US farmers cautiously growing hemp again after 56 years of brain-dead prohibition

Hemp is a useful crop. It's used to make paper, cloth, food, fuel, and many other products. But hemp farming in the United States has been illegal for 56 years. The government outlawed hemp cultivation because it didn't want people hiding marijuana crops in hemp fields (they look the same, but hemp does not contain psychoactive compounds, at least not enough to matter).

Interestingly, products made from hemp are legal in the US, but they must be imported from countries that aren't as insufferably schoolmarmish. This year, however, US farmers are starting to grow hemp again. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use, and some farmers are taking this as permission to grow non-psychoactive hemp in those states. (Hemp, both the inert and psychoactive varieties, is still prohibited under federal law). The first company in line to buy US-grown hemp is Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. Alternet's April M. Short has a good article about the movement.

The U.S. is one of the fastest expanding markets for hemp in the world, and imports currently come primarily from Canada and China. America imported $11.5 million worth of hemp products in 2011, up from $1.4 million in 2000, the majority of which is used to make granola bars, cooking oils, and personal care products.

Steenstra says in addition to supporting American farmers, a local hemp industry will bring the prices down, and mitigate ecological impacts. Dr. Bronner’s is based in California, where just last month a bill to legalize hemp was passed— contingent upon the Justice Department’s reaction.

The law requires California to regulate the farming, processing, and sales of hemp for oilseed and fiber, just as soon as the federal government says it’s okay to do so.

Hemp Returns to U.S. Soil After 56 Years -- and Magic Soap King Dr. Bronner's Is Ready to Buy

Denver holds first public hearing for recreational marijuana store

No one spoke in opposition at a hearing in Denver, Colorado to open the first recreational marijuana store in the United States. It was the first of 16 hearings scheduled this month.

The 9 a.m. hearing — for a store called The Grove, at First Avenue and Federal Boulevard — lasted less than an hour, said Larry Stevenson with Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses. The store's owner and a handful of employees spoke in favor of the store's application. No one spoke in opposition, said Mike Elliott, the executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, who attended the hearing.
Denver holds first public hearing for recreational marijuana store

Gallup poll: 58% of Americans support legal weed

The illegality of marijuana has enriched, empowered, and corrupted prison systems, police departments, local and national governments, militaries, liquor manufacturers, and intelligence agencies (not to mention criminal organizations). It has also branded hundreds of thousands of people (mostly minorities) as criminals, ruining their lives and the lives of their families. Despite a century-long propaganda campaign defending the destructive war on drugs, a recent Gallup poll shows that 58% of Americans favor legalizing it.

Success at the ballot box in the past year in Colorado and Washington may have increased Americans' tolerance for marijuana legalization. Support for legalization has jumped 10 percentage points since last November and the legal momentum shows no sign of abating. Last week, California's second-highest elected official, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, said that pot should be legal in the Golden State, and advocates of legalization are poised to introduce a statewide referendum in 2014 to legalize the drug.

The Obama administration has also been flexible on the matter. Despite maintaining the government's firm opposition to legalizing marijuana under federal law, in late August Deputy Attorney General James Cole announced the Justice Department would not challenge the legality of Colorado's and Washington's successful referendums, provided that those states maintain strict rules regarding the drug's sale and distribution.

No detectable association between frequency of cannabis use and health or healthcare utilization

Researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) "studied 589 adults who screened positive for drug use at a primary care visit." They found "no differences between daily marijuana users and those using no marijuana in their use of the emergency room, in hospitalizations, medical diagnoses or their health status."

Drug Policy director Ethan Nadelmann debates former DEA Chief in marijuana debate

[Video Link] Yesterday, Drug Policy Alliance's executive director Ethan Nadelmann debated former DEA Chief Asa Hutchinson about marijuana legalization at the Aspen Institute. If you don't want to watch the full hour-long debate, just watch Nadelman's awesome rant.

Drug Czar report linking crime to drug use intentionally withheld alcohol statistics

Reason Hit & Run: "The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy released a study last week that found the majority of arrestees in five metropolitan areas tested positive for marijuana at the time they were booked, and that many other arrestees tested positive for harder drugs. There was one drug missing from the report, however, and it appears it was omitted intentionally. That drug is alcohol."

Drug Czar pretends the 1.5 million people arrested every year for nonviolent drug offenses don't exist

Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance says: "Yesterday during a nationally televised event at the National Press Club, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske repeated the federal government’s claim that they ended the war on drugs in 2009 and are now prioritizing drug treatment and prevention over incarceration. They cite an increase for drug treatment in President Obama’s proposal for the new drug control budget as evidence of their new approach. But their rhetoric does not match the reality – more than 1.5 million people are arrested for nonviolent drug offenses every year."

Congressional Research Service says states can legalize cannabis

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is part of the Library of Congress, and it provides "policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation." This month the CRS issued a report that says Colorado and Washington (where cannabis is legal, according to state laws) can't be coerced to enforcing federal cannabis laws. "While the federal government can ban what it wants," reports Reason, "the Tenth Amendment allows the states to opt out of participating in the law or assisting in enforcement in any way, leaving federal officials to do the heavy lifting themselves." From the report, State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Selected Legal Issues:

Although the federal government may use its power of the purse to encourage states to adopt certain criminal laws, the federal government is limited in its ability to directly influence state policy by the Tenth Amendment, which prevents the federal government from directing states to enact specific legislation, or requiring state officials to enforce federal law. As such, the fact that the federal government has criminalized conduct does not mean that the state, in turn, must also criminalize or prosecute that same conduct.

States Can Legalize Marijuana (Though Federal Laws Stand), Says Congressional Research Service

(Image: Untitled | Flickr - Photo Sharing!, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from cannabisculture's photostream)

Marijuanamerica: One mans' quest to understand America's dysfunctional love affair with weed


Alfred Ryan Nerz is a journalist and public broadcasting producer. He smokes weed, sometimes several times a day, for weeks at a stretch.

Read the rest

"Ten Little Indians" drug abuse PSA from 1972

https://youtu.be/dAjDtB8PT2Q

This drug-abuse PSA from 1972 fascinated me as a kid. It's much better than any contemporary PSA about drug abuse.

(Via World's Best Ever)

DEA wants to imprison 8% of West Virginians

Chron: "Scott Masumoto of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration cited state health statistics that more than 152,000 West Virginians have an addiction to prescription medication — more than 8 percent of the population. But Masumoto said the price of these pills can be $80 or more apiece, making it difficult for teenagers to sustain their addictions, so they are moving to "cheaper" alternatives such as heroin." (Via Sanho Tree)

Drug OD fatalities up for 11th consecutive year; not one was due to marijuana

Federal data to be released this week through the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that drug overdose deaths rose for the 11th year in a row. Most were accidents involving prescription painkillers: specifically, opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin which are commonly prescribed for pain management, and are widely abused. Those two drugs contributed to 3 out of 4 medication overdose deaths, according to the report.

Not one single death in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data set was due to overdosing on marijuana.

Read the rest

US Navy produces comedy thriller about bath salts

Dose Nation lauds it an "amazing turd of institutional anti-drug propaganda."

Patrick Kennedy: I was hooked on cocaine, painkillers and booze, therefore no one is allowed to smoke pot

Tony Papa says: "A very interesting story about how a liberal U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy who has a drug addiction problem suddenly becomes an outspoken opponent of the legalization of marijuana."

“It’s almost ‘Reefer Madness’-type stuff about marijuana he’s saying,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance. “There’s something remarkable about Patrick Kennedy deciding to go after users of a drug that is by almost all accounts less dangerous than the drugs he struggled with. Where Patrick Kennedy could have made a really important contribution is by saying that we need a responsible public health model for dealing with legal marijuana.”

SF Gate reports that Kennedy wants to send pot smokers to education camps:

Oxycontin addict, alcoholic, and former Rhode Island rep. Patrick Kennedy has come out with a startling, new plan to oppose pot legalization in the United States: round up potheads and re-educate them in camps.

Kennedy’s communist reeducation scheme is being billed as Project SAM, standing for Smart Approaches to Marijuana, and it launched today in Denver, CO. Project SAM’s stated goals are to create laws that would “funnel marijuana users to interventions or treatment” and deny medical marijuana to cancer and AIDS patients in favor of something that pharmaceutical corporations can profit from.

Pot opponents regroup following Wash., Colo. votes

In Israel, new insights on the science of medical Marijuana

A great piece in the NYT by Isabel Kershner on Tikkun Olam, a commercial medical marijuana plantation in Israel. The name is "a reference to the Jewish concept of repairing or healing the world," and while marijuana is illegal in this country, some of the most interesting scientific research into its healing properties is happening here. The last graf is the most amazing. (Thanks, Stoningham!)