Medicinal cannabis patients classed as ‘drug addicts’ by Oregon sheriffs

13 04 2011

Despite the amount of illegal firearms and genuinely harmful drugs that America seems to be knee-deep in, police in Oregon are concerned that card-holding medicinal marijuana users might be legally carrying guns.

Under the U. S. Gun Control Act of 1968, guns may not be sold to drug addicts. Most people would agree that this is a good idea, as the mental image of a ‘drug addict’ is almost always negative: shaking, dirty, paranoid, and incapable of rational thought. Nobody wants to arm that person.

An elderly medicinal marijuana user

An elderly medicinal marijuana user in Oregon (image courtesy of NORML)

Concealed Handgun Permits are refused

The sheriffs of Oregon, however, are classing medicinal cannabis users as drug addicts and refusing to issue concealed handgun permits to them. The sheriff’s office, by state law, should not refuse to grant such a license provided a list of conditions is met. These conditions usually  include U.S. citizenship, completing  a gun safety course, no criminal record, no mental illness or substance abuse problems. Again, these are all reasonable requirements, but the medicinal cannabis patients who fulfill them are still being refused the permit.

Use of prescribed marijuana should not limit a person’s rights

Retired school bus driver Cynthia Willis is one such patient, and along with three co-plaintiffs she is part of a potentially landmark case currently under consideration by the Oregon Supreme Court. Cynthia likes to carry a Walther P-22 automatic pistol, which she says she’s never had to draw, for self-defense. She also uses cannabis to control muscle spasms and pain from her arthritis, but says she never uses it when she plans to carry her gun (or drive). So far she’s won two court cases on the argument that prescribed drug use does not disqualify a person from holding a concealed gun permit, and medicinal cannabis is a prescribed drug like any other.

Outdoor medicinal marijuana

An outdoor medicinal marijuana crop in America

More at stake than the right to carry a concealed firearm

What is at stake here is not just the right of medicinal cannabis users to carry (concealed) firearms: by Oregon law, if someone doesn’t have a concealed gun permit but does have a gun license, they can simply carry the gun openly, as Cynthia plans to do if she loses her case. Given the tragic events in Alphen aan den Rijn on Saturday as the latest in a long line of horrific shootings by licensed gun owners throughout the world,  it can be argued that gun licenses should be revoked altogether.

How do you abuse your own medicinal cannabis crop?

The underlying issue of concern in Oregon is the classification of medical marijuana patients as ‘drug addicts’, with all the negative connotations of this epithet. Although cannabis seeds have never been illegal in Oregon, and it was the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of bud back in 1973, courts recently decided that employers had the right to fire medicinal cannabis users. The sheriffs of this county openly argue that the majority of medicinal card holders are abusing the right to use ganja as a medicine, despite the fact that buying, selling, and dispensaries are still prohibited so patients must grow their own (or have someone grow it for them without profit) in order to do so.

Flyer for the Oregon NORML Cannabis Cafe, with buds

NORML is active in Oregon, which was the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis.

Defending the rights of medical marijuana users

Executive Director of NORML Allen St. Pierre is focused on defending the right of every medicinal marijuana card holder to be treated like any other citizen: “A person who uses medical cannabis should not have to give up their fundamental rights as enumerated by the Constitution,”‘ St. Pierre said.

Source material for this article here .





Cannabis Debates Begin Tomorrow

4 02 2011

In response to the current plans for limiting the right to buy cannabis to Dutch residents, and other related restrictions, a series of debates are taking place throughout the Netherlands during February and March. Beginning tomorrow (05/02) at the Cannabis College in Amsterdam, the Cannabis Debates are open to everyone over the age of 18 and attendance (14:00 to 17:00) is free.

Workable Cannabis Policy
The Cannabis Debates are organized by the VOC (lit. Society for the Abolition of Cannabis Prohibition) and THC (Taskforce for Cannabis Management), an independent work-group including members of the National Platform of Coffeeshop Unions (LOC) and the VOC. Their aim is to present a workable and well supported alternative to the potentially disastrous schemes favoured by the Cabinet.

This alternative is a clear and regulated management of cannabis, including growing, for personal use and would effectively remove the ‘back-door’ criminality from the ‘front-door’ legal sales. The contradiction between illegal wholesale supply and decriminalized personal supply is the root of the problems with the tolerance policy, caused not by going ‘too far’ as many politicians seem to think, but by not going far enough.
Concept model 'Van Gedogen Tot Handhaven'

Be part of the Cannabis Debates
The management concept presented by THC sets out a practical and safe system for regulating the cannabis trade and is entitled ‘Van Gedogen Naar Handhaven’ (‘From Tolerance To Management’). Contributions and suggestions are welcome from everyone who attends the debates (please bear in mind that the main language will be Dutch). Considering that the Tweede Kamer began their own debate on moving from cannabis tolerance to zero tolerance exactly a year ago today, the Cannabis Debates offer an essential opportunity to find a saner solution that must not be missed.

Other debate dates:

Zaterdag 26 februari:
Coffeeshop The Pink, Willemstraat 35, Eindhoven

Zaterdag 5 maart:
Koffieshop De Os, Korfmakersstraat 2, Leeuwarden

Maandag 21 maart:
Live 330 / Cremers, Korte Molenstraat 2, Den Haag

Source: VOC Nederland, Zaterdag 5 februari eerste cannabis debat in amsterdam





Houses made of hemp could help combat climate change!

27 10 2009

professor pete walker - university of bath

We have recently come across this very interesting press release from Professor Peter Walker at the University of Bath (U.K) who is leading the research into the use of hemp-lime in construction.  Buildings and other infrastructure currently accounts for almost 20% of the UK’s eco-footprint.  This is another example of how this wonderful plant can help save reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  Recently we brought you the news that Hanes – one of the worlds biggest consumer brands – has been investing in a new hemp technology called Crailar which requires only a fraction of the water needed to make cotton; and we are very happy to announce that it is the subject of another of our articles, a Dutch company called Hempflax who has won the contract to supply the raw materials to Hanes – i.e. the HEMP!

Here’s the press release:

Houses made of hemp, timber or straw could help combat climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of building construction, according to researchers at the University of Bath.

Currently the construction industry is a major contributor of environmental pollutants, with buildings and other build infrastructure contributing to around 19% of the UK’s eco-footprint.  Researchers at the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials are researching low carbon alternatives to building materials currently used by the construction industry.  Although timber is used as a building material in many parts of the world, historically it is used less in the UK than in other countries. Researchers at the Centre are developing new ways of using timber and other crop-based materials such as hemp, natural fibre composites and straw bales. Their work using straw bales as a building material has already been featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs series.

Professor Peter Walker, Director of the Centre, is leading the research. He said: “The environmental impact of the construction industry is huge. For example, it is estimated that worldwide the manufacture of cement contributes up to ten per cent of all industrial carbon dioxide emissions.  “We are looking at a variety of low carbon building materials including crop-based materials, innovative uses of traditional materials and developing low carbon cements and concretes to reduce impact of new infrastructure. As well as reducing the environmental footprint, many low carbon building materials offer other benefits, including healthier living through higher levels of thermal insulation and regulation of humidity levels.”

Their research is being presented at the Sustainable Energy & the Environment showcase at the University of Bath.  The exhibition will be opened by David Willetts MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities & Skills, and will be attended by industrialists, research councils, local and national government representatives and other key stakeholders from across the South West.  The exhibition coincides with the launch of the Institute for Sustainable Energy & the Environment (I-SEE) at the University of Bath, which will bring together experts from diverse fields of science, engineering, social policy and economics to tackle the problems of climate change.

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Marc Emery – Prince of Pot

19 10 2009

Here’s a piece I found on Marc Emery on U.S TV – it includes an interview with his wife Jodie Emery and is well worth a watch!

Marc is one of the figureheads of the cannabis legalization movement and his treatment by U.S and Canandian prosecutors who circumvented normal procedure to extradite him from Canada is both contradictory and illegal in our eyes.  Further information can be found at drugwarrant.com

FREE MARC!





So how harmless is Skunk?

18 09 2009

skunkWith this post we want to clarify some of the misconceptions that a lot of people seem to have on skunk.

Firstly, let us point out that Skunk is nothing more then a name for (mostly indica) potent weed. It is NOT some genetically engineered super dangerous new type of weed. (special announcement for the media; did you guys notice the word NOT? )

For your information, the Dutch ska band “Doe maar” made an album called skunk back in 1981! So the term has been around for a while. However, even if it was a new kind of weed.. Will this new super potent weed be somehow more dangerous than the weed smoked 20 years ago? So what if weed is more potent? This only means that you have to smoke less of it.. Isn’t that supposed to be a good thing? And what about hash? Shouldn’t this be even more dangerous? Even in the seventies people smoked hash which is a lot more potent than any skunk you can buy nowadays.

The third argument that the anti-legalization lobby likes to use is that skunk/cannabis use somehow causes schizophrenia? Let’s pretend for a moment that this is proven to be true ( scientists still seem to disagree ) isn’t that all the more reason to have a legal and regulated market for it? What is the worst that can happen? In the Netherlands adults are allowed to buy small amounts of weed and this has worked just fine for the last 20-odd years.

Just to compare the two systems.. 9.7 percent of youngsters (15-24) use cannabis at least once a month in the Netherlands, compared to 15.8 percent in the UK. ( source )





Jack Herer suffers heart attack!

17 09 2009

News has reached us that the world-renowned author, activist and marijuana anti-prohibitionist Jack Herer suffered a heart attack this weekend.  Emergency crews were called in as he collapsed in his chair after delivering a fiery speech at the Portland Hempstalk Event at Kelly Point Park. After spending a lengthy amount of time stabilizing Jack at the scene, he was transported to the Emanuel Trauma Center in Portland in critical condition with his son at his side. Soon after that, his family were told that he was the victim of a heart attack, a result of arterial blockage.

Jack Herer, Marijuana Activist, Hero, Cannabis, The Emperor Wears No Clothes

Jack is arguably the best-known person in the world on the subject of marijuana; he is an icon of popular culture and his book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” is the largest and first account of the real story of marijuana and the techniques used by big money corporations to demonize and criminalize it.

Jack suffered a stroke a few years ago that had left him somewhat challenged in terms of speaking, but those who heard him speak at the rally on Saturday afternoon noted that his speech was much clearer than it had been in many years.

In an ironic twist, an interview recorded 2 hours before the heart attack with friend Dr. Phillip Leveque of Salem-News.com, hears Jack explaining how he has been feeling better recently, stating: “I’m healthier than I’ve been in ages… in 10 years!”

Last night the doctors put him in an induced coma and lowered his body temperature with ice. They are keeping him this way for 48 more hours. His heart is doing well for now so they think he will be ok soon. Early reports that he underwent angioplasty are unfounded.

There are no equals to Jack Herer; he is a massive inspiration to us all – we have a huge amount of respect for his dedication to the cause; he is an inspirational figure and a genuine trailblazer. We wish Jack all the best and we hope that he makes a full and complete recovery. At this time, our thoughts go out to his son and wonderful wife Jeannie Herer.

Source: www.Salem-News.com

UPDATE (17/09/09): Jack has been taken off of the medications that were keeping him in a state of induced coma. He is not awake yet and the doctors are saying that it may be a few days before …he comes out of the coma. Jack swallowed some fluid into his lung’s during the heart – attack and this caused a minor infection. He is considered stable at this time just in a comatose state.  Good luck Jack – we’re all rooting for you friend!

UPDATE (15/04/10): In memoriam: Jack Herer (1939 – 2010)





Coffeeshop trial is test for Dutch drugs policy

1 04 2009

The owner and several employees of the biggest coffee shop in the Netherlands are being prosecuted for membership of a criminal organisation.

coffeeshop checkpoint

The outcome of the trial can have a huge impact on soft drugs policy in the Netherlands. If Meddy Willemsen, the owner of the mega coffee shop Checkpoint in Terneuzen, is convicted of encouraging illegal cannabis cultivation and running an organised supply chain, more proprietors of coffee shops could face prosecution as gang leaders.

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United States has highest level of cocaine and cannabis use

23 07 2008

A survey of 17 countries has found that despite its punitive drug policies the United States has the highest levels of illegal cocaine and cannabis use. The study, by Louisa Degenhardt (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia) and colleagues, is based on the World Health Organization’s Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and is published in this week’s PLoS Medicine.

The authors found that 16.2% of people in the United States had used cocaine in their lifetime, a level much higher than any other country surveyed (the second highest level of cocaine use was in New Zealand, where 4.3% of people reported having used cocaine). Cannabis use was highest in the US (42.4%), followed by New Zealand (41.9%).

In the Americas, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand, alcohol had been used by the vast majority of survey participants, compared to smaller proportions in the Middle East, Africa, and China.

The survey found differences in both legal and illegal drug use among different socioeconomic groups. For example, males were more likely than females to have used all drug types; younger adults were more likely than older adults to have used all drugs examined; and higher income was related to drug use of all kinds. Marital status was found to be related to tobacco, cannabis, and cocaine use, but not alcohol use (the never married and previously married having higher odds of lifetime cocaine and cannabis use than the currently married; tobacco use is more likely in people who have been previously married while less likely among the never married).

Drug use “does not appear to be simply related to drug policy,” say the authors, “since countries with more stringent policies towards illegal drug use did not have lower levels of such drug use than countries with more liberal policies.” In the Netherlands, for example, which has more liberal policies than the US, 1.9% of people reported cocaine use and 19.8% reported cannabis use.

Data on drug use were available from 54,068 survey participants in 17 countries. The 17 countries were determined by the availability of research collaborators and on funding for the survey. Trained lay interviewers carried out face-to-face interviews (except in France where the interviews were done over the telephone) using a standardized, structured diagnostic interview for psychiatric conditions and drug use. Participants were asked if they had ever used alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, or cocaine.

The study’s main limitations are that only 17 countries were surveyed, within these countries there were different rates of participation, and it is unclear whether people accurately report their drug use when interviewed. Nevertheless, the findings present comprehensive data on the patterns of drug use from national samples representing all regions of the world.

Source: PLoS Medicine





10 things you should know about Marijuana

21 07 2008

1.

Q. What is Marijuana?

A. “Marijuana” refers to dried flowers and leaves of some strains of the cannabis hemp plant,1 which contain various quantities of the non-narcotic chemical THC in various quantities. When smoked or eaten, it produces the feeling of being “high,” which lasts a few hours. Different strains of this herb produce their own sensual effects, ranging from sedative to stimulant.

2.

Q. Who Uses Marijuana?

A. There is no simple profile of a typical marijuana user. It’s been used for thousand of years for medical, social and religious reasons as well as for relaxation. Several of United States presidents farmed hemp and some are believed to have smoked it. One out of every five Americans in all walks of life say they have tried it, and it is still very popular.

3.

Q. How Long Have People Been using Marijuana?

A. Since Biblical times. This practice was widely accepted in America, until the orchestrated campaign of the 1930s led to disinformation, public hysteria and the first American laws against using it.

4.

Q. Is Marijuana Addictive?

A. No, it is not. Most users are moderate consumers who only smoke it socially or occasionally to relax. We now know that 10% of our population have “addictive personalities,” and they are no more nor less likely to abuse cannabis than anything else. On a relative scale, marijuana is less habit-forming than either sugar or chocolate. Sociologists report a general pattern of marijuana usage that peaks in the early adult years, followed by a period of levelling off, and finally a gradual reduction in use.

5.

Q. Has Anyone Ever Died From Smoking Marijuana?

A. No; not even once. Judge Francis Young studied all the evidence in 1988 and ruled that “marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume.” The federal agency NIDA says that autopsies show 75 people per year are high on marijuana when they

die, but this does not mean marijuana is a factor in any of their deaths. This chart shows the number of deaths from selected substances in a typical year:

Tobacco 340.000-395,000

Alcohol (excluding crime/accidents) 125,000 +

Drug Overdose (prescription) 14,000-27,000

Drug Overdose (illegal) 3,800-5,200

Marijuana 0

6.

Q. Does It Lead to Hard Drugs?

A. No. Although people who abuse drugs often smoke marijuana also, the National Academy of Science reports that “Legal drugs for adults, such as alcohol and tobacco, …precede the use of all illicit drugs.” Tobacco is known as “the gateway drug.”

7.

Q. Does It Cause Violence?

A. No, just the opposite. The only crime most marijuana users commit is using marijuana. The U.S. Shafer Commission report was the most comprehensive study ever undertaken on the subject. It found that marijuana smokers “tend to be under-represented” in violence and in crime, “especially when compared to users of alcohol, amphetamines and barbiturates.” The simple fact is that marijuana does not change your basic personality. The federal government reports that over 70 million Americans have smoked it…probably including some of the nicest people you know.

8.

Q. How Does Marijuana Affect Your Health?

A. A Harvard University medical team in 1987 found that “dangerous physical reactions to marijuana are almost unknown.” All smoke is unhealthy, but marijuana is safer than tobacco, and people tend to smoke less of it. That risk can be eliminated by eating the plant instead of smoking it or it can be reduced by using water pipes to smoke smaller amounts of more potent marijuana. Moreover, cannabis is a proven medicinal herb with hundreds of modern therapeutic uses in treating ailments from stress to arthritis to glaucoma to asthma to cancer therapy, to AIDS, and more.

9.

Q. What About All Those Scary Stories and Reports?

A. Most sensational claims of health risks cite no studies or sources at all. Others rely on a handful of inconclusive or flawed reports. After 20 years study, the California Attorney General’s panel concluded in 1989 that “an objective consideration shows that marijuana is responsible for less damage to the individual and society than alcohol and cigarettes.”

10.

Q. What Should We Do?

A. American taxpayers have funded many studies on this very point, and every independent government panel on marijuana has opposed the jailing of marijuana smokers. Most have urged lawmakers to re-legalize and tax use of this herb by responsible adults, with age limits and regulations like those on alcohol and tobacco. Tell your elected leaders to free up our police and resources to combat violent crime and to honor our national pledge and committment to “liberty and justice for all” by ending marijuana prohibition.

Source: Family Council on Drug Awareness





The unique versatility of the Cannabis plant

3 07 2008

Perhaps the most interesting fact about industrial hemp, especially when compared to trees or to other fibre crops, is its amazing versatility.

Cannabis as a food source.

Cannabis can provide a cheap, renewable and abundant food source for the planet. Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritious grains on Earth, rich in high quality protein, very low in saturated fats and containing all of the essential fatty acids required by human beings.

Cannabis grows almost anywhere and its cultivation does not require farmers in developing countries to purchase pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers from agricultural corporations.

Cannabis as a medicine.

The medicinal value of cannabis is widely accepted by medical professionals all over the world. It is interesting to note that opposition to the therapeutic benefits of cannabis comes almost exclusively from law-making groups rather than those with expertise in medicine or pharmacology.

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