Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Whose reputation is at stake? The real ATM fraud

The current Skimming fraud ($23,000 dollars) pales besides millions in monthly credit/debit card 'bad debt right off' .(yeah Right!)

Card scams for that is all this is, highlights why a low level of security on four digit ATM access privileges remain necessary.
All is not what it seems, for example, the consequence of biometrics 'fingerprinting' may only serve to elevate harms (severed fingers) in the same way that secure technology protecting cars has lead to gun enabled highjackings. Why break the code when a gun to the head works.

So it is with 'brute force' at guesing 10,000 PIN's. A microchip will do that in microseconds, but why go to the trouble when you can just video the fingers, the investment is low, the dividend assured. Crime always takes the path of least resistance, cost and inconveniance.

Nearly all banks 'hash the pin' (make it a secret) from a selected list of proprietary techniques. Most choose IBM's. It is weak.

The problem with ATM cards IS where the risk is borne.

Ask yourself this question, Why is the consumer liability on a credit card $50.00 and on debit,  someone's entire liquid assets.?  The only protection is who steals your handbag/wallet is guilty of 'theft' and the punishment is, well; the criminal deterrence. The clearance rate on handbag theft is?

The cost of identity theft is reputation! For banks it's become about their reputation, a PR issue...
Predictably they announce 'new chip technology' is being trialed now.... 

First my dog, now my ID... um, where's the conversation about this?

It is time to demand that banks work to our security on our terms. The asset's 'digital rights' belong to us, the consumer.
I was many years ago, responsible for the Burrough's network surrounding the worlds first true 'online' ATM capable banking system, operated by the Southland Savings bank.
Thirty years ago it was currency independent... global and real-time.

It later became the bones of TrustBank.

After an offshore takeover (WestPak),  the code was expended citing incompatible/transition costs. At the time overtures of USA influence I could characterise as 'if you dont bank with us, your banking against us.' surrounded highly profitable interbank transactions. Have no illusions, 'drug revenue laundering ' made good fodder when arguing for USA's  transaction transparency.
In a wired 'IP' world, that suite of code, operating private  fungible transactions for 'everything that moves, anywhere'  would have made the net worth of TradeMe's intellectual property - look like pocket change. 
Pity really, Southland's unconstrained bank gave consumer real service, the control [protection] of their identity, information and reputation  you could write a cheque on.
And we didnt have a drug problem, nor chips in our dogs.
Follow the money.....

--  Blair Anderson 
[longtime] Antipodean Member of the Harvard Club based, Electronic Commerce Society of Boston. 
50 Wainoni Road.
Christchurch, New Zealand 8006

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Carbon Rationing

Blair was here..(Tony, the PM) and said nothing constructive....
just that Kyoto breaks down after 2012 and we have to get the USA onboard. (nothing about the developing countries participating or that there is even an alternative on the table)

All of which is what I told Lincoln Rotary...a year ago, and its what I told the Prime Ministers Inquiry into Climate Change 6 years ago....

Sheese, there is currently a climate change conference procedding in WGN and C&C s is not even rating!

I'm thinking it is time to start pointing the bone!

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Disintegration of Government in Afghanistan - Senlis Council


Insurgency Assessment Report Reveals Disintegration of Government Control in Pashto Belt of Southern Afghanistan

  • Anti -Government Elements including Taliban/Al Qaeda rapidly gaining control and becoming more aggressive
  • Report shows forced poppy eradication is responsible for the dramatic decrease in government control
  • Government vacuum in Pashto Belt leaves it vulnerable to takeover from increasingly powerful Pakistani Elements

KABUL – A ground breaking report released in Kabul today by The Senlis Council, an international security and development think tank, indicates that the forced eradication of farmers’ poppy crops in the Pashto belt of Afghanistan is leading to a rapid disintegration of government control and an increase in Taliban/Al-Qaeda power. The Report concludes that crop eradication and security objectives are dramatically at odds and that local confidence in government or foreign military presence has essentially disintegrated.

“This confidence will be very difficult to restore, and without it many of Afghanistan's provinces along the Pakistan border will be lost to insurgents and terrorist groups,” said Emmanuel Reinert, Executive Director of The Senlis Council.

The Council said that the British-led counter-narcotics interventions in Afghanistan since 2001 have been both ineffective and have contributed to the degeneration of relations with local communities rather than helping to “win the hearts and minds” of the very people who are needed to build the newly formed democracy.

Alternative Development responses wholly inadequate
The Council said that alternative development and alternative livelihood efforts to date and been severely mismanaged and ineffective.  The study revealed that throughout the provinces of Nanagahar, Kandahar and Helmand farmers reported wholly inadequate or completely absent Alternative development responses.

Pashto Belt Vulnerable to takeover from Pakistani Elements
The Report revealed that economic and social indicators show a dramatic increase in de facto Pakistani control in the Pashto Belt.

“Indicators point to a clear push from some elements in Pakistan into the Pashto Belt,” said Reinert. “Southern Afghanistan is extremely vulnerable to de facto Pakistani control. Only the presence of International forces is stopping this.”

The Council said that the vacuum created by the loss of confidence in the international community and control of the central government provides the opportunity for certain Pakistani elements to step in and gain control.

 The Report concludes that the international community and the Afghan Government must work urgently to regain the confidence of these rural communities if the control of these southern provinces is not to descend into the hands of insurgents and the Pakistani elements - a scenario which could ultimately lead to the country falling back into civil war.

Farmers sign declaration against poppy eradication in Nangahar Province

In a recent meeting in the Nangahar province, nearly 300 farmers signed a declaration calling on the government to stop all forced eradication immediately, stating that they desire peace, security and development in Afghanistan, that they would like to license opium for the production of medicines such as morphine and codeine during the next harvesting season and that growing opium for the production of these medicines would be Halal – or legal – under Islamic law.


Ms Jane Francis
+93 (0)75 200 1176 / +93 (0)799 843 671

Mr Almas Bawar
+93 (0)75 200 1176 / +93 (0)799 491 738

About the Senlis Council

The Senlis Council is an international security and development policy think tank, established by The Network of European Foundations. One of the key projects of the Council is the Drug Policy Advisory Forum - a programme dedicated to evaluating the effectiveness of the current global drug policy. By convening politicians, high profile academics, independent experts and Non-Governmental Organisations, The Senlis Council aims to work as the dialogue partner with senior policy-makers at the national and international levels in order to foster high-level exchanges and new ideas on bridging security and development.

For more information, visit

--  Blair Anderson Techno Junk and Grey Matter  50 Wainoni Road.    Christchurch, New Zealand 8006   ph (++643) 389 4065   cell/TXT 027 2657219   car-phone 025 2105080  Director, Educators For Sensible Drug Policy 
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I-Spy kit to bust kids on a high

Manawatu Standard: I-Spy kit to bust kids on a high:

"Parents who want to know whether their children have become involved with drugs can now get their answer with a quick puff of aerosol spray.

Their children need never know if the drug test has been carried out, because the kits are not used on them, but on things they have touched.

Drugs that can be detected by the Mistral range of sprays developed in Israel and now stocked by a Levin company, include cannabis, heroin, cocaine, methamphetmine, or P, and other amphetamines."
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Friday, March 24, 2006

Children addicted to 'super cannabis', NZHerald

The [dutch] children who are heavy users have arrested development. Somebody of 18 is mentally developed to the age of about 15. They perform badly at school, cannot sustain friendships and have problems in their relationships.

'Most of the time nobody realises that it is caused by their use of soft drugs.'
/ Dr. Romeo Ashruf, Mar 22, 2006 NZH

This [origin:UK] featured in our largest daily newspaper, although the focus is on dutch children the 'prevelence of use' is not discussed, nor the sample size, age distribution or references to same. (cf: NZ 'early entry' where in NE late and moderate use is norm). There is a paucity of evidence that validates pot = teenage angst is causual - that its the cannabis, stupid!, is what this article cleary aims to project.

The article (predictably) has no mention of the spokepersons vested interest in treatment 'delivery' or that this addiction expert is suffering from clinicians falacy. Whenever 'providers' face budget worries as they personaly try to save the world 'from addiction and serious health effects', they fail to note their adult compatriots are massive tobacco users and alcohol, both freely available and promoted, consumes lives and health budgets and leaves a legacy of social mayhem.

How succesful is this addiction specialist in treating the endless tide of youth or of 'informing' concerned parents who read this unbalanced 'health promotion' rubbish.
(full of claims that would send any informed kid crazy....)

Consider, what ever it is that the Netherlnds is doing right, or wrong, in drug policy, it certainly is to be applauded for having youth cannabis rates at about one fifth of ours. Four out of five kiwi kids have tried, 1:5 currently do, are, and will again. If arrested development is the inevitiable consequence (Dr. Ashruf did say 'cause') then they must have been all high achieving, well adjusted intellectual giants as kids.

So amotivated are these dutch teens according to Ashrufs 'fears', they are 1/5th as likely to commit suicide as there kiwi peer, a quarter as likely to father a child or get pregenant, a quarter as likely to catch a STD or have 'trouble with the law'? How do I convince skeptics that this has nothing to do with dutch drug policy?

Should we just target these, our brightest kiwi kids and tell them they are the ones at risk? But, hangon, we are already! We spend good money doing it. Money some say, might be better spent on basketballs than the myth of "The Great Brain Robbery" (7:1, Ray Kendall, Interpol)

See..... Its not the damn kids, or the drugs, it's policy, stupid!
When "Joe Kiwi" is not allowed that adult conversation, we need a climate change!

Blair Anderson,
Director, Educators For Sensible Drug Policy
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Monday, March 20, 2006

Jack Cole debates UN's Antonio Marie Costa [BBC]

As previously posted but defered due to death of the Balkan war criminal, here is an informative discussion between Antonio Marie Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime [UNODC]; Danny Kushlick of Transform Drug Policy Foundation, the United Kingdom's leading drug policy reform organization; and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Executive Director, Jack Cole on the future of UK and world drug policy. [live TV, internet and radio broadcast, BBC world service, Sunday 19th March 06. 14:00 GMT ]

Listen to a recording of the programme online here or the video here.
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Wales Police Chief wants drug gangs action

Brunstrom wants drug gangs action
The chief constable of North Wales Police has said the UK's policy of criminalising drugs has "caused an explosion in organised crime".

Richard Brunstrom told BBC Wales' Week In Week Out that making certain drugs illegal has meant control and supply has been handed over to criminal gangs.

Mr Brunstrom called for a radical review of UK drug policy.

But David Raynes from the National Drug Prevention Alliance said most people did not want drugs legalised.

'Devastatingly damaging'

Mr Brunstrom told the programme that he had no problem with having to police the current drug laws, but said a war on drugs was unwinnable.

"We have created an environment that can be exploited by organised crime, and (the criminals) are doing so," said Mr Brunstrom.

"Literally, billions of pounds a year in the UK alone is being gathered by organised crime from drug addicts, every single penny of it illegal.

"We have caused an explosion in organised crime and in gun crime and the consequences of that flow through our entire society - it has been a really devastatingly damaging policy."

He added that society stigmatising drug addicts as "lower than low" fuelled the UK's drugs problem still further.

"You are some form of sub-human, you are somebody to be avoided at all costs, to be alienated and excluded and expelled from society, shunned, despised, but that goes with the territory, if you have a criminal-based regime," he said.

If possession was no longer a criminal offence there would be no restraining influence whatsoever
David Raynes, National Drug Prevention Alliance

"Half of all stealing is caused directly to support a drugs habit.

"So there's an enormous tidal wave of damage caused not just by drugs but specifically by the fact that they are illegal. It's nonsense placed upon nonsense."

He said that a wider debate was needed to find solutions with leadership from senior people in public agencies.

"I think there is an increasing recognition that what we have been doing simply doesn't work," he added.

"And I think (there is) an increasing recognition that we have been playing into the hands of the drugs cartels, we have been making their money for them - that we have been foolish to do so."

'Sadness of situation'

Mr Brunstrom's call for drug use to be tackled differently was supported by Martin Blakeborough who runs the Kaleidoscope project helping addicts in Newport.

He told Week in Week Out: "I think the sadness of the situation at the moment is we are just looking at it as a criminal justice issue and not as a health issue."

But David Raynes from the National Drug Prevention Alliance - an organisation which campaigns for anti-drug policies - said calls to liberalise drugs laws were "utter nonsense" adding that "most of the population don't want drugs legalised".

He said: "If possession was no longer a criminal offence...there would be no restraining influence whatsoever. This infectious disease for society would spread and spread.

"We cannot do away with the criminal justice system playing some part in the overall system of the way we treat drugs because it's the criminal justice system that first persuades and gets people into treatment.

"There is nothing else that catches them."

Week In Week Out is broadcast on BBC1 Wales on Tuesday, 14 March at 2235 GMT.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Long Term effects of Life Education

Life Education Trust - Drug Search - MARIJUANA: "LONG-TERM EFFECTS

* toxic effect on brain nerve cells
* increased risk of lung cancer
* risk of chronic bronchitis
* respiratory diseases/cancer
* energy loss
* slow, confused thinking
* memory impairment
* apathy
* suppressed effects on sperm
* impaired immune system
* blood vessel blockage


* diarrhea
* cramps
* weight loss/gain
* impaired sex drive

The marijuana user may experience a physical dependence on the drug.

If marijuana use is abruptly stopped, certain withdrawal symptoms will be experienced:

* nausea
* insomnia
* irritability
* anxiety

Although these symptoms may cause discomfort for a short time, the benefits to a person who stops using the drug greatly outweigh an addiction to marijuana.

Oh yeah.... go ask the 500,000 kiwi cannabis 'offenders', they would laugh in your face! Impaired sex drive indeed!
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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Washington State: Seattle policy success?

Washington: In The News: "Seattle’s move to de-prioritize marijuana arrests is working — arrests for marijuana use are down, pot smoking is not up, and other cities are following our lead. So what’s next? How about ending the war on drugs?"
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Friday, March 17, 2006

Illicit Drug Use Starts With Cannabis

(this seminal research release is getting huge coverage elsewhere too.. but here for the record  is the definitive local release.)

Illicit Drug Use Starts With Cannabis
Tuesday 14th March, 2006

Illicit Drug Use Starts With Cannabis

Latest research from the long-running Christchurch Health and Development Study at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences examines the relationship between the use of cannabis and other illicit drugs in a sample of 1000 Christchurch born young people between the ages of 15 – 25. The research results have just been released in the international journal ‘Addiction’.

Prof. Fergusson concludes with "If, however, the association arises because using cannabis encourages young people to experiment with other illicit drugs the results could be seen as supporting the prohibition of cannabis use”.

Regrettably most of the sound bite media I have heard omits this bit, but in of itself it is not a satisfactory conclusion - Prohibition may still be the function that encourages young people' access and thus while Prof. Fergussons's research supports that there may be a causal 'gateway' relationship where prohibition serves to encourage early entry, encourage participation in and  maintain illicit trade networks,  maximizes personal risk from the set and setting and elevates social dysfunction.

Further, Fergussons conclusions suggest that cannabis policy can be reduced to a problem, solution paradigm.

His 'conclusionary' [safe and well intentioned] bet each way  is IMHO challengable. It is certainly at odds with Fergussons early suggestion (basically unreported) that incremental adjustments towards reform should be made measured and monitored.

Until we do the definitive cost benefit analysis on the prohibitory practice we cannot know which box to tick..
I am sure others will have something to add....


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Tougher Drug Laws Only Scratch The Surface - Aust.Inst.

Being 'tough on drugs' is a case of easy politics, but lazy policy.
Drug abuse will never be eliminated, however, we can do better than we are now.

Tougher Drug Laws Only Scratch The Surface:
Andrew Macintosh,
deputy director of the Australia Institute.
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Addiction Journal

Addiction Journal: "

"New research appearing in the journal Addiction supports the growing evidence that cannabis can seriously damage mental health."

Too how many?
and how does prohibition help?

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Jim Anderton no expert, Judy Turner, no credibility

Too many drugs labelled Class A, experts say

15.03.06 1.00pm

Jim Anderton, the Minister in charge of drug strategy, is asking the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs to explain comments it made about use of Class A classification.

National Radio reported today that in minutes to a recent meeting the committee was concerned there was a 'drift' to include more and more drugs as Class A -- and one member suggested capping it.

In its minutes the committee, made up of police, health experts and Customs representatives, said: 'The committee discussed their concern there was a drift towards classifying substances as Class A. One member suggested there should be no more than 10 substances in Class A at any one time otherwise it's validity was undermined.'

Penalties for Class A drugs are higher than for other categories.

Mr Anderton told National Radio the only drug that had recently been added to the Class A category was methamphetamine, or P. 'There's only been one single occasion in six years where a Class A recommendation has been made to me, I accepted it on methamphetamine it would have been a no-brainer not to, it's a dangerous drug, and I'd hardly call that a drift towards substances of the Class A schedule.'

He said putting a cap on the classification did not make sense. There were 38 drugs in the classification at the moment which all met statutory criteria.

'There's a very clear set of criteria for judging whether a drug fits the Class A category.'

United Future MP Judy Turner added: 'I think if the expert advisory committee keep discussing things in this vein they are going to lose their credibility.

'There should never be a cap on a category of drug.'

Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell suggested the committee was highlighting the importance of keeping only the most serious of drugs classified as Class A.

'We shouldn't take any knee-jerk approach to drug issues and try to put all substances higher up in the schedule. They are saying different drugs have different levels of risk.'

The committee had been meeting to discuss a review of LSD, which has become a less popular drug.

It will meet later in the month to consider a paper on LSD that compares and contrasts it to P.

Ms Turner said even if LSD was less widely used it was still as dangerous.

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"Huge amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous were found in a hemp crop harvested recently in Canterbury - 400kg of nitrogen and 100kg of phosphorous per hectare".

Gee, one local hemp activist told the Christchurch City Council this 6 years ago. With some 60 acres around the treatment plant and a multimillion dollar 'resource consent' to discharge waste water to the sea, we hobbled an opportunity to lead in waste treatment.and re-use. /Blair
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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Fergusson's cannabis doubles mental health risk

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

EFSDP:: Drug Policy Debate on BBC

The debate was cancelled the day before because they wanted to devote the time to talking about a dead guy...somebody named Melosovich or something...he was in jail and died in prison. I said, so ef'ing what? He's dead now. Let's take care of the living!

It'll be rescheduled in 2-3 wks we are told. / Mike Smithson (LEAP)

Monday, 3:00am [NZ] "Have Your Say"
Jack Cole, Danny Kushlick, Antonio Maria Costa

*********************PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE*************************

DrugSense FOCUS Alert #326 - Saturday, 11 March 2006

Can the War on Drugs Be Won?

What Do You Think of the Drug Laws in Your Country?

It's estimated that five percent of the world's adult population has used drugs over the last twelve months. The illegal trade is said to be worth as much as $400 billion per year.

This week, the Afghan government started to destroy fields of opium poppies, but a bumper harvest is still expected. Farmers say they need the income. Others say the drugs destroy lives and the profits can be used to fund terrorism.

There are signs in the U.S. that drug use is falling among teenagers, but illegal use of prescription drugs is on the increase.

What's the best way to tackle drug supply and abuse? Is drug use becoming socially acceptable? Would legalization make the problem better or worse?

These questions will be addressed on the BBC program "Have Your Say" on Sunday, 12 March at 9 am EST, 8 am CST, 7 am MST 6 am PST in North America, or 2 pm (14:00 hours) UTC/GMT wherever you are. The program actually starts at five minutes after the hour immediately after the news break.

This is sure to be a lively and informative discussion between Antonio Marie Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime; Danny Kushlick of Transform Drug Policy Foundation, the United Kingdom's leading drug policy reform organization; and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Executive Director, Jack Cole.

The show is broadcast on both radio and TV to 65 countries and over the internet. For details, see

To find out how you can listen to the program please go to Radio Schedules at

Please check your local cable/satellite TV listings to see if you may watch the show.
To get involved in the discussion before and during the show, go to the BBC website at

Please consider writing at least one short question and submitting it to the producers prior to the show. Also consider writing a follow up note after the broadcast to BBC with your perceptions of the event.

You may use this form to provide the BBC with feedback

To learn more about Law Enforcement Against Prohibition visit the LEAP website

For more information about Transform please visit their website

Thanks for your effort and support. It's not what others do it's what YOU do

Additional suggestions for increasing media coverage of drug policy reform issues can be found at our Media Activism Center:

Or contact MAP Media Activism Facilitator Steve Heath for personal tips on how to write LTEs that get printed and how to increase your local newspaper, radio and television coverage of drug policy reform.

Prepared by: Stephen Heath, MAP Media Activism Facilitator

DrugSense provides many services at no charge, but they are not free to produce. Your contributions make DrugSense and its Media Awareness Project (MAP) happen. Please donate today. Our secure Web server at accepts credit cards.

Or, mail your check or money order to:

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Irvine, CA 92604-0326.

DrugSense is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the expensive, ineffective, and destructive "War on Drugs." Donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

Blair Anderson
Techno Junk and Grey Matter

50 Wainoni Road.
Christchurch, New Zealand 8006

ph (++643) 389 4065 cell/TXT 027 2657219 car-phone 025 2105080
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Friday, March 10, 2006

NZ Could Be Using Fuel From Coal By 2012

NZ transport logistics reports:

SOLID Energy is investigating the feasibility of converting Southland lignite to transport fuels and believes the economics stack up when oil prices are above $US40 a barrel. Solid Energy CEO Don Elder says the technology is already available to convert coal to a range of transport fuels such as diesel, petrol and aviation fuel. It’s simply a matter of when it becomes economically viable for NZ to invest in a coal-to-liquids plant, which would cost upwards of $1bn to build. Elder believes the time has come, with oil prices now around $US60 a barrel and long-term forecasts for oil to go above $US100 a barrel. He says Solid Energy could have a coal-to-liquids plant operating in Southland by 2012, assuming the Govt and business gets behind such a project.

Long-Term Implications. Elder believes NZ needs to take a serious look at the long-term implications for the country of higher oil prices, given our heavy dependence on fuel for transport, industry and farming. Rather than importing increasingly expensive fuel from overseas, he believes NZ should look to become more self-sufficient. He says Solid Energy has six lignite fields in Southland, which would be ideally suited for a coal-to-liquids plant. From an economic viewpoint, it would make sense to build such a plant near the lignite source and Solid Energy already has a possible site in mind, although he can’t disclose it.

Off-Shore Success. Elder points out South Africa has been successfully converting coal to transport fuel for more than 30 years, since its isolation during the Apartheid era, and there are moves to develop coal-to-liquids projects in China, India, the US and elsewhere. He believes it’s a technology whose time has come worldwide, given escalating oil prices. He acknowledges potential opposition from environmentalists but believes this would be mainly over CO2 emissions from such a plant, rather than any adverse impact it would have on the surrounding environment. Solid Energy is looking at using carbon capture technology to stop greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, mining company L&M Group is also investigating the feasibility of turning Southland lignite into diesel and other fuels and an Aust company is also understood to be interested in a similar project.

-- ends --

Blair Anderson
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Advocates of decriminalization or legalization of marijuana are hallucinating if they think their vision would mean less law enforcement, says renowned cannabis and psychosis expert Dr. David Fergusson.

'If you think about tobacco and alcohol, there are huge regulatory behaviours and procedures that need to be put in place,' the New Zealand professor told a cannabis and mental-health seminar at Simon Fraser University Harbourside yesterday.

Fegusson said a cannabis-legalization framework would have to deal with a way to ensure product quality, advertising regulations, package warnings/labeling, under-age prohibitions like those on tobacco and alcohol, impaired driving/boating/flying standards, smoking-in-public rules, criminal-code punishments, designated growing and retail outlets and control of products entering Canada.

Increased research budgets would be needed to study long-term mental and physical effects, as well as more health-care capacity to treat psychosis or lung-damage cases, he said.

Fergusson said there is a clear connection between heavy marijuana use -- at least one joint per day -- and psychosis. 'We estimate if all cannabis use was eliminated, probably in the region of 10 per cent of psychosis cases would disappear,' he said.

Benedikt Fischer, incoming head of an illicit-drug policy and public-health unit at the University of Victoria, said the doubling of Canada's marijuana users in the past 20 years shows the current approach is 'not very effective.'
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Thursday, March 09, 2006

P battle continues in form of education

"There were no structured national educational programmes specifically dealing with P, and no compulsory national curriculum within the education system on drug education and drug-related harm."

Because, the required conversations haven't been had! Drug by Drug Ed is flawed!
P battle continues in form of education

09 March 2006
Some of the people who marched against methamphetamine last month are continuing their battle against the drug by forming a society intended to lobby for more action and education.

The society – the Methamphetamine Prevention National Education and Resource Unit –- hopes to become the leading provider of education resources on P, and to provide other services to people waging war against the drug.

Its chief executive and chairman is former Hamilton man Pat Norris, whose P-using son, Dean, drowned in the Waikato River last year after running from police. The unit, which should be up and running by June, plans a nationwide education programme, with advertisements on TV, radio and in print media.

It will also deliver presentations to schools, businesses and community gatherings. Mr Norris said that though it was a national project, they would concentrate on the upper North Island first. "While the task ahead of us is huge, it is very much one step at a time. We have to identify and approach the easiest and most accessible groups first with this prevention programme.

"Given that 90 per cent of the population is Taupo north, our efforts will concentrate on establishing our prevention initiatives first in this territory." The unit had been set up because of shortcomings in drug education, Mr Norris said.

There were no structured national educational programmes specifically dealing with P, and no compulsory national curriculum within the education system on drug education and drug-related harm.
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

RedOrbit - Health - War on Drugs: Elusive Victory, Disputed Statistics

RedOrbit - Health - War on Drugs: Elusive Victory, Disputed Statistics: "Anne Patterson, who heads the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, was asked to explain how ever-larger seizures and crop spraying programs squared with the fact that drugs were still readily available.

'If we weren't doing these programs,' she said, 'the situation would be very dramatically worse.'"

The question is, could it get worse? /Blair
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RedOrbit - Health - War on Drugs: Elusive Victory, Disputed Statistics

RedOrbit - Health - War on Drugs: Elusive Victory, Disputed Statistics: "Anne Patterson, who heads the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, was asked to explain how ever-larger seizures and crop spraying programs squared with the fact that drugs were still readily available.

'If we weren't doing these programs,' she said, 'the situation would be very dramatically worse.'"

The question is, could it get worse? /Blair
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Number of obese children expected to soar by 2010 - The Boston Globe

Researchers warn of global epidemic - expect profound impacts on everything from public healthcare to economies!

"The Western world's food industries, without even realizing it, have precipitated an epidemic with enormous health consequences" says Dr. Philip James, chairman of the International Obesity Task Force and author of an editorial in the journal warning of the trend.

''The wave of heart disease and stroke could totally swamp the public healthcare system," he said.

Dr. Brian McCrindle, a specialist on childhood obesity who is a professor with a pediatric hospital in Toronto. warned lawmakers should consider banning trans fats, and legislate against direct advertising of junk food toward children. He warned that the looming problem must be addressed.

(Oh yeah?, so Mr Health Minister, explain how your going to address this looming health promotion problem, without mentioning cannabis for fear of sending the wrong message to fat kids! see cannabis and obesity in the news here, /Blair)
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Friday, March 03, 2006

Winston goes sterile

Scoop: Questions & Answers for Oral Answer 2 March 2006:

R Doug Woolerton: Apart from the terminator gene, is the Minister aware of any other substances that effect sterility?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: The answer is yes, for it is generally accepted that smoking cannabis has an impact on driving capacity, on mental capacity, on social capacity, and on the issue of sterility, which was the primary question asked yesterday. It can be a real terminator"

ROFL / Blair
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Get real about youth crime, says Maxim

Maxim Institute - real issues - No 194:
(highlights are mine - /Blair)
Get real about youth crime

Andrew Becroft, principal judge of the Youth Court, this week drew attention to New Zealand's burgeoning youth crime rate. Judge Becroft points out that the dramatic increase in violent assaults over the past decade is at the serious end of the spectrum, and contrasts with a generally stable picture for other less violent forms of youth crime. His question demands an answer. Why, he asks, are young people becoming more violent?

(Odd: a few days ago Judge Becroft posited on youth crime, in the NZ. Herald: But cannabis and alcohol are our real problems. /Blair)

Maori Party co-leader Dr. Pita Sharples is calling on parents and communities to 'get real about youth crime', emphasising that reversing the social disconnection and isolation of many young people lies with parents and whanau 'taking responsibility' and not leaving it to government. (also see: Judge concerned at Maori youth crime /Blair) Youth crime is our problem, not Helen Clark's.

Dr. Sharples insightfully locates the capacity to care in parents and families, not government agencies. He said, 'The last thing whanau want is for the state to intervene, and take actions which can ultimately destroy the nature of whanau relationships .... Building strong communities is not the responsibility of the police, the courts, CYFS, WINZ etc. It is families who have to get real about the behaviour of their own.' He exhorts parents 'If your kids are roaming around town, round them up. If they've got weapons, then take the weapons off them. Show the kids you care, by intervening and stopping their anti-social behaviour.'

Parents love their children in a way that a police officer or a social worker never can. Ultimately, a strong, cohesive and compassionate society is built by families working together, not by expanded government programmes. Parents, families and communities are able to build character and responsibility in their young, to provide connection and belonging. Dr. Sharples is right to say 'It all comes back to whanau'. 'If any intervention is to be successful ... [it must be about] inspiring whanau to take on their responsibilities to their children'. Dr. Sharples lays down a tough and vital challenge."
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

WellTrust on P

Teens Sold Cannabis Laced With P - Havelock Nth,Hawkes Bay,New Zealand
... Welltrust, a drug rehabilitation group for 13-17-year-olds in Wellington, says teenagers have reported cannabis being laced with many things over the past few ...

Yeah Right! - It must be coming close to funding time again

"If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions.”
                      / George Orwell - “As I Please,” Tribune, 8 December 1944
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The War on Marijuana: Harm Reduction Journal

The Transformation of the war on drugs in the 1990s
Ryan S King and Marc Mauer

Harm Reduction Journal 2006, 3:6 doi:10.1186/1477-7517-3-6 - Published 9 February 2006
(abstract source:BioMedCentral)


As the 'war on drugs' enters the latter half of its third decade since being forged into the American lexicon by President Ronald Reagan, the public has grown more skeptical of the current strategy and has proven to be receptive to a broader consideration of alternatives to incarceration. This has been the case most notably with marijuana offenses, where the policy discussion has shifted in some localities to one of decriminalization or de-prioritizing law enforcement resources dedicated to pursuing possession offenses. Despite the increased profile surrounding marijuana policy in recent years, there remains a significant degree of misunderstanding regarding the current strategy, both in terms of how resources are being allocated and to what eventual gain.


Previous studies have analyzed drug offenses as a general category, but there has yet to be a single study that has focused specifically on marijuana offenders at all stages of the system. This report analyzes multiple sources of data for the period 1990-2002 from each of the critical points in the criminal justice system, from arrest through court processing and into the correctional system, to create an overall portrait of this country's strategy in dealing with marijuana use.


The study found that since 1990, the primary focus of the war on drugs has shifted to low-level marijuana offenses. During the study period, 82% of the increase in drug arrests nationally (450,000) was for marijuana offenses, and virtually all of that increase was in possession offenses. Of the nearly 700,000 arrests in 2002, 88% were for possession. Only 1 in 18 of these arrests results in a felony conviction, with the rest either being dismissed or adjudicated as a misdemeanor, meaning that a substantial amount of resources, roughly $4 billion per year for marijuana alone, is being dedicated to minor offenses.


The results of this study suggest that law enforcement resources are not being effectively allocated to offenses which are most costly to society. The financial and personnel investment in marijuana offenses, at all points in the criminal justice system, diverts funds away from other crime types, thereby representing a questionable policy choice"

Harm Reduction Journal | Abstract | 1477-7517-3-6 | The war on marijuana: The transformation of the war on drugs in the 1990s
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