Saturday, 21 January 2012

Expert Professor Nutt says downgrade cannabis

I agree that the Government ought to listen to the advice of their own experts and that cannabis ought never have been upgraded again to class B in the Misuse of Drugs Act.

I certainly do not think Prof Nutt should have been sacked for giving his opinion based on evidence, even if it flew in the face of Government policy.

But it also seems to be that there is something very wrong with the Misuse of Drugs ACt - it includes plants.

Well yes, people do say that cannabis can be used as a drug / medicine - but cannabis is a plant and some parts of it have other uses - for example, the fibre and the biomass.  Some parts of it contain so little of the active ingredients (the main two being THC and CBD) that those parts cannot be used as a drug.

Take, for example, a field full of hemp grown for its value as a high-fibre plant for making paper, chipboard, house bricks, packaging, clothing etc.

It is grown from seeds selected for their low-THC production, and grown close together - a little different to the ways in which other cannabis seeds ares elected and grown for their THC and CBD content.

YET it is illegal in the UK to grow even hemp (cannabis) without a license and people can still be fined and / or sent to prison - for up to 14 years.

Take cannabis out of the Misuse of Drugs Act, not swap it back and forth from class B to C and even talk that some forms should be class A.

make a "Misuse of plants act" if needed - compare then cannabis with other plants - like those grown in most gardens and parks - and then see the evidence that it is actually one of the safest of all plants and plant medicines, safer in fact than mush of the food we eat (Judge Francis Young of the DEA in the US concluded that after a two-year study).

THEN respect a person's Right to a Private Life and stop arresting those that grow at home for their own use, and license cultivation for commercial sale and sales outlets where advice is credible and profits are taxable.

It would solve so many problems caused by the prohibition and the fact that supply is totally in the control of criminals.

Downgrade cannabis says drug expert during visit to Stroud
Stroud News and Journal, January 21 2012

By Chris Warne »

PROFESSOR David Nutt, the ex-government drug adviser who provoked a media storm when he said taking ecstasy was no less dangerous than horse riding, renewed his criticisms of politicians and policymakers during a talk in Stroud last week.
The approach of successive governments towards drug policy had been out of step with scientific opinion and consequently the classification of illicit substances fails to reflect their relative harm, he argued.
In his lecture entitled, ‘Science and non-science in the current drug and alcohol laws,’ Professor Nutt focused particular scrutiny on the 2009 re-classification of cannabis as a Class B drug.
That decision to upgrade the drug, Professor Nutt said, was motivated less by scientific evidence and more by political considerations and a desire to appease a hostile tabloid press.
Contrasting the risks associated with cannabis with those from consuming alcohol, the eminent psychiatrist argued that the policy of criminalising cannabis defied common sense.
Alcohol was responsible for 8,000 deaths a year, he said, while cannabis could only be implicated in a handful of deaths.
Professor Nutt, currently a researcher at Imperial College London, said the dramatic increase in liver disease in recent years coupled with the £30 billion annual cost to the taxpayer of alcohol misuse, meant drink posed a far greater risk to society than cannabis use. "There has been a 20 times increase in the number of people using cannabis in the last forty years, yet we are not seeing a surge in the number of deaths.
"One of the reasons we have always argued cannabis is safer than alcohol is because you cannot overdose on cannabis," he said. The drug expert claimed lobbyists working on behalf of the drinks industry possessed too much power and were able to shape government drug policy and legislation to their liking.
All it would take to bring about a change, he said, was for politicians to start exercising a ‘little political courage’.
He urged the government to challenge the status quo, saying that drug policy should be influenced by scientific facts rather than politicians’ fears of being castigated by the popular press.
A graduate of Cambridge University, Professor Nutt had to endure the glare of the media spotlight when in 2009 he was dismissed from his post as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) by then Home Secretary Alan Johnson, who accused him of campaigning against government policy.
Elements of the print press loudly applauded his sacking with one red-top dubbing him ‘Professor Poison’, while Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips declared him part of ‘a manipulative, subversive and largely dangerous clique’ – a suggestion he laughed off with a wry smile at the talk last Thursday, January 19.
The treatment he received at the hands of the raucous British tabloids went beyond personal insults however, as he revealed at the event in St Laurence Church Hall.
Professor Nutt, a father of four, claimed one newspaper accessed his sons’ Facebook accounts and published personal information about his family shortly after he was fired.
He said he is now hoping to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, which has been tasked with examining the standards and ethics of the press in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
Discussing Alan Johnson’s decision to relieve him of his duties, Professor Nutt appeared somewhat bemused by the whole furore.
"They said I was getting involved in policy and as a scientist I should not do that," he said.
"They said they lost confidence in me which is political speak for saying I would not toe the line."

Friday, 20 January 2012

Students face death penalty for cannabis - it's law but where is the Justice?

I am shocked that your Courts are still sentencing people to death for cannabis offences.

I know there will be cries of "the law is the law" but there is also the question of Justice.  Justice and Rights must be above law simply to protect us from unjust law.

In cases such as the death penalty for cannabis, the law must be changed to stop it.  This is after all, the 21st Century.

"Abu Bakar Gidato Umar, 23, and Eze John, 20, allegedly had 94 clear plastic packets containing the cannabis. "

That amount is less than that held by tolerated Dutch Coffeeshops or Californian Health clinics

Presumably it is alleged that they were planning to sell it.  The point is, however, had they actually sold it, who would have been harmed, who would have been killed.  probably nobody.

Cannabis is well know throughout the world as more of a beneficial plant than a deadly drug and whether or not Government or people want it, the death sentence is completely disproportionate to the crime and lacking in any form of Justice.

Had the accused actually shot somebody, the punishment could hardly be worse.

I appeal to you now, to change the sentencing guidelines and give your country a better image worldwide.

Alun Buffry address, email and phone number provided

sent to: Star, Malaysia, January 20 2012

Students face death penalty

PETALING JAYA: Two Nigerian students were charged at the magistrate’s court here with possession of 714gm of cannabis.
Abu Bakar Gidato Umar, 23, and Eze John, 20, allegedly had 94 clear plastic packets containing the cannabis with them in a car at Persiaran Surian Damansara at 9.15pm on Dec 5 last year. No plea was recorded.
The offence under Section 39(B) of the Dangerous Drugs Act carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
Abu Bakar’s lawyer Shahul Hameed Abdul Wahab requested for copies of the chemist’s report and charge sheet but DPP Siti Ruvinna Mohd Rawi said the report was not ready.
Magistrate Ahmad Solihin Abd Wahid set March 8 for mention of the case.

Please Note! Letters to the Editor must carry the sender's full name, address, telephone number and e-mail address for authentication. A pseudonym may be included. Letters may be edited for clarity, objectivity, brevity and other requirements. We will only publish letters addressed exclusively to The Editor of The Star.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Couple were growing cannabis at home - as is within their RIGHT in their Private Life

The Human Rights law that acknowledges a person's Right to a Private Life is quite specific about when the authorities can interfere - when there is a risk to public health, public order, national security or the Rights of others ... and based on this article there seems to have been no risk at all.

Couple were growing cannabis at home
Daily Echo, January 18 2012

POLICE found 63 cannabis plants and some cannabis in a bedroom when raiding a New Forest house, Southampton Crown Court heard.
George Rickman admitted growing the crop – which the court heard was too young for a yield estimate. Josephine Warburton admitted possession but police studying images on a seized camera recognised her watering the plants by a tattoo on her back, said prosecutor Charles Cochand. The couple, both 45, of Setthorns Road, Sway, pleaded guilty to producing and possessing drugs. He received a 50-week suspended sentence with six-month curfew and supervision. She was given a 25-week suspended sentence with six months supervision and order for 150 hours unpaid work.

Man grew cannabis for medical reasons - and was unjustly fined

Totally outrageous - what is this country doing - where is the justice in punishing a man for growing a couple of plants in his own home for his own beneficial use.

Now what's he going to do - take expensive and more dangerous pharmaceutical pills often with unpleasant side-effects?

Seems to me that the Government favours those big companies over individuals, their rights, and plant remedies.

Human Rights include the Right to a Private Life: we can do whatever we want in our Private lives and the only justice that the authorities have - even the police - for interfering with that right is clearly written in the Act: that is if there is a risk to public health, public order, national security or the Rights of others - that it is against the law is itself not a justifiable reason.

Therefore the invasion of this man's private life is itself illegal, under Human Rights law - and it's about time that the judges took that into account.

Man grew cannabis for medical reasons
Lancashire Telegraph, January 18, 2012

A MAN who claimed he had been growing cannabis for medical reasons has been fined £100.
Jason Paul Alston, 40, had been cultivating two plants at his house in Piccadilly Road, Burnley magistrates heard.
Alston, said to use cannabis for back pain, admitted producing the drug.
He is currently on a community order and was also told to pay £85 costs, with a £15 victim surcharge.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Decorator is victim of burglary... then done for growing cannabis - COMMENT

What happened to Justice in Britain

First a burglar invades the guy's house with intention of stealing his property>

Then the police enter the house and steal the guy's property.

Then he ends up being punished even though it was not the decorator that did any harm?

What this means is that anyone exercising their RIGHT to a PRIVATE life that becomes a victim of a crime and wants to report it risks becoming the victim of a bad and unjustifiable law.

This must change.

Kent On-Line, January 17 2012
Decorator is victim of burglary... then done for growing cannabis

by Julia Roberts

Decorator Daniel Wright came a cropper when his Greenhithe flat was broken into - burglars stole his cannabis plants and he was then arrested for growing the drug.
Police found the small-scale cannabis factory in a bedroom at Wright’s flat in  Courtyard Mews, Waterstone Park, after they had been called to investigate a suspected burglary on August 16.
Maidstone Crown Court heard officers traced Wright after stopping the getaway vehicle and finding his driving licence and other personal documents inside. They also found a bin bag containing six cannabis plants.
The officers went to his flat to find a window ajar at an awkward angle and a sidegate forced open.
Jo Cope, prosecuting, said they were concerned when there was no reply and forced their way in, only to discover more cannabis plants.
“In the bedroom they found two grow tents,” explained Mrs Cope. “One had 16 plants in and the other had six empty pots.”
Wright, 32, was not at home at the time, but was arrested four days later.
He answered the door and told officers: 'It was my cannabis. I was only growing a little bit.’.
As well as the plants and grow tents, police found seven fans, two filters, three lighting rigs and three transformers.
“While this was not an extensive site and was small-scale,” explained the prosecutor, “money had been spent on the equipment, and a reasonable amount.”
Wright, now of  Greenway, Bromley, admitted producing cannabis. The plants were said to have had a potential yield of about £2,000.
Imposing a jail term of six months suspended for two years, Recorder Brendan Finucane QC rejected Wright’s claim that he smoked 15 to 20 joints a day, saying that if that were true “his painting would be all over the shop.”
However, the recorder added there was no evidence of actual supply.
“I take the view it was coming close to it,” he said. “Even if you were a heavy user, I don’t believe for one moment you would have actually smoked all of this yourself.”
Wright, who was described as a long-term user of cannabis, was also ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work and pay £340 court costs within 14 days.
It is not known what happened to the burglars.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Three jailed after Hull's biggest cannabis haul found in raid - but why?

The only way that this will ever be stopped is when the Government wake up and do the logical and just thing - legalise the production and sale of cannabis and allow people to grow their own for their own use without interference.

Just imagine licensed commercial producers and sales outlets for adults:

For a start it would save BILLIONS of pounds each year on police, court and prison costs - money straight out of the taxpayers' purses that could be put to much better use.

Adults could go to consumer-protected, quality controlled, profit-taxed, sales outlets where there would be no contact with criminal drug dealers, no chance of being offered hard drugs, no link with prostitution and stolen property, no gang violence - all safe and sound and above board - similar to the Dutch system of tolerated coffeeshops but in this case fully licensed.

And people growing their own at home for own use just like they can choose to brew their own beer or make their own wine - without interference or threat from the authorities.

It would solve so many problems for society and so many people.
it would enable police to focus more resources on fighting real crime - that is crime with victims>

It's quite obvious that there is an almost endless line of people willing to set up illegal cannabis farms for retail and massive profits - lots of people ready to replace dealers - yet there is more cannabis on the streets than ever - much of it contaminated or or just plain dirty since many illegal producers focus only on profit and little on hygiene, purity or quality.

Of course there is also the issue of "medicinal cannabis users" - often resorting to the plant to help deal with or cope with dreadful ailments and conditions such as MS, Rheumatoid arthritis, cancer therapy, epilepsy, pain, having tried to many costly pills dished out by the NHS.

It is a medical fact that cannabis eases those problems for many people and all the Government offers nothing but "Sativex", a whole-plant (cannabis) product - simply cannabis dissolve din alcohol added peppermint flavour and in a spray form - so expensive that many NHS regions won't even allow it to be prescribed - it costs many many times more than the cost of the cannabis in it.

Or they can risk prison by growing their own, if indeed they are able - or risk by buying from illegal dealers and growers like these Vietnamese.

Three jailed after Hull's biggest cannabis haul found in raid
Hull Daily Mail, January 16 2012

THREE Vietnamese men caught growing Hull's biggest-ever cannabis haul discovered at a council-owned building have been jailed.
Toan Vo, 34, Vuong Vu, 30, and Dat Truong, 22, were jailed for two-and-a-half years each after been arrested at a Hull City Council-owned industrial unit in the city centre.
The three illegal immigrants were caught cultivating more than 2,700 cannabis plants worth more than £2 million at the factory in Northumberland Avenue.
Sentencing the men at Hull Crown Court, Judge Michael Mettyear said it was the largest haul he had ever had to deal with.
He said: "This was a very large-scale operation, much larger than the smaller operations that we are used to in this area. The premises were converted in an extremely sophisticated way to facilitate the growing of the cannabis.
"When the police raided the premises, they found 2,769 plants, which it was estimated would produce 110kg of cannabis."
The building, situated in an industrial area of the city off Fountain Road, was raided at around 12.30pm on Wednesday, December 14.
Officers took action after workers at nearby businesses reported a "strong smell" of cannabis.
They discovered the haul of cannabis, which dwarfed the 1,691-plant operation found in a four-storey house in Spring Bank earlier in 2011.
A team of several police officers took almost ten hours to clear the factory of the plants together with more than 320 lighting units, 283 transformers, 14 filters, 17 extractor fans and eight propagators.
The haul of plants is believed to be one of the biggest in England and was spread across ten rooms, adapted for the cultivation of the drug.
Each room had a sign on the door with the details of exactly what was inside.
When the officers raided the building, two of the men tried fleeing out the back door, while the other hid in the loft.
An investigation by Hull City Council is still being conducted after the warehouse was turned into one of the country's biggest cannabis factories.
The Mail understands the building had been listed for sale by NPS – a firm that controls the city council's commercial property stock – after the Hull Skills Academy vacated it last autumn.
Hull Crown Court heard how the men had been promised £1,000 a month to look after the factory, but had never received any money.
Judge Mettyear considered handing out longer custodial sentences but heard the three men would be deported back to Vietnam after serving half their sentences.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Big results in war on drugs - claim police

Whilst I guess the people and the police deserve credit for taking dirty uncontrolled drugs and the criminal suppliers of the streets, I have to ask WHAT has this achieved in the long term?

I have read many reports similar to this, that police have taken considerable amounts of drugs off the streets, but it just does not seem to have any long-term benefits.

It's like there is an endless supply of these substances and an endless queue of people willing to step in and replace the dealers - the profits must be well worth the risk in their eyes. NO, we need to take afresh look at the drugs policy in this country - and remove it from the hands of unscrupulous suppliers who care little about quality and risk and a lot about their untaxable profits.

The present policy of leaving the production and supply in the hands of people like these dealers, we are exposing our people and their CHILDREN to them.

At least with alcohol and tobacco, there is a lower age limit - or the streets there's just a lower cash limit . The Government must introduce some system to get round this: the restrictions should depend upon the relative risk of the drugs including nicotine and tobacco - a good starting point.

According to a report from the American Medical Association that compared risk of addiction and toxic overdose, they put the drugs in this order - worst risk at the top tobacco, heroin cocaine, alcohol Caffeine, amphetamine cannabis E LSD Cannabis is third up, apparently, because although it is not addictive in itself and it is impossible to consume enough to kill, people find it hard to stop because they find it so medicinally beneficial and pleasant, often used on a daily basis.

So a system similar to Dutch Coffeeshops would be suggested for cannabis;
- something like adult shops for E and LSD
- sold from chemists for caffeine and "speed"
- sold from licenses premises for cocaine, like alcohol
- prescription only for heroin and nicotine

Of course it will need to be looked into properly, by scientists, and the Government will need to heed their advice

Big results in war on drugs:  Northants Eveing Telegrapg, January 14 2012

A TOWN’S ongoing war on drugs saw more than £12,000 of cocaine and cannabis seized last year.
Corby police officers carried out 53 search warrants in the borough in 2011, snaring £3,430 worth of cannabis, £9,150 worth of cocaine and 832 cannabis plants.
And they have praised the role of the public, who have tipped them off about suspicious behaviour on a number of occasions.
Officers also arrested 23 people for drug supplying and other connected offences.
And as a result of the warrants, officers also retrieved two stolen cars, one stolen motorbike and a stolen 37 inch television.
The statistics do not include a large consignment of Class A drugs seized from a light aircraft at Deenethorpe Airfield in July as this falls in the East Northamptonshire district.
Corby police commander Insp Gary Williams said: “This is really about highlighting the excellent proactivity of our Safer Community Team in Corby in tackling drugs in the community.
“The vast majority of warrants executed have come as a direct result of confidential information received from members of the community, and as a result of working with the wardens and caretakers, who are the eyes and ears of the community.”
Insp Williams said the results reinforced the police’s message on drugs.
He said: “I have said before that we are totally committed to tackling drugs in our community and we will always treat information in the strictest confidence and discretion and where possible, act on it as soon as possible.
“This is further improving confidence the community has in the police in Corby.”
Properties in Wick Close, Eastbrook, Gainsborough Road, Blenheim Walk, Greenhill Rise, Netherfield Grove, Hogarth Walk and Holbein Walk were among those targeted in drugs raids in 2011.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Amsterdam 2012 - 420 Style Anti-Weedpass Smoke-out PROTEST

This group will organise a BIG ANTI DISCRIMINATION 420! Smokeout by Amsterdam loving tourists taking maybe the last chance to 420! all the way in Amsterdam.

The south of the Netherlands will be under No tourist weedpass rules from may 1st 2012 and the rest of the country including Amsterdam will follow on Jan 1st 2013 ! JOIN THIS PROTEST NOW !

Exposure to Marijuana Smoke Does Not Effect Lungs

Exposure to cannabis smoke, even over the long-term, is not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function. That’s the conclusion of a major clinical trial published today in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Investigators at the University of California, San Francisco analyzed the association between marijuana exposure and pulmonary function over a 20 year period in a cohort of 5,115 men and women in four US cities.

Predictably, researchers “confirmed the expected reductions in FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in the first second of expiration) and FVC (forced vital capacity)” in tobacco smokers. By contrast, “Marijuana use was associated with higher FEV1 and FVC at the low levels of exposure typical for most marijuana users. With up to 7 joint-years of lifetime exposure (eg, 1 joint/d for 7 years or 1 joint/wk for 49 years), we found no evidence that increasing exposure to marijuana adversely affects pulmonary function.”

The study concludes, “Our findings suggest that occasional use of marijuana … may not be associated with adverse consequences on pulmonary function.”

To those familiar with the science of cannabis, JAMA’s findings should come as no great surprise. They are consistent with previous findings reporting no significant decrease in pulmonary function associated with moderate cannabis smoke exposure. For instance, according to a 2007 literature review conducted by researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (and summarized by NORML here), cannabis smoke exposure is not associated airflow obstruction (emphysema), as measured by airway hyperreactivity, forced expiratory volume, or other measures.
Further, in 2006, the results of the largest case-controlled study ever to investigate the respiratory effects of marijuana smoking reported that cannabis use was not associated with lung-related cancers, even among subjects who reported smoking more than 22,000 joints over their lifetime. (Read NORML’s summary of this study here.)

“We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles stated. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect” among marijuana smokers who had lower incidences of cancer compared to non-users.

A previous 1997 retrospective cohort study consisting of 64,855 examinees in the Kaiser Permanente multiphasic health checkup in San Francisco and Oakland also reported, “[E]ver- and current use of marijuana were not associated with increased risk of cancer … of the following sites: colorectal, lung, melanoma, prostate, breast, cervix.”

Separate studies of cannabis smoke and pulmonary function have indicated that chronic exposure may be associated with an increased risk of certain respiratory complications, including cough, bronchitis, phlegm.

However, the ingestion of cannabis via alternative methods such as edibles, liquid tinctures, or via vaporization — a process whereby the plant’s cannabinoids are heated to the point of vaporization but below the point of combustion –- virtually eliminates consumers’ exposure to such unwanted risk factors and has been determined to be a ‘safe and effective’ method of ingestion in clinical trial settings.

Opposing Views

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Moderate Marijuana Use Less Harmful Than Tobacco Smoke Exposure: Study

Researchers said Tuesday that results of a two decade study have found moderate use of marijuana is less harmful than exposure to tobacco smoke.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Alabama at Birmingham measured air flow rate and lung volume in more than 5,000 U.S. adults over 21 years, and were surprised to find increased air flow with increased exposure to marijuana up to a certain level.

“We found exactly what we thought we would find in relation to tobacco exposure: a consistent loss of lung function with increasing exposure,” said the paper’s lead author, Mark Pletcher, MD, MPH, associate professor in the Division of Clinical Epidemiology at UCSF. “We were, however, surprised that we found such a different pattern of association with marijuana exposure.”

Participants in the study began as young, healthy adults 18 to 30 years old from Oakland, Chicago, Minneapolis and Birmingham.

Researchers note that the results can supplement the growing body of knowledge about beneficial aspects of low to moderate marijuana use in controlling pain, stimulating appetite, elevating mood and managing other chronic symptoms.

The study, supported by funds from the National Heart Lung Blood Institute, is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association

by Adam Daily, Medical Daily, 11 January 2012