Bangue and Fleas

Few subjects are as subjective as cannabis. With a bewildering number of names alone including bangue, kinnub, arabians, majoon, bunga, sidhee, subjee to name a few as well as the more familiar marijuana and hemp. Simply defining to a mass-public what cannabis is can be problematic.

My own ‘age of discovery’ began  aboard MV Denison, a 20 meter commercial prawn trawler in Australia's frontier North.  Aboard I was with best friends trawling for prawns by night and surfing by day. We ate great food, were fit as humanly possible, worked hard and frequently smoked cannabis. We would anchor at remote perfect surf breaks, load up on fried calamari and surf the morning away before another night's fishing. It was after one such surf, relaxing in the comfortable galley of the boat, that I realised perfection is a melancholy business as we all knew life couldn't be this perfect forever becoming aware of cannabis as an effective treatment for my own inherent melancolia.

Moving to the UK in 1991 I stopped using cannabis due to the lack of a familiar supply in favour of traditional prescribed pharmaceuticals. With the advent of the internet it became possible to begin studying cannabis and its prohibition as a link to those those bygone halcyon days. Maybe I couldn’t give everyone access to perfect never ridden waves… but I could do something about baseless cannabis prohibition. I visited Amsterdam and the Dutch Cannabis Bureau in The Hague to research cannabis regulation. I learnt how UN sanctioned cannabis prohibition was adopted against advice, was counterproductive as foretold and where abolished harm reduced.

In 2012 I made a submission to the UK government concluding; “Being denied access to medicinal cannabis because of dogmatic UK laws is wrong from a humanitarian perspective as Cannabis is a remarkably benign substance with proven medicinal properties. For the UK to deny citizens access to cannabis is morally indefensible and counterproductive. However, this view is hardly new. After more than 100 years of anti cannabis rhetoric and dogma the debate is almost over. Please legalise cannabis that people may take advantage of its beneficial attributes without risk of criminalisation. Doing so will break the link between cannabis and crime and improve public health.” Home Affairs Committee - Drugs: Breaking the Cycle - Written evidence submitted by Matthew Heenan Like all such evidence my submission was accepted most graciously and ignored.

I was perplexed. The government has clear evidence that cannabis prohibition was an error and perpetuating the policy is wrong by any available measure yet the establishment intuitively clings to it when they know better. What is it about cannabis that defies rationality?

I wanted to look deeper and find first  information regarding cannabis in the West. Royal Society archives beckoned and the first scientific accounts of cannabis in Western Europe came into view. Capt Robert Knox was a 17th century pioneer of the East India company and passed his accounts of cannabis to Robert Hooke.

Taken from Royal Society minutes of 1689; “Mr Hook read a disclosure about a certain plant on the East Indies called by the Portuguese Bangue, the virtues of which had been experienced by Capt Knox to cause an appetite, and to intoxicate without any ill symptom following upon it and used commonly to ease the sense of hard labour.”

Later in the same minutes; “On reading the minutes and bangue being said to be a sort of Hemp, Mr Lodnick said Mr Martin the Jeweller having laid under his pillow a bundle of hemp found himself much [illegible] bed in his rest, dreaming and often waking, which upon removal of the hemp ceased.”

One account says cannabis great after a hard day's work while another as being deleterious indeed. However, both of these views carried equal weight due to lack of empirical evidence.

These minutes were written at the end of plague at the same time Hooke used an early microscope and drew a picture of a flea which debunked supernatural explanations for the spread of plague forever.

100 years later the UK House of Commons commissioned a far reaching and in-depth analysis of cannabis and it effects known as the Indian Hemp Drugs study regarding cannabis. The 1894 report concludes; "Total prohibition of the cultivation of the hemp plant for narcotics, and of the manufacture, sale, or use of the drugs derived from it, is neither necessary nor expedient in consideration of their ascertained effects, of the prevalence of the habit of using them, of the social and religious feeling on the subject, and of the possibility of it's driving the consumers to have recourse to other stimulants or narcotics which may be more deleterious. The policy advocated is one of control and restriction, aimed at suppressing the excessive use and restraining the moderate use within due limits."Hansard records the report being tabled in parliament and into obscurity as the British government prohibited cannabis in India.

Consecutive governments have proactively ignored evidence supporting the remarkable banality of cannabis with unscientific views given undue weight. Our governments have been constrained from effectively regulating cannabis regulation due to lack of the right kind of objective evidence from within the UK government establishment.

A Toast!

Christmas ‘Time’
Time to think about time
History, legends, loved ones, what’s next..
Einstein tells us we can’t change history because we can’t travel faster than light.
But we can time travel forward. We’re doing it now at 1 sec per sec
Making this moment, with the ones we’re with right now, the most important time in history.
A Toast, my fellow time travellers, let’s lay down our own history and legends.

Here's hoping the U.N. is to Recommend Rolling Back the Internationally Devastating War on Drugs.

Having the UN join the progressive drug policy movement is a significant force for change. The cost to society of the War on Drugs is incalculable.

Enough is enough.

Interview With the Seed Collective

Published on 10 Oct 2015

Seed Collective ( Interviewed Matt Heenan of the CISTA ( Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol ) party prior to the UK Government debate on the legalisation of cannabis on the 12th Oct 2015.

My 38 Year Relationship With Cannabis

Leaving school in 1980, I got a job as a ‘storeman and packer’ at a CB radio component distributor. Around this time, I saw Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie at the Skyline Drive-In Theatre and had my first experiences smoking cannabis. Initially always with a drink, I’d share a joint at parties when I was 16 or 17. Later, when I smoked cannabis on its own, I started to feel for the first time the positive effects it had on my brain. It alleviated my depression and I began to connect feeling better with cannabis.

I would buy ‘leaf’ cannabis which was low potency and combine it with or ‘mull it up’ with tobacco and smoke through an improvised bong. When available I would buy ‘foils’ of head (2 or 3 grams of the dried flower of the female cannabis plant wrapped in aluminium foil) for $20 - $25 which was a few days supply. Supporting the black market, I spent every spare cent of my earnings on cannabis. I frequently slipped back into depression whenever funds or supply were scarce.

‘Scoring’ was always problematic, precipitating many uncomfortable situations. Meeting with criminals who profited by selling me low-grade cannabis, I came into contact with hard drugs, prostitutes and guns all while trying to obtain a medicine to make me feel normal. In fact, I once purchased blonde hash with the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Army) stamp on it, which certainly bought the geopolitical nature of the ‘War on Drugs’ into focus.

I have had depressive tendencies since childhood. An early memory is of being on the roof of my boyhood home in Western Australia, where I debated with myself about jumping. I was aware men mostly commit suicide at a young age and expected to grow out of feeling this way. Now over 50, I have never grown out of depression. Cannabis has a narrow therapeutic range, but depending on potency and strain, it very effectively treats my depression. The same Sativa-dominant cannabis that gave Jon Snow his awful experience on TV would likely be effective for my depression at a lower dose.

I have visited numerous psychiatrists over the years and one in particular liked my description of depression. When I'm having a depressive episode it’s like my brain is only producing white noise, not functioning. I can’t work out what I should be doing next – whether to eat, exercise or work. All I can do is withdraw and hibernate until it passes. The illness is only debilitating for a short time, but the thought that ‘this could all stop easily’ is terrifying.

Becoming a commercial fisherman allowed me to withdraw from society and medicate with cannabis safely. I could earn money and go surfing without fear of the criminal justice system. For me, there was no greater freedom than watching the lights of society disappear over the transom to be replaced with open water. At sea, we were effectively in our own country with our own rules. Cannabis’ prohibition, combined with the benefits I received from it, pushed me to living as something of an outlaw.

When I immigrated to the UK in the 1990s I didn’t want to get involved in the UK’s drug scene. Instead, I went down the recommended road of pharmaceutical intervention. I have been on large doses of antidepressants over the years knowing full well all I needed was a small, regular dose of cannabis. The high doses of antidepressants I was prescribed were ineffective, though I used them instead of cannabis for many years. During this period I gained 2 stone in weight and wasn't well.

Driving to work one day I found myself crying. I decided I’d had enough of feeling like this. Suicide was not an option because I knew doing so would be devastating to the people I cared about most. But what was the answer when the medicine I knew I needed was prohibited? Without telling my wife, I booked a flight to Amsterdam and took a day off work sick. Upon arrival, I purchased one gram of Kush, rolled a joint and was depression-free for the first time in years.

I owe nothing short of my life to cannabis and feel other people with similar conditions could benefit as well. I researched further and the more I researched, the clearer it became that cannabis prohibition was wreaking havoc on a global scale and denying sick people effective medicine. I met people in the cannabis regulation movement and found their stories compelling. Getting into debates around prohibition, I found those against reform ignorant of the very plant they fought to prohibit.

With the advent of the internet I could access a multitude of information and studies on cannabis. I read about botanist Sir Joseph Banks for instance, who sailed into Botany Bay Australia with James Cook in 1770 and would send cannabis to Samuel Taylor Coleridge of Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner fame with instructions on dosage and how to imbibe. I learnt how cannabis became prohibited first in British India, against advice, to protect British-owned alcohol distillery revenue.

In particular, having researched cannabis for treating depression, it’s clear that cannabis does have a narrow therapeutic range. Therefore potency, strain and dosage are critical but problematic when cannabis supply comes from an effective ‘cannabis fairy’, unregulated and without a label.

What I have found for myself at the ‘school of hard knocks’ has been confirmed with a reduction in suicide rates in the years after medicinal cannabis regulated in parts of the USA. Source:

Criminal justice-based prohibition of cannabis was introduced against advice and perpetuated by vested interests. Cannabis prohibition creates victims that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

It’s time for cannabis to have a label again. Cannabis being an effective treatment for depression can only occur with it’s market-regulated. This way people can access consistent quality-assured product of known strain and potency.

Opportunities to make the world a better place don’t come along every day. If I can help bring about the end of patently disgraceful cannabis prohibition I will leave the world a better place than I found it. And thanks to cannabis its a world I don’t intend to leave any time soon.

Surrey Advertiser Piece

When the glacier slipped

The 12th October 2015 is when the UK cannabis policy glacia finally slipped and started calving. Gathering outside parliament was an eclectic mix of society. Cannabis is something that's best done socially. Such social use of cannabis is deemed prohibited by an ill-informed bumbling elite quaffing Clarat in Westminster Palace opposite.

I met a good man struggling with mental illness and to afford beans while his welfare payments are cut again. Coincidentally he shared the same surname as my Grandmother 'Foley'. His ancestors were coal miners. Some certainly took their skills and chased a fortune in the Californian and then Kalgoorlie Gold Rush, where my Grandmother was from, Coolgardie to be precise.

I met another man who showed me a picture of his house in India upon a lush hillside. 'Everything that's green is cannabis' he explained. Another virtually crippled man with multiple hardship. Beautiful young intelligent people, some wise old farts and every flavour in between. One People.

The one thing we shared and united us was cannabis. And, those people across the road forbid it.

Have made some progress on the 'Royal Cannabis Centre of Excellence' having got a "good idea" from Prof Leslie Iverson. I'm now contacting the current President of the Royal Society, Paul Nurse, a Geneticist, Biologist etc. It's his Predecessor in the 1700's, Sir Joseph Banks who's research into hemp I want to review as a foundation for the Royal Cannabis Centre of Excellence.

Hustings - St Andrews Oxshott, 30th April 2015

Matt Heenan, Oxshott speech, Final Draft

Good evening. It is great to be here and great to be standing as a Surrey candidate at this fascinating general election. It is fascinating because the results are completely unpredictable. CISTA is a new party fielding 32 candidates across the UK. Our core aim is very clear. We are standing for a Royal Commission to review the UK’s drug Laws relating to cannabis.So I am here to raise a hugely important issue that no-one else is talking about. Something that has a huge impact across all society. It affects lives, relationships and families right here in Oxshott. It affects our public services, healthcare and finances, our police resources and our approach to education across Surrey and across the UK. I am talking about the so-called war on the drugs and the ill-conceived policy of prohibition.

It costs around three hundred and sixty million pounds of our money every year and it has completely and utterly failed.  All of us in this church right now are paying for something that is simply not working, and lives are being blighted in the process. 84% of the British public believe that this approach has failed.You can use your vote at this election to send a message that you have had enough. In 2012 the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee looked at drug policy. I tabled evidence.  They concluded a royal commission should be set up.  But politicians backed away from being bold enough to push through their own recommendation.

So what we are talking about is a mainstream political idea. This is not radical. Westminster knows it has to happen. It is common sense. You might recognise a quote from Ghandi, which sums up my reason for standing here today: “The True Measure of Any Society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members”. I am standing here to represent the most vulnerable of our society. Those that cannot be here themselves as they are suffering from Multiple sclerosis, clinical depression, bipolar disease, epilepsy, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, PTSD, and many other awful diseases. Also people suffering side effects of powerful chemotherapy.Forget the stereotypes. Cannabis is a plant that has tremendous potential to treat a number of medical conditions, but because it is illegal the comprehensive research findings are not given credence.I want patents to have legitimate access to quality assured medicine to relieve suffering.But it’s not up to me.

I am calling for a Royal Commission to look at all the facts available across the world and make an informed decision. A Royal Commission is the only way to guarantee that any findings are acted upon, and not just swept under the carpet by timid politicians.Information would be available to the Royal Commission via organisations like the ACMD, CLEAR, UKCSC, United Patience Alliance, Transform, the UK chapters of NORML and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, The Beckley Foundation, Release and many more.

A Royal Commission may conclude cannabis should no longer be a product for criminals, but that it’s market be regulated as a legal consumer product. Why allow millions to go into the pockets of criminal gangs who supply unregulated and sometimes contaminated and unsafe drugs of unknown potency? We support regulation that is even stricter than that for tobacco and alcohol. Cannabis would be available for medicinal use and also for recreational use at licensed dispensaries. Strict punishments would remain for those selling cannabis without a license, or those selling to customers below the minimum legal age — as is the case with tobacco or alcohol.

From Oxshott to the rest of the UK, we could learn a lot from Colorado. The US state decriminalised cannabis and introduced taxes on its sale in licensed shops in 2013; last year these taxes raised over $40 million, from a population of just 5 million.

Taxing a legal cannabis market will make money to fund things that matter in this country.
We could raise over nine hundred MILLION pounds a year by doing this. Think about it for a minute.

What would each and every one of you in this church like to spend that amount of public money on? Would you fix the NHS? Fund more police officers? Build new schools right here in Surrey? This money is there for the taking.

But right now, all we are doing, just like the Americans during the era of Prohibition, is encouraging criminals and funnelling money into gangs. 

I want to create a regulated market that prohibits underage sale and takes the market out of the hands of criminals.

I am not here to say that cannabis is for everyone. I understand there are questions regarding the effects of cannabis and other substances on the developing brains of our youth. A Royal Commission can answer those questions.

But I am here to say let us choose a different, more humane approach. 

CISTA stands for harm reduction. There must be a better way than the one we have now.
I want to inform and educate young people on the dangers of substance abuse. I want to save money spent on a failed drugs policy and tax a new system that ploughs money back into our public services. And to help those who need access to this medicinal plant. Let’s end the control of the drug gangs and put ourselves in control. If you disagree, please ask me questions. I will not be offended and I understand. But please consider that it really is time for change.

Make you vote count on this huge issue that the other parties ignore. One more quote, words spoken by Haile Selassie:“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most.”So let us act.We do know better.We should no longer remain silent on this.

A vote for CISTA is a Vote to raise awareness of the need for cannabis reform that is DECADES overdue. Thank you.

Moonshine Cannabis

High potency 'skunk' is a problem for the inexperienced. Because of its prohibition a kid's first experiment with cannabis is likely courtesy of a criminal dealer with super strong cannabis being one of the most appalling aspects of prohibition.

When I was 17 in Australia, 33 years ago, the herbal cannabis available was not as strong. The strongest pot we could get was herbal cannabis, full of seeds, from Thailand 'Thai Stick', often compressed or hashish from Morocco etc. We expected prohibition to end soon because we knew from experience it was safer than alcohol. Try surfing after a few drinks, and repeat the experiment with cannabis was all the peer reviewed evidence I needed. We didn't expect Politicians saying otherwise to perpetuate the 'tough on crime' Cannabis Prohibition Experiment would last long. Cannabis prohibition wasn't a big issue to us because cannabis was not as an important as Vietnam and pending WW3.

But the Cannabis Prohibition Experiment has been unexpectedly and unjustifiably tenacious.

The illicit cannabis market has got more organised. Cannabis reproduces sexually enabling desirable traits like potency and yield to be optimised. Additionally, developments of hydroponics in Holland have resulted in higher yields that standard cannabis these days is mostly 'head' or 'budd', the potent cannabis flower. I started smoking 'leaf' and only 'scored' 'heads' at annual harvest time. Mild cannabis never hurt anyone. If kids these days are going to experiment with drugs they will score cheap Hydroponically Grown, high potency Heads of cannabis.

Let's look at Tea;
Most people drink mild or medium strength tea. If you developed and concentrated that tea over decades and drunk a lot of it, tea would become harmful.

Let’s look at Alcohol;
A kids first experiment with alcohol is likely a beer not several Tequila Slammers. Likewise milder cannabis should be the ‘Beer’ of cannabis.

When cannabis is regulated the standard cannabis will be mild and low potency. Milder pot would be safer for kids to experiment with. The Cannabis Prohibition Experiment has been an unmitigated disaster. Our kids are driven as a result of prohibition into the hands of criminals and may end up in the criminal justice system for doing something, which without prohibition, should be remarkably benign.

The UK Government will ultimately admit mistakes have been made and turn back the clock on the War on Drugs. But the Government must go much further. Ending the Cannabis Prohibition Experiment is only half the job. Every negative impact of cannabis prohibition must be dismantled and shot down like Clay Pigeons.

Firstly; People should be able to grow cannabis for personal use without persecution.

Secondly; Licences need to be issued to growers and retail 'Canabists'. Low potency cannabis should be dirt cheap and available to anyone over 18. Stronger 'Premium' cannabis and concentrates should be relatively expensive. Thereby people’s first experiment with cannabis will be safer... especially if kids.

The Government must get a handle on the failed cannabis prohibition and get it's market back under control to protect our kids from criminal gangs and harm from Moonshine Cannabis. Like it was for the 10,000 years before prohibition.

But this is hardly bad news for the Government. Cannabis is a ‘new’ industry. Good cannabis regulation will be a net benefit to the country and therefore ultimately a vote winner.

Peace in our time. Finally, but the peace needs much work by government to put the Prohibition Genie back in the bottle.

Do not ban ganja, for many the natives use it.

My Lord, it is not alcohol
our Indian’s are taking,
But something more deleterious,
‘Ganja’, if I’m not mistaking.

What Indians taking, is making me tense
An elixier a potion that makes no sense
Opium wars now 20 years hence,
Tap a new stream for dollars and cents?

We must act quickly
Get natives on spirits
No money in ganja
Drink best drink British!

Let’s not be hasty,
Bring me the facts
Whatever the cost.
Need not be rash

The report now back
Much information collected
I note it now tabled.
And, that it’s rejected.

But what of the report form 100 years since,
what was in it that failed to convince?
The breweries been brewing in India relentless.
Evidence of wrong from all of my senses

‘Do not ban ganja,
for many the natives use it.
It’s just a plant that grows.
They do not abuse it.’

Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, 1894-1895

Medical History of British India - National Library Scotland

Wise words consigned to history.

"No laws are of any service which are above the working level of public morality, and the deeper they are carried down into life, the larger become the opportunities of evasion."

Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, 1894-1895 > Volume I Chapter X1V Para 553

How I know the War on Drugs is the Biggest Scam in History. Part 2

In 1895 a report was presented to the UK House of commons regarding ganja (cannabis) use in India.

"Ch1.9 The commission were especially enjoined to thoroughly examine the testimony in support of the commonly received opinion that the use of hemp drugs is a frequent cause of lunacy, and with this objective have made very searching inquiries."

The conclusion of the commission was to regulate and control the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis. When considering cannabis prohibition the report concluded;

"Total prohibition of the cultivation of the hemp plant for narcotics, and of the manufacture, sale, or use of the drugs derived from it, is neither necessary nor expedient in consideration of their ascertained effects, of the prevalence of the habit of using them, of the social and religious feeling on the subject, and of the possibility of it's driving the consumers to have recourse to other stimulants or narcotics which may be more deleterious. The policy advocated is one of control and restriction, aimed at suppressing the excessive use and restraining the moderate use within due limits."

The report elaborates on control and restriction methods including taxation, cultivation retail etc.

However, in the House of Commons on November 1902 the tone changes;

"Mr Earl Percy - The drug that they do use is not spirits, but ganja, which is exceedingly deleterious; at any rate, it is a stronger compound than the ordinary liquor." (

Mr William Caine "It is a preparation of Indian hemp, and is the most noxious and maddening intoxicant of all the varieties dealt in by the Indian Government. It cannot be procured at any chemist's shop in this country without a medical prescription and the customer's signature in the poison book. In Egypt it became such a curse to the people, under the name of "hasheesh," that the Government prohibited its sale and manufacture, employed a fleet of gunboats to stop its importation, and sent anyone who was found with it in his possession to gaol with hard labour for three months. The British Government places ganja on the lists of poisons, and prohibits its sale except on medical prescriptions. The Egyptian Government has penal laws for those possessing it, the Amir of Afghanistan prohibits its manufacture and sale. The Christian Government of India draws its revenue from the open sale of this virulent and maddening poison to the poor Indian peasant, and public opinion in this country is silent and acquiesces."

Hemp fibre was a real threat to cotton cultivation in the West. The state demonised cannabis and sanctioned cannabis prohibition.

It was, and continues to be, a scam to protect Western interests from a remarkable Eastern fibre!

Source: Medical History of India via The National Library of Scotland

How I know the War on Drugs is the Biggest Scam in History. Part 1

My father was the Head of the District Court of Western Australia.Left school at 16 (diagnosed dyslexic at 27) without qualifications to become a warehouseman and later a trade assistant at a motorcycle retail and repairer, a council gardener, a trade assistant at my uncle’s country smash repairs, dishwasher etc etc

Me with a GT aka Golden Trevally
My grandfather probably pulled strings and got me onto a 12 week Deck Hands course at Fremantle Maritime Technical College.

The night after successfully completing the course I was off shore Exmouth (West Oz not UK) on a prawn trawler with a crew of 3. During this time I experimented with alcohol and drugs (cannabis, hash, hash oil, amphetamine, mushrooms in Bali and kava in Fiji (would have been rude not to), smoked heroine once, not to mention the odd trip). I learnt you could safely operate a powerful hydraulic winch on cannabis but doing so drunk would be madness if drunk. I surfed perfect waves on uninhabited islands with friends, hand fed fresh squid to dolphins, worked hard and played hard. Sometimes we avoided tempestuous cyclones, and sometimes not. I taught a New Zealander how to safely ride sea turtles. My friends included, Mad Mick, Phantom, Pinky (the afore mentioned Kiwi) Black Pete (Vietnam veteran; wasn’t black?), Bobby etc, etc etc They were the good ol days!
Me with a 'Spaniard'
Having achieved my Master Class V Skippers ticket I decided not to spend life at sea. Moved to Cairns Qld, met my English Rose, Moved to UK, married, 3 fantastic kids, currently work for a multinational as Quality, Health & Safety and Environment Coordinator and studying towards an MBA with the Open University.

Now officially an adult, I don’t drink alcohol, smoke or take illegal drugs [correct at time of writing] and have a beautiful family. My friends include a Vascular Surgical consultant, who would have got on well with Mad Mick, but I wish I could convince him to give up smoking cigarettes.

I don’t need to go university to know, from a position of considerable knowledge on the subject, that the War on Drugs is one of the biggest scams in history. The solution is full legalisation and state control of all drugs. Anything else will continue to be counter-productive leaving organised crime to inevitably get more powerful.