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Tag Archives: international

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

” 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

Just over ten years ago, the United Nations Office of Drug Policy set a goal – the eradication of Cannabis (marijuana) and several other psychoactive plants from the face of the earth by 2008. Most viewed this as unattainable, even laughable, but the ensuing decade saw a sad timeline of prohibition running roughshod over the lives of people around the world: Villagers in the Putomayo region of Columbia were inundated with pesticides, ruining their farms, gardens and water supplies; innocent missionaries shot down by U.S. drug warriors over Peru; the death penalty became the norm for Cannabis trafficking in Southeast Asia; arrests for Cannabis possession in America now approach 800,000 per year – often ruining the hopes and dreams of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

So, as a British “think tank” prepared a report for next year’s U.N. Drug Policy meetings recommending “decriminalization” of Cannabis (see story below), the writing on the wall grows clear. This July, representatives from many countries and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) met in Vienna for “Beyond 2008” – preliminary hearings on reforming U.N. drug policy and the concensus for change was inescapable. Here is a video, produced by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, with several reformers looking to the future:Three Days in Ten Minutes – Beyond 2008 Series #2

A Previous Post from last February examines U.N. Drug Policy in detail, featuring a hearing in British Columbia that the U.N. held to get input on possible reforms.

The following news stories from this month reflect the coming tide of changes for our modern prohibition.

Headline: Oct 3, 2008 – UK: Is It Time the World Forgot About Cannabis in Its War? – The United Kingdom has been on a roller coaster of Cannabis policy changes for six years now. This spring saw Britain reclassify Cannabis as “Class B“, reversing  the 2004 move to “Class C“. which decriminalized possession of small amounts. The reasons included fear of “Skunk” – a catch-all term for the more potent “sinsimellia” Cannabis becoming popular in England (see previous post). The Global Cannabis Commission report states that much of the harms associated with Cannabis use is “the result of prohibition itself”.

Headline: Oct 4, 2008 – New Zealand: Cannabis Spray Use May Be Made Legal– Another country wants to join Britain and Canada in legalizing a concentrated plant extract of Cannabis as a prescribable pharmaceutical. “Sativex”, a sub-lingual spray, is made by GW Pharmaceuticals in England, in a government-assisted venture with genetics experts from The Netherlands. With a remarkable safety/therapeutic profile, trials of Sativex shown efficacy in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis and illuminated the neuroprotective action of Cannabinoids. Indeed, new science and anecdotal evidence raise the possibility that Cannabinoids can actually halt the progression of neurodegenerative diseases!

The success of a whole plant extract of Cannabis (the form our ancestors used) and the failure of synthetic THC (Marinol) as an effective medicine demonstrates that Mother Nature is, indeed, the best pharmacist and that patient’s reports of amazing relief of symptoms makes perfect sense. Modern compounds made from Cannabis will be needed and welcomed, but access to the natural plant should be considered a basic human right, as it should be with any healing or sacramental plant.

Headline: Oct 19, 2008 – Caribbean: Prehistoric Drug Kit Is Evidence of Stoned Age– Archaeologists excavating a prehistoric site on the Caribbean island of Carriacou have found ancient “drug paraphernalia”, dating to around 400 BC. These ceramic bowls and tubes were used to inhale hallucinogenic powders, as Shamans have done for eons in South and Central America. In other parts of the world, there is ample evidence that Cannabis Hemp was an integral part of many prehistoric and even paleolithic cultures.

In this video, Ethnogen expert Terence McKennatalks about the ancient connection between Cannabis and humankind.McKenna on Cannabis

Headline: Oct 24, 2008 – US HI: Public Access TV To Air Drug Policy Forum Video – On the eve of election day, when the citizens of Hawaii will decide on Ballot Question No. 1 (which would make cannabis the lowest law-enforcement priority for police), a forum on drug policy was held at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Speaking was Clifford Thornton, founder of Efficacy – a non-profit organization that advocates a move away from criminalization and towards treating drug use as a health issue, lamenting the “turning of the average citizen user into a criminal, even when no violence or criminal behavior is involved.”

The Pinky Show on You Tube has an interview with Clifford Thornton, conducted on October 7th, during his visit to Hawaii.The War on Drugs : FAIL : an interview with Clifford Thornton Jr.

Headline: Oct 28, 2008 – Canada: Medical Marijuana Users Claim Victory– It’s been eight years since the Constitutionality of access to medical Cannabis was established in Canada, but the road has not been easy for patients seeking consistent supplies of quality herbal medicine. Patients were able to grow their own, designate a “caregiver” grower or obtain Cannabis from a government contracted grow operation in an abandoned mineshaft in Flin Flon, Manitoba – reportedly unsatisfactory as medicine.  In 2003, the Ontario Appeal Court struck down restrictions that limited caregiver growers to one patient each, but the government re-instituted the program – leading to this case.

Last year the federal government appealed a lower court ruling that granted licenses to growers for multiple patients, but this month the courts dismissed the appeal, finally enabling sufferers of chronic and terminal illness access to truly medicinal grade Cannabis – many strains of which were bred during the prohibition by ordinary people forced to become experts in horticulture and genetics.

In this next video, a licenced Cannabis grower/patient Canada discusses the future of medical Cannabis in his country and obstacles to patients needing a sustained supply of quality medicine.Legal Medical Cultivator speaks out Jan court ruling Part 1

Nothing is to be preferred before justice.

~ Socrates