Interview with Andy Roberts, author of "Albion Dreaming - A cultural History of LSD in Britain".
Until recently not many people had heard of Professor David Nutt but his sacking from the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs by Home Secretary Alan Johnson has made him a household name. Back in 2007 he was one of the authors of an article in The Lancet entitled "Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse". Here is a graph representing the data presented in the article.
Professor Nutt's "crime" was to point out that the classification of drugs on the ABC scale in UK law is totally at odds with the scientific evidence about relative harm. In particular, Cannabis and Ecstacy are both less harmful than either tobacco or alcohol. I can only congratulate David for speaking out and hope that the storm generated by his sacking backfires on this pathetic government of ours.
I am listeng to Ganja Smuggling by Eek A Mouse.
The mission of Narco Polo is to defend recreational drug use - and all other consensual adult activities - that the American government deems criminal.
From Fortune magazine - Medical marijuana is giving activists a chance to show us how a legitimized pot business can work. Is the end of prohibition upon us?.
Clare Wilson writes in the New Scientist "Far from protecting us and our children, the war on drugs is making the world a much more dangerous place."
Good article in the Guardian about the wave of decriminalisation sweeping through Latin America - Is America ready to admit defeat in its 40-year war on drugs?.
Argentina's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday it is unconstitutional to punish an adult for private use of marijuana as long as it doesn't harm anyone else.
Mother Jones has a special report on the "War on Drugs" with the excellent title Totally Wasted.
Taking a pill to treat depression is widely believed to work by reversing a chemical imbalance. Dr Joanna Moncreieff challanges this view and suggests that prescription drugs for anxiety, depression etc work by putting people into drug-induced states that mask emotional problems - The myth of the chemical cure.
Three weeks ago I took the ferry from Harwich with some friends and cycled up the Dutch coast to Amsterdam where we camped for a few days at Zeeburg. Since my previous visit a ban on smoking tobacco in enclosed public places had apparently come into effect but that was OK with me since I gave up the evil weed at the start of 2009 and since then had only smoked pure marijuana from my trusty "bud bomb". In fact people were smoking joints with tobacco in coffee shops but it was restricted to separate rooms where staff did not go. Another change was the banning last year of mushrooms. I was expecting not to be able to take a trip but on the day before leaving I went into Conscious Dreams and discovered a curious loophole. While sitting drinking an espresso I heard someone come in and ask for mushrooms. The woman behind the counter said that they were not allowed to sell mushrooms but that they had truffles. I was familiar with truffles:-) Technically they are called sclerotia, and they form from the mycelium of certain mushrooms - notably Psilocybe mexicana. Mushrooms and truffles contain the same active compounds but the shop can get away with selling truffles because they are not mushrooms! I bought a 15g pack and chewed my way through about 10g. About 40 minutes later the effect was coming on in waves and I left the shop to spend a highly enjoyable afternoon wandering around and sitting in coffee shops.
The Rhode Island legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto of a medical marijuana law Tuesday afternoon by an overwhelming margin, paving the way for state-licensed medical marijuana shops to begin operating. The House voted 68-0 for the pot measure and the senate moved it minutes later by a 35-3 count.
Dose Nation carries lots of interesting stories about drugs.
A bit of humour here - The CIA's 5 most mind blowing experiments with LSD.
I see President Obama has signed a memorandum which reaffirms the right (eroded by the Bush regime) of States to determine their own laws. Good news I imagine for States wishing to end marijuana prohibition.
Here is a BBC video report on Canada's booming cannabis industry.
I just watched the award winning 2006 documentary a/k/a Tommy Chong.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration publishes a monthly bulletin called Microgram, which makes for interesting reading.
The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union helped put together a video of testimony from the recent 52nd session of the UN CDC.
Next week ministers from around the world gather in Vienna to set international drug policy for the next decade. Like first-world-war generals, many will claim that all that is needed is more of the same. In fact the war on drugs has been a disaster, creating failed states in the developing world even as addiction has flourished in the rich world. By any sensible measure, this 100-year struggle has been illiberal, murderous and pointless. That is why The Economist continues to believe that the least bad policy is to legalise drugs.
Alcohol-related cases have overtaken heart disease as a reason for hospital admissions, BBC Scotland has learned.
Taking the drug ecstasy is no more dangerous than riding a horse, a senior adviser has suggested.
Change.gov (The Office of the US President - Elect) is running a Citizen's Briefing Book which allows ordinary people to put forward ideas and rate or comment on other submitted ideas. The best rated ideas will be gathered into a Citizen's Briefing Book to be delivered to President Obama after he is sworn in. What is the most popular idea at the moment? Ending Marijuana Prohibition!
Talking (bollocks) About Cannabis, the pseudo-charity pressure group founded by lone nutcase Debra Bell launch their new telephone helpline on Monday 12th January.
I just watched the trailer for "The New American Druglords", a documentary made by Daniel Hopsicker - dramatic stuff.
Conrad Black is serving time in a US prison, from where he wrote this article which appeared in the Sunday Times. Here is a short extract:
The US is now a carceral state that imprisons eight to 12 times more people (2.5m) per capita than the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany or Japan. US justice has become a command economy based on the avarice of private prison companies, a gigantic prison service industry and politically influential correctional officers' unions that agitate for an unlimited increase in the number of prosecutions and the length of sentences. The entire "war on drugs", by contrast, is a classic illustration of supply-side economics: a trillion taxpayers' dollars squandered and 1m small fry imprisoned at a cost of $50 billion a year; as supply of and demand for illegal drugs have increased, prices have fallen and product quality has improved.
When US citizens voted yesterday, some of them were voting on marijuana related ballot initiatives. Nine out of ten such initiatives supported by the (pro-marijuana) Marijuana Policy Project were passed.
This is the story of a man known online as Flash - a man driven to the brink of suicide by the debilitating effects of cluster headaches. After years of ineffectual treatments, Flash stumbled on what he declared was a new treatment, as controversial as it was, he claimed, effective: hallucinogenic drugs.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - The mission of LEAP is to reduce the multitude of unintended harmful consequences resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ultimately ending drug prohibition.
Britain's policy of being tough on drugs is pointless, says a former civil servant who once ran the Cabinet's anti-drugs unit.
Erowid is a great information resource "documenting the complex relationship between humans and psychoactives.
Talking About Cannabis is a dodgy lobbying group with a history of propagating misleading or blatantly untrue information. They have issued a press release claiming that they are due to receive charitable status next month. Johnny Void has written to the Charity Commission about it.
Last year, nearly four million Britons used illicit drugs. Here, 10 people reveal why cocaine, skunk and ketamine do it for them.
In a follow-up to research showing that psilocybin, a substance contained in "sacred mushrooms," produces substantial spiritual effects, a Johns Hopkins team reports that those beneficial effects appear to last more than a year.
In California, marijuana is supposed to be prescribed only to people suffering from life-threatening conditions but David Willis finds the reality is quite different.
It's Just a Plant is an illustrated children's book about marijuana. It follows the journey of a young girl as she learns about the plant from a diverse cast of characters including her parents, a local farmer, a doctor, and a police officer.
With the recent death of Albert Hofmann there has been much talk about LSD, including a BBC Magazine article called Did LSD change Britain
Downing Street has signalled Gordon Brown remains determined to tighten the law on cannabis - against the advice of an independent panel of experts.
North Wales Police Authority has backed a review of drug laws after its chief constable urged legalisation.
The Dutch government is banning the sale of all magic mushrooms after a series of high-profile incidents involving tourists who had taken them.
North Wales Police chief constable Richard Brunstrom has said he will be "campaigning hard" for drugs such as heroin to be legalised.
The UK Hemp Expo will be taking place in Telford on the Early May bank holiday weekend.
The drug classification system in the UK is not "fit for purpose" and should be scrapped, scientists have said.
A US federal appeals court has ruled that a California woman who uses marijuana to ease a number of ailments can be prosecuted on federal charges. This is despite the fact that it is legal under California law!
The Dallas Observer has a good article about Barry Cooper, an ex-cop who claims more than 300 felony drug arrests during his eight years as an officer in Gladewater, Big Sandy and Oddessa. He has come over to the light side and is now offering tips on how to move your weed. Read Don't Go Bust by Keith Plocek.
There is some astonishingly bogus information on the Drug Free America Foundation's website which might lead you to ask "what the hell have they been smoking?" Fortunately there are people around to expose the lies, as in 11 Misconceptions About Marijuana.
Three people in the UK have been found guilty of supplying cannabis to multiple sclerosis sufferers.
The UK Home Office has decided to stick with the outdated class A, B and C classification system for banned drugs, despite MPs claiming the system was "not fit for purpose".
America's drug tsar, John Walters, today acknowledged that US allies have voiced doubts about the wisdom of opium eradication in parts of southern Afghanistan where insurgents have killed 10 British troops over the past two months.
Just one week before the September 11 terrorist attacks, FBI and state police sharpshooters took out the two owners of a pro-marijuana, libertarian enterprise known as Rainbow Farm in the southwest corner of the state.
One of the nice things about cannabis is that users need not be dependent on drug barons, pharmaceutical companies (amounts to the same thing?), corrupt customs officials etc for their supply. I have heard that half of all cannabis consumed in Britain is grown in Britain and although much of that is produced in fairly large scale commercial operations there are many people who just grow enough for their own use. Outdoor growing is certainly possible in Britain but there seems to be much more emphasis on indoor setups, partly because there is money to be made selling the necessary equipment (lights, fans etc). There are plenty of websites, books and magazines from which to learn about cultivation. I have just been contacted with a request to put up a link to Roll It Up which "fights for the legalization of marijuana by teaching people to grow". Happy to oblige (though "Roll It Up" is a poor choice of name as far as I am concerned - I enjoy the effect of cannabis but I am not into smoking paper).
The people who contacted me about Roll It Up noticed that I already had a link to www.marijuana.com and claimed that they "run along the same lines as marijuana.com". In fact, looking at marijuana.com again I noticed that it has degenerated since I linked to it in my first entry on this page over three years ago. At first glance it now seems to be a crass advertising hoarding for dating services and something referred to as "legal bud". The legal bud adverts are designed to make people think that what is being offered will have the same sort of effect as cannabis without the illegality. It took me a while to work out that what they are offering is almost but not quite entirely unlike cannabis. If I wanted to smoke lavender or sage I would get it free from my garden. I have removed the link to marijuana.com and will do the same with any other site which goes the same way.
It turns out that one of the most popular forums for growers was at an online magazine called "Overgrow". According to the wikipedia entry Overgrow was shut down after when Heaven's Stairway was raided on or around 2006-01-31 after a two year investigation by Mounties.
The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer.
Before 1960s' Flower Power, LSD was a medical wonder drug - a supposed treatment for mental illness. Then it became outlawed and discredited. But now a new generation is researching the medical benefits of psychedelic drugs.
Members of an international crime gang were allowed to move to Britain while flooding the country with heroin because their leader had secretly worked as an informer for Customs & Excise, according to evidence brought before an immigration appeals tribunal.
In a few weeks, Ken Locke will be setting off on a 4000 mile bike ride across the United States. Journey for Justice is part of the campaign for medical marijuana safe access.
"The occupation of Afghanistan served only to turn the Taliban from opponents to supporters of the opium trade" writes Simon Jenkins in today's Guardian.
The home secretary has decided against reversing the decision two years ago to downgrade cannabis to a class C drug.
Narco News has obtained a document in which Department of Justice attorney Thomas M. Kent claims that federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration's office in Bogota, Colombia, are the corrupt players in the war on drugs.
The government's decision to downgrade cannabis has left people confused about the impact of the drug, Home Secretary Charles Clarke has said. I just commented on this BBC news item but do not know yet whether the moderator will accept it. Here is what I said:
If Charles Clarke thinks that the legality of a substance implies that it is safe then when is he going to make tobacco and alcohol illegal? And if he has no plans to do so then why is he confusing us all with specious arguments about cannabis?
I was in Nottingham at the weekend and happened to start chatting to someone in a bar who, as it turned out, was actually present at the Tregaron LSD factory when police raided it in 1978. He said that the cops failed to take precautions and started tripping after coming into contact with the acid:-)
Here is a brief History of LSD which mentions the 1978 "Operation Julie" which busted a large acid factory located in a farmhouse near Tregaron in West Wales. I once stopped in Tregaron for a drink and although there was loads of stuff about local history on the wall in the pub I couldn't find any mention of LSD:-)
This is going back a little bit, but in 1997 Jim Carey published a piece called Recreational Drug Wars: Alcohol Verses Ecstasy taken from the book "Ecstasy Reconsidered". It looked at the influence of the alcohol industry on UK Government policy and is still worth a read.
Lao tribes suffer from drug crackdown.
Common Sense for Drug Policy is a website which seems to do just what it says on the tin.
The Hempire want to create the best cannabis cafe in London - they just have to change the law first. Best of luck to them and they can count on my support.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused the US Drug Enforcement Administration of using its agents to spy on the South American country.
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease may benefit from cannabis-based drugs, UK scientists believe.
The Cannabis March on Sunday was excellent. I volunteered to play in the samba band which got people on their feet and out of Russell Square towards Trafalgar Square. I had eaten a few Hawaiian mushrooms, the sun was shining, and everything was good. In Trafalgar Square I just wondered about talking to people, lounged in the sun, smoked a few pipes etc - after all, this is a once a year occasion:-) I don't know how much reporting there was in the mainstream media, but here is 'Cannabis Gran' speaks out at London Rally by Jason Parkinson from greatreporter.com.
This Sunday May 15th you are cordially invited to attend, and be involved in A Cannabis Education March & Rally. Assemble 13:00 in Russel Square, London WC1. The Entheogen Defence Fund will also be joining in the proceedings:-)
John Holowach is making a film called High: The True Tale of American Marijuana, which is due out in January 2006.
There is a BBC article about the dangers of addiction to email and text messages - the headline is Infomania worse than marijuana.
The "Drugs Act 2005" gained "Royal Assent" in the UK on 2005-04-07. The previous day, Paul Flynn (Newport, West)(Lab) said of it:
This Bill was conceived in prejudice, written in ignorance and is being enacted with incompetence. Those who are supporting it will come to rue the day when this piece of legislative garbage went through the House.
The 7th Annual Cannabis Carnival March will now take place on Sunday 15th May. Marching to a Rally in Central London. This follows the ban by Lambeth Council of the 2005 Cannabis festival in Brockwell Park.
Meanwhile, Tynedale's cannabis-cooking granny Patricia Tabram is bidding to become an MP.
It seems like Lambeth Council is violating it's own rules in an attempt to stop the annual Cannabis Festival from happening this year in Brockwell Park.
The "War on Drugs" claims thousands of lives every year in the United States. Each year, the U.S. government spends over $30 billion on the drug war and arrests 1.5 million American citizens on drug-related charges. There are now nearly half a million Americans imprisoned for drug offences. The official claim is that drug prohibition deters drug use, reduces crime, and improves public health. But is this claim valid? This is the subject Jeffrey A. Miron's book Drug War Crimes.
I just signed this petition to "Prevent the Unjust Banning of Psilocybe Fungi".
Drugs-Forum seems like a good place to discuss all aspects of recreational drug use.
The HempFarm is a nonprofit, education based organisation dedicated to feeding and fuelling the world with cheap, nontoxic renewable resources that can be grown all over the planet.
A friend of mine is one of the many entrepreneurs who have been cashing in on the booming mushroom business and he now has a rather cool website at Magic Dragon. Two years ago the Home Office sent out a letter advising that the selling of fresh Psilocybe mushrooms did not contravene the Misuse of Drugs Act but now it seems they are attempting to crack down on the trade - see Trip Over? from today's Guardian. In the article, Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West is quoted as saying "The effect of magic mushrooms is minor compared to other drugs". I am not sure which other drugs he is talking about but I would certainly not describe the effect of mushrooms as minor! It depends on the dose, but 10g of the sclerotia from Psilocybe mexicana are sufficient to transport me to an alternative reality for about five hours. Cannabis is an excellent drug but to me mushrooms are clearly the more serious proposition - of course this is an argument for legalising cannabis, not criminalising mushrooms!
In February 1988 Harper's Magazine published a piece about the 1987 Iran-contra investigation. This was basically a transcript of a discussion held at the New School for Social Research in New York City, with Harper's editor Lewis Lapham moderating. It was posted today at Harpers.org - check it out if you are interested in the history of CIA cocaine dealing etc.
When I visited Fairbanks in the late 80's (to attend a Plasma Physics conference at the Geophysical Institute) I seem to remember people telling me that it had until recently been legal to grow your own marijuana in Alaska, but that the Federal Government had managed to fsck things up again. I have not been following the situation but I just noticed that the Alaska Supreme Court recently denied a petition by the state attorney general's office seeking to reconsider an earlier decision allowing personal marijuana in the home.
Former DEA agent Richard Horn has been fighting the U.S government for the past 10 years trying to prove the CIA spied on him as part of an effort to thwart his mission in Burma. Details from a sealed legal case have been leaked to Narco News.
Biz Ivol, who fought a court battle in a bid to use cannabis to ease the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis has died.
I just found the website of Judges Against the Drug War.
I remember on several occasions talking to people who seriously claimed that the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was nothing to do with hallucinogens. I was never able to prove that it was - it just seemed glaringly obvious. Now Sir Paul has authoritatively confirmed it for us!
I was looking at The Good Drugs Guide, and found and an interesting Mushroom FAQ. I was interested to see what they had to say about the legal situation in the UK. The answer to one question confirmed my understanding that fresh mushrooms are legal. However, the answer to a related question stated that only fresh Psilocybe Semilanceata are legal in the UK because they are the only indigenous variety of 'magic mushroom'. This bears further investigation, because I know that a lot of people are obtaining other varieties mail order from the Netherlands.
On a lighter note, there is a nice Flash Intro on the EveryoneDoesIT website.
Heavy rain has forced postponement of the 6th Annual Cannabis March, which will now take place on 2004-06-05.
The Sixth Annual London March and Festival to re-legalise cannabis is to take place on 2004-05-08 - see the festival website.
On 2004-02-24 the DEA issued Dr. Mithoefer a Schedule 1 license for his MAPS sponsored MDMA/PTSD study. This is the first study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy approved in the United States since MDMA was criminalised over 18 years ago.
Apparently the opium industry in Afghanistan has blossomed since the overthrow of the Taliban, and last year 75% of the world's opium was produced there. The BBC reported recently on a UN call for action.
The imprisonment of Tommy Chong has acted as a new focus for marijuana freedom fighters - Chong Backed by Tokin' Resistance.
This page was originally about cannabis but it has been difficult to maintain the focus because the humble herb is held hostage to the geo-political monster known as the War on Drugs. So to broaden things out a bit I would like to announce that Narco News is back - "reporting on the drug war and democracy from Latin America".
In the case of a Lincolnshire man who shot his neighbour following an argument over a hedge and then hanged himself a week later in his prison cell, coroner Roger Atkinson made some astonishingly stupid statements. Apparently Robert Dickenson had a high level of alcohol in his blood when he gunned down George Wilson but the coroner bizarrely blames it on the cannabis he was growing in his attic! Not only does this coroner believe that cannabis is an addictive drug, but he seems to have completely dismissed the role of alcohol which, in contrast to cannabis, is often associated with aggressive behaviour. What a wally!
As to whether cannabis is actually addictive there is no clear cut answer. From my own personal experience I would say that cannabis is mildly habit forming, like chocolate for example. It is certainly not addictive in the sense that caffeine and nicotine clearly are.
While on the subject of mis-information, this page at freevibe.com states that "sixty percent of [US] teenagers in drug treatment programs are there because of marijuana". Only because tens of thousands are being coerced into treatment programs for marijuana use every year despite not having any serious drug problem.
Contrary to many rumours, the reclassification of cannabis in the UK from class B to class C has not yet occurred, the latest estimate is that it will now take place on 2004-01-29. However, as explained in this useful UKCIA guide, reclassification will not in fact make a great deal of difference in practise.
I thought I should add a warning about the dangers of nicotine addiction. Last year I managed to give up all smoking for nine months but then made the mistake of smoking a joint and within a week I was back on cigarettes. I made another effort and have been off nicotine for over a month now so I would strongly advise following the recommendations of the UKCIA Toke Pure campaign - my favourite method of getting stoned is to drink Bhang Lassi. Of course some people manage to smoke tobacco based joints without also smoking cigarettes - but then again most of these people are either very stoned all the time or use such weak mixtures that they might as well be smoking roll-ups.
Thomas Jefferson once said that "the legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others" and Abraham Lincoln agreed when he said said "a prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded". So if I grow a herb in my own garden, for my own use, that has got to be OK right? Problem is that if the herbs happens to be Cannabis Sativa I could soon find government agents trying to take away my freedom. So perhaps Tommy and Abe got it all wrong - can we appeal to a higher authority? Well, for Christians it is easy, they just have to look in the Bible where in Genesis 1.29 of the King James version we see "And god said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed" and then in Genesis 1.31 "And god saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good". I don't invest the Bible with any special authority but common sense tells leads me to the same conclusion - how can nature be illegal? Here are a few links:
www.zenatode.org.uk Ian Gregory 2010