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Tag Archives: entheogens

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

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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

ola.gifHeadline: Altered States ‘Ancient Human Hobby’ – This news article out of Australia explores an important, if taboo subject – Does the human brain have a natural and instinctual drive to alter its consciousness? And if ancient humans gained evolutionary advantage by sharpening their senses and concentration through the use of mind altering plants, is it possible that our brains still seek new realms and viewpoints, with advantages now more spiritual than physical?Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within