Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Times Square Ad: NYC Pot Busts

The NORML Foundation will debut its second-ever digital ad Tuesday, April 20, on the CBS Super Screen in New York Citys Times Square. The animated billboard advertisement highlights the dramatic increase in New York Citys rate of marijuana possession arrests, which increased from fewer than 1,000 annually in 1992 to more than 46,000 in 2009.
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Urge the Department of Education to Respect Medical Marijuana Rights


by  Andrew Marantz

http://change-production.s3.amazonaws.com/photos/wordpress_copies/criminaljustice/2010/04/uuuse4-250x187.jpgAs Matt Kelley wrote last week, and as any American with a pot prescription knows, marijuana laws in this country are far from cut and dry. Medical marijuana is legal in 14 states, but "legal" is defined differently from state to state, from county to county, and sometimes even from day to day. No matter what states say, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and there is intense debate about whether state law can trump federal law in this case.

Case in point: Last year the University of Montana punished a disabled student for growing marijuana in his dorm room. Medical marijuana is legal in Montana, and the student had a state-issued card allowing him to grow pot for personal use, but the university insisted: no drugs on campus. Though they have not revised this policy, they have since allowed medical marijuana users to opt out of university housing. "We're not unsympathetic to the medical conditions of these people, but we don't have the authority to do anything about it," said David Aronofsky, UM chief legal counsel, told the Missoulian: "State medical marijuana laws can't override the federal laws."

Aronofsky's interpretation is debatable, of course; many legal scholars argue that state laws can override federal ones. In fact, though President Obama has literally laughed at the prospect of legalizing marijuana at the federal level, Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that his office will not bother states that choose to legalize the drug for medical purposes. (The DEA still slips up and raids dispensaries occasionally, but they've gotten better.) Though the legal debate over the supremacy of state law may never be resolved, this is as close as we can get in practice: as long as the relevant federal agencies agree not to contradict a given state law, that state law has more or less trumped federal law.

So where does that leave the University of Montana?

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US Permits On-site Pot Smoking For the First Time

US Permits On-site Pot Smoking For the First TimeThe International Cannabis and Hemp Expo, the first trade show of its kind in the U. S. to permit on-site pot smoking, reportedly grabbed an estimated 15,000 enthusiasts to Daly City over the weekend.

"We're exercising our rights as patients to peacefully gather", posted Bob Katzman, Chief Operating Officer, as he stood near the designated puffing area. "We're here to talk about changing some of the existing laws, but we're not here to break the law".

In addition, he uncovered that it took four years for the organizers to negotiate an approval with a venue that would officially allow marijuana consumption.

Dr. Daniel Susott posted that he hoped to sign-off on 1,600 people by the end of the weekend. He said a portion of the fees would be diverted for charity.


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Using cannabis to treat health problems

By Adam Baer

Adam Baer
Adam Baer at the Sunset Junction Organic Medicine dispensary

There was a time when I despised the smell of marijuana; inconveniently, it coincided with my college years. So it would probably surprise those who knew me then as a violin-playing, straight-A student to discover that today, at 33, I cruise the streets of Los Angeles with a pot prescription. Then again, maybe it wouldn't. But it surprises me.

As the child of pianists who took trips to Carnegie Hall while others tripped out to The Doors, I always thought of marijuana as a "gateway drug", a bad weed that could only lead to suicide or, worse, failure in the arts. When I gave it more of a chance in my late twenties, it wasn't to boost "creativity". In fact, I don't even know if I like cannabis yet, given all of its strains and forms. Late last year, I simply began to experiment with it in search of relief for some vexing medical symptoms.

I was living in the right city at the right time, to be sure, but I lacked the positive – and extensive – marijuana history that so many of my peers enjoyed. In 1999, I took my first hit as a college junior from a pipe that belonged to my younger brother. At the time, I was feeling even more invincible than other young men: I had recently survived Hodgkin's disease and a stem-cell bone marrow transplant, following sub-lethal chemotherapy and a failed romance with an engineer. If I could endure such objective toxicity, I reasoned, something natural couldn't cause too much harm. I was right, but all I remember is coughing like an emphysema patient and obsessing about (imagined) cockroaches on my walls. A few years later, I tried pot again, while working in Manhattan as a music writer. But after a similarly bad experience at a Radiohead concert, with my undead pal the Maharishi, I ended the relationship.

Then my life changed dramatically: in 2005, after I moved to Los ­Angeles, I began to experience the onset of mysterious after-effects from my "cured" cancer, including peripheral nerve damage and a potentially malignant lesion in the base of my skull, something that few doctors could make sense of, much less treat.

Fortunately, California life proved to be therapeutic in itself: I found solace in the sylvan hills, the surf, the Pacific dolphins. My new crowd included more creative, fewer type-A people. And of course drugs were every­where. The first day in my new apartment, I "lunched" at a neighbouring rocker's pad. In a scene like something out of Annie Hall, he offered me a dent out of a miniature Matterhorn of cocaine. Later that winter, I attended a Christmas party at the home of a wannabe-dancer-turned-television production assistant. Instead of the usual ornaments, her Christmas tree dangled bags of weed, joints and hash. "How'd she get all that stuff?" I asked a studio musician. "She goes to one of those, like, medical places. She's 'sick' with 'insomnia'."

Medical marijuana in a jar
At the Sunset Junction Organic Medicine dispensary

"Opposite world" is how my New York-based brother described my new dimension. He was on to something. Not only did everyone seem to survive in this city without a job, but the green crosses on storefronts with signs reading "Compassionate Care Collective" weren't advertising chemists. It was a new century, and these were a new breed of "legal" medical ­marijuana dispensaries – stores that sold medically approved weed in California even though the drug was proscribed under US federal law.


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Hemp: the farming of the future

Industrial hemp has a low-THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content and produces the longest, strongest plant fibres in the world. It is used in many countries in the manufacture of plastics, fiberglass, fabrics, food and building materials.

"In the UK, a major car manufacturer, Lotus, is making whole cars out of hemp," Klara said. "Everything but the engine is hemp. Henry Ford would be grinning in his grave."

Klara currently teaches sustainability courses at TAFE and envisions hemp as the solution to many of the sustainability issues that are affecting Australia today. Not only is she trying to create a hemp industry in NSW and open the way to using hemp seed as a food product, but she is out to make housing materials affordable. After looking around for alternative products to replace our current dependence on timber, Klara spent years experimenting with hemp masonry as a building material, with very successful results. Two years ago, she was a finalist for the Northern Rivers Regional Development Board's innovation award for her hemp masonry.

"When I was first researching hemp, I found an article that said ancient hemp masonry from 750 AD was found in southern France," Klara said. "The use of hemp in building has been around for a very long time."

In 1999, after applying for a special license to grow hemp under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, she began growing experimental trial crops in the Hunter Valley. She then conducted experiments with the hemp stems at the University of NSW, using both the whole and separated stems as building materials.

"I now work with the whole hemp stem," Klara said. "It's expensive to separate the inside fibre or 'hurd' from the stronger outside fibre or 'bast'."

One of her first building projects with hemp masonry was retro-fitting a wall on her own house at Corndale. The process involved building a wooden framework with spacings between, then laying wooden planks 60cm high on the inside and outside of the wall to shape the mix. This shape was then in-filled with a mixture of chopped-up hemp and a lime-based binder to create a concrete-like structure. Once the mix was dry, the planks were moved up and more mix was poured in, building the wall higher every day.

Hemp masonry is a more sustainable, organic material than concrete and 'breathes' much like a wooden structure. This means that allergy-causing moulds won't form on it, creating a healthy environment in which to live.

"Building with hemp masonry is an example of cradle to cradle technology," Klara said. "If you decide to change your house, you can break up the hemp masonry and re-combine it to build a new wall.


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Legalize Industrial Hemp


By A.S. Kinser

Legalize Industrial Hemp for American Jobs and Prosperity
America is confronted today with a plethora of problems, many of which can be solved by ending a sixty-year-old policy rooted in racism and corporate greed. We are speaking, of course, of the industrial growing of hemp, also known as cannabis, for industrial purposes as well as medicinal and recreational uses. The medicinal uses of cannabis (in this form known as marijuana) are well-documented, from AIDS and cancer patients using the plant's effects to reduce nausea, to Mr. Joe Average on the street using it for muscle pain and even enjoyment. We will not deal with that in this leaflet. Rather instead we will focus on the industrial and consumer uses of cannabis.

When the U.S. was in its infancy in 1776, one plant was considered so important to national independence that it was required that a set amount of acreage be given to it. That crop? Was it wheat? No. Cotton? No. Corn? No. Tobacco? Certainly not. That crop was hemp. Even back then, humans knew the value of the long, strong fibers that this plant produces. In fact, these fibers are the strongest natural fibers known to mankind. They are perfect for ropes, cords and caulking. The United States Navy imports "manila" fiber from the Philippines. This "manila" fiber is nothing more than imported hemp fibers, grown on land which would be more appropiately used for growing food for Filipinos. Fibers which could be grown in the U.S., supporting U.S. farmers and U.S. workers to process it!

That is not all—the very best art and writing paper is made from hemp. The long fibers of the plant make it superior to wood in paper-making. That also means hemp paper-making requires less chemicals to produce. Indeed, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence both were originally drafted on hemp paper. These same long, strong fibers can be used to make clothes. Hemp clothes used to be coarse, but thanks to new processes for hemp it is now possible to make hemp shirts and pants as comfortable and absorbent as cotton, using less than 1% of the oil, fertilizers and pesticides to produce.

Hemp seeds provide an excellent source of protein and fats for humans. In fact, hemp has been eaten and used by humans to feed themselves and their livestock for at least 6000 years. The Hindu religion attributes hemp to the god Shiva. The oil of the hemp seed is very high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are instrumental in healthy brain development and cholesterol control.

The hemp seed is useful for food and for making bio-diesel. Research in other countries has lead to breakthroughs in bio-diesel. Hemp seed oil is superior to all other forms of vegetable oils and it requires no solvents to be released from the hemp seed. The only other such vegetable oil is olive oil, the use of which is limited to waste stream reclamation due to its comparatively lower total global production limits. Hemp is also the most efficient means known to man to turn sunlight into biomass, which is critical to the production of ethanol and methanol for fuels. Given the uses in food, fiber and fuel alone, even if we ignored the medicinal properties of this plant, we have every reason to demand in this world where food is scarce, where fiber is needed for paper and clothes and where oil, our primary fuel is running out, to demand that American farmers be allowed to grow this useful product.


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A Journey from Prohibition to Courageous Action

Efficacy is the power to produce a desired effect.
– an editorial from Efficacy

The Policy Shift

All evolving technology has a leading edge, even for social technology. For humankind's drug struggle, the "War on Drugs" is no longer that edge. It is now drug legalization and related policies. A call is building for all drug sales to come under government control to eliminate the market for drug dealers and to end the vast culture of criminality surrounding illegal drugs. Even Walter Cronkite is in the fray, saying in 2006, "...nothing will change until someone has the courage to stand up and say ... the war on drugs has failed." Efficacy and other like-minded organizations are at the beginning of that new courage, a courage to create a dramatic shift on how we take responsibility for illicit drugs.

There is much in this site that reveals how drug prohibition, A.K.A "War on drugs," is not effective and even destructive of our society. It damages race relations. It packs our prisons. It breeds police corruption and abuse. It drains funds best used for urban renewal and educational programs. Please read the Efficacy material at this site or explore the many links we provide. You may find yourself deeply impacted. For the founders, staff and supporters of Efficacy, our initial exposure to the dark side of our society has,

  • moved us to see the alarming extent to which criminality feeds off our current drug policy
  • moved us to help our nation get beyond our anxieties and fears
  • moved us to appreciate the drug problem as a natural struggle for a civilized world.

The New Journey

In the voice of one sheriff,

Controlling the drug supply is like holding water in a fist, it just leaks out and goes on to something else... Eventually, we will realize a fist won't work against what is fundamentally a spiritual problem.

- Bill Masters, San Miguel County Sheriff, Colorado

In Humanity's quest to conquer drugs, the journey is not from drug war to peace, but from prohibition to courageous-action; from eradication policy to public-health policy. The need for a new direction in how we take responsibility for illicit drugs has already gained recognition in law enforcement (see related video) and the clergy (see related video). It's Efficacy's mission to expand such recognition with the goal of reducing the societal damage caused by drug-war policies, without worsening—at the very least—the actual abuse of drugs. It is a new approach — one no longer based on blind faith in the power of law but a new journey based on spiritual faith in the strength of a civilized society.


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Jack Herer RIP: A tribute to the marijuana-legalization icon by one of last writers to interview him

Herer died from complications related to a heart attack he suffered last September. That makes the interview he granted a few months earlier to Gregory Daurer, a longtime local activist and freelance writer (visit his website to learn more) who works as the office coordinator for marijuana attorney Warren Edson, one of his last.

Read it below -- and check out Daurer's observations about Herer in the wake of his passing.

Daurer's interview with Herer appeared in the May/June 2009 issue of Medical Marijuana News and Directory. It's not officially online, but Daurer kindly sent us PDFs of the article. Click on the links for page one, page two, page three, page four and page five to read the piece in its entirety. But to get a sense of Herer's passionate (and often profane) style, sample the concluding section:

What do you think has been the most significant thing that's happened sine you've started promoting hemp?

I thought change would happen 25 years ago, 30 years ago, 35 years ago. It's getting better, but it's not getting better fast enough. If I had to do it over again, I would make nothing illegal about hemp.

You live two years longer if you smoke it every day. And people who don't smoke anything and who don't drink anything live two years less than people who smoke cannabis every day. I don't make a mistake. I do all my homework.

What tips do you have for raising consciousness?

Get out everybody to vote. You have to vote. You have to vote the bastards out! If they don't vote for hemp, vote the fucking bastards out of office, right now! Like Bush. And Obama: I don't understand, either he doesn't know...

Jack, is there anything else that you want to add?

I believe that all forms of things have to be natural. 50 percent of chemicals in agriculture are used on cotton in the United States. What the fuck is that about?

Go natural. That's the Jack Herer theme?

The best thing in the world and it's against the law.

I'll tell ya, I'm getting mad at all the fucking silliness. Even the good guys -- Ron Paul and Barney Frank -- they're fucking chicken. I have to speak. Other people have to speak. They are good guys, but they just don't know. Everybody needs to write these guys. Hemp will save the world, and nothing else will.


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JACK HERER: Cannabis Message from the 2002 update of "The Emperor Wears No Clothes"

Prove us wrong! Prove us wrong! Prove us wrong! And we hereby extend our $100,000 challenge to prove us wrong!
If all fossil fuels and their derivatives, as well as trees for paper and construction, were banned in order to save the planet, reverse the greenhouse effect and stop deforestation; then there is only one known annually renewable natural resource that is capable of providing the overall majority of the world's paper and textiles; meet all of the world's transportation, industrial and home energy needs, while simultaneously reducing pollution, rebuilding the soil and cleaning the atmosphere all at the same time... and that substance is the same one that has done it before... Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana!
CANNABIS HEMP is the only known plant that can be grown from the Equator to the Arctic Circle and to the Antarctic Circle; from the mountains to the valleys, from the oceans to the plains, including arid lands and everywhere in between. CANNABIS HEMP is the healthiest plant for the ground out of the 3 1/2 million plants on Earth, because it has a root system that grows 10-12 inches in 30 days compared to one inch for rye or barley grass. The roots penetrate up to 16 feet deep and after harvest it leaves a root system that is mulched into the ground. It is the King Kong of King Kongs of all plant life.
All of my information about CANNABIS HEMP has been taken from Federal and State Department of Agriculture reports, articles from Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Pulp & Paper Magazine, Scientific American, entries from encyclopedias and pharmacoepias, and studies from all over the world during the last 200 years. This is all public information. The United States government is hiding the fact that 125 years ago, and even as far back as 4000 BC, 80 percent of our economy was based on the use of CANNABIS HEMP for paper, fiber and fuel. Ten to 20 percent of our economy was based on CANNABIS HEMP medicines, 125 years ago.
CANNABIS HEMP was part of our everyday life. Every farm had a hemp patch growing. This cover-up outrages me and it should outrage you, too. I have been studying about CANNABIS HEMP for over 30 years, and I can't believe how the U.S. government, in 90 seconds in Congress, could outlaw "MARIJUANA" in 1937, without the people realizing they were outlawing CANNABIS HEMP, the most perfect plant for the planet! They even got other countries to outlaw it, too, after the Second World War. From 1840 to 1940, 80 percent of all the world's hemp was grown in, and imported from, Russia.
With the technology of the decorticator, CANNABIS HEMP would have taken over the cotton market, as it is far superior to cotton. I will again reiterate a few of the facts about CANNABIS/HEMP/MARIJUANA, which you already know.
CANNABIS/HEMP/MARIJUANA was the number ONE annually renewable natural resource for 80 percent of all paper, fiber and fuel. From 6000 years ago to 125 years ago, it was used for food, light, land and soil reclamation, and even 20 percent of all medicine. Everyone, from the educated to the uneducated, the farmer to the townsperson, the doctors and the scientists used hemp products and depended on them until about 125 years ago.
Seventy-five to 90 percent of all paper used from at least 100 AD to 1883 was made of CANNABIS HEMP. Books, including Bibles, money and newspapers all over the world have been mainly printed on CANNABIS HEMP for as long as these things have existed in human history. They were printed on hemp exclusively!
Seventy to 90 percent of all rope, twine, cordage and ship sails, 125 years ago, were made out of CANNABIS HEMP fiber, until it was replaced by petrochemical fibers in 1937 and 1938. By comparison, CANNABIS HEMP is four times softer than cotton, four times warmer, four times more water absorbent, has three times the strength of cotton, is many times more durable and doesn't use pesticides like cotton, and is flame retardant. Fifty percent of all pesticides are used on cotton, and cotton uses only one percent of the farmland.
Of all the 3 1/2 million plants on Earth, no other plant source can compare with the nutritional value of CANNABIS HEMP seeds. It is the only plant on Earth that has essential amino acids, essential fatty acids and protein and essential oils combined. It is the healthiest plant for human consumption.
Prior to the 1800s, HEMPSEED oil was the number ONE source for lighting oil throughout the world. As late as 1937, even paints and varnishes were 80 percent HEMPSEED oil. CANNABIS HEMP is non-toxic and has been used to make high-grade diesel fuel, oil, aircraft and precision oil and even the number ONE vegetable oil. HEMP is the best sustainable source of plant pulp for biomass fuel to make charcoal, gas, methanol, gasoline and electricity in a natural way.
As a medicine, the use of MARIJUANA goes back 6000 years. It has been found to be healthy and effective in the treatment of chronic pain, cancer, strokes, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, AIDS wasting and many other illnesses, including simple nausea, appetite stimulant and anxiety. On September 6, 1988, the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young, ruled: "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man," and asked the Drug Enforcement Agency to reschedule it. The DEA refused, keeping it as a Schedule I drug, which they say "has no known medical use" ? from 1937 to 2002! Nobody has ever died from marijuana in 6000 years... unless they were shot by a cop!
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The trailer for Jack Herer's The Emperor Wears No Clothes

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