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The Government has legalised medicinal cannabis, but many multiple sclerosis patients allowed to use the commercial form of the drug will have difficulty paying for it, says Multiple Sclerosis Society national director Rosie Gallagher.
"It's something we've been watching for a while, and it's exciting to hear that its been approved we'd just love to see it subsidised."
British drug manufacturer, GW Pharmaceuticals has been given approval to distribute cannabis extracts in New Zealand as a branded drug, Sativex.
In its application to Medsafe, GW Pharmaceuticals said that in therapeutic doses, Sativex sprayed under the tongue may produce side-effects "interpreted as a euphoria or cannabis-like high".
But Government drug funding agency Pharmac said nobody had applied to have the drug subsidised.
US and Mexican police have discovered a tunnel used to smuggle drugs across the California-Mexico border and seized some 25 tonnes of marijuana.
The tunnel, equipped with ventilation, lighting and a pulley system, was 550m (1,800ft) long but just waist high.
Police said it connected a warehouse on the US side with one in Tijuana, the main gateway for drugs into California.
Mexican cartels have dug scores of border tunnels, although many of those detected had not been finished.
The latest tunnel was discovered after US agents patrolling near the border crossing in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego pulled over a tractor trailer that had left a warehouse under surveillance.
Agents found some 10 tonnes of marijuana on the vehicle, while another 10 to 15 tonnes were seized in a subsequent raid on the building. A US citizen and his Mexican wife were arrested.
"This wasn't a mom-and-pop operation, or, in this case, a husband and wife operation," said John Morton, director of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
"This is clearly organised crime at work. This was the cartels."
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"This is old Dutch skunk…it gets you medium stoned."
Jason den Enting, the general manager of the Dampkring chain of coffee shops in Amsterdam, is giving me his sales patter.
"It's a little bit physical, makes you relaxed…"
His enthusiasm is obvious, but beneath it he is worried.
The traditional Dutch tolerance of the sale of small amounts of marijuana through licensed "coffee shops" is under severe strain.
Coffee shops emerged in the mid 1970s. The idea was to create a safe environment for adults to smoke cannabis but other illegal substances were banned.
They have actually been under pressure since the 1990s, mainly from licensing laws.
At their peak there were around 1,200 but the total currently stands at 700.
Alcohol is a more dangerous drug than both crack and heroin when the combined harms to the user and to others are assessed, British scientists said.
Presenting a new scale of drug harm that rates the damage to users themselves and to wider society, the scientists rated alcohol the most harmful overall and almost three times as harmful as cocaine or tobacco.
According to the scale, devised by a group of scientists including Britain's Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) and an expert adviser to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), heroin and crack cocaine rank as the second and third most harmful drugs.
Ecstasy is only an eighth as harmful as alcohol, according to the scientists' analysis.
Professor David Nutt, chairman of the ISCD, whose work was published in the Lancet medical journal, said the findings showed that ``aggressively targeting alcohol harms is a valid and necessary public health strategy''.
He said they also showed that current drug classification systems had little relation to the evidence of harm.
Alcohol and tobacco are legal for adults in Britain and many other countries, while drugs such as ecstasy and cannabis and LSD are often illegal and carry the threat of prison sentences.
``It is intriguing to note that the two legal drugs assessed _ alcohol and tobacco _ score in the upper segment of the ranking scale, indicating that legal drugs cause at least as much harm as do illegal substances,'' Nutt, who was formerly head of the influential British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), said in a statement about the study.
Northland police fear they're heading into a boom marijuana season and have issued a guide on how to spot growers.
It includes strange lights at night, opening and closing curtains and the odd stink.
Northland Organised Crime Unit Detective Pepe Reihana says growers suffered last year in long dry summer and may this year be making up with extra covert crops.
With the season getting underway, Mr Reihana has listed things to watch for, especially in rural areas:
- strange vehicles driving up and down the road or parked on the roadside;
- unusual lights in the bush at night; items such as fencing equipment and possum traps going missing;
- curtains being closed frequently;
- unusual odours coming from houses;
KRONIC CONCERN: Cannabis substitute Kronic is being sold in Invercargill shops. Inset, Southland Times editor Fred Tulett tests a Kronic pre-rolled joint this week.
Southland police have sought top-level advice about a cannabis substitute that is being sold in Invercargill shops and getting city schoolchildren stoned.
Southland police area commander Inspector Barry Taylor, who this week expressed concern about the product called Kronic, said yesterday he had referred the matter to police national headquarters in Wellington.
"We are taking some advice from them in respect of what the substance is and what the legalities are surrounding the substance, and if there are regulations around the sale of it."
Police national headquarters would consult with the Health Ministry about the Kronic product, he said.
20, October 2010
The temporary Daktory set up in Dunedin last night as part of the Canna Bus Armistice Tour 2010, was declared a resounding success by everyone involved and turned out to be the largest mobile Daktory set up as part of the tour so far. About 100 people filled the OUSA Mojo's Hall between 7-11pm, with about 50-60 people in the place at one time during the peak, which included the smoking of an elaborately constructed oversize joint. A live broadcast was also conducted as part of the Armistice Tour programme, it can be viewed here.
The results of last night clearly show the demand for a full-time Daktory in Dunedin exists, so lets hope this shows some entrepreneurial individual how easy and successful it can be and we'll see a Dunedin Daktory in no time.
The DAKTORY tonight is now at mojo's on lieth street off of albany street near the clubs and societies centre, were all use to the cold dont sit at home pop dwn and hang out with the crew. the daktory will be up and running. plz no booze drugs. BUDZ ONLY all welcome.
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... at least temporarily
Come catch Mary Jane the CannaBus and the mobile Daktory this Tuesday, October 19th, at the Mojo's Hall
View Mojo's in a larger map
CENSORSHIP @ MOTHRAS
OUSA has for the first time ever banned an entry from the Mothra student film competition!!!
here is the clip they don't want you to see...
they thinks it makes a mockery of OUSA, but they do a pretty good job on their own