Cannabis social clubs are nothing new in Europe. They have been registered in Spain AND Belgium and have operated to good effect. Offering a modicum of control over who has access to safe cannabis supplies, which prohibition just doesn't achieve.
And now a similar model has made its way to New Zealand, where well known kiwi cannabis activist Dakta Green is planning on opening the first consumers club in Hamilton.
Members clubs could play their part in reducing harms associated with contaminated cannabis, AS WELL as reducing the amounts of people buying illicit drugs. This works.
|Cannabis Social Clubs
In short a group of people come together under the auspices of a 'private members club'. They club together to buy all of the provisions necessary to ensure a happy, healthy crop of cannabis buds.
This includes any lights used, ventilation equipment, plus of course, the cannabis seeds which will be grown.
|The resulting crop is harvested and shared out amongst the members of the club and at face value its easy to see how many users such a blue-print could remove from the illicit drugs market place. Rocket science, its not!|
If a club has 100 registered members that is 100 less people scoring illicit drugs in a given geographical region.
Spread across an entire country it could have a significant impact in the war against drugs.
More than a dozen cannabis law reform activists were in Hamilton yesterday gathering signatures for a petition asking Parliament to "stop all cannabis arrests".
Tour leader Dakta Green said cannabis smoking clubs were designed to educate people about how to use cannabis responsibly.
"The rules are very clear" he told reporters. "It's an R18 gathering and no alcohol, drugs or dealing is allowed."
Be that as it may, cannabis social clubs are actually illegal, and for a scheme like this to work out some sort of liason would need to take place with the local police.
When asked for comments, Acting Waikato police communications manager Tony Sasso said officers would not attend any gathering unless an offence was brought to police's attention.
He said police had to prioritise resources "as we see fit".
Which is a great attitude to have. Perhaps if Dakta Green invites the local police chief to come and see for himself that its NOT just an excuse for a drug-fuelled 'ho-down', it could be a great bridge where police and cannabis users could communicate on an open platform.
Now wouldn't THAT be a worlds first from the worlds youngest country?
Good luck Dakta and everyone involved with NORML New Zealand.
Cannazine Cannabis News
A Canterbury man who suffered a brain haemorrhage after taking legal party pills has become the first recorded case of anyone suffering serious complications from the stimulant DMAA.
DMAA, or dimethylamylamine, is one of the main ingredients of new "BZP-free party pills", since BZP was banned in New Zealand in 2008.
There have been calls for many years for the makers and retailers of the pills, which mimic the effects of ecstasy and amphetamine, to prove they are safe before they can be sold.
The New Zealand Medical Journal, published this month, recorded the case of the unnamed 21-year-old, who took the recommended dose of two pills - each "99.9 percent DMAA" - along with a caffeine capsule and on top of one can of beer.
Wed, 22 Dec 2010
Police have closed down a "tinnie'' house, arrested 15 people and searched 77 houses in northern Christchurch today as part of a mass crackdown on the drug trade.
The operation, targeting cannabis dealers, began at 8am with 55 police including the armed offenders squad and dog teams taking part. Police said they found four houses where cannabis was being grown, one with video cameras and barricaded doors.
"I believe we have sent a significant message to the criminal fraternity in this area that their continued involvement in illegal activities will not go unchecked,'' Senior Sergeant Roy Appley said.
"At one address a bank book revealed about $35,000 in an account - which seemed at odds with the person's known lifestyle.''
Police also visited houses where they believed there to be a risk of family violence, and drink driving was also targeted.
Police say they have recovered cannabis and stolen property in an operation busting "tinnie houses'' in Christchurch today.
Senior Sergeant Roy Appley, Northern Sub Area Commander, said searches at 10 separate properties in suburbs mainly between New Brighton and Papanui began at 8am.
It was primarily targeting properties where cannabis was being cultivated and sold, he said.
Several arrests have been made and a quantity of drugs and drug paraphernalia seized.
It involved 55 staff from across the Canterbury district including the Armed Offenders Squad, Tactical Response and drug dogs, as well as general duties staff.
One "tinnie house'' in New Brighton had been busted where cannabis was being sold. The house was equipped with barricaded doors and security cameras.
"At a further four there was cultivation going on at various stages. At another three cannabis was found which has only resulted in possession charges,'' said Appley.
At one address, in the Woolston area, jewellery allegedly taken in an earlier "dishonesty offence'' had been recovered.
It was possible more material would be seized and more arrests made throughout the day, said Appley.
Police expect to search over 50 houses in northern Christchurch today as part of a mass crack-down on the drug trade there.
So far several arrests have been made, and drugs and paraphernalia seized and further raids are ongoing.
The operation, targeting cannabis dealers, began at 8am with 55 police including the Armed Offenders Squad and dog teams.
"This is a highly visible operation which is about holding offenders to account for what is normally termed the lower level of drug offending," Senior Sergeant Roy Appley said.
The offending was disturbing to communities and was often linked to more serious criminal activity, he said.
The Dutch government moved a step closer to barring tourists from Holland's signature marijuana bars with a ruling by the European Court of Justice on Thursday that the ban would not violate European laws.
The Luxembourg-based court said the southern Dutch city of Maastricht was within its rights when it briefly banned non-Dutch residents from its soft drugs dens in 2005.
The policy aimed at curbing problems by so-called drug tourists who flock to the city from nearby Belgium and Germany. The visitors have a reputation for rowdiness, creating havoc on the roads and in the city's narrow medieval lanes.
?While marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, it has been sold openly for decades in designated cafes, known as "coffee shops." Police make no arrests for possession of small amounts.
However, the new conservative government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte is planning to make the coffee shops members-only clubs, aiming to shut out tourists.
A former minister who once had responsibility for Britain's narcotics policy said on Thursday all drugs should be decriminalised, arguing that prohibition and the war on narcotics had been a failure.
Bob Ainsworth said he had changed his mind on his issue during his period as a Labour minister at the Home Office because of the futility of the policy of trying to outlaw drugs but had not wanted to speak out while he was still in government.
However, the Conservative-led coalition government has ruled out making any changes to the law.
"The war on drugs does not work. We need to be bold, we need some fresh thinking," Ainsworth, who was also Defence Secretary in the former Labour government, told BBC radio.
Cannabis growers feeling the heat
Hot weather and lack of water in Northland is causing a headache for cannabis growers.
All areas north of the Auckland harbour bridge have been declared a medium-level drought zone.
Northland police organised crime squad boss Detective Sergeant Mike Blowers told the Northern Advocate newspaper growers could be driven indoors so their crops would not been affected by the heat.
Last year's annual police operation netted 48,769 marijuana plants - nearly 19,000 down on 2008 - which police attributed to the drought.
This year could be worse for cannabis growers.
Eight people have been arrested after a large police bust of a Christchurch retailer allegedly selling the banned Class C drug BZP disguised as a legal herbal product.
Police found thousands of capsules believed to contain BZP (benzylpiperazine), as well as stolen property which may have been traded for the supply of the drug, Detective Sergeant Chris Roberts said.
About 50 police officers executed 10 search warrants for a central Christchurch retail shop, three lock-up storage units and several dwellings.
Eight people face various drug possession and supply charges and will appear in the Christchurch District Court over the next few days.
Brotherly love was in question when a man stopped for allegedly selling drugs at a Hamilton shopping mall gave his brother's address leading police to an indoor cannabis growing operation.
The man gave false details after being questioned about his activities at the shopping centre.
Police later realised that the man was wanted for breaching bail conditions and when they went to the Chartwell house found four mature cannabis plants and about 150 seedlings in the property's garage.