Over medicated America – a few figures to understand why cannabis is still illegal

9 02 2012

Here’s a chart that puts into simple words and figures a system that shows no benefits:
Overmedicated America
Created by: Medical Billing and Coding Online

What this work prove is that profit is more important to the people in charge of the health system than the health of the people that generate their profits.

Just over a week ago the FDA pushed to approve a skin cancer treatment when side effects are varied and numerous, while Cannabis Science is publishing more case studies where patients actually get rid of their cancer.

If such a powerful institution supports a drug with a list of side effects that can all be treated, as well as the ailment itself, by a safer alternative, how can people keep on trusting them and allow them to behave like that?





Cannabis in California: A local and federal divide

1 12 2011

The recent history of cannabis in California  demonstrates a split between state and federal law that is rapidly widening. The first U.S. state to have, in 1913, prohibited the use of the devil’s herb imported by Mexican immigrants that was “marijuana”, California was also the first to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis in 1996.

15 years of legal ambiguity on medicinal marijuana

Dancers prepare at a pro-cannabis rally in California

Dancers prepare at a pro-cannabis rally in California

2 weeks ago, medicinal marijuana users celebrated 15 years of Proposition 215, the law legalizing therapeutic use of cannabis in California. The law allows patients in possession of a prescription to grow their own medicine or designate a legal grower (also known as a caregiver) to grow it for them, according to California state law.

Federal law, meanwhile, still does not recognize the therapeutic applications of cannabis, and logically the state laws can not override national laws. Since 1996, however, thousands of clinics have opened across the Golden State.  This  was not accomplished without legal difficulties and not all the dispensaries have remained open, but despite the paradox in legislation, the state’s entrepreneurs still managed to establish an industry of cannabis in California that is now estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

Local economy at risk

Given the very special status of the plant at federal and international levels, the medical cannabis industry in California is exclusively local, from production to distribution. For years the federal government has been trying to destabilize this market by various means.

On October 7th 2011, four District Attorneys in the Golden State claimed in a press conference that their goal was to address the production, distribution and marketing of cannabis in California. Shortly after, they sent dispensary owners an injunction to close their shops within 45 days.

Since then, the IRS has decided to claim retroactive taxes from the dispensaries in addition to new taxes on the sales of something that is still an illegal substance at a national level. This use of the tax system to put an end to an industry that seems to bother Washington is eerily reminiscent of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, which taxed cannabis suppliers all over America.

Even the banks are threatened with charges of money laundering if they agree to open accounts for business people  involved in the thriving Californian economy  of producing and distributing medical marijuana!

Medicinal Cannabis Dispensaries targeted

The legal status of dispensaries is comparable to the Dutch coffeeshop system, with one major difference: dispensaries go against American national policy, whereas coffeeshops have been licensed by the Dutch government. Some Californian cannabis clinics have become essential businesses for their local economy thanks to local taxes, while the federal government prefers not to touch a dime of this revenue.

It is these medicinal cannabis dispensaries which are the target of the Obama administration.  A complaint has been  filed by a group of activists and lawyers to stop this crusade against the clinics, targeting the Attorney General of the United States, the director of the DEA Michelle Leonard and the four District Attorneys who acted without authorization from their supervisors.

A confrontation between Washington and L.A?

Cannabis in California

Cannabis in California

The current situation creates a schism between local power and federal power. California’s economy is the eighth largest in the world, and cannabis in California allows the Golden State to prosper at the expense of the federal government and its repressive policies.

Californians have recently re-elected their former Governor and Attorney General Jerry Brown, who has always supported medical marijuana, and has even introduced legislation to improve the legal status of patients with prescriptions for cannabis. He also proposed that the distribution should be taken care of by non-profit organizations.

The support from Governor Brown, the complaint filed against representatives of the federal government and the choice of the people at the polls are all clear indicators of opposition to the policies of the federal government.

All that remains to be seen is how much wider the divide between state and federal law will be allowed to grow before one of the two sides makes a decisive move on the future of cannabis in California.





Medicinal cannabis patients classed as ‘drug addicts’ by Oregon sheriffs

13 04 2011

Despite the amount of illegal firearms and genuinely harmful drugs that America seems to be knee-deep in, police in Oregon are concerned that card-holding medicinal marijuana users might be legally carrying guns.

Under the U. S. Gun Control Act of 1968, guns may not be sold to drug addicts. Most people would agree that this is a good idea, as the mental image of a ‘drug addict’ is almost always negative: shaking, dirty, paranoid, and incapable of rational thought. Nobody wants to arm that person.

An elderly medicinal marijuana user

An elderly medicinal marijuana user in Oregon (image courtesy of NORML)

Concealed Handgun Permits are refused

The sheriffs of Oregon, however, are classing medicinal cannabis users as drug addicts and refusing to issue concealed handgun permits to them. The sheriff’s office, by state law, should not refuse to grant such a license provided a list of conditions is met. These conditions usually  include U.S. citizenship, completing  a gun safety course, no criminal record, no mental illness or substance abuse problems. Again, these are all reasonable requirements, but the medicinal cannabis patients who fulfill them are still being refused the permit.

Use of prescribed marijuana should not limit a person’s rights

Retired school bus driver Cynthia Willis is one such patient, and along with three co-plaintiffs she is part of a potentially landmark case currently under consideration by the Oregon Supreme Court. Cynthia likes to carry a Walther P-22 automatic pistol, which she says she’s never had to draw, for self-defense. She also uses cannabis to control muscle spasms and pain from her arthritis, but says she never uses it when she plans to carry her gun (or drive). So far she’s won two court cases on the argument that prescribed drug use does not disqualify a person from holding a concealed gun permit, and medicinal cannabis is a prescribed drug like any other.

Outdoor medicinal marijuana

An outdoor medicinal marijuana crop in America

More at stake than the right to carry a concealed firearm

What is at stake here is not just the right of medicinal cannabis users to carry (concealed) firearms: by Oregon law, if someone doesn’t have a concealed gun permit but does have a gun license, they can simply carry the gun openly, as Cynthia plans to do if she loses her case. Given the tragic events in Alphen aan den Rijn on Saturday as the latest in a long line of horrific shootings by licensed gun owners throughout the world,  it can be argued that gun licenses should be revoked altogether.

How do you abuse your own medicinal cannabis crop?

The underlying issue of concern in Oregon is the classification of medical marijuana patients as ‘drug addicts’, with all the negative connotations of this epithet. Although cannabis seeds have never been illegal in Oregon, and it was the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of bud back in 1973, courts recently decided that employers had the right to fire medicinal cannabis users. The sheriffs of this county openly argue that the majority of medicinal card holders are abusing the right to use ganja as a medicine, despite the fact that buying, selling, and dispensaries are still prohibited so patients must grow their own (or have someone grow it for them without profit) in order to do so.

Flyer for the Oregon NORML Cannabis Cafe, with buds

NORML is active in Oregon, which was the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis.

Defending the rights of medical marijuana users

Executive Director of NORML Allen St. Pierre is focused on defending the right of every medicinal marijuana card holder to be treated like any other citizen: “A person who uses medical cannabis should not have to give up their fundamental rights as enumerated by the Constitution,”‘ St. Pierre said.

Source material for this article here .





Germany: Lawmakers ready to approve use of medical marijuana

18 08 2010

Medical cannabis will be available in Germany soon, with the center-right coalition preparing to make groundbreaking changes to drug laws, a government health spokeswoman said this week.

A gem of German technology

Cannabis was illegal throughout Germany until the federal constitutional court decided on 28 April 1994 that people need no longer be prosecuted for possession of soft drugs for personal use. Since then, most German regional governments have tolerated the sale and use of soft drugs.

In some cities, cannabis supply is now tolerated in a similar way to the Netherlands. In other places the courts still treat possession as an offense. For example, in one state, Schleswig-Holstein, no charges are usually brought for possession of less than 30 g, but in Thuringia people are prosecuted for possessing even tiny amounts.

In March 1999, Germany’s drug tsar, Christa Nickels, said she considered it sensible to use cannabis products such as marijuana and hashish for therapeutic purposes in medicine.

With the new law coming, doctors could write prescriptions for cannabis, and pharmacies would be authorised to sell the plant once the law had been adjusted, a member of the junior coalition party, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), said Monday.

Marijuana would also be permitted for use as a pain reliever for the terminally ill in hospices and other care facilities, making it a legal part of their emergency pain-relief stocks.

The new law will end a long-running struggle between German officials, doctors and health insurers over use of the proven herbal therapy for treating the pain stemming from diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis.

According to the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (ACM), only 40 patients in the country are currently allowed a medical marijuana prescription – even though law enforcement generally tolerates small amounts for personal use.

Almost two years ago, the conservative Christian Democrats, the FDP and the center-left Social Democrats all voted against loosening medical cannabis laws. Opponents had warned of the drug’s alleged potential for addiction and doubted its medical benefits.

Sources: Student BMJ

The Local





Cannabis Ebonics – Stoner Terms

29 10 2009

We found this list of stoner terms online and thought we’d share them.  Some of the terms are more frequently used in America however most (if not all) have made their way into the international stoner vocabulary.  We also dug up a classic clip of Ali G listing other stoner terms:

April 20th (4/20) – International Cannabis Day, everyone blazes on this day. Everyone blazes at 4:20 every day too.

Blaze – To get high!

Blunt – Either a hollowed out cigar filled with marijuana or (more commonly) a “marijuana cigarette” rolled with a blunt wrap (tobacco paper or emptied cigar).

Bowl – Can refer either to the part of a piece that holds cannabis, or to the pipe itself.

Bogart – The act of holding on to a joint/piece/blunt for too long, or one who does such an act: “Don’t bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me”.

Boo – A street name for marijuana, listed only in anti-drug literature. No one has ever heard or used it. If you are ever arrested for possession, you should use this term, saving the taxpayers the expense of correcting and reprinting anti-pot pamphlets.

Kick-Hole / Carb – The hole on the side of a piece used to regulate air flow. Hold it closed with your thumb while inhaling to draw smoke into the chamber, then release to let air in and force the smoke into your lungs. Also called a “rush hole”.

Cherry – The red burning coal of marijuana in a joint or bowl.

Chillum – A pipe with the bowl in line with the stem.

Ganja – Just 1 of many synonyms for cannabis, others include  Dope, Marijuana, Grass, Draw, Puff, Blow, Weed, Gear, Ganja, Herb, Wacky Baccy, Skunk, Pot, Bob Hope and Bob – see the Ali G video below for many more :)

Hashish / Hash – The resin secreted by a marijuana plant. Different kinds of hash are prepared with a variety of recipes.

Hash oil – A liquid extracted from marijuana. Use mostly by dipping smokeables into the hash oil.

Hit – A drag or puff cannabis.

Hot Box / White wall – Getting high in a car or small space with no ventilation so that you are constantly inhaling atmospheric smoke.

Joint / Zut / Doob / Doobie – Marijuana cigarette. Kind Bud (chronic, hydro, sticky icky, highs) – High potency Cannabis.

Mids – Descent cannabis for the money you pay for it, if you don’t have a lot of money this is the best way to go.

Moocher – Someone who will smoke your bud in a second, but never has any of their own.

Papers / Skins – Cigarette papers used for rolling joints.

Piece – Refers to a pipe of one sort or another.

Resin – Black tar like stuff that builds up in smoking apparatuses.

Schwag – Low grade cannabis or the leftovers from the bottom of a big bag.

Source:  www.howtogrowbud.com





Top U.K government scientist says: Cannabis evidence ‘was devalued’

29 10 2009

We came across this interesting thread on the BBC website which refers to a lecture given by Professor David Nutt, of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.  Professor Nutt used a lecture at King’s College in London and a briefing paper to attack what he called the “artificial” separation of alcohol and tobacco from illegal drugs, accusing ex-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith of “devaluing” scientific research. He also criticizes the scare-tactics of the U.K government on the issue and claims that the link between cannabis use and schizophrenia is hugely over-exaggerated;  This story has some traction and has been on rotation on both BBC News 24 and British terrestrial television!  It is a blow to the U.K government as Professor Nutt is the new chairman of the Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs – popularly known as the government’s “Drug Czar”.

Many observers are worried about the contradictory and incoherent nature of the U.K’s current drug policy which clearly hasn’t worked – The U.K has the 3rd largest cannabis consumption rate in the western world! The Home Secretary has herself admitted to smoking cannabis as a student whilst attending Oxford University – making her a MASSIVE hypocrite – if she had been caught under her own rules, she would never have been able to hold the position of Home Secretary!

I also came across a video on the subject… enjoy!

Heres some links to other relevant articles that we’ve found on the BBC website:
Debate over cannabis classification
Q&A: Cannabis and health
Q&A: Cannabis guidelines

Its also interesting to see what the BBC themselves have to say about cannabis, it’s actually a really good, balanced and informative piece which drew a smile from us all!





Houses made of hemp could help combat climate change!

27 10 2009

professor pete walker - university of bath

We have recently come across this very interesting press release from Professor Peter Walker at the University of Bath (U.K) who is leading the research into the use of hemp-lime in construction.  Buildings and other infrastructure currently accounts for almost 20% of the UK’s eco-footprint.  This is another example of how this wonderful plant can help save reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  Recently we brought you the news that Hanes – one of the worlds biggest consumer brands – has been investing in a new hemp technology called Crailar which requires only a fraction of the water needed to make cotton; and we are very happy to announce that it is the subject of another of our articles, a Dutch company called Hempflax who has won the contract to supply the raw materials to Hanes – i.e. the HEMP!

Here’s the press release:

Houses made of hemp, timber or straw could help combat climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of building construction, according to researchers at the University of Bath.

Currently the construction industry is a major contributor of environmental pollutants, with buildings and other build infrastructure contributing to around 19% of the UK’s eco-footprint.  Researchers at the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials are researching low carbon alternatives to building materials currently used by the construction industry.  Although timber is used as a building material in many parts of the world, historically it is used less in the UK than in other countries. Researchers at the Centre are developing new ways of using timber and other crop-based materials such as hemp, natural fibre composites and straw bales. Their work using straw bales as a building material has already been featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs series.

Professor Peter Walker, Director of the Centre, is leading the research. He said: “The environmental impact of the construction industry is huge. For example, it is estimated that worldwide the manufacture of cement contributes up to ten per cent of all industrial carbon dioxide emissions.  “We are looking at a variety of low carbon building materials including crop-based materials, innovative uses of traditional materials and developing low carbon cements and concretes to reduce impact of new infrastructure. As well as reducing the environmental footprint, many low carbon building materials offer other benefits, including healthier living through higher levels of thermal insulation and regulation of humidity levels.”

Their research is being presented at the Sustainable Energy & the Environment showcase at the University of Bath.  The exhibition will be opened by David Willetts MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities & Skills, and will be attended by industrialists, research councils, local and national government representatives and other key stakeholders from across the South West.  The exhibition coincides with the launch of the Institute for Sustainable Energy & the Environment (I-SEE) at the University of Bath, which will bring together experts from diverse fields of science, engineering, social policy and economics to tackle the problems of climate change.

Read the rest of this entry »








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