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Crazy old coot Pat Robertson says something sensible about marijuana laws
03.06.2012
05:45 pm

Topics:
Drugs

Tags:
marijuana
cannabis
Pat Robertson


 
Nut-job 700 Club host Pat Robertson, who normally prattles on about the end of the world, Obama being a Marxist and gay marriage—and who just last week insisted that people can stop hurricanes and tornadoes if they’d just pray hard enough (“Jesus stilled the storm, you can still storms” WITH YOUR MIND!)—said some words in an order that made actual sense on a March 1, 700 Club broadcast, as reported by the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition blog:

We here in America make up 5% of the world’s population, but we make up 25% of jailed prisoners… Every time the liberals pass a bill—I don’t care what it involves—they stick criminal sanctions on it. They don’t feel there is any way people are going to keep a law unless they can put them in jail.

I became sort of a hero of the hippie culture, I guess, when I said I think we ought to decriminalize the possession of marijuana. I just think it’s shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of controlled substance. The whole thing is crazy.

We’ve said, “we’re ‘conservative, we’re tough on crime.” That’s baloney. It’s costing us billions and billions of dollars.

Think of California. California is spending more money on prisons than it spends on schools. There’s something wrong about that equation.

We need to scrub the federal code and the state codes and take away these criminal penalties. Putting people in jail at huge expense to the population is insanity.

Folks, we’ve gotta do something about this. We’ve just got to change the laws. We cannot allow this to continue. It is sapping our vitality. Think of this great land of freedom. We have the highest rate of incarceration of any nation on the face of the Earth. That’s a shocking statistic.

What is it we’re doing that is different? What we’re doing is turning a bunch of liberals loose writing laws—there’s this punitive spirit, they always want to punish people.  It’s time for change!

More and more prisons, more and more crime.  It’s just shocking, especially this business about drug offenses.  It’s time we stop locking up people for possession of marijuana. We just can’t do it anymore…You don’t lock ‘em up for booze unless they kill somebody on the highway.

According to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition the rant came in the context of a story about Tea partiers and the NAACP teaming up to address criminal justice reform.

This isn’t the first time that Robertson has spoken out against pot laws. In the clip below, the world’s most unlikely advocate for drug law reform let’s it rip a few days before Christmas of 2010:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Newt Gingrich’s PRO-medical marijuana letter to the editor, 1982


 
Well, well, well… Look who was PRO-medical marijuana—actually went out on a limb for it—way back before he wanted to behead people and cut off their hands for possessing it…

Here’s what Newt Gingrich wrote to the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1982:

Legal Status of Marijuana

To the Editor:

The American Medical Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs should be commended for its report, “Marijuana: Its Health Hazards and Therapeutic Potential” (1981;246:1823). Not only does the report outline evidence of marijuana’s potential harms, but it distinguishes this concern from the legitimate issue of marijuana’s important medical benefits. All too often the hysteria that attends public debate over marijuana’s social abuse compromises a clear appreciation for this critical distinction.

Since 1978, 32 states have abandoned the federal prohibition to recognize legislatively marijuana’s important medical properties. Federal law, however, continues to define marijuana as a drug “with no accepted medical use,” and federal agencies continue to prohibit physician-patient access to marijuana. This outdated federal prohibition is corrupting the intent of the state laws and depriving thousands of glaucoma and cancer patients of the medical care promised them by their state legislatures.

On Sept 16, 1981, Representative Stewart McKinney and I introduced legislation designed to end bureaucratic interference in the use of marijuana as a medicant. We believe licensed physicians are competent to employ marijuana, and patients have a right to obtain marijuana legally, under medical supervision, from a regulated source. The medical prohibition does not prevent seriously ill patients from employing marijuana; it simply deprives them of medical supervision and access to a regulated medical substance. Physicians are often forced to choose between their ethical responsibilities to the patient and their legal liabilities to federal bureaucrats.

Representative McKinney and I hope the Council will take a close and careful look at this issue. Federal policies do not reflect a factual or balanced assessment of marijuana’s use as a medicant. The Council, by thoroughly investigating the available materials, might well discover that its own assessment of marijuana’s therapeutic value has, in the past, been more than slightly shaded by federal policies that are less than neutral

Newt Gingrich
House of Representatives
Washington, DC

Fourteen years later, as House Speaker, this same hypocritical piece-of-shit would introduce the Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996, which called for executing any person caught importing just an ounce or two of high-grade marijuana (“100 usual doses” is how it was written in the legislation, which obviously didn’t pass).

What’s more, when challenged about his own admitted use of marijuana in the past, Gingrich had this to say to Wall Street Journal reporter Hilary Stout:

“That was a sign we were alive and in graduate school in that era. See, when I smoked pot it was illegal, but not immoral. Now, it is illegal AND immoral. The law didn’t change, only the morality… That’s why you get to go to jail and I don’t.”

“Okay for thee, but not for me,” sez rich, well-fed white guy. Thanks for the succinct explanation, mean old man!

Now, if you’re looking to make sense of this stuff don’t even try. He’s a Republican, ‘nuff said.

Here’s what Gingrich said at a fundraiser for fellow Georgia GOP pol Rep. Charlie Norwood in 1995:

“If you import a commercial quantity of illegal drugs, it is because you have made the personal decision that you are prepared to get rich by destroying our children. I have made the decision that I love our children enough that we will kill you if you do this.”

“I have decided”???

Imagine this asshole being allowed to decide anything of importance!

Gingrich, unable to help himself, continued:

“The first time we execute 27 or 30 or 35 people at one time, and they go around Colombia and France and Thailand and Mexico, and they say, ‘Hi, would you like to carry some drugs into the U.S.?’ the price of carrying drugs will have gone up dramatically.”

Ethan Nadlemann, the executive director of Drug Policy Action, a bipartisan advocacy group for ending the drug war called Gingrich “basically a nightmare” when it comes to drug policy issues. “For a guy who’s supposed to be an intellectual and intelligent, the quality of the argumentation on his part is embarrassing.”

As one wag quipped on the topic of Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996 at The People’s Forum:

Fortunately didn’t pass. His other proposed acts, the Serial Adultery Death Penalty Act and the Congressional Influence Peddling Death Penalty Act, unfortunately failed as well. And he reportedly killed the Fat Loudmouth Pandering Pseudo-Intellectual Death Penalty Act before it could be introduced.

Republicans whine and Republicans bitch/Our rich are too poor and our poor are too rich.

Below, Newt Gingrich shooting his big mouth off about the drug war and how the US should emulate Singapore(!) on The O’Reilly Factor as “Papa Bear” nods with approval.
 

 
Thank you Mr. Michael Backes of Sacramento, CA!

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Delicious AND nutritious: Study finds that years of smoking pot seems to increase lung function!
01.11.2012
02:49 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
marijuana
cannabis
Medical Marijuana


 
Speaking as someone who would make a definitive study of one, I was pleased to read that marijuana smoking apparently does very little lung damage:

Via Vulture:

A government study, one of the most extensive examinations ever of the long-term effects of marijuana use, has found that smoking one joint a day for 7 years, or one joint a week for 49 years, does not impair lung function. In fact, “marijuana users performed slightly better on the lung function test” than people who don’t smoke anything. The study did not measure the effects of smoking a joint the size of a zucchini.

I might be able to help out there…

Marijuana Smoking Does Not Harm Lungs, Study Finds (New York Times)

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Floating Anarchy: Gong, live on French TV, 1973


 
Considering how much I love the shit out of Daevid Allen and Gong, I’ve only posted about them once before on DM??? How can that be?

Well then, here’s to making up for that grievous oversight with something so fucking good it might cause you to have an out-of-body experience: Two insanely great live Gong performances from French television in 1973 on a show called Rockenstock.

First, the band do a ripping version of “I’ve Never Been Glid” that sounds extremely close to the studio version on Angels Egg except that Daevid Allen mischievously changes the song’s last line, “That’s another story, now it’s time to go and have a cup of tea see” to “That’s another story, now it’s time to go and smoke another roach.” (“Glidding” is how the Pot Head Pixes fly the teapots, if you are confused…)

I love the way that Allen’s trippy hippy dancing seems to “conduct” the group. Dig Steve Hillage’s “lewd guitar, Pierre Moerlen’s drums (the man was a god of rhythmic pounding, up there with Jaki Liebezeit), Tim Blake’s spacey VCS3 and synth-work,  the great Mike Howlett’s booming, tight, bass-lines and Didier Malherbe’s anarchic sax riffs. This is Gong at the height of their power and they absolutely crush it..
 

 
After the jump, “space whisperer” Gilli Smyth performs a mind-melting version of “Witch’s Song/I Am Your Pussy” from Flying Teapot.

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Crime rates rise in Los Angeles where city closed marijuana shops
09.22.2011
12:21 pm

Topics:
Drugs

Tags:
cannabis
medical marijuana


Green Cure on WeedMaps, a local non-profit medical cannabis dispensary.
 

The RAND Corp. reviewed police crime statistics for ten days before and after city officials in Los Angeles closed several cannabis dispensaries last summer when a new local ordinance went into effect. RAND researchers examined the neighborhoods of 170 businesses that remained open and another 430 which were ordered to close. That’s a pretty big sample.

Well, well, well, what do you know?  Crime increased as much as 60% in areas within three blocks of a shuttered dispensary compared to three blocks around operating dispensaries. I’m sure this isn’t what the RAND Corp; expected to find. Los Angeles City councilman Ed Reyes called the report an “eye opener.” Via the Washington Post:

“If medical marijuana dispensaries are causing crime, then there should be a drop in crime when they close,” said Mireille Jacobson, a RAND senior economist and the study’s lead author. “Individual dispensaries may attract crime or create a neighborhood nuisance, but we found no evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries in general cause crime to rise.”

Crime was among the concerns that prompted the City Council to pass the ordinance that put strict guidelines on the pot clinics and forced many of them to close. Law enforcement authorities have long argued collectives attract crime because they often handle large amounts of cash and thieves can resell marijuana. Two workers at different dispensaries were killed during robberies in June 2010.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca went one step further last September when he said nearly all dispensaries operate as criminal enterprises, a claim that infuriated medical marijuana supporters who have said law enforcement officials have resorted to scare tactics to advance their agenda.

“They have perpetuated this myth that there is more crime associated with collectives,” said James Shaw of the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, an advocacy group for medicinal marijuana users. “This council should be emboldened to revise the ordinance so it’s not so draconian to the patients and their associations.”

Damn right they should revise it! For readers outside of Los Angeles, to give you a feel for things here: at one point the city claimed there were up to 900 medical marijuana dispensaries. Whether that’s accurate or not, I can’t say, but there were and there still are a LOT of them. More than there are McDonald’s or Starbucks by a long-shot. As in several times more and then combine that total. From my apartment, I can walk (not drive) to a dozen or more of them. Each and every one of them is a law-abiding business as far as I can tell. Not one has even the whiff of being a “criminal enterprise.” Some of them operate just like, say, a nice wine store would. Since they provide more foot traffic in the areas they operate in—and usually have security guards—maybe this is the sole reason the seem to have a dampening effect on crime?

But who cares what the reason for lower crime is? I thought lower crime was supposed to be a good thing? What is the City Council doing closing down lawfully run businesses that provide MORE jobs than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined? These dispensaries pay taxes, too.  The Los Angeles City Council needs to mind its own business and leave these businesses alone.

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Dream Job: Lucky, lucky man gets paid to write pot reviews
07.05.2011
05:16 pm

Topics:
Drugs

Tags:
marijuana
cannabis


Photo: U-Roy and his magic chillum, mid-70s.

“William Breathes” (a pseudonym) has the best job in Denver. He’s the pot critic for the alt weekly Denver Westword. You might say he’s the Jonathan Gold of weed…

From The Daily:

There are now more medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver than there are Starbucks. Glossy guidebooks list nearly 300 locations where Colorado’s 125,000 residents who have been prescribed medical marijuana can get their “medicine.” Many offer a free joint to new customers, allowing them to sample exotic strains like Jah Kush, Golden Goat and Romulan Cotton Candy.

Local smokers even have a professional critic to help them navigate the gauntlet of bongs, pipes and vaporizers, or make that essential choice between Super Silver Haze and Purple Passion.

The critic’s pen name is William Breathes; he keeps his real identity secret to ensure he gets the same treatment as any other patient.

His weekly weed purchase is paid for by the Denver Westword, the popular alternative weekly that hired Breathes after its editors realized they were serving one of the most stoned readerships in America.

“It’s a fun new writing area,” Westword editor Patricia Calhoun told The Daily, “and if your publication prides itself on doing strong cultural coverage of art, theater and food, then why not do pot, too?”

Here’s one of his reviews. I like his style:

The Platinum Purps had an orange-rind tartness to it, which would have gone great with the sticky-sweet smell of Tangerine Haze. There was also a solid Triple-D, very floral Flo, and some well done Trainwreck renamed Charlie Sheen, appropriately enough. Other more unique strains out of Scott’s coco mix garden, including Scott’s Blue, the Tange and the Face Wreck Haze, smelled so good I wanted to make a potpourri bowl out of them for my office.

Man, he’s got my dream job. I’ll tell you what, if the LA Weekly wanted to offer me a similar column,I’d write it for free!
 

 
Via Nerdcore

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Was Shakespeare a stoner?


 
To toke or not to toke, or rather did he toke, that is the question. That’s right, you heard me, did the Bard smoke weed?

Not to get all “Lord Buckley” on you finger-poppin’ daddys, but is it possible that Willie the Shake was a “viper”? That’s what a controversial paleontologist wants to find out.

After some two dozen pipes were found buried in Shakespeare’s garden, many containing residues of smoked cannabis, a South Africa scientist named Francis Thackeray, with help from Professor Nikolaas van der Merwe of Harvard University, obtained fragments of these pipes via the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. They handed them over to South African Police forensic scientists for lab analysis. Low levels of marijuana residue was found in the pipes.

Cannabis was known to have been cultivated at the time in England and so it is certainly plausible that Shakespeare partook of the herb superb, but it would take looking at bone samples to say for sure. (Two of the pipes also tested positive for traces of cocaine, but this is a more difficult to swallow than the idea of the Bard smoking the “noted weed,” as cocaine first gets synthesized around the time of the Civil War).

Thackery says that his team could get into Shakespeare’s final resting place—he was buried under a church in Stratford-upon-Avon—unobtrusively, because a full exhumation of the body is not required and the remains would not have to be disturbed at all. Good thing, too, because Shakespeare was notoriously wary of anyone screwing around with his skeleton. A curse is engraved on his tomb that reads:

“Good frend for Jesus sake forebeare/ To digg the dust encloased heare/ Bleste be the man that spares thes stones/ And curst be he that moves my bones.”

 

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Federal measure to legalize marijuana introduced in Congress today
06.23.2011
11:49 am

Topics:
Drugs

Tags:
marijuana
cannabis
Ron Paul
Barney Frank


 
A bipartisan measure to end federal criminalization of the personal use of marijuana was introduced today in Congress for the first time since 1937.

The ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011’ was co-sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank and Texas Republican Ron Paul—- along with Reps. Cohen (D-TN), Conyers (D-MI), Polis (D-CO), and Lee (D-CA)—and would stop the Feds from prosecuting adults who use or possess marijuana. The law would remove THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, as well as the planet itself, from the “schedule” of the US Controlled Substance Act of 1970.

“The Marihuana Tax Act” was passed in 1937. Language in the new bill is similar to the language of the bill that repealed prohibition in 1933 and would nullify the conflicts between state laws—like here in California, where for all intents and purposes, pot is pretty much legal—and Federal drug laws.

It’s about time. They’ve been talking about legalizing cannabis since the Jimmy Carter administration. Enough already.

 

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Home DePot: Marijuana superstore opens in Phoenix
06.02.2011
09:56 am

Topics:

Tags:
cannabis
medical marijuana
weGrow


 
Although I doubt that the farmers in Humbolt County will have much to worry about in the short term, Arizona’s looking for its own piece of the medical marijuana gold rush, with the weGrow superstore catering to marijuana growers, opening yesterday in Phoenix. Think of it as a big hydroponic garden center that sells everything you need to lovingly grow the chronic save for the plants themselves. Two weGrow big box locations already exist in California, in Oakland and in the state capital of Sacramento. Via Reuters:

The 21,000-square-foot store offers some 2,000 products, including soil, grow lights and irrigation trays, specially designed for effective marijuana growing, [weGrow founder Dhar ] Mann told Reuters.

A doctor also is on site to furnish eligible patients the initial medical approval needed to apply to the state health department for cards authorizing them to legally grow and use marijuana as treatment for a variety of qualifying ailments.

Alluding to some of America’s leading big-box chains, the company’s own press materials describe the weGrow franchise as the “Wal-Mart of Weed,” while various media reports have referred to it as “Home DePot.”

The store’s opening came on the same day that Arizona was to have begun accepting applications from individuals seeking one of 125 permits the state plans to grant for the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries. But that process was put on hold last week.

On Friday, the state went to federal court seeking to clarify whether its citizens were at risk of federal prosecution for participating in activities sanctioned under Arizona’s medical marijuana act, passed by voters in November.

Arizona is the 16th state in the nation, plus the District of Columbia, to decriminalize marijuana for medical purposes.

So far under 4000 people in Arizona have been approved for medical cannabis use, but Mann is taking his weGrow franchises going nationwide with a store to open in Washington, DC in July and outlets in Denver, Detroit and perhaps Los Angeles to follow soon after.

Zhar Mann told the San Francisco Chronicle that he already had contracts in hand for an additional 75 weGrow locations. The Oakland store, which I hear is 60,000-square-foot. supposedly made over $500,000 in the first two months of operation. The “grow your own medicine” movement is a market estimated to be worth billions of dollars. I think that’s a pretty good estimate!
 

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If Willie Nelson can sing his way out of jail, how about other pot offenders?

image
 
When I read this, my first thought was “I wonder if everyone currently serving prison time for cannabis possession in America will be able to sing their way out of jail?” Good for this judge and good for Willie Nelson. This just goes to show what a mockery of justice the marijuana laws are in certain states. From Spinner:

Surprise, surprise—Willie Nelson was busted with a personal amount of marijuana on his tour bus last fall. Of course, it probably would’ve been a much bigger surprise if the search turned up nothing, but in this day and age, where many touring musicians have doctor recommendations allowing them to legally “medicate” in home states such as California and Colorado, not many people care. Especially when there are natural disasters, political upheavals and even revolutions to deal with.

Indeed, that’s kinda the stance that even the prosecutor in Nelson’s case seems to be taking. TMZ reports that the prosecutor would be willing to let Nelson’s punishment fit an increasingly popular perception of the crime—rather than let him face up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine, if Nelson sings ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ inside the courtroom, then all will be forgiven and the 77-year-old country singer will have to pay just a $100 penalty.

Both Nelson and the presiding judge must accept the terms for this to happen, but our guess is that Nelson’s expert attorney—Joe Turner, who got Nelson’s previous marijuana charge dropped, in 1994—is tuning up the guitar. Let freedom sing!

Willie Nelson is 77-years-old. There is no way in hell that any “law” is going to come between Willie and his “Willie Weed” (which I have personally sampled and it’s great). Shouldn’t they just issue him some sort of honorary “get out of jail free” card for when he’s touring, good in any state in America?

Below, the American icon sings “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” on the CMA awards show in 1975:
 

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Cannabis cinema at The 7th Annual Artivist Film Festival

image
 
Frequent readers of this blog know that California’s thriving medical marijuana scene is rather…uh… near and dear to our hearts. Tomorrow night in Los Angeles, at The 7th Annual Artivist Film Festival, there will be a free festival screening of director Kevin Booth’s How Weed Won the West documentary at the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, at 7p.m. Booth will be in attendance for a Q&A after the screening. He will be joined by NORML’s Allen St. Pierre and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition’s Lt. Diane Goldstein. All screenings at the Artivist Film Festival are free, tickets for How Weed Won the West can be reserved here.

While California is going bankrupt, one business is booming. How Weed Won the West is the story of the growing medical cannabis/marijuana industry in the greater Los Angeles area, with over 700 dispensaries doling out the buds. As a treatment for conditions ranging from cancer and AIDS, to anxiety, ADHD, and insomnia, cannabis is quickly proving itself as a healthier natural alternative to many prescription drugs. Following the story of Organica, a collective owned by Jeff Joseph that was raided by the DEA in August of ‘09, the film shows that although some things have changed with Obama in office, the War on Drugs is nowhere near over. From Kevin Booth, the producer/director of Showtime’s American Drug War, How Weed Won the West puts California forward as an example to the rest of the country by documenting how legalizing marijuana can help save the economy.


 

 
Also screening for free at the Artivist Film Festival in a similar “herbal genre” is Hempsters, 9:00pm on Friday December 3 at the Egyptian with the director in attendance for a Q&A afterwards:

This lively documentary directed by Michael Henning, begins with the arrest of Woody Harrelson for planting four feral hemp seeds in Kentucky and his subsequent trial and acquittal, then joins traveling Hemp activist Craig Lee and a number of featured old-school Kentucky tobacco farmers who just want to grow the multipurpose crop as a way to save their farms. Viewers meet Alex White Plume, leader of the Lakota “Tiospaye” (family clan), and the first family to plant industrial hemp on American soil since the 1950′s. He makes a startling case that his right to grow hemp is a sovereignty issue. Julia Butterfly Hill goes to extreme lengths to protest the pulping of old-growth forests by living for over two years at the top of a 1,000 year old redwood tree in Northern California. Gatewood Galbraith, the fiery orator of the US Reform Party, attempts to bring to the public at large to its senses in his own inimitable style. A hyper-paced ride with a sizzling soundtrack, this motion picture puts hemp at the heart of just about every grassroots issue in America today. Featured players include Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ralph Nader and Woody Harrelson. More than a political study of cannabis, Hempsters is a rousing portrait of our country’s most spirited and sensible free-thinkers.

 

 
Get free tickets for the Hempsters screening here.

The 7th Annual Artivist Film Festival

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Cannabis sodas: No smoking (necessary)
10.22.2010
02:12 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
cannabis
medical marijuana

image
 
Colorado residents with a doctor’s prescription for medical cannabis will soon be able to purchase a mass-produced THC-infused soft drink that comes in several flavors. A Colorado-based company called Dixie Elixirs is preparing a line of marijuana-laced sodas for the medical-cannabis market that now numbers 14 states. Not sure exactly how something like this would work across state lines, but I suppose that they’re about to find out. Maybe they’ll have to have plants in each state, which will—HELLO—provide new jobs. Decriminalizing pot is a no brainer.

It’s amusing to note that “discretion” is one of the key advantages to the product (i.e. not smoking something) but maybe they’d want to leave the pot-leaf off the bottle, then! Strikes me as like when people have Grateful Dead bumperstickers. Might as well have one reading “I’ve got pot (and/or LSD) in the car!”

It’s also worth mentioning that a hundred years ago Coca-Cola famously used to have a coca leaf extract which provided its “kick.” This seems tame in comparison.

I’ve tried a similar type of cannabis soda (not a Dixie Elixer, to be clear) but it didn’t do much for me. Okay, I drank three and still felt nothing. Maybe these guys will get it right. The market for something like this could be massive, especially if California’s voters pass Prop 19.

Via Discovery

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Cash crop: Cannabis crushes grapes, wine, in California economy
10.20.2010
11:46 am

Topics:
Current Events
Economy
Politics

Tags:
marijuana
cannabis

image
Photo by Kevork Djansezian from The Big Picture

According to several polls, the presence of marijuana reform initiatives on the ballet in states in the west, will probably bring many younger Democrats to the voter’s booth who might have decided to sit this mid-term election out, otherwise. I’m definitely looking forward to casting an affirmative vote for Prop 19 and I hope all of my fellow Californians reading this will chose to do the same.

Unofficial state estimates indicate that California’s cannabis crop is worth more—far more!—than the state’s wine industry. I’m confident that Prop 19 is going to pass. To leave tax money on the table isn’t something the state can afford to do right now. Besides that, legalization, according to a RAND Corp. study, could cause pot prices to drop considerably, something that will be seen as additional welcome economic relief to millions of the state’s unemployed tokers…

The most persuasive argument for legalizing pot might just be a dollar sign.

California’s pot crop is worth $14 billion, according to a state report. The Press Democrat points out that crushes the wine crop which comes in at $2 billion.

Legalization would be a huge shot in the arm for plenty of ancillary industries, such as banking and construction.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that the federal government would crack down. That risk might make investors too skittish to get involved. Earlier this month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the government would continue its dangerous raids.

Some regions, such as Mendocino County, have leaned on pot agriculture as other industries dried up. It’s estimated that at least half of that county’s economy depends on cultivation of the plant. [Half? Try three-quarters!—RM]

The only sure thing is that there’s no sure thing. Marijuana legalization is uncharted territory. Or at least, it’s uncharted in this country. Other countries have managed to figure it out, but here in The Land of the Free, we’ve clung to prohibition.

Earlier, the state estimated that it could rake in $1.4 billion in taxes if Prop 19 passes, but they’ve since backed off that estimate, claiming that there are too many unknown variables. Prop 19 would allow each individual municipality to set its own pot regulations, which some detractors have said will create an unwieldy patchwork of laws. Coincidentally, most of those who oppose legalization are those who make money from prohibition: law enforcement agencies and the alcohol industry.

Marijuana Crushes Grapes as Cash Crop (NBC Bay Area)

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The Pot Book

image
 
Dangerous Minds pal, Michael Backes (who named the above strain) writes:

“Most books about marijuana are hampered by shoddy research and threadbare science.  As cannabis legalization and decriminalization approaches its tipping point in the US, it’s refreshing that Dr. Julie Holland has published, The Pot Book, the most comprehensive overview available of cannabis, its medical uses and societal ramifications.  What makes “The Pot Book” truly significant is the depth of its coverage and the breadth of its fifty contributors.

Dr. Holland, who spent a decade as an ER psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, is also the author of The Ecstasy Book, the standard work on MDMA and its medicinal applications.  For The Pot Book, Holland has convened a who’s who of esteemed contributors, ranging from Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the discoverer of THC, to contemporary social critic, Douglas Rushkoff.  The book covers everything from the latest on cannabis botany from Dr. Lyle Craker, the UMass professor that is attempting to break the US government’s monopoly on research-grade cannabis to Dr. Marsha Rosenbaum’s essay on how to speak to kids about marijuana.  The book is supplemented by a website with additional articles and interviews that didn’t make the cut for the book, plus a collection of excellent links to cannabis science and sociology.  All proceeds from sales of the book go to support research into cannabinoid medicines.”

Dr. Julie Holland writing on The Pot Book website:

After three years of putting this book together, I’m convinced that cannabis can be re-introduced to physicians and patients as the multifaceted medicine it once was.  I think what we will see in the next decade or so is an explosion of research into the therapeutic use of cannabinoids as medications. If you’d like to donate to the Holland Fund for Therapeutic Cannabinoid Research, please click here.

Before pot was illegal, it was a medicine used for thousands of years to treat everything from muscle spasms to insomnia.  Cannabis has powerful anti-inflammatory activity, it can act as a free-radical scavenger, and most importantly, cannabis has anti-cancer activity. Cannabinoids can kill cancer cells by apopotosis (triggering programmed cell death) while sparing healthy cells, and can also prevent tumor blood supplies from forming, which is called angiogenesis.

Cannabinoids also have a pro-metabolic effect, meaning they may be helpful in stopping the progression of diabetes (partially through its anti-inflammatory action on the cells of the pancreas), as well as helping to normalize blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Cannabis is a medicine that can slow the prevention of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries, the cause of many heart attacks and strokes) and can modify autoimmune diseases including arthritis, Chron’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. (Cannabis doesn’t just relax the spasming muscles and bladders of MS patients; it actually seems to modify the course of illness and may slow neurodegeneration through its neuroprotective effect. The United States has taken out a patent on the use of cannabis as a neuro-protectant, though they continue to keep the plant in Schedule I, reserved for drugs with the highest potential for abuse and no medicinal use. Groups of physicians and nurses including the American Medical Association have requested a review of this scheduling.

But there are other important uses of this plant. Cannabis seeds are a complete vegetarian protein and can be used as food for people, livestock, and birds. Hempseed oil not only provides the exact ratio of essential fatty acids our bodies need, but it can also be used as a fuel. Hempseed oil is a renewable fuel source, which could decrease our reliance on foreign oil.  Hemp (the non-psychoactive stalk of the cannabis plant) can make many consumer goods including paper (decreasing deforestation that complicates our climate maintenance) rope, canvas, and clothing more absorbent than cotton.  Importantly, with compostable cellulose, hemp can replace our current plastic bag and Styrofoam “plastic vortex”/landfill crisis.

Cannabis is an ancient medicinal plant used for thousands of years until it was made illegal in 1937, soon after alcohol prohibition was repealed.  We are currently imprisoning more people than any other country on the planet, with nearly half of our prisoners serving time for drug offenses.  New York City, where I practice medicine, arrests more people for marijuana offenses than any other city in the US. Although Caucasians constitute the majority of pot smokers, African-Americans and Latinos experience a disproportionate number of marijuana-related arrests.

Renewable bio-fuel, food, rope, canvas, clothing, paper, medicine, and relaxant, and America can’t have any of it.

Because it make them laugh. As a psychiatrist, I have to tell you: This is insanity.

The Pot Book
 

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The Amazon.com of weed?

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