Monthly Archives: February 2006

Are tories set to legalise drugs?

RADICAL libertarian ideas – including legalising drug-taking – should be at the heart of policies aimed at reviving the Tories’ electoral fortunes in Scotland, according to a new book endorsed by Annabel Goldie, the party’s leader.
from The Scotsman

In what could seem like blatant self interest particularly on Cameron’s behalf, the Tories’ Scottish deputy leader, Iain Catto has written a piece in the above mentioned book in which he argues that Tory policies should be based on individual choice and only permit intervention by the state when there is “overwhelming necessity”.

Referring to cannabis prohibition Catto argues “the state is deciding that is knows better than individuals what is right for them, in essence claiming to protect us from a so-called dangerous product.”

Whether English tories will follow up on this lead is so far unclear although Cameron has suggested downgrading ecstacy to Class B, prompting numpty Charles Clark to call him ‘irresponsible.’

Stung by his cruel remarks Cameron then appeared to change his mind, sensitive soul that he is (maybe he was on a come down) with a spokesman for Cameron saying “If he becomes leader, reclassification of drugs will not be top of the agenda.”

Whilst the tories demanded reclassification of cannabis to Class B at the last election, they then changed their minds and supported Clark’s decision not to reverse the reclassification.

On the tories website it is clear that they have no policies on drug use (or anything else for that matter) but in a piece of pure comedy it seems that they’re being advised by … none other than Lemmy of Motorhead.

So will we get legal drugs when the inevitable happens and the flimsy house of cards that is now New Labour falls apart? Well, no-one seems to know…

although David ‘the hoover’ Cameron has said in the past “I am an instinctive libertarian who abhors state prohibitions and tends to be sceptical of most government action, whether targeted against drug use or anything else…”

so who knows, certainly not the Conservative Party anyway, who are too busy snorting their way through Cameron’s monster stash to bother to come up with any policies at all.

So what happened to Killer Coke!

There I was, all ready to watch ITV for the first time since childhood and what did they show, some crap lecturing me about drinking to much wine.

better wine than Killer Coke

no explanation on the website and I didn’t see the first few moments so perhaps they put out an announcement, anyone hear?

Meanwhile the posh gits at Harvard are busy organising a boycott, bless ‘em, give them a few years they’ll probably work there.

Exclusive The Void Reveals Al Jazeera Memo

too busy to write so thought I’d give this another airing before its consigned to the archives forever

Today the void can exclusively reveal the shocking contents of the Al Jazeera memo, which turns out to be a typed transcript of a conversation between Tony Blair and George Bush picked up by GCHQ.

Delivered to our offices in a plain brown envelope read on to discover the shocking truth…
GCHQ Internal File
Eyes Only
07:11;05 3.23.33 GMT
Numbers withheld for Security Reasons

———————————————————
———————————————————

GB: Hey Cowboy
TB: Well hi Big Guy, gosh I’ve been trying to get hold of you, how have you been?
GB: Well, y’know, at war on two fronts, then it’s damn calving season down at the ranch, hell I’ve been busy
TB: Yes, of course, me too George, but I had been really hoping to discuss..
GB: OK, now I’m gonna cut right to the chase here. I need you guys to support us with something, something that might be a little controversial
TB: Well I’m sure we can help George, we always have before
GB: See thing is Tony, there’s these guys, algee.. al .. aljer…
TB: Algeria?
GB: Yeah, that’s them, some kind of TV station ain’t they
TB: Oh you mean Al Jazeera
GB: You got ‘em, damn stupid name, I mean what the hell’s it supposed to mean
TB: Well I think it means..
GB: I don’t give a rats ass what it means cowboy, they’ve been causing a hell of a lot of problems
TB: Well, they can be a bit critical I guess, but hey, that’s the beauty of a free press
GB: I’d damn well say critical, which is why we’ve made plans to launch immediate airstrikes against them
TB: For Christs sake George, you couldn’t, I mean you musn’t
GB: Why the hell not, my daddy says that they’re the mouthpiece of Al Queda, and you ain’t calling my daddy a liar are you Tony
TB: Well no, but surely, I mean, come on Big Guy
GB: Well it’s setttled then, we launch tomorrow, we need your guys down at MI6 to find out where their base is
TB: Well they’re in Qatar
GB: What the hell’s that? some kind of fanatical underground training camp?
TB: No George, it’s a country and they’re our allies
GB: Well I never damn well heard of them
TB: Listen George they are independant journalists, a legitimate organisation in a friendly country, the outrage it would cause, we’d never recover
GB: Well we’re both outta here soon anyway
TB: Well… I’m not so sure about that yet actually
GB: Me neither, but we gotta keep up the pretence eh cowboy
TB: Elections eh, who needs ‘em
GB: Not us cowboy, not us
(sound of laughter)
TB: But really George, this is too much, the British people they just won’t stand for it
GB: Well hell Tony they’re your people, can’t you change their minds
TB: Well I do have to share them with the Queen actually, and it’s this freedom of the press thing George, people really value that
(sound of more laughter)
TB: God, did I really just say that, but you know what I mean Big Man, we have to keep up the pretence
GB: You ain’t going soft on me here Cowboy are ya?
TB: No, no of course not, it’s just not practical that’s all
GB: Listen Cowboy, since you talked me out of Iran and Syria and North Korea
TB: and Cuba
GB: and Cuba, and Libya, Venezuela
TB: and then Brazil of course, and China
GB: and France
TB: God, who could forget France, that was a tough one
GB: Well, it’s just the guys here, they seem to think I’m some kind of pussy, I’m isolated Cowboy, Daddy’s always mad at me, Jeb just laughs whenever I walk in the room, Rummy won’t speak to me, hell even Dick won’t return my calls. The only one who seems to have any time for me is Condaleeza these days, and she’s well, you know..
TB: What? I thought she always seemed very nice
GB: Sure, whatever Tony, look I gotta do something here Cowboy, I gotta take control
TB: You could try having an affair
GB: What the hell
TB: Worked for Clinton
GB: Jeez, well I’d never even thought of that, hell that could even be fun
TB: Jesus George, I just assumed you were at it all the time, like all the rest of us
GB: I’m a goddamn praticing Christian Tony and I love my wife, hell we even have seperate beds at the Whitehouse
TB: Christ, sorry Big Guy, I never imagined
GB: But a man does have needs Tony, a man does have needs
GB: You really think I could pull it off
TB: Sure Big Guy, and I’m sure it would rescue your reputation with the guys
GB: You know Cowboy, I think you might just be right
TB: But you’ve really got to drop this Al Jazeera thing, you can’t just bomb TV stations because they criticise your policies
GB: Well if you’d bombed the BBC like I asked you, woulda saved us both a hell of a lot of trouble
TB: Yes, but I mean George, I could hardly bomb a British institition just to pursue an aggresive military strategy that most of the country doesn’t agree with, I mean really
GB: Hell Cowboy, you sure still gotta a lot to learn about this business
TB: Look, I can’t support you on this, Britain can’t support you on this, I’m asking you please, from one special friend to another, please don’t do this Big Guy
GB: Aw hell, I guess you are a special friend
TB: and I always will be Big Guy, whatever you need
GB: Well I guess maybe we could hold off
TB: Thank God
GB: Just for now, mind, and there’s someting I need from you as well Cowboy
TB: Of course, anything, I mean anything
GB: Something to help with your plan
TB: Whatever it takes Big Guy, just ask away
GB: Cherie, Tony I want Cherie
GB: Goodnight Cowboy

home

Killer Coke on TV Tonight

jusr received this in my inbox …

On Monday, February 27, 2006 from 8-8:30 pm, the UK’s most watched current affairs program, “Tonight with Trevor McDonald” will be doing a half hour program on ITV1 about issues surrounding Killer Coke (The Coca-Cola Co.). The program will cover certain aspects of Coca-Cola, including human rights abuse allegations at its plants in Colombia.

Everyone in the UK concerned with this issue should try to watch the show and then write into the program to either commend them or add information about where they went wrong.
Recent quotes from union leaders representing Coke workers:

“Our union brothers and sisters at Coca-Cola bottling facilities in Colombia have been threatened, kidnapped, tortured and murdered,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “It’s long past time for Coca-Cola to negotiate a global human rights agreement that will protect the rights and safety of workers who produce, package and distribute Coca-Cola products.”

Conference Director and Teamster International Vice President, Jack Cipriani, said Coca-Cola’s labor abuses in the United States include harassment, intimidation, discrimination and retaliation at CCE facilities as well as at Odwalla and Minute Maid operations – both wholly owned by The Coca-Cola Co.” Coca-Cola Enterprises is Coca-Cola’s largest bottler headquartered in Atlanta. The Coca-Cola Co. owns about 40% of CCE’s common stock and has several of its top executives on the board of CCE. Two of Coke’s directors are on the board of CCE and Coca-Cola Femsa, which is Colombia’s largest bottler and a defendant in the lawsuit that charges “contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilized extreme violence and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders.”

http://www.killercoke.org/

Scab Livingstone found Guilty

Former socialist and notorious scab Ken Livingstone was today found guilty in a kangaroo court of bringing his office into disrepute by comparing a journalist with a concentration camp guard.

Ken’s drunken clumsy statement to Jewish Evening Standard hack Oliver Finegold, in which he compared him to a concentration camp guard has had at least several (and some say a few) people outraged, calling Livingstone anti-semitic.

“It should never have reached this point when a simple apology could have avoided all the pain caused to so many Jewish Londoners who have been affected by the Holocaust,” said Adrian Cohen, chairman of the London Jewish Forum.

Ken himself claims that his comments were directed at the nazi Associated Press, whom he referred to as ‘bigots and scumbags.’

Ken further winged “This decision strikes at the heart of democracy. Elected politicians should only be able to be removed by the voters or for breaking the law.”

Although it could be argued that racist Ken’s remarks could have fallen foul of race hate laws, The Adjudication Panel of England chose to pursue the case, and have suspended Ken from duties for one month (as if anyone will notice).

The panel did not make a decision on whether Ken should be paid for this period, leaving some commentators to speculate that Ken may actually have just been given a months holiday.

However the good news is that since Livingstone lost the case, he must pay his own costs, estimated at more than £80,000 pounds, which is infinitely better than London council tax payers having to fund this charade.

Whilst it can be easily argued by Ken that this was not intended as an anti-semitic remark, and did not happen while he was working in an official capacity, his comments were a gift to the far right Evening Standard, who are in a state of unofficial war with Ken over … well, they just are.

Ken didn’t bother to turn up for the hearing showing a general contempt for the proceedings. The panel however were said to be ‘very concerned’ about Livingstones refusal to apologise.

the void meanwhile is building up a head of steam in general about sell out Ken … watch this space.

Talking About Cannabis, William’s view.

In reference to the post Talking (even more bollocks) About Cannabis

“My parents are quite typically middle class; they are quite different from me,
growing up in other parts of the country and amongst a different generation.
Cannabis is the anti-Christ in their eyes and the catalyst to blame for my entire
mishap of adolescence. The term ‘cannabis’ itself is heard, by me especially,
with disdain by those who enjoy a joint as it is commonly aligned with the
‘reports’ and ‘findings’ which demonise it so regularly in today’s press.

Cannabis is something I love; it calms me down and helped me to unwind
from stressful weeks at my previous public school. There I was amongst a
strong, rebellious fifty-strong section of my year with whom I would I would
drink and smoke socially, not excessively but enough to think ourselves
rebellious. I thought nothing of it. I smoked it through my exams and achieved
what I thought a great set of grades, (mostly A’s and B’s). My mother merely
told to imagine what I could have achieved if I had worked! My parents had
been telling I didn’t work since I joined the school, I’d ask for help from my
Dad on a Latin paper and it would always end up in a fight without fail. I
became bored with school it wasn’t interesting and I truanted a bit towards the
end, something I’d never done. I don’t feel cannabis is to blame, I feel it’s
society’s portrayal of it that frustrates your modern day teenager who is so sick
of being stereotyped.

I began smoking more, staying at friends’ houses not coming home, my mum
is sometimes impossible and constant blame was being shed upon me.

Frequently my parents will sit me down and tell me what they think is wrong
with me, which is usually considerable. Add to this that my mum is the kind
that thinks MSN messenger is ‘disgusting and pornographic’ and when I
arrived on my book return day at school wearing irregular trousers, as I had
somehow lost my others in a friend’s bedroom she screamed at me in front all
my friends.

Looking for ways to help your wayward youth? Don’t alienate them and push
them away, but if you refuse to make any kind of compromise you are always
going to lose.”

http://www.talkingaboutcannabis.com/williams%20views.pdf

Talking About Cannabis

Below are the disappeared comments from the talking about cannabis website:

(in reference to the post Talking (even more bollocks) About Cannabis)

Blogger splatfly95 said…
When I started using cannabis at the age of 14, it was a class B drug.
The law didn’t stop me from using cannabis and it is deceitful to tell parents that this time it will stop kids from getting it.So what the hell is wrong with you?
Haven’t you done enough damage by forcing your son out of his home just because you were scared your husband’s credibility might be harmed if someone found that you let a drug user live in your house.
Now you want all the adults as well as the children who use cannabis to go to prison, something which means they will have a very limited career prospects.

Campaigns such as LEAP & Transform are made up of and backed by professionals and people who have much more experience with the drug laws than you. They have a great deal more credibility than you will ever have. Their message of legalisation of cannabis is understood and backed by the majority of the public, basically due to the obvious failure of prohibition at protecting our children and reducing the harm to adults. They give that message not out of disregard of things like the mental health harm but with a rational view of how to best reduce the exposure of the vulnerable people to cannabis.

Simply look at Holland, the gateway hypothesis has been rebuked by severing the connection between cannabis and harder drugs which prohibition cannot do. They also have the lowest prevalence of cannabis use by young people in Europe. Customer also get to choose not to buy the strongest strain available, under prohibition the dealer makes that choice.

So you, by supporting prohibition of cannabis, are not reducing the harm our children suffer from cannabis, but you are putting them at greater risk.

06 February 2008 15:34

Blogger Bernie R said…
You have no right to claim to represent parents. I am a parent, and you certainly don’t speak for me. I wouldn’t want you to speak for me, because you don’t have a properly informed, balanced understanding of the issue.That is demonstrated by the way you talk about powerful “skunk”.

“Skunk” is not powerful in any way that other varieties are not. Cannabis resin has all the same effects as “skunk”, you implied as much yourself on tv the other day, but you are so caught up by the “superskunk” hype that you are ignoring the implications.

As a responsible parent I told my children what I know about the positive and negative effects of all drugs I thought they were likely to come across. I placed those drugs on a scale of harmfulness. “Skunk” would be placed in the same position on the scale of harmfulness as cannabis resin. It’s the same stuff, it has all the same effects. There are differences in effect between different varieties, but they are so subtle as to be irrelevant.

I wouldn’t want my children to get their information from you or from the Home Secretary. You would misinform them about the risks they are exposing themselves to. When you and the Home Secretary say you want cannabis to be reclassified because of a misunderstanding about skunk, and despite its lower relative risk, you are effectively misleading the public about a matter affecting their own health.

The classification system is already very difficult to defend, and openly allowing unbalanced views like yours to influence it will bring it into further disrepute. Reclassifying on the basis of misinformation would make the government look very dodgy, so it will be interesting to see if they do it.

06 February 2008 21:09

Blogger the void said…
Talking (bollocks) About Cannabismight be worth a read

06 February 2008 22:55

Blogger John Watson said…
I am unable to understand how you believe that returning cannabis to class B will help children.In its’ submission to the ACMD the mental health charity Rethink (who want cannabis kept class C) showed that only 3% of people stop using cannabis because of the law. In other words, prohibition is 97% ineffective.

Since reclassification cannabis use has fallen by about 25% in under 18s. This is actually a success for the policy, which now seems likely to be reversed. If the ACMD recommend re-reclassification, I’ll eat my keyboard.

Class B will mean that the police will actively pursue users, which may mean more people coming into contact with the criminal justice system.

Do you really think that giving someone a criminal record will (a) help them and (b) not cause mental health problems on it’s own?

Class B status did not deter the Home Secretary, the leader of the opposition and many other MPs from trying cannabis, why should it deter anyone else?

07 February 2008 10:43

Blogger me said…
Debra don’t look like you’re got a lot of support. You don’t speak for me as a parent. For what I can picture, you was your boys problem and not cannabis. I started smoking the herb at 14. My parents never knew. I have proof with school reports, 100% attendance and many teachers wrote reports that there was much improvement in my work about the time I started and onwards. That was 12 years ago it was class B then, so what A,B,C whats the difference the worse drugs are not even on there the ones from the supermarket and your doctor. Have you ever checked and researched and drugs you get from your doctor. NO I BET YOU HAVEN’T.
Prohibition has never worked and never will. Are you blind look at Holland do they and the problem we have. NO. Cannabis is not stronger now. It is contaminated now because of people like you. When I started we had strong and nice hash or cannabis, which is near imposable to find these days and every smoker will tell you the same. Its only people like you who go on about 70% stronger lol.
Yes the young should not smoke cannabis but how is the continuing prohibition going to help. What you cause is more people on harder drugs like alcohol, heroin, coke and prescriptions. And despite you going on about gateway I dont do any of the above.There is no research saying cannabis bad for you, but plenty saying the opposite.

Education is key, not the lies you tell.

You don’t know what you’re missing.

07 February 2008 20:11

Blogger Marzipan said…
For all my parents’ failings – and there were many,(including pretending I hadn’t been sexually abused and that my under-achievement was just the usual teenage moodiness), I got all through the 60s and most of the 70s without trying cannabis – or any other substance. My 10p pocket money might have had something to do with it., but what sort of parent were you ??It doesn’t appear to be rocket science.

07 February 2008 20:37

Blogger tiny.vol said…
I disagree with Berni R about “skunk” which in fact was refered to at the conference as “skunk type” or sensimilla. The problem is that it has virtually none of the mellowing and possibly anti-psychotic cbd. The balance has changed and that makes it differentand potentially more risky particularly for kids.However, Talking About Canabis is going about their campaign the wrong way. I’m the mother of a problematic cannabis user who has schizophrenia and it pains me to see the damage the approach TAC is taking. THIS IS A HEALTH ISSUE. If people use cannabis they should do so as safely as possible, and we should be working together to discourage children’s use. The risk of cannabis use cannnot be solved by the alphabet game played by home secretaries. And it is essential to engage with users – both problematic ones like our sons and unproblematic tokers – and not alienate them, as demanding a move to B clearly does.

The most impressive presentation at the ACMD meeting was Simon Lenton from W Australia, who made an excellent case for treating cannabis use as a public health issue and not increasing punishments for use.

Helen Sello
Cannabis HM

08 February 2008 00:52

Blogger Bernie R said…
Hi Helen,You seem to take a balanced and rational view so perhaps you will consider this carefully and get back to me.

Cannabis cultivation and breeding has been completely informal, amateur and chaotic throughout its history. It has never been in the hands of scientists, and the people producing and breeding and using it have no way of knowing with precision what levels of THC and CBD might be contained in what they use.

However, the users do experience the effects.

The effects of all types of cannabis are very similar. Traditional cannabis resin from Nepal has very much the same effects as the latest variety of hydroponic indoor skunk. There are differences in effect, but they are very subtle, subjective and difficult to describe accurately.

The stuff about modern varieties having low levels of CBD is just another in a long line of scare stories. This may seem like a real possibility in the mind of a scientist who thinks in terms of regulated doses and clinical trials, but if you think, as you seem able to, about the realities of canabis breeding and production, you will see that it is something of a fantasy.

Prohibitionists are trying to show that cannabis is more dangerous than it used to be, to justify putting people in prison. It’s a lie.

08 February 2008 09:30

Blogger splatfly95 said…
Helen,
Sensimilla is the un-pollinated female flowering heads of the plants, the THC:CBD ratio is controlled by the underlying genetics of the different strains of cannabis, Skunk is just one of those strains and not all strains have a high THC:CBD ratio.
The cultivation of cannabis by criminal gangs is chaotic and driven by profits, they select strains that grow fast and easily, and potency has become a general sign of good quality and lack of contaminants by the customer.
In Holland the law allows growers to take their time to grow and develop strains, without the fear of possibly being busted in the next few days.
There needs to be more research into the effects on health the different THC:CBD ratio has and also a quick & easy test needs to be developed to allow the THC:CBD ratio to be know. But more than anything we need the freedom to grow and regulation to indicate by labelling what cannabis has what and how safe it is. None of that can happen with prohibition.
Canada already grows specific strains that are best suited to the needs of medical users so it isn’t difficult to do so.

08 February 2008 18:10

Blogger me said…
I would like you to reply to this comment and explain how moving cannabis back to class B is going to change anything? Apart from filling up already full jails.

08 February 2008 20:32

Blogger Marzipan said…
I wonder what other offences have 2 year or 5 year maximum sentences ?Luckily the judiciary have much more sense than to hand down custodial sentences ….

09 February 2008 12:34

Blogger Derek said…
I was at the ACMD meeting and heard the evidence, including the rant from TAC.I tried to talk to Debra aftwards, but I don’t think I have ever met a ruder person, she wasn’t interested in any kind of debate on the issue.

TAC is a con, it claims to be a support group but is no such thing, rather its a front for murky organisations such as the NDPA.

The way Debra has spread her sons name around the internet is disgusting, clearly she as no regard for his welfare or private life, nor the rest of her family either.

Cannabis should be a controlled drug – really, properly controlled. But this is a concept TAC exists to oppose.

09 February 2008 12:34

Blogger Helen Sello said…
This should be a debate listening to each others point of view, not insults.For Bernie – dont presume that people who publicise risks associated with cannabis use also support prohibition. Many do not, and this was very evident at the ACMD review. Indeed the case was made that to move it to class B would be expensive – far better to use the money on a public health campaign. Warnings of risk on Rizlas – I support that one. Engaging adult cannabis users in finding effective ways to discourage children . That would also make sense

Helen Sello
Cannabis HM

09 February 2008 16:19

Blogger Derek said…
Helen Sello wrote:>>
dont presume that people who publicise risks associated with cannabis use also support prohibition.
>>

I know that to be true, but also don’t assume that those of us who support legalisation dismiss the risks.

That was what I had hoped to discuss with Debra at the ACMD meeting, but I didn’t get far.

>>
Warnings of risk on Rizlas – I support that one.
>>

It’s an interesting idea for sure, but Rizlas don’t even carry a smoking health warning, despite years of campaigning by ASH for just that. And of course, not everyone who uses Risla papers rolls joints and not everyone who smoke cannabis uses rolling papers.

Personally, I would like to see warnings in the places bongs and the like are sold, or perhaps better than warnings advice not to encourage kids to get stoned, whatever. Trouble is, it can’t be done with cannabis as an illegal drug, nothing like this can be.

Because cannabis is illegal, products cannot be sold openly as being used for the consumption of cannabis. So-called “paraphernalia” exists in a murky grey legal area and has done for years.

If you want warning signs on cannabis using equipment it has to be legal to sell that equipment – and that includes joint rolling papers.

Prohibition prevents all those sorts of good harm reduction measures and much more besides. If you want them, you have to campaign for law reform.

Legalise to control and regulate in other words.

09 February 2008 17:11

Blogger Marzipan said…
Something I recently found very alarming through watching the excellent recent Horizon programme was that researchers were actually INJECTING PURE THC.
I wasn’t aware that was actually possible.If that is how Robin Murray conducted his experiments, how can he possibly speak with any authority about “skunk”.
As an experienced recreational user you wouldn’t find me volunteering to do that – no way Jose. It’s a pity Murray hasn’t been brave enough to share a spliff and get things into perspective.

The need to keep drugs of all kinds (and junk food, and excess television) away from the young isn’t science, it’s common sense.
telling porkies simply isn’t going to wash in the Internet age.

10 February 2008 11:51

Blogger Helen Sello said…
I have started writing up the review to the best of my ability on Cannabis HM, including David’s Potter slides about THC and CBD, Glyn Lewis’ interpretation of longitudinalstudies and some feedback on the study in which THC was injected into healthy adult volunteers.www.cannabis-hm.net

The psyschosis risks are real : whether you look at longitudinal studies, with all their limitations or the injecting ones and they of course have plenty of limitations or all the others.

To quote Dr Glyn Lewis at the Review “There is evidence that cannabis can lead to psychotic symptoms. Though one cannot be certain that the relationhsip is causal, there is now sufficient evidence to warn people that cannabis use could increase the risk of psychotic illness.”

And reported from Wayne Hall : (what is needed is) “to look for common ground and to use most effective and least coercive ways of discouraging adolescent use.”

Please do not make the assumption that all people who raise awarenss of specific risk want punishments increased. This is not true.

I agree with TAC that there is a specific issue of concern about children’s use – I do not agree with its way of going about tackling it.

Please would a member of TAC respond to questions on this thread. Any rudensss is unacceptable but so is refusing to enter into dialogue about the very important issues.

Helen Sello
Cannabis HM

11 February 2008 13:03

Blogger me said…
thanks for the review Helen I left a comment. I see still no sign of any responds from Debra.Shocking researchers were actually INJECTING PURE THC??? no wonder they come out with bad results.

11 February 2008 21:03

Blogger the void said…
seems like debra and TAC don’t have the ability to answer their critics.if they can’t address the arguments made here then really they should shut up

so debra, in light of what you’ve read here, what’s your response?

and if you haven’t got one then fuck off out of the debate eh

11 February 2008 23:32

Blogger Helen Sello said…
And I challenge The Void to add something constuctive to this debate. How would you tackle children’s use, what do you think about wrnings on Rizla, what are your thoughts on the thc/cbd balance..

12 February 2008 07:19

Blogger Derek said…
>>
And I challenge The Void to add something constructive to this debate.
>>Yeah, me too.

>>
How would you tackle children’s use, what do you think about warnings on Rizla, what are your thoughts on the thc/cbd balance..
>>

All issues which really need discussing I agree.

TAC wants strongly enforced prohibition, that means treating the users of cannabis as criminals, a strange way to treat people you claim to want to help! So these are questions I would like to hear Debra Bell address – but based on real facts and figures, not the utter fiction she has published on this site claiming to be “facts about cannabis”.

We’ll never prevent kids from getting hold of cannabis entirely, but we can do quite a lot about it; age limits on sales, licenced dealers and so on. Nothing like that is possible under prohibition which creates a trade which has evolved to avoid detection, supplied by people who’s only qualification is unaccountability.

More than that we need to educate adults that cannabis is not a thing for kids.

Developing social norms probably isn’t easy, but it’s really the best way long term I suggest.

Then we have regulation of the product, regulating the growers to ensure they grow a wholesome crop, the better strains grown without bucket loads of chemicals.

The list of what we can do is long, but we can’t start whilst cannabis is outside of legal control.

Derek

12 February 2008 09:57

Blogger me said…
I dont speak for The Void, but warnings on Rizla would be a waste of time. First you would never get the main Rizla company to put warnings on about cannabis. They wont even admit that there product is used for making joints, so why would they put warnings on about cannabis. And where are the warnings about smoking on Rizla’s. Plus shops around here buy abroad so would not have a uk warnings on anyway.To tackle children’s use, control needs to be taken. We need a new drug control agency. Which includes control of all drugs currently illegal, pharmaceuticals and alcoholic. First anybody who makes or grows, distributes or deals any drugs would be given the chance to come forward and work with a drug control agency who can regulate and labelled for quality and distribute to registered licensed taxed dealers. The drug control agency would control all monies.
I could go into more detail but i’m
wasting my time writing this.

But we have cannabis houses all over the country full of people who need help but being failed by 1 or more of our messed up systems. One could be next door to you. We have many countries that the only way the people can live and survive is to produce high paying crops. You think we can change that? We should start working we them and not spend billions fighting them. Cannabis is not even a problem drug all the others are. Apart from a few.

Oh but i forgot class b cannabis that will sort the problem out wont it Debra?

And what about the problem of everybody smoking contaminated cannabis???

Have some respect Debra I would like a reply please.

12 February 2008 10:11

Blogger Woody said…
Sorry posting as ‘me’ before.Debra if cannabis had anything to do with your family problems why would you want to continue with the same failed system? What you want more family’s to get the same fate?

One clear fact is putting anything in the human body can have a clear side affect. Education is key.

12 February 2008 10:38

Blogger the void said…
Derek, it’s all been said.As to the thc/cbd ratio then more research seems appropriate but i don’t particularly expect it to yield much new

with regards to cannabis and mental health it is absolutely inane to make blanket quotes like cannabis causes schizophrenia

nobody yet knows what schizophrenia is, yet alone what triggers it, the study of the human mind is in its absolute infancy and much of the crap spouted as evidence by the likes of Robin Murray is just that … crap, as any serious student of the ‘mind sciences’ would tell you

so yeah more research, but again it will be a long, long time before we even become close to understand the complex mechanisms within the human mind – if ever.

as to putting health warnings on rizla, more education in schools, yada yada, fine, won’t make a blind bit of difference though

there are a thousand scapegoats for kids ‘going off the rails’ from violent computer games, to pot, to binge drinking

it’s only when we are truly honest and address the wider problem of living in a society where everything and everyone is commodified and the masses live uninspired lives condemned to long hours, low pay and crap housing to keep a handful in positions of privilege and luxury then we may begin to understand why many, not just the young, wish to misuse substances to keep themselves anaesthetised.

having said that the vast majority of kids who use drugs will come out of it fine and im sure that applies to Debra’s son, who despite his mother seems a bright lad

anyone who believes that teenagers using drugs will lead to a life of despair is frankly naive, from the newspaper offices to hollywood to the corriders of whitehall, drugs are everywhere and i dont see that changing

so whilst i baulk at reformism, because it will not change the problems affecting the under/working class and disillusioned middle classes, legalisation and regulation just like alcohol seems the only sensible and humane option left.

12 February 2008 13:10

Blogger Helen Sello said…
I’d like to say some stuff which is equally applicable to Void and to Debra and those who support their apporaches. (Sorry if it sounds like “wear sunscreen”)Please dont insult people who dont have your point of view. Or ignore them. Their experience is different from yours.

Get information from research not newspapers. And read it critically, not just picking out what supports your own point of view and dismissing the rest.

Don’t categorise people – don’t make the assumption for instance that legalisers are not also concerned about the risks or that people who have concerns about risks dont also accept that they are specific.

Look for common ground. I go on about these three things which are IMHO gnerally accepted

1. I have met very few adult cannabis users who want children to use it whether or not they accept that there are mental health risks.

2.The right for it to be used as a medicine for those who need it is something that most people agree on, users and nonusers

3. If you are going to use cannabis it should be used as safely as possible – a somewhat obvious statement which can be applied to any activity involving risk.

AlsoI’ve been thinking about the thc/cbd balance issue. Is this a point of common ground as well? Rather than talking about superskunk or saying all the research findings are crap, could ther not be a move to get a better balance back into cannabis – If you are gong to use cannabis – look for strains that have a better balance between tch and cbd?

15 February 2008 09:49

Blogger splatfly95 said…
Hi HelenOn the THC/CBD issue, if research does show one to be more dangerous than the other then people should be told about the different risks.
I don’t think ‘skunk’ should be treated differently by the law, it is too impractical.

As for choosing the weed which has a certain THC/CBD ratio from another, well it can’t be done while cannabis is illegal.
When you buy weed from a dealer, you do just that, you don’t get a choice.

I am in favour of a legal market, an improvement on the Holland system, where tax can be collect, cannabis labelled by strain and content and an enforce age limit.
We should also allow people to grow, we get to choose what we grow then.

A lot of people don’t like the strong stuff, with choice they don’t have to use it. But Prohibition limits choice to a minimum and throws a whole load of other dangers in too.

15 February 2008 14:30

Blogger Chris said…
Hello Debra, anybody there?I’ve submitted ‘my experience’ through your TAC web site a couple of weeks ago and keep on checking back to see if it has been published there, but there’s obviously some kind of technical glitch or problem or something.

I tried to email you personally to tell you about ‘my experience’, but you haven’t replied.

And now I’ve come here and I see that lots of people would like to discuss their ‘experiences’ and points of view with you, but you seem to be too busy or maybe important to engage with them.

I would like to have told you about how I used to smoke cannabis and how these days I think about getting high all the time. I’ve spent thousands of pounds on my habit. I’m aware that there are real risks to my health – I have a friend who ended up in hospital and another who very nearly died – but I just can’t stop. Clearly I can’t be trusted to make rational decisions about my own exposure to risk and so, for my sake and for others like me, perhaps you could spare some time away from your TAC activities and maybe do something to raise awareness about the dangers of paragliding, perhaps even push for criminalisation?

All the best and good luck with the martyrdom.

Chris Kay

15 February 2008 17:25

Comment deleted
This post has been removed by the author.

15 February 2008 17:25

Blogger Woody said…
Clearly we have a problem with Debra. Debra this is you’re site you should be contributing to this debate.Clearly we can see where your problems lie, and its not got a lot do with cannabis.

What is your response to other peoples ‘experiences’ and points of view?

15 February 2008 20:39

Blogger Chris said…
I think that The Void made an unfortunate mistake when he, somewhat forthrightly, suggested that Debra ought to leave the debate.After all how can she withdraw from something in which she is not participating?

I wonder why she seems so unable to engage in a discussion with people who do not share her opinions on this matter?

Perhaps she just can’t be bothered, or maybe she’s too busy? Maybe she regards those who aren’t with her as the enemy, as law-breaking, drugged-up subversive types, who therefore do not deserve the acknowledgement and respect that dialogue might offer?

Or is she choosing to avoid taking part in the debate because she is worried that her arguments may not bear up under close scrutiny?

Maybe she’s even read some of the comments here and realizes that her very black and white view doesn’t necessarily represent the less certain, more nuanced reality that some of us live in.

It would be very difficult, not to say a little embarrassing, for her to back down now.

I would like to echo a couple of the points that Helen Sello made and add some of my own:

1. I do not believe that it is OK for children to use cannabis.

2. There is no question that people should have the right to use cannabis where there is a medical need.

3. Adults should be allowed to make their own decisions about their personal exposure to risk, whether it be to eat fatty food, drink alcohol, smoke cannabis or engage in dangerous sports.

(I don’t do drugs these days, but as I mentioned above I do fly a paraglider – it’s funny how that is deemed socially acceptable, but get a crack pipe out at a dinner party and it’s a different matter.. [BTW that was a joke Debra])

4. Prohibition causes more harm than good. It just creates a massive unregulated market that profits criminals (I heard that in monetary terms the international trade in illegal narcotics is the worlds biggest). Perversely, the better job of seizing drugs that the police and customs do, the more profit that the criminals make.

5. Punishing and criminalizing drug users is not a good way to help them. It makes education messages less credible (‘don’t do that because, you know, it’s bad … and if you do do it we’ll come and get you!’) and stigmatizes and discourages problem users from seeking help. It’s also a bit of a red rag to bull to rebellious teenagers – it’s definitely one of the reasons why I started smoking.

6. In my opinion the drugs that cause the most social harm in this country are (in no particular order) heroin, alcohol and tobacco. Each of these drugs is at least a couple of orders of magnitude greater in their respective effects upon society than cannabis.

I would like to say to Debra – sorry, I know that I’ve taken the micky a bit, but if you are reading this, please talk to us. As Helen says you may be surprised at how much common ground we share even though we may not necessarily agree with the conclusions that one another has reached.

Chris Kay

15 February 2008 23:42

Blogger Bernie R said…
Hi Helen,I like the way you try to take a positive approach, but you’ve got to bear in mind that Debra’s stated intention is to increase the criminal penalties associated with cannabis.

People are unavoidably going find it a strain to be polite to a person who wants to put them or their family or friends in prison.

You suggested trying to find some common ground about things like THC and CBD so let’s do that. I don’t expect to find common ground with Debra, she’s obviously on a different planet.

I think to form a properly balanced decision, you (and the entire debate) need to take more account of the practical circumstances in which cannabis is produced and used, and the effects that it actually has on people.

It has been developed by the people who use it, not by scientists in laboratories.

In order to effectively regulate the CBD/THC ratio the government would have to set up an extensive breeding system, identify suitable varieties, determine and standardise cultivation, harvesting and storage, licence and supervise all cultivation and distribution. It’s just not realistic.

If you look at the menu of a coffeeshop in the Netherlands you will see that there is not a huge variation in the prices of the different varieties on sale. That is because the effects of all the different varieties that are available are similar. The same thing is true anywhere you go. The stuff you get is likely to have all the effects cannabis can have.

So, I want to see if you can be on common ground with me, that the regulation of THC/CBD ratios is a non-starter, and so is regulation of “skunk”.

Also, the safest thing would be to inform users that any cannabis that they use is likely to have all the effects that cannabis has. It seems quite wrong to give them the idea that “resin” is less dangerous than “skunk”, because in reality they have exactly the same effects.

What do you think?

Let’s see what the ACMD say.

15 February 2008 23:46

Blogger Chris said…
From “Talking About Cannabis: The Facts”:”Many pro-legalisers are users, or their children are.

Others are libertarians who think we should be able to do what we like with our bodies. That’s fine as long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else. But stoned drivers can and do kill other people. Addicts and the mentally-ill need treatment at the taxpayers expense, stoned workers are inefficient and unproductive. And passive smoking does occur.”

I would count myself among the libertarians who think that we should be able to do what we want to our bodies. I agree with Debra, that’s fine as long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else.

“But stoned drivers can and do kill people.” I’m sure that’s true, but so do some drunk drivers. We don’t feel the need to criminalise and punish the vast majority of responsible drinkers because of it.

“Addicts and the mentally-ill need treatment at the taxpayers expense”
OK, so how’s that different from this statement: “People who become ill through poor diet and lack of exercise need treatment at the taxpayer’s expense”?

“stoned workers are inefficient and unproductive” hmm, not sure what to think about that? It suggests a bleak and vaguely fascistic view of humans as mere productive units. Besides which, if a worker is unproductive and lazy, for whatever reason, then surely an employer will soon pick up on that and ‘let them go’.

“passive smoking does occur” Most smokers that I know, of either tobacco or cannabis, have the courtesy not to inflict their secondhand smoke on non-smokers.

Anyway Debra I would appreciate your response to the following questions:

Is it time to reconsider prohibition of alcohol and tobacco? Should we start punishing the overweight and those who bring ill health upon themselves (for their own good you understand)? Should we criminalise all recreational or non-essential (non-economically productive?) activities which expose participants to risk of harm? Should acceptable levels of risk be dictated by the state?

Or, might it be better to educate people so that adults can make sensible, informed choices about their personal exposure to risk and take full responsibility for their actions?

Chris

16 February 2008 16:21

Blogger Woody said…
My comments on a few points.Resin is not safer than bud. If we are taking UK Resin ‘Soapbar’ as we call it, that is highly contaminated with all sorts, google and see. If we talk about clean hash, that is far far stronger than any bud.

I reject any stereotype of cannabis users being lasy stoners. I am very far from that and never have been.

I, the same as others..
1. I do not believe that it is OK for children to use cannabis. But prohibition will never change that.

2. There is no question that people should have the right to use cannabis where there is a medical need. The doctors give you worse drugs and half dont even work but cause other problems.

3. Adults should be allowed to make their own decisions about their personal exposure to risk, whether it be to eat fatty food, drink alcohol, smoke cannabis or engage in dangerous sports.

So many points with this one. As an ex bmx er I have forgot the amount times ive been in hospital from a big fall, including ripping the skin of my knee cap and rushed surgery, broken ribs, arm, leg but nobody made that illegal. It was my choice. What about the 7 times ive been bitten by dogs? first time at 2 years old on my face and I still live with the scares on my face. 1 almost got my balls. DOGS DO KILL and harm but there not illegal. WHY?.

I ride between 8-10 miles a day on my cycle on roads not fit for bikes, every pedal is a risk because of cars, vans, lorry’s, buses and drivers not fit of driving and you say stoned drivers are dangerous what about the learner drivers on the road they cant even drive yet let alone safe.

I could rant on and on.

16 February 2008 19:05

Blogger goldfish_samurai said…
The Government’s own statistics, in the shape of the British Crime Survey reveal that not only did cannabis use fall by 12% in the years 1998-2006, but that the rate of decline accelerated following reclassification to Class C – hardly a failed policy.Prohibition does not work, never has and never will. The prohibition of alcohol in America left the country with the highest level of alcoholism it had ever seen at the time, along with the most organised crime network and has done the same with drugs. Prohibition criminalises otherwise law-abiding people, puts billions of pounds into the hands of organised crime and results in contaminated “produce” being sold to the consumer. Most of the “super skunk” recovered in raids on growers never actually makes it to the street in its original form. The resin is stripped from the buds and combined with adulterants such as (but not limited to) henna wax, turpentine, animal tranquilisers, animal faeces and coffee whitener to form “soap bar”. The remainder of the herbal component is then often blasted with fine silica sand, to mimic the resin which was removed.

The health risks associated with smoking these adulterants has never been fully investigated, but there is much anecdotal evidence from users, which suggests that they are pose a more immediate risk and are far more harmful than unadulterated cannabis.

And no – I’m not someone who believes that cannabis is a “harmless herb” – far from it; but I do believe that education and even regulated distribution is an infinitely preferable option, to the four decades of failed drug policies, which (despite the decline) have left us with the highest levels of drug use in Europe.

17 February 2008 21:25

Blogger Woody said…
Great post goldfish_samurai. Debra don’t care about all the health risks associated with people smoking all these adulterants, so along as she has something to blame for her failings.She has absolutely no clue at all and is not taking in anybody’s experiences. Been almost 2 weeks and no reply yet. But she has the cheek to try and ruin other peoples lives.

Debra you must be reading its your website? At least defend yourself because nobody else is.

18 February 2008 12:26

 http://talkingaboutcannabis.blogspot.com/