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Monthly Archives: February 2009

scalesLast night, Feb 25, 2009, in an auspicious moment twenty-five minutes into a press conference mainly about the Mexico drug wars crisis, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was asked:

Reporter: “Shortly after the inauguration there were raids on California medical marijuana dispensaries…do you expect these to continue?”, noting that the President had promised to end the raids in the campaign.

A.G.Holder: “No…What the President said during the campaign…is consistent with what we will be doing here in law enforcement.  He was my boss in the campaign….He is my boss now.  What he said in the campaign is now American policy.”

nmlThe first to break this story was “Radical Russ”, producer of the National Organization for the  Reform of Marijuana Law’s Daily Audio Stash. Here is his post that includes an audio excerpt of the press conference.

US Attorney General Eric Holder: Ending Medical Marijuana Raids now US Policy

A previous Cannabis TV post examines the campaign statements that President Barak Obama made about not using federal resources for law enforcement actions against medical marijuana patients and dispensaries in states that have legalized medical Cannabis.

Hopefully, this will also end other tactics that the DEA and federal government have employed to harass and intimidate business owners and landlords that lease to medical marijuana dispensaries and producers (see Previous post: Medical Marijuana – California, 2008 – Summer of Discontent Timeline).

I will be following this developing story and will update this post when video becomes available. Meanwhile, bask in the New Federalism of President Barack Obama – a Taoist President just when we needed one!

hdt“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
-Henry David Thoreau


mexicoWow, CNN’s American Morning just did a fairly balanced segment on the chaos in Mexico, which is descending into real civil war, with “100 beheadings of Police Chiefs” who dared to battle the narco-traffickers. CNN even had a brief statement from Ethan Nadelmann, of the Drug Policy Alliance, a long time rational voice for harm reduction policies for all drug issues. Ron Paul appears, calling for outright legalization. CNN has a video report, “Drug Violence Crosses Border” that outlines the spillover of violence into the U.S. Here are a few newspaper headlines and You Tube videos following the carnage this month:

Headline: Feb 23, 2009Mexico: On the Border, a Crisis Escalates – This USA Today report is heart-wrenching with personal tragedy and dire predictions for the future, as 30% unemployment in Mexico threatens to swell the ranks of criminal organizations perpetrating unimaginable horrors – gangs that already have a presence in at least 230 cities across America, according to a Justice department report. The U.S. State Department has issued travel alerts for Mexico’s border areas and other tourist destinations.Drug Shootout in Mexico

Headline: Feb 23, 2009Mexico: Drug Violence Tarnishes Mexico’s International Image – From the Christian Science Monitor: “Some 6,000 have been killed since last year, double the number from the previous year, with 78 soldiers and 500 police among the victims.”

Headline: Feb 15, 2009Mexico: Juarez: Soldier Among 25 Slain During Violent Day – Just another day in this forsaken border town, where 230 people have been killed since the first of the year.Exploding Violence In Mexico, from CBS You Tube

colombiaFeb 23, 2009OPED: The War on Drugs is a Failure – In this important guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal, three former Presidents of Central and South American countries call on the Obama administration to rethink the modern prohibition – a catastrophe of epic proportions for the citizens of their countries.  Fernando Henrique Cardoso (former President of Brazil), CeSar Gaviria (former President of Colombia) and Ernesto Zedillo (former President of Mexico).

texasHeadline: Jan 18, 2009Texas: 70% Now Back Drug Legalization – Across the border from Juarez is the American city of El Paso. Last month, things got interesting in the El Paso City Council when Rep. Beto O’Rourke persuaded his fellow council members to include a call for debate on the legalization of drugs as part of a resolution by the Border Relations Committee. The Mayor vetoed the debate amendment, but reports of federal pressure against this excercise in free speech and a visit by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition have sustained interest in the issue.

leapLEAP consists of law enforcement personal, judges, DAs, lawyers and others who feel that the current “War on Drugs” is a total failure – only a repeat of the notoriously ineffective alcohol prohibition of the last century. In this video, a former federal agent with 30 years of experience on the front lines of the drug war testifies before the El Paso City Council last month.Former Fed says Let’s Legalize Drugs

ssdpStudents For Sensible Drug Policy, a dynamic organization with chapters across the nation, also spoke to the El Paso City council in the following video, which includes a local newscast on the quelling of free speech in Texas, with Rep. Beto O’Rourke SSDP Advocates Drug Legalization in El Paso

rmills Prohibition was introduced as a fraud; it has been nursed as a fraud. It is wrapped in the livery of Heaven, but it comes to serve the devil. It comes to regulate by law our appetites and our daily lives. It comes to tear down liberty and build up fanaticism, hypocrisy, and intolerance. It comes to confiscate by legislative decree the property of many of our fellow citizens. It comes to send spies, detectives, and informers into our homes; to have us arrested and carried before courts and condemned to fines and imprisonments. It comes to dissipate the sunlight of happiness, peace, and prosperity in which we are now living and to fill our land with alienations, estrangements, and bitterness. It comes to bring us evil –only evil– and that continually. Let us rise in our might as one and overwhelm it with such indignation that we shall never hear of it again as long as grass grows and water runs.
– Roger Q. Mills of Texas from an 1887 speech

Still reeling from the sight of Olympian Michael Phelps partaking of a plant steeped in their own cultural traditions, modern Earthlings – from Japan to British Columbia, Jamaica to Quincy, Mass – are grappling with taboos and prohibitions of the most popular, relatively benign (even medicinal) plant on the planet.

jpnHeadline: Feb 4, 2009 –  Japan: Editorial: Marijuana Use Spreading – Gird you loins, sports fans – “incipient cannabis pollution”  has claimed another revered athlete. Sumo wrestler Wakakirin was expelled from the ancient sport in his native Japan – where Shinto priests employ Cannabis hemp wands to bless everything from marriages to buildings – check it all out in Jack Herer’s “Emporer Wears No Clothes”. In the meantime, here is Wakakirin practicing his craft:Bloodfest-Wakakirin -Asahimaru

The article also mentions several Russian Sumo wrestlers busted for pot last year. As these guys obviously need a hearty appetite to excel at Sumo, their preference for Cannabis is not surprising. Skinny snowboarders must like it for some other reason. Many athletes probably like the smooth muscle relaxation; extra oxygen from dilated blood vessels (reason for red eyes); non-narcotic relief from aches and pains; and other side-effects of Cannabis use. Speaking of medical:

canadaHeadline: Feb 2, 2009Canada – BC Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Medical Marijuana – A federal judge in British Columbia has ruled the government’s monopoly on growing medical Cannabis to be unconstitutional and has given Ottawa a year to incorporate compassion clubs and other private growers into Health Canada’s medical marijuana program. Health Canada grows it’s Cannabis in an abandoned mineshaft and the medicine has a reputation for contamination, low potency and high price, with few takers among patients in the program. So, others have stepped into the breech.

ctc1The case leading to this ruling involved a man growing for the Vancouver Island Compassion Club. The executive director of VICS, Philippe Lucas, described the mission and goals of the club, including research protocols for strain/symtom correlation, at the 2004 Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, hosted by Patients Out of Time.Medical Cannabis in British Columbia, by Philippe Lucas

jamflagHeadline: Feb 9, 2009Storm Over the Sun’s ‘Jamaica Druggies’ Slur –  When Amy Winehouse went to Jamaica to record a new album, a  British tabloid said the Caribbean island was “awash with drugs like crack cocaine and cannabis”. Jamaicans on both sides of the pond were irate – “You can buy drugs in the UK as easy as buying a loaf of bread. And after all, Amy did get hooked on drugs in this country!’

Jamaica does have a long tradition of Ganja (Cannabis) use and, as everywhere, hard drug problems. Interestingly, there is a new tradition emerging, supported by science – using Cannabis to treat addictions to narcotics (see previous post). As the Rasta says in this video, Alcohol – it’s not good. Herb is for the Use of Man“. Ganja Field, Herbal Meditation by Smoking Holy Medication

 maflagHeadline: Jan 16, 2009MA: Police Chief Seeks Additional Marijuana Penalties– After Massachusetts decriminalized small amounts of Cannabis last November (previous post) , a loop hole in the new law has caused chaos, as several municipalities are attempting to enact ordinances that would levy additional fines for marijuana possession. Melrose may enact, but Worcester has rejected these punitive measures: Editorial: Weed Whackers No Need For New Local Marijuana Laws

When the City Council of Quincy put a proposal on it’s agenda that could slap a pot possessor with $700 in fines, the towns people turned out – check this great video of democracy in action, from Boston Freedom Rally’s You Tube channelA Strength in Numbers in Quincy – City Council Sees, But Won’t Listen to Marijuana Supporters

johnaIf men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being a gift from God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.
Samuel Adams, Father of the American Revolution.

Celebrity Cannabis use is in the news again, the visible tip of an iceberg with incredible masses of people hidden below – people whose lives and civil rights have been set adrift in the prohibition ocean. On Feb. 2nd, President Obama’s half-brother George was hauled out of his Kenyan home for one joint.

And the phenomenal Olympian Michael Phelps, who awed the world and garnered a record setting eight gold medals for swimming like a porpoise at last summer’s Olympic Games, was photographed smoking a “bong” – admittedly filled with marijuana (Cannabis).

The Associated Press’ You Tube channel has posted a video of the photo and news story, complete with Phelps’ sad apology for his “regrettable behavior” in using a God-given plant:Photo Shows Michael Phelps Smoking Bong

nmlA good post from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws looks deeper into the murky waters of this breaking story, speculating on rumors that Mr. Phelps was already a regular user of marijuana.

Speaking of super athletes who like Cannabis, check out Arnold Schwarzenegger, current Governor of California, smoking “weed” on his famous documentary “Pumping IronGov. Schwarzenenegger Smokes Marijuana

Interestingly, there is a scientific basis for the use of Cannabis in working out and historical basis for efficacy of Cannabis in hard labor in general, as in the case of the plantation owners in Jamaica who saw to it that their slave workers in the sugarcane fields had enough good Ganja (Cannabis) to dilate their blood vessels – bringing the blood near the surface of the skin, cooling the body and enabling more working hours in the hot sun.

ctc1Also, the bronchial dilation action of Cannabis would be a boon to a swimmer, allowing more efficient oxygen-to-blood transfer and greater capacity for the lungs.

Medical Cannabis expert, neurologist and author Ethan Russo, MD explains this history, along with other studies of Cannabis use in this video from the 2004 Clinical Conference for Cannabis Therapeutics, hosted by Patients Out of Time.Marijuana Use Studies – A History, with Ethan Russo, MD

Surely, Michael Phelps doesn’t really believe that he did anything wrong (other than jeopardize his advertising contracts). Perhaps soon America will acknowledge the relative benignness and benefits of Cannabis.

loui “It really puzzles me to see Marijuana connected with  narcotics – dope and all that crap…it’s a thousand times better than whiskey – it’s an assistant – a friend.”    – Louis Armstrong