cannabisnews.com: Easing of Marijuana Laws Angers Many Britons





Easing of Marijuana Laws Angers Many Britons
Posted by CN Staff on August 11, 2002 at 21:54:59 PT
By Sarah Lyall
Source: New York Times 
At the run-down Stockwell housing project here, the potheads were complaining about the smackheads."Right down there, I saw a guy injecting a girl into her neck," said James Haind, 28, his indignation wrapped in a cloud of smoke. Hanging out recently at the project's skateboard park with his friends, their skateboards and their stashes of weed, he offered himself as living proof that marijuana does not lead inevitably to harder drugs.
"A sensible, stable person will not turn to heroin," declared Mr. Haind, an out-of-work sign painter who estimates that he has been getting high for half his life. "That's for the more stupid people."That is just the message the government seems to have sent to Brixton, in South London, where a six-month experiment in loosening the national drug laws has just ended. The program pleased Brixton's smokers, and even the police. But it left many residents feeling that their neighborhood had turned into an open-air drug bazaar, where teenagers brazenly smoke on the street and dealers set up shop next to fruit sellers in the market, hissing "skunk weed, skunk weed" at pedestrians."People started smoking openly, whereas before they'd have their little hideaways," said the Rev. Chris Andre-Watson, pastor of the Brixton Baptist Church, who runs a mentoring program for teenage boys and says the drug experiment has left many youths "zombied out."Partly as a result of Brixton's trial, the government recently announced plans to downgrade the criminal penalties for smoking pot in a country where an estimated five million people are habitual users. Although the plan is an acknowledgment that drugs like heroin and cocaine are far more harmful than marijuana, the mixed reviews here raise a host of questions about loosening marijuana laws. Under the experiment, people caught smoking marijuana in Lambeth Borough, which includes Brixton, got off with warnings rather than arrests, leaving the police free to pursue more serious criminals. The police said it led to an overall decline in crime and saved much police time.Mr. Haind and his smoking companions were thrilled. "For me and my friends, it's all good  we don't have to worry about getting hassled if we want to smoke a little herb," said David Reading, 21, a would-be record producer just out of college.But others were angry at the way pot-selling and smoking had been thrust so clearly in the open.Ros Griffiths, director of the Employment Cafe, a job center and Internet coffee shop, said she was unsure what had offended her more: when a dealer grabbed a loudspeaker at the weekly farmer's market and yelled, "Come and get your weed here!"  or when a teenager sauntered through her door and sought advice on setting up a cannabis cafe."By the time I finished with him, he was suddenly put off the idea," she recalled grimly.Ms. Griffiths said she resented the way the drug experiment transformed Brixton, long the center of London's black population and now an increasingly vibrant multiracial community, into a magnet for drug use. "Suddenly people were thinking, `Yeah  let's go to Brixton and smoke cannabis!' " she said.Mr. Andre-Watson was waiting at a bus stop recently when a pair of teenagers lit up in front of an elderly lady. "I said, `Do you know that it's actually still illegal?' " the pastor recalled. "And they said, `Everbody's doing it, and no one's doing anything about it.' "He and other residents complained so bitterly about drug dealing that after negative newspaper stories, the police finally sent officers this month to clear the streets.But how long the stepped-up presence will persist is anybody's guess. When London as a whole relaxes its marijuana policy under the new legislation, people in Brixton are predicting that the open-air dealers will be back, at the busy subway station and up and down Coldharbour Lane.Indeed, until this week, there were dozens of opportunities to buy pot on a Brixton street crowded with families and stores. Few people were under the illusion that marijuana was the sole product being offered."It's not like people stand on one side of the street dealing cannabis, and on the other side they're dealing crack and cocaine," Ms. Griffiths said. "It's the same person."Trying to address that problem, the new drug law, whose passage by the Labor-controlled Parliament is a sure thing in the next legislative session, provides for increased penalties for pushing drugs, particularly hard drugs.That hardly affects the youths doing daredevil stunts on skateboards and BMX bikes at the skateboard park, who say they mostly grow their own pot anyway."We really don't see it as a drug at all," said Mr. Reading, helping himself to a fat joint filled with skunk, a souped-up form of marijuana. The drug helps him find his skateboarding groove, he said."It's not a dis  what's the word?  well, I still have my balance," he explained. "Although sometimes days go by  and before you know it a week's gone by, and you haven't done anything you're supposed to do, like get a job."Ashley Finnegan, 30, a nursery school teacher who lives in the Stockwell housing project, said she far prefers the stoned guys at the skating park to the alcoholics and addicts along her hallway. She grows pot at home and smokes a joint or two a night, although never in front of her 4-year-old son, she said."Alcoholics in this area are far more likely to be abusive, to be begging on the streets," she said. "If anything, pot mellows people down."Mr. Haind, the sign painter, agreed. "There'd be a full-scale riot here if we weren't all stoned," he said.Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Sarah LyallPublished: August 12, 2002Copyright: 2002 The New York Times Company Contact: letters nytimes.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Related Articles:Pot Users Relax with New Lawhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread13410.shtml Britain To Let Pot Smokers Off Lightlyhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread13384.shtmlHash On The High Street http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread13382.shtmlBritain Loosens Up on Pot http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread13367.shtml 
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Comment #22 posted by Patrick on August 12, 2002 at 18:04:03 PT
Keep on Trucking!
I think that the "hippy" connection to this phrase, Keep On Trucking, actually originated with the artwork of Robert Crumb. He is one weird dude but amazingly gifted. The following link shows an original work from 1970:http://www.vividvision.com/crumb.htmlThe Convoy movie and the C.W. McCall song of the same name came out later. http://www.techren.net/mccall/works/blackbearroad/Anyway trucks have been around longer than either Crumb or McCall and are most often used to transport our favorite buds across the USA! 
We got us a trucking covoy. This here's the Rubber Duck putting the hammer down! I think I still have the soundtrack to the movie on vinyl somewhere. Did I just admit to that? 10-4 but I prefer 4-20.
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on August 12, 2002 at 16:16:10 PT
druid
Thank you for the article. I didn't name you Newshawk because I don't know how to be fair about it. I received an email submission for the article too and I thought it was best to not name a Newshawk rather then feel like I was slighting anyone. I hope you understand. This is a tough job sometimes trying to be fair but I do try.
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Comment #20 posted by Industrial Strength on August 12, 2002 at 14:41:56 PT
good link
druid. I wish an essay like that would appear in the New York Times or similar publication.
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Comment #19 posted by Industrial Strength on August 12, 2002 at 14:23:00 PT
souped up
Yea, skunk is weed on steroids. To quote the best American author ever: "Bloomquist writes like somebody who once bearded Tim Leary in a campus cocktail lounge and paid for all the drinks. And it was probably somebody like Leary who told him, with a straight face, that sunglasses are known in the drug culture as 'tea shades'."I will pick up that book and just open it to any page and read a few pages, chapters...Good God is it funny.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on August 12, 2002 at 13:24:28 PT
Dankhank
These articles were archived because of problems with space on the front page. I hope this helps. I'm dodging thunder storms and am not on line much at the moment until they pass.http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread13716.shtml#16
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Comment #17 posted by canaman on August 12, 2002 at 13:16:54 PT
"What's that smell I think I'm smellin'?...
really would like to know. That ain't gas, that ain't fire, that's that stuff that'll get cha high...oh keep on truckin' mama truck my blues away." circa 1972 Hot Tuna...I think I got the words right. R.Crumb drew the truckin' dudes in 1969. I remember the posters well and also the comix avaliable at your favorite head shop. Keep on keepin' on......
Keep on truckin'
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Comment #16 posted by TroutMask on August 12, 2002 at 13:06:45 PT
Keep on Truckin
...created by Robert Crumb, author/artist of Mr. Natural and much more: http://www.stat.pitt.edu/~stoffer/Crumb.html.I recommend the video "Crumb", a documentary about Robert Crumb. Sort of strange/disturbing, but interesting.-TM
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Comment #15 posted by Ethan Russo MD on August 12, 2002 at 13:01:16 PT:
Truckin'
Truckin' was a dance introduced at the Cotton Club in Harlem in the early '30's. As I said, most of the '60's lingo was rejuvenated from the jive of the early vipers. Either way, it's cool.
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Comment #14 posted by Dankhank on August 12, 2002 at 12:55:40 PT:
Where is it?
BTW, FOM, I am still trying to get thread 13722 when I come into CN.If I manually insert a 2 where the 1 is in thread 13721 I can read the page, but no amount of refreshing will bring 17322 onto the top of your front page ...
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Comment #13 posted by Dankhank on August 12, 2002 at 12:51:25 PT:
Oh yes it is ...
"Keep on Truckin'" is from the underground comics and specifically from "Mr. Natural," the kinky font of wisdom in those comics.See the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and you will encounter that sage.How dare you think that "Convoy" invented that term ...:-)Peace, and love to all:-)
Hemp N Stuff ...
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Comment #12 posted by p4me on August 12, 2002 at 12:26:35 PT
Keep on trucking
Keep on trucking is not a hippy phrase and was popular only in the early 70's when the Convoy movies and the trucking songs were popular. I always thought the term "wicked" would make a comeback and am all but suprised that you don't hear the term "Wicked weed" to what might now be called killer pot.We had a long thread a few months ago about drug arrest at concerts. There is a news article up at MAP talking about 269 county citations for simple possession of MJ at the recent Grateful Dead concert: http://www.jsonline.com/news/Metro/aug02/65643.asp1,2
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Comment #11 posted by goneposthole on August 12, 2002 at 11:09:23 PT
Thank you, Dr. Russo
I appreciate it.
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Comment #10 posted by John Tyler on August 12, 2002 at 11:06:50 PT
Leagalization: First 100 Years
So drug prohibition is a failed, radical, social experiment, based on racism, greed and ignorance, a kind of historical aberration. 
Protect us from zealous "do gooders" with a cause.
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Comment #9 posted by druid on August 12, 2002 at 10:20:18 PT:
Legalisation: The First Hundred Years
Centre for Drug Research, University of AmsterdamLegalisation: The First Hundred Years
What happened when drugs were legal and why they were prohibited 
by Mike JayToday, as the notion of legalising drugs is making its way into the mainstream political agenda for the first time in living memory, one of the most common objections to it is that it represents a high-risk experiment whose outcome cannot be accurately modelled or predicted. Yet within the context of history, the opposite is true: it is the prohibition of drugs which is the bold experiment without precedent. A hundred years ago, any of us could have walked into our high street chemist and bought cannabis or cocaine, morphine or heroin over the counter. At this point, mind-altering drugs had been freely available throughout history and across almost every culture, and their prohibition, pressed forward largely by the goal of eliminating alcohol from modern societies, was a radical break with the traditional wisdom of public policy.More...
Legalisation: The First Hundred Years
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Comment #8 posted by John Tyler on August 12, 2002 at 10:11:55 PT
Setting the tone
It's funny how you can set the tone for an article. Use a few unemployed slackers huddled between two run down building using cannabis to start an article and all users are tagged the same.  Start the same artilce with guys in an upscale apt. or the back seat of a limo. using cannabis and it seems so chic and fashionable. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on August 12, 2002 at 09:55:08 PT
Thanks p4me
I look at stats often to try to figure them out but I still don't understand them very well. We receive about 2,000 to say 2,700 front page hits a day and articles are viewed a lot. I just copied a few articles for this month to show activity. This is this month and only up to when it was updated not todays.   1003 /news/thread13635.shtml
    761 /news/thread13658.shtml
    724 /news/list/cannabis.shtml
    693 /news/thread13614.shtml
    686 /news/thread13652.shtml
    659 /news/thread13610.shtml
    651 /news/thread13661.shtml
    647 /news/thread13675.shtml
    632 /news/thread13700.shtml
    628 /news/thread13644.shtml
    
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Comment #6 posted by p4me on August 12, 2002 at 09:38:36 PT
pot-tv, RC, and stuff
On pot-tv with the Kubbys this Monday they read from a Cannabis Culture article on the Rogers situation. It was interesting because it showed communication from Australia and their response when the dogs were called in. And the bongwater and bubblebag materials have actually been applied to the Vancouver ferries along with cayenne pepper: http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/2568.htmlThey also had RC do a verbal interview and the file picture of the clock that always said 4:20 for the 4:20 Headline News was at 4:23. The picture of RC was blurry. But aside from the clock not being on 4:20, RC told of his Holland trip and talked of a writing tha has to be done on the cannabis situation in the UK. I look foward to that commentary.I want to congratulate the cannabisnews.com website for receiving over 80,000 hits on its statistics last Friday. Cannabisnews.com is also in the top 100,000 websites by traffic on the world wide web according to alexa.com. Here is the search result link- http://www.alexa.com/data/details?amzn_id=&url=cannabisnews.com The exact ranking is 90,074.Here are some more search results:
pot-tv.net      109,918
marijuana.com     41,962
marijuananews.com  167,871
yahooka.com      41,477
marihemp.com     37,460
cannabis.com     48,929
mapinc.org      18,317I would like to thank everyone for putting links up to C-news articles in the messageboards they participate in. One thing I had always hoped for was to have a group that is large enough to answer relevant questions. Like I really did want to know about hemp oil and hemp foods. A person can read about hempseed oil being the perfect mixture of fatty acids and an Omega-3 food, but until you read first hand accounts about its taste, about its utility, about its nutritional results it all sounds like just another compilation of words.So, thanks everyone for bringing in some new readers and talking the talk across the internet.1,2
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Comment #5 posted by Ethan Russo MD on August 12, 2002 at 06:49:42 PT:
Cannabis and Coma
Cannabis has not been used much in coma, to my knowledge. However, a cannabinoid analogue, dexanabinol, or HU211, is in Phase 3 trials in head injury and stroke. Check it out on the PubMed site.There is no reason that cannabis or cannabis extracts, being neuroprotective as well, would not display the same benefits in reducing cell death after insults. This research will likely take place in the UK in the next couple of years, but not here.Unfortunately, there are many causes of coma, and there are some where even cannabis would not likely help, especially if it is too far after the fact.
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Comment #4 posted by goneposthole on August 12, 2002 at 06:43:06 PT
Question for Dr. Russo, off topic
I know I can do a search, however, I will ask Dr. Russo, first.Dr. Russo, has cannabis or cannabis extracts been used on people who are in comas?
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on August 12, 2002 at 05:51:26 PT
what a complete load of crap
This is like a blast from the past! This could easily have been an article in New Orleans in 1950 about the Jim Crow laws being rolled back. "An young Negro man looked an elderly woman RIGHT IN THE EYE! Another refused to step off the curb into the mud when 2 elderly ladies walked by! We interviewed the man, a 19 year old jazz musician and half-time house painter"I've been wondering who all the "residents" are that keep popping up in headlines as "questioning" or "complaining" about the new laws, when 85% of the people in Brixton support the law. Well, trust the NY Times to find them - the only one they mentioned was a priest. Perhaps if they legalized boy-touching he might be in a better mood.Oh wait, the other prude-ish freak was a job counselor. She's so right, it's much better for the young to be in jail than getting jobs. Much better for kids that find they enjoy the herb to think that makes them outcasts, instead of following the motivation to start their own business in a field they love.I eagerly await more NY Times articles on people "questioning" successful drug reform in Nevada, DC, Ohio, and elsewhere!
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on August 12, 2002 at 05:51:26 PT
what a complete load of crap
This is like a blast from the past! This could easily have been an article in New Orleans in 1950 about the Jim Crow laws being rolled back. "An young Negro man looked an elderly woman RIGHT IN THE EYE! Another refused to step off the curb into the mud when 2 elderly ladies walked by! We interviewed the man, a 19 year old jazz musician and half-time house painter"I've been wondering who all the "residents" are that keep popping up in headlines as "questioning" or "complaining" about the new laws, when 85% of the people in Brixton support the law. Well, trust the NY Times to find them - the only one they mentioned was a priest. Perhaps if they legalized boy-touching he might be in a better mood.Oh wait, the other prude-ish freak was a job counselor. She's so right, it's much better for the young to be in jail than getting jobs. Much better for kids that find they enjoy the herb to think that makes them outcasts, instead of following the motivation to start their own business in a field they love.I eagerly await more NY Times articles on people "questioning" successful drug reform in Nevada, DC, Ohio, and elsewhere!
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Comment #1 posted by CorvallisEric on August 11, 2002 at 23:07:42 PT
Fraud at Polls
That was his newspaper's headline when Charles Foster Kane lost the election (movie Citizen Kane). There probably could have been some fraud, being 1920's New York (not sure of either the decade or city) but I'll bet the story didn't justify the headline. 3/4 century later and they still run newspapers like that, even more reputable ones.
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