Thursday, February 08, 2007

Forget the war on drugs. Here comes the WAR ON GUMMI BEARS!

A rather strange document finds its way to the Transform blog today. A pdf document purporting to come from the 6th Security Forces Squadron MacDill Air Force Base in the US of A, that is described as an 'SFOI Criminal Intelligence Bulletin' announces a new front in the drug war: wait for it ....HEMP GUMMI BEARS!

Yes, the war on candy has commenced with all guns blazing. The new threat includes a range of confectionary including lollipops, gum drops and the terrifying 'gummi bears'. Do not scoff - this story is a major scoop:

Its all a bit confusing actually. Firstly the document quotes a report that states :

“3.5.5. Studies have shown that products made with hemp seed and hemp seed oil may contain varying levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active ingredient of marijuana which is detectable under the Air Force Drug Testing Program. In order to ensure military readiness, the ingestion of products containing or products derived from hemp seed or hemp seed oil is prohibited. Failure to comply with the prohibition on the ingestion of products containing or products derived from hemp seed or hemp seed oil is a violation of Article 92, UCMJ.”

before on the next page noting that:

"A breakdown of the ingredients reveals a lot of sugar in the forms of glucose, dextrose, sugar, inverted sugar, and starches, along with different dyes for color and a "natural hemp flavor," presumably, hemp oil flavoring. There is no drug in the candy. The candy is imported from Switzerland and contains no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana."

just to restate:

"There is no drug in the candy. The candy is imported from Switzerland and contains no THC"

Sounds like they should be sending in the Black Hawks to me.

Then, after stating that: "It is not recommended this information be openly shared with juveniles under the age of 18, since it could actually do more harm than good by raising curiosity levels", (always a danger with drug panics) the report then goes on to detail the products and their marketing in detail, with pages of big colour pictures of rather enticing looking faux-pot sweeties containing no drugs, but illegal (for the troops) none the less.

Joking aside, I'd have to agree that cannabis themed sweeties are pretty pathetic and if they are being marketed to children, which you would assume they probably are, then thats obviously not a good idea (there's even a 'Coalition Against Chronic Candy' believe it or not ). I seem to remember buying chocolate faux-cigarettes in sweet shops when i was little, which I believe have subsequently been removed from sale as they should be.

We are talking about an army base here though. I imagine its a threat they can probably deal with.

The document also includes various other innocuous looking hemp products, like energy bars, bread, crackers and so on, that dont trade on the drug associations atall - hard to see the objection there if they are also drug free, and by most accounts, quite yummy. 'Illegal' and 'prohibitied' suggest crime and punishment. Were I an elite US soldier I'd feel pretty sore if I got hauled up for a court-marshall over some drug-free green gummi bears. Especially given the reality of the drinking cuture in the forces, the fact that pilots are routinely given amphetamines to keep them perky on those long bombing missions, and the fact that Native American Indian servicemen are allowed to consume peyote cactus (containing mescaline) for ritual spiritual use. America's paranoia around cannabis apparently knows no bounds; Reefer madness is alive and well.

(OK so its a pretty dumb story of no real significance, but I just couldnt resist the headline.)

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