Out Of Their Minds The Truth About Teens
From the age of 14, Henry Cockburn spent much of his time stoned on cannabis. His father Patrick, the award-winning foreign correspondent, thought his habit was harmless until the day Henry nearly died and was subsequently sent to a psychiatric hospital. The details of Henry's dramatic breakdown and treatment for schizophrenia makes compelling reading, especially for any parent whose child is using cannabis. Father and son have turned the story into a book. In one extract, Cockburn describes how his son turned from talented artist to disheveled wreck.
"He stopped shaving or washing his hair and went barefoot, so his feet became septic. He also soiled his jeans more than once." Now 29, Henry is in recovery and living in a halfway house in London. The details of his paranoia, his delusions and obsessions add to the growing evidence that the drug can trigger psychosis in people who are already genetically vulnerable. Author Julie Myerson also knows how excessive cannabis use can threaten to wreck families. Her son Jake became hooked on the potent "skunk" form of cannabis and Myerson was forced to throw him out of the family home in south London. Myerson, who also wrote a book about his drug abuse, has said there came a point "when it felt like my son was pulling the whole family over the edge".
Dealing with a pot-smoking teenager who is literally "out of their head" is a frightening situation which more London parents are being forced to confront. Cannabis has always been considered a "soft" drug, albeit illegal. A high without the toxic risks of heroin or cocaine. No drug is "safe", though, and figures from the National Treatment Agency (NTA) reveal that around 750 people a year in the UK - 14 a week - end up in treatment for mental health problems specifically related to cannabis use. Between 2009 and 2010, the overall number of 18- to 24-year-olds on the drug who accessed treatment services in London rose by nearly a third from 660 to 853. These services range from advice to more specialist help. There are many forms of cannabis or marijuana but the prevalence of skunk is causing most concern. Grown intensively indoors, it is up to three times as potent as hash or weed. Helena O'Connell, from Addaction, warns that cannabis use is the "norm" among young people in London and that means smoking skunk. She says: "It's like binge drinking. There's so much peer pressure with skunk and it's unheard of to switch to something milder.
Police Find Cannabis Plants On Roadside
Local traffic police came across nine fully grown cannabis plants while helping with traffic control during the removal of a house from a property in Kaitemako Rd, Welcome Bay Today. Constable Daniel Mathews of the traffic unit said that the police noticed the plants on the roadside land, owned by the Tauranga City Council.
They questioned all of the neighboring residents about the plants but no one claimed to know anything about them. "They've just been seized by us for destruction," Mr Matthews said. Mr Matthews said no one had been charged in relation to the plants. Police will investigate the into the growing of these plants some more but as of yet police are still stumped on who is responsible.
Florida's Jenkins Arrested On Marijuana Charge
Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins has been arrested on a marijuana possession charge, his second arrest in the past 20 months. It's also the first arrest under new coach Will Muschamp, who vowed to have players represent the university "the Florida way." Jenkins was arrested early Saturday in a Gainesville nightclub. Corporal Tscharna Senn, public information officer for the Gainesville Police Department, said officers patrolling downtown clubs spotted Jenkins in a public bathroom rolling a marijuana cigarette. She said Jenkins had a "small, clear bag of cannabis." Jenkins was charged with possession of marijuana less than 20 grams, a misdemeanor. He was not taken to jail. Instead, he was released after signing a notice to appear in court Feb. 17.
It's certainly not the start Muschamp wanted at Florida. "There's a certain thing that I'm going to refer to as the Florida way, and that's the way they need to act and that's the way they need to represent our University," Muschamp said during his introductory news conference last month. "And I'm going to demand that and I think that you'll understand in time that that's something that's very important to me." Former coach Urban Meyer's tenure was filled with off-the-field issues. The Gators had 30 arrests involving 27 players during Meyer's six seasons. One of those included Jenkins. Police used a stun gun when arresting him in May 2009 and Jenkins was charged with affray and resisting arrest without violence. Jenkins said he was fighting back after a man tried to pull a gold chain off his neck.
Jenkins signed a deferred prosecution agreement the following month and got his record wiped clean after serving probation and performing community service. Jenkins, considered one of the top cornerbacks in the Southeastern Conference, decided two weeks ago to return to school for his senior season. He's a three-year starter who played most of last year with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He missed the Outback Bowl following surgery. Despite the injury, Jenkins enjoyed his best season. He pretty much shut down the league's best receivers. Georgia's A.J. Green, Alabama's Julio Jones and South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery averaged 38 yards receiving against Jenkins and had one touchdown between them. Many believed Jenkins would turn leave early. But after Muschamp took over and hired several assistants with NFL backgrounds, Jenkins opted to stay in school, rehab his shoulder and possibly improve his draft stock this fall. Now, he's facing almost certain punishment for his arrest.
State Likely To Ban Marijuana-Like Drug
Possession of "spice," a synthetic drug that mimics marijuana, will probably become a separate offense in the state code.Numerous state legislators--including both Sen. Edd Houck, D Spotsylvania, and Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Stafford--had submitted bills to outlaw the drug, which is sold legally in convenience stores and gives users a high similar to marijuana. Fredericksburg police said last fall that use of spice had increased dramatically in 2010 Users have been known to suffer tremors, seizures, vomiting and more serious health effects such as unconsciousness and coma, authorities say.
More than a dozen states have already made it illegal. The Senate bills seeking to ban spice in Virginia were heard in a subcommittee Thursday. A big question during the debate, Houck said, was whether spice should be classified as a Schedule 1 substance, or whether a separate and new offense should be created. Both he and Stuart think the subcommittee will lean toward the latter.
"There are unintended consequences" to making a drug a Schedule 1 drug, Stuart said. The subcommittee decided to have staff look at all the bills and combine them into one that would cover the concerns expressed during Thursday's hearing. Stuart believes the end result will look more like his bill, which differed from many of the others in that it was aimed at "imitation marijuana," rather than trying to list the chemical compounds that would be banned. Once compromise language is settled upon, Houck said, he believes the measure will pass. "I think everybody understands there's a problem," he said. "We are going to address it."
Marijuana Drinks Spring Up
Clay Butle may soon be marketing a food product that he's never tasted, and that he would never buy. The product is called Canna Cola, and it's a soft drink that contains THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, aimed at medical marijuana dispensaries. "I don't do drugs," said the Soquel-based commercial artist. "Never have. I never drank, never smoked. I'm a clean-living guy. I've had two beers in my whole life, and I remember them both too. No marijuana, I've never smoked a cigarette. I take an aspirin when I get a headache. That's it." Yet Butler is a partner in a company that is poised to move aggressively in a market that could one day be enormously popular by combining marijuana with soft drinks. "Even though, personally, I'm not interested and I don't think it's right for me," said Butler, "I'm a firm believer that adults have an inalienable right to think, eat, smoke, drink, ingest, decorate, dress any way they choose to do so. It's your life; it's your body."
What really interests Butler is branding, the art of differentiating a product in the marketplace through words and images. And he's designed a line of soft drinks that he says will be branded to take advantage of an entirely new market. The line includes the flagship cola drink Canna Cola, the Dr. Pepper-like Doc Weed, the lemon-lime Sour Diesel, the grape flavored Grape Ape and the orange-flavored Orange Kush. Marijuana sodas do exist in the marketplace. But, said Butler, none of them have the branding savvy of his product. "You look at all the marijuana products out there, and they are so mom-and-pop, hippie-dippy and rinky-dink," he said. "If someone can put every color on the rainbow on it, they do. If they can pick the most inappropriate and unreadable fonts, they will. And there's marijuana leaves on everything. It's a horrible cliche in the industry."
Butler's epiphany was to market the THC-laced sodas "how Snapple or Coca-Cola or Minute Maid would make a marijuana beverage, if they ever chose to do it." Thus, he used the marijuana leaf -- it's an unavoidable part of the "brand DNA" of marijuana products, he said but he designed a leaf made of bubbles, to suggest soft drinks. The beverage line's dosage of THC will be "somewhere between 35 to 65 milligrams," said Scott Riddell, the founder of Diavolo Brands, which is marketing Canna Cola. He said the levels of THC in his line of soft drinks will be substantially below the levels of many drinks now on the market. He likened his product to a "light beer" alongside high-proof liquors. The new sodas will retail for $10 to $15 per 12-ounce bottle. The company plans to launch its product in medical marijuana-friendly Colorado in February. Plans are tentatively to have it in California dispensaries in the spring.
Cannabis Fields Torched In Morocco
Early January, in Taounate, a little village in the Moroccan mountains of the Kif region, almost eight tons of cannabis was seized in three farmers’ homes. Last June, right after the Bab Berred revolt, three helicopters dropped pesticides on plantations in the region to burn the fields. As the political will to eradicate the production of the illegal crops grows, observers say there are few measures to help the region’s inhabitants as they lose their main source of income.
“Eradication should not precede economic development or even accompany it,” said Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy, a research fellow at the French National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, and author of several books on the geopolitics of illicit drugs. “It should come afterward and only in case of necessity. Alternative development never had the expected success. It lacked political will, financial resources, persistence and it was flawly designed.” Morocco, the world’s leading producer and exporter of kif (the dried bud of the female marijuana plant), according to the United Nations, has for decades tolerated the illegal production of cannabis that allows an entire region to survive.
More than 70 percent of European countries in 2008 claimed that Morocco was their prime source of cannabis (either directly, or via Spain or the Netherlands), according to the most recent figures from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. These countries have pressured Morocco to take action to significantly reduce its production of the drug.
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