Category Archives: Cannabis, Annotated

select links and resources about hemp cannabis and related topics – especially hemp culture in Japan and other countries

Obama’s Position on Medical Marijuana

Barry Obama, class of '79With the US aflutter with electioneering, my old buddy (who i am very eager to go visit) Hemp Ed in Pe Ell (hear Ed on Bacon, Biscuits and Hemp Ed – Choogle on #39) sent along Senator Obama’s campaign’s response to Ed’s query about the candidate’s medical marijuana policy.

Note that cannabis seems absent from the current political discourse aside from Mitt Romney (stop stalking me Mitt!) telling a terminally ill patient that he wouldn’t allow him to have medicine (he must be stopped!) aside from Ron Paul who has been marginalized by the process (despite rabid grassroots support).

Anyhow, Barack (who has toked in his time)’s folks say:

Dear Friend,

Thank you for contacting Obama for America to inquire about the Senator’s position on allowing severely ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes.

Many states have laws that condone medical marijuana, but the Bush Administration is using federal drug enforcement agents to raid these facilities and arrest seriously ill people. Focusing scarce law enforcement resources on these patients who pose no threat while many violent and highly dangerous drug traffickers are at large makes no sense. Senator Obama will not continue the Bush policy when he is president.

Thank you again for contacting us.

Sincerely,

Obama for America

We’ll see if noted Olympia correspondent Cosmo (and precinct organizer for Obama AFAIK) has anything to add.

Photo Credit: Awesom high school yearbook image from Pushing String blog Barry Obama and the gang

Cannabis Seeds for Sale at Courthouse as Vancouver 3 Agree to Plea

DEA Go Away - Pot Seeds for SaleMarc Emery and his now-former co-defendants held a press conference this morning (Tuesday January 22nd) to discuss the plea bargain which results in no extradition to the USA. Emery, Greg Williams and Michelle Rainey made their remarks outside the BC Supreme Court house Downtown Vancouver to an assembled mass of journalists, supporters, activist and surprised passing barristers.

Vancouver Seed Bank Manager (and former editor of Cannabis Culture) Dana Larsen and colleagues were on hand to sell hi-grade marijuana seeds in $20 vials as a sign that selling seeds is a legally tolerated activity in Canada, unlike the USA.

Washington Post discuss farmers’ quest to seperate hemp and pot

Not sure if there is much luck to be found with this strategy.  The powers that be know the difference, they just don’t find it in their economic interest to act with science and sense in mind.  Anyhow, good to see coverage in the mainstream media in a fairly decent article and a mention of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to make it even better (cross-posted here for education purposes via hemp ed).

From Washington Post: Farmers Ask Federal Court To Dissociate Hemp and Pot
By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 12, 2007; Page A03

Wayne Hauge grows grains, chickpeas and some lentils on 2,000 acres in northern North Dakota. Business is up and down, as the farming trade tends to be, and he is always on the lookout for a new crop. He tried sunflowers and safflowers and black beans. Now he has set his sights on hemp.

Hemp, a strait-laced cousin of marijuana, is an ingredient in products from fabric and food to carpet backing and car door panels. Farmers in 30 countries grow it. But it is illegal to cultivate the plant in the United States without federal approval, to the frustration of Hauge and many boosters of North Dakota agriculture.

On Wednesday, Hauge and David C. Monson, a fellow aspiring hemp farmer, will ask a federal judge in Bismarck to force the Drug Enforcement Administration to yield to a state law that would license them to become hemp growers.

“I’m looking forward to the court battle,” said Hauge, a 49-year-old father of three. “I don’t know why the DEA is so afraid of this.”

The law is the law and it treats all varieties of Cannabis sativa L. the same, Bush administration lawyers argue in asking U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland to throw out the case. The DEA says a review of the farmers’ applications is underway.

To clear up the popular confusion about the properties of what is sometimes called industrial hemp, the crop’s prospective purveyors explain that hemp and smokable marijuana share a genus and a species but are about as similar as rope and dope.

The active ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. While hemp typically contains 0.3 percent THC, the leaves and flowers coveted by pot smokers have 5 percent or more, sometimes up to 30 percent.

“You could smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole,” Hague said of hemp, “and it’s not going to provide you with a high.”

Experts on the subject say a headache is far more likely than a buzz.

In the small town of Ray, N.D., Hauge said people — his friends, mostly — make cracks.

“Usually it’s something about whether or not the DEA is going to arrest me or if my phone is being tapped,” Hauge said. “It’s kind of difficult to provoke me. I’m also a CPA, and I have had a tax practice in Ray for 25 years. I was an EMT for 18 years. And I’m not a person who smokes. I don’t smoke anything. I exercise a lot and I’m pretty healthy.”

David Bronner is a vegan California businessman who uses hemp oil to make his Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap richer and smoother. He touts hemp milk as a challenger to soy and adds hemp seeds, full of Omega-3 fatty acids, to a snack bar called Alpsnack.

He says the hulled seeds look like sesame seeds and taste like pine nuts.

Bronner’s company spends about $100,000 a year importing 10,000 pounds of hemp oil and 10,000 pounds of seeds from Canada. To do so, he first had to win a federal court battle with the Justice Department, which tried to ban the imports. One of his arguments was the prevalence and popularity of the crop elsewhere.

“In Canada and Europe, where industrial hemp is grown, no one is trying to smoke it and the sky is not falling,” said Bronner, president of the Hemp Industries Association, a trade group. Likening hemp seeds to marijuana, he said, is like equating poppy seeds with opium.

Hauge is joined by Monson, a Republican state legislator who helped pass a law in 1999 that would permit hemp cultivation and establish limits to ease the federal government’s worries. They have the backing of Vote Hemp, an advocacy organization, and state Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson, who personally delivered paperwork to the DEA in February on the farmers’ behalf.

In a lengthy March 5 letter to DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy, Johnson quoted a university professor’s conclusion that under “the most fundamental principles of pharmacology, it can be shown that it is absurd, in practical terms, to consider industrial hemp useful as a drug.”

That’s how Tim Purdon sees it. He is a Bismarck lawyer for Hauck and Monson.

“Some people call me up with the idea that my clients and myself are some sort of marijuana legalization effort,” Purdon said. “My clients are farmers. They are looking for a crop they can make money on in the tough business of being a family farmer.”

Hauge is feeling optimistic. He has signed up for a hemp cultivation seminar in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It starts Friday.

70 years of failed cannabis prohibition in USA

Hemp farmers

Thanks to Hemp Ed in Pe Ell who reminds us that everyone should take note of the significance of Oct. 2nd.

Indeed, October 2, 2006 was the dubious anniversary of 70 years hassle when unemployed Colorado laborer Samuel R. Caldwell was arrested for selling two marijuana cigarettes to Moses Baca and became the first federal marijuana arrest. For his crime, he was sentenced to four years of hard labor at Leavenworth Penitentiary, plus a $1,000 fine.

Hemp Ed says, “This was a bad day for America, and has lead to the arrest and incarceration of 10 of millions of Americans, and opened the door to far more reaching invasive laws into all our freedoms. When will the madness end?”

Not anytime soon it seems as 2006 set a new high (heh) for cannabis arrests. NORML kicks down some opinion and factoids in a stylish chart documenting the debacle.

Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director {give Mr. St Pierre a ring at (202) 483-5500} concluded in NORML’s report: “Crimes of Indiscretion: Marijuana Arrests in the United States,” that:

“Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers between $10 billion and $12 billion annually and has led to the arrest of nearly 20 million Americans. Nevertheless, some 94 million Americans acknowledge having used marijuana during their lives. It makes no sense to continue to treat nearly half of all Americans as criminals for their use of a substance that poses no greater – and arguably far fewer – health risks than alcohol or tobacco. A better and more sensible solution would be to tax and regulate cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco.”

MARIJUANA ARRESTS BY YEAR
US Marijuana Arrests 1965-2006

Producer of Marihuana tax stamp.Obligatory Wikipedia snippet from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1937_Marihuana_Tax_Act

In the United States, the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, Pub. 238, 75th Congress, 50 Stat. 551 (Aug. 2, 1937), was one of the cornerstone bills that led to the criminalization of cannabis. It was introduced to U.S. Congress by Harry Anslinger, then Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

The act did not itself criminalize the possession or usage of cannabis, but levied a tax equaling roughly one dollar on anyone who dealt commercially in marijuana. It did, however, include penalty provisions. Violations of proper procedure could result in a fine of up to $2000 and five years’ imprisonment. The net effect was to make it too risky for anyone to deal in the substance.

 

UN Reports Points out Canada’s abundant (responsible) Cannabis use

United Nations World Drug Report 2007 – Cannabis (.pdf)

Been meaning to write about this but instead, here is some snippets from Rebecca Dube (how is that pronounced?)’s article in the big fancy newspaper from TO. Proud to be doing my part.

globeandmail.com: The true North, stoned and free

REBECCA DUBE
From July 16, 2007 Globe and Mail (Toronto)

Canada is a nation of stoners. According to the United Nations’ 2007 World Drug Report released last week, Canadians lead the industrialized world in marijuana smoking. Canadians are four times more likely to have smoked pot in the past year than residents of nearly every other country: 16.8 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 64 use marijuana, compared to a global average of 3.8 per cent.

<snip>

Some pot smokers, however, say Canada’s high rate of recreational use is not because we’re a nation of slackers, but merely a side effect of the country’s go-getter work ethic. Canadians work hard and, unlike Europeans, don’t get 10 weeks of vacation or two-hour lunches – so we find other ways to unwind.

“You’re putting in way too many hours at work, you just want to go out and relax,” says one recreational user, a business owner and married father of three who smokes pot several times a month. Marijuana, he explains, allows busy professionals to “maximize your leisure time.”

“You go to a bar, you’re hanging out with friends – if you’re stoned, everybody’s funnier,” he says. “If you’re not sure about a movie? Get high, you’ll like it better.”

United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime 2007 World Drug Report

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Washington State Updates Medical Cannabis Law

From CannabisMD.org comes this excerpt from SB 6032 – a bill to clarify some ambiguity in the existing Medical Marijuana law. A situation i’ve followed closely for many years while sabres rattle and protestors get rained on – endless debates and rallies with painfully slow progress.

I recall a rally on the Capitol steps in 1996/7 when the momentun and public opinion suggested that we were on the brink of some major freedoms in this erstwhile campaign. I was filming The HempenRoad and Dennis Peron was fresh off big victory in California (where is he now?) and Ralph Seely was fighting tough as cancer ravaged his body. Robert Lunday was there youthful and focused (pause). So much energy for such a simple and harmless treatment. There is simply not a toxic level to this plant (trust me, i would’ve found it by now).

As a dude with chronic GI tract problems and dozens of doctor’s visits (homeopathic, acupuncuture, chinese herbs, allopathic, specialists galore) as a result, i reckon i qualify in the expanded list of “acceptable ailments.” Also noteworthy is the police not being liable for not seizing stash so not more of that “i was just following orders” excuse and doctors and caregivers being specifcally removed from hassles – i am not so naive to think that this will be a smooth ride but (some of) the compassion clinics in California show it can be done discretely and honestly and legally.

Alas, workplaces are not required to provide a place for patients to use thier herb but i know a few Washington businesses which already do ;-).

Excerpts follow:


May 8, 2007, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed Senate Bill 6032, an amendment to The Medical Use of Marijuana Act of 1998, originally filed by Dr. Rob Killian, (back row in white shirt) physician of Martin Martinez, (far right) the Seattle man who claimed “medical necessity” at trial in 1996 and 1997.

More photos here
News articles here
Support letters here

MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN WASHINGTON STATE

Excerpts from SB 6032:

Sec. 1. The legislature intends to clarify the law on medical marijuana so that the lawful use of this substance is not impaired and medical practitioners are able to exercise their best professional judgment in the delivery of medical treatment, qualifying patients may fully participate in the medical use of marijuana, and designated providers may assist patients in the manner provided by this act without fear of criminal prosecution. This act is also intended to provide clarification to law enforcement and to all participants in the judicial system.

Sec. 2. The people of Washington State find that some patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses, under their physician’s care, may benefit from the medical use of marijuana. Qualifying patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses who, in the judgment of their physician, may benefit from the medical use of marijuana, shall not be found guilty of a crime under state law for their possession and limited use of marijuana;
Persons who act as designated providers to such patients shall also not be found guilty of a crime under state law for assisting with the medical use of marijuana; and
Physicians shall also be excepted from liability and prosecution for the authorization of marijuana use to qualifying patients for whom, in the physician’s professional judgment, medical marijuana may prove beneficial.

Legal use of medical marijuana:

Terminal or debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the use of medical marijuana include: cancer, HIV, MS epilepsy, intractable pain unrelieved by standard treatments, Glaucoma unrelieved by standard treatments, Crohn’s disease unrelieved by standard treatments, Hepatitis C unrelieved by standard treatments, anorexia, and diseases with symptoms of wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when those symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments.

Licensed physicians shall be excepted from the state’s criminal laws and shall not be penalized in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for advising a qualifying patient about the risks and benefits of medical marijuana or that the qualifying patient may benefit from the use of medical marijuana, or for providing a qualifying patient with valid documentation that the medical use of marijuana may benefit that patient.

A qualifying patient is a person who has been diagnosed with a terminal or debilitating medical condition by a licensed physician who has advised them on risks and benefits and recommended that he or she may benefit by the use of medical marijuana. A qualifying patient must possess valid documentation. Valid documentation includes a copy of a document signed by the physician, or a copy of the patient’s pertinent medical records stating that, in the physician’s professional opinion, the patient may benefit from the medical use of marijuana. The patient must also possess proof of identity such as a Washington state driver’s license or identicard.

A designated provider is a person who is at least 18 years of age and who has been designated to possess medical marijuana in writing by a qualified patient, and must also possess a Washington state driver.s license or identicard. A designated provider may not consume the marijuana he or she may possess for the use of the qualified patient, and must be “the designated provider to only one patient at any one time.”

A qualified patient or designated provider must present valid documentation to police upon demand, and must possess no more marijuana than necessary for the patient’s personal medical use, not exceeding the amount necessary for a sixty-day period. When an officer determines that a patient or designated provider qualifies under this chapter the officers may document the amount in possession, and they may take a relative sample for testing, “but not seize the marijuana”. Law enforcement officers cannot be held liable for failure to seize medical marijuana.

A qualifying patient under 18 years of age may engage in the medical use of marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation, however, production, acquisition, and dosage determinations shall be the responsibility of that patient’s parent or legal guardian.

If charged with a violation of state law relating to marijuana, a qualifying patient or a designated provider who assists a qualifying patient in the medical use of marijuana will have established an affirmative defense to such charges by proof of compliance with the requirements of this chapter.

Limitations:

It is a misdemeanor to use or display medical marijuana in a manner or place open to the view of the general public.

A health insurance provider cannot be held liable for claims of reimbursement for the medical use of marijuana.

A physician is not required to authorize the medical use of marijuana for a patient afflicted with a terminal or debilitating condition.

Places of employment, educational centers, correctional facilities, and other public places are not required to provide on-site accommodations for qualifying patients to use medical marijuana.

It is a class C felony to fraudulently produce any record purporting to be, or to tamper with the content of any record for the purpose of having it accepted as valid documentation.

The affirmative defense shall be denied to any person engaged in the medical use of marijuana in a way that endangers the health or well-being of any person through the operation of a motorized vehicle on a street, road, or highway.

Determinations:

The Medical Quality Assurance Commission in consultation with the Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, or other appropriate agency as designated by the governor, shall accept for consideration petitions submitted to add terminal or debilitating conditions to those currently included in this chapter. Consideration of additional medical conditions shall include public notice and a public hearing upon such petitions. Final determinations may be subject to judicial appeal.

The Department of Health shall adopt rules defining the quantity of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be a sixty day supply for qualifying patients. This presumptive determination may be overcome with evidence of a qualifying patient’s necessary medical use. The Department of Health shall make a good faith effort to include all stakeholders identified in the rule-making analysis.

The Department of Health shall gather information from medical and scientific literature, from consulting with experts and the public and by reviewing the best practices of other states regarding access to an adequate, safe, consistent, and secure source, including alternate distribution systems, of medical marijuana for qualifying patients.

The Department of Health shall report these findings to the state Legislature by July 1st, 2008.

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Nederlander Tax Write off for Hash

A kinda cheesy article from Canoe but the topic intrigues me so here it is, read more via the link.  I *would* put a photo to a Amsterdam coffee shop here or maybe a big chunk of hash, but i am kinda busy right this minute but maybe later i’ll write some commentary and include a relevant photo but maybe not.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – A Dutch court has added a new item to the list of activities eligible for tax relief – drug running.  Judges in the central city of Arnhem recently declared that a professional fisherman convicted of smuggling drugs could deduct the cost of buying and shipping hashish to the Netherlands from his income on his tax return, national daily De Telegraaf reported Tuesday.

{snip}

The court ruled that because he had only been convicted of drug running and not trading in drugs he could deduct the cost of buying and transporting the drugs on his tax form. That cut his tax bill to euro1.8 ($2.4 million) – a saving of euro1.5 million ($2 million).

Under Dutch law, marijuana and hashish are illegal but police don’t fine smokers for possession of less than five grams (one-sixth of an ounce) or prosecute for possession of less than 30 grams (one ounce).

Authorities look the other way regarding the open sale of cannabis in designated “coffee shops.”But growers are subject to raids and prosecution, meaning the officially tolerated shop owners have no legal way to purchase their best-selling product.

The case isn’t the first time a court’s ruling on taxes has raised Dutch eyebrows. In 2005, judges in the northern city of Leeuwarden ruled that witches can write off the cost of schooling in witchcraft against their tax bills if it increases the likelihood of employment and personal income.

CANOE — CNEWS – Weird News: Dutch court makes hash tax deductible

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Too High To Fight? Interesting article on military drug testing

Hmmm, maybe time to bust out my drug testing in the worlplace white paper.–

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Too high to fight?

 

I usually offer to help soldiers fail drug tests – not pass them

By MATT MERNAGH

NOW Magazine (Toronto)

I got some weird and crazy e-mail recently. Among the updates from war resisters groups and pot legalizers was a letter from the wife of a Canadian Forces soldier. The distraught woman was writing to ask my advice because her husband had failed his urine test and was being prevented from deploying to Afghanistan.

Talk about a moral dilemma. Oddly, just this month, writing for Cannabis Culture, I urged service personnel not wanting to wage war to get stoned and flunk the Department of National Defence’s recently resumed pee test. If any CF soldier doesn’t want to deploy, I’m offering to puff pot in their face all day or send them peace cookies. No reason to go AWOL.

So here I was being asked to help a soldier convince his superiors to retest him so he could deploy. I have no clout at DND, of course. However, it turns out that my anonymous soldier is one of 89 service personnel who popped positive out of the 2,276 tested before leaving for Afghanistan.

Two soldiers have been fired, three were able to show they had a narcotic prescription and five more were sent to counselling. There are 79 more administrative reviews to go.

 

<snip>

 

When interviewed by the media, Hillier admitted at least one crew used cannabis to camouflage their vehicle. All efforts to down the indica thicket using white phosphorus and diesel fuel bombardment failed, he said. But when a small patch did ignite there were other problems: a section of soldiers downwind had “some ill effects.”

The United Nations Office of Drug Control estimates the Afghan cannabis crop at 30,000 acres, one-third of the world supply. The resinous strain packs that classic skunk smell and would be a terrible reefer toke, but it’s pressed into hashish and transported to world markets. You can come across it in Toronto.

Are soldiers retested to make sure they’re straight once they’ve settled into Kandahar? I can’t help querying. “Where would they get the drugs from? In the mail?” Laviolette asks.

“The soldiers are in an enclosed environment. They’re not even allowed to drink alcohol except for two beers on Christmas Day,” minister of defence spokesperson Isabel Bouchard reassures. “The military always needs to be ready. This is Canada, we respect the Afghan way of life and are their

invited guests,” she says.

Contact: letters@nowtoronto.com

NOW Magazine

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Immovable mass of cannabis thwarts modern military means

What a tremendous effort to thwack some cannabis – seems sad in a way – too much work for little purpose or possible benefit.
Hemp field in Afghanistan

Canada troops battle 10-ft Afghan marijuana plants

Thu Oct 12, 4:52 PM ET

Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy — almost impenetrable forests of 10-feet (three metre) high marijuana plants.

General Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defence staff, said on Thursday that Taliban fighters were using the forests as cover. In response, the crew of at least one armored car had camouflaged their vehicle with marijuana.

“The challenge is that marijuana plants absorb energy, heat very readily. It’s very difficult to penetrate with thermal devices … and as a result you really have to be careful that the Taliban don’t dodge in and out of those marijuana forests,” he said in a speech in Ottawa.

“We tried burning them with white phosphorous — it didn’t work. We tried burning them with diesel — it didn’t work. The plants are so full of water right now … that we simply couldn’t burn them,” he said.

Even successful incineration had its drawbacks.

“A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those (forests) did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action,” Hillier said dryly.

One soldier told him later: “Sir, three years ago before I joined the army, I never thought I’d say ‘That damn marijuana’.”

Print Story: Canada troops battle 10-ft Afghan marijuana plants on Yahoo! News

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