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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Morocco no longer top cannabis growers –UN

"Morocco has lost its position as the world’s top cannabis grower to Afghanistan", the head of the UN anti-drugs agency said Thursday.
The Tide Online: • Saturday, Mar 29, 2008

Entirely predictable... no accounting the mess and mayhem [see:farmers in the world's top hashish producer say they face destitution.] and as assuredly as Morocco's anti-cannabis policy professes not to, the obscene profits from the Afghan illicit drug crop is funding terrorism.

The policy is the logical equivalent of bombing our own cities!

Blair Anderson

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

UK govt muddle headed on pot, delusions contagious!

UK government to warn about cannabis mental illness danger (predicated on a flawed interpretation, but lets not allow facts to get in the way of a good story/Blair)
Posted By StatGuy On 28 March 2008 @ 7:07 pm In Health & Medical, Life issues, UK politics & government, United Kingdom

The British Home Office has unexpectedly reversed itself and [1] agreed to toughen its message regarding cannabis.  The move follows an accumulation of scientific evidence suggesting a causal link between cannabis use and such mental problems as depression, schizophrenia, and suicide.

Youngsters are to be given a stronger warning on the dangers of cannabis following a U-turn in the Home Office.

It is to scrap guidance that cannabis should be avoided by those who already suffer mental health problems.

Instead, young people will be warned that "anyone who uses cannabis could be doing so at a risk to their mental health".

According to [2] recent studies, regular cannabis users are up to six times more likely to develop schizophrenia.  In 2006, almost 23,000 people in Britain [3] received treatment for addiction to cannabis; 9,600 were under 18.

h/t: [4] Christian Institute and [5] Anglican Mainstream

Previous related posts:

Article printed from Magic Statistics:

URL to article:

URLs in this post:
[1] agreed to toughen its message regarding cannabis:

[2] recent studies:
[3] received treatment:
[4] Christian Institute:
[5] Anglican Mainstream:

[6] Cannabis smoke more toxic than tobacco:
[7] Dramatic increase in mental illness among cannabis users:
[8] Marijuana triggers schizophrenic and psychotic episodes:

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Drug tests make no sense - The Age

"Importing a school-based, drug-testing policy that is not backed up by any evidence that it works, and may even be harmful, defies common sense." - Gino Vumbaca is executive director of the Australian National Council on Drugs.

Drug tests make no sense - Opinion -

Blair Anderson

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To Pot or Not is a choice.

To Pot or Not is a choice.

When they banned cannabis it could not have become more prevalent, they may as well have made it compulsory.

The question of ‘to pot or not’ is not about the harm subjective or otherwise from its consumption, rather the net harm that its prohibition has done that is the ‘crime’ rendered on all of us, imbibers or not. Media is complicit in the avoidance of what is at the heart of the matter.


The entire drug war is predicated on a narc culture that has its roots manifest in pot 'possession' prohibition. How bad does it get is the subject of an excellent 104 minute documentary.


Blair Anderson


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Drug Classification "Hot Topic"

TX goes to the Ashburton Guardian for at least getting the story pretty much straight.

Blair Anderson

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Flip-side to ban outlined

Flip-side to ban outlined

Drug law crusader Blair Anderson's approach to lessening the harm of drugs, runs contrary to the mainstream.

Local News - The Timaru Herald - Printable

On Thursday afternoon a brief soap-box sermon in Stafford Street espoused less focus on drug prohibition and more on education and harm minimisation.

Putting benzylpiperazine (BZP) party pills in the same category as marijuana was the way to create a drug problem, he said.

The former Christchurch mayoral candidate is on a soap-box tour of the South Island, but Timaru citizens did not linger to get his message; they went heads-down about their business.

Mr Anderson's campaign arose after party pill laws were to be in a new Class D, a controlled and legally regulated drug, this option was not taken.

He said this R18 approach was the best way to minimise harm.

Banning BZP would create more problems with fewer safety controls, greater illicit profits, more health issues and markets for dangerous alternatives.

He said cannabis prohibition in a country which smokes as much weed per capita as Jamaica was waste of time and money.

But even the offer of free copies of the latest NORMAL magazine with an article on drug laws was not taken up.

In fact the magazine offer increased pedestrians walking speed.

"BZP was not a good drug, but then nor is alcohol, but until we have the required conversation and civil society addresses itself to this issue we will continue to talk round in circles and fix diddly."

Mr Anderson, a self-employed computer specialist, has taken it on himself to raise the issue of drug law because the Law Commission is to look at it.

"The first thing to understand is this methamphetamine, alcohol and BZP prevalence in New Zealand is a product of poor drug policy. This is true at both ends of the harms scale and for all points in between. We are, in our legislative response to drugs, our own worst enemy."

Mr Anderson accepts his views have little public support and politicians see a clear line with drugs and crime as most popular.

When the Misuse of Drugs (Classification of BZP) Amendment Act was passed last week it was supported 109 to 11. However, the Green, Maori and Act parties opposed it.

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American Drug War: The Last White Hope (C&I / SKY TV)

Managed to catch "American Drug War: The Last White Hope" on SKY. I had just returned from attending the world premier of "Brigadier", the story behind the honouring of his name in James Hargest High School for which I was attending the fiftieth jubilee. Southland's Prohibition of alcohol featured in 'Brigadier', so to did Invercargill Licencing Trust's Community 'post prohibition' investment in sport and cultural facilities, a prime example of 'drug related harm reduction' in action.

The American Drug War is a documentary that deserves to be on mainstream TV. One cannot study modern contemporary politics without seeing understanding policy and drug politics changed human history.

NZ's Drug War has not been documented, though much can be drawn from New Zealand's adoption of the UN Conventions and Protocols. Fortunately, NZ doesn't have a cocaine or heroin problem. The absence of 'drug trafficking spillage into our markets' gave us the cannabis methamphetamine enigma we have now. The tougher policy on meth leads to more cannabis detected fools conservatives into thinking 'problem solved' when in reality the inverse relationship; tougher on cannabis leads to more meth, is the outcome. (cf: Black Hole Economics, Pokalo and Ice, Professor James Roumasset, Economics Chair, Hawaii University)

The American Drug War features three LEAP speakers, Judge James Gray, DEA agent Cele Castillio, Governor Gary Johnson. Also featured is reform colleague and Biology Chair, Dr Bob Melamede (Colorado).

It is a recommended viewing... 5 stars!

Sunday March 23

The War on Drugs has become the longest and most costly war in American history. Inspired by the death of four family members from legal drugs Texas filmmaker Kevin Booth sets out to discover why the Drug War has become such a big failure. Three and a half years in the making, the documentary follows gang members, former DEA agents, CIA officers, narcotics officers, judges, politicians, prisoners and celebrities. The film centers on Freeway Ricky Ross the man many accuse for starting the Crack epidemic, who after being arrested discovered that his cocaine source had been working for the CIA. The documentary shows how money, power and greed have corrupted not just drug pushers and dope fiends, but an entire government.

Blair Anderson

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Review of Misuse of Drugs Act 1975

Review of Misuse of Drugs Act 1975

The Commission will review the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and make proposals for a new legislative regime consistent with New Zealand’s international obligations concerning illegal and other drugs.

Published 19 Mar 2008

Blair Anderson

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lawmakers consider marijuana legalization

BOSTON — The Legislature's Joint Committee on the Judiciary, which includes three members of the Lynn delegation, meets today for a hearing on whether to decriminalize marijuana.

(and all this is occuring while the Federal Law Court confronts constitutional issues surrounding gun law... hasnt anyone told them IT's the drug policy stupid! - see Boston Economics Professor Jeff Miron on Violence Guns and Drugs)

The Legislature is constitutionally required to conduct a hearing on the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy (CSMP) initiative that creates a civil penalty and fine system for individuals possessing up to an ounce of marijuana.

The initiative, House bill No. 4468, is titled "An Act Establishing a Sensible Marijuana Policy for the Commonwealth."

According to Whitney A. Taylor, the CSMP campaign manager, "by creating a civil penalty system for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, the initiative will greatly reduce the human and financial costs of current laws. Massachusetts' taxpayers spend $29.5 million a year just to arrest and book these offenders. Even more costly is the creation of a criminal record for the approximately 7,500 offenders arrested every year.

Criminal records are entered into the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) database and result in lifelong punishment, potentially making an individual ineligible for student loans, creating barriers to employment, and barring individuals from many housing opportunities, Taylor said.

Sen. Thomas McGee, and Representatives Robert Fennell and Steve Walsh, all Lynn Democrats, are members of the joint committee.

The 1 p.m. hearing at the State House marks the third hurdle in the ballot initiative process: The legislature has until May 6 to pass the initiative and send it to the governor, draft its own version to place on the ballot, or take no action and allow CSMP to continue the initiative process, Taylor said.

The CSMP has lined up several panelists for the hearing to offer support for the initiative. Among them are Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-2nd Middlesex), sponsor of original legislation upon which the CSMP initiative is based; Thomas Kiley of the law firm Cosgrove, Eisenberg & Kiley, former Massachusetts deputy attorney general and the lawyer who drafted the CSMP initiative; Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard University economics professor and author of "The Effect of Marijuana Decriminalization on the Budgets of Massachusetts Governments" and Jack Cole from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, former undercover narcotics officer and an original signer of the initiative.

Lawmakers consider marijuana legalization / By David Liscio/The Daily Item

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Most Scouts favour sex before marriage.

"More than 80 per cent of those questioned said they were happy to get drunk and almost half said they would smoke marijuana if offered."

"The problem is their everyday lives. At school and in their free time, they behave just like their friends, and not just sexually. A significant part has little confidence in politicians, and does not respect the rules of society." - Nine in 10 Scouts favour sex before marriage - Telegraph

Is it unsurprising then that we live in a collective if deluded perception of drugs, boy racers and sensible sentencing.? / Blair

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Monday, March 17, 2008

And this fixes diddly, Whats Next Jim?

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

BZP'ing into the wind

BZP had been usefully classified as Class D, an innovation in and of itself. It is a 'controlled and legally regulated' extension to the worldwide concept of ABC 'criminal classification'.  When Jim Anderton announced this Class-D initiative on "Good Friday" 2004  it was seen as a pragmatic response and while United Future subsequently regaled at the notion that it would be perfect place to 're-regulate' Cannabis (as heard at select committee) its principle purpose when proposed was to provide a 'better solution' to the vexing question of where Alcohol and Tobacco should fit in the National Drug Policy framework.   

For a nation, indeed the only western democracy in the world  behoving to "thou shalt not talk about cannabis in this term of parliament" - United Future broke its own rules and moved to ensure that drugs could only be put UP in class, not down. So much for evidence, a goal of the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) when the Minister of Health Hon Annette King, said "it should take politics out  of drug policy". When the EACD was 'stacked' with prohibition stakeholders like Customs the minority 'drug practitioners' from the health and harm reduction sector were marginalised. 

No good will come of any of this until the Law Commission has had its unfettered inquiry into drug policy.  None of which ever gets a mention in the media. 

BZP is not a good drug but then nor is alcohol but until we have the required conversation and civil society addresses itself to this issue  we will continue to talk round in circles and fix diddly. 

The first thing to understand is this. Methamphetamine,  Alcohol and BZP prevalence in New Zealand is a PRODUCT of poor drug policy.  This is true at both ends of the harms scale and for all points in between. We are, in our legislative response to drugs, our own worst enemy.

Blair Anderson  ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'
50 Wainoni Road, Linwood East.
Christchurch, NZ
ph (643) 389 4065   cell 027 265 7219
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Friday, March 14, 2008

Psst! Wanna volunteer for some cannabis research? Real vacancies.

Due to such research being 'officially frowned upon' and of no medical use, you need to Click Here 
Note the covert nature of lead research participants.
This is just a partial list of trials in progress.
Much more is known about the interdiciplinary 'cannabinoids'. 
We can expect ' a continuing need for more research'  to be conducted.
Bring it on!
Blair Anderson  ‹(•¿•)›
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Public Health Update for Drug Industry II


Public health update

The Health Committee has begun to hear oral submissions on the Public Health Bill, with the opportunity for written submissions closing last week. The Bill seeks to update the existing health law, and in its current form will allow regulations to be made to place controls on certain activities, including "activities relating to goods and services with the potential to pose risks to public health." The Bill would extend such provisions to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity, with some fearing that it would allow regulations to be created that might limit the sale or advertising of unhealthy foods or where they can be placed within supermarkets.

The Health Committee is expected to report back to Parliament on the Bill by 10 June 2008.

Hat tip to MAXIM for warning the homegrower, the tinny houses, the head shops and mobile p-labs.
But where is Rothmans and Seagrams?

Is Burger King going to support BMI size doors, and will the 'ultra-sound profiling' security flip "and is that with salad, health warning and google advt.?"
Surely these are the technical solutions being sought here....

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'
ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Curing Addiction With Cannabis Medicines

Curing Addiction With Cannabis Medicines

Smokers trying to quit in the future could do it with the help of cannabis based medicines, according to research from The University of Nottingham.

Teams of pharmacologists, studying the cannabis-like compounds which exist naturally in our bodies (endocannabinoids), are exploring the potential for medical treatment. This includes treating conditions as diverse as obesity, diabetes, depression and addiction to substances like nicotine.

Scientists have known about endocannabinoids since the mid-1990s. This led to an explosion in the number of researchers looking into the future medical uses of cannabinoids and cannabis compounds.

Dr Steve Alexander, Associate Professor in the School of Biomedical Sciences, focused on a number of these projects in editing the first themed podcast for the British Journal of Pharmacology.

Dr Alexander said: "It is clear that there is very realistic potential for cannabinoids as medicines. Scientists are looking at a range of possible applications."

One of these researchers is Professor David Kendall, a cellular pharmacologist at the University: "The brain is full of cannabinoid receptors. And so, not surprisingly with diseases like depression and anxiety, there's a great deal of interest in exploiting these receptors and in doing so, developing anti-depressant compounds."

Addiction is a real target researchers like Professor Kendall believe the endocannabinoids could be a crucial link to addictive behaviour: "We know that the endocannabinoid system is intimately involved in reward pathways and drug seeking behaviour. So this tends to indicate that that if the link involving endocannabinoids and the reward pathway, using inhibitors, can be interrupted, it could turn down the drive to seek addictive agents like nicotine."

Because cannabinoids have also been shown to bring down blood pressure, it is hoped that related compounds can be used in patients with conditions like hypertension.

Dr Michael Randall, a cardiovascular pharmacologist at the University has looked at how endocannabinoids cause blood vessels to relax. "This could have many implications," Dr Randall said. "The endocannabinoids appear to lower blood pressure under certain conditions; states of shock for example. If the endocannabinoids are of physiological importance, this could have real therapeutic possibilities."

"In terms of getting better medicines the endocannabinoid system has a lot to offer," said Dr Alexander. "The range of cannabis-related medicines is currently limited, but by increasing our knowledge in this area we can increase our stock."

University Park

Article URL:

Main News Category: Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs

Also Appears In: Public Health, Smoking / Quit Smoking,

Blair Anderson

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What makes abdominal fat so lethal? What system in the body ‘encourages’ fat deposits in the abdominal area?

"What makes abdominal fat so lethal? What system in the body ‘encourages’ fat deposits in the abdominal area?



Endocannabinoid System: Its role in cardiometabolic risks

The recent discovery of the Endocannabinoid (EC) System, a physiological system of cannabinoid receptors and corresponding chemical messengers or endocannabinoids, has accelerated research to uncover their physiological roles in regulating body weight, glucose and lipid metabolism.

The modern history of cannabinoid pharmacology began in 1964, when tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was isolated.

Tetrahydrocannabinol is an exogenous cannabinoid and the active component in marijuana. It is the compound responsible for the effects of marijuana.

The finding paved way to our understanding of the endocannabinoid system. In 1991, the first human cannabinoid receptor was cloned and this led to further interesting discoveries of the endocannabinoid system.

In general, the endocannabinoid system is involved in many different physiological functions, many of which relate to stress-recovery systems and to the maintenance of homeostatic balance.

Among other functions, the endocannabinoid system is involved in the modulation of pain, regulation of motor activity, and the control of certain phases of memory processing.

In addition, the endocannabinoid system is involved in modulating immune and inflammatory responses. It also influences the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

The most extensively studied role of the endocannabinoid system is its role in regulat ing energy and fat metabolism.

The endocannabinoid system is a natural endogenous physiologic system believed to play an important role in cardiometabolic risk, in that increased activity in this system is thought to notably affect the accumulation of fat, especially intra-abdominal fat.

The endocannabinoid system, particularly in the brain, is thought to be “turned off” or relatively silent under normal conditions and believed to become activated under certain circumstances.

In the “on” mode, this system assists in enabling relaxation, reducing pain and anxiety, and initiating sedation or a slowing of metabolism. The system acts in different pathways, centrally and peripherally, to maintain a balance in our metabolic processes.

What is important is that through chronic transient activation, the endocannabinoid system appears to stimulate appetite, creating a metabolic imbalance and resulting in much pathology.

Recent published studies show that diabetics and obese human subjects show higher level of endocannabinoid activity (activity is switched “on”).

How can over-activity of the endocannabinoid system increase an individuals’ cardiometabolic risks?

Let us look closer at sites where endocannabinoid system is active. Currently we know that the endocannabinoid system has activity centrally; in the brain and peripherally; in the liver, fat cells (adipose tissues), skeletal muscle, gastrointestinal tract.

The cannabinoid receptors are found extensively in the brain, especially in the nucleus acumbens region, which is believed to be important in motivational processes that mediate the incentive value of food.

Studies indicate that endocannabinoid may play a very specific role in food intake.

In the central nervous system, CB1 receptors are necessary to kick-start food intake after a short period of food deprivation, and when activated, they also preferentially stimulate the appetite.

Therefore an overactive endocannabinoid system in the brain can lead to an increase appetite and food intake; which will lead to increase in body weight and fat accumulation.

At the peripheral level, the activation of the CB1 receptors have been shown to stimulate lipogenesis (lipid/fat formation) in adipocytes, which results in fat accumulation and modulation of the expression of adiponectin, a hormone that regulates the metabolism of lipids and glucose.

In the liver cells, stimulation of the cannabinoid system increases formation of fatty acids.

Another observation noted is that cannabinoids activity can lead to increase storage of fat in the hepatocytes, leading to hepatic steatosis and fatty liver.

Through a dual central and peripheral mechanism of action, the endocannabinoid system helps to regulate food intake, and ultimately energy storage and utilisation as well as fat accumulation. These conditions, in turn, create an increased cardiometabolic risk, which can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Physiologically, the endocannabinoid system is activated (switched “on”) in response to stressful stimuli to help re-establish the normal steady state of the affected cells or tissues.

Normally, the effects of the endocannabinoid system activation are short-lasting, confined to those cells or tissues that have been subjected to stress or damage, and normally end once the organism has recovered from a transient “unbalanced” condition.

Alas, the combination of a sedentary lifestyle and a calorie-dense diet, which is typical of our modern way of living, can disrupt the energy balance system, leading to obesity and chronic over-stimulation of the endocannabinoid system (permanently switched “on”).

Targeting the Endocannabinoid system

Although there are still gaps in our knowledge of this system, what we currently know is very encouraging; The endocannabinoid system is an endogenous and physiological system that plays a key role in the regulation of food intake and fat accumulation, as well as glucose and lipid metabolism and its overactivity leads to pathological consequences of the modern society like obesity and increase cardiometabolic risks.

It is normally inactive (switched “off”) but is over-activated (permanently switched “on”) in the obese and diabetic subjects. The endocannabinoid system can be blocked both centrally and peripherally in the adipose tissue to help normalise an over-activated endocannabinoid system.

Targeting the endocannabinoid system represents a new and exciting approach for the reduction of cardiometabolic risks. Next week: Drug that targets the Endocannabinoid System

This article is courtesy of sanofi-aventis.

Blair Anderson
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Monday, March 10, 2008

Prohibition is deviancy amplifying behavior. LTE, Scotland on Sunday

The Editor, Scotland on Sunday,
108 Holyrood Road,
Edinburgh, EH8 8AS,

It is policy irony that zero tollerance of a consensual 'sin' delivers exactly what it set out to prevent and its stakeholders call this the triumph of good over evil. Wherever the rules are the same, the outcomes (or insert expletive of choice) are the same. Prohibition is just deviancy amplifying behavior.

I have observed this deficiency for thirty years or more. The imperfection of prohibition and its health, security, economic, racial, sexist and ageist failings disgrace us all.

All the more so that this is mostly about pot, a herb which the 'harms are largely overstated' and called 'the safest therapeutic known to man'.

I, as a friend of the court have been witness to and aggrieved by Police 'testilying' to judges about the hazards of small time bonafide medical users grow ops. Police then lie to the public - linking pot to violence, organised crime and guns. They declare what they are doing is a net good, often inferring to a receptive, if deluded public it should be grateful and tolerant of any social injustice done to those 'druggie types'. The law is the law and intolerance comes with the territory.

Prohibition is saving us from whom?

New Zealand's "Law Commission" has the efficacy of our dominions drug policy and international obligations up for green-fields review. This is international drug history in the making. For the first time in about a hundred years our global drug conventions and covenants are being tested at law and effect. []

While God knows the world needs a New Holland, such an appraisal chaired by constitutional legal eagle, former Prime Minister and now Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer will in and of itself document the legacy of failure. Unlike at Vienna, UN Special Assembly or Office of Drug Control [UNASS/UNODC] the opportunity for the rest of the world to contribute is absolutely open. This is the international opportunity the 2002 Canadian Senate Inquiry saw as necessary to resolve the tensions.

New Zealand 'banned the bomb' when no one else could and honoured suffrage when no one else would. It punches above its weight in social welfare, peace policy and civil advocacy. (A legacy of never running away from a fight might stand it in good stead too.)

NZ recently hosted at Wellington's Te Papa ["Our Place"] the final of 18 global 'pre-Vienna' Beyond 2008 NGO meetings. It was notable that the Ministry's of JUSTICE and HEALTH were seen talking together AND in a forum where the Law Commission heard emphaticaly that 'the whole world is watching'. NGO spokespeople including visiting UK Professor David Nutt acknowledged NZ's history, leadership and success in harm minimisation needle exchange [NEP's], youth court diversion and the innovative Class D 'legally regulated' drug classification.

Unlike the UN, the Law Commission is not reviewing where we have come, rather where we should be going. Uniquely, in the spirit of all voices at the table the Law Commission process allows the whole world to partake. To be a drug peace maker one needs to submit to be empowered. Restoration of civil society and its social capital on a global scale is rarely accomplished silently or alone but we now have a beginning..
Defacto reform falls way short of the required standard. Mediocre discussion equates to mediocre policy and unresolved tensions.

Again: []

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›
50 Wainoni Road, Christchurch, NZ 8061
ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

Social Ecologist 'at large'

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Commentary on the 2008 drug strategy

Commentary on the 2008 drug strategy - Drugs: protecting families and communities

The current political climate on drugs is moralistic, at least partly because the Conservatives have adopted a stern stance in favour of abstinence and the reclassification of cannabis. This has conditioned the government's response in the new drug strategy to the extent of influencing its style. There are occasional whiffs of moral judgement, and the gestures to show that this government is tough on crime are given a more prominent position at the outset of the strategy than the proportion of resources allocated to them would warrant.

You could almost be forgiven for thinking that this was New Zealand. It was a UK drug policy review

Blair Anderson  ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065   cell 027 265 7219
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Friday, March 07, 2008

Supreme Court rules in favour of cannabis grower

We were waiting for this ruling for a long time. As it is now, many Czechs are using cannabis for medicinal purposes and they have to grow it illegally.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Cannabis dealer can keep farm

An Orinoco man convicted of drug dealing and money laundering has won his fight to keep his farm, which is potentially worth $1.5 million, but has been ordered to pay $200,000 to the Crown instead.

The Crown had applied for the 107ha property in Thorpe-Orinoco Rd to be forfeited after wood merchant Graham Donald Sturgeon, 50, was found guilty by a jury in July 2005 of 13 charges. These involved cultivating cannabis at the property between 1997 and 2002, selling cannabis to people over 18, possessing cannabis for supply, money laundering and possessing offensive weapons.
Sturgeon, a former Nelson Bays representative rugby player, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment in September 2005, and is now out of jail.

In a written decision, Judge David McKegg dismissed the solicitor-general's application, saying forfeiting Sturgeon's property would cause undue hardship to him, his partner, and to Sturgeon's father, who planned to eventually move to the farm with his wife so they could have some oversight because of physical disability.

``The impact on Mr Sturgeon at 50 years of age of being deprived of his home, his future livelihood and his only asset is, in my view, distinctly out of the ordinary,'' Judge McKegg said.

``In submissions, it is put to me that such an order could force a man who is capable of supporting himself and his wife into a state dependence circumstance and would be a disruption to the entire family.''

Sturgeon bought the property which includes a two-bedroom home and farm buildings in 1991 for $145,000, and worked hard to develop it. 4MORE SEE Local News - The Nelson Mail - Printable

[see also 'five years for his clandestine trade' September 3rd 2005]

While people were looking up to Orinoco man Graham Donald Sturgeon as an example to youth and a "pillar of the community", the former leading sportsman was secretly growing and dealing in drugs. Now, he's been sent to prison for five years for his clandestine trade.
Sturgeon, 47, a wood merchant, was sentenced in the Nelson District Court on Thursday on 13 charges a jury found him guilty of in July. They were three counts of cultivating cannabis, two of selling cannabis, a charge of possessing cannabis for sale, two charges of possessing offensive weapons - two loaded semi-automatic rifles - and five counts of money laundering. Judge David McKegg sentenced Sturgeon to five years' prison and ordered that $20,000 found by police in a freezer at his Orinoco home be forfeited, Full Forfeit....

This man would otherwise be conducting his farming practices as per normal if it wasn't for prohibition.

It is a myth that legalised cannabis would encourage dealers to move onto other criminal activities.

Indeed... this is but one more arrest statistic that speaks of prohibitions failure. The perverse claims by Police 'forfeiture' by over over stating the values 'only created by prohibition' such vociferous assertions bring the Police into disrepute. There are 500,000 cannabis consumers and many other libertarian minded folk who in all likely hood say Sturgeon's a hero. He faces the same kind of risks that confronted Tony Stanlake (hence the precautionary weapons, not required at bottle stores or dairy's selling cigarettes) so see this, amongst many other things about this case for the absurdity it is.

Besides, how can property be guilty of anything?

No wonder the Judge saw the bigger picture. However, it is still double jeopardy and that doesn't make it right.

Blair Anderson

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Deadline In Merck Vioxx Settlement (

A key deadline in Merck & Co.'s (MRK) proposed $4.85 billion settlement of Vioxx product liability litigation comes Saturday, Mar. 8. If at least 85% of certain groups of plaintiffs - such as those who alleged Vioxx caused heart attacks - enroll in the settlement by then, Merck is expected to begin the process of making payments. Nearly 60,000 claims have been filed against Merck over Vioxx, the pain drug it pulled from the market in 2004 after a study linked it to higher risk of heart attack and stroke. The proposed settlement was announced in November. (

see also Killer VIOXX's Restorative Justice and  Big Pharma and Grannies Special Tea
Blair Anderson  ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065   cell 027 265 7219
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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Prenatal Marijuana Exposure

Marijuana: Harmless?

The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has just published a new study on the effects of prenatal exposure to marijuana. According to the study:

"There was a significant nonlinear relationship between marijuana exposure and child intelligence. Heavy marijuana use (one or more cigarettes per day) during the first trimester was associated with lower verbal reasoning scores on the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. Heavy use during the second trimester predicted deficits in the composite, short-term memory, and quantitative scores. Third-trimester heavy use was negatively associated with the quantitative score. Other significant predictors of intelligence included maternal IQ, home environment, and social support. These findings indicate that prenatal marijuana exposure has a significant effect on school-age intellectual development." [Goldschmidt L, Richardson GA, Willford J, Day NL.]

Click here to read the abstract, which includes a description of the study's methodology

The smoking of cannabis amongst woman who are pregnant is a function of the harms of prohibition, whereas effective and enable drug education as a societal norm can be harm reducing/minimising. (from evidence as presented to the New Zealand Health Select Cmte. )

Consider: "The female marijuana smoker was a rarity and the few women who engaged in smoking were considered base and undignified and often held in contempt by both men and women. Instead, women prepared marijuana for themselves and their families in the form of teas and tonics. "

Discussion: "Although no positive or negative neurobehavioral effects of prenatal exposure were found at 3 days of life using the Brazelton examination, there were significant differences between the exposed and nonexposed neonates at the end of the first month. Comparing the two groups, the neonates of mothers who used marijuana showed better physiological stability at 1 month and required less examiner facilitation to reach an organized state and become available for social stimulation. The results of the comparison of neonates of the heavy-marijuana-using mothers and those of the nonusing mothers were even more striking. The heavily exposed neonates were more socially responsive and were more autonomically stable at 30 days than their matched counterparts. The quality of their alertness was higher; their motor and autonomic systems were more robust; they were less irritable; they were less likely to demonstrate any imbalance of tone; they needed less examiner facilitation to become organized; they had better self-regulation; and were judged to be more rewarding for caregivers than the neonates of nonusing mothers at 1 month of age. "


"Conventional wisdom would suggest that mothers who are long-term marijuana users are less likely to create optimal caregiving environments for their neonates. In this area of rural Jamaica, however, where marijuana is culturally integrated, and where heavy use of the substance by women is associated with a higher level of education and greater financial independence, it seems that roots daughters have the capacity to create a postnatal environment that is supportive of neonatal development."

cite: Prenatal Marijuana Exposure and Neonatal Outcomes in Jamaica: An Ethnographic Study
Melanie C. Dreher, PhD; Kevin Nugent, PhD; and Rebekah Hudgins, MA

This suggests that the methodology of consumption and set and setting of cannabis use is a determinate in neonate outcomes. Goldschmidt's evidence is no argument for prohibition. /Blair
Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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Cliff Thornton will tour four countries while in Europe

The new version of the programme of the Drug Peace Days that are organised by ENCOD on 7, 8 and 9 March in Vienna is now available on

The days will include a Drug Peace March on 7 March to the Vienna International Centre, seat of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, where from Monday 10 March onwards, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs will have its 51. annual meeting. In this meeting, the CND will start its "year of reflection" on the results of the 10 global strategy to "significantly reduce the supply and demand for illicit drugs", agreed upon in 1998 in New York. We intend to give them something to reflect about.

In the Conference that will be held in Vienna University on 8 & 9 March prominent US drug policy reformers such as Clifford Thornton, and Peter Webster will intervene, next to drug policy experts and activists from Europe and South America.. Cliff Thornton will also journey to Germany, France and Italy for presentations with elected Green Party officials and conferences in those countries.
The programme FLARE and all its participants 200 young people coming from more than twenty different countries, more than 40 organizations) will gather again for the third time in Italy, in the city of Bari, from 11 to 16 of March 2008, just after the Vienna meeting! I would really like to invite Mr Thorntorn will be in the city of Bari (southerm Italy) on March 12th to hold a seminar upon alternative solution to drug trafficking.

For those of you who wish to make the trip to Vienna, you can find information on hotel accomodation on our website. If you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes,
Joep Oomen
Lange Lozanastraat 14 – 2018 Antwerpen - Belgium
Tel. + 32 (0)3 293 0886 – Mob. + 32 (0)495 122644
E-mail: <> /

PO Box 1234
860 657 8438
Hartford, CT 06143


Working to end race and class drug war injustice, Efficacy is a non profit 501 (c) 3 organization founded in 1997. Your gifts and donations are tax deductible

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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