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Monthly Archives: December 2008

scrollnegPresident-Elect Obama’s transition team has opened a second forum for questions submitted and voted on by Americans – http://Change.Gov/OpenForQuestions

After the first round of questions was closed two weeks ago, the Change.Gov team posted responses to the most popular topics , including:

Question: “Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?” 

Answer: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

This brief response to the most voted on question (according to NORML – see Previous Post) underscores the disconnect between government policy and the new silent majority recognizing Cannabis Hemp’s proper role in America – past, present and future. Thirteen states have now legalized medicinal Cannabis (an issue that has polled at least 75%  for decades); our farmers are suing to grow a crop their ancestors depended on; and thirteen states have now decriminalized small amounts of marijuana despite efforts by government officials to misrepresent and thwart reform.

vhsThis morning the good folks at Vote Hemp alerted me to the second round of questions now open at Change.Gov,  asking hempsters to search and vote for this question:

“Agricultural hemp is oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis that are low in THC. Please see CRS report RL32725. What is your position on supporting farmers in the U.S. having the opportunity to once again farm hemp, an important agricultural crop?”

Vote for this question (search “CRS RL32725) at:

http://Change.Gov/OpenForQuestions

* Current news and videos about industrial hemp – from the U.S. & Canada:

Headline: Nov 13, 2008 – US: Hemp Growers Take Case to Higher Authority – After paying $2,300 for a DEA permit in February 2007 and losing in federal court, two farmers in North Dakota are taking the federal government to the next legal level – in hopes of taking America to the next economic and environmental level. In a previous post, you can see ND’s Commissioner of Agriculture extolling the benefits of returning hemp to Dakota fields. Here is a local newscast, provided by Vote Hemp at You Tube:Wayne Hauge on KXMB Bismrck

canadaHeadline: Nov 13, 2008 – CN MB: Demand For Hemp Soaring, Firm Moves To Bigger Plant –  “In the last 10 years, the Canadian hemp industry has grown from an emerging niche market to a point where we are now being recognized as a global leader in hemp production”, said Mike Fata, chairman of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance ( CHTA ) and president and co-founder of Manitoba Harvest Hemp. The following, a video produced by Manitoba Harvest , is hosted on  Mike Fata’s You Tube Channel:Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils – Harvest Video

Headline: June 25, 2008 – CN MB: Growers Breeding New Hemp – In another story from Manitoba, the Parkland Prairie Hemp Growers Co-Op announced exciting results from eight years of work – cross breeding modern hemp varieties with 18th century genetics– the hemp of our grandfathers. PPHG has just received a grant from Canada’s Agri-Food Research & Development Initiative (ARDI) to further pursue the science and profit of hemp genetics.

neMeanwhile, back in the U.S.A., the only hemp fields to be found are feral remnants of the 18th & 19th century genetics so carefully selected by our ancestors. Recently, Cannabis TV visited one gene pool oasis in eastern Nebraska, where the famous “Kentucky Hemp” variety was introduced to support the cordage industry.  In this video, plant breeder David West, PhD examines the ripe hemp seed heads so important to pheasants and other wildlife, details history of hemp in the region and laments the loss of an important American legacy.Feral Hemp Patch, with Dr. Dave West

thomas“An acre of the best ground for hemp, is to be selected and sewn in hemp and be kept for a permanent hemp patch.” – Thomas Jefferson’s Garden book 1849

cannabisDuring the most urgent transfer of power ever to occur in America, President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team is hearing from countless constituencies for change. The internet was important to his election and Obama’s team’s website – Change.Gov – provided a forum for questions important to the people. Our silent majority is speaking up!  The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is keeping track of a question important to medical Cannabis patients and civil libertarians alike. Paul Armentano provides the details in NORML’s  Blog

nmlPresident-Elect Obama, The People Have Spoken; Will You “Answer” Their Question? – After receiving nearly 100,000 total votes on more than 10,000 public policy issues, the most widely voted on question for Obama is:

Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion-dollar industry right here in the U.S.?

Polls have consistently shown public support for reform of Cannabis laws and empty promises have been made – During his campaign, George Bush said he would leave medical marijuana issues to the states. Barack Obama seems to understand the issue, but recently hedged his position on marijuana law reform. This You Tube video quotes Obama’s views on marijuana law reform and challenges him to bring about real change: Will Obama Keep His Words?

ssdpStudents for Sensible Drug Policy, with chapters in colleges across America, has an Online Petetion on Facebook , with a message to Barack Obama – requesting that his administration and the next “Drug Czar” treat drug abuse as a health issue rather than a criminal issue and will move away from a “War on Drugs” paradigm.  Here is a relevant news article: VA: Edu: Column: Students’ Concerns For Drug Policy

NORML has called on the entire You Tube video community to help send a  message to the new administration – a video contest with $10,000 in prizes!NORML – Pro-Cannabis Law Reform Ad Contest

Headline: Dec 9, 2008CA: Column: Obama Sends Mixed Messages On Marijuana– This article examines the medical marijuana issue, the history of the pot prohibition,. “harm-reduction” policies in Europe and speculates on Barack Obama’s choice for “Drug Czar“.

ohCoincidentally, recent research at Ohio State University has shown again that Cannabinoids and marijuana may slow or prevent Alzheimer’s associated plaque buildup in aging brains, by neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory actions. Here’s a news story and a video that links science and politics:

Headline: Nov 20, 2008 – Puff-A-Day Of Pot May Keep Old Memory Functioning – The Society for Neuroscience hears a researcher explain his study of rats, Cannabinoids and memory.

“Cannabinoid-Deficient people tend to accumulate in government” , says Dr. Robert Melamede, PhD, Professor of Biology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. His “Forward-Looking People” and “Backward-Looking People” theory credits Cannabis and Cannabinoids with actually stimulating creative thinking . I visited him in his office in 2006:Politicians & Cannabinoids – FLP/BLP Theory, Dr.Bob Melamede

george“ Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”

– President George Washington, 1794

 

abe1Seventy-five years ago – December 5th, 1933, Congress repealed the Volstead Act (a.k.a. the “Noble Experiment“), which had prohibited the sale and manufacture (with “decrim” for users) of alcohol since 1920.  Among the reasons was the Great Depression, which began in 1929 and brought America to it’s knees. Continued funding of alcohol prohibition was impossible, while a new source of tax revenue was badly needed.  Other reasons were corruption of law enforcement and government, gang wars, drive-by shootings and contaminated “hooch” – just like today’s drug war. And once again, America is in need of additional revenue. 

Dec. 5, 2008 – Today’s Headlines on our Modern Prohibition:

* MA: OPED: A Day to Remember: Prohibition Isn’t Forever *

*Wall Street Journal OPED: Let’s End Drug Prohibition*

* Drug Czar’s Reply: Our Drug Policy Is a Success *

 Last spring, I wrote about the complexity of reforming the drug war compared to the simplicity of repealing alcohol prohibition and the defunding of the drug war that has already begun. Most experts agree that legalizing or decriminalizing Cannabis (marijuana) is a good first step. Treating it the same as alcohol and tobacco, as several countries in Europe have done, is likely the only reform that mainstream America will immediately accept. Restriction and regulation of narcotic drugs like cocaine and heroin will still be necessary – hopefully using  “harm reduction” methods, again following Europe‘s lead.

Prohibition Too Big to Fail ? – (Previous Post)

Note that users of alcohol were “decriminalized” during the first prohibition and the “experiment” still had to end. The same is true today – ultimately, legalization is the only answer for long term stability of society, respect for the law & government institutions and adherence to the Constitution.

I filmed Rep. Barney Frank (D) MA at a National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws conference back in 2001. Rep. Frank believes that the states could be a “laboratory” of drug law reform, much like after alcohol prohibition ended, when states enacted their own laws.Rep. Barney Frank (MA): Marijuana, Politics & State’s Rights

Rep. Frank’s observations still hold true today, including the contradiction of “conservatives” in Congress ignoring the results of elections in legal medical marijuana states and the logic of putting marijuana in the same category as alcohol and tobacco.

The following are several recent newspaper articles that address the issue of the modern prohibition, with more videos from You Tube to further illustrate the controversy.

Headline: Dec 2, 2008 – MD: Column: Legalizing Drugs: The Money Argument – A report funded by the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, in association with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, features Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron (see previous post) and his conclusions:

Legalizing drugs would save roughly $44.1 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of drug laws, with about $30.3 billion of this savings going to state and local governments and the rest staying in the U.S. Treasury.

Drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $32.7 billion annually.  That’s assuming legal drugs are taxed at rates similar to those on alcohol and tobacco.  About $6.7 billion would come from sales of legal marijuana, $22.5 billion from sales of cocaine and heroin and the remainder from the sales of other drugs now prohibited.

The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation was founded by Eric Sterling,  Counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary from 1979 until 1989. Mr. Sterling actually help draft much of the draconian drug legislation passed during the Reagan administration. Since then he has worked to undo the injustices wrought by these same laws. Eric was the first “activist” I met in the drug law reform movement and I have deep respect for him. If only other civil servants were so conscious of their actions and duty to their country.  Here is a video from a German documentary on the American war on drugs featuring Eric Sterling.The War on Drugs – An Insider’s View

Headline: Nov 20, 2008 – CA: OPED: It’s Time To Revisit War On Drugs – Quoting Albert Einstein and citing problems oversees with 37 years of Richard Nixon’s drug war, this article looks at the “Drug War Clock” at DrugSense.org for the following figures:

 The U.S. federal government spent more than $19 billion dollars in 2003 on the War on Drugs, at a rate of about $600 per second .  State and local governments spent at least another $30 billion.  
Police arrested an estimated 829,625 persons for cannabis violations in 2006, the highest annual total ever recorded in the United States, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Of those charged with cannabis violations, approximately 89 percent, 738,915 Americans were charged with possession only.  An American is now arrested for violating cannabis laws every 38 seconds.

The Drug Truth Network has produced a video exposing the “eternal horror, the empowering of our enemies, the death disease and destruction of drug war”.Eternal War = Drugs &  Terror

Headline: Nov 29, 2008 – IL: OPED: Obama Should End War On Drugs – A member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition from Barack Obama’s home state sends a message:

leap“President-elect Obama – we need an end to drug prohibition and a drug czar committed to treating drugs like a health problem, not a law-enforcement problem. We need harm-reduction. We need drug policy reform.”

LEAP has an on-line petetion calling on Congress to create a “Blue Ribbon Commission” to bring an end to the modern prohibition. Make your voice heard today!

In this video, another LEAP member reiterates the reasons that law officers and anyone concerned about the stability of our society should favor reform of the drug laws.Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper on Ending the Drug War

Headline: Dec 4, 2008 – CA: Should We Tax Pot?– A columnist from Los Angeles concludes that legalization and taxation of marijuana is a bad idea, citing a study from the Rand Corporation’s drug policy research center.

I think these prohibitionists should watch this video from the Marijuana Policy Project, with an inescapably logical appeal to our new president:Open Letter to Barack Obama from MPP

Headline: Dec 5, 2008 – Web: Prohibition Ended 75 Years Ago, But What Have We Learned? –  Rob Kampia, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, gives his observations on the old and new prohibitions in this article posted on Alternet.

albertThe prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law.  For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this
country is closely connected with this.
Albert Einstein, My First Impression of the U.S.A., 1921

caIn the spirit of the Lao Tzu and the I Ching, the Supreme Court of the United States has accomplished much by doing nothing. The court let stand lower court rulings on a case appealed by the City of Garden Grove in Orange County, California, whose police force felt that returning medical marijuana (Cannabis) to a patient would put them in conflict with federal law. 

supctsHeadline: Dec 2, 2008 – Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case on Seized Marijuana – The appeal supported by numerous law enforcement organizations and District Attorneys, yet opposed by California’s Attorney General Jerry Brown finally makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court, with the interesting lower court ruling stance that the medical marijuana patient enjoyed a “federally protected property right” to his medicine.

The Reefer Report: Medical Marijuana News for December 3, 2008

Headline: Dec 2, 2008 – Oakland Group Hails Supreme Court Action In Medical Pot“It’s now settled that state law enforcement officers cannot arrest medical marijuana patients or seize their medicine simply because they prefer the contrary federal law.” amsaac– Joseph Elford, chief lawyer for Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana patient advocacy organization that has been involved in this case for three years. ASA is providing PDFs of the legal decisions:

Supreme Court Order Denying Review http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Kha_USSC.pdf
 Decision by the California Fourth Appellate District Court http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/GardenGroveDecision.pdf

Chapter 19, from Lao Tzu & the Tao Te Ching
oldboyGet rid of “holiness” and abandon “wisdom” and the people will benefit a hundredfold.
Get rid of “altruism” and abandon “Justice” and the people will return to filial piety and compassion.
Get rid of cleverness and abandon profit, and thieves and gangsters will not exist.
See the origin and keep the non-differentiated state.
Lessen selfishness and decrease desire. –
translated by
Charles Muller

Headline: Dec 02, 2008 – City Must Relinquish Seized Medical Pot – This article from San Francisco notes that a similar case from San Diego County may also be heading to the Supreme Court. This case involves the county’s refusal to comply with the issuance of state medical marijuana patient ID cards. 

Back to southern California for this You Tube video from the office of a lawyer specializing in medical marijuana cases further explains the ramifications of the now closed case:US Supreme Court: Pro Medical Pot Ruling Stands

brandiThe makers of our constitution recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his intellect . . . They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by most civilized men. – Justice Louis Brandeis