to Green Kingdom's Home on the Web. We have been working hard to
redevelop this site to make it better than ever. It's roughly
half done but, since the old site no longer functioned correctly, we
thought we would put the new site up now, so you can see
what's coming. When our new ecommerce solutions are in
place, all of the products you see here will be in stock at the
store. Those that know us are aware that we have far more than
you see here. But, that doesn't mean that everything you see here
is in stock.... YET! (Many more products will be added to this
site, and the store, in coming weeks.)
Our home page will feature significant, up-to-the-minute cannabis news, world-wide. Here's some recent news.
Prosecutors take a tough line on cannabis supplied to relieve pain (07/17/2006)
· Up to 30% of MS sufferers estimated to use drug
· Four linked to support groups face charges
By Clare Dyer, legal editor, The Guardian
UK - Prosecutors are taking a firm line on the supply of cannabis for pain relief to people with chronically painful conditions such as multiple sclerosis, despite the downgrading of the drug from class B to class C. Two crown court trials, one starting this week and one next week, will accuse four individuals of supplying illegal drugs through the organisations Bud Buddies and THCforMS (Therapeutic Help from Cannabis for Multiple Sclerosis).
THCforMS says on its website that it has supplied 33,000 bars of cannabis chocolate to bona fide MS sufferers over the last five years. Mark Gibson, Lezley Gibson and Marcus Davies of THCforMS face a charge of conspiracy to supply cannabis in a trial that begins next Wednesday at Carlisle crown court.
Bud Buddies offered a number of cannabis preparations including cannabis cream for topical application to anyone with a proven medical need. It's founder, Jeffrey Ditchfield, faces nine charges of cultivation and supply of cannabis, including a charge of supplying a cannabis plant received by John Reid, now home secretary, in November 2005. His trial starts on July 24 at Mold crown court. All four face maximum sentences of 14 years in prison.
Estimates suggest that between 10% and 30% of MS sufferers in Europe use cannabis to alleviate the pain and distressing symptoms of the disease. Many say it alleviates their symptoms where ordinary prescription drugs have failed. Few medicines are effective for treating MS, which affects around 85,000 people in the UK.
MS patients say the prosecutions, if successful, will close down this route to help, while the government drags its heels on licensing a cannabis-based drug. Sativex, a cannabis-derived medicine which can be sprayed under the tongue, has been available in Canada since 2001. In March 2003, GW Pharmaceuticals submitted a product licence application for Sativex to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). But, despite evidence in small-scale clinical trials that the cannabis derivative THC relieves pain, no licence has been forthcoming. A three-year trial to test whether cannabis derivatives slow the progress of MS as well as alleviating symptoms is just getting under way.
The Home Office announced last November that the drug could be imported and prescribed by doctors on a "named patient" basis while still unlicensed but few patients who have asked for it have been able to get it, according to a survey by Disability Now.
A cannabis-using MS sufferer who asked not to be named said her request to be prescribed Sativex had been turned down. "I find it inconceivable that the CPS sees these prosecutions as in the public interest when there is still no legal way for the people who are helped by cannabis to obtain and use it," she added.
The British Medical Association said in a 1997 report: "While research is under way the police, the courts and prosecuting authorities should be aware of the medicinal reasons for the unlawful use of cannabis by those suffering from certain medical conditions for whom other drugs have proved ineffective."
But the Crown Prosecution Service has continued to prosecute both users and suppliers of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Some have been convicted. But others were found not guilty after successfully raising the defence of "necessity", which allows an illegal act to avert a greater harm - in their cases, severe pain.
Those acquitted included a man with spinal injuries who set up a medical marijuana cooperative, and a doctor who supplied her daughter, whose illness was not specified.
But the appeal court closed off the defence of necessity last year, ruling in six test cases that it did not apply to the use of cannabis to relieve chronic pain.
Fremont City Council bans medical pot dispensaries (07/16/2006)
Officials cite crime incidents, federal law for closures
By Chris De Benedetti, STAFF WRITER, InsideBayArea.com
FREMONT, CALIFORNIA — City officials say they want to show compassion toward patients who use marijuana for medical reasons. But, crime woes experienced by pot dispensaries throughout Alameda County in recent years persuaded the City Council to ban them in Fremont last week. The unanimous vote came about 21/2months before the city's moratorium on the establishment of dispensaries expires Sept. 28. No member of the public spoke against the city's position at the meeting.
"Robberies, drug dealings, burglaries, deaths — all kinds of problems have followed (dispensaries)," Fremont police Chief Craig Steckler said. "Just look into what has happened in Hayward, Berkeley and (unincorporated) Alameda County."
Recent serious crimes related to pot clubs include an incident in June 2005 in which a masked gunman at the Collective Cannabis Club in Cherryland opened fire on a dispensary employee's car. About a month later, six people were tied up in a Hayward pot club during an armed robbery, and two burglaries occurred at nearby dispensaries in October.
Dozens of marijuana clubs have opened across the Bay Area, with 13 operating in Alameda County, since state voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996.
The voter initiative allowed the seriously ill to use marijuana for medical reasons when recommended by a doctor. In addition, state legislators in 2003 established California's Medical Marijuana Program through Senate Bill 420, which set up a system for patients and caregivers to receive ID cards to protect them from arrest for possessing or using the drug.
But, while nearly 25 cities and five counties statewide allow medical marijuana clubs, even cities such as San Francisco, where about 30 dispensaries operate, are starting to set limits. Also citing neighbors' fear of crime, the San Francisco Planning Commission on Thursday rejected a pot club's bid to open near Fisherman's Wharf.
"One of the difficulties is that the laws were poorly written," Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman said. "They invite misuse and invite ways to sell marijuana to anyone that wants it — not necessarily just to people with medical uses."
No Medical Cannabis at Fishermans Wharf (07/15/2006)
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
SAN FRANCISCO - Marijuana cannot be sold alongside the cracked crab and souvenirs of Fishermans Wharf, the San Francisco Planning Commission decided late Thursday.
On a vote of 4 to 2, the commission denied the Green Cross, one of scores of cannabis clubs authorized to dispense medical marijuana to patients who have a doctors prescription, a permit for a storefront near the wharf, a popular tourist destination.
The owners of the Green Cross said they would appeal, despite strong opposition to their proposal from merchants of Fishermans Wharf and neighborhood residents.
Dwight S. Alexander, the commissions president, said tourism had been an issue in the voting, but not the only issue. It wasnt an appropriate location, Mr. Alexander said. There are several youth facilities nearby.
Another commissioner, Michael J. Antonini, said he had voted against a permit because the neighborhood was adamantly opposed to the dispensary while supporters were attempting to locate a club where none of the users live.
Adults Have Privacy Right to Use Marijuana in the Home, Says Alaska Judge in Landmark Ruling (7/11/2006)
ACLU Wins Multi-Year Battle to Protect Alaska Residents From Drug War Excesses
JUNEAU — In a landmark ruling, an Alaska state court judge has upheld adults' right to possess and use small amounts of marijuana within their homes. The American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law, said the ruling confirmed that the state constitution protects adults who use and possess marijuana in their homes from police surveillance, searches, arrest and prosecution.
"The drug war has wreaked havoc on the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, but fortunately many state constitutions still shield individuals from drug war excess," said Allen Hopper, an attorney with the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. "This ruling is incredibly significant from a national perspective, because there are a number of states with similar privacy rights in their constitutions that may afford protections to adult marijuana users."
With the court's ruling, Alaska remains the only state in the nation in which adults are legally free to possess and use small amounts of marijuana within their homes.
"The state of Alaska has charted a different course from that of the federal government's failed policy on marijuana," said Michael MacLeod-Ball, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alaska. "This ruling affirms Alaska's commitment to fundamental privacy rights over reefer madness."
The ACLU filed suit against the State of Alaska after it passed a law earlier this year that would have re-criminalized adult use and possession of small amounts of marijuana within the home. Since 1975, the Alaska Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the state constitution's privacy provisions protect adults' possession of small amounts of marijuana in the home, and the state court's ruling relied in part on those decisions. A similar law was proposed in 2005 by Governor Frank Murkowski, but failed to pass following testimony by international, national and state scientific experts that adult use of marijuana is no more dangerous today than it was in 1975.
In the 1975 ruling, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in Ravin v. State that the state constitution's right to privacy protects adults who use and possess marijuana within the home from criminal prosecution.
Judge Patricia Collins of the Juneau Superior Court relied on the Ravin decision to reaffirm that the relatively minor dangers associated with adult possession and use of small amounts of marijuana within the home do not justify government surveillance and searches of homes or criminal prosecution. Her ruling was issued late yesterday.
The State of Alaska argued that since the 1975 Ravin decision, marijuana has become more potent and dangerous, justifying a revisiting of the Supreme Court's previous ruling. Judge Collins disagreed, stating in her opinion that the "[Ravin] decision is law until and unless the supreme court takes contrary action."
The ruling is online at: www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/decrim/26112lgl20060711.html
The ACLU's legal papers are available at: www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/decrim/26060lgl20060630.html
Additional background information on ACLU of Alaska v. State of Alaska can also be found at: www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/decrim/26076prs20060630.html
Medical Cannabis opinion poll & Stanlake murder enquiry show need for law change (7/11/2006)
The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) today welcomed the release of an opinion poll by TV3 and TNS that show two out of three Kiwis support allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis, while pointing to the Stanlake murder enquiry as a tragic example of a medical user drawn into a world of prohibition-related violence.
"By many accounts, Mr Stanlake sounded like a decent, community-minded chap who also happened to use cannabis medically to help treat his back pain," said NORML spokesperson Chris Fowlie. "He should have been able to safely access medical cannabis without having to consort with violent thugs."
"Perhaps if the Green Party's medicinal cannabis bill, now before parliament, was law this tragedy might have been avoided. Certainly, if there was no prohibition there would be no crime or violence surrounding the cannabis trade."
TV3's poll showed that 63% of respondents support allowing a doctor to prescribe cannabis to their patients.
Support was even among Labour and National voters, indicating widespread community support for the proposal.
A poll of doctors by the Green Party in 2003 revealed:
One in five Kiwi doctors knew they had patients using cannabis medicinally;
47 per cent had patients who had discussed the option of using cannabis;
32 per cent would consider prescribing legal medicinal cannabis products;
30 per cent indicated they should be able to prescribe it.
For more information, please see Norml New Zealand's website: norml.org.nz/medical
Medical pot club at Fisherman's Wharf tests new city law (7/12/2006)
JORDAN ROBERTSON, Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Fisherman's Wharf is home to cable cars, postcard views of Alcatraz and the scent of sourdough. And now the fragrance of fresh marijuana?
City planners are considering whether to issue a permit for a medical marijuana dispensary in the heart of the city's tourist hub, despite outrage from neighbors and businesses. The Planning Commission is scheduled to vote Thursday, and some have vowed to appeal any permit the city grants.
''The wharf is San Francisco's Disneyland,'' said Rodney Fong, president of the Fisherman's Wharf Merchants Association. ''About half the people who come are with kids, and the things they are looking for are family attractions - sea lions, dining. So a marijuana dispensary doesn't really match the market we have.''
The Green Cross is the first cannabis club to seek a permit under strict guidelines the city adopted in November to curb street crime around its roughly 30 dispensaries and prevent sales to non-patients.
This left-leaning city quickly became a hub for cannabis clubs after voters in 1996 made California the first state to legalize medicinal marijuana. But the Fisherman's Wharf fight highlights difficulties in the 11 states that allow medical marijuana as they seek to regulate the drug without banishing patients to dark alleys and rough neighborhoods.
The city made the Green Cross close its previous location in the Mission District in March after neighbors complained about rising traffic and crime, which owner Kevin Reed said were unfounded. He said he was forced into the wharf after being rejected by dozens of other landlords.
''Nobody wants this in their back yard,'' Reed said. ''They're fighting for their beliefs and their family values. But if they continue fighting on the path they're fighting now, they'll put us all out of business.''
Mayor Gavin Newsom said Reed has been responsible and should not be punished for flaws in the new rules, calling it an ''unintended consequence'' that the club wound up at the wharf.
''The intent of the legislation was to generate less controversy, not more,'' Newsom said. ''We may not like what he is doing, but he is playing by the rules we set up.''
San Francisco's clubs were largely unregulated before the new rules, and according to some accounts, non-patients could freely acquire marijuana.
Now the owners of dispensaries must submit to criminal and employment background checks, pay for a permit and business license, and are forbidden from operating within 500 feet of schools. That buffer zone grows to 1,000 feet if pot smoking is allowed on the property, as it is at most San Francisco dispensaries.
The Green Cross storefront is already built out - minus the marijuana. It is all sleek sophistication, from the black walls and piped-in jazz to the swarm of security cameras. If the permit is granted, the Green Cross also would have to clear police and health department inspections before opening.
Patients who present a government-issued medical marijuana card and a doctor's note will be presented with a selection of 55 different marijuana strains displayed in a glass counter studded with hundreds of tiny neon green lights. Prices are roughly $300 an ounce.
Pot smoking would not be allowed on the premises, and security guards would patrol the area, Reed said.
''The criminal element that breaks the rules just doesn't want to come into a store like mine,'' said Reed, 32. ''I've done everything by the book.''
An official with an Oakland-based pro-medical marijuana advocacy group said fears of such dispensaries are misplaced.
''What we're seeing ... is a 'Reefer Madness' frenzy that makes people act irrationally, and condemns dispensaries and dispensary operators,'' said Kris Hermes, legal campaign director for Americans for Safe Access. ''And it ultimately prevents them from coming to the aid of patients.''
Reed has earned some supporters in the neighborhood, including the managers of Pergamino Coffee and Tea, a crowded cafe around the corner.
''It's not like he's opening up a drug haven,'' said manager Glendene ''Peaches'' Montague. ''It's well-monitored, well-secured, and obviously he's done this before. But only time will tell.''
For more information visit the Green Cross at: thegreencross.org
MS sufferer faces huge bill - NHS will not fund spray refused licence (7/10/2006)
Mike Waites - Health Correspondent - The Yorkshire Post
UK - A Grandmother suffering from multiple sclerosis faces forking out more than £2,000 a year for a painkilling cannabis-based drug after NHS chiefs refused to fund it.
Sheila Clarke, 63, of Sleights, near Whitby, has enjoyed her best nights of rest for years since she began using the spray in February. She decided to pay for the drug herself to see if it helped her overcome excruciating night-time cramps which mean at times she cannot sleep. But, when she applied for the NHS to fund the treatment, which costs £5 a day, officials refused – despite its availability in other parts of the country.
Mrs Clarke, who uses crutches to get about, said she initially decided to pay for the drug called Sativex because she did not want to burden the NHS with the cost if it did not work. Her GP had agreed to privately prescribe the treatment, which is imported under a special licence from Canada, and she immediately noticed it eased the pain she suffers at night from multiple sclerosis which she contracted 23 years ago. Her improved sleeping pattern had left her feeling happier and enhanced the quality of her life significantly, giving her the energy to get out to visit friends.
She said: "It's led to a big reduction in pain. Before it wasn't a life, it was more of an existence. Now everybody I know says I'm so much better. I move a lot better and am a lot happier and more relaxed. It just doesn't seem right that some people are having it funded by the NHS and others aren't."
Her MP Robert Goodwill said he was taking up the issue with Ministers. "In other parts of the country people are getting this drug – it's clearly a postcode lottery," he said. "Mrs Clarke has paid tax all her life and never been a burden on the state and expected the best possible care on the NHS if that time came but now that time has come, she's not getting it."
A spokesman for the Multiple Sclerosis Society said some people were receiving it on the NHS, others were paying for it privately and another group was being denied it altogether as some doctors had been advised not to prescribe it. "It's clearly an unsatisfactory state of affairs. We have said for some time with the evidence available that cannabis-derived drugs ought to be available to people with symptoms of pain and spasticity for which other treatments have not worked," he said. "Different rules apply depending on where you live and it's not the first time there has been a postcode lottery for MS patients."
The treatment contains two chemicals found in cannabis. It has been refused a licence by the regulatory authorities in Britain which say its manufacturer has failed to prove its efficacy or that its risks outweighed its benefits. Side effects are known to include dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue and confusion.
Last year the Home Office gave it an import licence allowing it to be used by named patients. About 500 are believed to be taking it nationwide. Its manufacturers are expected to apply again for a licence.
A spokesman for Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Primary Care Trust (PCT) said it did not support the use of Sativex following advice by the Committee on Safety of Medicines and the Medicines Commission which have both ruled against its availability. "Each PCT must make its own decision based on the evidence provided; our position is reflected the stance of the Committee on Safety of Medicines and the Medicines Commission," he added.
POTENT HALLUCINOGEN FLIES UNDER RADAR (07/06/2006
Ashley Bursey - The Express
It was a warm night last summer when John gathered in a metro parking lot with a few friends and smoked one of the most potent hallucinogens on the market.
Brought from British Columbia, the drug -- salvia divinorum -- didn't raise an eyebrow at airport security. For good reason: despite its intoxicating buzz, it's perfectly legal.
"It's worse than being 10 times as drunk as you've ever been in your life," remembers John (not his real name). "It really messes up your depth perception. A tiny puddle appeared to be a giant pond to me, even though I knew damn well I was in a parking lot."
The drug hits instantly and, apparently within moments, users are so messed up they can't see straight. Some people claim out-of-body experiences. Others drool uncontrollably or have intense cases of paranoia. Although the experience only lasts five to 10 minutes, it's said to be a trip like no other.
"Everything is distorted beyond belief," says one user, a frequent pot-smoker. "I know people who've used acid and claim that salvia is more intense."
Due to its shamanistic and psychotropic effects, the drug was common in ancient Mexican divining rituals, centering around healing and spirituality.
It's readily available across Canada. It's sold in head shops -- places to purchase bongs or cigarette papers -- as incense or, simply, as salvia d. (The ex/press was unable to find a store where the drug was available in the St. John's area, but had little problem confirming its use here.) Although the drug is sometimes age restricted in certain shops, it doesn't have to be. It's an uncontrolled -- and therefore legal -- substance all across Canada.
"Neither salvia divinorum, nor its main active ingredient salvinorin A, are controlled under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act," says Carolyn Sexauer of Health Canada. "Internationally, salvia divinorum is not controlled under the United Nations Drug Control Conventions."
And, to top it off, the drug doesn't show up on the drug radar in St. John's. When contacted, both the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary were oblivious to salvia.
"We've never heard of it," says Sgt. Marlene Jesso of the RNC. "We've never had any problems with it."
Only four domestic cases of problems with the drug have been reported in Canada -- and three were non-serious. That, Sexauer says, isn't enough to constitute a threat. "Because a substance is abused by some people may not necessarily be a reason in itself to add it to the Controlled Drug and Substances Act," she says. "If that were the case, alcohol, tobacco, glue and gasoline would be regulated under the Act. To date, Health Canada has insufficient evidence to conclude that salvia poses a significant risk to the Canadian public."
One user thinks otherwise. "Honestly, this should definitely not be legal," he says. "If salvia is legal, then marijuana should be, too, for the simple fact that dope has a much weaker effect. Salvia would be very dangerous to anyone operating any vehicle, bicycle included."
And although he had a good trip, John realizes that won't always be the case. "A lot of my friends really hated it," he says. "The best part is, it doesn't last long. Believe me -- you wouldn't want it to."