Another European country is about to begin the journey to cannabis legalization. Aodharn O Riordain, Minister for the National Drugs Strategy has been a breath of fresh air since he arrived in the job. He has been up front and honest with the public over drugs. On Wednesday there was a think tank with local and regional actors within the drug and alcohol field. The general consensus was that decriminalization is a good thing for society. There is no justification for jailing people for growing or using cannabis. It is a strong medicine and most importantly for Ireland, it is a safe, healthy alternative to alcohol. We all know the Irish cliche. As important as reducing alcohol consumption in Ireland, cannabis has another important benefit. Irish people are genetically more susceptible to getting diabetes. In all the research to date, it is understood that pot plays a vital role in preventing and treating diabetes!
In one stroke of a pen, alcohol consumption goes down and health spikes up. Add in an end to the drug turf wars that has endangered society and we have to ask, why haven’t you done this sooner?? There is still a lot of work to be done. This is the first time an Irish minister has openly called for decriminalization, there will be many more meetings and discussions but Ireland is now part of a European pattern. Portugal, Holland and then Italy, Poland, Germany, England and now Ireland have all had their highest officials calling for an end of the drug war.
Irish people looking to get involved should look to join their local Norml group or Encod.org. It is time to be brave, establish cannabis social clubs in your area and begin the conversation with your local police station. Cannabis users are equal members of society and we expect our collective wishes to be understood and respected.
This is it folks, that creaking sound you hear is the dam finally breaking on cannabis prohibition in the UK. Three more police forces have publicly stated, that they don’t care about marijuana growers or consumers. Surrey, Derbyshire and Dorset have all called an end to the ridiculous war on cannabis. There are still many details to be discussed, but the message is clearly, oops, we got it way wrong on cannabis. Enjoy the moment, because after the beginning, we really need to talk about a minimum standard of hygiene and safety in the growing of the herb, but that is a problem for another day. Get yourselves ready for a very fun, confusing, historic moment in English and European history!!!
In politics, sometimes they float an idea before publicly adopting it. Police commissioner Ron Hogg was that ballon. Last week he announced that his force would not be pursuing individuals for growing and using an amazing health supplement(cannabis). How did the public react? They didn’t care. A few of the hysterical conservative types threw a bit of a fit but most had nothing to add or were supportive.
Now the fun really starts. Cannabis is a big part of English society. This has been hidden from view but the changes in the way police deal with this issue means that normal, peaceful human beings can get on with their lives without some uptight official judging them with the force of law. There are organizations and individuals that have been working hard for this moment. Norml, encod and community groups like Teeside cannabis club have taken the fight to the authorities and guess what, they have won! It is now up to the cannabis community to finish off the job. Get involved in cannabis activist groups or go along to events to show your support. The summer of 2015 will go down in English history as the year that saw an end to the nonsense of police trying stop people healing themselves with a God given herb!
We need to talk about Sweden. It has many fine points, but tolerance to cannabis is not one of them. Just ask Snoop Dogg, he was arrested there on Saturday night and forced to give a urine sample. He was in the country for a concert but after being pulled over and arrested, he has vowed never to return. The Swedes, we presume with the best of intentions have become the most conservative country in Europe when it comes to the herb. In spite of the positive science headlines on the plant, the Swedes haven’t altered their stance. Their next door neighbor Denmark has the highest rate of citizens who have tried cannabis in Europe and their society hasn’t shown any ill-effects.
Instead of having a sensible approach to cannabis, Sweden has shown itself to be very intolerant. Worse, when it comes to Snoop Dogg, it seems they racially profiled that G and pulled his car over. After providing a urine sample(which proved negative of any drugs), they let him go. In an emotional video, Snoop told the Swedish authorities to go fuck themselves.
It isn’t just Snoop that is effected by this zero tolerance to cannabis. Younger people who want to use cannabis can’t, but they can get their hands quite easily on synthetic cannabis. Spice as it is often called is lethally dangerous for your health. Have a look at some of the youtube videos of a bad spice trip. People go from happy to deranged in about six seconds. Spice is the price society pays for Swedish superiority. I am glad the Swedish government believe only it knows best, but if a Swedish person wants to smoke cannabis either for health or social reasons, then they have a perfect right to. Cannabis is much healthier for you than alcohol. It can grow brain cells and repair damage on a cellular level. The once mighty Swedes, are showing themselves up to be a little backward.
Snoop Dogg is an acquired taste, but the science on cannabis cannot be disputed. The plant has serious medicinal value. For that reason alone, Sweden needs to change its mind on the herb. Secondly, cannabis is a natural, healthy alternative to alcohol. The rest of Europe is slowly easing into the idea of legalization. Sweden needs to follow them for the safety of young smokers and the well being of sick and older people. We are at the point of no return, let’s finally let cannabis back into European society.
Israel has been a shining example of how to deal with cannabis. From the ground breaking scientific research lead by Raphael Mechoulam to the latest news that cannabis will be widely available in all pharmacies. There has been a real problem of patients getting access to the medicinal plant so today’s announcement outlining a clear path for full introduction into Israeli patient care will bring some much needed relief. The deputy minister of health, Yakov Litxman believes cannabis must be made available to all those who medically need it.
We know that cannabis increases health in all living beings so this announcement has far reaching consequences. Up until today, only a few doctors in Israel could prescribe the herb leading to accusations of the government not doing enough for those in pain. The chair of their parliament’s Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse is very supportive of this, so it is believed to pass through to law without undue time wasting or complications. Good news for Israelis and an example that Europe would want to learn as quickly as possible.
We have had a very interesting week for cannabis prohibition in the UK. First we had a bombshell. Durham police commissioner Hogg announced that cannabis was no longer a priority for his force. They would not be wasting any more time or tax payers money on small growers or people in possession of cannabis. Usually police commissioners wait until they have left their job of influence to declare, the war on drugs has failed. Commissioner Hogg is one of those rare, high minded officials with a genuine sense of duty to the community. Prohibition clearly doesn’t work and it is rotting society from the youth up. Police and government have been criminally wrong on cannabis. It is an incredible medicine and a potential game changer for the wider society.
After the positive pot headlines it was only a matter of hours before the Conservative hatchet machine went to work. A picture of Durham police commissioner Hogg with some cannabis activists was published by the far right wing Daily Mail newspaper. The headline; police commissioner works with convicted criminal Ziggy Mustafa Spliff. We got to see the Daily Mail misinform and uphold the interests of its wealthy, conservative owners. Big Pharmaceutical business interests are threatened by cannabis, so the daily mail has to attack on their behalf. Ziggy was arrested for possession of cannabis and he did intend to supply the plant to people, but there is one huge piece of information that the paper left out. He was supplying the herb to sick people and using the plant to treat his own medical condition.
Ziggy’s father died of cancer. He went through a 5 year battle with him and during that time, learnt how to produce cannabis oil which helped manage his father’s illness. After the funeral, a grieving son told his friends that he would establish a cannabis club to treat sick people. Today Teeside cannabis club is working hard to give support and information to the local community. The time and effort that they put into making their community a better place is impressive. Providing cannabis to sick people is not an easy task. Besides the police threat, at times you are giving comfort to someone who is in the last moments of life. Sharing this end journey with a stranger, risking jail, harassment and emotional pain is an act of love and compassion. Ziggy’s real name is Michael Fisher. He is 30 years old and is a modern English hero. When the dust settles on prohibition, when the whole of society understand the medical benefit of the plant, we will finally and clearly understand the reasons Ziggy was arrested. He is a care giver and thankfully he is not the only one. Brave activists are fighting against the ignorance of prohibition. The dailymail tried to do a hatchet job on the character of both commissioner Hogg and Michael Fisher, but instead they have merely highlighted a couple of our proud movement’s greatest sons.
To continue the momentum we are ending this week with news that an online petition seeking a parliament debate on cannabis has reached its target number of signatories. Over 100,000 people signed the petition in a matter of days. We must understand that our collective power is expressed when we organize and take action. Our planet and species cannot survive if we continue down the path of greedy capitalism, we must find a new balance. Support your local cannabis clubs, get involved in local activism and stand up for people like Ziggy and Ron Hogg.
If you are in the UK, here are some ways you can get involved:
UK cannabis petition
Teeside cannabis club
Uk medical cannabis petition
The Danish National Institute of Public Health has released its latest findings. School aged kids binge drink less alcohol but are replacing it with cannabis. Obviously in a perfect world, no school kids would bother with cannabis but in the real world, younger people have tried and will continue to try cannabis. It is certainly less damaging than booze, but too much of anything is going to create problems. Half of Danish school boys and a third of girls have smoked cannabis. A little over a third of all Danes have tried pot. That is a lot by European standards.
Prohibitionists will delight in this increased cannabis use. They will argue that cannabis is poisoning young, developing minds. There is a theory that early use of the plant can negatively impact your immune system. Alcohol is far more damaging however. It has been scientifically proven to lower IQs, promote aggressive, anti social behavior and is a leading cause of teen pregnancies.
Prohibitionists won’t tell you that kids have easy access to the plant because of prohibition. Drug dealers don’t have the same protection as pharmaceutical drug dealers. Not being regulated means illegal drugs easily find their way into schools. In Colorado, teens are less likely to use cannabis because there is more control on the supply side. If we want to deal with cannabis as adults, then regulate the production and supply of the herb.