Marijuana Media – Why NZ Police prioritise weed grows over burglaries; Euro hippies close cannabis market; India celebrates Holi with ganja & more

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We cover cannabis culture around the world, why our Police prioritise busting grows over burglaries or thefts, and what’s happening with medicinal cannabis here? All this and more on 95bFM’s Marijuana Media with Chris Fowlie from NORML and Milly from bFM Drive – thanks to The Hempstore!

 

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Christiania middle class hippies tear up ‘Pusher Street’ open-air marijuana market

A sad moment for freewheeling cannabis enthusiasts as Christiania residents, now middle-class former hippies who squatted an abandoned military base in the centre of Copenhagen, physically ripped up the cobblestones in their so-called ‘Pusher Street’.

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The open-air ‘Farmer’s Market’ for marijuana and hashish had existed in Christiania’s main street since the commune was formed in 1973. It is now Denmark’s number one tourist attraction.

I was there in 2002 and enjoyed the ambiance. Arriving in the early morning, I watched market sellers set up, piling bricks of hash like blocks of cheese, with barrels spilling out kilos of manicured buds like any other fresh produce.

The author at Christiania, 2002 (No photos allowed on Pusher St). Photo Credit: Chris Fowlie

The pushers were especially adept at chopping your requested among without the aid of scales (possibly to avoid law enforcement). Ask for 2.5 grams and that’s exactly what you got – chopped off a huge kilo brick with pliers.

Christiania also had an array of food outlets run by the residents, artist studios, and a very green way of living. It was nice.

But in recent years organised criminal syndicates had tried to take over and had pushed locals out of Pusher Street (an unfortunate name in English, but a reflection of their pragmatic, to-the-point, attitude). There was a shooting.

Now, as the Associated Press reported, Christiania, Copenhagen’s hippie oasis, wants to rebuild without its illegal hashish market:

The now-aging hippies who took over a derelict naval base in Copenhagen more than 50 years ago and turned it into a freewheeling community known as Christiania want to boot out criminals who control the community’s lucrative market for hashish by ripping up the cobblestoned street where it openly changes hands.

“We don’t want the gangsters anymore,” said Hulda Mader, who has lived in Christiania for 40 years. Once the illegal trade is gone, “there might be some people selling hashish afterward, but it’s not going to be in the open.”

For more coverage see DW: Locals rip up Christiania’s famous Pusher Street; BBC: A Copenhagen hippy commune fights back against drug gangs; and CNN: Denmark shuts down cannabis ‘Pusher Street’ in hippie enclave Christiania following deadly shootings.

Oregon reboots drug war

Politicians have repealed a law which decriminalised all drugs. The Daily Beast said “Drug decriminalization is being unfairly used as a scapegoat for politicians’ failures.” Enough said, and let’s move on.

India celebrates Holi with bhang & hashish

Here in New Zealand we know the Hindu festival of Holi as a festival of colours, especially throwing coloured powder over each other. But this is a somewhat sanitised version. As AP/Yahoo News noted:

“Food and drink are a big part of the festivities. Vendors in parts of India sold Thandai — a traditional beverage prepared with milk, dry fruits and can sometimes be laced with cannabis.

Another tradition that marks Holi is Bhang, a paste made by grinding the leaves of the cannabis plant and is used in drinks and snacks. It is connected to Hinduism, particularly to Lord Shiva, and is eaten during some religious festivals in the region. The paste’s sale and consumption are permissible under Indian law, although a few states have banned it.”

In fact, cannabis grows wild all over India (Cannabis Indica means ‘cannabis from India’). Wild cannabis occupies the ecological niches befitting a plant called ‘weed’, for example along roadsides and under bridges. I’ve seen cannabis growing pretty much everywhere in India – without any controversy or attempt to eradicate it – and purchased Bhang Lassis from government-licensed bhang shops.

 

 

Sadhus, the holy men of India, are free to consume bhang and hashish in their chillums. Cannabis is said to bring devotees closer to Shiva, which is not just a fun thing to do, but a religious duty. But what if you don’t want to smoke hash every day, morning noon and night? Well, the Sadhus can smoke your hash for you, so you don’t have to. How civilised!

More on the Cowboy Paradise ‘cannabis bunker’

The Herald promised to take readers inside the bunker (‘The lost city of the Wild West’ and the underground cannabis bunker), as did The Press (Cyclists and the cannabis bunker; Cowboy Paradise still open for business) and the Otago Daily Times (Cowboy Paradise still operating despite trialv). These stories are all paywalled, because people will pay money to see cannabis grows. Paying for coverage of canna-busts could help save our local media.

The Whanganui Chronicle also had ‘Operation Emerald: 75-year-old arrested after 250 cannabis plants seized near Whanganui River’ Notably, “The land had previously been the subject of an application to grow hemp.” Police said the licence expired in 2021. But in their rush to put out a press release and congratulate themselves, did Police consider if this huge-sounding grow was just unlicensed hemp? (This story also made it to HighTimes.com)

Why police prioritise canna-grows over burglaries

A story on RNZ/Herald revealed why (Police abandoned 60 per cent of reported cases in 2023). When crimes are reported, police use a computer to determine if a human should pay any attention. If “Computer Says No”, they do nothing. The computer scores a reported crime highly if it has a known offender and address, and very low if the offender’s identity is not known.

That’s why your report of that burglary at your place went nowhere, unless the offender left their name and address behind. Meanwhile if your neighbour calls the cops saying “drugs next door” they will turn up. The computer has a name or at the least an address, so it sends the humans round to investigate.

This is obviously wrong and is wasting enormous amounts of police time on what should be low priority crimes which have been wrongly elevated by a computer program. The formula needs changing. This government says they are evidence-based and wise managers of taxpayer’s money, so this should be a priority.

Cannasouth update

BusinessDesk [paywalled] reports CEO Mark Lucas has resigned, ahead of a creditors meeting (See also – Waikato Times). I really feel for him, and all the staff. Meanwhile at Farmer’s Weekly, there are ‘High hopes for cannabis company survival’. Greg Mission, co-founder of Equalis which had merged with Cannasouth last year, said “The company is down but definitely not out.”

“I am confident that at this juncture the administrators are doing a very good job of creating a more agile and leaner operation,” Misson said.

“We remain very excited for the products that have already been developed, and to be able to get them to people who need them affordably.”

Meanwhile, the Medicinal Cannabis Agency approved two more products approved last week. ANTG Rocky Oil contains 30mg THC per ml, while ANTG Luna Oil contains 10mg THC and 10mg CBD per ml.

In total, 18 oils and 19 types of bud/flower have been approved so far. Find out how you can access medicinal cannabis here.

However, at least five types of flower are not currently available, including Kikuya Peak, the NZ-grown 25.5% THC flower approved last year. I understand the following two crops have failed to meet NZ’s super-strict Minimum Quality Standard for cannabis products.

Industry contacts tell me Puro, the Marlborough based outdoor grower of high-CBD cannabis, is also experiencing difficulties, and has cut back production and laid off workers.

There is some good news. I understand the Minister of Health, Shane Reti, has signed off on the proposed changes to the medicinal cannabis regulations. These were first due to take effect in 2022, then delayed to 2023, then “Q1” of 2024. There was a risk they would not happen at all.

The changes will make imports of more products easier, will better facilitate exports of crops, and make testing requirements more pragmatic. If they had happened earlier, these changes may have saved Cannasouth and others (like my own med-can startup, Zeacann, which is now in hibernation).

Hopefully they will happen – you never know until it’s published in the Gazette – and hopefully they will reinvigorate our local outfits, so prices come down and patients are better served. I might even start growing again.

Events

  • Whakamana medicinal social club, 6-10pm every Thursday at the Blue Frog (Wynyard Quarter)
  • 420 Day is Sat 20th April

·       Auckland J Day is now the first Saturday in December

 

Marijuana Media airs every Thursday at 4:20pm on 95bFM, with bFM Drive’s Milly and Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore. Stream or download hundreds of Marijuana Media pot-casts at 95bFM.com (or via iTunes / RSS feed). Thanks to The Hemp Store!

12 COMMENTS

  1. Chris – Thank again for fighting the fight…a bit sad the NZ Police are still going after small time users…

  2. ” Why NZ Police prioritise weed grows over burglaries; …”
    Could it be because Big Corps are telling them to?
    23 wasted years ago I met a fellow who owned an innovative manufacturing business which combined wool with borax to create and organic insulation material that was non-toxic, anti-microbial and highly cost effective.
    He was predator-priced into submission by Carter Hold Harvey who manufactures fibreglass batts. The courts found in favour of my contact and CHH was duly spanked with a wet bus ticket. My friend was very interested in adopting hemp into his ideas for cheaper, safer and more environmentally safe building and insulating materials but the corrupt can-do Kiwi vultures were waiting and watching. Look it up here.
    NZ Herald
    Judge raps Carter Holt Harvey
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/judge-raps-carter-holt-harvey/PA6IITKLDFCW4TL27IS6PO4O7Y/
    And this, from todays The Guardian.
    ‘A roof over our people’s heads’: the Indigenous US tribe building hempcrete homes
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/apr/16/hempcrete-indigenous-tribe-minnesota
    And this, from Boingboing.net
    Boomers find brain boost in bong rips: slashes risk of self-reported cognitive decline by 96%
    https://boingboing.net/2024/04/05/boomers-find-brain-boost-in-bong-rips-slashes-risk-of-self-reported-cognitive-decline-by-96.html?utm_source=pocket_saves
    Once we begin to understand just how ethically, morally and individually corrupt our non agrarian business infrastructure is we might find ways of resisting Big Corp influence here which is far greater, deeper and dirtier than one might think.
    Since the augmentation of neo-liberalism now infamous for allowing a polite mafia unrestrained access to our money and our lives we’ve missed the boat on so many opportunities to be an entirely different country populated by an entirely different human species. Instead, we get 14 multi-billionaires, 3118 multi-millionaires each with an after tax $50 million minimum and four foreign owned banks stealing $180.00 net a second 24 / 7/ 365 and 600,000 people living precariously with their 200,000 kids living in poverty.
    This current down-turn in the economy? The recession we’re in? It’s a scam. A con. There will be creatures out there who will be deliberately tanking our economy so’s they can rush in and snatch up bargains to turn profits later. Graeme Hart? Do you have an opinion on that?
    And that’s why you can’t smoke pot outside a cafe but you can buy a toxic and highly addictive substance in supermarkets. It’s because we’re corrupt as fuck. Our entire economy is corrupt. Our entire politics is corrupt. Our judicial system is corrupt. Big corporations are corrupt. It’s a wonder then that we, the people, are not corrupt. It’s a wonder we don’t steal from each other, bash each other, con each other, lie to each other, bully each other… Oh. Wait.

  3. TBH, I don’t give a shit about marijuana culture – my lungs don’t like smoke in them. But let’s face it just about every man and his dog are now legalising it, and Portugal has gone even further by legalising damn near everything. And I don’t notice the sky falling. But the police like laws against possession, or they used to in my day, simply because they find a couple of grams and it gives them an excuse to do just about anything else, including turning over your house and leaving it looking like a shit hole. (I don’t know things have changed but they never used to tidy up after they’d dumped all your shit in the middle of the floor looking for stuff.)

  4. I have mentioned before a federal constitution for this country where certain functions get devolved to the regions such as health, education, justice, police, housing etc. This could mean that regions that are most friendly to cannabis like Wellington, Nelson and the West Coast could legalise pot and even start reefer cafes all without central government interference.

    What do you say?

    • Chris – Agreed…the regions that voted for it…could have a pilot scheme, with strict guidelines, and the results made public…if okay outcomes, continue on…if not, then stop.

    • Pilot schemes, monitored. They would break down the reckons against introduction of new approaches or good ideas and enable real scrutiny of outcomes. Have to be properly set up as they could be weighted to ensure a failing grade.

  5. The Christiana thing highlights a human trait – something that is a leading trait is that we never seem to take our traits into account! The trait that trumps all is the trickster side of us that in people who do not wish to control it, will allow it to flower like an uncontrollable weed, till it swamps the flower garden so spoiling its looks and production of fodder for good insects; also will smother the good veges that are grown for everyone’s needs of basic requirements.

    So someone has to control the upsurge of great ideas as seen from the POV of witless, shiftless, feckless and other lesser forms of humanity who will dump and draw on any opportune space and time. (Example read NZ book Commune about difficulties in Nelson about attempt decades ago, and note the second try under way with better controls and knowledge!)
    Commune – Olive Jones
    Unity Books Auckland
    https://www.unitybooksauckland.co.nz › shop-new › co…
    ‘Commune’ documents the rise and fall of Olive Jones’ community, Graham Downs. Achieving self-sufficiency was a hugely rewarding experience, using draft …
    $24.00

    PS One way that one, or two, could gently harass the NZ Police is to scatter marijuana seeds around Parliament and then criticise the PTB for not being green as they go round spraying with herbicide every living plant in sight in their zealous deadly efforts to control every living thing in their environs.

  6. A Golden Bay customer told me about someone growing cannabis in the vicinity of a police station, the all glowering eye looking elsewhere.

    My flatblock neighbours on a main street grew grass plants right on it, no fence. Soon gone, but for their discourse, all in raised voices. My pain-sufferer customer grew one in a pot — cop helicopter spotted it. He went back to nettles.

    Why is it all in an amusing note? Cos it doesn’t matter? Brother forgot to remove it from his pocket coming back into NZ. Called up his high-powered lawyer uncle — we all ashamed, but his son an addict of a stronger drug.

    The fun of this should have ended with the referendum, except ‘scared’ Labour.

    Calculation is half the Left with force of ideals the other half. Terrible marriage. The calculation has gone far too far.

  7. A Golden Bay customer told me about someone growing cannabis in the vicinity of the police station, the all glowering eye looking elsewhere.

    My flatblock neighbours on a main street grew grass plants right on it, no fence. Soon gone, but for their discourse, all in raised voices. My pain-sufferer customer grew one in a pot — cop helicopter spotted it. He went back to nettles.

    Why is it all in an amusing note? Cos it doesn’t matter? Brother forgot to remove it from his pocket coming back into NZ. Called up his high-powered lawyer uncle — we all ashamed, but his son an addict of a stronger drug.

    The fun of this should have ended with the referendum, except ‘scared’ Labour.

    Calculation is half the Left with force of ideals the other half. Terrible marriage. The calculation has gone far too far.

Comments are closed.