Rastafarian can smoke weed in Italy!

30 07 2008

We really wanted to bring this to everyone’s attention. If it wasn’t for the fact that we in the Netherlands have a very relaxed policy on Cannabis, we would probably become a rastafarian and move to Italy. :)

Rastafarians have always regarded Ethiopia as the promised land, but Italy could rank a close second after its Supreme Court ruled that smoking or possessing cannabis is not a criminal offence but a religious act when the person doing it is a Rastafarian.

Last year, the same court declared that cultivating even a single cannabis plant was a punishable offence. But now Italy’s Court of Cassation has said Rastafarians use marijuana “not only as a medical but also as a meditative herb. And, as such [it is] a possible bearer of the psychophysical state to contemplation and prayer”.

Release, the London-based drugs information service, said that the ruling was a European first.

The case was brought by a man in his forties from Perugia who was sentenced to 16 months in jail plus a €4,000 (£3,000) fine in 2004 for possession of 97g of marijuana. The Supreme Court said the court of first appeal had failed to consider that the man, a Rastafarian, smoked marijuana according to the precepts of his religion, which, the judges said, permits the smoking of 10g per day. Rastafarians smoke the drug, said the court, “with the memory and in the belief that the sacred plant grew on the tomb of King Solomon”.

The government is livid. The judgment “shatters the laws which forbid and proscribe penal sanctions for” the use of illegal drugs, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Right-wing politicians were scathing. Senator Maurizio Gasparri said: “Today we learn a Rasta is free to go around with drugs. If somebody belonged to a religion which permitted them to eat their children, would they give them the go-ahead, too?”

But the verdict was received with joy at Rototom Sunsplash, Europe’s biggest festival of reggae music, near Udine, in north-east Italy. “Finally the principle of religious pluralism is beginning to make headway,” Filippo Giunta, president of the festival, said. “This judgment … underlines again the difference between this substance and so-called ‘hard’ drugs, alcohol included.”

Source: The Independent





the “War on drugs” was lost a long time ago..

29 07 2008

Illicit substances have been in demand here for at least 350 years; no legal measures have ever made a difference, writes Fintan O’Toole

EVERY TIME gardaí make a big drug seizure – and there have been plenty of them recently – they must have mixed feelings. On the one hand, there is another victory in the “war on drugs”. Good police work seems to be getting results. On the other hand, though, everyone – especially gardaí – knows that however many battles are won, the war was lost a long time ago. The reality is that the amount of seizures is largely a function of the amount of drugs being imported; that when one gang is broken, there will always be another hungrier, more vicious one ready to step into the breach; and that for all the millions spent here and the trillions spent worldwide, illegal drugs are cheaper and more ubiquitous than they have ever been.

The real issue is, of course, demand. If people want mind-altering substances, there will be big money in supplying them. We lose sight of this reality because we have a distorted narrative in our heads. The story we assume to be true is that, while Irish people always drank alcohol and took enthusiastically to tobacco, illegal drugs are essentially a recent phenomenon. They came in during and after the 1960s, along with all the other moral and social laxities of that decade. They are an outside influence, a downside to the modernity that we adopted. They cling, therefore, to the surface of Irish culture and can, with enough persistence, be scraped off.

It is weird that we should think this, because there are few western European societies in which the consumption of illegal, mind-altering substances was so open, and so socially acceptable for so long. I doubt that there are many readers who haven’t drunk, or been present when others drank, the primary Irish illegal drug of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is called poteen. How odd that we forget about it, and forget, too, that 400 years of law enforcement failed to stop people making and drinking it.

Poteen became prominent in Irish society after 1661, when excise duty on Irish whiskey was re-introduced. As duty went up and the price of “parliament whiskey” rose, the native Irish responded by making their own alcohol. Originally, this was generally decent malt whiskey. But as time went on, poteen developed in a way that we are familiar with from cocaine or heroin. With a thriving, unregulated trade in which price was the key factor, poteen makers turned to whatever was available – molasses, sugar, treacle, potatoes, rhubarb. The more unscrupulous of them added bite to an adulterated product with meths or paint stripper.

The stuff became dangerous, unreliable and of often poor quality. The authorities came down heavy, sending armed soldiers against the distillers. Illegal distillers were shot, imprisoned, transported. None of it made a blind bit of difference.

Neither did the threats of the IRA in the early 1920s or the creation of a native government. The “war on poteen”, as we might call it, continued in the 1930s, during which there were 500 stills detected every year by the Garda. But it was social change – emigration, relative prosperity, urbanisation – and cheaper official whiskey, that eventually killed the poteen trade. It was not law enforcement.

Read the rest of this entry »





5 Important historical figures that used Hemp

28 07 2008

George Washington

First U.S.A. President and hemp farmer.

“Make the most of the hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”

George Washington grew cannabis on his plantations. Actually one could even be jailed in America for not growing cannabis during several periods of shortage, e.g., in Virginia between 1763 and 1767.

An especially interesting diary post from George Washington mentions him separating the Female from the Male plants. The only reason someone might want to do this is if you want to smoke the buds. All other applications for hemp it is best to let the two grow together.

May 12-13 1765: “Sowed Hemp at Muddy hole by Swamp.”

August 7, 1765: “began to seperate the Male from the Female Hemp at Do — rather too late.”

Thomas Jefferson

Fourth U.S.A. President and also a hemp farmer.

Thomas Jefferson, like George Washington, grew cannabis on his plantations too. Actually Jefferson, while envoy to France, went to great expense — and considerable risk to himself and his secret agents — to procure particularly good hemp seeds smuggled illegally into Turkey from China. The Chinese Mandarins (political rulers) so valued their hemp seeds that they made their exportation a capital offense.

Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper, which allowed America to have a free colonial press without having to beg or justify paper and books from England. Furthermore, the rope that was used in his famous lighting experiment was a hemp rope.

Rudolph Diesel

When Rudolph Diesel produced his famous engine in 1896, he assumed that the diesel engine would be powered by a variety of fuels, especially vegetable and seed oils. Rudolph Diesel, like most engineers then, believed vegetable fuels were superior to petroleum. Hemp is the most efficient vegetable.

Henry Ford

Experimented with hemp to build cars.

In the 1930s, the Ford Motor Company saw a future in biomass fuels. Ford operated a successful biomass conversion plant that included hemp at their Iron Mountain facility in Michigan. Ford engineers extracted methanol, charcoal fuel, tar, pitch, ethyl acetate, and creosote—all fundamental ingredients for modern industry, and now supplied by oil-related industries.





United States has highest level of cocaine and cannabis use

23 07 2008

A survey of 17 countries has found that despite its punitive drug policies the United States has the highest levels of illegal cocaine and cannabis use. The study, by Louisa Degenhardt (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia) and colleagues, is based on the World Health Organization’s Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and is published in this week’s PLoS Medicine.

The authors found that 16.2% of people in the United States had used cocaine in their lifetime, a level much higher than any other country surveyed (the second highest level of cocaine use was in New Zealand, where 4.3% of people reported having used cocaine). Cannabis use was highest in the US (42.4%), followed by New Zealand (41.9%).

In the Americas, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand, alcohol had been used by the vast majority of survey participants, compared to smaller proportions in the Middle East, Africa, and China.

The survey found differences in both legal and illegal drug use among different socioeconomic groups. For example, males were more likely than females to have used all drug types; younger adults were more likely than older adults to have used all drugs examined; and higher income was related to drug use of all kinds. Marital status was found to be related to tobacco, cannabis, and cocaine use, but not alcohol use (the never married and previously married having higher odds of lifetime cocaine and cannabis use than the currently married; tobacco use is more likely in people who have been previously married while less likely among the never married).

Drug use “does not appear to be simply related to drug policy,” say the authors, “since countries with more stringent policies towards illegal drug use did not have lower levels of such drug use than countries with more liberal policies.” In the Netherlands, for example, which has more liberal policies than the US, 1.9% of people reported cocaine use and 19.8% reported cannabis use.

Data on drug use were available from 54,068 survey participants in 17 countries. The 17 countries were determined by the availability of research collaborators and on funding for the survey. Trained lay interviewers carried out face-to-face interviews (except in France where the interviews were done over the telephone) using a standardized, structured diagnostic interview for psychiatric conditions and drug use. Participants were asked if they had ever used alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, or cocaine.

The study’s main limitations are that only 17 countries were surveyed, within these countries there were different rates of participation, and it is unclear whether people accurately report their drug use when interviewed. Nevertheless, the findings present comprehensive data on the patterns of drug use from national samples representing all regions of the world.

Source: PLoS Medicine





Cannabis as a secret military weapon?!

21 07 2008

Dr. James Ketchum tested a potent form of synthetic marijuana on soldiers to develop a secret weapon in the ’60s.

In 1952, the Shell Development Corporation was contracted by the Army to examine “synthetic cannabis derivatives” for their incapacitating properties. Additional studies into possible military uses of marijuana began two years later at the University of Michigan medical school, where a group of scientists led by Dr. Edward F. Domino, professor of pharmacology, tested a drug called “EA 1476” — otherwise known as “Red Oil” — on dogs and monkeys at the behest of the U.S. Army. Made through a process of chemical extraction and distillation, Red Oil, akin to hash oil, packed a mightier punch than the natural plant.

Army scientists found that this concentrated cannabis derivative produced effects unlike anything they had previously seen. “The dog gets a peculiar reaction. He crawls under the table, stays away from the dark, leaps out at imaginary objects and, as far as one can interpret, may be having hallucinations,” one report stated. “It would appear even to the untrained observer that this dog is not normal. He suddenly jumps out, even without any stimulus, and barks, and then crawls back under the table.”

Read the whole article here





10 things you should know about Marijuana

21 07 2008

1.

Q. What is Marijuana?

A. “Marijuana” refers to dried flowers and leaves of some strains of the cannabis hemp plant,1 which contain various quantities of the non-narcotic chemical THC in various quantities. When smoked or eaten, it produces the feeling of being “high,” which lasts a few hours. Different strains of this herb produce their own sensual effects, ranging from sedative to stimulant.

2.

Q. Who Uses Marijuana?

A. There is no simple profile of a typical marijuana user. It’s been used for thousand of years for medical, social and religious reasons as well as for relaxation. Several of United States presidents farmed hemp and some are believed to have smoked it. One out of every five Americans in all walks of life say they have tried it, and it is still very popular.

3.

Q. How Long Have People Been using Marijuana?

A. Since Biblical times. This practice was widely accepted in America, until the orchestrated campaign of the 1930s led to disinformation, public hysteria and the first American laws against using it.

4.

Q. Is Marijuana Addictive?

A. No, it is not. Most users are moderate consumers who only smoke it socially or occasionally to relax. We now know that 10% of our population have “addictive personalities,” and they are no more nor less likely to abuse cannabis than anything else. On a relative scale, marijuana is less habit-forming than either sugar or chocolate. Sociologists report a general pattern of marijuana usage that peaks in the early adult years, followed by a period of levelling off, and finally a gradual reduction in use.

5.

Q. Has Anyone Ever Died From Smoking Marijuana?

A. No; not even once. Judge Francis Young studied all the evidence in 1988 and ruled that “marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume.” The federal agency NIDA says that autopsies show 75 people per year are high on marijuana when they

die, but this does not mean marijuana is a factor in any of their deaths. This chart shows the number of deaths from selected substances in a typical year:

Tobacco 340.000-395,000

Alcohol (excluding crime/accidents) 125,000 +

Drug Overdose (prescription) 14,000-27,000

Drug Overdose (illegal) 3,800-5,200

Marijuana 0

6.

Q. Does It Lead to Hard Drugs?

A. No. Although people who abuse drugs often smoke marijuana also, the National Academy of Science reports that “Legal drugs for adults, such as alcohol and tobacco, …precede the use of all illicit drugs.” Tobacco is known as “the gateway drug.”

7.

Q. Does It Cause Violence?

A. No, just the opposite. The only crime most marijuana users commit is using marijuana. The U.S. Shafer Commission report was the most comprehensive study ever undertaken on the subject. It found that marijuana smokers “tend to be under-represented” in violence and in crime, “especially when compared to users of alcohol, amphetamines and barbiturates.” The simple fact is that marijuana does not change your basic personality. The federal government reports that over 70 million Americans have smoked it…probably including some of the nicest people you know.

8.

Q. How Does Marijuana Affect Your Health?

A. A Harvard University medical team in 1987 found that “dangerous physical reactions to marijuana are almost unknown.” All smoke is unhealthy, but marijuana is safer than tobacco, and people tend to smoke less of it. That risk can be eliminated by eating the plant instead of smoking it or it can be reduced by using water pipes to smoke smaller amounts of more potent marijuana. Moreover, cannabis is a proven medicinal herb with hundreds of modern therapeutic uses in treating ailments from stress to arthritis to glaucoma to asthma to cancer therapy, to AIDS, and more.

9.

Q. What About All Those Scary Stories and Reports?

A. Most sensational claims of health risks cite no studies or sources at all. Others rely on a handful of inconclusive or flawed reports. After 20 years study, the California Attorney General’s panel concluded in 1989 that “an objective consideration shows that marijuana is responsible for less damage to the individual and society than alcohol and cigarettes.”

10.

Q. What Should We Do?

A. American taxpayers have funded many studies on this very point, and every independent government panel on marijuana has opposed the jailing of marijuana smokers. Most have urged lawmakers to re-legalize and tax use of this herb by responsible adults, with age limits and regulations like those on alcohol and tobacco. Tell your elected leaders to free up our police and resources to combat violent crime and to honor our national pledge and committment to “liberty and justice for all” by ending marijuana prohibition.

Source: Family Council on Drug Awareness





Top 10 Cannabis Movie quotes:

16 07 2008

1. “Ali G Show, Da” ( 2003 ) {Politics (#1.3)}

Ali G: What is the different types of hash out there? We all know that it’s called the bionic, the bomb, the puff, the blow, the black, the herb, the sensie, the cronic, the sweet Mary Jane, the shit, Ganja, split, reefa, the bad, the buddha, the home grown, the ill, the maui-maui, the method, pot, lethal turbo, tie, shake, skunk, stress, whacky, weed, glaze, the boot, dimebag, Scooby Doo, bob, bogey, back yard boogie. But what is the other terms for it?

2. Blow ( 2001 )

George: Danbury wasn’t a prison, it was a crime school. I went in with a Bachelor of marijuana, came out with a Doctorate of cocaine.

3. Half Baked ( 1998 )

Cocaine Addict: Marijuana is not a drug. I used to suck dick for coke. Now that’s an addiction. You ever suck some dick for marijuana?

4. “Strangers with Candy” ( 1999 ) {The Trip Back (#1.10)}

Geoffrey Jellineck: If you’re going to smoke Marijuana, be prepared to spend a lot of time laughing with your friends…. think about it.

5. Lords of Dogtown ( 2005 )

Sid: [smoking medicinal marijuana] I, uh, get it prescribed legally now. [hands him the joint] Heard you were sick, too.

6. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas ( 1998 )

L. Ron Bumquist: A dope fiend refers to the reefer butt as a roach, because, it resembles a cockroach.

7. Tell Your Children ( 1936 )

Opening crawl: The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you. It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficently emphasize the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly increasing numbers. Marihuana [stet] is that drug – a violent narcotic – an unspeakable scourge – The Real Public Enemy Number One!

8. Desperate Hippies ( 2005 )

Mary Jane: I remembered reading on the internet that if I smoked 1,256 bong riffs, the amount of THC would be enough to kill me.

9. Wages of Sin, The ( 1938 )

Florence Jones: That was Marihuana you were smoking! It’s worse than cocaine! See those two punks over there, Marge? They were high a minute ago. Now they’re getting low. Soon they’ll be mean, ready to commit murder. You Marihuana’s called the murder weed. Don’t you ever touch it again.

10. “Omnibus” ( 1967 ) {Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision}

Hunter S. Thompson: Right now I think its in my interest and ours perhaps and maybe in the interest of the greater good for me to smoke a joint and calm down.








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