Tag Archives: New Zealand

Interview with Kiwiseeds

The boys from up north have done it again. Kiwiseeds recently won Best Indica at the High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, so CHRIS FOWLIE sat down for a session with founder Tim A’Court.

Chris: Congratulations for winning your second Cannabis Cup! Could you take us through what happened, what you entered and why?

Tim: We entered the Mt Cook this year which is a plant that didn’t come from anywhere near Mt Cook, it is just the beautiful name that we gave it. It is a true Indica, one of the first when we were bringing Indica seeds back from overseas in the late 80s early 90s. We started playing round with them and this was something we came up with. Since then we brought it back to Amsterdam, and have crossed it, bettered it and made it into the hybrid kind of bigger plant. It is a fat leaved Indica with lots of crystals and grows in nice short seasons and has that typical Indica quality which is lots of strength.

Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of it. This was a selection from a group of seeds that we have grown out. It happened to be much better than the last one we had. For the cup we have to enter nearly 100 grams of weed and it took up everything we had. I know people were not happy they didn’t get a change to taste it or have any of it!

Me included! Speaking of taste, the High Times judging crew said they all agreed Mt Cook was the best and said it was a clear winner.

Yep, I’ve heard that as well from the lady who fills the jars for the judges. She came in and got her packet of Mt Cook seeds before she left and she said the same thing. I’m absolutely rapt. I mean the seed cup is always great. We don’t have a coffeeshop so I don’t win coffeeshop prizes but the seed cup is the real one. The samples are there and people vote on what they see and taste. It is a blind test so there is no buying of votes or persuasion from other people. So we are absolutely rapt and there are a whole lot of seed companies who are astounded that we’ve taken not just the Sativa Cup two years ago but now we’ve got the Indica Cup. We have never really been known as Indica-type people. Our idea was originally to be the Sativa varieties that we grew in New Zealand in the early days; to capture some of the genetics that we were rapidly losing in New Zealand due to skunk varieties and other various things coming in.

Before you got to Amsterdam what were you getting up to in New Zealand?

Ever since I was a kid, the whole family was a horticulture family and we still are. Over the years my crazy mum who I guess I should blame everything on has grown everything from sweet peas to boysenberries and loganberries. We have always had glass houses, open ground market gardening kind of thing. When I was 15 I left school – stupidly, but not stupidly. The marijuana thing was just a sideline. It was just another herb in the garden in those days. Of course we realised we could grow it and we had friends who all wanted it so it became something that we were good at, a young age. I think my brother and I had our first plants when we were 13 years old. I’m the first one to say it is not a complicated plant. It’s not a hard plant to grow. Breeding is a different story. It is really easy for anyone to grow in so many different ways. It’s a fantastic medicine.

I hear in those days you were a member of Norml in Whangarei and did a bit of activism.

We were all big members of Norml. I realized that is wasn’t fair that a lot of friends were in court for having a roach in there pocket. It was destroying young peoples lives. I joined Norml and every Thursday we would go to the court house with pockets full of joints and smoke them on the steps and we would try and get in. On several occasions we had these sessions going in the middle of the court house. There were often police coming up from Auckland and they would just go nuts – grabbing people, absolute chaos and violence. It made the whole thing look stupid.

What sort of growing did you get up to in New Zealand?

The typical guerrilla growing – cages in the bush. Then we got a little bit sneaky and realised that putting it right under peoples noses was actually the best way. We actually ended up night time gardening right on the edges of towns. After that we moved to the Hawkes Bay and down there was huge demand for this stuff but the price was incredibly high compared to up North. We ended up going back up north and putting our patches out and feeding the people of Hawkes Bay with our produce. The last couple of years we went back to Northland and tried pretty unsuccessfully to pull off the big one – we didn’t pull it off but at the end we had just enough to come back to the UK. The rest is history.

What do you put your success down to?

Just being humble kiwis not being full of bullshit. We have stuck to the really basic old varieties crossed with some things we have brought in from NZ. We haven’t gone too far off, we have kept the hybrid vigour, we haven’t bred and bred into some strange little thing. It can get all too complicated. We need to get back to the basics. I like to keep it really simple when people come into the grow shop and need advice. I don’t want to sell them every bottle of potion in the shop which is how it comes in a grow shop in the end.

What is your top tip for growing the best marijuana around – from the Kiwiseeds catalogue of course!

Keep it simple – you can get carried away with additives. Stick to what is known. Marijuana requires a lot of food. It is a very fast growing annual – the growing and nutrition of it is very important.

If people want to recapture that old style Kiwi taste what should they be going for?

There are couple of strains we have that are typical kiwi weeds. One of them is “2 Pounder” which was really famous up north when I was a kid. We brought it back into Holland and we have made it into more of a super hybrid that really can produce a lot of weed if people have got a bit more room. It really is that classic big old kiwi sativa with that lovely sativa taste and high. The other one would be Mako Haze. We had a plant that we nicknamed Mako in the north and we brought this back in clone form and crossed it with the Haze. We managed to capture the spice and taste of the New Zealand bush weed.

Have you kept that original cutting alive?

Yes – we have to keep it all going, and we do rely a lot on original stock that we’ve still got going. You have to keep it not just in one place but two or three places, just to make sure. If one goes down or we get busted, they take everything. One of my biggest nightmares is to keep it going. Every 3 or 4 weeks the clones are replenished in each place. I think we have got about 150 different things in vegetation all the time, just for the mothers and fathers for all those different things. You can always go back to seed but there is nothing like the original stock. I know a few people in town, different seed breeders, quite famous ones, who have lost everything at one stage and they have tried to bring it back from nothing. That is a big shame but it is also something that happens in an illegal situation.

The perception from people outside Holland is often that it is very liberal, that it is legal and that you can do anything, but the reality seems a lot different.

It has been going backwards, but even when it was at its peak, all it meant is that the Dutch people are pragmatic people, and the Dutch always saw this as a personal liberty. Rather than go in all guns blazing they decided it was better to try have some control but also at the same time try and separate the soft drugs from the hard drugs. All they did was say that personal use of drugs should not be a criminal offence, so coffee shops were allowed. The idea was to take it out of residential areas and put it where it could be controlled. But the problem is the supply to the coffeeshops is illegal, and the coffeeshops are only allowed to have 500 grams. The “backdoor” as we call it is totally illegal. As a grower it is completely illegal.

What can New Zealand learn from the Dutch scene?

It has always been such a shame that we couldn’t do something like the Dutch. I still see New Zealand as having the opportunity to be an eco-paradise. If we said in New Zealand tomorrow that we would decriminalise marijuana we would have hordes of tourists wanting to come and lie down and smoke a joint, because people say it is so far away and when you get there you can’t score anything! Give people their weed and let them have a holiday in paradise.

So what does the future hold for you and kiwi seeds?

We have won the cup again this year and I was almost looking to take a break but the race is on to get out all the seeds that are in the catalogue this year. We are doing some feminised seeds this year, purely through pressure to do that. I really don’t like the idea of spreading genetically modified seeds round the world and ruining our stocks of plants.

When people buy feminised seeds what would you caution them about?

If they have any love for marijuana and the species as a whole, if you buy feminised seeds you should grow them, clone them and flower them but don’t try and seed them. If you grow a plant and it is a couple of months old and a couple of feet high you can sex it there and then. Just take a gauze bag, stick it over the very lower branch. Doesn’t have to be perfectly 12/12. Give it a lot of darkness and a little bit of air as well and that branch will sex and you can pull it out or keep growing it. It means that you don’t need to have feminised seeds.

Are you looking for new strains if people back home have the meanest weed around and want to get that to you?

Absolutely. Just give us an email or ring or put it in a video case. We actually supply little containers if people want to send a clone. We would be absolutely honoured to grow those things
out.

Maybe we could get the Mako Haze back and enter the Auckland Cup! Are there official overseas sites that people can go to to buy your seeds?

We sell to distributors and some of those take the risk for selling overseas, mainly everyonedoesit.co.uk. There is no problem with it at the moment but as a producer we have to be careful. England seems to have no problems sending anywhere in the world.

So there you have it, go for the English sites. Thanks to Tim, Dave and all the crew at Kiwiseeds, and here’s to winning your third Cup!

[originally published in NORML News Autumn 2009]

Cannabis Culture Banned

Customs have finally succeeded in having an issue of Cannabis Culture magazine banned. The May/June 2007 issue, imported from Canada and distributed by The Hempstore, was sent to the  Office of Film and Literature Classification. In a decision released in late October, the Office ruled the magazine “objectionable”, meaning it cannot be sold or read in New Zealand.

Rulings on three previous issues had said the magazine could be sold as long as it was wrapped and restricted to those aged over 18. These rulings were based in part on a 1998 ruling on High Times magazine, which had said that the grow section was a small part of the magazine as a whole,
and even though it encouraged “criminal activity” it was not the “dominant effect” of the publication as a whole.

The Hempstore noted no complaints had been received by any members of the public
and said it is “the test of a free society that controversial topics can be openly debated without
the suppression of information from one side.” A ban would represent a “gross intrusion into
the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights Act”.

The censors did not agree, largely because they said this issue – which included interviews with Stephen Marley and Tommy Chong, art glass photography, pot puzzles, and international cannabis law reform news – also featured an article about making bubble hash.

They said the magazine “promotes criminal actions to a greater extent and degree than issues previously classified … The magazine’s focus on “profiling and promoting the marijuana industry” includes an extensive and prominent feature on converting cannabis trim to bubblehash … It is this feature, in particular, that influences the dominant effect of the issue under review. When encouragement to break the law is the dominant effect, readers are less likely to interpret the magazine’s support for currently criminal behaviour as advocacy of law reform and may be attracted to experimentation with criminal activities. In this context the availability of the publication
is likely to be injurious to the public good.”

While other issues of Cannabis Culture and Norml News are not directly affected by the ruling, it
sets a bad precedent and Customs may decide to send all future issues to the censors as they arrive. The latest issue of CC mag that is about to hit our shores features an article on “New
Zealand’s Irie Activists”. That’s sure to go down a treat with the fun police.

More info:

  • www.cannabisculture.com;
  • www.pot-tv.net;
  • www.censorship.govt.nz

(NORML News Summer 2008)

Auckland Cannabis Cup ‘06

In late May the skies cleared long enough for one hundred cannabis connoisseurs and enthusiasts to board the Te Aroha for a boat cruise they would not forget – judging the third annual Auckland Cannabis Cup. 

With thirteen entries representing the finest indoor and outdoor cannabis in the land, it was always going to be a sought-after event. Those lucky enough to get on board were treated to delicious samples of fine marijuana anonymously named A or B or so on, dispersed in random order and marked with the all-important identifying letter on the filter end.

First came the close-up inspection with points awarded for appearance and smell. More points were awarded for flavour and overall burnability and most importantly, the effect. The Cups themselves were hand-blown by Josh in California before being smuggled into Aotearoa.

Judges who ventured downstairs to the spotting lounge usually needed help to get back out again and emerged dazed, confused … and ready for more. As the day turned to night it was hard keeping track of what had been smoked and what was still to come. It didn’t help that the boat kept turning in random circles to confuse us!

Still, everyone was there on a quest of discovery and set about their task with inspired dedication. There would be no stopping until every last scrap was tasted, sampled, sniffed, rolled and smoked!

Needless to say, there could have been a mutiny if it were not for the delectable munchies that kept
everyone satisfied and civilised.

Before the night was over we were treated to a “choice as” round of canna-comedy and songs from Auckland funny-man Gish, and plenty of dope music from DJs Sensei, Leo and Markee.

Returning to the wharf was like emerging from a strange dream. Did we really just spend 6 hours cruising up and down Waitemata Harbour in a smokefilled schooner? Yes, it appears we did. I can’t wait for next year!

2006 Auckland Cannabis Cup Results
Indoor
1. Te Kakariki (F)
2. Shiva Shanti (B)
3. Te Tuki (E)
4. Bubbleberry (D)
5. Soggy 1 (H)
6. Irie (C)
7. Satin-A (A)
8. Special K (G)
9. Soggy 2 (I)
Outdoor
1. Purple Pineapple (K)
2. KC Hemp (L)
3. White Rhino (M)
4. Oromaeroa (J)

(NORML News Winter/Spring 2006, by Anon.)

Supreme Court to rule on supply presumption amounts for cannabis

The Supreme Court is reviewing the “presumption of supply” in the Misuse of Drugs Act, which presumes that anyone caught with more than 28 grams – or 10 plants or 100 cigarettes – is guilty of having it for supply unless they can prove otherwise.

Paul Rodney Hansen, 50, and another man were found at Hansen’s Glenorchy home in May 2003 manicuring a freshly harvested crop of outdoor cannabis. The cannabis weighed 1.8kg and Hansen admitted half was his, saying it was his annual supply. He was convicted in Invercargill District Court last March of possessing cannabis for supply and sentenced to three years’ jail, which was reduced to 2 1/2 years on appeal.

Hansen’s lawyer, Sonia Vidal, told the Supreme Court there was no evidence her client had been selling cannabis. She told the court laws prescribing personal use as one month’s supply were unrealistic, as a cultivator growing outdoor plants could harvest cannabis only once a year. Under the Bill of Rights Act, people accused of crimes were presumed innocent until proven guilty, she said.

The five-judge bench reserved its decision. When the decision is released, it will be made available online at the Ministry of Justice’s Judicial Decisions Online

(NORML News Autumn 2006)

UPDATE: the Supreme Court ruled in dismissing Hansen that “Even though s 6(6) of the Misuse of Drugs Act is inconsistent with the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law, and is not redeemed by s 5 of the Bill of Rights Act, s 4 of that Act requires that the appeal be dismissed.”

Drug policy review – have your say

BY CHRIS FOWLIE

The Government has announced a review of the National Drug Policy and this means it is your chance to have your say.

The current policy is harm minimisation, which means policies and government agencies should
seek to reduce overall harm even if it means people continue to use drugs. One example is the
needle exchange and methadone network. Another example is NORML’s tips for safer cannabis
use.

The NDP review is to:

  • assess the effectiveness of the current policy

  • review the impact of the NDP in terms of stakeholder support and its contribution to reduction of drug related harm

  • identify options for future drug policy directions

  • determine the best approach for a future National Drug Policy including the relative focus on strategic versus action oriented approaches

  • develop a draft Strategy for endorsement by Government, including a process for evaluating the effectiveness of that

New Zealand led the world in introducing this policy, and although evidence shows harm minimisation is the most effective policy, it is not without it’s critics including many politicians who campaign on “tough on crime” platforms. This includes United Future’s Peter Dunne, who has tried to get the wording of the policy changed so that it is more orientated around abstinence.

The document outlines areas of supply control, demand reduction and problem limitation. Proposals range from toughening law enforcement, better drug education, more work on pricing
and tax policy for alcohol and tobacco, and improving access to treatment. It also said more
needed to be done on collecting data.

Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton said the policy tried to take a more economic view of the harms caused by drugs, rather than just the health effects. He emphasised legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco caused far more harm than illegal drugs — between 70-90 per cent of criminal activity related to alcohol use and 4700 deaths a year were from tobacco use.

Five regional meetings will be held in Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Separate hui, with a focus on issues for Maori, will be held in Auckland, Wellington,
Christchurch, Whangarei, Gisborne and Rotorua. Written or emailed submissions can also be made. The cannabis inquiry held from 1999-2003 was greatly promising until the evidence was overridden by the politics and grandstanding. Don’t let it happen again. Have your say and help make New Zealand’s drug policy evidence-based.

Other law changes in the pipeline include:

  • Sale of Liquor Act – review of the drinking age and advertising
  • Tobacco – Hone Harawira’s bill to extend cannabis prohibition to tobacco will be similarly disastrous.
  • Proceeds of Crime Act – oppose Phil Goff’s bill to increase police powers and reverse the burden of proof when seizing assets from suspects.

We encourage you to get involved in the political process for these bills. Write a submission and have your say. Make your views known. The draft document is available at www.ndp.govt.nz and you have until 26 May to make a submission.

(NORML News Autumn 2006)

Coroner’s support for War on Drugs wrong, say health professionals

BY CHRIS FOWLIE

A coroner’s call to escalate the “War on Drugs” received a lot of media coverage, but was condemned by health professionals including the Drug Foundation and the Public Health Association.

In calling for a return to “just say no” education, Wellington coroner Garry Evans had ignored best practice and a wealth of international evidence in his attack on the current policy of harm minimisation, said the Drug Foundation.

“It sounds really sensible to take a tough approach … but what that ignores is the reality of human nature,” said New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell. “Human beings have been finding ways of altering their state of mind for thousands of years. In spite all of that law enforcement people are still using drugs.”

“The drug-war approach has seen drug use rise significantly for 20 years in the US, while it locks away more citizens than any other developed nation. New Zealand per capita sits second in that statistic; we need policies that ensure we at least rise no higher.”

Mr Bell also questioned whether the coroner’s recommendations can be supported by his findings into the deaths of six young people.

“Mr Evans has drawn a very long bow by recommending a major overhaul of New Zealand’s drug policy and education based on the findings of six tragic deaths from gas inhaling. Indeed, his recommendation for a national drug education campaign ignores all the evidence about how to most effectively deal with inhalant abuse, which actually warns against publicising the issue because it can lead to increased inhalant abuse.”

Bugger the evidence though, coroner Evans says the current official policy of harm minimisation, which accepts that people will take drugs and tries to make it safer, just sends the wrong message. Evans cited unpublished research from Prof Richard Beasley of Wellington’s Medical Research Institute, who has been trying to see if smoking cannabis causes lung cancer. The study is incomplete and has not been peer reviewed, but Beasley speculated that because Maori have higher rates of lung cancer than non-Maori, and because Maori smoke cannabis at a higher rate, that cannabis could be the cause. This was widely reported in the media as evidence that cannabis may cause cancer. But official statistics show Maori smoke cannabis at only a slightly higher rate: 20% are current users, compared to 18% of the total sample.

In his paper, Beasley cited old research by Donald Tashkin of the USA, whose research into lung damage is often cited by drug prohibitionists. Beasley was, however, unaware of more recent research by Tashkin, which was reported in the Winter 2005 issue of Norml News. Marijuana smokers were found to have a lower rate of lung cancer than even nonsmokers. Tashkin found that marijuana is less carcinogenic than tobacco smoke and may even have some anticancer properties.

Robert Melamede, chair of biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder, recently published a review of studies in the Oct. 17 issue of Harm Reduction Journal. He found that although cannabis smoke and tobacco smoke are chemically very similar, the cancer-promoting effects of smoke are increased by nicotine, while they are reduced by THC.

Anti-drug zealots Pauline Gardiner and Trevor Grice rallied round in support of Evans. Gardiner – who once said that “we’d be better off if all dope-smokers died, because then the state wouldn’t have to support them” – was proposed by Grice to be NZ’s first “drug czar”, in charge of all drug policy and enforcement. Mr Evan’s recommendations had included using specialists – such as Gardiner and Grice – to deliver drug education in schools.

However, the PHA’s Dr Keating says that evidence suggests that school drug education programmes should be taught by teachers, and there is a “question mark over the effectiveness of programmes delivered by outside agencies”.

“At the moment we have the bizarre situation of organisations like the Life Education Trust going into schools and offering programmes that include smoking prevention, even through the Trust receives funding from British American Tobacco. We should be asking why it is that tobacco manufacturers are so keen to support youth smoking prevention programmes. Could it be because they know they certain types of programmes don’t work?.”

(Norml News Summer 2006)

Death penalty shows barbaric side of the “War on Drugs”

While many of us were feeling morally superior to Singapore as Nguyen Tuong Van was hanged, remember that New Zealand is not so hot on sane drug laws either.

The use of the death penalty – which has outraged the public and been condemned by prime
ministers on both sides of the Tasman – is a brutal extension of the same law we have here.

Politicians and media have been quick to denounce the death penalty – and rightly so – but
they have ignored the fact that New Zealand also uses force to stop people using drugs. New
Zealand and Singapore both enforce a prohibitionist “War on Drugs”. They hang people, we
lock them up, but the objective is the same.

Aussie PM John Howard tried to deflect attention from the law, when he said that “I hope the
strongest message that comes out of this… is a message to the young of Australia – don’t have
anything to do with drugs”.

But drugs did not kill Nguyen Van – prohibition did.

The New Zealand Herald, in an editorial titled “Executions abhorrent and futile” (2/12/05),
said that Singapore’s use of the death penalty was an admission “it has no faith in the ability of
its citizens, or its institutional framework, to cope with illegal drugs.”

But the same could be said about drug prohibition in New Zealand.

The penalties are lower than in South East Asia, but New Zealand still arrests more people on cannabis charges per head of population than any other country. There are stories behind every one of these busts, mostly involving ordinary people but some attaining widespread notoriety through sensational media coverage.

Nguyen Van, Schapelle Corby and the “celebrity drug bust” have confirmed what ordinary New Zealanders already knew – that drug use is commonplace. Many role models and upstanding
members of the community are involved. Using marijuana is now a normal activity, with 80 percent of 21-year-olds having tried it. Most enjoy it and do not suffer any ill effects.

The question many New Zealanders will be asking is, why is it that our Government looks towards Indonesia, Singapore and the United States for its cannabis policy, and not towards Europe, Canada or several Australian states?

“De-prioritising” cannabis

The good news is that in the absence of law reform, Police are arresting fewer people on marijuana charges, according to official crime statistics for the 2004-2005 fiscal year. This continues a 3-year trend. The number of marijuana offences dropped almost 20 percent from 18,271 to 14,654.

However marijuana charges still make up 80 per cent of all drug arrests.

And despite the significant reduction, New Zealand still retains its position as the top marijuana-arresting nation on earth, with 358 arrests per year per 100,000 population.

(Norml News Summer 2006)