reform...

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