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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘China

Street Skag Dealer Or Synthetic Cannabinoid Pusher. What’s The Difference?

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Chris Bovey of Totnes. Europe's 'Mr Big' In Synthetic Cannabinoids.

Chris Bovey of Totnes. Europe’s ‘Mr Big’ In Synthetic Cannabinoids.

Synthetic Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists (let’s call them synthetic cannabinoids) are highly toxic, dangerous substances associated with a range of extremely serious, potentially fatal, medical conditions.

Synthetic cannabinoids are intended to mimic the effects of  THC but they can be 50 or even 100 times more potent.  They also bind more tightly to the CB1 receptor meaning the effect can be more intense and longer lasting.  They are nothing like real cannabis.  They don’t have the balancing effect of CBD and other cannabinoids.  There is no ‘entourage effect‘, now known to be the real engine of the therapeutic and pleasant effects of real cannabis.

Cannabis is probably  the least toxic, therapeutic and psychoactive substances known to science but these nasty chemicals are the very opposite.  Why would anyone sell them? They are the product of prohibition and sold by immoral, irresponsible, exploitative drug dealers who are no better than those that sell dirty heroin or crack on the streets to the most vulnerable people.  Most synthetic cannabinoids are sold to children, teenagers or very young adults.

Synthetic cannabinoids are associated with seizure, stroke, severe kidney problems, panic attacks, cardiac arrest, severe psychotic episodes, fever, dehydration, paranoia, hallucinations, supraventricular tachycardia – the list goes on and on.

Chris Bovey of Totnes claims to have made more than £500,000.00 from selling Spice.

Chris Bovey claims to have made more than £500,000.00 from selling Spice.

Of course, you have no idea what you’re getting, which synthetic cannabinoid is in the ‘Spice‘ or ‘K2‘ that you’ve been sold or, indeed, whether there’s a cocktail.  Many of these products sold as ‘legal highs‘ actually contain substances that have been banned,  so buying them doesn’t  even protect you from prosecution.  Well it might, or it might not.  You just don’t know.  The shops that sell these products have no idea what’s in them either.

You have no idea how they are manufactured, in what conditions, using what precursors or what dangerous chemical processes.  You have no idea how they are mixed into herbal material if they look like weed or into a squidgy black substance if they look like hash.  I’ve seen Chris Bovey of Totnes, Europe’s biggest dealer in synthetic cannabinoids, mix his fake hash.  He uses a food mixer and just adds random amounts of anonymous white powder to whatever is the base substance.  God knows what that already contains.

Bovey told me that he has a chemist working in Austria who comes up with the compounds for his ‘legal highs‘.  He then uses laboratories in China to manufacture them.  He showed me a canister, rather like a large tea caddy, covered in Chinese writing and symbols.  There was no measurement of any sort.  He just tipped several slugs of the powder into the mixing bowl and then a bit more for luck.

I do wonder though whether his motives are more sinister. Why would Bovey, who claims to have made more than £500,000.00 personally from selling  ‘Spice‘, want to see cannabis legalised?  It doesn’t really make any sense.  His role may be about subverting the cannabis campaign in the UK.  He has certainly succeeded in creating massive negative energy and meanwhile his ‘legal highs‘ empire is expanding worldwide, even as far as Japan.

Irrespective of Bovey’s involvement in this nasty business, steer well clear of synthetic cannabinoids.  I am not calling for them to be banned.  That would only drive them underground and create yet another criminal market.  The real answer is to legalise, regulate and tax cannabis and MDMA, both relatively safe substances.  If we did that then the market for these horrible synthetics would dry up.  New Zealand has gone halfway there already with its Psychoactive Substances Act 2013,  very intelligent and progressive legislation.  It’s a model that the rest of the world would do well to follow and I see no reason why cannabis and MDMA couldn’t be included in it.

References:

Synthetic cannabis risk ‘vast’: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/global-drug-survey/9945906/Synthetic-cannabis-risk-vast

Synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 and psychosis: An explorative study: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871611000639

Severe Toxicity Following Synthetic Cannabinoid Ingestion: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15563650.2011.609822

The synthetic cannabinoid Spice as a trigger for an acute exacerbation of cannabis induced recurrent psychotic episodes: http://www.schres-journal.com/article/S0920-9964(09)00591-X/abstract

Understanding the dangers of the fake marijuana called ‘Spice’ or ‘K2’: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131002112426.htm

Why Synthetic Marijuana Is More Dangerous Than the Real Thing: http://www.livescience.com/18646-synthetic-marijuana-dangerous-health.html

Acute Kidney Injury Associated with Synthetic Cannabinoid Use: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6206a1.htm

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Synthetic Cannabinoids. A Nasty Business, By Nasty People, With Nasty Results.

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Totnes, Devon. Worldwide Centre For Synthetic Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are powerful substances.  They are fundamental to life.  With that power comes danger.  Modern science and chemistry allows unscrupulous businessmen to exploit and endanger young people as they follow the perfectly natural path of all youngsters – to experiment and to get “high”.

In mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, the endocannabinoid system regulates all aspects of physical and mental health.  Evolution, Mother Nature, God, Science – whatever name you assign to it – has endowed the cannabis plant as the only natural source of cannabinoids outside the body.  Self-evidently, we are in a chicken and egg dilemma here about names and terminology but the facts remain the same, cannabinoids are vital substances.  The cannabis plant exists in a symbiotic relationship with mankind.  No wonder that some call it sacred.

The great immoral evil that is prohibition seeks to deny access to cannabis.  So, in our modern, technological world, inevitably, people find a way to circumvent the law.  This was the birth of “legal highs”, the creation of “analogues” or slight molecular variations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), notorious as the ingredient in cannabis that gets you “high”.  In fact, the benefits of cannabis are much more complex than that.  It is the interaction of around 100 cannabinoids in the plant together with terpines, flavonoids and other compounds that produce the delightful and therapeutic effects.

The effect of synthetic cannabinoids – “Spice” was the biggest brand name ever – is vile.  It is really, truly horrible.  It has none of the inherent, natural, protective balance of real cannabis.  It causes paranoia, anxiety, fear, delusions, all the symptoms that describe psychosis, the term that has been used to demonise cannabis which, in its natural form, is actually very safe and contains anti-psychotic agents.  Worse than that, Spice can lead to elevated blood pressure, heart palpitations, seizures and vomiting.  As well as the lack of natural, counterbalancing ingredients, it is also believed to bind more strongly to the cannabinoid receptors, increasing the duration and potency of its effects.

In Britain, the centre of the synthetic cannabinoid business is Totnes, an apparently sleepy market town in Devon.  In fact, it is an important hub of the synthetic cannabinoid business in Europe and worldwide.  Here, in a grubby warehouse, on a run down industrial estate, completely untested chemical compounds are imported from China, mixed with other ingredients of dubious source and then distributed around the Britain and the world, largely to be sold to young people and children, completely outside the control, moral or legal regulation of any responsibility.

If Shaun Sawyer, the chief constable of Devon and Cornwall wants to do something effective to protect young people, instead of breaking down the doors of people growing a few cannabis plants he should be checking out the contents of this warehouse in Totnes.  It is a combination of laziness and ignorance that the police aren’t dealing with this.  Spice and other synthetic cannabinoids are far, far more dangerous to our young people and our communities than the natural and generally benign cannabis plant.

Spice and other synthetic cannabinoids are usually dried herbs or plant material that has been sprayed with cannabinoid(s) and marketed as a smoking material.  Often the plant material itself has some sort of psychoactive effect.  These include blue water lily (Nymphaea caerulea), dwarf skullcap (Scutellaria nana), Maconha brava (Zornia latifolia or Z. diphylla), Siberian motherwort (Leonurus sibiricus), Indian warrior (Pedicularis densiflora) and lion’s tail (Leonotis leonuru). Large amounts of Vitamin E have also been found in some samples, possibly to mask detection of the cannabinoids.  The cannabinoids themselves are usually JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, HU-210 and cannabicyclohexanol. They might be used individually or in any ratio or combination that is convenient or profitable.

From 23rd December 2009, these known ingredients of Spice were prohibited and are now “controlled” under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as if they are cannabis.  However, they are very difficult to detect and many more synthetic cannabinoids have been developed.  In Totnes there may be a large amount of left over Spice, re-packaged as something else, possibly even mixed with new synthetics which this “Mr Big” has formulated for him by his expert chemist who he told me is based in Austria.  Who knows what these products contain? Mr Big and the Austrian chemist engage in frequent email correspondence and samples are sent back and forth as ever more effective attempts are made to evade the law and produce stronger and more profitable chemicals.

A year or so ago I was invited inside this warehouse myself and it opened my eyes to the extremes that some people are prepared to go to make a fast buck.  It is dark, dank and clammy.  It reeks of slightly rotten or putrid contents.  There are boxes and crates spread in no apparent order everywhere.  There are large envelopes and plastic containers on shelves containing indeterminate substances that look like dried mushrooms, herbs and plant material.  There are also unlabelled powders and pills and, surprisingly for something that is now supposed to be against the law to possess or sell, large quantities of packets that are labelled “Spice”, although what they actually contain is uncertain.

Mr Big is surrounded by a small group of sycophants, some work in his warehouse, some are controlled by gifts and “entertainment”.  Downstairs in the dingy warehouse groups of people sit around smoking.

Upstairs in the office is even more worrying.  There’s everything you would expect at a thriving mail order business.  People working on computers, answering telephones, packing orders and yet more strange substances and distinctly dodgy looking products.  I am shown a tea caddy-like container, covered in Chinese decoration and writing.  I’m told it is the very latest synthetic cannabinoid imported from China.  It’s a fine white powder that glistens slightly. Then I’m introduced to the manufacturing process.

Drug Mixer

A large red “Kitchen Aid” food mixer, the sort you would find in a professional kitchen, is taken off the shelf and Mr Big produces a football sized lump of squidgy, black, supposedly inert, base material.  Yes, it looks just like squidgy, black hash but what exactly it contains I have no idea and neither, I should think, does Mr Big.  Into the mixing bowl goes a generous handful of this gunk and then the cannabinoid is sprinkled over it. There’s no measurement or calculation or care involved .  It’s entirely haphazard and, it has to be said, reckless.  The mixer is cranked up to maximum and left to do its work with just one more slug of the white powder for luck.  Soon it will be cut into small portions and distributed through head shops and by mail order for unsuspecting people to try.

Yes, I tried it myself.  It was horrendous.  I am a very experienced cannabis user of over 40 years standing.  I’ve tried and enjoyed the strongest varieties, be it Nepalese, Afghan or Pakistani hash, concentrated oil, Thai sticks, the finest medicinal product from Bedrocan in Holland and MMJ dispensaries in the USA.  Nothing could have prepared me for the potency and horrible  effect of this Totnes poison.

I crumbled a very small amount into my favourite metal pipe, lit it and took a very gentle pull, just enough to get it burning.  Within moments I had the most powerful and unpleasant sensation.  Every negative, nasty and unwanted effect that I’ve experienced from anything cannabis related was there.  Previously, the only bad effects I’ve had from the real thing are when I’ve eaten too much but this was much worse than that.  I was instantly on edge, feeling slightly panicky and breathing very quickly.  It took fifteen minutes to wear off and the rest of the small sample that Mr Big had given me went straight in the bin.

So what’s the answer to this?  Ban it?  Lock up Mr Big and throw away the key?

Not at all.  Prohibition is a dangerous and irresponsible policy that always causes more harm than it prevents. Remember, Spice is already banned but it hasn’t made any difference to Mr Big and he probably doesn’t even know himself which products in his sordid inventory are allowed and which aren’t.  It would probably keep the local drug testing laboratory busy for a year before they manage to go through them all.

These synthetic cannabinoids and all “legal highs” whether or not they’ve yet been banned, are the product of prohibition.  They would not exist, nor pose any significant problem, were it not for the ludicrous, self-defeating and harmful policy followed by the British government and other misguided administrations all over the world.

Mr Big and his Austrian chemist will be happy to continue designing new chemicals to sell to our children and there are plenty of unscrupulous Chinese manufacturers who will service their evil trade.

The only answer is to regulate, to introduce a system of licensing, age restrictions and consumer protection.  It won’t eliminate the problem entirely but at least it will give us some degree of control, because prohibition provides none.

Mr Big doesn’t give a damn.  Although he has a family of his own including small children, all he is concerned with are the hundreds of thousands of pounds he has made by turning Totnes into a worldwide centre for his disgusting trade.  We must take responsibility, regulate, control and protect and in due course, Mr Big will get what’s coming to him.

I am pleased to announce that CLEAR will be launching an information campaign about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids.

The ultimate answer is to end the prohibition of cannabis.

Home Office Drug Strategy Consultation – Sham And Deception

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Today I started to prepare my submission to the Home Office in response to its Drug Strategy consultation.  I am sorry to say but it appears to be a complete sham, a deception and merely a sop to public opinion.  The strategy is already decided.  It is not a Drugs Strategy,  it is a Drug Prevention Strategy.  It will create death, misery, suffering and crime.  It is a disaster in the making

At the beginning of the document it says:

Ministers have agreed the new strategic vision and broad themes for the Drug Strategy which will set the framework for the future delivery of drugs policy…The paper sets out the key objectives and themes of the government’s vision for drugs policy…The Home Office will lead the new Drug Strategy to prevent drug taking, disrupt drug supply, strengthen enforcement and promote drug treatment.

That’s right, despite Cameron’s and Clegg’s progressive statements in the past, nothing is to change.  It is an authoritarian, big government, top down approach.  It is the precise opposite of the values which The Big Society is supposed to stand for.  It’s a stitch up and completely undemocratic.  Most important of all, it flies in the face of all the experts, all the experience of the last 30 years and is completely out of step with Europe, America and most of the rest of the world.

In fact the only people who will be supporting this farcical exercise in misinformation will be drug dealers, organised crime drug cartels and countries like China, Singapore and Malaysia that execute people for drug use.

Trying to “prevent drug taking” is like asking King Canute to hold back the tide.  It is a completely hopeless and unachievable goal.  Man has been using mind-altering substances since the dawn of time and no government or strategy is going to change that.  What the new Drugs Strategy should be doing is setting out to regulate drug use in a way that will minimise harms.  All the experts agree on this.

Shame on you Cameron!  Shame on you Clegg!  Only four months in and you’ve hit moral rock bottom already.

Cameron, Clegg and Canute.  Three of a kind

Russia Invades Georgia

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So just as they chose to invade Afghanistan on Christmas Day, the Russians have chosen to invade Georgia on the day the China Olympics open.

It is by no means certain why they choose such an occasion.  Perhaps it is to draw attention to the event while the world has an international focus.  It may actually serve to emphasise the message they are sending by this action.   On the other hand, it may be that Moscow hopes our attentions are distracted by the Olympics and it will be better able to get away with this sort of conduct now than at any other time.

Russia is asserting its might for its strategic interests in the same way as the USA does.  There will be many innocent lives lost.  There will be massively increased profits for Russian and Western arms manufacturers.

Ultimately Georgia’s destiny must be to be truly independent so Russia’s action can only fail and should be abandoned immediately.  On the other hand there is much talk of agitation in the area by the USA, possibly CIA warmongering.

I fear the die is cast – thousands are going to die. Perhaps it will continue until November when Barrack Obama becomes President-elect and insists on peace.

The worry is that we are all playing with high stakes.  Last year Georgia openly cooperated with the CIA to arrest a Russian trying to sell bomb-grade uranium…

Written by Peter Reynolds

August 8, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Walking The Dog 5

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Our climate seems to be playing many tricks on us these days. Or at least, so the media frenzy about global warming would have us believe. With my personal experience and memory stretching back only about 40 years it’s difficult to know whether what seems unusual in that context is merely just the ebb and flow of nature. This spring and summer certainly seems to have been missing our normal south-westerly winds. Instead they’ve been coming from the east and closer to due south.

It was the return of a more familiar wind direction that gave rise to another rather embarrassing confrontation with the local wildlife and another failure to capture the event with my camera.

As Capone and I pass by Warblington Church, I suppose it’s my many repeated commands to walk to heel in case of any traffic which means that it has become a habit and, try as I might, I cannot encourage him to “get on” and quarter the ground in front as his half-pointer breeding should favour. He just prefers to walk by my side.

As we swing round past the old vicarage and turn south again down the Pook Lane path to the sea, he changes and forges ahead, often unseen, even on the brightest day, in the dark and dappled tunnel of hedgerow. To both sides there are ditches, thick with nettles and to my right, the west, a field of pasture, foot high with grasses. About a third of a way down we pass two great cedar trees. If you look seaward from the Havant junction on the A27 you can’t miss them. They appear to be three but, in fact, one splits right near the base of its trunk.

Right there, with wind in my face, a russet shape with a great bushy tail wanders along the edge of the field, casual, calm and blissfully unaware, my scent blown behind me before any chance of reaching him.

He is less than six feet from me. His feet at my eye level. Even fumbling for my camera does not alarm him. The wind is strong enough to blow away the noise too. My clumsy camera work continues and he walks right past paying me no notice.

Now I have to turn back slightly and towards the ditch. At last my viewfinder is on but I can’t see him anymore. So I part the nettles with my leg and edge gently into the ditch – until I begin to slide.

Arms and face tingling with nettle stings, I have discovered that the ditch is six feet deep and as I try to scramble back up, who should be there looking down at me with bemusement? Capone, of course, complete bafflement on his face as to what these human beings get up to and why!

The other “environmental” issue that has been concerning me are the vast carpets of glutinous seaweed that have been smothering the beaches. Sid, the Emsworth harbourmaster and fount of all knowledge on such matters, tells me that it is caused by nitrates washed down into the sea from the farmland.

It is revolting stuff, perhaps six inches deep, slippery and treacherous to walk over. In bright sunlight it bleaches quickly and dries to a crispy underlay over which the next tide deposits another layer. I was lucky enough to enjoy a day’s sailing in a 45 foot yacht out of Northney Marina and saw great swathes of the stuff as far out as the Isle of Wight. Then suddenly, with no mention of our local problem, “mutant seaweed” choking the Olympic Games sailing venue in Beijing has become a stick with which to beat the Chinese.

I hold no brief for the Far East at all but surely this is just more media befuddlement, cheap sensationalism (even in The Times!). We love to paint them as the great polluters, as incompetent to manage this great sporting occasion. Look closer to home first, skip the all expenses paid trip to China and please, can someone give us some honesty, some straightforwardness and some real information?

Capone agrees too. “Now get on and throw that stick!”