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Tag Archives: drug policy

January and February: The Year began with the Cops Killing a Mother and Dog Police are using these paramilitary raids more than 100 times a day, often on simple possession of non-violent people; dogs are ruthlessly killed because of the war on this plant.

(note that the only marijuana found in this family home had to be scraped from a pipe, and the father was charged with child endangerment…What about the cops shooting weapons in a child’s room, and what about the permanent emotional scars to this child from these cops!)

…and then there was this next story that  led to a lot of accusations from drug policy reformers that police shoot way too many innocent people in overly-aggressive drug raids. You may recall that this case in which the officer claimed that he opened fire on Tarika because he was startled by gunshots downstairs. Those shots were fired by his own fellow officers as they killed the family’s dogs. Tarika Wilson literally lost her life because a cop was freaked out by gunfire from another cop. Oh, and her baby daughter also got shot.

but February also had more SCIENCE coming out to support the anti-cancer properties that new findings are revealing…

February 2010: Medical marijuana news. Cannabidiol stops the spread of breast cancer

February also brought another major study that shows the medical uses for cannabis. This study lasted ten years and costs 9 million dollars. http://blog.mpp.org/medical-marijuana/more-proof-that-marijuana-is-medicine/02172010/The studies, funded by CMCR under the mandate of a 1999 legislative action, found that marijuana is particularly helpful in relieving pain associated with nerve damage and in treating the muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis.

March found the ever fearful DEA sensing that cannabis is about to be used religiously arrested a minister in Hawaii, Roger Christie, who is becoming well known for using spiritual sacrament  with his congregation. (note of interest Roger is still awaiting bail 9 months later)…here Roger gives instruction on how to make Holy Anointing Oil .

Speaking of the ridiculous Drug War Prisoners, other notable new prisoners for 2010 include…

Eddie Lepp

Marc Emery

John Wilson

Charles Lynch

April 2010: Federal Judge Suggests U.S. Change Anti-Marijuana Law

In sentencing a California pot shop owner to a year behind bars on federal charges of cultivating and selling marijuana, a U.S. district court judge based in Los Angeles suggested that the federal government change marijuana’s outlaw status.

Judge George H. Wu was very sympathetic to the plight of 47-year-old Charles Lynch, who was convicted in 2008 after federal authorities moved against his Morro Bay dispensary despite his bending over backwards to abide by California’s medical marijuana law. “Individuals such as Lynch are caught in the middle of the shifting positions of governmental authorities” vis-a-vis pot, the judge wrote.

Lynch was also caught in between presidential administrations: After Barack Obama took office he ordered the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to stand down on enforcing federal drug laws in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Wu wrote that (PDF) “ … much of the problems [in the Lynch case] could be ameliorated…by the reclassification of marijuana from Schedule I,” which is the government’s highest, outlaw-drug category.

Also In April… The Hemperer,  Jack Herer passed on. Jack was considered the father of the modern Hemp movement, and he was a writer and researcher who wrote The Emperor Wears No Clothes.  He was an activist for the wonders of Hemp plant until the last moments of his life, collapsing on stage having just given a Pro Hemp speech at the Seattle Hemp Fest.  Jack will be missed by the many of us who admired him, RIP.

and another milestone… April 2010: 5 Years After: Portugal’s Drug Decrim

May brought a 30 year scientific finding about Cannabis… May 2010: Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection

June: Study of Cannabis being medically helpful for babies!  Cannabis Reduces Infant Mortality

but the Prohibition War goes on… June 2010: A Record 85 killed yesterday

July 2010: The Veterans Administration will formally allow vets to use medical marijuana if they live in the (now 15 States and the District Of Columbia) that allow it.

In August Prescription drug deaths were skyrocketing…

http://wvgazette.com/News/TheKillerCure/200608130006

http://www.lightparty.com/Health/HealingRegeneration/html/AccidentalDeathPrescriptio.html

September 2010:  I liked it when this country singer Colt Jackson was came out for weed:

October and November…then came Proposition 19 to Legalize, Tax and Regulate Cannabis in California for adults over 21 years old…

Pot Was Smoked On National TV



Past Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders says to Legalize Marijuana

Retired Judge and many retired police came out in favor (note that the video turns to Prop 19 at about 5:oo)…

Conservatives come out…

Pretty Girls came out for Prop 19 too ( note that some really good info starts coming out at about 3:50 into the video)…

3,500,000 Californians said YES!, making 46% of the vote, this was so much more than in 1969 only 12% said yes to legalizing.

November: Arizona Becomes the 15th Medical Marijuana state…and… Washington DC becomes a Medical marijuana District in the November election!

November 2010: 30 Facts About Arizona’s New Medical Marijuana Law

Also in November The Border Patrol Arrested Willie Nelson keeping us all a little safer…Here is what Snoop Dogg thinks about that…

December 2010: New Mexico Approves Addition Plants For Growers

And to wind up the year Pat Robinson gives decriminalization his blessing…December 2010: Pat Robinson Favors Marijuana decriminalization

It’s been quite a year for the Cannabis and Marijuana Law Reform Movement…wishing us all a great New Year, keep on pressing on…blessings to you.

Ray Pague


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unI remember it well – in 1998 the United Nations General Assembly declared a ten year plan of action, “A Drug Free World – We Can Do it!”, with the goal of eradication of all drug crops, from Coca to Cannabis.  A blasphemy against Nature and laughable even to a novice drug policy reform advocate, the declaration underscored the disconnect between government and reality on the issue of drug use amongst humanity.

UK: Column: Never Mind The Evidence – A Drug-Free World Is Nigh

Well, ten years passed with no abatement of drug “abuse”, while the number one prohibitionist, America, continued to incarcerate more of it’s citizens than any other nation– breaking families, destabilizing communities and corrupting the mission of law enforcement. Amid this dismal failure of vision, the U.S. delegation led the prohibitionist charge at the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna, Austria last week. Despite numerous European countries’ successes with harm reduction and health models in drug policy, and with several South and Central American leaders even calling on America to end the zealotry that is destroying their homelands, the final position and “Plan of Action” from UN CND in 2009 is the same, dangerous, head-in-the-sand denial of reality of which we’ve all grown so sick.

wrld21But the UN heard the new voices for change and so has the world, even prompting  the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to admit the failures and unintended consequences of our modern prohibition – even praising harm reduction to the media. Several NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) presenting reform agendas in Vienna educated the UN delegates with sometimes novel methods. In this video produced by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the HCLU, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Britain’s Transform Drug Policy spoke from behind bars to passing delegates about tragedies of the drug war.Protest Against the Global Drug War – 11.03.2009

In this next video, from the United Nations’ You Tube channel, the head of the UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa sounds like a reformer himself, saying that drug addiction is an illness that has to be dealt with “by doctors and not by policemen”. “Drug addiction is an illness” (Antonio Maria Costa, UNODC)

Also featured on the UN’s channel is a remarkable plea for sanity and indigenous cultures, from Bolivian President Evo Morales, who chews on a cocoa leaf while urging the CND to remove the Cocoa plant from it’s list of banned substances, as the natural plant  is “not a drug but a traditional medicine”.Morales at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Headline: March 14, 2009 – NY: OPED: Let Me Chew My Coca Leaves

This recognition of our God-given right of people everywhere to interact with the plant kingdom (the “Standing Silent Nation” , as the Sioux Indians say) certainly applies to Cannabis – a time-tested natural medicine and not even a narcotic, which should ease the fears of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.  A recent poll in Canada and pending legislation in California shows that people are ready for legal cannabis.

In fact, the anti-prohibition bandwagon is rapidly filling with unlikely allies in drug policy reform. The drug war chaos threatening the stability of Mexican government is spilling over into the U.S., opening many eyes to the evils of prohibition.

Headline: March 8, 2009 – US AZ: Column: Legal Drugs: The Only Route To Ending Mexican Violence

albert The 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

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. http://stash.norml.org/attorney-general-eric-holder-ending-medical-marijuana-raids-now-american-policy/

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

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

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

 

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

Fifth Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, April 3, 2008  – This bi-annual medical conference, hosted by Patients Out of Time, is a gathering of medical doctors and researchers specializing in medicinal Cannabis (marijuana) and the workings of the Endo-Cannabinoid system – the regulator of many organ systems and processes of the human body.  This year the conference was held in Pacific Grove, California, by the ocean on the Monterrey Peninsula. The enduring sea seemed to underscore the emergence of new science from an old medicine.

The entire conference is currently being edited for posting on the net. In the meantime, I’ve been editing interviews that I conducted with some of the presenters. These can be seen on the Patients Out of Time You Tube Channel.

Today, the sad news of Senator Edward Kennedy’s diagnosis of Glioma, a cancer of the brain that is very hard to treat, compelled me to edit one interview in particular. It was with Paul Armentano, the Deputy Director of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). Paul has done a lot of research on medical Cannabis, having compiled a booklet, “Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis & Cannabinoids: A Review of the Scientific Evidence:2000 – 2008” (available as a PDF) on several diseases that are successfully treated with Cannabis, including promising research on Glioma cancer cell lines (See Below) . This job has made Paul one of the few Americans with direct knowledge of some of the cutting edge science emerging out of Europe, Israel and other countries, so people with sick loved ones often call him, after hearing of possible help from Cannabis research. He has to tell these desperate families that few human trials of medical Cannabis therapies have been allowed in this country, with none on the horizon for the likes of exciting research from Spain, where Dr. Manuel Guzman has slowed the growth of brain cancer tumors using THC – a principle Cannabinoid in marijuana. In this video, Paul observes that many of the callers are asking about alternative treatments for Glioma, often incredulous that our government would block research into such an important area. Also, Dr. David Bearman offers observations on fears of patients facing devastating illness:THC Kills Glioma Cancer Cells – Medical Miracles from Europe

Anti-Cancer Properties of THC – Research in Print:
[1] Guzman et al. 1998. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol induces apoptosis in C6 glioma cells. FEBS Letters 436: 6-10.
[2] Guzman et al. 2000. Anti-tumoral action of cannabinoids: involvement of sustained ceramide accumulation and extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation. Nature Medicine 6: 313-319.

[3] Guzman et al. 2003. Inhibition of tumor angiogenesis by cannabinoids. The FASEB Journal 17: 529-531.

 [4] Massi et al. 2004. Antitumor effects of cannabidiol on human glioma cell lines. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Fast Forward 308: 838-845.

[5] Guzman et al. 2004. Cannabinoids inhibit the vascular endothelial growth factor pathways in gliomas. Cancer Research 64: 5617-5623.

 [6] Allister et al. 2005. Cannabinoids selectively inhibit proliferation and induce death of cultured human glioblastoma multiforme cells. Journal of Neurooncology 74: 31-40.

[7] Guzman et al. 2006. A pilot clinical study of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. British Journal of Cancer.

[8] Parolaro and Massi. 2008. Cannabinoids as a potential new drug therapy for the treatment of gliomas. Expert Reviews of Neurotherapeutics 8: 37-49
[9] Galanti et al. 2007. Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol inhibits cell cycle progression in human glioblastoma multiforme cells. Acta Oncologica 12: 1-9.

[10] Calatozzolo et al. 2007. Expression of cannabinoid receptors and neurotrophins in human gliomas. Neurological Sciences 28: 304-310.
 References courtesy of Paul Armentano. You can read more on this subject in his booklet, which also covers MS; Hypertension; GI Disorders; Arthritis; Alzheimer’s; Fibromyalgia; Hepatitus C; ALS; Diabetes; Osteoporosis; and more: 

“Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis: A Review of the Scientific Evidence” (2008, NORML Foundation).

Dr. Guzman was scheduled to present his research at the Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, but a family medical emergency prevented his attendance. *** A PDF of Dr. Guzman’s Research *** However, one of the Cannabis Therapeutics’ faculty members, Robert Melamede, PhD eloquently explained the principles involved in the “Global Homeostatic Regulation”of many bodily functions by the Endo-Cannabinoid system, including re-balancing of conditions like auto-immune disorders and cancers, in an interview in his office at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs:Cancer Cure – Cannabis & Cannabinoids,by Robert Melamede,PhD

In the documentary to which I referred during Paul’s interview – “Surviving ALS“, Cathy Jordan experiences the neuroprotective effects of cannabis first hand, as it helps her over-taxed Endo-Cannabinoid system bring her auto-immune disorder (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) under control – moderating “excitotoxicity” and over production of glutamate. Dr. Melamede continues his interview in this chapter, explaining how neuropathic conditions are balanced by Cannabinoids.Surviving ALS with Cannabis, Chapter 3 – with Dr. Melamede

One fascinating aspect of Dr. Manuel Guzman’s work is that, as the tumors being treated are in brain (nerve) tissue, the neuroprotective properties of THC become extremely important. Whereas most cancer treatments cause damage to surrounding tissue (especially crucial in the brain), THC treatments actually protect adjacent non-cancerous nerve tissue. 

In this video from the 3rd Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, Charlottesville, VA, in May of 2004, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, looks closely at the science of Cannabinoids in Neuroprotection. Professor Mechoulam was on the team that first isolated THC in 1964.Cannabinoid System in Neuroprotection, Raphael Mechoulam,PhD

 It turns out that the first research into THC’s actions on cancer tumors was done in the U.S., back in 1974 during a government sponsored study seeking to prove the dangers of marijuana. When the results instead showed the promise of THC as a medicinal agent, our government suppressed the results and quietly gave a pharmaceutical company permission to develop a THC pill – now known as Marinol. And the crusade against marijuana continued…

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

 

 

“Cannabis has become the football in a contest between evidence and passion”

Headline: May 8, 2008UK: Cannabis Upgrade Made Official – Britain has moved Cannabis back to “Class B” – the culmination of months of debate and propaganda regarding the relative safety of Cannabis (marijuana), especially in the area of mental health among the young.  In January 2004, under Tony Blair’s administration, Cannabis was downgraded to “Class C” – along with tranquilizers and the like, possession of which is a non-arrestable offence.

Here is a TV show in Britain from last week that frames the debate, with additional annotation from from the You Tube producer:Question Time – 5.5.2008 Reclassification of Cannabis

Much has been made of “Skunk” – a generic name for the “new, powerful” Cannabis– blamed for many evils, including triggering of psychosis. Government and media concentrated on reports of a supposed 40% rise of schizophrenia cases among young people experimenting with the new marijuana. (Note that alcohol and other drugs cause a much higher incidence of mental illness – see below.) Much debate continues concerning the relative strength of today’s Cannabis compared with Cannabis of the past. One thing is certain, though – Prohibition always causes an escalation of concentrated substances, as bulky smelly items are difficult to smuggle and conceal. (Remember “Bathtub Gin & “Moonshine”? – they trumped beer & wine.) Therefore, pills and powders are favored while producers and traffickers of Cannabis are forced to concentrate their product, by using more potent varieties.

 There are always markets for high and low grade Cannabis (swag), just as was the case in the 1970’s – remember “Maui-Wowi”, “Thai Stick”, “Panama Red”, “Alculpoco Gold” – the list goes on. As smuggling across international borders has become very risky, it is true that the milder Sativa varieties indigenous to South America (“Columbian”) are largely unavailable, as indoor farming has favored Indica varieties and crosses, enabling a quicker harvest and more potent product.  The Modern Prohibitionists (Drug War proponents) can take credit for that one.

UK: OPED: Hysteria Over Cannabis Is Getting in the Way of Truth – “Cannabis has become the football in a contest between evidence and passion“. All this comes after an expert panel, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs ( ACMD ), tasked with recommending the best approach to the Cannabis “problem”, came to the conclusion that the classification should not to changed. Among the reasons: The supposed rise in mental illness is not reflected in the population during the rise in Cannabis potency, other factors than official classification influence young people to try Cannabis; and the saddling of these young people with criminal records and the resulting sanctions is detrimental to their futures.

At the 2007 National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) conference in California, Mitchell Earleywine, PhD, addresses the comparative risks of marijuana and other drugs for mental illness:2007 NORML Conference – Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D

Headline: July 30, 2007U.S. Reefer Inanity: Never trust the Media on Pot – Last summer, at the start of this debate, mental health experts tried to defuse the hysteria, as cited in this article by the Huffington Post. “One study found that alcohol has been found to increase the risk of psychosis by 800% for men and 300% for women.”

Headline: May 10, 2008US: Pot May Worsen Depression, Drug Czar Says – While acknowledging that he had no proof for what he was saying, America’s “Drug CzarJohn Waters warned parents of teens who are depressed and medicating themselves with Cannabis that pot may may the situation worse.  Experts, including one from NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), pointed out that many young people smoke marijuana and never develop mental illness and that the evidence had been “stretched”.White House Report on Teen Marijuana Use

Blog: May 12, 2008 – How To Tell If The Drug Czar Is Lying? His Lips Are Moving – Paul Armantono, Deputy Director of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws) has an in depth analysis of this story.

Headline: May 13, 2008US: Heavy Marijuana Use Linked to Risk of Heart Attacks78 to 350 Joints per Week – Are you kidding?

If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
– Samuel Adams