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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



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.

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

british

* * * News Flash Update: Nov 25, 2008 – UK: Scientists Attack Plan To Upgrade Cannabis“In recommending this change to parliament the government has rejected the explicit advice of its appointed experts, the advisory council on the misuse of drugs, for the first time in its history.” (from a letter to The Guardian) * * *

For past eight years, the British Isles have been on a roller coaster of governmental policies regarding Cannabis (marijuana), with the reform apex being 2004, when Cannabis was moved from Class B (an arrestable offence) to Class C, which placed it in the company of amphetamines and Ritalin.

However, paranoia and hysteria ensued as reports of increased Cannabis use by youths, an alleged epidemic of mental illness among the young (statistically irrelevant compared to alcohol) and fears of high potency “Skunk” weed infiltrating Britain (See Previous Post) . So, last spring Cannabis was returned to Class B.

Amid this political schizophrenia, inconvenient truths refuse to go away. Prestigious institutions keep issuing reports on the current prohibition (see previous post), it’s ineffectiveness in controlling substance abuse and unintended consequences suffered by society. Last week, The Observer ran a series of articles examining several drug issues. The following are selections that dealt with Cannabis use, with You Tube videos posted from Britain.

UK: Series: Drugs Uncovered: The Facts: Cannabis – A brief but eclectic collection of Cannabis facts and history, including a reference to Lord Shiva’s gifting of Cannabis to humankind.

In this video, a Multiple Sclerosis patient in Britain (whose doctor warned her not to take conventional pharmaceuticals for MS because of the serious side effects) eloquently explains the need for medicinal Cannabis. Cannabis Reclassification – Kerrang Interview 2008 – UK Britain

Series: Drugs Uncovered: The Observer Drugs Poll 2008 – In this extensive poll conducted last month, public opinions on aspects of all illegal drug use are examined. In a popular video on You Tube, a venerable British lady who grew her own Cannabis as medicine refuses to be labeled a criminal.Cannabis Granny

Series: Drugs Uncovered: The Legal Landscape – This article looks at the A,B,C system of illegal drug classification in Britain and cites the confusion over Cannabis. In this amazing video from England, police rip out the side of a Cannabis cafe with a tractor.Lancing Cannabis Cafe Raid

Series: Drugs Uncovered: Chemical Bonds – This article acknowledges the influence that drugs have had on art, literature and music.A Brief List of People Who Have Smoked Marijuana

Series: Drugs Uncovered: Frankly, the Ads Don’t Work – They Just Make It Worse – Looking at past and current attempts by government sponsored media to discourage illegal drug use.Banned Commercial: Terrible Weed Commercial

Series: Drugs Uncovered: The Legaliser– ‘We Need to Manage the People Who Use Them and Help the People Who Misuse Them, Not Criminalise Either of Them”, says Danny Kushlick, Founder of the Transform Drug Policy Foundation. Mr. Kushlick points out what should be obvious to all observers of history – that prohibitions never work, are counter productive and corrupt government institutions. In this video posted on You Tube, a member of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance challenges all the groups advocating reform to come together and put an end to Cannabis prohibition in the U.K.Splitters Unite!

 To delve more deeply into the history of Britain’s drug war, I highly recommend
Drug Crazy : How We Got into This Mess and How We Can Get Out, by Mike Gray (author of, The China Syndrome ). A fascinating chapter examines the “heroin maintenance model” that existed before the American -influenced drug war took hold. Addicts who were able to drop by a free clinic for a heroin injection once a day used one-seventh the amount of drug they would normally seek out and consume on the street.

 

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

Headline: June 10, 2008Now Experts Say Cannabis Should Be Legal– Drug abuse experts in Scotland have been studing the Cannabis (marijuana) problem in the U.K. and have come to a logical, if controversial, conclusion. After evaluating data from the Netherlands, where Cannabis has been decriminalized and from San Francisco, CA, where it is still illegal, the researchers found that breaking the legal link between Cannabis and hard drugs also breaks the real-world contact between the Cannabis user and dealers of hard drugs. Only 17% of Cannabis dealers in the Netherlands were also sellers of narcotics, whereas 50% of dealers in San Francisco also dealt in hard drugs.

In this video posted on You Tube, a Scottish poet relates in verse his feelings about the Cannabis plant:Scottish poet in Tobermory Isle of Mull reading Poem.2.

This recommendation comes shortly after Britain reversed several years of leniency on Cannabis users, reclassifying Cannabis as Class B, with the possibility of arrest and jail. (see previous post)

Headline: July 12, 2008 – Ireland: Is It Time To Legalise Drugs? – A new book, The Irish War on Drugs: the Seductive Folly of Prohibition, by Dr. Paul O’Mahony is making waves in the Emerald Isle by recognizing that the modern prohibition of drugs actually makes the misuse problems worse, not better. Citing the United States as mainly responsible for the current drug war tactics, as opposed to “harm reduction” strategies that many European countries have adopted, Dr. Mahony quotes Dr. Milton Friedman, an esteemed U.S. economist, who also sees prohibition as a flawed approach. In this series on You Tube, Milton Friedman expalins why:Milton Friedman on America’s Drug Forum pt.1of 3

Headline: July 12, 2008Italy: Rastas Can Use Cannabis, Italian Court Rules – The Supreme Court of Italy has ruled that, for Rastafarians at least, Cannabis can be considered a religious act and not a criminal offense. Citing marijuana “not only as a medical but also as a meditative herb“, the court also said that “as such [it is] a possible bearer of the psycho-physical state to contemplation and prayer“.  In the next video, we see Italian Rastafarians chanting to Emperor Haile Selassie on the first 115th Earthlight ina Roma, Italy.23rd July ina Rome

Headline: July 2, 2008Drug History’s Sad Centenary – The 100th anniversary of the first anti-narcotic law in history, passed in Canada on July 11, 1908, comes at a time when the new Conservative government has chosen a hard line on drugs, reversing years of liberal Cannabis laws, including the first national medical marijuana law in the modern era. The following video features Canadian president Stephen Harper outlining the new get tough approach on drugs, with questions remaining on the fate of Canada’s medical marijuana program and the patients who use it for medicine.Harper Drug Strategy: What about Medical Marijuana?

Headline: May 2, 2008CN BC: Expert Testifies Cannabis Helps Slow Aging – Meanwhile last May,  during a trial of a man accused of growing marijuana in British Columbia,  the defense called a witness from the United States – Dr. Bob Melamede, a biology professor at the University of Colorado,  to explain how Cannabis has benefits for the mind and body. In the following video from Cannabis TV, Dr. Melamede explains the anti-aging actions of Cannabis and the “Endo-Cannabinoid system” – the body’s mechanism for maintaining balance in an unbalanced world.Surviving ALS with Cannabis, # 3 – with Dr. Bob Melamede

 

“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

Headline: March 11.2008 – Spliff Society – Jamaica Considers Calls To Decriminalize Ganja– When you think of ganja, you think of Jamaica – famous for righteous reggae vibrations, beautiful beaches and mountainside groves of marijuana.

jamflag.jpgHowever, Cannabis (marijuana, ganja, pot) is still illegal in Jamaica, even as ganja consciousness pervades its’ culture and draws vacationers from around the world seeking serenity at laid-back ganja-friendly resorts.

In 2003, a government appointed “Ganja Commission” recommended decriminalization (small fines for users; jail for dealers), but the prospect of losing its'”anti-drug certification” from the United States and resulting economic sanctions caused the government to continue the prohibition. This year, with the Jamaican Labour Party in power and the island’s court’s clogged with marijuana-related cases, there is a real possibility of reform.

As ganja use has been so prevalent in Jamaican culture, it has been a subject of study by researchers seeking to understand Cannabis use in real-world situations. One very interesting  example comes from Dr. Melanie Dreher (now Dean of  the Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago), who spent years of observing the dynamics of Jamaican women, motherhood, cultural taboos against cocaine and cultural support of Cannabis. Indeed, the “Roots Daughters”, respected pillars of Jamaican family and community, are brewers of “Ganja Tea”, beneficial both physically and spiritually.

ctc1.jpgIn this video, Professor Dreher, RN, PhD, at 2004 Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, hosted by Patients Out of Time, details her observations on Jamaican women and families, including the use of Cannabis in assisting the cessation of crack cocaine use, by lessening withdrawal symptoms and boosting the spirit.Cannabis -Risk of Dependence, with Melanie Dreher, RN, PhD, FAAN

The findings of Professor Dreher mirror scientific studies now supporting anecdotal evidence that Cannabis can be an aid on the perilous path out of “hard drug” addictions. One example is a study on heroin withdrawal in England.

At the same Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, Ethan Russo, MD, outlines governmental studies into Cannabis use, including two books written about ganja use in Jamaica, commissioned by the Shaffer Commission in 1972. The Jamaican studies also mention the “Roots Daughters” and debunks the “anti-motivational syndrome” myth associated with Cannabis use. (Cannabis became established in the Caribbean because the sugar plantation owners knew their fieldhands could work harder and longer in the fierce Jamaican sun, mainly due to the vascular dilation action of Cannabis – bringing the blood vessels closer to the skin (reason for red eyes) for cooling and rushing oxygen-rich blood to the muscles.)Marijuana Use Studies – A History, with Ethan Russo, MD

Beginning with the India Hemp Drugs Commission in 1893, Dr. Russo reports that every study came to basically the same conclusion –
Society has no cause for concern regarding the effects of Cannabis use on health or crime, and in fact, it has many positives – like medicinal value, spiritual traditions and productivity.

thomas.jpgIf people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.
Thomas Jefferson

Headline: Feb.14.08Steves, ACLU Join Forces for Pot Law Reform – The host of the popular PBS travel series, “Rick Steves’ Europe” is working with the American Civil Liberties Union to educate the public to the urgent need for change in America’s marijuana laws. Together, they have produced, “Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation“, a new television broadcast debuting in the state of Washington:Marijuana: It’s Time For A Conversation [Part 1 of 3]

Now on the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Rick Steves’ experience in Europe is the primary reason he feels compelled to criticize America’s war on marijuana, having seen firsthand that a decriminalization approach is superior and that we need to follow the European trend of differentiating between “hard” and “soft” drugs.

nml.gifIn this video from the 2007 NORML Convention in Los Angeles, CA, Rick Steves speaks to Dean Becker, a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and the Drug Truth Network, about concerns of law enforcement,  the European model of treating Cannabis use as a health issue – not a criminal one, and his  view of the general use of marijuana as a civil rights issue.Rick Steves Smokes Pot – DrugTruth.net

The American Civil Liberties Union has also seen the civil rights issue in the drug war, including racial disparities and violations of the Bill of Rights. According to ACLU research,  $7.5 billion is spent annually for marijuana law enforcement in America, with 830,000 arrested each year.

Formerly Executive Director of the ACLU, Ira Glasser is now President of the Drug Policy Alliance, a reform organization working for reform of all drug laws. The DPA held it’s 2007 annual convention in New Orleans, drawing attention to the racial unfairness of the drug war. In this video from DPA, Ira Glasser speaks to a local television reporter about these issues.War on Drugs is the New Jim Crow in New Orleans

Rick Steves has been an outspoken advocate of change in marijuana laws for five years, even appearing at the Seattle Hempfest, the largest gathering of Cannabis advocates and culture in the world. In this video, Rick Steves tells the 2007 Hempfest crowd last August that we need to “Get Smart about Drugs”Rick Steves at Seattle HempFest 2007

Rick always points out that the current “War on Drugs” is nothing but prohibition all over again, with no better results than alcohol prohibition. Indeed, the drug war is in many ways worse than alcohol prohibition (which actually was decriminalization) and has no easy way out, like repeal in 1932. The current prohibition/industrial complex is an entrenched bureaucracy of titanic proportions, consuming around a billion dollars per week (combined state and federal). As federal funding winds down due to lack of resources, the American public must find creative ways out of the mess wrought by the drug warriors. If we don’t, chaos will ensue as we are left with the lawlessness of the prohibition, with no tools to confront it and no guidance to find our way out.

ben2.jpgThere never was a good war or a bad peace.
Benjamin Franklin (1773)