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Time to write a bill

January 12, 2013

The passage of I-502 will help remove the dark veil from Cannabis. Allowing recreational use of Cannabis for Washington and Colorado adult residences is a huge step forward, both economically and for the cause of social freedoms everywhere.
But, the recreational use of cannabis is a small percentage of the value of cannabis. Seems odd that one can consume Cannabis as a euphoric, but not allowed to grow the plant for the more valuable industrial purposes.
But, things are about to change. Monday I will be contacting policy analysts in Olympia to hammer out details of a bill going before the WA. State Legislators, studying the viability of allowing farmers to create the hemp industry from the ground up.
I am excited to have the opportunity to share my twenty plus years of knowledge of Cannabis for industrial uses with policy writers. Before this is a done deal, we will need to rally support amongst the majority of legislators. Please, if your a voter in WA. State, please contacted your Senators, and Representatives and have them help move this pending bill forward.

Are you a man of your word?

May 17, 2011

Apr 15, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House, 1st Floor, West Wing
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

In the summer of 2007, during your campaign for the presidency, you
said you would respect state medical marijuana laws if you were
victorious in the election. In March of 2009, Attorney General Eric
Holder said that your position as president was what you said it was
going to be during the campaign. In October 2009, your Department of
Justice issued a memo to U.S. Attorneys clarifying this position. The
following was the key sentence in that memo:

“As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus
federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in
clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for
the medical use of marijuana.”

This memo was clearly intended to cover not only medical marijuana
patients, but also the dispensaries that had been established in
California and elsewhere to provide patients with a reliable source for
their medicine. There would be no reason to issue a memo instructing
U.S. Attorneys to de-prioritize medical marijuana possession cases, as
everyone knows that federal prosecutors rarely, if ever, prosecute
individuals for small amounts of marijuana.

Despite this memo — or perhaps in direct defiance of it — we now have
two U.S. Attorneys in Washington state sabotaging the prospects of a
bill to regulate the distribution of medical marijuana by implying to
the governor that they are likely to go after any and all instances of
marijuana distribution. They are even suggesting that they could
prosecute state employees — a position directly undermined by past
federal court precedent! This is extremely disturbing on many levels.

Based directly on their threats, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is
now saying she will veto this sensible and needed legislation if it
reaches her desk. Your people, who have been advised to respect state
medical marijuana laws, may be directly responsible for an effective
law to regulate the system not going into effect.

What is truly pathetic is that the U.S. Attorneys don’t even appreciate
the irony of their position. They complain that the “Washington
legislative proposals will create a licensing scheme” for
marijuana distribution, which would “undermine the federal
government’s efforts to regulate” the production and distribution
of marijuana. No, the truth is that the Washington legislation is
specifically intended to regulate the distribution of marijuana; the
U.S. Attorneys, on the other hand, want to keep the distribution of
medical marijuana entirely unregulated and controlled by the black

So what are you going to do, Mr. Obama? Are you going to let these U.S.
Attorneys defy your stated policy in order to force medical marijuana
patients into the criminal market? Or are you going to tell them to
respect state laws — and the state legislative process — so that
states can regulate the distribution of medical marijuana in the manner
they feel is best for patients and for their states?

I will be waiting for an answer.


Mr. Ed Saukkooja

Initiative I-1068

March 3, 2010

This is the official web-site promoting Washington State Initiative Petition I-1068.

Initiative 1068 supporters need 241,000 verifiable registered voter signatures by July 2, 2010. If successful, the voters of Washington State will have the opportunity to decide with their vote to stop the madness of prosecuting the current cannabis laws.

Initiative I-1068 would remove State civil and criminal penalties for persons eighteen years or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use cannabis products. Restrictions and penalties for persons under eighteen would remain the same.

I encourage all concerned to visit http://www.sensiblewashington and register to help gather signatures or find where, in your locality you can sign the petition re-legalizing cannabis in Washington State. Many counties still need coordinators. This is an awesome task, but I am sure with a great volunteer effort we can win this battle.

Thank You, Ed Saukkooja/

What if there were no Drug War? An essay by Joe Kennelly

April 29, 2009

The year is 2015. One year ago, all 50 states and the federal government ended the Modern Prohibition of what most Americans once referred to as the “War on Drugs.” Today, special stores offer regulated, taxed and formerly illegal drugs in every state. The ‘drug dealer’ now works a $15.00 an hour job and does not care if the customer buys a candy bar or cocaine. Yes, he checks for ID for under-aged kids. What problems remain in the country and around the world?

After the first seven interviews with my brother Police Officer and Detective Howard Wooldridge of Lansing, Michigan (retired) concerning the “War on Drugs”, we skip ahead seven years to see what happened when Congress legalized drugs across the United States of America. 

“In 2014 the U.S. Coast Guard blasted out of the water a record number of terrorist speedboats attempting to land on US beaches,” Officer Howard Wooldridge said. “CG guns sunk seven boats and sent approximately 50 ‘would-be-terrorists’ to Davy Jone’s Locker.

“Though the terrorists may be enjoying their 70 virgins in Martyr Heaven, they will have no chance to harm America,” Coast Guard Admiral Jackson reported. The Homeland Security chief believes the US is safer, now that law enforcement and the military are focusing on terrorists and not on boatloads of cocaine or flying around looking for marijuana gardens.

“Al Qaeda’s operating budget to buy guns, bullets and to fund new attacks on the Western world has been severely impacted by the loss of drug revenues. NATO forces in Afghanistan have the Taliban on the run and its commander believes that by 2016 the country will be free of these terrorists. Al Qaeda simply ran out of money to buy bullets.

“Afghan farmers are now growing high quality hemp for a growing bio-fuel industry and quality cloth is being made into soft, durable shirts for the US and European markets. As a bonus, the hemp seeds are providing much-needed nutrition to the country.

“The state prisons still hold over two million men and women, costing taxpayers some 50 billion. All state governors and their legislatures are struggling to decide who should be let out first and under what criteria Pressure drives the process forward, as to the educational needs of students. Education suffered due to so many prisons built. Now state officials use those monies to build new junior colleges and pay qualified instructors. Most states have already released those citizens that simply possessed the now legal drugs. That was easy. 

“State and federal treasury officials report that tax revenues on marijuana and Ecstasy have exceeded their projections. Nearly 10 billion dollars flowed into state and federal coffers in 2014. This revenue stream, combined with not spending over 100 billion last year to enforce prohibition laws, has allowed states to finance a host of new bridges, roads, much needed sewer projects and other infrastructure projects.

“Prison guards and their unions are lobbying the state houses to slow down the release of drug prisoners. Every state has already stopped the building of new prisons and many have already closed a couple, laying off the guards. Fortunately, the states are providing free training for the guards to become long distance truck drivers. Experts predict that by 2018 half the prisons in the country will close. Those that remain will hold only rapists, child molesters, bank robbers, etc. 

“County jails across the country are already over half empty, freeing up money for local schools. County hospitals have noticed a sharp decline in costs associated with the old Drug War. Since gunfights between street dealers have disappeared and overdoses have become rare, the emergency rooms are better able and have more money to take care of heart attacks and accident victims. Emergency room doctors and nurses have noticed a sharp decline in car accidents caused by the drunk driver. The police doubled their arrests of DUIs in 2014 to nearly three million, after they stopped chasing folks like Willie Nelson and Rush Limbaugh.

“Child predators are now running scared all across the US. Wisely, the 70,000 narcotics officers were re-trained to go after the Internet based, child porn and child rape video crowd. In 2013 the police only arrested some 2,000 adults who had down-loaded porn on their personal computers. This year my colleagues are on track to execute a search warrant on each of the over 600,000 computers with child porn. Since 40 percent of searches also find the child featured in the porn, tens of thousands of little boys and girls have been taken from these abusive homes. Their lives improved overnight. Sadly, late this year, the police have noticed that ever more child porn perpetuates overseas, out of reach of US law enforcement. Better but not a perfect world!

“Shortly after prohibition ended, tens of thousands of citizens who were addicted to the illegal drugs came out of the shadows and asked for treatment. Without the stigma of being illegal, cocaine and heroin addicts felt free to ask for the help they needed. Though this created a huge demand, treatment slots opened up as ‘drug’ courts disappeared. The old system treated anyone caught with a little pot or cocaine as addicted and needing treatment. Now comedians make jokes about such silliness. 

“Whatever happened to the roughly two million who formerly sold drugs on the sidewalks? Most found regular jobs and some went on welfare. Gangs have already shrunk dramatically, as kids could no longer make easy money without breaking a sweat. A small number of dealers still look for the easy money and have started robbing banks. Like Bonnie and Clyde 100 years earlier, the police are either killing them in gunfights or they are arrested and put in prison. 

“Columbia now is gaining the upper hand in its 50 year struggle with the Marxist guerrillas of FARC. Without the drug money, FARC like Al Qaeda, is struggling to buy bullets and pay its soldiers. Violence dropped dramatically in 2014. Columbia is still the source for most of the cocaine consumed by the rest of world. However, it is loaded onto ships legally and the price has dropped from 80 dollars per gram retail to one dollar. Once again Columbia makes more money exporting coffee than drugs.

“Hollywood struggles to produce movies, absent the easy format of cops versis drug dealers. In recent years many of the action movies tied themselves to the drug trade.

“In the Canadian province of British Columbia unemployment has soared, as the famous BC Bud is now being grown south of the border legally. Former cannabis gardeners are being re-trained to become fish farmers.

“The US courts have become unclogged of drug cases but a new wave of civil lawsuits has been filed. Because civil cases took five or more years during prohibition to come to trial, many never even bothered. Now that justice is swift, civil claims have skyrocketed. Better not perfect.

“Allstate Insurance recently announced a drop in rates for both car and home. Since property crime dropped by over 50 percent in 2014 and far fewer crashes caused by the drinking driver, claims were way down. Other companies are expected to match or exceed the rate cuts announced by Allstate.

“Drug use and abuse plummeted in 2014, much to the chagrin of those who screamed that legalization would cause the destruction of America. “Smoking weed used to be cool when it was illegal but now, why bother?” quipped a Dallas high school senior.

“Another said, “I used to smoke weed to impress my friends but since legalization, I stopped smoking. Now I mostly drink.” Different, maybe better, certainly not perfect.

“High school graduation rates increased in 2014 in the inner cities. Teens now realize they will never be able to work in the drug trade, like their parents did. Social workers said that the absence of the negative role model provided by the rich, successful, teen drug dealer was the single factor tied to higher graduation rates. 

“America now realizes that the Chicken Littles were wrong. The sky did not fall in and very few people in 2014 began using cocaine, heroin, etc. Murder rates and property crime rates dropped back to 1960s levels, improving the quality of life, especially in the inner cities. Some problems linger and must be dealt with. However, like the experience of 1933, 2014 marked a turning point in America’s crime problem.”

Today, Officer Howard Wooldridge heads up a task force in Washington, DC to educate and enlighten congressmen at the highest levels. He works for a better future for all Americans. He can be reached at: Education Specialist, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, , Washington, DC. He speaks at colleges, political clubs, Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Clubs across America. LEAP speakers in 36 states address this issue to citizens around the country to bring an end to the Drug War.

The mission of LEAP is to reduce the multitude of unintended harmful consequences resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ultimately ending drug prohibition.

“Envision a world where crime is cut in half, terrorists don’t make money selling drugs and kids are not employed in the drug trade,” Wooldridge said. “Envision a world where the police focus on DUI, child predators and terrorists. Imagine a world where if you have a drug problem, you see a doctor not a judge. All are possible, when we find the courage to end our Prohibition.”

Author: Joe Kennelly

Joe Kennelly is an Examiner from Seattle. You can see Joe’s articles on Joe’s Home Page.

Response to National Republican Senatorial Committee fundraising (and fear-mongering) letter

April 29, 2009

Ed says: “I tried to reply to the National Republican Senatorial Committee concerning a donation, it was rejected. I am wondering why?”  me 

Dear NRSC;

Give it up, your arguments are bogus, get on board or get left behind. Leave your Right Wing dogma on high, and speak to the millions of Americans down here. The ones of us without work, unemployment running out, no-health care program. Talk with us about how NAFTA, GATA, world trade BS really effect the working class. Make it possible for us to put our hands and hearts to work. Open your eyes to Industrial Hemp.

We don’t need government looking in our bedrooms, or our gun closets. If a woman needs an abortion, it’s not up to you, I, or the majority to decide. It’s up to her, her doctor, and her God. We don’t need to piss in a cup to do a good job in the work-place, but we do just to qualify for a job. The mafia used to sell insurance, now we go to jail if we don’t buy insurance. What’s wrong with that picture. Put the FDA protecting our food and drug supply, not making more piss-cups, or experimenting with social engineering.  
Your nuts, your all nuts, and we aren’t going to take it much longer. You have tea parties protesting taxes. What say we all just quit collecting, or paying any taxes. I am hearing you there, we sure don’t want socialism. Sorry I can’t donate this year, Wall Street has all my cash.

Talk with us, not over us, e-nuff of this refer madness, we are not stupid.  And by the way, Reagan wasn’t all that much….    ed  at


In response to:

Dear Republican Friend,

Today marks 100 days since Barack Obama took the oath of office. During this time, he has:

  • Proposed the largest budget in U.S. history;
  • Suggested $1.4 trillion in new taxes over the next decade;
  • Released highly confidential CIA memos detailing strategies used that produced timely intelligence and thwarted further deadly terrorist attacks;
  • Proposed cutting missile defense by $1.4 billion just days after North Korea tested a long-range missile.

Senate Republicans are literally the only line of defense preventing President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid from advancing their ultra-liberal agenda.

Watch this video highlighting Obama’s first 100 days in office. Then, support our efforts to keep these radical policies in check.

At best, this White House has mismanaged the first days of this new administration – including tax-evading Cabinet nominees and a stimulus bill that included taxpayer-funded bonuses for AIG executives.

At worst, the administration has cozied up to enemy regimes while shunning allies, given terrorism suspects unprecedented rights, and apologized for America’s “arrogance” on three different foreign continents.

Watch the video outlining Obama’s first 100 days in office. Then help Senate Republicans protect our national security and our economy.

All the best,

Rob Jesmer
Executive Director
National Republican Senatorial Committee

P.S. With each day that goes by, President Obama and Congressional Democrats are advancing their radical liberal agenda. There is literally no time to lose. Please join us with your support today.

Help the Farmers of Washington – Open Letter to Senator Swecker and Representative Alexander

April 29, 2009
Senator Swecker and Representative Alexander; 
This will become reality soon. Will you give the farmers in West Lewis Co. a break, and help us forge ahead with a new green industry? Help us write a bill that will allow us to grow and process industrial hemp. It will take 1500 acres, rail and high-way transportation systems, and areas for industrial complex. The Curtis and Ceres Valleys are a perfect fit with hemp related industries. The Port of Chehalis wants to do something at the old Weyerhaeuser sorting facilities near the forks of the Chehalis River.

es, even fish food can be processed from hemp seed as demonstrated by the U. of Kentucky over 10 years ago. Our own Washington State University did studies in the early 90’s developing building materials from hemp stalks.  

Please contact me if you are interested in helping the farmers of your district. You have my e-mail address, and I’ll give you a toll free phone number for you to call as not too cost the State any excess expenditures. 800-963-4367 Or, you can just wait until marijuana is as legal as alcohol . Why wait to develop hemp industries? Our loggers and farmers need work now. Show the GREEN side of Washington Republicans…

“Promoting the Economy while Protecting the Environment” is our motto at Hemplobby, and I hope you would checkout our publication PDF “Practical Guide to Hemp” at our web-site. 
Yours Truly; Ed Saukkooja, Director of
As a side note: This e-mail will be sent to the Daily Chronicle and Olympian newspapers as a “open letter” by Friday 5/01/09 unless I hear from both of you.

Letter to US Congressman Brian Baird from Ed in Pe Ell

April 28, 2009

Rep. Baird

I live in small town in your district. Our towns elected officials are making a major mistake of robbing the treasury with a request of COPS money. We have no crime! I still leave my house unlock, I walk the streets at night without protection, and we have no fear form my neighbors or any criminal element.

Presently, Pe Ell town marshal is paid for 20 hours a week. He doesn’t live anywhere close to our community, and the town furnishes him a car, and picks up all his travel expenses to and from his home. Last year, the town spent over $60,000 for marshaling. The town marshal feels he needs more help in protecting us, so he applied for a COPS grant, which is unwarranted and unnecessary, and it is my belief is only self-aggrandizing.

I have lived in this community all my life, graduating from PLS in 1964. I will tell you in all honesty, the worst problems in this community have been caused by the the police themselves. The last time Pe Ell received COPS program money, the Mayor was re-called, mostly because of the problems with the local marshal and his Barny Fife assistants.

Pe Ell does not need a Police Force. The Lewis Co. Sheriff’s office does a fine job, give a grant to them. I was glad to see this program only has one billion, and there has been over eight billion dollars requested from the program all ready. I am sure the Sheriff could put it to good use, but not the Pe Ell Marshals office.

How do I see the grant proposal submitted by the marshall of Pe Ell? I would like to read the lies he submitted warranting COPS funding for this community.

You and I both know, crime in related to the economy. Send the money to the cities. We here in Pe Ell, do not need Federal Money to solve a nonexistent problem.

Last, but not least: If the COPS grant program funds Pe Ell Policing, the citizens of this community will vote to become unincorporated. You can “make book” on that.

Please reply; Ed Saukkooja – citizen

British Foundation calls for legalization of cannabis

December 31, 2008

Pubdate: Tue, 30 Dec 2008
Source: New Scientist (UK)
Copyright: New Scientist, RBI Limited 2008
Author: Andy Coghlan
Bookmark: (Cannabis – Popular)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Note: (Related Links)


What should we do to minimise the harm cannabis can cause to the health and welfare of users and to society at large? The answer, according to a report by a group of prominent academics and government advisers, is to change the law to allow the state to prepare and distribute the drug for recreational use.

This controversial proposal comes from a commission assembled by the Beckley Foundation, a British charity dedicated to exploring the science of psychoactive substances. “The damage done by prohibition is worse than from the substance itself,” says Amanda Feilding, the founder of the Beckley Foundation.

The Beckley commission’s ideas will be aired in March at a meeting in Vienna, Austria, of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The UNCND will report to a meeting of the UN general assembly later this year that will set international policy on drug control for the decade to come.

Marijuana is now the world’s most widely used illicit drug. The latest figures from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC ) indicate that in 2006-7 some 166 million people aged 15 or above, or 3.9 per cent of this age group, used it regularly. Just 1 per cent of the world population uses other illegal drugs. Cannabis use is particularly widespread in rich countries. Around 40 per cent of Americans and one-third of Australians say they have tried it.

The evidence assembled by the Beckley commission left it in no doubt that cannabis damages the health of heavy users, especially those who start as teenagers. Such users are at increased risk of suffering from psychosis, and lung and heart disorders. They are also more likely to drop out of school early, be involved in traffic accidents, and be poor parents ( see “How bad is it?” ). The report also found evidence that cannabis may act as a “gateway drug”, increasing the likelihood that users will go on to try more damaging drugs such as heroin or cocaine.

The report details a sharp rise in the potency of marijuana, with levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ) – the chemical that gets cannabis users “stoned” – typically double to treble what they were a decade ago. This, it says, is partly the result of a switch to growing the plant indoors under continuous lighting.

Potent varieties, sometimes known as “skunk” or “sinsemilla”, now make up 80 per cent of the market in the UK and the Netherlands according to a report published by the UK home office. These varieties also lack a compound called cannabidiol found in other cannabis strains, which when present may help prevent THC triggering psychotic episodes. About 9 per cent of regular cannabis users become dependent – experiencing withdrawal if they stop using – and suffer ill health as a result of their drug use, the Beckley authors say.

Despite the undoubted dangers associated with marijuana, the Beckley report concludes that it is far less harmful to users and to society in general than other illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine, and far less damaging than the legal drugs tobacco and alcohol. There have been only two documented deaths from marijuana overdose, the report notes. This contrasts with 200,000 deaths from all causes each year attributed to other illegal drugs, 2.5 million deaths annually related to alcohol and 5 million to smoking.

Because possession of cannabis is illegal, its harmful consequences extend beyond possible damage to immediate health, the Beckley report points out. In particular, users are at risk of punishment and acquiring a criminal record. “If you don’t think being arrested is a harm, you are unpersuadable,” says criminologist Peter Reuter of the University of Maryland, a co-author of the report. “In the US, 750,000 people were arrested in 2006, and I think that’s a substantial harm.”

The report recommends that marijuana should be sold legally, subject to strict standards to ensure it is not strong enough to cause psychological problems. This, it says, would allow a strict age bar to be imposed that would prevent children from buying it, and put the criminal gangs who peddle it out of business. Cannabis buyers would not be offered other drugs by the licensed dealers, removing this as a possible route of progression from cannabis to other drugs.

The framework for drug laws worldwide is now set by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which has been signed by the overwhelming majority of nations. Though the convention requires that all signatories make possession of cannabis illegal, some have experimented with decriminalisation. The Netherlands, for example, no longer arrests and punishes people found to have small amounts of cannabis, though large-scale supply remains illegal and in the hands of criminal gangs.

The legalisation proposed by the Beckley group is likely to face strong opposition in Vienna both from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and from many governments. The fear is that easing up on cannabis will undermine the whole international effort to combat recreational drug use. “Cannabis is the most vulnerable point of the whole multilateral edifice,” Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UNODC, said in a speech in March 2008.

The US has set its face firmly against any move towards legalisation, fearing that this would produce a nation of dope-heads. A document launched in July 2008 by the US Office of National Drug Control Policy ( ONDCP ) declared marijuana to be “the greatest cause of illegal drug abuse”.

Dave Murray, head of research at the ONDCP, told New Scientist that strict enforcement of anti-drug laws had helped cut teenage use of marijuana by 25 per cent between 2001 and 2008. In the absence of prohibition, it would have been difficult to achieve that,” he says.

By contrast, the Beckley authors, among others, argue that punishment does not reduce cannabis use and itself causes harm. Their view is backed by a study in 2000 by Simon Lenton of the National Drug Research Institute in Perth, Western Australia, which compared what happened to people in Western Australia, where cannabis possession attracts a criminal conviction and penalty, with those in South Australia who were given non-punitive infringement notices. He found that 32 per cent of those “criminalised” reported adverse employment consequences compared with 2 per cent of “infringers”. The criminalised users were also far more likely to be involved in crime again, and to suffer housing and relationship problems.

Feilding accepts that there may be few takers in Vienna for her group’s proposals. But the mere fact that an alternative to the strict prohibition of cannabis will even be considered is a breakthrough in itself, she says.

How bad is it? The most damaging of the possible ill effects of cannabis use is psychosis. “You’re 40 per cent more likely to get psychotic disturbances if you’re a user from early life,” says Les Iverson at the University of Oxford, who is a member of the UK government’s Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs ( ACMD ). He points out, however, that cannabis is not necessarily the cause in all these cases.

Dave Murray, head of research at the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, says that in the US the rise in strength and market dominance of potent marijuana strains has paralleled a rise in emergency hospital admissions of people suffering psychoses after cannabis use.

Another worry with cannabis is that it is a “gateway” drug encouraging use of more damaging substances. Murray says that cannabis users who start young are between 9 and 15 times as likely to become heroin or cocaine users. “We can’t say one causes the other, but there’s a strong correlation,” he notes.

There is also the danger of traffic accidents: cannabis intoxication raises a driver’s risk of crashing by 1.3 to 3 times. By contrast, alcohol intoxication raises the accident risk by up to 15 times.

About 9 per cent of regular cannabis users become dependent, compared with 32 per cent of tobacco smokers, 23 per cent of heroin users, 17 per cent of cocaine users and 15 per cent of those drinking alcohol. Respiratory and lung cancer risks are also raised for cannabis users, and they can sustain damage to verbal learning ability, memory and attention. According to the Beckley report, permanent changes in receptors of the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and cerebellum have been seen in heavy cannabis users. There are also links between early cannabis use and poor school performance. Whether this is a result of cannabis itself, or because they share some other common cause, such as poverty, is not known. Overall, an analysis of 20 drugs by David Nutt at the University of Bristol, UK, who chairs the ACMD, rated cannabis as the 11th most harmful drug, well behind alcohol and tobacco

2,700-year-old marijuana stash found

December 29, 2008

2,700-year-old marijuana stash found


The Canadian Press

November 27, 2008 at 2:37 PM EST

OTTAWA – Researchers say they have located the world’s oldest stash of marijuana, in a tomb in a remote part of China.

The cache of cannabis is about 2,700 years old and was clearly “cultivated for psychoactive purposes,” rather than as fibre for clothing or as food, says a research paper in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

The 789 grams of dried cannabis was buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, near Turpan in northwestern China.

The extremely dry conditions and alkaline soil acted as preservatives, allowing a team of scientists to carefully analyze the stash, which still looked green though it had lost its distinctive odour.

“To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent,” says the newly published paper, whose lead author was American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.

Remnants of cannabis have been found in ancient Egypt and other sites, and the substance has been referred to by authors such as the Greek historian Herodotus. But the tomb stash is the oldest so far that could be thoroughly tested for its properties.

The 18 researchers, most of them based in China, subjected the cannabis to a battery of tests, including carbon dating and genetic analysis. Scientists also tried to germinate 100 of the seeds found in the cache, without success.

The marijuana was found to have a relatively high content of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis, but the sample was too old to determine a precise percentage.

Researchers also could not determine whether the cannabis was smoked or ingested, as there were no pipes or other clues in the tomb of the shaman, who was about 45 years old.

The large cache was contained in a leather basket and in a wooden bowl, and was likely meant to be used by the shaman in the afterlife.

“This materially is unequivocally cannabis, and no material has previously had this degree of analysis possible,” Russo said in an interview from Missoula, Mont.

“It was common practice in burials to provide materials needed for the afterlife. No hemp or seeds were provided for fabric or food. Rather, cannabis as medicine or for visionary purposes was supplied.”

The tomb also contained bridles, archery equipment and a harp, confirming the man’s high social standing.

Russo is a full-time consultant with GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine approved in Canada for pain linked to multiple sclerosis and cancer.

The company operates a cannabis-testing laboratory at a secret location in southern England to monitor crop quality for producing Sativex, and allowed Russo use of the facility for tests on 11 grams of the tomb cannabis.

Researchers needed about 10 months to cut red tape barring the transfer of the cannabis to England from China, Russo said.

The inter-disciplinary study was published this week by the British-based botany journal, which uses independent reviewers to ensure the accuracy and objectivity of all submitted papers.

The substance has been found in two of the 500 Gushi tombs excavated so far in northwestern China, indicating that cannabis was either restricted for use by a few individuals or was administered as a medicine to others through shamans, Russo said.

“It certainly does indicate that cannabis has been used by man for a variety of purposes for thousands of years.”

Russo, who had a neurology practice for 20 years, has previously published studies examining the history of cannabis.

“I hope we can avoid some of the political liabilities of the issue,” he said, referring to his latest paper.

The region of China where the tomb is located, Xinjiang, is considered an original source of many cannabis strains worldwide.

Einstein, insanity and the war on drugs

December 29, 2008

Einstein, insanity and the war on drugs

– Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. His definition fits America ’s war on drugs, a multi-billion dollar, four-decade exercise in futility.

The war on drugs has helped turn the United States into the country with the world’s largest prison population. (Noteworthy statistic: The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population and around 25 percent of the world’s prisoners). Keen demand for illicit drugs in America , the world’s biggest market, helped spawn global criminal enterprises that use extreme violence in the pursuit of equally extreme profits.

Over the years, the war on drugs has spurred repeated calls from social scientists and economists (including three Nobel prizewinners) to seriously rethink a strategy that ignores the laws of supply and demand.
Under the headline “The Failed War on Drugs,” Washington ’s respected, middle-of-the- road Brookings Institution said in a November report that drug use had not declined significantly over the years and that “falling retail drug prices reflect the failure of efforts to reduce the supply of drugs.”

Cocaine production in South America stands at historic highs, the report noted.

Like other think tanks, Brookings stopped short of recommending a radical departure from past policies with a proven track record of failure such as spending billions on crop eradication in Latin America and Asia while allotting paltry sums in comparison to rehabilitating addicts.

Enter Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), an organization started in 2002 by police officers, judges, narcotics agents, prison wardens and others with first-hand experience of implementing policies that echo the prohibition of alcohol. Prohibition, now widely regarded a dismal and costly failure of social engineering, came to an end 75 years ago this week.

As LEAP sees it, the best way to fight drug crime and violence is to legalize drugs and regulate them the same way alcohol and tobacco is now regulated. “We repealed prohibition once and we can do it again,” one of the group’s co-founders, Terry Nelson, told a Washington news conference on December 2. “We cannot arrest our way out of this problem.”


“In the 20s and 30s, we had Al Capone and his gangsters getting rich and shooting up our streets,” said Nelson, who spent a 32-year government career fighting drugs in the U.S. and Latin America . “Today we have criminal gangs, cartels, Taliban and al-Qaeda profiting from the prohibition of drug sales and wreaking havoc all over the world. The correlation is obvious.”

The before-and-after sequence is so obvious that the U.S. Congress passed a resolution in September noting that the 1933 repeal of alcohol prohibition had replaced a “dramatic increase” in organized crime with “a transparent and accountable system of distribution and sales” that generated billions of dollars in tax revenues and boosted the sick economy.

That’s where advocates of drug legalization want to go now, and some of them hope that the similarities between today’s deep economic crisis and the Great Depression will result in a more receptive audience for their pro-legalization arguments among lawmakers and government leaders.

The budgetary impact of legalizing drugs would be enormous, according to a study prepared to coincide with the 75th anniversary of prohibition’s end by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron. He estimates that legalizing drugs would inject $76.8 billion a year into the U.S. economy — $44.1 billion through savings on law enforcement and at least $32.7 billion in tax revenues from regulated sales.

Miron published a similar study in 2005 looking only at the budgetary effect of legalizing marijuana, the most widely used illicit drug in the United States . That study was endorsed by more than 500 economists, including Nobel laureates Milton Friedman of Stanford University , George Akerlof of the University of California and Vernon Smith of George Mason University.

“We urge…the country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition,” the economists said in an open letter to President George W. Bush, congress, governors and state legislators. “At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition.”

The advocates of current policy, led by outgoing President George W. Bush’s drug czar, John Walters, never took up the challenge to discuss cost-benefit equations. His Office of National Drug Control Policy has focused, with the single-minded determination of a moral crusader, on doing the same thing over and over again.

But the United States is not alone in pursuing drug strategies that are based more on wishful thinking than on sober analysis. If you put faith in declarations by the United Nations, a “drug-free world” is an attainable goal and the war on drugs all but over.

In 1998, a special session of the U.N. General Assembly forecast that the illicit cultivation of the coca bush, the cannabis plant and the opium poppy would be eliminated or significantly reduced by the year 2008, a deadline that also applied to “significant and measurable results in the field of demand reduction.”

The clock is ticking towards midnight, December 31, 2008.

— You can contact the author at Debusmann@Reuters. com. For more columns by Bernd Debusmann, click here. — Want to debate? Send in your written submissions to debate@thomsonreute

http://blogs. great-debate/ 2008/12/03/einstein- insanity- and-the-war- on-drugs/