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Monthly Archives: November 2008

chinHeadline: November 28, 2008 – China: Oldest Stash of Marijuana Unearthed in Ancient Tomb – Once again, the theory that Cannabis high in THC (aka “skunk“) is a recent phenomenon to be feared is debunked. Preserved in desert conditions in northwestern China, about 27 ounces (enough to get you in serious trouble in modern times) of still green Cannabis was found in a tomb near Turpan. Dated at 2,700 years old, the herb was “relatively high in THC” and clearly cultivated for psychoactive purposes“, according to a research paper in the Journal of Experimental Botany: Phytochemical and Genetic Analyses of Ancient Cannabis From Central Asia  http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/59/15/4171

” To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent” , said lead author of the study, neurologist Ethan Russo. An expert in modern medicinal applications of Cannabis, Dr. Russo has done extensive research into the symbiotic history of Cannabis and humanity. In this video from a Cannabis Therapeutics Conference in 2002, he examines studies conducted over the last couple of hundred years – specific to chronic (prolonged) use of Cannabis.Marijuana Use Studies – A History, with Ethan Russo, MD

Headline: Nov 28, 2008 – China: Researchers High On Ancient Pot Find – Another Canadian newspaper covering this story goes into more detail on the contents of the supposed Shaman’s tomb. “It was common practice in burials to provide materials needed for the afterlife.  No hemp or seeds were provided for fabric or food.  Rather, cannabis as medicine or for visionary purposes was supplied”, states Dr. Russo as he ponders the oldest sample of prehistoric Cannabis to be scientifically examined.

sativaHowever, there is voluminous written history to document the use of Cannabis Hemp by peoples all over the world (see our “Why do we call it Cannabis? page). In Dragons of Eden, Carl Sagan postulates that Cannabis was the oldest cultivated crop, circa 12,000 BC. Canadian author Chris Bennett wrote a wonderful book, Green Gold, The Tree of Life – Marijuana in Magic and Religion, that provides a view into the sacred herb’s influence in many lives and cultures. Here is Chris Bennett speaking on the history of Cannabis at the Global Marijuana March in British Columbia, 2007:Chris Bennett @ Global Marijuana March

“The Land of Hemp and Mulberry” – The following video refers to 10,000 years of Cannabis hemp history in China – first as food, then as fiber for paper, fishing nets, textiles and “5,000 other uses” – even playing a role in war.Hemp History

Next, this You Tube producer documents Cannabis Hemp in modern China, where it is “quite normal” to see hemp growing around houses, ponds and fields. Also, he visits an industrial hemp processing facility.Fields of cannabis in China

galax2“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.” – Carl Sagan

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british

* * * News Flash Update: Nov 25, 2008 – UK: Scientists Attack Plan To Upgrade Cannabis“In recommending this change to parliament the government has rejected the explicit advice of its appointed experts, the advisory council on the misuse of drugs, for the first time in its history.” (from a letter to The Guardian) * * *

For past eight years, the British Isles have been on a roller coaster of governmental policies regarding Cannabis (marijuana), with the reform apex being 2004, when Cannabis was moved from Class B (an arrestable offence) to Class C, which placed it in the company of amphetamines and Ritalin.

However, paranoia and hysteria ensued as reports of increased Cannabis use by youths, an alleged epidemic of mental illness among the young (statistically irrelevant compared to alcohol) and fears of high potency “Skunk” weed infiltrating Britain (See Previous Post) . So, last spring Cannabis was returned to Class B.

Amid this political schizophrenia, inconvenient truths refuse to go away. Prestigious institutions keep issuing reports on the current prohibition (see previous post), it’s ineffectiveness in controlling substance abuse and unintended consequences suffered by society. Last week, The Observer ran a series of articles examining several drug issues. The following are selections that dealt with Cannabis use, with You Tube videos posted from Britain.

UK: Series: Drugs Uncovered: The Facts: Cannabis – A brief but eclectic collection of Cannabis facts and history, including a reference to Lord Shiva’s gifting of Cannabis to humankind.

In this video, a Multiple Sclerosis patient in Britain (whose doctor warned her not to take conventional pharmaceuticals for MS because of the serious side effects) eloquently explains the need for medicinal Cannabis. Cannabis Reclassification – Kerrang Interview 2008 – UK Britain

Series: Drugs Uncovered: The Observer Drugs Poll 2008 – In this extensive poll conducted last month, public opinions on aspects of all illegal drug use are examined. In a popular video on You Tube, a venerable British lady who grew her own Cannabis as medicine refuses to be labeled a criminal.Cannabis Granny

Series: Drugs Uncovered: The Legal Landscape – This article looks at the A,B,C system of illegal drug classification in Britain and cites the confusion over Cannabis. In this amazing video from England, police rip out the side of a Cannabis cafe with a tractor.Lancing Cannabis Cafe Raid

Series: Drugs Uncovered: Chemical Bonds – This article acknowledges the influence that drugs have had on art, literature and music.A Brief List of People Who Have Smoked Marijuana

Series: Drugs Uncovered: Frankly, the Ads Don’t Work – They Just Make It Worse – Looking at past and current attempts by government sponsored media to discourage illegal drug use.Banned Commercial: Terrible Weed Commercial

Series: Drugs Uncovered: The Legaliser– ‘We Need to Manage the People Who Use Them and Help the People Who Misuse Them, Not Criminalise Either of Them”, says Danny Kushlick, Founder of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation. Mr. Kushlick points out what should be obvious to all observers of history – that prohibitions never work, are counter productive and corrupt government institutions. In this video posted on You Tube, a member of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance challenges all the groups advocating reform to come together and put an end to Cannabis prohibition in the U.K.Splitters Unite!

 To delve more deeply into the history of Britain’s drug war, I highly recommend
Drug Crazy : How We Got into This Mess and How We Can Get Out, by Mike Gray (author of, The China Syndrome ). A fascinating chapter examines the “heroin maintenance model” that existed before the American -influenced drug war took hold. Addicts who were able to drop by a free clinic for a heroin injection once a day used one-seventh the amount of drug they would normally seek out and consume on the street.

 

orwellIn an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
– George Orwell

paxflag… A new medical marijuana state; Decriminalization at state and local levels; Low priority or budgetary restraints on arrests and prosecutions at county and municipal levels – across America voters solidly affirmed what polls have shown for years.  In spite of this news worthy trend,  local newspapers seem to be the only traditional media reporting on these issues in the U.S. The first article national level news article I found after election day was this one from Britain – US Elections: Massachusetts and Michigan Ease Marijuana Laws. The following are news stories from several states, annotated with videos posted on You Tube.

miHeadline: Nov 6, 2008 – Michigan: Questions on Ballot Initiatives Remain– Almost two thirds (63-37 %) of Michigan’s voters approved an initiative making Michigan the thirteenth state to legalize Cannabis for medicinal purposes. After December 4th, patients will be able to possess 2.5 ounces and grow 12 Cannabis plants, but the program won’t be fully implemented until next April. Currently, only New Mexico plans to assist medical marijuana patients in obtaining their medicine, so many of Michigan’s chronically and terminally ill will have to access the “black market” to obtain their medicine.

This video from Oakland County NORML’s You Tube Channel outlines details of Michigan’s new medical marijuana law, examining some of the tactics used by the opposition, and also discusses Cannabis on the ballot measures in Arkansas, Hawaii, Massachusetts and California.ONN #20

hiHeadline: Nov 5, 2008 – HI: Planning Commissions and Marijuana Initiatives Pass– An amendment to the Hawaii County Code now makes the enforcement of marijuana laws on people over eighteen a low priority for police on the Big Island. Also, it prohibits the county from accepting deputizations or commissions from a federal law enforcement agency for investigating, citing or arresting adults using marijuana on their own property for personal, religious or medicinal purposes. This is the culmination of a citizens movement to stop accepting federal money for marijuana detection and eradication (see previous post).

The following is the first of a video series featuring Hawaii County residents testifying before council regarding “Project Peaceful Sky”, beginning with the director of the organization that led the effort to place the issue before the voters.Project Peaceful Sky HI Pot Vote – 01 – Adam Layman

Headline: Nov 7, 2008HI: Police chief: Vote Won’t Stop Pot BustsThe County Clerk and Police Chief on the Big Island of Hawaii say that there is already enough money in the budget to continue the marijuana eradication program “Full Force”, as the budget went into effect in July – even providing for matching grants from the federal government, which Police Chief Mahuna said he will accept when made available.

maflagHeadline: Nov 5, 2008 – Massachusetts: Initiatives Provoke Ire, Joy“Politicians wish they won their races by 65 percent of the vote”, said a spokesperson for Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, an organization formed in support of the ballot initiative that decriminalized possession of small amounts (less than an ounce) of Cannabis. Harvard law and economics professors and students comment in the article.

As the video from Oakland County NORML points out, four legislative districts in MA also passed directives for their representatives to vote on a future initiative to make Massachusetts a medical marijuana state! No new video from Mass yet (please check back), but plenty of newsprint has praised and lamented the vote in MA. Here are a few:

Headline: Nov 6, 2008 – MA: Officials Look for Guidelines on Marijuana Initiative ; Headline: Nov 6 – MA: Officials Hurry To Hash Out New Marijuana Law ; Headline: Nov 7 – MA: Police See Confusion Ahead With Marijuana ; Headline: Nov 8 – MA: Why The Pot Question Won ; OPED: Nov 9 – MA: Question 2 Landslide Opens Drug Policy Debate

moHeadline: Nov 7, 2008 – MO: Take Note– As this OPED from Joplin, Missouri notes, President-Elect Obama has already promised to end the federal persecution of patients and caregivers in states that have instituted medical marijuana programs for their citizens.  Given the new science that shows the efficacy of Cannabis in chronic illness and the general awareness that many conventional pharmaceuticals are ineffective (even harmful), if the feds will stand down from the struggle, many more states will soon follow Michigan into truly modern medicine.

wiHeadline: Nov 8, 2008 – WI: Michigan’s Marijuana Law May Nudge Wisconsin– Medical Cannabis advocates in Wisconsin are encouraged by the win in Michigan, hoping that their own long struggle to have a medical marijuana law will also be successful. This video from eleven years ago shows medical Cannabis patients and caregivers on a “Journey for Justice” – rolling and walking on the sides of back roads, carrying their message to the statehouse in Madison.2nd Journey for Justice – Wisconsin – with Newscasts

jeff2A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.
                                       – THOMAS JEFFERSON      First Inaugural Address, 1801