We attended Durham City Cannabis club’s final Protestival event of the year at Hemp Gardens in Durham at the weekend.
This was Durham City Cannabis Club’s fifth such solo event this year. These events have been steadily increasing in popularity and attendance, and every event boasts a wide variety of stalls, speakers and musicians from around the UK.
You can read about the clubs previous events, all of which have been covered here in ISMOKE Magazine
The Autumn Session was arranged to satisfy the overwhelming calls from the public to host one more final event this year.
Durham City Cannabis Club are hoping to be able to secure a private site to host music nights and free party events throughout the year in tandem with their protestival events in 2018 and beyond. They’ve already approached several local sound systems and musicians who’re all excited to work together to arrange these joint events.
This event, like its predecessors, attracted many companies and stalls from around the country including East London head shop, Sensi Snacks, White Rhino clothing and Pops Edibles
There were, unfortunately, several dropouts at this event, prompting the organisers to announce changes to the way the second series of events will run next year.
The new system will seek to ensure there is no excessive profiteering, price gouging, Under 18’s attending, or other unauthorised and unacceptable activity taking place at their events, all of which could jeopardise the future of the club, the events and even the organiser’s freedom.
This year saw the launch of DCC hosting these kinds of events, and it’s great to say that they’ve been rather well received by the neighbouring residents of Hemp Gardens, the residents of Durham, The attendees and of course the wider canna-community.
The cloudy sky above and looming weather did little to dampen the anticipation and excitement of the gathered crowd.
Fortunately, the rain held off until the end of the day, which for a city in the North East of England in October is quite an accomplishment!
Despite the overcast skies and eventual downpour the event still managed to easily attract over 250 guests throughout the day.
The raffle was drawn by the DCCC chairman and Beat fox in the centre of Hemp Gardens giving away goodies kindly provided by Seedsman, Junkyard Seed emporium, Freedom Seeds, Baked Buddha, Royal Queen Seeds, Sensi Snacks, Pops Edibles, White Rhino and many more.
A limited few guests also got the awesome pleasure of Beat Fox performing after the event at a little smoke out at the club chairman’s house.
There were also other representatives from 420 friendly media including MMJ and Smokers Guide to help maximise the coverage of DCCC’s last event of 2017.
Durham City Cannabis club would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the Companies, Businesses, Musicians, Guest speakers and the local community that have and continue to support us in all our endeavours.
We have updated ISMOKE TV to bring you more cannabis videos!
Version 1.0.3 Release Notes
For this release ISMOKE TV was totally rewritten from the ground up to enable a more dynamic approach. We can now dynamically alter the content of the addon without the need to keep pushing updates via our repository. This means users can seamlessly interact will any new ISMOKE content we add, without the need to keep updating the addon. It gives us dynamic creative control over the app without causing you the user any interruption. There might be a few addon updates while we stabilize the code. But as long as addons are set to auto update in kodi you shouldn’t notice any issues.
New addon features include:
ISMOKE Network Featuring: UK Smoke Buddies + Wake & Bake With Tyler Green
Arizer products are designed and manufactured in Canada. You may have heard of the previous successful vaporizers from Arizer – they’ve had a focus on both portable vaporizers like the Arizer Solo 2016 model, and Arizer’s popular desktop vaporizer The Extreme Q Vaporizer.
Now Arizer are back with their brand new Arizer Air2 vaporizer!
We love giving away new products, and it’s our pleasure to have a brand new Arizer Air II vaporizer for one lucky reader to win this week.
This competition is live on our Facebook page. To enter, all you need to do is like both the Namaste Vapesand ISMOKE Facebook Fan Pages and Like + Tag a minimum of Two friends using the hashtag #ISMOKECOMPETITION so we can track your entry.
1 x Air II Multi-Purpose Micro-Heater
1 x Charger / USB /Power Adapter
1 x Glass Aroma Tube – 70mm
1 x Glass Aroma Tube – 70mm with Tip
1 x Glass Botanical Dish
2 x Silicone Stem Caps
1 x Belt-Clip Carry Case
1 x Stainless Steel Stirring Tool
4 x Stainless steel Filter Screens
1 x Package of Botanicals
1 x Owners Manual
The competition runs from 23-29th October, drawing to a close with British Summertime, and the winner will be picked on the following day next Monday 30th October.
Entries must be over 18. Remember, you must tag two friends, like both facebook fan pages and use the competition hashtag for your entry to be counted!
We attended the Patients at Parliament protest this week, which was organised to support Newport, south MP Paul Flynn who recently invited medical cannabis consumers to come to the houses of Parliament and openly consume cannabis to protest the archaic classification of what he called “the oldest medicine in the world”.
The event, organised by the United Patients Alliance,an organisation that campaigns for sufferers of chronic conditions to be able to access medicinal cannabis the UK arranged the coinciding protest which took place on the George the fifth square opposite parliament.
This protest was also twinned with a similar event which took place in Northern Ireland at the general assembly in Stormont, where campaigners met up to show solidarity with the protest taking part in Westminster and adding their voices to the demand access to cannabis for medicinal uses.
The day’s festivities got underway around noon outside of the house of commons as some of the movers and shakers of the cannabis community congregated to do interviews and pose for journalists photographs. There was an impressive collection of national and international news outlets that had also arrived on mass to document what could potentially be an historic day and important stepping stone in the British public’s fight to legalise cannabis not just as a medicine but also for all adults to rights to be able to consume cannabis recreationally.
The protest, which was an act of “very civil disobedience” took place in the form of a medicated tea party with the UPA providing a wide selection of medicated, non-medicated, Vegan and gluten-free cakes, scones, chocolates and many more moreish munchies being gifted to attendees by other protesters.
Hempen, an Oxfordshire based cooperative also kindly provided some of their homegrown hemp flowers for free in tea for the gathered guests.
The main protest began at 2pm – the same time Paul Flynn stood to speak in the Commons stating that the “tide of world opinion” was moving towards legalisation of cannabis. It took place outside the house of commons with many of the usual faces arriving to show their support for Mr Flynn’s motion, which would allow for the production, supply, possession and use of cannabis and resin for medicinal purposes. What those purposes would be are yet to be made publicly available.
There was a strong feeling of solidarity in the air as organisations from across the UK came together to stand in defiance of the draconian British drug laws. ISMOKE, Feed the Birds, Budd Buddies and UKCSC were all in attendance to support the United Patients Alliance who organised the event.
There was also a strong club presence with clubs representing from all over the country: Hampshire Cannabis community, Durham city cannabis club, Hemel Hempstead cannabis club, Brighton Cannabis Social Club, Suffolk Compassion club, central Birmingham division compassion club, Bristol Cannabis Social Club, Tottenham Compassion Club, Suffolk Compassion Club, Plymouth cannabis club and many more showing their support for this potentially rather important bill.
The protesters were joined by several sitting British lawmakers: Newport south’s Paul Flynn, North Norfolk’s Norman Lamb, Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran and Gower’s Tonia Antoniazzi, plus North Wales PCC Arfon Jones who all sat socialising and sharing stories with the amassed consumers, extending perhaps for the first time in generations an olive branch of peace instead of a truncheon of tyranny.
Speaking at the protest event Paul Flynn declined a campaigner’s offer to try a cannabis infused scone saying that: “I’ve got to make a speech at 2pm.” Another time perhaps then Paul, and maybe one day soon you and your colleagues will be as free as your US counterparts to consume cannabis after a long stressful day, as they are legally free to do so in the district of Columbia. (Washington DC)
All in all, around 250 cannabis campaigners descended on downing street to support the 10 Minute rule bill by openly flaunting the law and socially consuming cannabis without a single arrest or incident.
The bill actually passed during the protest event, meaning that the next phase is the second reading of the bill on February 23rd 2018. The UPA and other activist groups are already planning the next protest on the day to show support for this urgently needed piece of reformative legislation.
What can you do to support the bill and patients’ rights to access cannabis? Log on to the Parliament.uk website and find out when your constituencies MP is having an open surgery and drop in and Demand they support the Bill and do all they can to further the urgently needed debate around the legalisation of cannabis in the UK for ALL adults!
Over the last few weeks, the debate around Skunk has in some circles, reared its head again.
In my circle, the debate is always there and the position is clear. Skunk is a favourite strain of many close friends and myself. Not some psychotic inducing evil and dangerous form of cannabis.
Skunk has, depending on who you listen to, come to be a word which defines badly grown cannabis, or ‘Street Weed’ if you will. Since we do not know definitively what triggers psychosis we should stop immediately attributing the cause to ‘skunk’. Why aren’t we attributing it to Kush instead?
Because “everyone agrees that skunk causes psychosis” (it doesn’t, I made that quote up for effect), there is simply not enough will to develop alternative theories because “the science is settled”. Science is never settled and so we cannot accept the position that high THC causes or triggers psychosis. What about smoking fertilizer in poorly flushed weed? What about mixing it with tobacco (harmful behavior as a result of prohibition)? What about smoking pesticides in cannabis produced en masse and by people who don’t care about the contamination of their product with serious chemical agents which if smoked could well trigger a psychotic episode. Using cannabis correctly simply doesn’t trigger anything apart from a trip to the fridge…
Cannabis has been around since man was standing upright. I think we’d know if it caused psychiatric illness. We don’t need modern psychiatry or treatment services to present lies dressed up as empirical evidence. Our modern day hybridized cannabis isn’t that much different to it’s landrace parentage. For those who disagree, come and smoke some Durban Poison or Malawi or Thai stick with me and we’ll see what you think about ‘strong cannabis’ being a result of prohibition. It’s a result of good husbandry and horticulture.
I digress, (forgive me, it’s easy to go off topic because these points are important and need to be hammered home on a continuous basis.)
The point of this blog was neither to debate what skunk is, (if you don’t know, look it up); nor to re-open the debate about the fake news that is Cannabis induced psychosis. The point of this blog was to discuss the importance of language and even more so, the importance of language when in battle. Because friends, we are in a battle, a very real battle to preserve our cannabis culture.
When the day of regulation comes I do not want it to be the day that prohibition got a revamp. I do not want to be buying government weed online (or even worse from Pharmacies) and only being allowed to buy “balanced strains’. I want to be able to access all sorts of strains; strengths and I want to consume it with fellow ‘cannaseurs’ in an adult environment free from prejudice and judgment. I want to have Super Skunk and Orange Hill and all the fabulous strains of skunk as they were originally bred. I want my haze to be 30% THC and 0% CBD. I don’t want people who haven’t got a clue about cannabis and legislators restricting what we can and cant have.
Now, why do I get my knickers in such a twist over the word skunk? Many activists and reformers speak to me. “Give it up”, they say; “it’s only a word”. We have to get traction and then build from there. Better to get some form of legalisation in and the rest will follow. I absolutely get that tactic but I don’t believe it is well thought out. It is in fact extremely short sighted.
DON’T BE FOOLED!!
“All Warfare is based on deception Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy and does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him”
-(Sun Tzu, The Art of War)
I spent time in Amsterdam recently and chatting to staff working in the many fantastic coffee shops we visited, they were literally lost for words when our party explained how the word skunk is being used. And not just by the prohibitionists, but by some in the reform movement.
We don’t refer to moonshine alcohol as Gin do we? The Gin enthusiasts would be up in arms, and what about the negative reputational impact on all the Gin Palaces and specialist Gin Bars out there?
Quite. So we call it what it is. Moonshine and not Gin. Then, the public knows that when they hear or use the word moonshine it means illegally produced alcohol, probably very high in strength and potentially deadly. And then when they buy Gin they are not scared that it might be Moonshine.
And we need, no, absolutely MUST to get to that position with Street Weed. So that when the word ‘Skunk’ is used, it is used to describe one of the greatest strains of cannabis there is. One with phenomenal medicinal qualities. Fantastic recreational benefits, from a gardening perspective are great fun to grow (yielding massive crops and can often catch out even the most experienced grower!). Moreover, and most importantly, everyone understands what it is.
“When words stop meaning anything then there are no more answers, only better and better lies and lies won’t help us in this fight” (John Snow, Game of Thrones)
It’s a pretty good quote isn’t it? The cannabis community has a real problem (and I speak for all of us on this I know) with the way in which the public have been duped, lied to, mislead and downright brainwashed when it comes to the truth about cannabis. What’s happening across the world is testimony to that. So it’s staggering that when we are in full battle mode, instead of correcting those mistruths and educating we’ve just shrugged our shoulders and said ‘nah, it’s only a word mate, yeah skunk causes psychosis so give us legal cannabis and it won’t be a problem anymore’
My daughter came home from school recently and told me that if you take skunk you can go blind. The schools liaison police officer pumping this bullshit into them should be sacked for gross negligence but why should we be surprised? Skunk is after all wildly dangerous.
So what’s happened, is we have unwittingly enabled the lie to be reinforced. In fact, we’ve stupidly been coerced into taking the position that the danger of skunk is a key reason why we need a regulated cannabis market.
What happens on day one of regulation when I want to buy a bag of Super Skunk, or Lemon Skunk, or whatever and I get told, ‘no, sorry we are not allowed to sell skunk because it causes psychosis. Here have some 1:1 THC:CBD ratio cannabis, thank your lucky stars those reformers sorted it all out?
In science, language and nomenclature are everything. We don’t have half the world referring to rain as snow, and snow to rain. They are both forms of precipitation but we all understand what each one is because the word is true to the matter it is describing. It’s gut-wrenching to hear heavyweights like David Nutt using the word skunk to mean ‘street weed’ but then maybe not be into gardening that much. So let’s help him out guys please!!
We HAVE to set the agenda. And we have to do that through education. The Romans were experts at assimilation. Christmas and Easter both Pagan feasts widely celebrated in very different contexts in the British Islands until the Romans came, imposed Christianity on us as part of their conquest, stole the language and gave us back our feast days repacked as something entirely different. No going back from that. Let’s not repeat those mistakes.
I don’t want the same thing to happen with cannabis because we were incapable of seeing the bigger picture and taking a longer-term view. As a species we learn nothing from History. We are useless at it, let’s not let that be our downfall.
On 10th October 2017, Labour MP Paul Flynn will put forward a Private Member’s Bill calling for the legalisation of Medical cannabis in the UK.
He has called for people to act in civil disobedience and to protest outside parliament. To coincide with the bill the United Patients alliance are holding a Patients at Parliament event from 2-5pm on Tuesday 10th October.
We will be in attendance to report on the protest, and hope to see lots of people from the cannabis community in Westminster for the Patients at Parliament event.
This week we’ll be looking at how the total legalisation of cannabis (i.e. medical AND recreational) is the only way to ensure the full and unhindered access for ALL medicinal cannabis patients.
In recent years in the US, a majority of states have voted to legalise the use of medical cannabis. Currently, 28 individual states plus the District of Columbia have legalised at least medicinally, with several states in that list going one step further; also legalising the recreational consumption of cannabis: Colorado, Oregon, California, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Washington and several more states are currently in the process of bringing various bill’s to state legislators, seeking to legalise for either medical or recreational purposes.
This has all taken place while cannabis remains federally illegal in the United States and is still classified by the DEA (Drugs Enforcement Agency) as a schedule one substance having “no approved medicinal value”. This is the same archaic classification as we have here in the UK.
Restricting legal access just to medical consumers means that only patients in states with a limited number of qualifying conditions may acquire the medicine they need. This is because each state’s requisite conditions vary widely, meaning you may not qualify in your home state but may in another.
This can lead to two things which are both not what you want to see in under legal cannabis regulation:
Patients may be forced to lie about conditions in order to receive medical treatment for a different condition not covered in their state.
2. Patients may get their supply on the black market rather than via regulated channels.
It’s now over 20 years later and California has recently passed prop 64, which fully legalises cannabis within the state (except at Federal level). Now all adults have access to legal cannabis patients suffering from Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, BPD, Bipolar, Alzheimers, Tourette’s, Crohn’s, Asthma, Epilepsy, Anorexia, Parkinson’s, Insomnia, Autism and other conditions not covered by medical legislation will finally be able to utilise cannabis legally.
Before this, the patient black hole created as an unforeseen consequence of passing of prop 215 along with the continued criminalisation of non-approved consumers for two decades left a lot of patients suffering alone and unable to seek professional medical help.
They were left ignorant to the benefits of cannabis by the very doctors whose Hippocratic oaths swear to protect them. Those doctors were not allowed to prescribe, condone or in most cases even discuss with patients the possibility of using cannabis, for fear of being struck off as a doctor.
This meant patients whose conditions could be improved by the medicinal use of cannabis weren’t informed about it; they were open to criminalisation should they find out on their own terms and self-medicate.
Let’s be clear – this is still the cold reality facing British patients today.
This presents opportunistic dealers with the chance to charm their way into the good graces of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. It also ensures the continued protection of “snake oil” salesmen and oil scammers as patients cannot report them to the authorities.
And it guarantees that there is no regulation for the supposed medication cultivated by these dealers who’re too often motivated by nothing more than profit and to happy to scam cancer patients.
There are no lab tests for mould, pesticides, unsuitable growth chemicals and contaminants.
It is interesting to note that states with legal medicinal cannabis have seen a definite reduction in the amount of pharmaceutical prescriptions that patients consume, in particular lowering the abuse rates of opioids that are responsible for the current epidemic in the US.
“States with medical cannabis laws on the books saw 24.8 percent fewer deaths from painkiller overdoses compared to states that didn’t have such laws.”
This was published back in 2014. Unfortunately, there aren’t more recent comparative numbers. But this trend is likely to continue to increase with the availability of information about the conditions that cannabis can help to treat, and with more states voting to allow access to cannabis.
At a time when UK opiate deaths are at dangerous and growing numbers, surely it’s appropriate to look at this as a viable solution to stop people dying?
Issues with the system in the US
However, although the states are moving forward there are still many issues with the current system:
Having only certain qualifying conditions accepted in some states but not in others creates Interstate cannabis refugees.
It is still a postcode lottery with regard to whether treatment of your condition qualifies in that state.
There are still restrictions on the number of plants patients can grow, meaning if you need a large amount of oil you’ll still have to break the law to cultivate enough for your personal supply.
The continued stigmatisation, persecution and presumed criminalisation of patients by healthcare professionals, the media and the authorities continue to cause incalculable mental and physical damage to the individual and the wider society.
The arbitrary nature of State law means that someone who qualifies to grow cannabis in some states could still face not just the loss of employment, incarceration but also forfeiting their home under federal drug asset seizure laws.
After global recreational legalisation, all patients will have the ability to grow their own medicine at home with no restrictions on Cannabinoid content or plant numbers.
It will, as is already evident, reduce the amount insurance companies are paying out to pharmaceutical companies via prescriptions in the states, saving all citizens on insurance premiums.
It will also massively reduce the fiscal burden on the NHS, no doubt saving us millions (probably billions) annually from unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies.
I completely agree that it is vitally important that pharmaceutical drugs go through vigorous testing and are meticulously researched and developed before bringing them to the marketplace. But this, in my opinion, should only apply for manufactured and licensed drugs that carry a risk of serious injury when misused and abused, or ones that are fatal when overdosed upon.
With cannabis, when you consume too much, if it could even be called an “overdose” (we think not) you’re probably heading for a good nights sleep (usually with a full stomach) and, at worse, a slight stoneover.
Remember: despite what the tabloids try to say, no one has ever died from the consumption of cannabis because it isn’t toxic and you can’t overdose on it. That’s why Mountain man can do 14 gram dabs and walk away (for reference 14 grams of oil can probably have a similar THC level to around 2oz or 56g of cannabis buds, although this will vary with strain, batch, extractor and other variables). Don’t try that one at home though!
This is why I believe cannabis should be legalised and regulated as a supplement, as well as a medication, allowing people to cultivate and consume cannabis and experiment with it to determine for themselves the effectiveness of it in relieving the symptoms of their condition. Despite what we’re told by the mainstream media in this country, it is relatively harmless when compared to legal (or most illegal) alternatives.
In the UK it is difficult to come up with a monetary sum for our equivalent because unlike other government departments NHS England does not register its meetings with lobbyists. It also does not routinely publicly disclose all potential conflicts of interest. But it is happening: the pharmaceutical companies interests are being put ahead of those of the general public.
International Medical Cannabis
Israeli companies like Ican and OWC PPharmaceuticals are the latest to join the international cabal of medical cannabis along with, Canada’s Tilrey, Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals, Holland’s Bedrocan and a handful of other companies that have quickly become billion pound global exporters of medicinal cannabis products, monopolising the international supply not unlike the international drugs cartels operating under prohibition for decades.
The relatively low cost of prescriptions in the UK (which is great, by the way) means that the NHS cannot afford to supply most of the currently available cannabis medications at the extortionate rates companies are charging for their products, meaning patients are deprived of potentially beneficial medications.
A great example of this issue is GW Pharmaceuticals Sativex,
a cannabis based medication derived from Skunk No.1 cannabis cultivated in Kent and sold around the world in 28 countries but NOT here in Britain. This means that the 100,000+ British MS patients are denied access to a medication that has been shown to be highly effective at treating the symptoms of MS, which has recently been acknowledged by the MS society itself as being beneficial.
By only allowing pharmaceutically produced cannabis derived medications such as Sativex, Epidolex and synthetic cannabinoids medications such as Marinol and Nabilone to be utilised by patients, it ensures that only the already established international pharmaceutical cartel will be able to provide these drugs, continuing their monopolisation of the medical cannabis marketplace.
This is just a continuation of the current paradigm in which a small group of individuals control the supply, making excessively large profits.
If patients had access to sensibly priced medicine, the option to grow their own, or access via pharmacies, compassion clubs, co-ops or trusted carers, this would remove them from the clutches of criminal dealers.
This current limiting of access to a set number of medical conditions in certain geographic locations is a continuation of the problem. It leaves many patients suffering needlessly.
Actually, the prohibition of cannabis is comparable to the dark ages of science in Europe, where the religious ideology of consecutive rulers contributed to the suffering of the population by denying and even executing individuals for practising magic/witchcraft and using “potions” to heal the sick and cure disease.
This is still going on today just look at the demonisation and witch hunt surrounding Rick Simpson and the many other people who have in defiance of the law chosen to self-medicate with cannabis and teach others how to make cannabis oils and preparations so they too can utilise this healing herb.
Why is cannabis a plant that most nations still deem to be an illegal substance with “no approved medicinal value”? There’s no logic to the continued prohibition of it’s use.
This determination is not just to the detriment of cannabis patients, but also to the wider community.
It is cruel and immoral to deny the means of ceasing the suffering of another human being and by knowingly keeping cannabis illegal with all the evidence of the efficacy of cannabis. If you want to keep cannabis illegal you are part of a problem which is actively perpetuating the suffering of millions of patients around the world.
The only way to once and for all end this debate is to fully legalise cannabis and allow people to utilise the plant, regardless of the benefits they personally ascribe to it, to determine for themselves whether they wish to continue consuming it.
This still leaves space for patentable pharmaceutical medications to be produced and prescribed, but means that patients do not have to wait until treating a condition becomes profitable to big pharma before seeing if cannabis can be of benefit.
Ultimately the recreational verse medicinal debate is simply another way to divide the community and attempt to slow the inevitable. Cannabis will be legalised globally regardless of the efforts of avid prohibitionists, antiquated politicians and the propaganda they continue to spew.
This week I am taking a look at how reefer madness, propaganda and successive disastrous anti-drug campaigns have created the opportunity for political prohibitionists around the world to break up families, destroy lives, incarcerate vast numbers of people and even murder people in this failed “war on drugs”.
It has since grown nationally and internationally and has subsequently been instrumental in the escalation of the global war on drugs, creating the situation we’re in now where supposedly democratic countries can incarcerate and kill vast numbers of their own citizens.
The vast majority of those locked up are disproportionately poor, ethnic minorities predominantly dealers with the so called “low hanging fruit”those often just caught in possession such as the novice and naive youth, the intellectually challenged and those with mental health conditions making up the rest of the caged consumers.
The program which is a strong proponent of the now debunked theories and the reefer madness ideologies of the gateway theory, cannabis is addictive and causes Schizophrenia claims to “provide students from kindergarten (Infants) through to high (secondary) school with the skills necessary to recognise and resist pressures to experiment with drugs and to avoid gangs and violence”.
In reality the approach of DARE and other similar organisations actually replace any opportunity to teach kids truths about drugs that could serve them well for the rest of their lives instead it merely provides a brief respite from the mundanity of the syllabus, much like the drugs themselves, which as a result of prohibition are rife in schools across the world.
The program started in Britain back in 1995 and has received consistent criticism and since it launched it has been indoctrinating children as young as 5 in this backward, antiquated and deeply detrimental world view under the name of “Life skills Education”
Unfortunately by attempting to overly emphasise and sensationalise the potential hazards and dangers of so called hard illegal drug abuse, DARE actually inadvertently conveys the impression that alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs are innocuous because of their legality and in contrast to the propaganda that they’ve been fed about even soft drugs like cannabis and magic mushrooms.
Even the US Department of Education prohibits schools from spending its funding on D.A.R.E because the program is deemed to be completely ineffective in reducing alcohol and drug use.
DARE itself claims that the fact that the majority of the public like the idea of the anti-drug campaign is enough evidence of the efficacy of the program itself, and that to “test” it would require many years and millions of dollars – it’s a decision that no politician has yet dared make.
This antiquated ideology is, unfortunately, re-emerging in the East and is epitomised by the Philippino president Rodrigo Duterte whose drug policies are currently excusing a genocide on the many island nation after he reignited his own Nation’s War on drugs in full force.
Incredibility among all of this bloodshed and rampant corruption The Philippines voted just 24hrs after voting to reinstate the death penalty for certain drugs charges to give its citizens lawful access to medical cannabis for a condition such as Epilepsy, Cancer, and MS.
But all is not well for regular cannabis consumers in The Philippines, as it is likely the war on drugs will still affect them:
“If you just smoke it like a cigarette, I will not allow it, ever. It remains to be a prohibited item and there’s always a threat of being arrested. If you choose to fight the law enforcement agency, you die. “Medicinal marijuana, yes, because it is really an ingredient of modern medicine now. There are drugs right now being developed or already in the market that (have) marijuana as a component.” – President Durete
It is worth noting that Filipino president Duterte has some striking similarities with another recently appointed US president Donald J Trump who, with the help of Jeff Sessions seems poised to reignite the war on drugs in the home of the failed policy.
back in May Jeff Sessions reversed his predecessor’s initiative to end excessive, racist and socially destructive mandatory minimum sentences, claiming, without evidence, that Holder’s sentencing changes had led to America’s sudden 10.8% increase in murders in 2015. This plus the reversal of the plan to end privatised, for profit prison seems to point towards a stepping up of the drug war in the states in coming years.
Recently another Asian nation has been hinting at adopting this monstrous and draconian approach to this failed policy.
Head of Indonesia’s narcotics agency Commissioner General Budi Waseso, recently remarked that “The market that existed in the Philippines is moving to Indonesia, the impact of President Duterte’s actions is an exodus to Indonesia, including the substance.” Indonesian president Joko Widodohaswho was recently quoted at a press conference as saying”I have told you, just be firm, especially with foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist [arrest]. Gun them down. Give no mercy,” sparking fears that they may be the next country to adopt this vile human rights abuse as official government policy.
What the prohibitionist and promulgators of propaganda cannot seem to understand is that humans enjoy altering their consciousness by taking drugs and have done for millennia, be it through smoking a cigarette, drinking alcohol, consuming cannabis, eating magic mushrooms or taking LSD.
They fail to grasp that it is impossible to prohibit a behaviour out of existence. This is epitomised by the temperance movement, which attempted to deal with the “moral decay” caused by rampant alcoholism in the United States by prohibiting it. Readers of history will be aware that this drastically increased the negative effects that the drug had while minimising any potential benefits it could bring to society much like the situation we currently have with Cannabis.
The damage is somewhat negated by legalising alcohol, taxing it and using the funds on education and rehab schemes rather than criminalising all alcohol uses to “protect” the comparative few that abuse the drug. Tobacco, as well, is a greatly destructive drug, yet isn’t prohibited, it is simply taxed higher each year in the UK attempt to deter its use.
Governments around the world are perpetuating this policy of manslaughter by proxy by failing to address this failed antiquated global policy.
The results are in and prohibition doesn’t work – it causes more dependency issues, more violence, more suffering, perpetuates racial, class and economic divides, and disproportionally incarcerates minorities, the poor and society’s most vulnerable.
There is some silver lining – Even the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organisations (WHO) is now advocating for the abolition of prohibition and the global decriminalisation of all drugs. And at least the topic is being openly talked about by activists and charities in the UK and worldwide as we fight towards a brighter future. By discussing the failures of drug prohibition you are actively helping to bridge the gulf between the stereotypes cast by propaganda and the real lives of the multitude of cannabis consumers.
This weekend saw the third annual Product Earth 2017, the UK’s only Hemp and alternative lifestyle exhibition take place in Birmingham.
Product Earth is a two-day expo that brings together an ecliptic mix of exhibitors, knowledgeable speakers, diverse organisations and businesses and members of the wider cannabis community to celebrate and promote all the benefits and applications that cannabis and its derivable technologies can achieve.
This years event had to be moved from its previous location in Peterborough down to London and then subsequently found home in Britain’s second largest city, Birmingham.
Here are 5 Reasons to attend the next cannabis event that comes to town
So just when is the next cannabis event? Well, we have attended dozens of cannabis events over the past year, with events now taking place in multiple locations across the country pretty much every weekend.
Of course, we see more events taking place in the Spring/Summer due to better weather conditions (although in Britain the sunshine is far from a certain bet, regardless of the month!)
Some are private events for club members, but many are public events designed to raise cannabis awareness, meet the general public and celebrate cannabis in a relatively safe environment.
We are confident that we will eventually see cannabis legalisation here in the UK, but we need your help along the way.
With that in mind, here are 5 reasons you should attend the next cannabis event in your area:
1. Good networking and opportunities – meet your local club and maybe even sample some great cannabis strains and extracts
2. Raise cannabis awareness – share your knowledge, or learn more about cannabis
3. The more people that attend the more media coverage we will get – with articles in mainstream media, the events will attract even more people. This is the circle of growth we need!
4. Meet both Medical and recreational cannabis users and discuss the benefits of cannabis in all its forms – herbal or extract.
5. Fight for cannabis legalisation – it should be a human right to consume cannabis, and people all across the country are denied safe and legal access to a medicine that has so many benefits. If you attend these events and bring friends, you are helping the UK cannabis legalisation fight.
If that’s not enough reasons to attend your next local cannabis event, I don’t know what is!
Any reasons we’ve missed off this list? You can tweet us @ismokeamg and join the conversation!
On Sunday 27th August Jerk and Fire took place at East Brighton Park. This event was a HIGHLight over the bank holiday weekend, drawing attendees from as far north as the Midlands to enjoy a day of cannabis celebration!
What a day for the weather – We saw an almost cloudless sky throughout the Jerk & Fire event and temperatures of high 20’s meant we had no danger of being interrupted by the sometimes unpredictable British rain! Sunblock was needed instead of umbrellas, which made a nice change!
The event was organised and promoted by instagram user@Nugs_of_beauty,who also organised last year’s event.
We saw a lot of the same faces, and some new ones, as we returned to Brighton for our second event this year, following the success of Green Pride 2017.
One thing I have noticed at the events this year is an upturn in the number of stalls being set up – it is now common to see a diverse range of stalls at most events, compared to when we started attending these get-togethers when we’d only see the occasional stall except at the bigger events.
Event attendees probably ranged in the few hundreds, with a couple of hundred revelers spotted just before 4:20, which is generally the peak time for these events.
There were food options, head shop stalls, edibles, clothing and more, meaning the public who attended the event had some cool things to look at and buy.
We attended Jerk and Fire 2017 as guests rather than as vendors – we have promo material across several of the stalls which is great as it allowed me to walk around snapping photos and interacting with the community.
I love cannabis events in Brighton! It seems like a great place to hold these sorts of events, as it has a thriving canna community and a seemingly more relaxed approach to cannabis policing (although recently the Green Pride event didn’t suggest this as they tried to crack down early on in the day).
I didn’t see a single police officer at Jerk and Fire, and as usual, there was no drama. We had a lovely, relaxed day with a few joints and dabs, good music in a great atmosphere.
Durham City Cannabis club’s last outdoor, public protest-ival events “All Out August” took place at the weekend. This was the last in the clubs current series of protest events to highlight that mass public consumption of cannabis doesn’t lead to antisocial behaviour.
All Out August kicked off at high noon in the usual location of Hemp Gardens with glorious sunshine and the majority of the stalls set up with others arriving later as the afternoon unfolded.
There was as always live music with the sound system once again kindly being provided by a friend of the club for the All Out August event.
This allowed for musical performances from “Dave the dealer” himself, Keith Hudson who once again entertained the gathered crowds with his lyrical stories, as well as local busking legend Danny Buzzin who delighted the masses with his unique styling and original versions of classic hits.
This week in ISMOKE Magazine I want to tackle the broader subject of drug prohibition at festivals and how cannabis can help future post-prohibition events.
But it’s not as simple as using cannabis to solve the problems of prohibition. Although cannabis can help we must look to end the war on all drugs to stop people dying and to work towards a better future.
Recently I made my annual pilgrimage to Winchester to attend this year’s BoomTown Fair.
Before the festivities could commence, I got caught up in one of the worst queues I have ever experienced. It was a queue that left some revellers waiting with no access to water or toilets for up to 10 hours.
Standing in this unprecedented, disorganised and frankly inhumane queue gave me more than ample time to postulate on what a post prohibition festival could possibly look like and how it would compare with the current culture which is created by the UK’s antiquated and draconian drug laws and the climate of fear that is intentionally created by intimidatingly dressed security personal with mannerisms and characteristics more akin to a guard dog than event security.
Both the queue and the securities demeanour are a direct result of the incredibly invasive and meticulous nature of the searches that would be deemed disproportionate and excessive in most airports, let alone music festivals, and could be reduced massively if not avoided altogether.
In a post prohibition paradigm, you could have a drugs limit in much the same way you currently do with alcohol now so allowing individuals certain amounts for personal consumption and providing the facilities to test them. while selling strictly controlled, tested and regulated ones on site giving the consumer educational material to help them minimise any potential risks.
Given the inevitability of the decriminalisation and eventual legalisation of all drugs globally it is now possible to ponder the future of music festivals and how they’ll evolve once the guests can truly feel safe and welcomed into the community and can count on the same protection as alcohol consumers who cause a disproportionate number of incidents at festivals but do not face the same stigma and prejudice.
The festivals of the future will be organised with visitors safety in mind rather than the current focus on attempting to enforce a failed and archaic drugs policy that does far more harm than good.
The attempts to prohibit guests consuming some drugs while the event organisers make massive profits off of the sale of another, namely alcohol to pay for, among other things those security guards is a painful irony that desperately needs addressing.
Alcohol is one of the most destructive, addictive and disease inducing drugs on the planet, recent research links alcohol to causing several cancers and kills more than all illegal drugs combined killing some 8,000 people a year contrast that with all illegal drugs they kill just 3000 a year, the majority of which are Heroin and other opioid drugs.
Cannabis, however, has never killed a single person and the death rates of traditional psychedelics such as Psilocybin containing mushrooms, LSD, Mescaline and DMT as well as MDMA are incredibly low.
These substances are also being researched to see how effective they are in treating a variety of conditions and disorders including depression, PTSD, cluster headaches, anxiety disorders as well as various addictions including alcoholism.
Alcohol is related to the majority of domestic violence assaults 58%, Violent assaults resulting in injury 55% and a significant fraction of the serious sexual assaults – a fifth although this category is tragically far too often under reported by victims and this picture will remain skewed until this taboo is tackled.
Post-prohibition there would be less alcohol used on site as all festival punters over the age of 18 would have legal access to a plethora of safer substances stringently regulated and tightly controlled.
These drugs would be produced under the strictest of conditions to ensure purity and quality.
They’d be produced in a clean, sterile environment with the end product being made up to the highest of standards to ensure consistency and predictable effects, the benefits of a regulated market.
Regulated sales would massively reduce the risk of adulterants and contamination that are too often the cause of drug associated deaths. The miss-selling of drugs and would help eradicate the sale of drugs to minors as ID would be requisite for the purchase of previously illegal drugs.
A similar policy of refusing to sell at a bar for being too intoxicated could be drafted to deal with the excessive use of some substances and help to avoid poly-drug consumption which can often be problematic. A dealer won’t refuse to sell you drugs because you’re too intoxicated already but a licensed vendor would.
We have already seen what can be done if you treat festival attendees with the respect and dignity they deserve:
A drug testing system was set up by the Loop at multiple music festivals starting with Secret Garden Party in 2016.
“It’s really exciting that police are prioritising health and safety over criminal justice at festivals.” – Fiona Measham – co-founder of The Loop.
This past year at Boomtown saw the groups busiest event yet as over eleven-hundred samples were tested in just three days, a five fold increase since the organisation’s inception and a testament to the great work the loop is doing in earning the trust of the drug consumers community. It is a vital component to rebuilding the shattered relationship between society and authorities such as the police and councils, who, for successive generations have been on opposite sides in a political war – the war on drugs.
“We were open for three days and tested 1,132 samples – our most ever [at one event] – and at one point were testing more than one sample a minute.” said Fiona Measham in a recent Vice article.
There is a certain hypocrisy about the media jumping on sensationalising tragic drug related deaths that rarely but still do occur at festivals. as it is never remarked upon that a lot of the individuals that unfortunately lost their lives had drunk a great deal before taking other substances – this itself is a very dangerous practice and is far too often glanced over and ignored in the media in favour of demonising what ever drug is that months current pariah.
This greatly increases the risk to the consumer. Education would help to reduce potentially dangerous multi-drug use and limit the need for medical intervention at festivals and hopefully stop these unnecessary deaths from ever happening.
It is worth noting that one of the deadliest festivals is glorified and celebrated annually by the media while it totally ignores the staggering death toll while it continues to exaggerate the potential risks of music festivals.
The festival has continued for decades despite the rising death toll, which is higher than all of the UK’s music festivals combined.
The organisers have sought each year through technological developments, industry advance and along with advances in health and safety regulations to reduce the risk of death and injury through the event continues still with the ever-present risk of death.
Surely the same should be done to reduce any potential risks and dangers to guests at music festivals as they will continue to consume drugs regardless of the law. So why not minimise any potential risks and maximise the benefits that drugs can bring to society by legalising and regulating them?
How cannabis can help
Cannabis can help us reduce our carbon footprint. One of the most exciting benefits of the end of prohibition is the ability to finally utilise cannabis derived technologies to massively reduce the carbon foot print of the average festival and help to tackle climate change in a big way.
Cannabis can help replace non-bio-degradable plastics and materials with hemp-based ones. At festivals, for example, we could replace all the current petroleum-based plastics with hemp oil plastics, so all of the beer cups, coffee cup tops, straws, cutlery and all food containers that previously have been made from environmentally detrimental materials could be produced from locally grown hemp. This hemp has the added benefit of detoxifying the soil during its cultivation process, sequestering large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and helping to remove heavy metals from the soil. It could greatly reduce the number of plastics being produced for single-use that then remain for thousands of years without breaking down.
This would save hundreds of tons of plastic from ending up in land fills unable to decompose or broken up into increasingly smaller pieces in water ways and oceans around the world, unlike hemp plastics which when buried or discarded into the sea degrade completely within a year.
Every piece of plastic ever made is still here clogging up the arteries of the earth.
All of those cardboard, paper, napkins, boxes, and programs? Yeah – cannabis can help with that. They could be produced with hemp, along with all of the plastics and the clothing, lanyards and merchandise for the festival – all of this could be made from Cannabis/hemp grown on-site.
Cannabis can help even more: After prohibition ends businesses would be allowed to sell the resinous cannabis flower to be made into various preparations and extracts and sold at the festival. This would create a cottage industry in much the same way you have with local Cider, Beer/Ale, meats, cheeses and other locally sourced foods, and cannabis can help local businesses boom both from sales and increased tourism.
The festival could provide a full spectrum of varieties to cater for all tastes and tolerances by cultivating low, mid and high-level THC strains which would include CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids.
It would increase potential profits, meaning a higher amount of tax being paid helping to stimulate the local economy and remove any money from criminal elements.
By controlling the supply and the sale of cannabis at their events the organisers could also ensure quality meaning there is no risk of mould, pesticides or other chemical exposure – all of which can cause health issues when consumed.
Imagine fields of green and solar panels around the site perimeter that could charge Graphene batteries, batteries that can now be produced from the waste hemp bast material that would already be being produced on site to generate all the festivals electricity – they could even stand to make a profit selling the supply back to the grid for the rest of the year.
Hemp Graphene is a superconductor that is a superior energy conductor to carbon Graphene that can be produced for a fraction of the cost:
“Obviously, hemp can’t do all the things Graphene can” said David Miltin, one of the technology’s inventors. “But for energy storage, it works just as well. And it costs a fraction of the price $500 to $1,000 a tonne.” Read more.
But we’re not done yet. Cannabis can help even more! The remaining sticks and stems of the cannabis and hemp plants grown on-site could be mixed powdered lime stone to produce Hempcrete which could be used to build the on-site facilities and improve the infrastructure.
By cultivating cannabis on-site you can, in just a few years, revitalise large amounts of previously disused and often too toxic land into highly nutritious soil that can be used to cultivate food, other crops or possibly even to create a nature reservation to help promote local biodiversity once the festival has moved on
This is no pipe dream, this is the future. It is now the time for evidence based drugs policies and to finally stop criminalising all drug consumers, instead welcoming them back into society with open loving arms.
Humans like to take drugs and we have done so for thousands of years. The trouble tends to arise for some people when the individual is caught in possession of a banned substance or becomes dependant on a drug. Sometimes, because of fear of the stigma and risk of incarceration people may not seek the help they may need to get their usage under control and can instead end up spiralling into self-destructive patterns that lead to avoidable consequences had they only had access to adequate care and support.
At the end of the day, the only rational move here is to repeal this disastrous drugs policy to ensure that tomorrow doesn’t bring with it more deaths, more misery and more lives ruined by drug prohibition.
Cannabis can help. Prohibition kills people. Spread the word!
This weekend will see Durham City Cannabis club’s last in their summer series of protestival events: All Out August.
If you are local and want to find out how cannabis can help you or would like to be more involved with the community while raising some cannabis awareness please drop by this public event!
August 19th 12 pm – 6 pm Hemp Gardens Durham City DH1 3DA