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5% Discount on Legal Highs, Salvia Divinorum and Everything Else From The Coffeesh0p

I Got My Tits Out In The Paper

By John Clarke

I don’t usually just repost other news, because it’s boring and lazy, but today is different because we’re actually in the news. This weekend, the cover story of The Observer Magazine was “The Rise and Rise of Legal Highs“, and features not only a few quotes from us, but you can also see my nipples. Intrigued? Read on…

The article itself contains points from some pretty important people, which is actually a massive compliment. It feels pretty good to get quoted in an article alongside Martin Barnes, DrugScope’s chief executive, and John Huffman, the guy that discovered the JWH series of compounds (such as JWH-018). Since it’s such a long article, I won’t post the lot here – just a few select bits. I really would suggest reading the entire article though on the Observer website.

One more thing I have to mention before you go any further. That Mac that the misses is holding is not her Mac. In an ideal world, she would have been holding her far superior laptop, but it would have made for a worse photo. Here we go:

How can you get high without breaking the law? A survey of friends and colleagues. “Smoke nutmeg,” said an actor. “Find a dodgy Starbucks barista who’ll sell you the nitrous oxide cans they use to whip cream,” said a banker. “Ask around for something called Methedrome, or Mephedrone, or Mephedrome,” advised an account manager. “Lick a newt,” texted a doctor, “and don’t ask me things like this again.” One PR directed me towards news stories about Spice, an over-the-counter smoking mixture that was reported to have effects similar to cannabis; a web developer directed me to a recent issue of Mixmag, announcing the new popularity of “analogue drugs” such as Mephedrone (aha!) in British clubs. Something known as “that purple drank” was a favourite of American rappers in the 1990s, an A&R man told me: “I think it was a mixture of cough syrup and Sprite and it made everything move very slowly.” A teacher remembered that a fistful of ProPlus worked when he was younger. A civil servant had tried snorting Dreft detergent, to no effect.

Us!The industry presented a friendlier, more modern face in the home of John Clarke and Jo Hall, recent graduates from Birmingham University, who run an online retailer of legal highs called Coffeesh0p.com. The couple had propped a giant teddy bear next to a waist-high stack of Tupperware boxes containing colourful lotus leaves, powdered toadstool and Hawaiian woodrose seeds; above a chest of drawers stuffed with cardboard envelopes of guarano pills and pre-rolled kratom joints was a poster of Sean Bean in Sharpe.

“It pays the bills,” said Clarke, 22, who started the business three years ago when he was studying for a degree in pharmacology. Today, his customers range from students attracted by the ease of shopping online, to professionals looking for substances that wouldn’t show up on drug tests at work. There was a professor from the local university who made regular purchases; also a photographer, a shop assistant, and a yacht salesman. “We sold to a couple in their 30s last month. It was their anniversary, a weekend without the kids, and they wanted an interesting time. I think you’d be surprised that our customers are not just 18-year-olds wanting to get high. There’s an entire culture of sensible people out there.”

“The not-for-human-consumption thing is probably the worst thing, morally, that we do as an industry,” said Hall. They likened their jobs to running a “naughty Holland & Barrett”, but like my salesman in Edinburgh, the couple have to play a game of avoid-the-tide with legislators: legal highs need to be effective enough to attract a market, but not effective enough to attract the eye of the Advisory Council, which becomes aware of substances when they show up in amnesty bins at clubs, or when users report to treatment centres with problems, or when the tabloids start making a stink.

In the days leading up to my visit, news had broken that two more legal substances – BZP, a stimulant similar to ecstasy, and GBL, a derivative of GHB that had caused the death of a student in April – were to be brought under the Misuse of Drugs Act alongside Spice. “It was a blow when magic mushrooms were banned in 2005, but the industry survived,” said Hall. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

“Sitting at home, smoking a joint of Spice and watching Sharpe. Doesn’t sound like much of a crime, does it?” said Clarke.

DrugScope’s recent survey highlighted the falling quality of street drugs as a reason why legal highs are growing in popularity. The Mephedrone Tim took was far cleaner than anything he was likely to have bought from a dealer. It had not been cut with chalk, or mashed-up aspirin, or Dreft detergent; it had been mass-produced in a factory, probably in China, imported by a wholesaler, and sold to him by a head shop – pure. He posted a description of his experience on an online drug forum, to warn others about making the same misjudgment.

This is another advantage of legal highs, according to Clarke. When people have better evidence as to what they’ve taken – because a substance bears a brand name, or because it is produced in a factory to roughly the same strength from dose to dose – effects can be compared with some kind of accuracy. Sites such as Drugs-Forum.com and Erowid.org throb with testimonials and advice. “With generic ecstasy there are so many different pills out there with different things in them that their effect is not going to be consistent,” says Clarke. “It makes similar discussion almost impossible.”

We also got a quality link back to our site from their website and a shitload more orders than usual. Check out our traffic:

Monday was a LONG day...

Monday was a LONG day...

We’re well chuffed! I just hope Sean Bean isn’t some anti-drugs nazi….

8 Responses to I Got My Tits Out In The Paper

  1. Dragon says:

    As usual you have posted interesting and good info for us to chew on and digest.

    Congrats on the exposure and the recognition that you deserve. You certainly have put your time in on the treadmill.

    As for this subject of legal highs my main comment would be that, AGAIN, people need to take responsibility to educate themselves before they try something. These entheogenic compounds are NOT intrinsically evil or harmful.

    Simply, if you are going to make the choice to “stay” within laws by using “legal highs”, take the time to use modern technology (a computer search engine?) and do some homework. For example, I did a search on an enthegen recently, only to find that there is anthropological evidence it has been used as far back as 8th century BC. These highs are not going away. It seems to be hardwired into our subconcious to journey.

    I have personally researched and developed 5 smoke blends that I can use daily and enjoy in public. I have also develeoped some that should only be used at home where you can be tucked into bed by your mum.

  2. PoisonedV says:

    That’s great. I saw something about this on dosenation but I didn’t know you were involved.

  3. PoisonedV says:

    Also- trailer park boys poster? =D

  4. sharon says:

    Never mind your tits-Jo’s spongebob t-shirt is amazing!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pqxyi8iyLGE&feature=related

    Well I’m chuffed too because you both made some excellent points and did a great job of representing our community. I’m proud of you (can I be your cyber-mum?)

    What a posh weekend it was, what with you two in the Observer and Ali Beiner’s article in the Guardian on Saturday (he’s a Grow Report forum poster and author of Beyond the Basin).

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/oct/10/drug-use-spiritual-practice

    It’s great to see Monday’s Mount Everest in your sales graph too!

    Cheers

    Sharon x

    PS I’ve got spongebob pyjamas!

  5. Synchronium says:

    Dragon: Thanks for that. You’re right – we’ve been getting high for thousands of years and we’ll continue to do so, despite the law.

    PoisonedV: Ah hah! We wanted at least one person to recognise the Trailer Park Boys poster, and so far, it’s happened twice! Me ‘n’ Jo watched all 6 series, both films and a few extras in about 6 weeks. If you like that, check out Reno 911.

    Sharon: We’ll send out the cyber adoption papers on Monday! 😀 You’ll also be pleased to know that that giant spongebob face glows in the freakin’ dark! I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve worn those ‘jamas on several occasions…

    Oh, and thanks for those links!

  6. Nick says:

    trailer park boys is the shit lol

  7. Rusty says:

    I work in a field where drug testing is very mandatory. As such, Istill enjoy smoking a joint for relaxation yet have to resort to “cleaners”…body flushes.
    The article about Spice caught my attention. If it is legally attainable, “I WANT SOME”!!!!
    Please, if you are for real, let me know how Spice is attainable.
    Thanks,
    Rusty

  8. Synchronium says:

    Unfortunately, Spice is now illegal in the UK. 🙁

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