Monday, 28 January 2008

Letter To A.C.M.D.

dear sir,
i am writing to you to add my complaint about the canabis review
meeting scheduled for the 5th of february 2008 and the fact that you
will not be allowing anyone for the pro side even speak during the
meeting only allowing the oportunity to contibute (how patronising do
you want to get?)in the open forum a pathetic 45mins at the end of the
session at the end of the meeting even though you will be allowing three
speakers from the oppostion to speak for twenty minutes each.
i dare to say that you will not be making this public knowledge as i
would suggest that the whole meeting will be downplayed by the media and
any reports will be carefully doctored to suit your needs as will the
final conclusion reached and the government will surely do what they
like at the end of the day anyway.
how on earth do you expect anyone to take you seriously as an
advisory council when you schedule events that are so obviously biased
as to prove to anyone with a brain that it is simply a chance for the
antidrugs lobbies to get together and sharpen their knives.
for my part i call you a bunch of biased charlatans and suggest that
you are simply a puppet organisation performing to a government that has
already made the decisions and is only using this event as a debate that
it can and will turn to its own advantage and as such would like to
express my disapointment and say that quite unequivocalably i have no
confidence in the outcome of your farcical little debate or in this
governments drug policy, amongst other things.
this manipulation is oh so true of a government that shows it is as
hypocritical, deaf and stupid as it ever was and is now adding
beligerency to its list of talents making me glad to be an ex-pat

yours sincerly

michael r harper
c/valencia 608bis

i have nothing to hide or be ashamed of can the ACMD say the same

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Cannabis Campaigners Fuming Over Advisory Council Review Agenda

Members of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance campaigning group (LCA) are fuming over the refusal of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of drugs
(ACMD) to give them a slot for a speaker at the forthcoming Review on cannabis classification. The Review is due to be held on February 5th at the London Excel, Platinum Suite.

Alun Buffry, a spokesperson for the LCA, said: “We received invites to the Review along with the Agenda, but upon looking through it we saw no representation from the cannabis-using community itself.”

“Bearing in mind that anti-cannabis campaigners such as Debra Bell (from TAC) , Marjorie Wallace (from SANE) and Paul Corry (from RETHINK) have each been given a 20-minute slot, it is clearly going to be an outrageously biased review.

“So I wrote to the ACMD offering a speaker from the LCA – somebody who has had experience with illegal cannabis; The LCA contains many self-confessed cannabis users, whether it be for medical, religious or recreational reasons”

“The ACMD refused an opportunity telling us: “yourself, and your colleagues from the LCA who are attending the review, will be welcome to contribute during the open forum”, which means during just 45 minutes allocated to the floor, right at the end”

“How can this review reflect the “wide range of evidence” that the ACMD seems to be looking for, when not one cannabis users is being given an equal opportunity to those who seek upgrading.”

Notes for editors:

1) Letter sent to ACMD January 23

Looking through the list of speakers - also noticing a few tbc's, I was disappointed to see that there is no representative from ANY cannabis community or pro-legalisation group.

Considering that the agenda is all about cannabis, one has to wonder how many of the speakers have admitted to having used cannabis.

In the Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA), we have a wide representation of cannabis users including many who openly admit to having used cannabis for over 35 years. It includes people of all ages, a range or political and religious beliefs, backgrounds, education and occupation.
It includes people who use cannabis predominantly (or totally) for "medical" reasons, for religious reasons, and / or for so-called recreational reasons.

Although The LCA cannot claim to represent all cannabis users, we are the largest of the UK campaigning groups with over 3000 endorsements: from 1999 to 2006, LCA was registered as a political party and contested over 70 elections, gaining as many as 8% of the vote - and in an "all-up" council election in Great Yarmouth the candidates received a vote from over 16% of the voters!

LCA contains people with a vast experience and knowledge about cannabis - real cannabis! - what it has been like to live under prohibition - the appearance of various forms of cannabis and cannabis resin on our streets for many years, more recently including ground glass having been added to wet cannabis bud.

LCA contains people who have bought cannabis illegally, grown cannabis illegally and even sold cannabis illegally - people who have been through the courts and people who have not.

Considering the inclusion of speakers such as Debra Bell, whom, despite living through what she sees as cannabis-caused tragedies, has no experience of cannabis at all - and no academic qualification to count this makes the Review's presentation seem extremely one-sided.

I therefore would like to apply for a slot for a speakers from the LCA and would be happy to speak under Sessions 1, 3 or 4.


Alun Buffry
LCA Treasurer and Spokesperson

2) Response from ACMD, January 24

Dear Alun,

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) review of Cannabis has been requested over concerns over the mental health effects of cannabis with particular regard to stronger forms of the drug.

The ACMD will consider a wide range of evidence during the two day meeting in February. This meeting will include the presentation of expert evidence on mental and physical health effects of cannabis, its use and social harms. In addition, the ACMD will consider the responses to the Home Office Drugs Strategy Consultation and the results of polling data (undertaken by the ACMD) to understand public perceptions
regarding cannabis, which will inform the Council's advice to Government.

The agenda for the 5th February has now been set and there will be no further places available for presenters. The tbc's you refer to relate to the title of the presentation - all the speakers are confirmed.
However, yourself, and your colleagues from the LCA who are attending the review, will be welcome to contribute during the open forum.


Will Reynolds
Secretary to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs
3rd Floor (SW) Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Internet Censorship In The U.K.

On the 27th of December 2007 the Canna Zine was accepted as an
accredited Google News source.

Frankly I was shocked and stunned as previously we had published our
press via a network of online PR sites, so it was no secret where we
were coming from with regard to our material. But, be that as it may,
our first article, syndicated via Google News in our own right, went out
on December 27th.

On December 31, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith passed a new techology
measure which was called "Cleanfeed".

Essentially, Cleanfeed is a means of censoring websites the government
don't like, and after the material we have published, about the lies
this Labour government have told regarding cannabis and the laws
surrounding it, its fair to say the government don't like the Canna
Zine. Not one little bit.

Since the start of January we have suffered a catalogue of problems with
regard to getting our material published. Services which I pay for, but
which over a period of time, I no longer received.

British Telecom

It started when my broadband connection was all of a sudden cut off.
Phone lines too.

After two days of British Telecom tech support telling me "the fault is
a mystery", I decided to do some of my own detective work.

I'm currently staying with my girlfriend whilst I wait for a new house
in Cardiff, and we're smack bang in the middle of a South Wales housing
estate. The only service provider in the area, is British Telecom.

So I checked with the neighbours either side and lo and behold their
phone service had been unaffected throughout the entire period, which
eventually ran to almost 5 full days. To this day BT have been unable to
give a reason for the break in service. They still took their payment
all the same!

Web Hosting

Then on the 14th of January I started receiving e-mails from my
web-hosting company, which is a British company who's name I won't
mention right now as I'm still in communications with them on the subject.

I operate a reseller account. What that means is I am not only able to
offer hosting to third parties, but I am also able to operate unlimited
domains, hosting unlimited domain names.

The e-mails stated, "as part of a service improvement scheme, my web
files were being moved to a new, faster server."

Regular visitors to the Canna Zine will know the service has always been
very good. The website always operated very quickly.

But on the 14th January my service levels dropped to a crawl. People sat
staring at a blank screen waiting sometimes 2 or 3 full minutes for the
page to load. A situation which has remained to date.

Google News UK
On the 20th of January I released an article and that was to be the last
article I would release through the Canna Zine as Google News UK pulled
the plug.


I would be guessing if I answered, but you only have to read through my
material, which is still on Google News, to see why the government,
Gordon Brown, and Jacqui Smith specifically, may want to take the Canna
Zine "off the air".

According to Frank Fisher on The Guardian website;
The technology behind Cleanfeed is simple enough, based on a system
devised by BT and known as Cleanfeed. A list of IP addresses is drawn up
by the industry watchdog, the Internet Watch Foundation, supplied to and
then augmented by the Home Office, and then handed to ISPs with the
simple instruction "block traffic to and from these addresses". The
problems are twofold.

First, the government, in the person of Home Office minister Vernon
Coaker, (who has appeared a number of times on the Canna Zine as an ex
toker himself - use the Canna Zine SEARCH for more) simply demanded that
all UK ISPs "voluntarily" sign up for the system - there is no
legislative backing for this at all. And second, no doubt only because
no open discussion took place, no parliamentary debate occurred, and
therefore no real examination of the dangers of such a process were
exposed, no one except the Home Office knows what's on that final list.
We're led to believe that it's purely a list of child pornography sites.
But no one outside government knows. Not even the ISPs. They block; they
don't look.

As of December 31 last year, all UK ISPs duly agreed to adopt the system.

You're now viewing a state-mandated subset of the internet. How do you
feel about that?

Like to vote against it? You can't.

Like your MP to sit on a committee to oversee implementation? He can't.

Like to know if the Google results you're seeing are a full
representation of Google's actual results? You can't.

Censorship at this level - above even ISPs, is all but invisible to the
end user. It's a secret that they're keeping these secrets from you,
(and me).

Now, this isn't China you might say, we trust our government to only
censor material that needs censoring. Sure?

This is the same government that has leaned on ISPs inside the UK, and
outside, not with the intention of blocking illegal or obscene material,
but simply sites that irritated, embarrassed, or offended the government.

Not using legal methods either - a court order, say - but bullying and

And this is the same government that was only beaten by one vote in the
House of Lords, on their 2006 proposal to force UK ISPs to drop sites on
the say-so of a single police officer.

This is, remember, that same government that's constantly telling us,
with regard to ID cards, that if you have nothing to hide, you have
nothing to fear. Why then, do they hide this list?

Now, OK, most will feel with regard to child pornography a bit of
overkill may be justified, but with "extremism" we start a whole new
ball game. It's a truism that one man's terrorist is another's freedom
fighter, what should also be understood is that what is inflammatory and
incendiary material to one, is the simple truth to others.

Can we really accept that a few pen pushers in the Home Office should
have absolute veto over our online browsing habits?

If the government is determined to pursue this path - and I'd stress I'd
really rather they didn't (the best answer to poisonous speech is
non-poisonous speech) - then the very least they must do is introduce
transparency. There is no reason why the list supplied to ISPs should
not be reviewed and questioned by a parliamentary committee at the very
least and, unlike child porn, there's no reason why that shouldn't be in
open session.

Better would be a wider consultation, perhaps along the lines of the
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, where government could put
its case to interested parties, including representatives of ISPs, civil
liberties groups, and the public.
You bet I'd volunteer. We cannot allow a power like this to operate,
unchecked and unobserved, even if it is currently used benignly. Can
those who'd say they would trust this government to act proportionately,
really say they'd trust all future governments also? Future Spycatcher
episodes will invariably happen online and in the UK, if the government
of the day chose to act, we'd know nothing about it. We may even be in
that situation right now.

The manner in which the government has grasped this power, the way in
which they are already wielding it, and their resistance to introducing
transparency to the process, suggests they think imposing invisible and
opaque censorship, with no legal process, is a proper way for the state
to behave.

I reckon the Chinese government feels that way too. Censors generally
feel their censorship is in a good cause too. It makes no difference.

We need a proper legal footing for these measures, proper oversight, and
a proper understanding that free speech is not a trivial principle the
government can simply ignore, but a cornerstone of any state that claims
to be democratic. If they're going to slice off chunks of the internet,
then the rest of us need to be damn sure that what's going is going for
a good reason, and that Jacqui Smith isn't both judge and jury, in the
hanging, drawing, and quartering of the world wide web.

Teens Who Smoke Marijuana But Not Tobacco Are Different From Other Teen Groups

ScienceDaily (Nov. 6, 2007) — A Swiss study suggests that teens who use only cannabis appear to function better than those who also use tobacco, and are more socially driven and have no more psychosocial problems than those who abstain from both substances, according to a new report.
See also:
Health & Medicine

* Controlled Substances
* Teen Health
* Lung Cancer

Mind & Brain

* Marijuana
* Illegal Drugs
* Addiction


* Cannabis
* Tobacco smoking
* Drug addiction
* Forensic toxicology

Cannabis or marijuana is the illegal drug most commonly used by youth, according to background information in the article. Cannabis use is associated with the use of other substances, including tobacco and illegal drugs. "The gateway theory hypothesizes that the use of legal drugs (tobacco and alcohol) is the previous step to cannabis consumption," the authors write. "However, recent research also indicates that cannabis use may precede or be simultaneous to tobacco use and that, in fact, its use may reinforce cigarette smoking or lead to nicotine addiction independently of smoking status."

J. C. Suris, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, analyzed data from a 2002 national survey of Swiss students aged 16 to 20 years. A total of 5,263 students were included in the analysis, including 455 who smoked marijuana only, 1,703 who smoked marijuana and tobacco and 3,105 who abstained from both substances.

"Our findings in this nationally representative sample of adolescents show that 6 percent of them use cannabis without having used tobacco and that one-fifth of current cannabis users (21.1 percent) declare never having used tobacco," the authors write.

The survey also found that, compared with students who used both substances, students who smoked marijuana only were more likely to be male (71.6 percent vs. 59.7 percent), play sports (85.5 percent vs. 66.7 percent), live with both parents (78.2 vs. 68.3) and have good grades (77.5 vs. 66.6). However, they were less likely to have been drunk in the past 30 days (40.5 percent vs. 55 percent), have started using cannabis before the age of 15 years (25.9 percent vs. 37.5 percent), to have smoked marijuana more than once or twice during the previous 30 days (44 percent vs. 66 percent) or to use other illegal drugs (8.4 percent vs. 17.9 percent).

Compared with students who abstained from both substances, marijuana users were more likely to be male (71.6 percent vs. 47.7 percent), to have a good relationship with their friends (87.0 percent vs. 83.2 percent), to be sensation-seeking (37.8 percent vs. 21.8 percent) and to play sports (85.5 percent vs. 76.6 percent), and less likely to have a good relationship with their parents (74.1 percent vs. 82.4 percent).

Although teens who smoke both marijuana and tobacco seem to have more psychosocial problems and thus may be worthy targets for preventive intervention, those who smoke marijuana only also should be monitored closely and counseled. "In any case, and even though they do not seem to have great personal, family, or academic problems, the situation of those adolescents who use cannabis but who declare not using tobacco should not be trivialized," the authors conclude.

Journal reference: Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(11):1042-1047.

This study was supported by a contract from the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and the participating cantons.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Study Shows Marijuana Increases Brain Cell Growth

By Juanita King, The Muse (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld — Supporters of marijuana may finally have an excuse to smoke weed every day. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests that smoking pot can make the brain grow.

Though most drugs inhibit the growth of new brain cells, injections of a synthetic cannibinoid have had the opposite effect in mice in a study performed at the University of Saskatchewan. Research on how drugs affect the brain has been critical to addiction treatment, particularly research on the hippocampus.

The hippocampus is an area of the brain essential to memory formation. It is unusual because it grows new neurons over a person’s lifetime. Researchers believe these new cells help to improve memory and fight depression and mood disorders.

Many drugs -— heroin, cocaine, and the more common alcohol and nicotine — inhibit the growth of these new cells. It was thought that marijuana did the same thing, but this new research suggests otherwise.

Neuropsychiatrist Xia Zhang and a team of researchers study how marijuana-like drugs — known collectively as cannabinoids — act on the brain.

The team tested the effects of HU-210, a potent synthetic cannabinoid similar to a group of compounds found in marijuana. The synthetic version is about 100 times as powerful as THC, the high-inducing compound loved by recreational users.

The researchers found that rats treated with HU-210 on a regular basis showed neurogenesis — the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus. A current hypothesis suggests depression may be triggered when the hippocampus grows insufficient numbers of new brain cells. If true, HU-210 could offer a treatment for such mood disorders by stimulating this growth.

Whether this is true for all cannabinoids remains unclear, as HU-210 is only one of many and the HU-210 in the study is highly purified.

“That does not mean that general use in healthy people is beneficial,” said Memorial psychology professor William McKim. “We need to learn if this happens in humans, whether this is useful in healthy people, and whether THC causes it as well.”

McKim warns that marijuana disrupts memory and cognition. “These effects can be long-lasting after heavy use,” he said. “This makes it difficult to succeed academically if you use it excessively.”

“Occasional light use probably does not have very serious consequences. [But] there is some evidence that marijuana smoke might cause cancer.”

Still, the positive aspects of marijuana are becoming more plentiful as further research is done. McKim says it’s not surprising that THC and compounds like it could have medicinal effects.

“Many have been identified,” he said. “It stimulates appetite in people with AIDS, it is an analgesic, and blocks nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. And it treats the symptoms of glaucoma.”

The research group’s next studies will examine the more unpleasant side of the drug.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Cannabis Experts Lash Out At Ministers For Ignoring Advice

An angry row has blown up over proposals to upgrade cannabis to a class B drug, with leading experts from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) accusing the Government of a "deliberate leak" of its plans.

Ignoring a directive not to speak to journalists about reports that the Government has already made its mind up, ACMD member Professor Les Iversen, a pharmacologist at Oxford University, said: "I was not pleased to read what appears to be a deliberate leak about the government's alleged intention to reclassify, regardless of advice received.

"If ACMD were to recommend no change and this were to happen, I believe it would be the first time that any Home Secretary acted against the recommendations offered and it would call into question the whole function and future of this group."

The outburst followed claims that Gordon Brown and the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, were determined to reverse the decision to downgrade the drug to class C when the ACMD completes its report in the next few months. Although its recommendations are not yet known, ministers are already making clear that Ms Smith is prepared to overrule the expert body.

But one former member of the influential council last night claimed the ACMD was totally opposed to the Government's stance. "There is no way that the ACMD would support any reclassification of cannabis, unless there were some political shenanigans going on," said the Reverend Martin Blakeborough.

Rev Blakeborough, who runs the Kaleidoscope drug abuse charity, said: "There is no significantly new evidence to suggest that cannabis is any more harmful than in the last review we did 18 months ago."

"The only reason that the ACMD is being forced to discuss this matter is because every new Home Secretary seems to want to show how tough they are," he added.

Professor David Nutt, chair of the ACMD's technical committee, which will start taking evidence on classification at a public meeting next month, said: "In the end, as with all laws, it's a political decision – the ACMD only advises."

But David Raynes, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, criticised the ACMD's stance and said that it was dominated by people who advocate "harm reduction" and whose sympathies lie with pro-legalisation campaigners: "I actually think that the harm reduction/liberalisation/legalisation lobby is too strong in there (and in the Home Office). Some ACMD members are genuine but misguided, some are just the great and good with little understanding of the legalisation game that is being played by others."

The controversy comes days after new figures revealed that almost 500 people are being treated by the NHS every week for cannabis-related mental health problems. Since the Government downgraded it from a class B to a class C drug in 2004, the number of adults being treated for its effects has risen from 11,057 in 2004-05 to 16,685 in 2006-07. Also, the number of children needing medical attention because of cannabis use has increased to more than 9,200 – up from 8,014 in 2005-06.

Fears over the hidden health risks of the drug, particularly on the mental health of young people, have prompted the calls for a review of cannabis. More than 2.5 million 16-24 year-olds have used the drug. The ACMD is expected to make its own recommendations known in April.

In a statement, a Home Office spokesman reiterated that the ACMD's role is confined to providing "advice on classification".

Saturday, 19 January 2008

The Rapper's Joke Has Not Worn Thin

The rappers’ joke has not worn thin

Jan 19 2008 by Our Correspondent, Western Mail

RESILIENCE is a useful weapon in the fickle world of pop music.

Just when it looked as though the joke had worn thin, Goldie Lookin’ Chain have bounced back with even more hilarious takes on the British vernacular experience.

When Atlantic dropped the purveyors of anarchic hip-hop from their label after their second album, the GLC split in several directions – some choosing to explore new musical projects, others turning the airwaves blue on XFM South Wales.

But the Newport collective’s return to the musical fold hasn’t been overlooked, with this sell-out show at Clwb Ifor Bach to promote their new album, Under The Counter. Support came from Adam Hussain, easily the GLC’s most adept rapper.

The GLC bounded onto the stage in the only way they can, forking out in various directions to the sounds of House Party, a straightforward rap-off between any member that could force their lyric in.

The daft banter between tracks was inevitable, with P Xain making light of Maggot’s appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, saying, “He’s come back from his holiday with Bryan Adams just to play this show.”

Of course, the crowd were immersed in every minute of the show, and were suitably attired in their sleek leisure wear and oversized novelty jewellery.

A huge amount of new material threatened to flood the set list until Half Man/Half Machine flexed it’s electro-pop muscles. Inevitably, the new material hardly broke any new ground for the GLC, but their sampling knows no bounds, with Dusty Springfield’s Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart smattered all over the syrupy ballad Mary-Jane.

The crowd became a little static towards the end of show, seemingly unfamiliar with the rehashed tales about smoking cannabis and chasing girls around Newport.

The GLC flourished at the finale though, with Your Missus Is A Nutter lifting Serge Gainsbourg’s spectacular guitar riff on the Parisian-inflected track Cannabis. And the gender reversal of Your Mother’s Got A Penis initiated a huge stage invasion from half the crowd.

The GLC’s supposed time limit in the industry shows no signs of expiring. It’s the same joke, but it’s still funny.

Michael Took

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Activist To Appear In Court


Neil Morgan who was convicted of cultivating cannabis at an isolated
caravan in Wales, last year, has an appeal starting at The Strand, Court
6, 10.30 on January 23rd.

The case is to centre around the Human rights article on "privacy".

Also interesting is that the police in his case said that they did not
consider that Neil had engaged in criminal activity although he was
breaking the law.

I hope you can spread news of this case which is of considerable
importance, I feel, and maybe even attend?

all the best

Letter From An Activist

dear friends and fellow campaigners, please look up Andre Fursts new address on the ENCOD thread and write to him. Once you have read his letter you will understand why he needs post.

Freiburg 27.10.07
dear Ingo

Thank you for your amiable words, this is a sunshine in my solitary confinement cell and there is strenght for me.
Excuse me for my english, I write normally in german and french. Excuse also for the long time before my response, I had to organise one translation book before writing.
Now I will also continue one's education to learning english language as a meaning waiting period ( he means to bridge his waiting period).
I am in Switzerland prison, for Farm Hemp and as a natural resource activist I received the highest penalty, more than all indoor dealers, but I only make preventative infos.
The Swiss Parliament propose a new law were THC and all active ingredients are legal, at the same time the Hemp plant banned.
The popular initiative for legalise Hemp, has now been achived, but is still surpressed from the politicians and in the media, they become not platform.( he means that they cannot achieve a platform and news about initiatives are surpressed).
International percetive ( perception) and consideration is really helpfull, maybe you write over that initiative a description on the internet.

The fight go on with freedom to farm
Hempi greetings

PS: Initiative may be on

And now for the bit.

I very much hope that many more, who read of the strenght a simple letter can provide in solitary confinement, will take a pen to paper and write a little simple written letter, the more Andre reads, the stronger he will be and his englis will improve as of natural.
I will send him a picture of my Oak tree, something nice to look at


Saturday, 12 January 2008

Alcohol Abuse Outstrips Cannabis 16-1 under Brown's Government.

The government is using the cannabis issue as a smoke-screen, which its using to hide the fact it has created a dangerous situation regarding a stratospheric rise in the numbers of young people being hospitalised by alcohol abuse.
The Department of Health is claiming to have kept almost 500 young cannabis users per week or 10,000 per year out of the criminal justice system by making more places available on drug rehabilitation programs.

A stratagy which helps young people find work later in life, without the stigma of a police criminal record to overcome.

Rather than prosecute cannabis users, specifically those of a certain age group which includes young people up to the age of 16, police and the courts are more turning to alternative forms of 'punishing' offenders, such as ordering them to attend drug rehabilitation programs for instance and in the case of young cannabis users particularly the Department of Health should be congratulated publicly in keeping these youngsters out of the criminal system.
Professor Ian Gilmore's opinions are supported by charity 'Alcohol Concern'

But using the figures to make a point in a game of political ping-pong smacks of desperation on the part of the Labour party, especially when the Department of Health also indicates there are over 160,000 alcohol related admissions into the UK's hospital system per year, which equates to an 'intoxicating' 1220 hospital admissions per day, as a result of alcohol abuse!

The Office for National Statistics has revealed that 8,221 died from drink-related illnesses in 2004 compared to 4,144 in 1991.

During the same period there were no deaths as a result of using cannabis.

Surely a fact which puts the UK's drug problem firmly into perspective, with alcohol abuse a social issue which cannot be ignored any longer.

Using Department of Health figures from the the start of the new millenium as a datum point, shows the numbers admitted into hospital, including casualty departments has shown an unprecedented and catastrophic rise of 99% across all age groups.

As well as a jump of over 40% in the amounts of under-18's who have received emergency room treatment for liver problems, injuries from fighting and brawling whilst under the influence of alcohol, and those needing to have their stomach pumped.

Its come as no surprise these massive rises in the amounts of young people being harmed by alcohol, coincides squarely with the government's decision to allow 24 hour drinking across the nation.

Facts which must bring pressure to bear on Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to address this issue as a matter of the highest priority.

According to Ian Gilmore, who is president of the Royal College of Physicians, "It shows the current measures to stem alcohol-related health damage, and especially in our young people, aren’t working."

“That is why we have been looking for real evidence-based ways of reducing the burden of health damage for alcohol misuse, namely tackling price and availability,” Prof Gilmore said."

Which is clearly a policy the Labour government under Prime Minister Brown disagrees with as he announced recently he would not re-open the file on 24 hour drinking, commenting he was happy the strategy was achieving the results he wanted it to achieve.

With thanks to:-

Saturday, 5 January 2008

NORML Nominates Dutch Drug Policy For Nobel Prize

New Drug Policy Reform Project: Netherlands for Nobel Peace Prize

January 4, 2008

Dear NORML Supporters and Allies:

Netherlands For Nobel

Inspired by the recent success of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in
awakening the world to the dangers of global warming by receiving the
Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy work, the National Organization for
the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is beginning the New Year by
coordinating the nomination of the Netherlands for a Nobel Prize for its
achievements in minimizing drug use in its citizens, while at the same
time restricting imprisonment.

With few peers at the international level and despite tremendous
pressure from the United States, the Dutch government and its people
have proven for more than 30 years that it is more cost effective,
humane, and practical to be "smart on drugs" rather than "tough on drugs."

The following quotes from physician Stephen H. Frye’s forthcoming book
Twenty-five Reasons to Legalize Drugs - We Really Lost This War!
document the validity and appropriateness of this nomination:

"The drug war, not the drugs, kills people.

"This is now a real war. Although it started out as political rhetoric,
it’s become a genuinely deadly conflict...It has caused hundreds of
thousands of unnecessary deaths and untold misery, especially to our
children, teens, women, and minorities. And like all wars, it’s been
hugely expensive and wasteful; to date, it has cost more than a trillion
dollars. And this is just in the United States; the international
devastation is incomprehensible. Furthermore, like many wars, it’s based
on lies.

"The few deaths that are caused by the drugs are due to impurities,
dosages that are not standardized, and reluctance to call 911 when
someone overdoses out of fear of being arrested. Replacing prohibition
with sensible health-oriented alternatives, including legalizing
currently illicit drugs, can eliminate these drug-related deaths.

"The Dutch should be recognized for their remarkable human rights
achievement of regulating and decriminalizing drugs and equally
important, offering comprehensive treatment to its affected citizens.
The number of lives they have saved, as well as assaults, robberies,
rapes, child abuse, and other prohibition-related criminal activities
that they’ve prevented, is a major humanitarian and public health
accomplishment. Their success in minimizing the catastrophic effects of
the War on Drugs cannot be overstated. For example, the U.S. has six
times as many people in prisons as the Netherlands per capita, and still
we have four times their murder rate. Compared to ours, the Dutch prison
population is negligible and they actually provide education and
rehabilitation for their inmates. Furthermore, their incidence of AIDS
and hepatitis is a fraction of ours.

"Taken together, these groundbreaking medical, human rights and
humanitarian accomplishments are of unprecedented magnitude. They not
only serve as an inspiration to the rest of the world, they also demand
emulation. Because of this, it is recommended that Louk Hulsman,
Professor Emeritus of Criminal Law at the University of Rotterdam, who
was originally responsible for crafting the forward-thinking drug policy
in the Netherlands and the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports,
who administer their very successful current drug policies, be nominated
for a Nobel Peace Prize."

The world owes a great debt of gratitude to them, along with many
thousands of activists, academics, and religious and business leaders,
for demonstrating that a scientifically-crafted harm reduction drug
policy based on researched public health models, not an unyielding
prohibition, prison oriented model, results in a healthier, safer, and
less imprisoned population—that also uses fewer drugs.

The deadline for submission is February 1, 2008, and according to the
Nobel Prize webpage, people from every country can nominate, but it is
limited to members of national assemblies, governments, and
international courts of law; university chancellors, professors of
social science, history, philosophy, law and theology; leaders of peace
research institutes and institutes of foreign affairs; Nobel Peace Prize
Laureates of previous years; board members of organizations that have
received the Nobel Peace Prize; present and past members of the
Norwegian Nobel Committee; and former advisors of the Nobel Institute.

Nobel Nomination Process Information

All that is necessary is for a qualified nominator, as listed above, to
send a letter to Geir Lundestad, Ph.D., Director, Norwegian Nobel
Institute, Henrik Ibsens gate 51, NO-0255, Oslo, Norway, indicating the
names of those nominated and the reason for the nomination, and it must
be received by February 1, 2008.

Dr. Frye has also documented that not only is this very real War on
Drugs far more devastating and deadly than the drugs themselves, but
prison is also much more destructive, catastrophic and even more deadly
than the drugs.

The Dutch have shown us the path to peace and now is the time to
recognize their achievement.

While NORML is a cannabis-only reform organization, by nominating and
educating the world about the success of the Netherlands’s drug policy,
we are committed to using this public campaign as the first high impact
project for worldwide drug policy reform in this New Year. This e-mail
is being sent to U.S. and international drug policy organizations,
seeking the names and contacts of qualified Nobel Prize nominators. The
email is also being sent to organizations for children, teens, women,
minorities, and the environment, as all these people and the environment
are severely harmed and actually killed by the drug war.

It is time to stimulate this crucially important worldwide conversation,
and this is a project all drug policy reform and civic-minded groups,
regardless of their mission statements, can support. The webpage and
other promotional campaigns in support of this nomination have been
launched, but gathering qualified nominators needs to be the first step
as there is a short deadline. Please ask nominators to send their
letters directly to the Nobel Institute, and also notify NORML at as we are coordinating and
tracking this campaign.

Also, please feel free to forward this email notice to all relevant
organizations and anyone you feel can assist this ‘Netherlands For
Nobel’ movement—especially qualified Nobel Peace Prize nominators.

It is truly time to end the drug war and start the peace process. Thank
you in advance and best wishes for an exciting 2008 pursuing the Nobel
Peace Prize for this most noble cause.

Aspire Higher in 08,

Allen St. Pierre

Executive Director
NORML/NORML Foundation
Washington, DC

Friday, 4 January 2008

More Science In Our Favour

DIFFUSION TENSOR IMAGING, a newly developed magnetic resonance imaging technique, enables researchers to gain a better understanding of the effects of cannabis on the brain.

In a preliminary study published today in the open access journal Harm Reduction Journal, researchers used diffusion tensor imaging to compare the brain tissue of young people who had used cannabis moderately as teenagers, and young people who had not.

The researchers failed to find any indication that damage to the developing adolescent brain occurred.

Lynn DeLisi and colleagues from the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research and New York University School of Medicine used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to scan the brain of 10 young people who had smoked cannabis during adolescence. The participants were between 17 and 30 years old, they had smoked at least two to three times a week for one or more years during adolescence and had no personal or family history of mental health problems. They were matched for sex, age and social class of parents with 10 controls who had not smoked cannabis regularly as teenagers.
DTI is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that enables a detailed look at the organisation of nerves in the brain and the measurement of brain volume.
DeLisi and her colleagues found no significant differences in brain integrity and brain volume between cannabis smokers and non-smokers.
Their preliminary study suggests that moderate cannabis use has no direct adverse effects on brain structure and integrity.
The authors warn however, that more research is necessary, both in a larger group of people, and to see the effects of heavier use. Hopefully they will be given more cash for research.