Saturday, 30 November 2013

Germany: Berlin Council Votes To Open First Cannabis Cafe

Berlin could soon be enjoying its very own legal marijuana, as the parliament of the trendy and hip Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district voted overwhelmingly in favor of a measure that could see the first legal coffee shop in the country.

After barely a month in office, the then-newly elected Mayor of the area, the Green Party’s Monika Hermann, came up with the idea in September to turn her district into a zone free of cannabis laws, akin to Amsterdam’s coffee shops or Copenhagen’s famed Christiania district. 

The idea was born out of a realization that dealing with drug crime in the area’s famous Görlitzer Park was simply too much hassle for authorities, when their time could be better spent tackling hard drugs and organized crime. 

According to Hermann, since the beginning of the year police have raided the park 113 times, detaining 984 people and launching criminal proceedings against 310 people. 

The result of the district parliament’s vote has been turned into an application to be submitted to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. This should turn the infamous Görlitzer Park into a pilot project for marijuana legalization, the Berliner Zeitung reported on Friday, following the Green Party’s Thursday announcement. 

The resulting petition was drawn up in cooperation with various experts, counseling centers and area residents. 

“It's not that I want to create a happy drug country,” Hermann stressed. “But I believe that we can mitigate the problem of drugs in the park by it.” 

She believes that the “ban policy has failed” and that “we must now think of unusual solutions.” 

Although the possession and sale of soft drugs in Germany is still against the law, police leniency towards pot has been on the rise, while steps toward its decriminalization have been taking place since the mid-nineties.

One example of this is that possession of small amounts is no longer considered a criminal offense, while under the new proposed law, possession of as much as 15 grams could result in as little as a slap on the wrist. 

There are grey areas everywhere in the application of the law as well, with the northern part of the country being more relaxed about the drug than the south, although leniency is evident all over. And this is a concern for some of Germany’s more leftist and democratic parties as well, with some of them asserting there are much harder and more dangerous drugs than pot. 

Krezuberg will now seek to iron out the remaining legal issues with marijuana, including questions relating to who will be the distributors and sellers. 

Noteworthy is the fact that according to Article 3 of the Narcotics Act, sufficient public interest has the potential to lead to legalization, provided that reasonable public and scientific evidence is given. 

However, the German authorities don’t seem too thrilled by the idea of a coffee shop operating at Görlitzer Park. 

“Cannabis is not a harmless substance, but holds for many, especially young people significant health risks,” Christina Köhler-Azara, Germany’s Drug Commissioner, stressed. 

The Health Ministry spokeswoman said that a “drug is a drug”, and despite the fact that possession of small amounts of pot is allowed, it still remains forbidden to sell it. 


Friday, 29 November 2013

Marijuana treatments for autoimmune disorders

Researchers from the University of South Carolina say that tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal constituent of marijuana, may have another medical use - treating those with autoimmune disorders.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is known to have analgesic effects so can be used to treat pain. It also aids relaxation and can reduce feelings of nausea and stimulate appetite, making it useful for those undergoing chemotherapy.

Now, a new study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, explores how microRNAs are influenced by THC.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, single-stranded, non-coding RNAs that play a vital role in regulating gene expression. And the authors claim that the ability to alter miRNA expression may be the key to successful treatment for many autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, arthritis and type 1 diabetes.

The researchers, from the university's School of Medicine, injected mice with THC and analyzed their RNA. Of the 609 miRNAs tested, the researchers identified 13 that were highly altered by the THC.

Stopping gene expression

MiRNAs greatly influence the immune system, acting as "brakes" that target more than 60% of all gene expression. Since miRNAs usually suppress the expression of genes, when a miRNA is over-expressed, the affected gene gets silenced.

But when a miRNA is turned off, the affected gene is expressed at a higher level.

The report states that the regulation of gene expression by miRNAs is thought to be vital in a wide range of biological processes. The authors point to emerging evidence that suggests miRNAs "regulate the development, differentiation and function of a variety of immune cells including myeloid cells."

For this study, the researchers also explored one specific miRNA - miRNA-690 - that was greatly over-expressed by the presence of THC and targets an important protein called C/EBPα. This protein, in turn, triggers myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), which suppress inflammation.

When the researchers successfully knocked out the miRNA-690, the effect of THC was reversed.

The current study, led by Dr. Venkatesh Hegde, suggests the effects of marijuana may be "a double-edged sword." Its ability to suppresses inflammation provides effective treatment against inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, but that very action may leave the body open and vulnerable to other diseases.

Lead authors Drs. Prakash and Mitzi Nagarkatti have studied how marijuana can alter immune functions and inflammation for over a decade. They were the first to show that marijuana components trigger MDSC to suppress inflammation.

Dr. Mitzi Nagarkatti, chair of the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at USC's School of Medicine, says the latest study demonstrates that understanding how to control microRNA expression holds tremendous potential for new medical breakthroughs.

She explains:

"MicroRNA therapeutics is an important, rapidly growing area with major pharmaceutical companies getting into this discovery and development. While our study identifies the molecular mechanism of immune-altering effects of marijuana, select microRNA identified here could serve as important molecular targets to manipulate MDSC activity in cancer and inflammatory diseases."

This is not the first study to herald the medicinal qualities of marijuana. Medical News Today reported last month that chemicals within the plant may protect the body against multiple sclerosis.

Written by Belinda Weber


Thursday, 28 November 2013

A Proper Vacuum Oven Is Vital To The BHO Extraction Process

(by  Johnny Green)

Butane Hash Oil’s Quality Is Largely Determined By The Quality Of Vacuum Oven Used During The Purging Process

The popularity level of butane hash oil (BHO) is growing exponentially. BHO (or ‘dabs’) has been around for a long time, but in the last five years it seems like everyone I know is either consuming BHO for the first time, or consuming it more, or they making it themselves. I have a handful of friends that I would consider to be true BHO experts. My criteria for BHO expert is simple – if my mouth salivates when I think about your BHO, you are an expert.

If you are a BHO fan, you have likely seen quite a bit of low grade BHO. It’s grey in color, tastes awful, and makes you say things like ‘is this safe to consume?’ While there are many factors that determine the quality of BHO, one of the largest contributing factors is the quality of vacuum oven being used during the purging process. Almost anyone can get quality pre-run these days, and almost everyone can blast properly. However, if people don’t have a proper vacuum oven for purging their product, there is so much undesirable material left behind that it ruins the BHO.

A lot of rookie BHO makers that I know have really cheap BHO vacuum ovens, or no ovens at all. The ones that do have ovens have cheap BHO vacuum ovens that they got off of the internet from E-bay or Craigslist that are made in China. I understand that starting out can be expensive, but skimping on your BHO vacuum oven only hurts your product and reputation in the long run. And as more and more BHO makers step up their equipment, you will be left behind.

The BHO consumer is becoming pickier every day, and they will only consume BHO that has been properly purged using a high quality BHO vacuum oven. I know I’m picky when it comes to BHO; pickier than I am with flower. If you make BHO, and you are trying to take your BHO to the next level, make sure you have a quality BHO vacuum oven.

I recently toured a facility where they make BHO vacuum ovens, at a company named Cascade Tek. Unlike cheap BHO vacuum ovens that are made in China, these are made in the United States, right in my home state of Oregon. Unlike other vacuum ovens that were designed with other purposes in mind, these vacuum ovens were designed with BHO extraction in mind. The result from using their oven is an end product that is better than anything else I’ve ever consumed before. More about their vacuum ovens below, courtesy of their website:

The Most Effective Turnkey Solution for BHO Extraction
Since 1992 we have been building vacuum ovens and understand the specific challenges associated with production-scale, high-volume BHO Extraction.

Why Use A Vacuum Oven?
Large-Scale Extraction.  The key to thorough solvent extraction is surface area.  You need to have considerable surface area to off-gas solvents like butane.  Our smallest vacuum oven, (TVO-2) offers over four square feet of processing shelf space.  Processes in a tank or vat are extremely inefficient and will produce incomplete purging of the product.  The TVO-2′s three solid shelves accommodate multiple Pyrex dishes and vacuum allowd the extraction at uniform low temps.
Temperature Uniformity.  The most difficult temperature range to control is just close to ambient.  Vacuum ovens control low temps evenly.  Anything other than a vacuum oven can produce hot spots and temp spikes that can destroy microceuticals and ruin your product.

Why a Chemical Duty Vacuum Pump?
Butane Ruins Pumps.  Chemical duty pumps offer the flexibility of using a trap to collect Butane for reuse and /or disposal or exhausting to a safe location.  Oil sealed pumps require use of a foreline trap because utane will destroy the internal workings of the pump.  Chemical duty pumps are not destroyed by butane and eliminate the need for a foreline trap.
The Ideal Pressure.  The ultimate pressure of the pump we recommend is 1.5 torr.  Any lower vacuum and substances like Delta 9 THC will “boil off” and that’s bad.


4 Studies Proving that Marijuana can Treat Brain Cancer

We are living in exciting times in regards to cannabis. As public opinion on marijuana is changing, the laws are following suit, and we are seeing more and more studies evaluating the benefits of this healing plant. Some of the most remarkable research is on the topic of cannabis and the treatment of cancer, especially brain cancer.

Repeatedly, we are seeing that the various medicinal compounds in cannabis could be used to halt tumor growth, kill tumor cells, and do so without the negative side effects so often associated with conventional cancer treatments. Those who oppose the use of marijuana as medicine are not looking at the growing body of research which has proven its value. If they were, they would have to admit defeat.

Here are 4 studies proving that marijuana can be used to treat brain cancer:

1. “Nonpsychoactive CBD was able to produce a significant antitumor activity” - Italian researchers published a study in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics which tested cannabidiol on human brain tumor cells. They found the non-psychoactive cannabis compound to have detrimental effects on the viability of these cells, inhibiting their growth “significantly”.

2. “The combined administration of TMZ and cannabinoids could be therapeutically exploited for the management of GBM” - Another study, published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, built off the knowledge of cannabis having anti-tumor effects and found it could be the answer to the increasing number of treatment-resistant cancers.

3. “The cannabinoid system can serve to protect the brain against neurodegeneration” - The Journal of Neuroscience contains another study from 2001 in which THC-treated rats received neuro-protective benefits. Neuro-degeneration refers to progressively worsening brain function commonly found in age-related dementia but also when the brain is damaged. The researchers found that rats treated with THC (the compound in marijuana that makes you high) were protected against such damage, indicating it as a potential solution for slowly progressive neurodegenerative disease and also acute damage that could occur as a result of directed tumor treatment.

4. “The fair safety profile of THC…with its possible antiproliferative action on tumour cells…may set the basis for evaluating the potential antitumoral activity of cannabinoids” - Finally, a study found in the British Journal of Cancer found that THC and other cannabinoids were able to inhibit the growth of brain tumors. In two out of nine patients, the compounds were able to decrease the number of tumor cells, all without psychoactive effects.

These four studies only represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the healing powers of cannabis. Other research has linked the plant to breast and prostate cancers, seizure disorders, Alzheimer’s, depression and anxiety, and even drug treatment. 

New Study: THC May Treat Inflammatory Diseases and Cancer By Altering Genes

An intriguing new government funded study published by the Journal of Biological Chemistry has found that THC may actually alter certain genes in our body, which may result in a positive effect on a number of conditions, especially cancers and inflammatory diseases.

Researchers using rat models found that THC positively altered 13 different microRNAs, including mir-690, which is strongly linked to inflammatory responses; the study claims that; “Among the differentially expressed, miRNA-690 was highly overexpressed in THC-MDSC (~16 fold)”.

According to researchers; “Select miRNA such as mir-690 targeting genes involved in myeloid expansion and differentiation likely play crucial roles in this process and therefore in cannabinoid-induced immunosuppression.”

They conclude that these results indicate that THC may treat “inflammatory diseases as well as cancer.”

The study was funded by the U.S. National Institute of Health.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Made These Things At least 50+ Times Now!

Things Needed:
- Gram Of Finely Ground Weed Or Keif
- Butter Knife
- Aluminum Foil
- Crackers
- Cooking Oil (Optional)
- Oven

1. Preheat Your Oven To EXACTLY 320F
2. (Optional Step) Put The Amount Of Nutella You Want To Spread On Your Crackers In A Bowl
And Pour About Half A Spoon Of Cooking Oil In The Nutella And Mix It All Up. If The Mixture Is To Viscous, Add More Nutella. 
3. Now Take Two Crackers And Spread The Nutella (Or Your Nutella Cooking Oil Mixture) Over One Side Of Each Cracker.
4. Now Spread The Weed Over Each Side Of The Nutella, The More Surface Area Of The Weed Touching The Nutella The Better
5. Now Place The Two Halves Together Like A Sandwhich.
6. Wrap A Few Times In Aluminum Foil And Make Sure There Are No Holes In The Foil
7. Place In The Oven For EXACTLY For 22 Minutes @ 320F
8. Unwrap And Eat.

1. Use Keif Instead Of Bud, Hella More Potent And Already A Powder.
2. Don’t Use To Much Cooking Oil Otherwise It Becomes To Viscous And Leakes All Over The Cracker
4. Don’t Smoke While Waiting For It To Kick In. Takes About 30mins - 60 Mins On An Empty Stomach.
5. Smoke After It’s Kicked In.
6. Barely Smells Like Weed When Cooking, More Of A Herby Chocolate Smell.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Medical Marijuana side effects can be alleviated by taking Ibuprofen

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times ran a story regarding Alzheimer’s patients – and how they might benefit from combining marijuana’s cannabinoids with a “side of ibuprofen” as a “buzz killing RX for Alzheimer’s.” The article explained how new research has identified ibuprofen as being beneficial when used in conjunction with tetrahydrocannabinol – more commonly referred to as THC – to eliminate medical marijuana’s collateral damage…universally known as “The high.”

The times article pointed to a new study that was recently published in the Journal Cell, which explained a couple of things. First, why common anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and other prescription analgesics have the ability to blunt out marijuana’s high – suppressing the negative cognitive effects. Second, that getting high on pot to chill out, stunts the growth of the tendrils that lash brain cells together, while weakening memory and cognitive processing functions. And that the bundled buzz of effect-and-side-effect seemed to be inseparable.

Yet, as it turns out, it can be separated, and the unwanted high can be killed, by simply suppressing the induction of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), a multifaceted neurochemical process typically set off by inflammation: “Add a COX-2 inhibitor to the mix — or even a non-selective COX inhibitor such as ibuprofen — and the anti-inflammatory effects of THC remain. The “buzz,” the lethargy and negative cognitive effects of long-term use, however, are extinguished.”


Marijuana has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for medical conditions. However, untoward side effects limit its medical value. Here, we show that synaptic and cognitive impairments following repeated exposure to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) are associated with the induction of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), an inducible enzyme that converts arachidonic acid to prostanoids in the brain. COX-2 induction by Δ9-THC is mediated via CB1 receptor-coupled G protein βγ subunits. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of COX-2 blocks downregulation and internalization of glutamate receptor subunits and alterations of the dendritic spine density of hippocampal neurons induced by repeated Δ9-THC exposures. Ablation of COX-2 also eliminates Δ9-THC-impaired hippocampal long-term synaptic plasticity, working, and fear memories. Importantly, the beneficial effects of decreasing β-amyloid plaques and neurodegeneration by Δ9-THC in Alzheimer’s disease animals are retained in the presence of COX-2 inhibition. These results suggest that the applicability of medical marijuana would be broadened by concurrent inhibition of COX-2.


Monday, 25 November 2013

This Is Why Marijuana Should Be Legal Everywhere

A Gallup poll released on Tuesday reveals that for the first time in history, Americans are more in favor of legalizing marijuana than criminalizing it. 2013 has markedly been a successful year for marijuana legalization, with Colorado and Washington both passing laws to decriminalize the drug. Now, 58 percent of Americans are in favor allowing the plant to be legal.

With the majority of Americans agreeing that marijuana should be legalized, we've gathered up eight reasons why those who are still on the fence about the natural plant should possibly reconsider their feelings.

No one has ever died of a marijuana overdose.

You may think having a large amount of THC in your system will kill you, but you are wrong. Ever since marijuana has been known to mankind, not one single account of death from overdose has been recorded. On the other hand, in 2010, 38,329 people died from drug overdoses. Sixty percent of those were related to prescription drugs. In that same year, 25,692 people died from alcohol-related causes.

Around 40% of Americans have already admitted to using marijuana.

Most polls regarding Americans and their pot use hover around the 40% mark for having tried marijuana at least once. This is compared to the 16% of Americans who have tried cocaine, which is obviously a significantly lower percentage. Marijuana is becoming more and more ubiquitous every year despite being less addictive than coffee. There's a reason people are feeling safer and safer trying the drug, which brings us to our next point...

Marijuana is much safer than already legalized drugs.

If you are completely fine with alcohol and cigarettes, then there shouldn't be a reason you aren't accepting of marijuana as well. As you can see in Lancet's study above, which was later published by The Economist, alcohol and tobacco are far more dangerous than marijuana. The negative stigma of pot use has certainly made it seem like it's worse, and since using the drug is still illegal, the fact that only people who are willing to break the law will smoke has inevitably made it associated with a "pothead" culture. These are just the preconceived notions we've been brought up in though. A world where instead of drinking cheap beer, a hopeful political candidate can roll a joint to seem like the "people's choice" doesn't have to seem crazy. This scenario would actually be the healthier choice.

Marijuana has a very low risk of abuse.

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is not as addicting as one may think. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, recently wrote in his essay, "Why I Changed My Mind About Weed," that we have been "systematically misled" on marijuana. He reports that marijuana leads to dependence in around 9-10 percent of adult users. Cocaine hooks about 20 percent of its users, and heroin gets 25 percent of its users addicted. The worst culprit is tobacco, with 30 percent of its users becoming addicted.

Cannabis can be a safe and useful sleep aid.

In a blog entry on SFGate, writer David Downs explores the best strains of marijuana to help with insomnia. Downs found a quote from researcher I Feinberg, from "Clinical Pharmacology Therapy" in 1976, that says, "The effect on sleep of THC administration closely resembles those induced by lithium." Also, the National Cancer Institute announced in a study that patients who ingested a cannabis plant extract spray reported more restful sleep.

Marijuana is used to alleviate a lot of medical ailments.

Medical marijuana is important to a lot of people. According to a Discovery Health article, marijuana has been extremely successful in relieving nausea, which is extremely good news for cancer patients suffering from nausea as a side effect of chemotherapy. The drug also helps with people who have loss of appetite due to diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, it helps relax muscle tension and spasms and chronic pain.

So many extremely successful people smoke marijuana.

Maya Angelou, Martha Stewart, Morgan Freeman, Ted Turner, Michael Bloomberg, and even Rush Limbaugh are all high-functioning marijuana users. Stewart, who is 72 years old, gave an interview with Bravo's Andy Cohen over the summer of 2013 where she talked about "sloppy joints" and flat out said, "Of course I know how to roll a joint." And this isn't just an argument about how the "cool kids" do it and therefore so should you. There are big-time business people, such as Richard Branson, who couldn't have accomplished as much as they have if they were being debilitated by a killer drug. Sure, there is a difference between the marijuana use of a "pothead" and Oprah Winfrey, but we shouldn't continue punishing the moderate users.

It's simply not a gateway drug.

One of the biggest and most widespread arguments from marijuana detractors is that smoking marijuana will lead to using other drugs. As Scientific American points out, the studies that show people who use marijuana first before trying other drugs is correlation and not causation. People who go on to use harder drugs also tend to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol before trying the other substances plus with with our current stigma on pot only people who are predisposed to being a "outlaw drug user" are going to smoke pot. On top of all of this, as mentioned above, nearly half the country has already tried pot which is more than how many Americans know who Jennifer Lawrence is and much much more than the percentage of Americans who are left-handed.

In conclusion...

Legalization would be a beautiful thing.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Cannabinoids Can Treat Acute Lung Injury, According to New Study

A new study published in the journal PLOS One as well as the National Institute of Health has found that cannabinoids can be an effective treatment for acute lung injury, or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is a condition caused by damage or disease to the lungs, which is often life-threatening.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of São Paulo, found that: “MAGL inhibition, and consequently the increase in 2-AG levels [a naturally-occurring cannabinoid], produced anti-inflammatory effects in a murine model of LPS-induced ALI, a finding that was considered a consequence of the activation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors.”

Dr. João Palermo-Neto, one of the researchers for the study, tells us that this research has important implications in furthering the use of cannabinoids – which are found naturally in cannabis – as medicine, and as a primary (not a secondary, or supplementary) treatment for ARDS, and other lung-related conditions.

The study can be found here:


Thursday, 21 November 2013

New Breast Cancer Research: CBD Cannabinoid Can Protect Patients From Chemotherapy-Induced Pain, While Increasing Effectiveness of Drugs


With the American Cancer Society’s gloomy new forecast on breast cancer in women – living in the United States – soaring well above 230,000 new cases for 2013. And an additional 64,000 new cases of carcinoma of the breast – and north of 39,000 deaths this year alone. A welcome new study published by the British Journal of Pharmacology has discovered that marijuana’s non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD, not only protects breast cancer patients from neurotoxicity – it greatly reduces the pain associated with chemotherapy drugs. Additionally, the CBD cannabinoid has now been shown to magnify the cancer fighting capabilities of Western medicine.

To hear the researchers tell it; “Paclitaxel (PAC) is associated with a chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain (CIPN) state that can lead to the cessation of treatment in late stage breast cancer patients, even in the absence of alternate therapies.’ They state that; “Indeed, to date no one drug or drug class is considered to be effective for reversal of CIPN.”

Searching the known pharmacopeia for compounds that could mitigate the chemotherapy induced, neuropathic pain, the good scientists involved in the study decided to go back to basics – researching the effects of the CBD cannabinoid on mice with breast cancer – that has been administered PAC.

What they found, was not shocking:

“Our data suggest that CBD is protective against PAC-induced neurotoxicity and that this effect is in part mediated by the 5-TH1A receptor system”, claims researchers. “Furthermore, CBD treatment was devoid of other nervous system effects such as conditioned reward or cognitive impairment. CBD also did not attenuate the efficacy of PAC in inhibiting breast cancer cell viability.”

Their conclusion was straightforward – “Taken together, adjunct treatment with CBD during PAC chemotherapy treatment may be safe and effective in the prevention or attenuation of CIPN.”


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Stoner Moves: Formula One Racing Team Apologizes for Marijuana Mishap with Mexican Flag

Regardless of whether they were dizzy from the adrenaline, or loopy from the high-octane fuel, the UK’s prestigious McLaren Formula One racing team has been forced to apologize to the Mexican government for flying the Mexican flag with a chronic addition – a pot leaf – above the teams merchandising stand at last weekend’s Grand Prix in Austin Texas.

Not amused by the modified flag, Mexican consulate workers initially noticed and reported the dope flag to the Grand Prix organizers.

McLaren then removed the modified Mexican flag, stating;“It was a regrettable incident and embarrassing for us.” The embarrassed team boss, Martin Whitmarsh continued; “The flag was not an official McLaren product as you might imagine. It was a third party sub-contractor from an agent so it was some distance from us. Lamenting the obvious, Whitmarsh noted; “A mistake was made. It caused some embarrassment, and we withdrew the products from the stands.

Embarrassed and embattled, the team boss refused to confirm the identity of the supplier, thought to be British with F1 links. As if embarrassment wasn’t enough for the British powerhouse racing team, after being called out for flying a national insult above their merchandising stand – McLaren had its ass handed to them by Red-Bull Renault, snuffing out McLarens most recent winning streak within the US Grand Prix circuit.


Monday, 18 November 2013

Spain on drugs – Francisco Babín: “Using drugs in Spain is not a crime, and we’re proud of it!”

Spain’s drug tzar says the country’s youth have an “abusive consumption” problem with alcohol. Francisco Babín, the Government Delegate for Drug Policy, also attacked the proliferation of “cannabis consumers clubs” in Catalonia and the Basque Country.

But, in his interview with euronews, he added government drugs policy was having a positive effect and said Spain was leading the fight against trafficking.

Rafael Cereceda, euronews: 
Drug consumption seems to be decreasing in recent years. How satisfied are you with that?

Francisco Babín, Government Delegate for Drug policy:
Nobody with a level of responsibility in a sensitive field like the drug consumption can be fully satisfied. We have some cause to greet this, but many reasons to worry. Our main concerns are the increase in “abusive alcohol consumption” or the use of narcotics (legal) that have overrun the use of cannabis and the trivialisation that some sections of society are making of the drugs use, which has no scientific base.

Why has there been a decrease in overall drugs consumption (legal narcotics and alcohol aside)?

Francisco Babín: 
It is a trend that has been observed for a while. For example, in the cocaine use the “inflection point” was detected in 2007.

We think that government policies had a positive effect. It would be absurd to say that prevention policies are the only reason for this reduction but they played a role. We also think, but we can’t prove it, that for the consumption not linked to dependency, the “recreational” consumption , has decreased due to the economic crisis, so that people that have the choice, have the chance to be able to decide to, stop consuming.

Also Spain is leading the fight against drug trafficking. I think there are many factors, and many that we can’t control, I’m sure of that.

And what are the policies and investments that have worked?

Francisco Babín:
Just by example, because there have been many actions taken by many different people: in 2006, as the cocaine consumption had doubled or even tripled since 1996, it was decided to do an extra financing effort in prevention and treatment policies specifically for cocaine consumption, and right after the consumption trends started to decrease.

Euronews: Have you noticed more demand for drug-quitting treatment after these policies were implemented?

Francisco Babín:
No, actually it’s the opposite, and this proves that consumption is decreasing because over the years we have seen that the delay between the consumption time and the moment when people ask to be treated is quite long, so it’s logic that a decrease of drugs consumption goes together with a decrease in demands for treatment. 
The number of people asking for treatment is quite stable, but the profiles change. For example now we are seeing an important increase in cases of teenagers with problems linked to cannabis consumption. I think it’s important to highlight, against the message that some are trying to spread, saying that cannabis consumption has no effect on health.

And which kind of problems do these teenagers have?

Francisco Babín:
Despite their youth they have an important problem related to “abusive consumption” and dependence, and they have performance problems either at school or at work. I think it’s very important to highlight that 90% of requests for treatment related to cannabis come from under-age people. This should make people think.

And why do you think that cocaine has spread that much in Spain? Is it the fiesta culture? Or is it the close contact with Latin America?

Francisco Babín:
Well, there’s a paradigmatic situation: almost 50% of the cocaine seized in the EU are seized by the Spanish police.

And that’s for geographical reasons?

Francisco Babín:
No doubt. We are the western border of the continent and the closest country to the areas where the drugs are produced. That’s also changing, thanks to the police action, but there is no doubt Spain is an important crossroads and many of the attempts to bring cocaine into Europe come through our country, and of course an important part of that traffic stays in our territory. So, there are many factors for cocaine consumption but availability is an important one.

Cannabis social clubs – why are there so many in Catalonia and only a few in Madrid?

Francisco Babín:
I don’t know if I have an answer for that (laughter). Probably there are groups with more interest in establishing these businesses in Catalonia or the Basque Country, while in other regions they adopt other business models.

But I want to make very clear, and I would be happy if you highlight this in your report, is the image of these “cannabis clubs” abroad is completely distorted, and this image is guided by those interested in promoting these kind of clubs.

It’s absolutely false that these clubs are allowed to do any transaction with cannabis. This is a crime and when we have proof of drug trafficking, the prosecutor acts.

These clubs shelter behind freedom of speech, saying they want to promote a debate on consumption and that’s not forbidden, but this doesn’t allow them to produce or distribute cannabis in any case.

But they argue it’s private consumption which is allowed by Spanish law.

Francisco Babín:
It is so fallacious as an argument. Tell me, from your own perspective and with common sense, if you can consider as ‘private’, consumption by 3,000 people associated to the same organisation. It’s a clear semantic deformation. The private use, which is protected by our legislation, and the “shared drug use” which is also allowed, is perfectly detailed in case law. And it allows:

1. Consumption by drug-addicts, not anyone just for fun.

2. In a fully private space, with no possibility of public access

3. When all the participants are identified as drug addicts

4. Quantities that you can consume in that session (you can’t have a stockpile)

5. And whenever it’s an occasional consumption with no publicity.

What we cannot consent is that these clubs play with the legislation in that manner. What they do is a drug trafficking crime and it’s prosecuted when we have the proof to act.

But doesn’t the decentralisation of the Spanish administration play a role in the differences between regions?

Francisco Babín:
No, I don’t think so

But we have spoken with some of these cannabis associations and they say that decentralisation has an influence and that authorities are more restrictive in Madrid than in Catalonia for example.

Francisco Babín:
That’s another fake argument. It’s a lie. The law is the same in the whole country. They are free to register a new association, create a website, make advertising but it doesn’t allow them to sell the marijuana plant in any form.

And they never say they intend to share cannabis in their bylaws?

Francisco Babín:
They have very good legal advice not to. These groups generate huge amounts of money. There are many faceless people interested in promoting the cannabis market and make money with that, and they have very good legal advisors.

Once these associations start, if we get enough proof of misconduct, we can prosecute them. But they are not allowed to produce, or deal cannabis.

I had to explain this everywhere, in Uruguay, in Mexico, in Peru. Because always, wherever we go, they have been there before. I wonder what are the funding sources of a club, that in theory has 50 members, but whose directors have travelled around the world defending that this is a wonderful model to deal with cannabis consumption in Spain.

There’s a contradiction between what they say and what they do. And we are not going to change legislation to be tolerant with this behaviour.

The Spanish drug policy is considered quite soft, and in fact it allows these kind of situations. Do you think the law should be changed?

Francisco Babín:
In Spain consuming drugs is not a crime and we are proud of that, so I make clear that we don’t have the intention to change that.

We suffered with the HIV epidemic, the heroin epidemic and this led, more than 20 years ago, to a period of deep reflection: we had to differentiate between the person that has a problem with drugs, that is a sick person, that has to be protected from the trafficking, and profit-making with these substances.

So we thought that we couldn’t punish the sick person because that would make him stay away from the system and his reintegration into society, so that cannot be punished.

The consumption in public is a breach, punished, because it has an “incitation effect.”

But drug trafficking is very severely punished.

The distinction between private consumption, public consumption and trafficking, is essential in our legislation.

Which are the priorities for the government?

Francisco Babín:
I can give you four:

- Abusive alcohol consumption of under-age people. We are developing a new law against this.

- Guarantee quality attention to people with drugs problems.

- Implementing a quick alert system for new substances, which is a problem throughout Europe.

- Making clear that our cannabis policy won’t change!