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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
Contact: letters@newscientist.com
Website: http://www.newscientist.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/294
Author: Andy Coghlan
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?420 (Cannabis – Popular)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/decrim.htm (Decrim/Legalization)
Note: http://drugsense.org/url/JZKDLd3Z (Related Links)

RADICAL ALTERNATIVES PROPOSED FOR CANNABIS CONTROLS

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

DEAN BEEBY

The Canadian Press

November 27, 2008 at 2:37 PM EST

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081127.wstash1127/BNStory/Science/home

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.”

FROM AL CAPONE TO DRUG CARTELS

“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 rs.com.

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

Former drug officer launches ‘KopBusters’ TV show

December 29, 2008

Barry Cooper, a former Texas police officer with eight years of specialty in drug interdiction, first made waves when he released the film “Never Get Busted Again,” a how-to guide for evading police drug seizures.

Austin, Texas-based Cooper’s latest project is not nearly so benign, and will likely generate for the former drug warrior an army of enemies in law enforcement.

‘KopBusters’ is a reality TV program that aims to sink crooked officers.

“KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana,” claims a release from NeverGetBusted.com “When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house.”

“The trap was set and less than 24 hours later, the Odessa narcotics unit raided the house only to find KopBuster’s attorney waiting under a system of complex gadgetry and spy cameras that streamed online to the KopBuster’s secret mobile office nearby.

“The attorney was handcuffed and later released when eleven KopBuster detectives arrived with the media in tow to question the illegal raid. The police refused to give KopBusters the search warrant affidavit which is suspected to contain the lies regarding the probable cause.

“It is not illegal to grow plants under a light in your home but it is illegal to lie on an affidavit and plant drugs on a citizen. This operation was the first of its kind in the history of America. Police sometimes have other police investigating their crimes but the American court system has never dealt with a group of citizens stinging the police. Will the police file charges on the team who took down the corrupt cops? We will keep you posted.”

Cooper’s “Never Get Busted Again” was a runaway success, the sales of which serve as financial support for this most recent project.

“The drug war is a failed policy and the legal side effects on the families are worse than the drugs,” Cooper said to the Dallas Observer in early 2007. “I was so wrong in the things I did back then. I ruined lives.”

The ‘Kop Busters’ sting was the feature of a CBS 7 report, aired Dec. 4, 2008.

Drug War Is Another One That We Must End

December 29, 2008

US WA: Column: Drug War Is Another One That We Must End
URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n1102/a05.html
Newshawk: Alert: Repealing Prohibition www.mapinc.org/alert/0388.html
Pubdate: Sun, 7 Dec 2008
Source: Herald, The (Everett, WA)
Copyright: 2008 The Daily Herald Co.
Contact: letters@heraldnet.com
Website: http://www.heraldnet.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/190
Author: Froma Harrop
Cited: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com
Cited: Criminal Justice Policy Foundation http://www.cjpf.org/
Referenced: The Budgetary Implications of Drug Prohibition by Jeffrey A. Miron http://leap.cc/dia/miron-economic-report.pdf
DRUG WAR IS ANOTHER ONE THAT WE MUST END

America ended Prohibition 75 years ago this past week.  The ban on the sale of alcohol unleashed a crime wave, as gangsters fought over the illicit booze trade.  It sure didn’t stop drinking.  People turned to speakeasies and bathtub gin for their daily cocktail.

Prohibition — and the violence, corruption and health hazards that followed — lives on in its modern version, the so-called War on Drugs. Former law-enforcement officers gathered in Washington to draw the parallels.  Their group, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition ( LEAP ), has called for nothing less than the legalization of drugs.

And before you say, “We can’t do that,” hear the officers out.  They have an answer for every objection.

Doesn’t the War on Drugs take narcotics off the street, raising their price beyond most Americans’ means?

Obviously not.  The retail price of cocaine is now about half what it was in 1990.  When the value of something goes up, more people go into the business.

In some Dallas junior high schools, kids can buy two hits of “cheese” – — a mix of Tylenol PM and heroin — for $5, Terry Nelson, a former U.S.  Customs and Border Patrol officer, told me.  Lunch costs more.

Wouldn’t legalizing drugs create new users? Not necessarily.  LEAP wants drugs to be regulated like alcohol and cigarettes.  Regulations are why it’s harder to buy alcohol or cigarettes in many schoolyards than drugs.  By regulating the purity and strength of drugs, they become less deadly.

Isn’t drug addiction a scourge that tears families apart? Yes, it is, and so are arrests and incarceration and criminal records for kids caught smoking pot behind the bleachers.  There are 2.1 million people in federal, state and local prisons, 1.7 million of them for non-violent drug offenses.

Removing the stigma of drug use lets addicts come out into the open for treatment.  We have treatments for alcoholism, but we don’t ban alcohol.

LEAP’s members want to legalize drugs because they’re tired of being shot at in a war they can’t win.  They’re tired of making new business for dealers every time they arrest a competitor.  They’re are tired of busting people in the streets of America’s cities over an ounce of cocaine, while the Andean region produces over 1,000 tons of it a year.  They’re tired of enriching terrorists.

“In 2009, the violence of al-Qaida will be financed by drug profits,” said Eric Sterling, head of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, which joined the call for legalization.  As counsel to the House Judiciary Committee in the 1980s, Sterling helped write the anti-drug laws he now opposes.

Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimates that legalizing drugs would save federal, state and local governments $44 billion in enforcement costs. Governments could collect another $33 billion in revenues were they to tax drugs as heavily as alcohol and tobacco.

No one here likes drugs or advocates putting heroin on store shelves alongside ibuprofen and dental floss.  Each state or county could set its own rules on who could buy which drugs and where and taxes levied – — as they now do with alcohol.

What about taking gradual steps — say, starting with marijuana.  And couldn’t we first try decriminalization — leaving users alone but still arresting dealers? Those were my questions.

The LEAP people want the laws gone, period.  “We’re whole hog on it,” Nelson said.  Keeping the sale of drugs illegal, he said, “doesn’t take the cartels out of it.”

Ending this “war” won’t be easy.  Too many police, drug agents, bureaucrats, lawyers, judges, prison guards and sprayers of poppy fields have a stake in it.  But Prohibition was repealed once.  Perhaps it can happen again.

Letter to Sen. Swecker

February 26, 2007

Sen. Swecker;

It is so refreshing to hear a politician say they could possibly be open to listening about industrial hemp. The last time I made an effort in Olympia, the response from your colleagues was “you must be out of your mind if you think I am going to sponsor a bill to grow marijuana.” That was 1997, the same year Canada first permitted their farmers to grow hemp. This year Canadian farmer will plant over 45,000 acres for seed and fiber, double last years seeding.

Thanks to the internet, many web-sites are now up and running packed with the latest products available for market today. A wide range of goods from animal bedding to healthy eatable food stuffs high in Omega Fatty Acids are at the convenience of your finger tips on your home computer. The politics of hemp are also defined on the web. The web-site with the most up-to-date relevance with the industrial hemp political issues would be http://www.votehemp.com, and also at our http://www.hemplobby.org web-site where we offer links to many other hemp resources.

What we really need is the farm base. We need to rejuvenate the local family farm industry. With the two major distribution centers within 100 miles in either direction, we are in a winning position to capitalize on emerging green economy. Hemp is the key to cellulostic energy, which is the second generation of bio-fuels. We seem to be spending money on yesterdays technology rather than the next generation. I am referring to the Bio-fuels facility on Grays Harbor. I hear they are going to import the seed oil. What is the difference if we import seed oil or crude oil? It is still importing or energy, and that leaves us vulnerable.

I could ramble for hours on this subject, but I’ll let you off the hook till you ask for more, but in closing I will only add, any law past that will allow industrial hemp to be grow will be doomed for failure, unless there is also a companion bill regulating and taxing marijuana. The World Health Organization has stated, marijuana is less harmful to society than alcohol or tobacco. Government must rebuild trust through honesty. No more “gateway drug” bull manure.

P.S. I understand you raise fish? The mash left from pressing the oil from hemp seed is a great fish food supplement, just one more useful by-product of this amazing plant. I feed 5% hemp seed mix to my back yard chicken flock to enrich the eggs with omega 3 and 6.

Ed Saukkooja; Director, Hemplobby.org

P.S.S. This letter is also being sent to my attorney and to hemplobby.orgs communication director.

What’s the Next Roadblock for Hemp?

February 21, 2007

My friends at Vote Hemp make a very strong argument when they claim cannabis with less than 1% THC can be distinguished from cannabis with over that amount. This, though, is not the primary issue with the North Dakota effort. The real issue is whether the ONDPC and the DEA grant the permit applied for by the North Dakota farmers, or not.

I profoundly disagree with the whole process. First, the socialist idea that farmers must get permission from any Federal agency to plant any seed is un-American and unpatriotic. I know my friends at Vote Hemp understand the bureaucratic boondoggle they are entering. But, while they and a select North Dakota farmer are willing to spend precious assets complying with the DEA process, how can the local family farmer afford a $3400 non-refundable application fee?

This will set a precedent that will cripple the emergence of this vital crop for the all American. I am not talking about the ConAgra’s or ADM’s of the world, but the friend down the road having a 40 acre farm and old tractor making a living growing hemp for a healthier and more prosperous America.

I understand Vote Hemps’ strategy: the application to manufacture marijuana will be denied, then Vote Hemp and their lawyers will sue the DEA. Even if Vote Hemp wins the court fight at the Supreme Court level, what will we have won? Make the DEA grant the request? Then where will we be? What farmer wants Federal DEA agents requesting mountains of paperwork, additional fees, harassing, and generally constructing road blocks at every stag of the hemp industries development.

Cellulistic Bio-fuels, plastics developed form cellulose, healthy food products high in omega fatty acids, fabrics, cordage, even parts for the auto industry, and more are being developed off our shores in Europe, China, Canada. In over 40 countries around the world hemp is grown with limited restriction, and without the hint of a drug problem. Why is the American farmer being punished?

My vision is to have Congress tax and regulate marijuana. This would resolve the industrial hemp issue and set up a method of taxing the vice of consuming marijuana recreationally. The many chemical compounds contained in marijuana should be researched to their full medical potentials.

I do consider smoking marijuana a vice, but a much less harmful one than smoking cigarettes or consuming alcohol, affirmed by the World Health Organization.

The money and effort going into this first application to grow industrial hemp by Vote Hemp could be much better spent lobbying Congress and more State legislators to adopt reasonable laws regulating marijuana and encourage more cannabis research.

E-nuff from Pe Ell; HempEd