Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
N O R M L N e W S Winter 2007
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Contents FEATURES Drugs Act to be reviewed by Will de Cleene NORML’s Medical Marijuana Petition sign it now! Jamaican Ganja culture by Mils Rathbone Word! Letter Writing Guide by Jason Baker-Sherman Riverside Hemp Report by Tara Forde J Day 2007 reports from around Aotearoa Auckland Cannabis Cup by Harry Cording
6 9 18 20 22 24 27
REGULARS How you can help change the law Medical Marijuana news and research World News with Harry Cording Bush Doctor Damp winter blues Legal news About the Proceeds of Crime Act, by Rob Weir Safer cannabis use - NORML’s harm reduction advice NORML membership form Join our campaign!
5 10 14 30 34 36 37
The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML NZ Inc) is a non-profit organisation that campaigns to end marijuana prohibition. We support 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 thanks to: 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; and give advice and support to victims of prohibition. Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
Significant law changes ahead
PHOTO CHRIS FOWLIE
blame politicians for supporting prohibition if we remain silent on the issue. Speaking of which, we encourage all medical users to share their stories. Tell your MP to support the Green’s Medicinal Cannabis Bill which will allow cannabis to be prescribed by doctors. You can also sign our medicinal cannabis petition, if you haven’t already, on page 9. The first vote on the bill has been moved to February 13, 2008, partly to allow more time to lobby MPs and also because of a back-log of member’s bills before parliament. They can only be considered every second week, if there is nothing else the government wants to do. That’s why we all need to work to make sure they treat medicinal cannabis as a worthy issue deserving their immediate attention.
Principles of Responsible
Sensible ideas for
Stop arresting cannabis users: the Government should immediately declare a moratorium on arresting those who use cannabis. Another twenty are arrested every day.
Marijuana Use Cannabis consumption is for adults only. It is irresponsible to provide cannabis to children. Many things and activities are suitable for young people, but others - including drugs absolutely are not.
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.
here are a raft of legislative changes ahead. Bills have been announced or are already before parliament to change the Police Act, the Proceeds of Crime Act, widening drug prohibition to BZP, the Corrections (Mothers with Babies) bill, the Criminal Justice Reform bill, reform of the Police Complaints Authority, scrapping the Sedition law, reviews of the liquor laws and the prostitution reform law, and perhaps most significant of all, a comprehensive review of the Misuse of Drugs Act. We encourage you to make your views known on these important issues. Just as with a search, silence is taken to mean consent. If you don’t agree with what politicians are proposing, you must let them know how you feel. After all, it’s hard to
N O R M L N e W S Winter 2007
Set and Setting. The responsible cannabis user will carefully consider his/her mind-set and physical setting, and regulate use accordingly.
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 responsible 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.
Decriminalisation: remove all penalties for the use, possession and growing of cannabis by adults 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. It is better to regulate that market than 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 changes 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. See 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. Prevention efforts can only be effective where marijuana is viewed from a public health perspective, instead of a www.normL.org.nz
ten ways you can help end cannabis prohibition!
Make a donation. We could do with a much-needed boost to our finances! Post your contribution, or make a donation into our bank account: 12-3057-059466700. Maybe set up a regular automatic payment?
Police Act under review
Sign our Medical Marijuana Petition! see page 9. Get your friends and family to sign. A recent poll showed 63% of New Zealanders want to legalise medicinal cannabis. Sign our petition and let’s show our politicians there are plenty of votes to be gained from supporting law reform.
Medical users - share your experiences. Contact us or your local media. Write to the health committee and your MP, and tell them to legalise medical use.
Golden Bay homegrown! into drug policies in New Zealand/Aotearoa.
Everyone - write to or visit your MP! Letters to “any MP c/- Parliament Buildings, Wellington” are freepost. The email format is firstname.lastname@ parliament.govt.nz or go to norml.org.nz/emailMP. Visiting MP’s in person is even better.
Write to newspapers & call talkback radio - a free way of promoting law reform to a diverse audience. Keep it short and simple. Linking cannabis law reform to ‘hot’ local issues in local media helps broaden opposition to cannabis prohibition.
If you are Maori, contact your nearest Maori MP. Ask whether they support prohibition policies or whether they think the harm done to Maori communities by criminialising young people is really helping them avoid harm from drug use? Ask all MPs, and especially Maori Party MPs, to support a full independent inquiry www.normL.org.nz
Resist Prohibition. Refuse to be searched. Plead Not Guilty in court. This places a greater strain on an already-stressed ‘justice’ system. The simple truth is police and courts couldn’t enforce prohibition if cannabis users didn’t plead guilty!
Contact us for leaflets or magazines to distribute round your town or local networks. Let us know if there is a suitable store in your town who could take our magazines.
Check out www. NORML.org. nz for cannabis law reform information and inspiration. Become an online member. Share ideas and meet new friends in the forums. Web programmer? Maybe you can help us make the site even better.
Join NORML and get involved in local and national law reform activities. We need more committed activists all over the country. Fill out and post us the membership application on page 37 now!
he Police Act is under review. We have made do with the current one for over 50 years and surprisingly it doesn’t say what police should actually do - just that they should exist. Submissions on what you would like a new Police Act to look like can be made at www.policeact. govt.nz. It is perhaps a conflict of interest that the police themselves are coordinating parts of this review process, though Parliament of course gets the final say. While public meetings so far have been almost empty (it appears the police forgot to advertise them), already there are suggestions that police should have greater powers and that these should be embedded in the new Act. Police powers have already increased since the ‘60s as a direct spin-off from the drug-war. New Zealand now has the highest arrest rate in the world for cannabis - more than 50% higher than the USA. Many people question the high priority police continue to place on arresting non-violent drug offenders. What do you think? Should police focus on genuine crime, that is those acts which directly hurt people, which drug offences generally do not? Should they respect all minorities and cultures? Should they have a code of conduct and how should complaints and corruption be investigated? These are important issues. If you have any ideas on the culture, structure, behaviour of the police force of the 21st century, do consider making a submission. For more information see www. policeact.govt.nz
Winter Winter 2007 2007 N NO OR RM M LL N Ne eW WS S
Misuse of Drugs Act to be reviewed Anderton pushes for party pill ban By Will de Cleene
he possession, sale, distribution and supply of party pills will be as illegal as cannabis by the end of this year. So said Associate Minister of Health Jim Anderton on June 28, when he announced plans to reclassify benzylpiperazine as a Class C1 drug. But the news may not be all bad. After thirty years of failure, the Misuse of Drugs Act could be in for a complete re-write. The market for BZP products has been entrenched, with over 20 million pills popped since 2000. Lacking a single death attributable to BZP has failed to prevent the substance being banned. Alcohol and tobacco, which Anderton admits causes far greater harm than party pills, remain legal. It is unclear whether other avenues of harm minimisation were explored. Excise tax, supplier licensing or even better enforcement of the current laws seem to have been excluded from consideration. The statement from the Minister’s office does admit, “It is possible that some illegal trade could occur once these pills are classified.” Demand for the pills appears to have increased since the announcement. Party pill suppliers
• Prohibition creates far more harm than the use of marijuana itself. • It doesn’t work. New Zealand has the world’s highest cannabis arrest rate, yet more people choose to use cannabis now than ever before. • Prohibition encourages use by glamourising pot and removing control over how and to whom it is sold. The hypocrisy of Prohibition undermines effective drug education. • Prohibition creates a lucrative black market. It breeds violence and corruption and supports the growth of organised crime. • Prohibition erodes respect for the police and the law, and diverts police away from real crimes that matter. • Prohibition denies patients the benefits of medical marijuana. • Prohibition tramples over everyone’s rights and freedoms. 6
N O R M L N e W S Winter 2007
are already rolling out BZP-free alternatives. Media commentator Russell Brown foresees other consequences of the BZP ban: “The stockpiling may encourage overdose. I don’t expect a long-term black market in BZP - it’s just not that good - but I would expect it to start turning up unannounced in pills being sold as ecstasy. That could get ugly… Party people will not suddenly start going to bed
Regulation • Base drug policy on evidence, not moral judgements. Stop the arrests and allow adults to use, grow and buy their own. • Legalising cannabis will not cause an increase in use, and will save more than $50 million per year. • Changing the law would end prohibition-related crime and violence. • It would also stop the hypocrisy and allow more effective drug education. • A strictly-enforced legal age of purchase would most effectively limit juvenile access to cannabis. • Patients would not be denied the opportunity to use medicinal cannabis • Ending prohibition would restore everyone’s rights & freedom. • Sales taxes could fund more effective drug education, more research, better treatment, and even compensation for the victims of prohibition.
early. Some might soldier on with alcohol as a social lubricant, others will seek illegal drugs. Patterns of methamphetamine use may change, with P -- smoked methamphetamine -- retaining its social stigma, but snorting seen (with some justification) as a less risky means of consumption.” In short, the BZP ban will not solve anything. It will shift things about with dire consequences. Expect the new prohibition to bring about the first BZP-related death, which Anderton will perversely use to justify the logic of his actions. Anderton announced the review of the Misuse of Drugs Act as part of his crusade to prevent more psychoactive substances being released onto the market without his approval. His version of things would see suppliers having to demonstrate that their product is “safe.” It is unclear what benchmark will be used; peanut butter safe, Viagra safe, or caffeine safe. The Law Commission is being brought in to help answer this question. Even at this early stage, Anderton has said tobacco and alcohol will not be included in the review. Presumably, substances covered by the Medicines Act and Food Safety Act will also be excluded. With such narrow terms of reference, it is clear Anderton intends the review to be a one-way street to prohibition, with Class D being used as a holding cell for substances waiting for a reason to be banned. But by creating Class D, politicians have admitted that prohibition does not work. We must not allow them to abuse this opportunity for their own counter-productive and damaging ends. If you have never written to your MP or local newspaper, now is the time to start (see our letter writing guide on page 20). The terms of reference for the re-write of the Misuse of Drugs Act must be widened to provide a more level playing field of the harm associated with all substances - and the law. It’s imperative that the public (you) are allowed their say. There should be an amnesty called so everyone can share their opinions and insights without fear of arrest. NORML supports a new way forward, along the lines of a Controlled Substances Act, which would provide a regulatory framework for all restricted substances based on reasonable and comparative levels of harm and that takes into account harms created by the law itself. Without such a grand strategy, any re-write is doomed to condemn us to more hypocrisy, violence, and even death. www.normL.org.nz
SILVER PEARL - AB, Nelson
Saliva tests not reliable
arliament is set to consider a new Government bill to create an offence of driving under the influence of illegal drugs, which would have the same penalties as drink driving. It is now an offence to drive while “incapacitated” by drugs. Police are already using field impairment tests - such as walking a straight line or balancing on one leg - although driver’s consent is voluntary. The new bill is understood to make the field tests compulsory if police believed a driver is impaired. If they say a driver has failed the test, they will take an evidential blood sample, the same as for drink drivers now. Apparently police will not conduct random tests. The Government should be commended for resisting the pressure from saliva test manufacturers who are keen to expand their businesses and pick up a lucrative contract. Saliva tests, like urine tests, do not detect current impairment because THC and it’s inactive metabolite THC-COOH stay in the body for several weeks after www.normL.org.nz
use (or second-hand exposure). Not only that, many saliva tests show false positives. In a recent review of ten separate drug testing devices, six recorded either false negative or false positive test results for THC. Five devices recorded false positive results for THC-COOH. Manufacturers’ proposed cutoff guidelines for THC varied widely from product to product, from 15ng/ml to 600ng/ml. There are currently no official regulations governing oral fluid testing cutoff standards. Investigators concluded “reliable detection of marijuana use in forensic investigations, such as driving under the influence and the workplace, remains problematic.” Previous evaluations of onsite oral fluid tests have also shown the technology to be unreliable for detecting the presence of cannabis, particularly when administered at roadside checkpoints. Source: Journal of Analytical Toxicology, January/February 2007.
GET IN QUICK! Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
Vote on Medicinal Cannabis Bill
now 13 Feb 2008 2008 by Metiria Turei, MP
ompassion for ill New Zealanders is a core New Zealand value. Many campaigns for legislative or policy change have been about supporting and protecting the ill. My campaign enabling doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients supports thousands of ill New Zealanders who may benefit from this option, relieving the pain of (for just a few examples) nail-patella syndrome, muscle spasms, phantom limb pain, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and the wasting syndrome from HIV/AIDS. This is not a radical move for New Zealand. Eleven US states allow medicinal use, with similar systems in Canada, Spain and the UK. New South Wales is developing a four-year trial for medicinal cannabis. International health organisations supporting medicinal cannabis include the American Medical Association, US Institute of Medicine, Federation of American Scientists, the WHO and the UK Royal College of Physicians. All these jurisdictions and organisations base their support on evidence from highly regarded international medical research teams and institutions. There is a process for medicinal use in New Zealand which has never been used because it is simply unworkable. The application must be made by your GP, involving extensive negotiations with both the Ministry of Health and Customs. The patient must purchase the pharmaceutical version of medicinal cannabis, which is extremely expensive. One constituent, who has a very low tolerance for cannabis, was quoted a price of $300 per week for the pharmaceutical Sativex. In effect, ill New Zealanders, especially those who have the least resources or are the most ill, are denied access to potential relief. We propose a system whereby patients grow their own cannabis and are registered with both the Ministry of Health and local police. It is the most accessible and cheapest model for ill New Zealanders and adds cannabis to the tool box of medical interventions available to doctors. Research from the UK, Israel, Germany, Canada, USA and numerous universities and medical associations demonstrates cannabis can provide relief to some patients where mainstream pharmaceuticals have failed.
he Greens conducted a survey of doctors in 2003 to find out exactly what sort of professional support there is for medical use. Doctors with a high level of knowledge
N O R M L N e W S Winter 2007
‘BULLER FERAL’ - growing her own backyard medicine. of cannabis were more likely to consider prescribing cannabis. 6% said that they have recommended their patients try cannabis; 10% said they currently had patients who would benefit from using cannabis; and 32% said they would consider prescribing cannabis if it were legal to do so. Thirty-two percent demonstrates a “silent epidemic” of ill New Zealanders searching for alternative relief that the pharmaceutical industry simply cannot provide. Their silence should be cause for shame amongst those who make decisions about laws that prohibits this relief. They are silenced because they fear prosecution – and it is a real fear. Our courts have sent to jail for cannabis use people with very serious medical conditions for which the jails are simply not equipped -- and because these people have no other form of relief, they are by their very nature repeat offenders, attracting longer jail sentences. Regardless of one’s view of recreational use of cannabis, medicinal use is clearly a question of compassion. In New Zealand there is increasing research on medicinal marijuana. Otago University research for example explores the use of cannabis in minimising damage caused by strokes, as well as in pain relief. More New Zealand-based pharmacological research is one benefit of freeing up medicinal marijuana. If we can enable a doctor-directed process rather than a ministerial one, researchers will have greater incentives to engage in that research, and patients will have another treatment available to them. www.normL.org.nz
Sign NORML’s Medical Marijuana Petition!
OF KIWIS SUPPORT LEGALISING MEDICINAL CANNABIS ACCORDING TO A RECENT TV3/TNZ POLL (NOV. 06)
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
> Write to (or visit) your MP and ask them to support the Medical Marijuana bill. > Write to the Health Select Committee and tell them you support NORML’s medical marijuana petition. > If you are a medical user contact us for advice or to let us know if you can help with our campaign.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA PETITION
Show your support & help make a change.
f all the negative consequences of marijuana prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal cannabis to the tens of thousands of patients who could benefit from its therapeutic use. Based on Australian research figures, New Zealand may have around 11,400 medical marijuana patients. Prohibition means they suffer additional harms from an unsafe hazardous supply and the risk of arrest and imprisonment. The Green’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Marijuana) Amendment Bill will legalise the medicinal use of cannabis for patients who have the approval of their doctor. Patients will register with the Ministry of Health and will be able to use and grow their own medicinal cannabis. If they are unable to, they could nominate a friend or caregiver to grow for them. Seeds would be supplied by the Police from confiscated stocks. Canada, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany and thirteen US States already allow medical marijuana. Sadly, some of our “elected representatives” seem to care more about winning votes than showing compassion for sick people. That’s why it is really important that you let your MP know how you feel. Don’t put it off - write a letter or arrange a visit today!
Let your MP know your views:
To the House of Representatives:
We, the undersigned, request that parliament give urgent attention to changing the law to allow individuals to obtain, possess and use cannabis for treatment of serious medical conditions when this has been recommended or endorsed in writing by the individual’s registered medical practitioner. Name
Send signed petitions to NORML NZ Inc PO Box 3307 Auckland or send directly to the Health Select Committee, Freepost, Parliament Buildings, Wellington www.normL.org.nz
Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
medical news THC can help the elderly St Louis University
researchers found the use of THC may increase weight in elderly subjects who suffer from loss of appetite. 28 patients with a mean age of 79.5 years received oral THC for twelve weeks, and more than half gained weight. In another study, THC and morphine were found to act synergistically. Researchers noted that this observation may have relevance for the treatment of chronic pain.
Protection from seizures Researchers have found increased levels of anandamide protect from seizures caused by a nerve poison. Anandamide is a cannabinoid that occurs in the body and binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
THC reduces brain damage The administration of THC reduced deficits in motor coordination, equilibrium and muscle tone, in a study of mice with a cerebellar dysfunction. Researchers concluded that cannabinoids “could represent a new field of investigation concerning the treatment of cerebellar ataxic syndrome in humans.” Relief from food poisoning The toxins of a
bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, which are the major cause of food poisoning in humans throughout the world, can be combatted by cannabis. Japanese researchers demonstrated in animal studies that both antagonism at the 5-HT3 serotonin receptor and activation of the CB1 receptor by cannabinoids were effective in reducing the symptoms. Sources: Wilson et al. J Nutr Health Aging 2007;11(2):195-8; Cox ML, et al. Eur J Pharmacol. 2007 Apr 20;: Karanian DA, et al. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2007 Jun 1; Lorivel T, Hilber P. Behav Brain Res 2007 Apr 24; Hu DL, et al. Cell Microbiol 2007 May 21
Police want to seize Granny’s house By Jonathan Rennie
Waikato great-grandmother was surprised when police arrived in force on her property earlier this year, hyped-up to take down a supposed drug kingpin. They must have been disappointed to bag only twelve small plants, but incredibly, decided to proceed with supply charges anyway. Although she suffers from arthritis and lives off a modest income (selling legal garden plants at the local markets), the plucky seventy-year-old has vowed to fight her case. Frustrated that their victim will not plead guilty, the police have served a Restraining Order on her property, under the Proceeds of Crime Act: effectively paving the way for them to take her house. NORML understands the Crown’s evidence mainly consists of some cash, a stash, and some empty plant pots. Even with the immature plants, this is a pathetic
case for supply - nothing unusual about that - but threatening to take an elderly lady’s entire property - for twelve plants? This comes at a time when the Government is gearing up to make the Proceeds of Crime Act even more draconian (see page 34). Instead of performing land-grabs on ailing senior citizens, wouldn’t legalising home cultivation for personal use be a more effective way of breaking organised drug crime in New Zealand? With the profits sucked out of the black market, the real “kingpins” would be bowled right over. But perhaps the Government prefers landgrabs to solutions. Meanwhile, one granny is preparing to defend her good name and her castle against an astoundingly vicious police onslaught. “Pray to Mother Aubert for me!” says our brave defendant.
Thousands of Kiwi patients criminalised by the current law An estimated 11,000 seriously ill New Zealanders use cannabis for pain relief and other serious medical conditions. While the Misuse of Drugs Act already allows the Minister of Health to approve the medicinal use of cannabis, not a single application has ever been approved. The process is too onerous and cumbersome and should be changed. Doctors are being ignored and patients arrested and often jailed. They are forced to take addictive and more harmful prescriptions drugs (such as morphine) rather than a natural herb that has been described by The Lancet as the “aspirin of the 21st century”. According to a TV3 poll (Nov. 06) sixty-three percent of Kiwis support legalising the medicinal use of cannabis. Parliament’s Health Select Committee has previously noted that “cannabis has been shown to be effective in providing relief for some medical disorders ... the issue of medicinal use should be dealt with independently from the legislation regulating general use” (Cannabis inquiry report, 2003)
N O R M L N e W S Winter 2007
Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications: : > Alzheimer’s Disease > Anti-tumour effects > Appetite stimulation, eg for AIDS wasting syndrome, anorexia or dementia > Arthritis > Asthma > Brain injury/ Stroke > Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis > Depression > Eating disorders > Epilepsy > Fibromyalgia > Glaucoma > High blood pressure and Hypertension
> Migraine > Movement disorders, eg Parkinson’s disease > Multiple Sclerosis > Nail Patella Syndrome > Nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy or taking other medications > Neuroprotection, eg following a stroke > Pain - especially neuropathic pain > Phantom limb pain > Schizophrenia > Spinal cord injury > Tourette’s Syndrome > The Medical Marijuana bill allows any other condition “where the use of cannabis may alleviate the pain and suffering associated with that condition or the treatment of that condition”.
for more see www.norml.org.nz/medical or information greens.org.nz/campaigns/cannabis www.normL.org.nz
medical Italy allows medical use
Italian Health Minister Livia Turco decreed on 28 April that THC and the THC-derivative nabilone will be allowed for medical use. The decree took immediate effect and did not need to be considered by parliament.
New Mexico to license marijuana producers
New Mexico will become the first US State to license medicinal cannabis providers and have a regulated system of distribution to patients. The new law became effective on July 1st. Registered patients can possess up to six ounces of cannabis, and can also grow four mature plants and three immature seedlings, which the Department of Health says is enough for three months.
Canada approves Sativex for cancer pain
W Pharmaceuticals and Bayer HealthCare have announced the Canadian Health Ministry has approved their cannabis extract Sativex for the relief of cancer pain. Sativex is already approved and marketed in Canada for the relief of neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis. The latest approval is for “adjunctive analgesic treatment in adult patients with advanced cancer who experience moderate to severe pain during the highest tolerated dose of strong opioid therapy for persistent background pain”. Sativex, an under-the-tongue spray, has been developed by UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals - which has a dispensation from the British government to grow cannabis for medical research - and is marketed outside Europe and the United States by Bayer. GW just completed a positive Phase III study in Europe in 177 patients with cancer pain. The trial was a multi-centre double-blind, placebocontrolled study. Patients in the study had advanced cancer and were experiencing pain that was not responding adequately to strong opioid medication. The company recently signed a deal with Japan’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co to research and develop cannabis-based treatments for cancer and central-nervous-system disorders. The agreement is initially for three years, during which Otsuka would make US$9 million available for research. Otsuka has also bought the rights to develop and market Sativex in the United States. Sativex is currently being assessed for approval in Europe. Meanwhile, the latest figures from Health Canada show it has authorised 1,742 patients to possess cannabis as a medication. Of these, 1,040 are licensed to grow their own,
and another 167 people are licensed to grow cannabis for patients. Health Canada appears to be making a tidy profit on the scheme. It buys cannabis from a licensed grower for C$328.75 a kilogram and sells it to patients for about C$5,000 a kilogram. Sources: Canadian Press 17 April 2007; Belle-Isle L, Hathaway A., AIDS Care 2007;19(4):500-6. www.gw-pharm.com
German medicines agency: cannabis is effective
he German federal agency for medicines has conceded to patients that they have the right to use medicinal cannabis. The Federal Institute for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Products (BfArM), an institution of the Federal Health Ministry, wrote to several patients in June and agreed in principle with their right to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. The applicants were asked to drop their application to import medicinal cannabis from the Netherlands and to instead use a cannabis extract manufactured by a pharmacy designated by the patient. It is unknown how much these extracts will cost and if health insurance will cover it. Medicinal cannabis produced by the Dutch company Bedrocan contains standardised amounts of THC and CBD, but the BfArM claimed they had “unknown and varying” concentrations and said it was unlikely to approve an import application. Source: Letters of BfArM to applicants for the medical use of cannabis
Vermont & Rhode Is. expand laws
Vermont’s medicinal cannabis law has been expanded. Until now, only people with life-threatening conditions were allowed to use the herb without fear of prosecution. Now it also covers people with chronic, debilitating conditions. Rhode Island’s medical cannabis law was to expire on June 30, but lawmakers voted to make it permanent. The law allows patients to grow and possess up to 12 cannabis plants and 2.5 ounces to ease their symptoms.
A California jury split its verdict and found author and medical marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal not guilty on some federal marijuana charges but convicted on others, after a re-trial in which he could offer no defense. As in the first trial in 2003, Judge Breyer ruled the jury could not hear that Rosenthal was deputised by the City of Oakland to provide medical marijuana and was in compliance with city regulations. Evidence about the medical efficacy of marijuana and any discussion of the state law were also excluded. “If the jury had heard the whole truth, they would have acquitted me on all charges,” said Rosenthal. Sources: IACM, Associazione per la Cannabis Terapeutica (ACT) 2 May 2007; AP 30 June 2007; AP 21 June 2007; AP 1 June 2007. for the latest medical marijuana research go to
www.cannabis-med.org Winter Winter 2007 2007 N NO OR RM M LL N Ne eW WS S
research news anti-cancer properties
British researchers have demonstrated that THC induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells of tumors of the colon. They said the use of THC may represent a new strategy for therapy of cancer of the colon. Harvard University researchers have also shown that THC reduced tumour growth in common lung cancer by about 50 per cent, and significantly reduced the ability of the cancer to spread to other organs. Source: Greenhough A, et al. Int J Cancer 2007 June 21; American Association for Cancer Research, at: www.aacr.org
A synthetic cannabinoid (CP55,940) reduced the concentration of molecules called cytokines that promote inflammation of the human bronchial mucous membrane. Scientists at the University of Groningen concluded cannabinoids exert anti-inflammatory properties in airways by modulating cytokine release. Source: Gkoumassi E, Br J Pharmacol 2007 June 11
Topical administration of THC has been shown to reduce allergic skin reactions. Researchers at the University of Bonn (Germany) showed when inflammation occurs cannabinoids act like a brake, preventing the immune system from getting out of control. Source: University of Bonn, press release 7 June 2007, at www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070607171120.htm
Researchers who blocked a protein that degrades anandamide found a slowed ageing of the cardiovascular system and slowed development of atherosclerosis. The higher concentration of the cannabinoid in the mice resulted in reduced inflammation and reduced oxidative stress. Source: Batkai S, et al. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Apr 13
Pharmos Corporation announced their synthetic cannabinoid “Cannabinor” was effective in reducing post-operative pain in more than 100 patients undergoing tooth extraction. Cannabinor is a selective CB2 receptor agonist which does not bind to the CB1 receptor and so does not cause a high. Source: Pharmos press release 24 April 2007
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New studies remove last objection to Med-Pot Vaporisation is an effective method to deliver THC according to a clinical study
he m o s t c o m m o n objection to medical marijuana is that smoking is bad for you. Never mind that marijuana is not tobacco, does not contain nicotine, and has anti-cancer and anti-tumour properties. Or that terminal or seriously ill patients are more concerned with quality of their remaining life than whether they could get lung problems in several decades - if they are still alive. Prohibitionists ignore these facts when they deny patients and doctors access to medical marijuana. Now, two new studies have blown that last objection away, and should pave the way towards allowing medicinal use. In a study conducted at
the University of California by Dr. Donald Abrams and his colleagues, 18 healthy subjects received three different strains of cannabis (with a THC content of 1.7, 3.4 or 6.8 per cent) by vaporization (The Volcano, made by Storz & Bickel) as well as by smoking a cannabis cigarette. Unlike smoking, a vaporiser does not burn the plant material, but heats it just to the point at which the THC and the other cannabinoids turn to steam. Peak plasma concentrations and bioavailability of THC were similar under the two conditions, with the vaporiser producing a slightly higher level. The levels of carbon monoxide were greatly
reduced with vaporization, with “little if any” detected. Researchers concluded “vaporisation of cannabis is a safe and effective mode of delivery of THC.” In a second study, researchers at the State University of New York interviewed nearly 7000 cannabis users and found vaporiser users were 60 percent less likely than smokers to report respiratory symptoms such as cough, chest tightness or phlegm. The effect of vaporizer use was more pronounced the larger the amount of marijuana used. Sources: Abrams et al. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Apr 11; Earleywine et al. Harm Reduct J 2007;4:11
Cannabis has “clear benefits” for HIV patients
nhaling c a n n a b i s significantly increases daily caloric intake and body weight in HIV-positive patients, is well tolerated, and does not impair subjects’ cognitive performance. Researchers at Columbia University in New York assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis and oral THC (Marinol) in a group of ten HIV-positive patients in a doubleblind, placebocontrolled trial. They found that smoking cannabis (2.0 or 3.9 percent THC) four times daily “has a clear medical benefit in HIV-positive [subjects] by increasing food intake and improving mood and objective and subjective sleep measures ... with little evidence of discomfort and no impairment of cognitive performance.” On average, patients using higher-grade cannabis (3.9 percent) increased their body weight by 1.1 kg over a fourday period. Investigators said that the administration of oral
THC produced similar weight gains in patients, but only at doses that were “eight times current recommendations.” The US Food and Drug Administration approved the prescription use of Marinol to treat HIV/AIDS-related cachexia in 1992. Subjects in the study reported feeling high after using either cannabis or Marinol, but remarked that these effects were “positive” and “well tolerated.” Researchers reported that patients made far fewer requests for overthe-counter medications while taking either cannabis or oral THC than they did when administered placebo. Patients also reported that smoking higher-strength marijuana improved their sleep better than oral THC. A 2005 preliminary study had reported that inhaling cannabis “produce[s] for the latest medical marijuana research go to
substantial … increases in food intake [in HIV+ positive patients] without producing adverse effects.” Another study in 2003 reported that cannabis use by HIV patients is associated with increased CD4/T-cell counts compared to non-users. A 2005 study found that HIV/AIDS patients who report using medical marijuana are 3.3 times more likely to adhere to their antiretroviral therapy regimens than non-cannabis u s e r s . M o r e r e c e n t l y, researchers at San Francisco General Hospital reported this year that inhaling cannabis significantly reduced HIVassociated neuropathy (nerve pain) compared to placebo. Surveys show that one out of three HIV/AIDS patients in North America use cannabis therapeutically to combat symptoms of the disease or the side-effects of antiretroviral medications. Source: www.norml.org; Haney et al. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2007 Jun 21
PHOTO CHRIS FOWLIE
WHITE RHINO by Southside Smilers (cup entry B)
Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
N O R M L N e W S Winter 2007
woRLD WITH HARRY CORDING
Reefer Madness returns to film
ore than 70 years in the making, the long-awaited sequel to the notorious 1936 film Reefer Madness has arrived. It’s called The Purple Brain, and just like its unintentionally campy predecessor, its purpose is to frighten Americans about marijuana. The target audience for the new production is the millions of parents who may have, without harm, experimented with marijuana when they were about the same age as their children are today. The plot is as follows: the pot you and your middle-aged peers once enjoyed may have been innocuous, but that’s only because it bears no resemblance to the super-potent weed of today - strains like Train Wreck, AK-47, and The Purple. As US Drug Czar John Walters recently proclaimed, “We are no longer talking about the drug of the 1960s and 1970s - this is Pot 2.0.” To top off this frightening message, there are unsubstantiated claims of “brain damage” resulting from this superpot. Fortunately, while the headlines are grabbing,
A Kiwi peacekeeper in Afghanistan: “Acre+ field of up and coming buds in Opium-lord country!” the story lacks credibility. Growers have always attached pet names to selected strains. In the 1970s popular varieties included Acapulco Gold and Maui Wowie. The labels are marketing gimmicks to distinguish a product in a competitive marketplace. While a handful of potent strains may be available today, they are only a tiny percentage of the entire market - and at a price that is prohibitive to anyone but the wealthy. Despite claims that marijuana alters the brain, THC is non-toxic. Recently scientists
Cop: how to not get busted
ormer cop Barry Cooper now sells a DVD on how to stash pot in your car without getting caught. Never Get Busted Again gives tips on hiding marijuana (dashboards have lots of nooks) and throwing off sniffer dogs (coat your tires in urine). It has sold over 10,000 copies, mainly over the Internet and at smoke shops. Later this year he plans to release a second DVD on how to keep police from raiding your home for marijuana. Cooper, 38, is a former drug detective in Big Sandy, Texas. He says, “I will do anything legal to frustrate law enforcement’s efforts to place American citizens in jail for nonviolent drug offenses.” As a cop he took part in 800 drug busts, seized more than 50 vehicles and $500,000 in cash and assets, and made a case against a local politician’s son.
He left the police in 1998. “He was among the best we had,” said Tom Finley, who was Cooper’s supervisor on the drug task force. “I don’t understand why he would turn like this.” Some law reformers are afraid Cooper could undermine their cause. Allen St Pierre, executive director of NORML USA, said Cooper’s activities were “like waving red meat” in front of police. “They take great professional umbrage with this. They are not our opposition, and we don’t want to agitate them.” Defense lawyers have called him to testify about unlawful police tactics. For instance, drug dogs can be made to “false alert,” which gives officers legal grounds to search a car or a home. Cooper said he had used that ploy himself. His second DVD, now being filmed, is called Never Get Raided.
at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research reported they could find “no evidence of cerebral atrophy or loss of white matter integrity” attributable to cannabis use in the brains of frequent adolescent marijuana users after performing MRI scans and other advanced imaging technology. Separate studies assessing the cognitive skills of longterm marijuana smokers have also reported no demonstrable deficits. Decades of drug education as ridiculous as The Purple Brain has failed to convince young people to “just say no.”
Dutch coffeeshops saved
from ban Holland’s health minister Ab Klink has confirmed that coffeeshops, where cannabis can be sold legally, will not be threatened by the indoor smoking ban which takes effect in July 2008. “If we want to stop our policy of toleration, we should just do so, and not use the ban as an excuse,” he said. The new rules stipulate that counters where cannabis is sold must be smokefree. But as long as they are divided from the rest of the room, smoking on the premises will still be allowed.
Pot’s OK in cooking... Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla opposes legalising marijuana, but he doesn’t mind it used in cooking. Many dishes in Aceh province such as mutton and beef curry are laced with marijuana Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
woRLD WITH HARRY CORDING
Canada tells Doctors to keep doses down H
ealth Canada has been contacting doctors who prescribe medical marijuana for government-approved patients, advising them to keep dosages low. Some users say this not only violates doctor-patient confidentiality, it’s also wrong for bureaucrats to make judgments about the medical needs of people they’ve never seen. Alison Myrden in Burlington, Ontario, says her doctor was challenged by Health Canada bureaucrats about her 20 to 28 gram daily dose. “They asked to lower it more than once, and my doctor and I both refused,” said Myrden, 43, who uses marijuana for multiple sclerosis and another painful condition. Her message to Health Canada: “Back off - leave our doctors alone.” Health Canada claims most medical users need only one to three grams daily. It sent a letter to the Canadian Medical Association advising doctors about appropriate daily amounts. The department is also hiring officers to monitor licensed users and growers, with the authority to make site visits and alert police to problems. Approximately 1800 Canadians are licensed to use medical marijuana, and of these about 1000 grow it themselves. Health Canada has said that it plans to require all patients to order government cannabis - perhaps through pharmacies - rather than be allowed to grow it themselves.
From Russia with Brutality
his year J Day was celebrated in more than 200 cities around the world. Most of the events were peaceful, but in Moscow police viciously attacked marchers and arrested about 20 people. The cops closed in as marchers from the Cannabis Legalisation League tried to unfurl a banner calling for legalisation. Eugene Kazachenko, one of the organisers, reported that one young activist was beaten so badly they had to call an ambulance. Police tried to plant drugs on activists, and lawyers were not allowed to visit those who had been arrested. Gay rights activists who marched in Moscow earlier this year received similar treatment from Russian police. Their story was extensively reported around the world, and Russia was widely condemned for human rights abuses. But the attack on the marijuana march received virtually no coverage. > J DAY REPORT: P24 > more at www. worldwidemarijuanamarch.com
N O R M L N e W S Winter 2007
SKUNK#1 (cup entry F)
US farmers sue to grow hemp
wo North Dakota farmers are suing the US federal government in an effort to end it’s obstruction of commercial hemp farming. David Monson and Wayne Hauge were issued state licenses to grow industrial hemp in February. When North Dakota’s lawmakers concluded the DEA had no intention of working co-operatively with the state - the first in the US to permit hemp farming - they voted overwhelmingly to drop the DEA licensing requirement
from the law. Federal law bans “marihuana” but hemp fiber, seed oil and seed incapable of germination are exempt from the definition. “The American farmer is being left out while Canadian, European and Chinese farmers are filling the void,” said Wayne Hauge. Last year over 48,000 acres of hemp were grown in Canada, with farmers averaging $250 per acre profit. China grows 2 million acres of hemp. Some hemp products will be used at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
BC3 extradition hearing delayed
he extradition hearing Marc Emery, Marc did run a successful business and he Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, used the profits to fund cannabis activism known as the BC3, has been postponed till - the real reason the Americans are out to get November 5. The three Canadians - arrested him. His donations included funds towards in Canada at the behest of the US Drug New Zealand J Day and the ALCP’s election Enforcement Administration - face 10 years campaigns. He also founded Cannabis Culture to life in a US federal prison, and Marc magazine and www.Pot-TV.net. Marc says, “I could even be executed by the US am proud of my activities, and wish Government. They are now I did even more. I am in no on bail while the legal way repentant.” system decides their Emery listed his fate. occupation as Under America’s “Marijuana Seed “Drug Kingpin” Vendor” on his legislation, Marc tax returns, and could be sentenced Revenue Canada to death or life was happy to take his imprisonment for money. Health Canada > for more info or to trafficking in marijuana even referred licensed donate online go to www. seeds, production of medical marijuana patients to cannabisculture.com marijuana, and money laundering. his seed company. Manufacture or distribution of more than DEA administrator Karen Tandy has 60,000 seeds is included in death penalty admitted that the actions against Emery have provisions of the law. Emery is the first person been taken to stop him funding cannabis arrested under this law who could qualify to legalisation campaigns. be executed. If the extradition hearing goes against According to his lawyer, Emery is “98% them, the BC3 can appeal to the BC Court doomed”. America claims he was largest of Appeal. A decision would be expected marijuana producer of all time and say his around November 2008, the month of the seed business was responsible for 1.1 million US elections. A Canadian election will also pounds of pot, worth US$2.5 billion. be held by then. www.normL.org.nz
Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
CANNABIS around the
Ganja Culture NORML’s roaming reporter Mils Rathburn recently explored the ganja culture in sunny Jamaica.
rriving in Negril, on Jamaica’s west coast, I was told smoking is generally accepted but don’t be obvious around the police. My host, a man in his late 50’s, rolled a typically conical spliff, which he offered, after thoughtfully puffing for some minutes. It tasted sweet, fresh without being moist. Not hugely strong, what one might encounter in New Zealand without going to too much trouble; not top shelf, but not bad. The Jamaican market, as here, is diverse. In subsequent conversations, I learned growers were increasingly aware that much of their herb was unremarkable. As a consequence, many were importing specialised seeds from Canada and the Netherlands. More than once I was asked if I could either give people money to purchase better seeds, or send some once I returned home. After hanging at a local bar for a day or two I was told of a Rastaman who was known as a bushdoctor, familiar with numerous plants and fruit, and their healing and healthful properties. As he sold ganja, he also had his own ‘field’ and for a small koha a visit was arranged. Though early morning, it was already thirty degrees as we clambered through scraggly bush-covered volcanic shards. After forty minutes we reached a plateau. There was a rough hut, a large seed tray and a plastic water tank, miraculously transported through the bush by Dexter and his brother. Like others, he
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didn’t own the land. He was a subsistence farmer, growing paw paw, bananas and pineapples, along with his ganja. Most he’d consume himself, while some he’d sell or exchange for other goods or services. His ganja plot, a concave circular depression about eight metres across, held around sixty metre-high foxtails growing in the red earth. They were almost mature at two months. Dexter could grow four crops a year though the plants were never large, unlike the inland variety, which had more water available, and could be climbed, he said. I visualized a tree-like sativa. We spent a couple of hours up the mountain, pruning his plants. After half filling a twenty-litre bucket with shade leaves for later cooking, we rested with a well-earned spliff and some sweet rainwater, admiring the view, and reasoning on ganja, herbs and natural medicine. Dexter described himself as a natural man. He talked the language and philosophy of the Rasta. Strictly ital: no food preparation with salt, use of tobacco or alcohol, or eating animal products. This meant no butter for cooking his ganja. Instead we used coconut oil and flesh to make a ‘custard’, which solidifies the ganja oil. These notions of naturalness and personal responsibility seem commonplace in Jamaican culture, particularly among those living rurally, or in impoverished situations. This potentially explains that despite the acceptance of ganja by many in Jamaican society, there is not a lot of drug use aside from the herb, tobacco and alcohol. And while
ABOVE: A typical spliff. RIGHT: At the Bob Marley museum. BELOW: “Subsistence farmer’s ganja plot, West Coast Jamaica”.
alcohol is seen as the major drug problem, Jamaicans don’t drink anywhere near the levels that New Zealanders do (even their ganja use is possibly less per capita). And while Jamaica is a major transshipment point for cocaine to North America, its use is disparaged locally, even in popular music. Rather it’s seen as a dangerous drug because it is ‘addictive’, a property not usually attributed to ganja. By comparison, ganja is very much a herb and, as is the case elsewhere in the Caribbean, its medicinal as well as recreational and spiritual properties are widely recognised. For example, in the islands of St. Lucia and Trinidad I was told how people would boil a small plant, roots and all, to make an infusion for asthma sufferers. Thus, around the Caribbean ganja culture exists in a tension between folk medicine, recreational and religious traditions on the one hand, and a burgeoning culture of drug control on the other. This is, of course, reinforced by the obsessions and financial leverage of the region’s powerful northern neighbour, the US.
Medpot, Jamaican Style While medpot in some parts of the world is the preserve of multinational pharmaceutical conglomerates, and its availability
is governed by the drug war politics of organisations like America’s FDA, Jamaican researchers have harnessed the knowledge and experience of the island’s folk medicine culture. During my visit I was told of three cannabis medicines available at local pharmacies. For around $10 New Zealand dollars, I purchased one of these—Canasol—a topical medicine (i.e. applied to the eyes as drops) prescribed for glaucoma that was the subject of a Cannabis Culture article in 2000. As that article reported, the medicine was developed after examining the use of cannabis by Jamaican fisherman in the 1970’s. While US scientists spent millions on poorly designed treatments resulting in eye irritation, the Jamaican project produced a medicine, which during the 1980’s and 1990’s was successfully tested throughout the Caribbean, the South Pacific and Europe. Despite the researchers producing reams of data showing Canasol has no side effects, and that it works in minutes, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has refused to recognise Jamaican studies. The same scientists have developed a medicine for asthma, Asmasol, and are working on a motion sickness treatment, Canavert. www.normL.org.nz
Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
A guide to writing letters that get published
Have you ever read an article about an issue to do with cannabis and thought “That’s just not true”? Or read an editorial or letter about cannabis and thought “I disagree”? Or seen a positive cannabis item and thought “Wow! That was really good”? If so then you could help in the fight to end cannabis prohibition by writing a Letter to The Editor (LTE). Jason Baker-Sherman explains that if you have an opinion, writing a letter could be much easier than you think.
enerally, one of the most widely read sections of any newspaper or magazine is its “Letters” section. Consequently a Letter to the Editor (LTE) is not only a chance to express an opinion, it is also a great opportunity to both reflect and influence public opinion. Compared to the start of this decade, cannabis law reform is not such a hot media issue. One way to remedy that is for all potential letter writers, both new and old, to send a letter about cannabis and the problems caused by its prohibition to a newspaper or magazine whenever the opportunity arises. Getting started The first step is to look out for an article, report, editorial or letter that provokes a reaction in you (although there is nothing to stop you just writing an LTE about an aspect of cannabis that you’re interested in but topicality does help). It need not necessarily be a negative item about cannabis as writing to praise a newspaper or magazine for printing a positive cannabis article is also a good opportunity for an LTE. Once you have selected your item, re-read it a few times and think about the issue for a while. Try to locate the weakest point if it is a negative item and focus on that, although it can be a good idea to utilise any positive points if possible. Now start to imagine yourself reading out your letter in your mind.
Writing your letter Once you feel that you have worked out your response, it’s
N O R M L N e W S Winter 2007
time to turn on the computer, or get Now print it out for a better look. phone number. Sending a physical copy of your paper and pen, and begin writing. Repeat the editing process if you Don’t worry too much about notice any obvious problems. LTE by post, although slower, less what you’re writing at this point, Getting a second opinion can help. convenient and more expensive, the trick is to try and complete a However, don’t get stuck trying to does have an advantage over an email in that it is physical. You rough draft of your LTE. Keep make your LTE perfect. can also attach a cover letter, that picture of your LTE in your possibly explaining your mind. Once you’ve interest in the issue and/or written a particular point in a little y o u r e th page of more depth, and/or some outline, editorial e ia d th e n m o ements ORML’s ir N u proof to back up the facts do a word q e e re (s it e rd lim > Read th r visit its website ill be a wo and opinions. This proof count to w o re e r ss e th re p sually e, add newspa could be a photocopy of, check its doubt). U your nam in u ly if o p y p ry su if to direc r letter sked to u a o e y b say, a newspaper article, length and e l c il a w uble sp plus you mber. Do u or a page or two from a don’t forget n e e n v o h l impro and a p . This wil book. Don’t include too to save it. ly post. k y e ic b th u it q o it d subm and als respon d to e ry sh T much, just enough to If your LTE li . b u ss o p e But d > Timelin your letter being rst place. fi prove your point, and is under or e f th g o in in s g it spell the odd our writin tter and check for y make sure to highlight close to the f o d o o our le likelih the relevant passages. limit (or under e to edit y , m le ti ib e ss th o e p tak ort as sh s a Of course, you can 250 words if r r e u tt o our le rter y mistakes. to keep y . The sho d. It’s ly do the same with there is no stated ry n T o . e y it su v one is printe > Bre icking to LT E s s e n t b y e limit) then reit will be st t a y th b e e c b n y ma e cha mail but DO NOT read it and delete greater th and your letter, the that. d simple, way to n include attachments. any points that a s a rt o le p sh ght nces as sim ere is no ri e article eep sente Instead, simply put are irrelevant th K e . il ty h ri W la >C d logical. point is to name th tion, n a d your cover letter or repeated. re e ing posi letter ord and your good start g a r, in and proof after Remember the s e d tt n ic o le st ti or sta are resp write a hich you evidence your LTE but keep shorter your LTE, , r w e h tt to rc r a le e r se tt u or le vant re ing yo it short as a long the greater its g some rele oint, before finish in e st it c re n te e in th on. An r viewp si u o lu y e-mail might not chance of getting c n rt o o c p d. d/or a to sup an be goo ughts as pinion an c o get read. printed. Once you’re e le b m ra so o with mem ur tho happy with it, do a fact that is elf and express yo . y e k g ir u ta q n a r o urs adv Recycling it spell check and make lity. Be yo r letter an > Origina ality can give you To pass the on sure to save it. some pers time while waiting If your LTE is well to see if your LTE is printed, go over the limit (usually to a library or check the NORML the case with my website or www.stuff.co.nz to letters) then it’s time to make Submitting your letter see if any other newspapers some tough choices. Re-read This is the best bit; sending your have covered the issue you have your LTE (printing it out doublespaced can be helpful) and delete letter off. Submitting your LTE by written about. If so, a new LTE any irrelevant or repeated points. e-mail has the advantages of being (most newspapers and magazines If still over the limit, eliminate the quick plus your letter is already in ask that only original LTEs are weakest points one by one until it a digital format making it more submitted to them) can easily be is under the limit. Re-read your convenient for the press to use. created by rearranging or editing LTE , edit if necessary, do a spell However, don’t forget to include your original LTE to suit the new your full address and a contact item. check and save it.
guid g n i t i r w r Lette
however, you could say as little as you wish to resubmit your LTE because you feel that their coverage lacks balance. Both of the above options show the editor that you are serious about your opinion and I’m sure your persistence will be rewarded eventually. catch the w w w. n o r m l . o r g . n z / f o r u m s > You can still submit buzz! your letter to MAPinc for inclusion on their website but type LTE Also check the News pages of or similar, that outlines their in the “Subject” line to indicate the television websites as some commitment to accuracy and that it wasn’t published. allow for opinion to be recorded. balance in their reporting. I’ve > You could also visit the had some success using that Congratulations! Your NORML website and post your argument to get rejected letters LTE under a relevant topic as letter got published published. It requires some extra If your LTE is fortunate enough effort as you will need to write a well. There is now a “thread” to be published, then you should cover letter with a good argument specifically for unpublished letters submit it for inclusion on the Media to justify your letters inclusion, called “The Unpublished Letters Resurrected”. Awareness Project (MAPinc) website, “a worldwide network dedicated to drug policy reform,” (www.mapinc.org/nz.htm for New Zealand drug news), Simply send an e-mail to editor@mapinc. org. Put PUB LTE followed by the letter’s headline in the “Subject” line. In the message type “Newshawk:” then the name you’d like to use, the “Headline:”, “Pubdate:”, “Source:”, “Page:” and “Author:” details followed by your LTE. You could also post your LTE on the NORML website in the “Letter Writing” forum.
Or, bad luck but don’t despair... If after a week’s wait your letter still hasn’t been published then, unfortunately, it probably won’t be. However, that’s not always the case. Don’t give up as you still have a few options: > Try again: Accept that your letter has been rejected and look for another opportunity to write a new LTE. > Resubmit: You could consider resubmitting your LTE, especially if you feel that the point of view you are presenting hasn’t been expressed in the paper already. Most newspapers have a “mission statement”, www.normL.org.nz
The importance of proof
> One important point to remember when submit ting LTEs is that the editorial staff ma y not have the same kno wledge and understanding about can nabis, its uses and law reform as we do. Therefore including some proof, especially if it is from a government report or ma jor study, can help in get ting your LTE published. > Proof is also important in that it makes it much harder for the press to propagate misinf ormation if they know tha t what they are printing isn’t true. > And you never know, som eone at the paper might be so inspired by the information you sen d that they use it for an arti cle. > Keep it positive if you can: another way to ensure your letters have a good chance of publication is to try and maintain a positive relationship wit h the editor and other cor respondents. As the NORML guideline s say it is better to use “ju do”, ie your opponents own weight, to defeat them rather tha n try to knock them out as in boxing. Having said that I have had some success with the “boxing” approach but it is more stressful, both mentally and physically (they say the pen is mightie r than the sword, and I use d to imagine my “pen” slashing the lies of cannabis prohibition like a sword). Lately, however, I have been trying a more judo-l ike approach and have found that to be just as effective while bei ng easier too. I have also discovered tha t it pays not to take an LT E’s rejection personally. It is important to remember that, figurati vely speaking, LTEs are the newspaper ’s ball and they get to say wh o plays with it. Even if you complain to the Press Council, the y will probably tell you the same. So pla y hard and fair but accept that the press has the final say about the publication of LTEs. The Christchurch Press recently ran an edi torial item pointing out tha t letter writers had no right to reply. Ne vertheless, that shouldn’t stop you from making a good case to hav e your LTE included if you feel hard done by.
...and keep on trying! Whatever you do, don’t give up. Under “Get Active” on the NORML website there are four excellent articles by Clifford A. Schaffer. They are not specific to letter writing but are very useful nevertheless, even for improving your debating skills. Or check out the letter writing advice at www. mapinc.org. But do keep trying as even unpublished LTEs are read by the editorial staff so they do have an influence. After all, I’ve never regretted submitting any of the many letters that I’ve written over the years but I do regret not writing and sending the many letters that I only composed in my head. For more information and letterwriting tips, see: www.norml.org.nz/forum15 www.mapinc.org/nz.htm www.druglibrary.org www.drugpolicy.org
My own letter writing record
ion First LTE, to the Domin ed lish pub not s in July 2000, wa r afte but l) ica top not (too long, ting get d rte sta Es LT my t tha published regularly. go My next letter, to the Ota ld cou s abi ann (“C es, Tim Daily sen cho s wa save mill”, 24.7.00) Mo nth as the ir Le tte r of the n 30 0 tha re mo ng bei des pit e words long. ekly Even the NZ Woman’s We Es , LT my of e on pu bli she d my ed alt ho ug h I nev er rec eiv k. pac t skin-care products gif ut 100 My current tally is abo na bis , can on Es LT d tte sub mi orm ref law prohibition and drug oTw . rate tion lica with a 75% pub ally loc ted mit sub n bee e thirds hav lication with a better than 95% pub success the ally rate, whereas nation . rate is 35% chi ng Iro nic all y, wh ile res ear I’ve de, gui letter writing for this Es LT n ow my t tha dis cov ere d which s, ine del gui the ach bre often of getting should give you all hope ! too ed an LTE publish
> Finally, it never hurts to say thank you or use some praise if you get the chance.
Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
he hemp collective was drawn from the wider Motueka community with a large and diverse net of knowledge and experience, although not necessarily in growing hemp. The relatively small scale and inexperience with the crop made things difficult to do with commercial ‘efficiency’, and yet innovations were made, the people came together, and the hemp was harvested! Riverside community recently removed some of their conventional (non-organic) apple orchard. The community gardeners were hoping to purify the soil and increase the organic matter in the soil. Hemp came recommended. The community are interested in he future commercial potential of the plant, particularly for projects such as hemp-mud bricks, rope, and paper. Over a hectare of cannabis p. kompolti pacifica was planted with 40kg of seed in early December. This variety was developed for Southern latitudes as a high fibre producer. Boksashi (microorganisms) was applied to the ground before planting, as well as four foliar applications to the growing seedlings. Verena Gruner, community resident gardener, said a highlight was seeing how fast and well the seeds grew. Corn was planted as a border crop, but quickly became dwarfed by the hemp. The 0.5m strip of corn, a good companion crop to hemp, did very well. From a growing perspective, Verena said hemp was a delight to grow as no weeding needed to be done as the hemp outgrew all other plants. Much of the crop was over 2m tall. The crop could have been even bigger had the hemp been planted earlier and had it been a wetter summer. The hemp crop did not get irrigated, and still grew “amazingly” well.
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way. Dealing with the machines and bigger infrastructure highlighted the uncertain viability of planting a ‘trial’ crop, with no guarantees, long term plans, or national vision.
H The crop was harvested in mid March and had lots of help along the way, with the local Motueka community, apple pickers, WWOOFers, hemp growers from France, and many others pitching in. Nick Alterio and Tomaash Cernik got involved to further the homegrown and community grassroots involvement. A key motivator for many was local diversity and breaking out of monocultural farming practices. The farm machinery used was a 1915 wheat harvester, originally designed for being horse drawn. Several machines were specially modified for the hemp harvest, and for removing the seeds. This involved working out how to cut the hemp, how to collect the seeds, and getting the hemp dry. Many innovations were made along the
emp has been allowed in trials for several years. Licenses to grow cost $500 to lodge an application. In order to sell the seed, the buyer also needs to have a license, which costs another $500. These costs make it difficult to explore the commercial viability of hemp, particularly hemp foods, which are sought after overseas as highly nutritional super-foods. Hemp is the highest of any plant in essential fatty acids, in the optimum ratio for human consumption, and is a perfect protein. Yet foods containing hempseeds are currently illegal, although hempseed oil is allowed. There are also environmental benefits to growing hemp. “These days, we have an advanced situation of sudden climate change,” says Motueka hemp grower Steve Burnett. “The photosynthesizing capacity of hemp allows an upward growth rate of 8cm per day. This represents a phenomenal carbon sink which, unlike trees, can be adopted annually.” The government is holding back this potentially beneficial industry. In other parts of the world, such as the European Union, governments have recognised the potential of hemp, and financially support growers. New Zealand should better support this crop. Above: stalks drying in the sun. Left: the modified farm machinery, and hand-threshing the tops for seeds.. More information about the Riverside hemp project is at http://tomaash. net/hemp www.normL.org.nz
PHOTOS: TOMAASH CERNIK
Innovative community hemp farmers were busy over the summer growing industrial hemp at Riverside Community, near Motueka. Tara Forde spoke to some of those involved.
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Christchurch Police show intolerance By BRANDON HUTCHISON
-Day in Christchurch was not quite the laid back affair that it has usually been. The organisers experienced obstruction by the City Council, and the police actively harassed some participants on the day. A formal request to the Council to use Cathedral square was declined, which effectively limited the protest to the area around “speakers corner” and prevented setting up stalls. However, a vigorous antiprohibition protest was still held in front of
the Cathedral, and there was a consistent crowd of more than 200 people listening to the various speakers. Shortly after midday, a small police presence was apparent in the square and soon six of them descended on a group of teens out of sight of the main protest. Paula, a NORML board member, approached this group and spoke to two of the teens standing to one side. They said they had been searched but nothing was found. A policeman raced over and threatened Paula with arrest for obstruction if she didn’t move away. Shortly after, the police attempted a repeat of this behavior by removing a youth from the crowd and attempting to search him. This search was thwarted by the intervention
Motueka police arrest protester for tobacco cigarette By Tara Forde and Elanor Stedman
o l l o w i n g a confrontational year in which Motueka police continued to arrest innocent people for cannabis, Motueka NORML decided to hold a public event. Instead of being isolated victims of prohibition we could show that we are united in freedom. Motueka is a small town, ya know? We were armed with a huge banner, a large ALCP “Snakes in the grass” game, and a stall table. After being offered trespass notices by the police and the vicar of the church where
we had set up, we walked the banner round town, to many honks and tokes, and finally settled in a more central (and vacant) space. Set up for the afternoon, we had numerous medical marijuana users pass by and discuss the upcoming bill, as well as support from local tokers who were sick of the police invasion into their life. Informative and fun so far! We settled in for a cruisy 4:20, but at 4:36 cop cars pull up. Too Late! We remained nonplussed and chilled out. However, they marched right up to us. One woman had a thorough examination (both smell and sight) of her cigarette. The police didn’t want to be made fools of, and arrested Elanor Stedman without
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examining her cigarette. We packed up to hold a vigil outside the police station, which was highly effective and much better for passing cars to toot support. Big Ups to the dude that drove by waving a bong! Elanor was charged and released and a few days afterwards was told the charge had been dropped. An official complaint has been made. Complainants recently met with District Commander Brian McGurk to discuss their concerns regarding civil liberties and police’s (in)ability to identify marijuana. When will New Zealand wake up and change these arcane imported laws? It is wasting citizens, police and court time.
of Blair and Janni who insisted that in the situation, the guy needed an adult advocate. After photographing this incident, I was approached and questioned by another policeman who claimed that photographing police carrying out duties in public was breaching their privacy. It appears that, while happy to carry out seemingly random searches of members of the public, in a very public place, some police don’t want there to be public scrutiny of this. After the speakers from ALCP, NORML, Mild Greens and others had finished, the protest reassembled two blocks away in Latimer Square for a relaxed festive afternoon. Two policemen observed from a distance and apart from seizing a pipe from one person, they generally did not interfere.
Afterthoughts on J-Day Later that day, a tragedy occurred outside a party in Edgeware road, Christchurch. The story is now well known. Much discussion has been had in the media and the community about this incident particularly focusing on the behaviour, attitudes and values of teenagers. Leaving aside issues of alcohol, crowd dynamics, cars and youth, and focusing on teen’s view of police, is it any wonder that there is a significant minority who view the police as an enemy? With their open harassment of several teens on J-day, the police have willingly made several more enemies, and for no good reason. Repeat this every day over the years, and the police have created a serious problem for themselves and society. Police should focus on genuine crime, that is those acts which directly hurt people, which drug offences generally do not, and they should respect all minorities. Respecting diversity means more than signing up a couple of cops of Chinese ethnicity, or inviting the local Pacific island leaders down to police HQ for a tour. If we stopped the drug war, a large minority may begin to feel genuine respect for the police again, and our society will be happier and safer. There would be fewer Edgeware road style tragedies. www.normL.org.nz
PHOTOS: NORML NZ
Saturday 5th May 2007 was a global day of action against cannabis prohibition. While police kept away from most events, protesters in Christchurch and Motueka faced harassment
Left: the crowd at Albert Park. Even the Jawa showed up!
promoting J Day; Tim and Nigel for donating the PA; the volunteers who helped set up, pack down, run the stall and sausage sizzle, the crew who laid on the spots, to Pauly for entertaining us with juggling and fire tricks; and to the dope DJs: Sparx, Sensei, Selecto, Matty Dread, Double-O Afro and Tommy Flowers, and of course to everyone who came along. It was a great day.
Day went off in Auckland this year, with a sizeable crowd at Albert Park showing their support for law reform. A really generous donation from a member enabled us to pay for the portaloos, security guards and cleaning services that are needed to book Albert Park. It’s not easy raising these funds and we really appreciate the donation. We got a huge turnout - about 2000 people over the day - with supporters in every nook and cranny of Albert Park. The NORML CannaBus made an appearance and looked great in the park. We also had a vintage fire engine on stand-by but it wasn’t needed as all “fires” were very small and could eventually be put out by smoking them. Big thanks to our sponsors The Hempstore, London Underground and Cannabis Culture magazine; bfm for
his year’s J-day in Dunedin was the largest in recent memory, with about 350-500 people in the Octagon at the height of festivities and well over 1000 total attendees throughout the day. It was a beautiful sunny day and much enjoyment was had by all listening to the laid back tunes provided by our volunteer DJs. We also had a game-show style prize giveaway, with prizes
kindly donated by local smoke shops. It was a great opportunity for cannabis users in Dunedin to get to know each other and share a smoke in a safe place without fear of persecution.
Due to the success of this year’s and past J-days, a safe, social smoking meet-up now occurs weekly, every Friday at 4:20, on the Union Lawn at the University. All Welcome. Below: the game show in progress; DJ Ras Boof
Friday 4:20 Sessions For almost two years a good old fashioned smoke-in has been happening at 4:20pm every Friday at the Victoria St entrance to Albert Park. Come along and show your support. For more info see the “albert park” thread at www.norml. org.nz/forums
ellington celebrated J day this year at Central Park in Brooklyn. Around 200 people throughout the day, from as far afield as Palmerston North and England, enjoyed the irie tunes of 5:16, Narcosia, Tough Love, Xhale, Espionage and Psychedelic Jellyfish. We were honoured to have Green MP Metiria Turei for the
afternoon, as well as Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis leader and Wellington Council candidate Michael Appleby. Both spoke eloquently in support of the international cause for recognition of cannabis as our medicinal ally. A big thumbs up to Isa for putting it together!
e would really love to thank everyone that came down to the park and hung out, this year was thrown together at the last minute but we hoped everyone who came had a good time and met some like minded people and a few new smoking buddies. Thanks to the Rotunda dwellers for sharing their home with us for a day and the cops for turning up at 4:20 but not coming into the park. Looking forward to next year being a much bigger success so if anyone’s keen to help out they would be greatly appreciated in any capacity, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Smoke on the Water the 4TH Annual Auckland
by Harry Cording
ow in its fourth year, Smoke on the Water has become one of the highlights of the cannabis calendar. A select group of cannabis connoisseurs set sail for a secret location somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, where they sampled the finest
cannabis New Zealandâ€™s growers could provide This year â€™s cannabis cup competition drew a record 17 entries - comprising 6 outdoor and 11 indoor strains. I arrived at the wharf half an hour before boarding time, keen to set sail and start the difficult, demanding task of judging the
Cannabis Cup. Old hands from previous Cups were joined by a large and enthusiastic contingent of first timers. Once we were on the high seas, the judges gathered around the display table to inspect the buds. Entries are judged on appearance, smell, taste, and effect.
As well as the general look of the buds, judges examined them with a lens to view the THC crystals, which are too small to appreciate with the naked eye. Now is the time for a good sniff to judge the aroma before the final and most important test - the smoking. Plenty of joints were rolled and
The entries, ready for inspection
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4th Annual Auckland Cannabis Cup The entries - and winners - with some judge’s comments INDOOR A - Afghani by Rourkus. “good looking” B - White Rhino by Southside Smilers * 3RD PLACE! “clears the sinus!” C - Mandarin by NH. “nice smell” D - Northern Lights by PP. “great trim, wonderful cola” E - Te Kakariki by Ms. * 1ST PLACE! “wow... what else is there to say?” F - Skunk1 by Eg. “almost there” G - Te Tuki by Ms. “sweet tasting, good smell” H - Hash Plant by Cell. “not dense but great cure” I - Dutch Treat by R. * 2ND PLACE! “gorgeous!” O - Durban by Ruby. “quite nice” P - Afi x W. Widow by B4L. “yummy” OUTDOOR J - Black Herer by Daf. “dark taste” K - Coronaki Afi by Flying High. * 1ST PLACE! “great maturity” L - Peka Peka Bay Bud. “bush weed” M - Taramandel Tacky by Flying High. “great - could be perfect” N - Magic by Flying High * 2ND PLACE! “nice old style” Q - Afi X by Shaun * 3RD PLACE! “great strain, good cure”
Below, from left: Indoor 1st, 2nd and 3rd - Te Kakariki, Dutch Treat and White Rhino
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< continued from over page
the judges diligently set to their appointed task. The afternoon was sunny with a brisk sea breeze and a gentle swell rocked the boat. The lower deck was spotting headquarters, featuring the Spong - the spotting bong designed and made for the occasion by Big T (whose buds have been pictured in past issues). After a good session down below, climbing the steep narrow stairs took on the aspects of an adventure. Judging the effects of top quality cannabis is inevitably a highly subjective effort - especially after the tenth s a m p l e . H o w e v e r, Te Kakariki won the indoor trophy for the third year in a row. It’s a fine achievement and shows Kakariki is a true champion. Some think Te Kakariki should now be retired to give others a chance - although we’d like to hear some feedback on that first! R’s Dutch Treat came second in the indoor section and Southside Smiler’s White Rhino was third. Also highly placed was Durban from the Naki and Afi x White Widow from somewhere in South Auckland. The winner of the outdoor cup was Coronaki Afi by Flying High from Coromandel. In second place was Magic, also by
Flying High, and third was Afi X by Shaun from Huntly. Coromandel was well represented among the growers - ganja bless you and keep up the good work! Special thanks to Josh, who made the beautiful glass trophies awarded to the winners and pictured on the cover. His original creations, which he brought
with him from California, were confiscated by Customs who decided the cups must be P pipes. Glass supplies and facilities were hastily organised and Josh pulled off a superb effort to create a pair of replacement trophies just in time for the contest. And that just goes to show, prohibition does not work.
PHOTOS: CHRIS & TADGH
Gro potting mix makes growing healthy plants easy. Gro potting mix is a peat based organic mix and is fundamentally different to other bark based potting mixes.
Gro potting mix contains perlite and vermiculite to help maintain soil structure even after prolonged periods of heavy watering.
Peat is produced by nature and is plentiful in NZ. Peat has an even consistency and great air and water retention characteristics that promote vigorous root growth.
Gro potting mix can also be used as a soil-less medium in hydroponic gardens. The organic nutrients and bacteria already present in Gro will not compound with your favourite fertilizers to burn your precious plants.
Gro potting mix contains neem cake which is also an organic fertilizer as well as a natural pesticide. Neem is a natural wonder!!! Gro potting mix contains lime and a wetting agent to ensure consistent pH and moisture levels throughout the medium, even over extended periods.
Organic gardeners now have a medium, which can be used as a base for other organic additives. Hydro-organic cultivation has the potential to grow vigorous, big crops while retaining delicious, full organic flavours and aromas. In reticulation systems, however the pump filters will need to be cleaned more frequently.
Now available in 50 litre bulk packs and 30 litre carry bags.
Only at the best Gro shops.
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Damp winter blues B
limey, what a wet winter we’re having this year. Last year it was weirdly cold around our ways and now it’s extraordinarily wet. Never mind - at least we can turn on the sun in our private sanctuary of blooming stonedness. Grow rooms and cupboards generally do well in cooler temperatures, as it’s easier to heat a garden rather than cool it down. If your sub tropical haven is running too cold, the easiest way to warm it back up is by reducing the air flow through there. Either put the extractor fan on a timer to only come on periodically, or for the more techno oriented grower it’s not too hard to wire a dimmer switch into the fan lead. This way you’re using the heat your light(s) generate. If you are placing the ballast(s) inside the grow space to help keep it warm, make sure it’s popped in a safe, dry spot off the floor. The other big issue is that of damp. Cannabis likes dry air, especially during
Dutch Treat (cup entry I)
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the advanced stages of the budding cycle. Unfortunately low humidity is an impossible dream for most of our indoor gardens during the winter and spring, so we often get cursed with botrytis and pythium amongst other moulds and fungi that like the cool and damp. Once those unwanted spores have taken a hold in a grow room, you must fight them immediately, just like you would an insect invasion! Botrytis (bud rot), especially, can move hellishly fast through a crop and render it useless almost overnight. Remove any affected plant material straight away. The best remedy is prevention though. Keep your grow space meticulously clean. That means especially no dead leaf litter on your grow room floor or around the stems of your plants. No puddles or little piles of dirt or any other detritus either - clean means clean!
Manadrin (cup entry C)
egarding cleanliness, there is a routine to be established and followed fairly strictly to help keep unwanted anything out, and keep your equipment functioning at optimum. Make the cleaning routine something that is part of your growing cycle, slotting in between harvest and plant out. It is as crucial as any other part of the growing cycle, as the success of your next crop depends on it. Start by removing the dust filters off your air intake and carbon filter, and put them through the washing machine. Then wipe any burnt on dust, insects etc… off the light bulb(s) gently with a soft cloth. Clean bulbs burn brighter! On that note also thoroughly clean the inside reflective surface area of your shade(s). Ballasts also need dusting, clean equipment works better and lasts longer. Then mix up a mild bleach solution, approximately 1 part bleach to 5 parts water. Thoroughly wash all the walls and floor and any other exposed surface inside the grow room with the bleach mix. You can dry the room using oscillating fans, the bleach doesn’t leave any toxic residue. You can use the same mild bleach solution to wash your hydro system or pots or whatever containers you use in your garden. And don’t forget to wash all your gardening tools, plant stakes and anything else that will come into contact with your plants, soil or water. If you routinely clean your garden like this, you avoid carrying problems over from crop to crop, whether it be a fungus or an insect. There are a few extra little precautions you can take at times of high humidity and cool temperatures. continued over page >
Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
LEFT: Black Herer (cup entry J) RIGHT: Northern Lights (entry D) BELOW: Hash Plant (entry H)
upplementing your feeding regime with extra silica, copper and calcium during vegetative and early flowering stages will really assist your plants battle the moulds fungi. Then there are a couple of non-toxic sprays on the market that can be applied directly to the plants to kill any spores. These are generally citric acid based, and are sweet to use until about week 2 of the 12/12 cycle. Spraying the walls and floor of your grow space is not a bad idea as preventative maintenance on a regular basis through winter, either with the spore killer or a mild bleach solution. Avoid over watering your garden. Pythium loves the cool and wet and will at best slow things down and at worst kill the plant from the bottom up. Soggy soil has little air in it, which will restrict plants ability to breathe and thrive. Crisp, white, hairy roots like to move rapidly through a light, airy but moist (not wet) media. If your plants water uptake slows down due to cooler temperatures, adjust your watering accordingly. A dry soil will come up to temperature far quicker after the lights turn
on every day. Plants will grow faster when the root zone is around 18C rather than cooler. So make the most out of your 12 hour daily sun by keeping your garden dryer and warmer. But even with the most care in the world, root rot can still sneak into a crop. There are several products available to combat root disease and to help fortify root structures’ resistance to disease. I won’t advise specific brands or products here, just be aware that there is an appropriate additive for all common maladys. Your local grow shop should be able to put
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you onto the correct product for the occasion regardless of which brands they stock. Just like people, plants have a natural immunity system which is fortified by vitamins. Foliar feeding your mother plants, cuttings and vegetating plants with vitamins, especially vitamin B will help prevent fungal attacks later on during the flowering phase. Avoid foliar feeding anything during the budding cycle, though, as moisture can easily get trapped inside fattening buds and actually start botrytis. So, during veg and early bloom set apply
vitamin supplements through the leaves and during flowering feed them through the root zone. Vitamins can also act as a nutritional catalyst, helping plant take up nutrients easier and faster. If you’ve been quite happy with your results using only mineral based fertilizers, try a couple of vitamin additives and you’ll be delirious. Less disease, and faster growth. Final tip for those who seek to grow dense, heavy buds. Of course all plants love extra potassium at flowering time, but besides high K nutrients look for products which contain carbohydrates and sugars. Again, just like people, plants bulk out on carbs and sugar. Be warned though, whatever you feed your babies during the second half of the budding cycle will come out in the taste of your smoke. Not every additive may be to your liking, so be prepared to experiment. Happy growing everyone. Stay warm!
Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 1991 – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW (Pt. 1) By Rob Weir LLB
Crescent Chambers, Auckland.
t has been clear Crown policy for a number of years to recover property from those convicted of drug supply charges. The legislation used is the Proceeds of Crime Act 1991 (“the PCA”). The PCA comes under the Court’s civil jurisdiction but exists contemporaneously with the criminal Court where property is suspected to have been derived from “serious criminal offending.” A “serious offence” is classified as one punishable by 5 years or more imprisonment.
offending (as defined in the Act), an application that the property be transferred to the Crown.
Restraining orders Under s.39 of the PCA, the Solicitor General, upon the arrest or conviction of a person for an offence, can apply to the High Court for a restraining order against all or part of that person’s property (which can include real estate and cash funds). The key issue is whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the property is tainted property in relation to the alleged offence. The Court will look at various factors.
mortgagees who can apply to the Court for relief under s.17. If the Court is satisfied that the claim to the interest is valid, it can direct the Crown to transfer the interest to the applicant or direct that the interest not be included in a forfeiture order. A person whose property is restrained will still have an interest in the property and if granted bail, will likely still be able to live in the property but will not be able to have any dealings with the property (for example, it can’t be sold). While property is restrained it will be administered by the Official Assignee. If the Crown makes an application for restraining order this can opposed. This is done by filing a notice of opposition listing the reasons against the restraining order and should be supported by an affidavit.
AFGHANI (cup entry A)
In practice however it primarily affects those charged with drug related offences. There are important safeguards in the current legislation such as that a person has to be charged with an offence - or charges must be contemplated against a person. In addition, the Court will usually (upon application), provide for a person’s reasonable legal fees and reasonable living expenses to be paid out of restrained funds. The level of funding is to be decided by the Court although there are standard guidelines provided for in Solicitor General v Panzer  1 NZLR 224.
The process There are two main steps. They are, firstly, an application to restrict the use of property pending the resolution of criminal proceedings. Secondly, if convictions follow for serious
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The criteria is covered in s.32 (3) (b) of the PCA and is broad, but essentially, the Court has to be satisfied that the property is subject to the effective control of the defendant and the defendant derived a benefit, either directly or indirectly from the commission of an offence. In practical terms, property will usually be considered ‘tainted’ if the Crown can prove that it has good reason to suspect that the funds used to purchase the property were from the proceeds of crime, or where the property is used in connection with a crime (for instance marijuana plants growing on the property). Often, the person charged with an offence may own the property together with another person (for instance a spouse). In this case the other person can apply under s.48 for the exclusion of their interest from the restraining order. There may also be third parties such as
If a person is convicted the Solicitor General will almost invariably apply for a forfeiture order under s.15 of the Act whereby the property is vested in the Crown. This means that the property becomes the Crown’s. The Court may instead apply for a pecuniary penalty order (rather like a large fine). The Crown can ask for the property that has been restrained to be made available to pay the pecuniary penalty order. Again the Court has a very wide discretion in what they can consider when considering such an application. Some of the considerations are the use that is ordinarily made of the property, the nature and extent of the offender’s interest in the property, and undue hardship that is likely to be caused if the property is forfeited. The Court of Appeal has upheld a District Court decision that a rural property where a significant amount of marijuana plants were found was not to be forfeited as it would leave the owner destitute. If the convictions are later overturned, then the property reverts to the previous owner and the Crown has to decide whether to start again.
What to do if you are served with an application If you are served with an application for a restraining order, or restraining order, you should remember that the Crown still have to establish the basis for what they are asking for. You are within your rights to oppose the application and at the earliest opportunity should consider what evidence is available to support your case after consulting with a practitioner experienced in the PCA field who can in turn liaise with the appropriate experts: for instance, the assistance of an expert accountant can be important to show that the property was purchased from legitimate funds. An expert in the field of marijuana plant yields can also be of great assistance to dispute evidence of the value of any marijuana that police attribute to an individual which is often inflated. If a crop has been grown on your land by someone else, a forensic expert can give evidence showing that none of your tools could have been used. You should also provide to your lawyer a clear history of how the property was obtained.
The future Currently a new bill (the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Bill) is before parliament. The bill, if passed, will replace the PCA and will have far-reaching consequences on the New Zealand public. The full implications of the new bill, if passed, will be the subject of another article, which will also report on progress at the Law and Order Select Committee hearing, due to take place on 1 August 2007.
Conclusion The PCA has serious ramifications for anybody who has an application brought against them. The Court has wide powers and a wide discretion. If an application is brought against you, you should act early and have your positioned reviewed by an expert in the field.
Police Questioning · You have the right to remain silent – including not making a statement or answering questions - 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, ask if you’ve been arrested. · You have the right to talk to your own or a free lawyer on the Bill of Rights list if you’re 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 · 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 agree; 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 agree; 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 · 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 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 police you want to talk to one on the Bill of Rights list before talking to them. · You have the right to get bail unless there is a good reason for holding you or you have been charged with a very serious offence. www.normL.org.nz
Going To Court · First appearance - you may enter “no plea” and in the time until your next appearance, get a copy of your police file and seek legal advice. Ask for “full disclosure” of all the evidence against you. Check with the court registrar if you can get legal aid or see the duty solicitor at court. · If this is your first time in court, you may be eligible for the police diversion scheme. Ask your lawyer or the duty sergeant for more information. · Otherwise, your can plead Guilty and accept whatever punishment is given to you, or plead Not Guilty and fight the charges. · If you plead Not Guilty you may be able to plea bargain at a “status hearing” before it goes to trial. · Preparing your defence: write everything down in as much detail as possible. Go through the police evidence and identify any discrepancies or errors. Help your lawyer by doing research. Search the internet, law libraries and courts.govt.nz to get copies of important cases. Remember · Always stay calm and don’t get smart. · Try to get all of the police officer’s names, numbers and police stations. · 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. Police Complaints · Freephone the Police Complaints Authority 0800 503 728; or your local community law centre, YouthLaw, a lawyer or NORML. Write down everything that happened while you remember. Get photos of any injuries and see a doctor.
E TU! KIA KAHA!
KNOW youR RIGHTS
BUSTLINE for civil rights advice & support, call us on
09 302 5255 or in the South Island:
021 399 822
or see our website:
www.norml.org.nz/rights please call weekday daytime only. priority to norml members
www.norml.org.nz/rights www.norml.org.nz/forum4 www.youthlaw.co.nz www.courtsofnz.govt.nz
LAWYERS LIST Whangarei: David Sayes 09 4382154; Nick Leader 09 4384039 Auckland: Peter Winter 09 3797658; Graeme Minchin 025 2122704; 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; Owen Harold 09 6304969; Rodney Harrison 09 3034157 Hamilton: Roger Layborne 07 8396288; Emily Coupland 07 8381069 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 YouthLaw: free legal advice for people under 25 - ph 09 3096967 or see www.youthlaw.co.nz Community Law Centres offer free advice and discounted representation for people of limited means. See www.communitylaw.org.nz for listings Legal Services Agency (legal aid): see www.lsa.govt.nz Winter Winter 2007 2007 N NO OR RM M LL N Ne eW WS S
safer CANNABIS USE
The vast majority of people who use cannabis suffer no harm, but some do experience problems. Ensure that your cannabis use does not impair your health, family, employment and education, and try to have periods of reducing use or not consuming cannabis. Harm reduction: > Remember that “Less is More” - the less you use, the less you will need, and the more high you will get. > NORML recommends consuming organic cannabis. > Heavy long term cannabis use may lead to some respiratory damage. Deep tokes and long breath duration are more harmful to the lungs. > Water pipes and bongs help 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 meths, alcohol or denture cleaning tablets) > 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. Health warnings: > Cannabis is best avoided by pregnant and breast-feeding 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. > Those receiving digitalis or other heart medications should consult their doctors before using cannabis
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N O R M L N e W S Winter 2007
> 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 has mould or fungus on it as these can 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
means 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 trips, as this can often intensify the experience. > There are often more significant harms that result from the criminal status of cannabis - such as being labelled a criminal, or robber or beaten for a herb.
Serious about Hemp?
Join the New Zealand Hemp Industries Association Inc.
$100 full membership or $20 supporter. Full membership includes 2 annual copies of the Journal of the International Hemp Association - 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, Send your contact details to the address below. Name: Phone: Address: Town: NZHIA, PO Box 38392 Howick, Auckland. Fax 09 273 7396 www.normL.org.nz
SHOP Support NORML - buy this stuff!
NZ Green Calendars 2007 (pictured) SOLD OUT - check at your local friendly store for remaining stocks 1994 to 2006: $5 each, or 3 for $10 (2004 also sold out) Add $5 tube postage per order
T shirts > Freedom is NORML or Not Cool In School with website on back. Mens in S, M, L black or white Womens in white XS, S, M $20 for members or $30 for non-members
Join > activists needed to help end cannabis prohibition. You can make a difference! > get NORML News delivered - don’t miss out on another issue Post the form below with your donation for one year’s membership. We’ll send you Norml News magazines, an info pack, bumper sticker and a Cannabis Culture magazine!
thanks to: NORML New Zealand Inc. PO Box 3307 Auckland Phone: 09 302-5255 Fax: 09 303-1309 email@example.com www.norml.org.nz Northland: Mike firstname.lastname@example.org Auckland: Chris 09 302 5255 email@example.com Hamilton: Max firstname.lastname@example.org Levin: Billy 06 368 8181 email@example.com Wellington: Will firstname.lastname@example.org Motueka: Duncan 021 1740 400 email@example.com Christchurch: Paula 03 389 1955 firstname.lastname@example.org Canterbury University: Josh email@example.com Dunedin: Simon or Abe firstname.lastname@example.org
YES! I want to join the NORML freedom movement!
Bumper Stickers > 250 x 70mm. $1 each.
I am joining for the first time or renewing my membership I enclose: $50 sustaining $20 regular $10 unwaged Campaign donation of $ _______ please send me an A/P form so I can make a regular donation AND/OR send me this stuff from the Norml Shop: NZ Green Calendars (year: ____ ) $5 ea + $5 tube postage $ ___
Spot Stickers .
NORML T SHIRT
NCIS T SHIRT size & colour: ______ $ ___
‘legalise’, ‘we smoked here’, ‘NCIS’ stickers 10 for $1: $ ___
We Smoked Here, Legalise Cannabis, or Not Cool In School 30mm, 10 for $1
Bumper stickers $1 each (design: ______________) $___ Norml News back issues $1 each $ ___ New Zealand Green book $20 each $ ___ Marijuana: the facts & case for legalisation book $15 each $___ TOTAL PAYMENT ENCLOSED: $__________ (Please do not send cash) NAME: ________________________________________________________ POSTAL ADDRESS: _____________________________________________ CITY / TOWN: __________________________________________________ PHONE: ______________________MOBILE: ________________________ E-MAIL: ________________________________________________________ OCCUPATION / SKILLS: _________________________________________
New Zealand Green by Redmer Yska; Marijuana: the facts by Dave Currie. $15 each.
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______________________________________________________________ POST THIS FORM WITH YOUR CHEQUE OR MONEY ORDER TO: “NORML NZ Inc.” PO BOX 3307, AUCKLAND 1015 NEW ZEALAND office use: WINTER 2007 mem: rec:
Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
SHOW YOUR GROW!
clockwise from above: seen in golden bay; white rhino from “fearless one”, west Auckland; Waitakere Gold; bluflo, mastablu and flo all from Golden Bay; center: a proud first-time grower “Uku” How does your’s compare? email high res digi pix to email@example.com or post film, photos or CDs to NORML News, PO Box 3307 Auckland NZ.
N O R M L N e W S SUMMER Winter 2007 2007
Winter 2007 N O R M L N e W S
N O R M L N e W S Winter 2007