Tag Archives: marijuana

Indiana: Governor To Sign Bill Increasing Penalties For Marijuana

Indiana: Governor To Sign Bill Increasing Penalties For Marijuana
Submitted by steveelliott

With the rest of the United States moving toward relaxing the marijuana laws, Indiana seems to be bravely marching into the past. The Hoosier State’s penalties for marijuana are getting tougher after Gov. Mike Pence requested — and got — stricter laws for low-level cannabis offenders.

The bill, HB 1006, still has at least one committee hearing, then it goes to the full Senate for a vote, Skywolf Neal Smith of Indiana NORML told Hemp News on Wednesday. It could be changed in committee or on the Senate floor; if there are significant changes, it will have to go back through the House for approval of the Senate changes, Smith said.

The increased penalties come as part of an overhaul of Indiana’s criminal sentencing laws; possession of anything over about one-third of an ounce of marijuana is now a felony in Indiana. Pence said last week that he believed the bill would “send a message that the state is “tough on drug dealers.”

Another part of the new law would require that felons — which, of course, now include low-level pot possession defendants — serve at least 75 percent of their sentences, up from the 50 percent or less that inmates might now serve if they earn good time and education credits while in prison.

Why on earth would a state increase the penalties for cannabis, when the entire country is moving in the other direction? Two words, according to Grizzard at The Daily Kos: private prisons.

The private prison lobby makes big campaign contributions to politicians, in order to secure harsher penalties, The Daily Kos reports. Those private correctional companies need warm bodies inside those cells to turn a profit — and they can actually put people to work inside the prisons, in a form of legalized slave labopr.

Marijuana offenders, according to Grizzard, are “just the sorts of people these prison profiteers are looking for. They’re mostly non-violent people who will comply. They can be put to work without much worry.”

The private prison company called GEO Group — one of the largest such companies in the United States — has spent more than $3 million in direct campaign contributions, most of that going to Republicans.

GEO specifically contributed $12,500 to the 2012 Mike Pence campaign, making the private prison company one of the Governor’s top 30 contributors.

The group has also thrown money at Republican Brian Bosma, Speaker of the Indiana House, who has been quoted as saying “As an entry drug, I think marijuana is more powerful than it’s given credit for. I know some states have taken that step (to legalize it), but I don’t find it advisable at this point.”

When GEO built a 2,416-bed prison in New Castle, Indiana, the state signed a contract guaranteeing the for-profit prison company that 90 percent of the beds would stay filledSOURCE

Is the Prohibition of ‘Pot’ coming to an end in the US?


Is the Prohibition of ‘Pot’ coming to an end in the US?

The momentum to legalise marijuana in America is growing – as is the number of smokers. Could the US’s drug war soon be over.

Seattle allows marijuana products to be sold for medicinal purposes. Initiative 502 would allow everyone over the age of 21 in Washington state to go to a government-run shop and buy up to 1oz of marijuana

By Peter Foster

With a beatific smile, Alison the saleswoman picks up a small pot of green-tinged butter from her trestle-table display, removes the lid and invites us to inhale deeply. “The bouquet is just fabulous, isn’t it? It’s one of my absolute favourite products,” she gushes, “you spread a little on a cracker, top with cream cheese, and sprinkle some chives. People think it’s just a little ’erb butter, and then you tell them what it is, and they find they’re already getting high.”

The packed hall in a slightly grungy suburb of Seattle where Alison is selling her wares is filled with the hubbub of many similarly intense conversations, all devoted to the magic ingredient in Alison’s uplifting butter: cannabis.

As we stroll along the lines of tables in what is described as “America’s only daily cannabis farmers’ market”, it is clear that what used to be called plain old ”pot’’ is now a product – like say, French cheese or Italian salami – of almost infinite variety.

As well as the neatly labelled jars of multifarious green ”bud’’ on display, the place bristles with artisanal ingenuity. There is a jar of pesto, a bar of “pack a punch” white chocolate marked “keep out of reach of children”.

If that’s not your cup of (hash) tea, how about a cup of “wake and bake” coffee to get you started in the morning? Not to forget the jams or honeys for your toast; fudges, brownies and some heavenly smelling warm cinnamon buns being sold by Dedrick, whose fiancé is a pastry chef.

The scene in Seattle is not what it seems at first glance. The market is only possible because, officially speaking, the stallholders and their customers are not potheads, but ”patients’’ certified under local laws to use medical marijuana. To enter, everyone must show their ”green card’’ authorisations and sign a declaration promising not to resell on the street. Officially, the market is not a market, but a “meeting point” for licensed marijuana growing collectives, and an “access point” for the patients to get their “medicine” in return for a “donation”. A heavily air-conditioned room is available for patients to “medicate” themselves for conditions that range from terminal cancer to a mildly arthritic neck.

That may all change after November 6 – general election day – when voters in Washington state will decide not just on whether to give Barack Obama a second term, but also whether to legalise marijuana for recreational use. If the referendum – known as Initiative 502 – is passed by a simple majority, everyone over the age of 21 in the state would, in theory, be able to go to a government-run shop and buy up to 1oz of marijuana or equivalent in edible products without fear of being arrested or harassed.

The initiative is just one example of the momentum to legalise marijuana. This week, Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, suggested that young people caught with small amounts of marijuana should not be arrested, further decriminalising the drug.

Like Washington, Colorado will also vote in November on a similar motion to fully legalise, while a Rasmussen Reports poll last month found that 56 per cent of Americans now support legalising and taxing marijuana like alcohol. Early polls show similar support (55 per cent) for initiative 502 in Washington state. There is now a distinct possibility that, for the first time, a US state will vote to legalise.

Although there have been previous state-level initiatives to legalise pot – most recently in 2010 when California’s Proposition 19 which failed to win a majority – none has had the kind of establishment backing gathered by the Washington campaign, which is supported by former US attorneys, an FBI supervisor and several judges and public health specialists.

Initiative 502 is different because it has been designed to disarm critics, according to Alison Holcomb, the campaign director who is also a longtime criminal defence lawyer in the state. “We wanted to put a proposal in front of voters that addressed their concerns,” she said at the group’s modest offices in Seattle where the $5m autumn publicity campaign is being coordinated, “which on marijuana are fears over drug-driving and protecting kids.”

To allay concerns, the bill bans marijuana shop-window displays or advertising and insists all marijuana will be produced in-state, under government licence, with growers, refiners and retailers all taxed at 25 per cent. There will also be a strict provision outlawing ”drug-driving’’ just like drink-driving.

There remains, however, one major problem: even if 502 passes, marijuana will still be an illegal drug under federal law. A yes vote in Washington state or Arizona will therefore create a showdown between state and federal governments.

John McKay, a former US attorney for Washington state who is backing the initiative, says the showdown is reminiscent of the state-level rebellion that led to the end of Prohibition. “I think the states are going to have to rebel again before the federal government changes its policy,” he said. “States are going to have to say that the policy on marijuana – which creates a black market where only the bad guys profit and criminalises millions of ordinary people – has failed.”

Support for marijuana legalisation comes from different directions. For some, the arguments are economic – Washington state’s government audit office estimates legalisation will generate some $516m a year in much-needed tax revenues. For others, legalising is the only practical response to the failure of the US’s 40-year, $1 trillion “war on drugs” to stop the flow of narcotics. Decriminalising pot, they say, would relieve pressure on overpopulated prisons and free the hands of police who make more than 850,000 marijuana-related arrests every year – that’s one every 37 seconds.

For a fourth group marijuana is genuinely medicinal, like the New York supreme court judge who wrote movingly this month in the New York Times about how, after taking cocktails of pharmaceutical drugs, marijuana was the only drug that gave him an appetite when fighting the nausea brought on by his chemotherapy and allowed him to sleep peacefully.

Ironically, one place support for 502 will not be forthcoming is among the stallholders at that Seattle cannabis farmers’ market, who fear the strict rules would eat into their profits (donations), make their ”medicine’’ too expensive and precipitate a wave of drug-driving convictions. “We don’t want it,” says Dedrick, whose cinnamon buns are flying off the table like the hot cakes they are. “If they license growing, it will drive it away from those who put love into our medicine.”

The opposition among the medical marijuana community, while strong, is not universal. Across town from the market, at the Green Buddha dispensary, the sentiment is different. Muraco, the owner, says she’ll embrace 502 even if it means she’ll go out of business. “It’s what we’ve been fighting for all these years, isn’t it? If it happens, five other states will follow in five years, you watch.” Legalisation, she says, is a natural, inevitable progression. When Washington state legalised medical marijuana in 1998 ”green cards’’ were extremely tightly controlled, and Muraco, who suffered from seizures, was one of the very first to receive one.

But since ”naturopathic’’ doctors were allowed to authorise the use of marijuana, “any dude with a bad foot” can now get a note from his doctor, she admits. As a result, the number of dispensaries, from a handful two years ago, have exploded to more than 200 in Washington state. Certified medical marijuana users are reported to have hit 35,000, with one dispensary owner saying “hundreds” were joining the list every day. Legalisation would, in many ways, be a recognition of existing realities.

Supporters of legalisation say the polls reflect a change in US public opinion. Even those who disapprove of drugs increasingly appear to feel that criminalising marijuana is out of step with an America in which surveys show that 16.7 million citizens used marijuana in the past month, and perhaps as many as 100 million will have smoked at some point in their lives.

Support is not just confined to the liberal Left. Last March, to the anger of anti-drugs groups, Pat Robertson, a deeply conservative Christian televangelist, came out in favour of legalisation, citing the ”social cost’’ of continuing to criminalise marijuana.

Gary Johnson, the two-term Republican governor of New Mexico and 2012 presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, is also a proponent and will make liberalisation part of his platform during the election, in contrast to both Barack Obama (who has admitted to smoking pot in his youth) and Mitt Romney, who both remain opposed.

“We are at a tipping point and we’re going to legalise marijuana sooner or later,” Johnson said in a telephone interview. “We need to understand that the problems associated with marijuana are caused by prohibition itself. That is what is tearing people and families apart and turning otherwise taxpaying citizens into criminals.”

If 502 passes no one knows how the federal government will react to such a naked affront to its authority. The early signs are that it will fight the rebellious states. In what many take to be a signal of intent, federal agencies have recently mounted raids on ”legal’’ marijuana dispensaries in some of the 14 states that have passed medical marijuana laws.

California, Washington and Arizona have been the focus of raids, which the Department of Justice says are targeted only at people using the medical marijuana laws (which the Department has officially tolerated since 2009) as a cover for large-scale cannabis growing and dealing.

John Mckay, who was once the chief federal prosecutor for drug crimes in Washington state, feels it is almost certain that the federal government will try to assert its authority through the courts. In the short term, this will put legalisation on ice, but as happened with Prohibition, he believes it will start an argument that history suggests will almost certainly – eventually – lead to legalisation.

“There is no doubt that 502 sets up a major showdown,” he said. “I bet the federal government already has its case prepared, but, at last, both sides will get to make the argument in the open. For supporters of legalisation, that can only be a good thing.”

SOURCE

Auto Insurance Site Says Marijuana Users Are Safer Drivers

Auto Insurance Site Says Marijuana Users Are Safer Drivers

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Steve Elliott

There’s yet another study now that concludes marijuana users are better drivers, especially when compared with those who use alcohol behind the wheel. Twenty years of study has concluded that marijuana smokers may actually be getting a bad rap and that they may actually have fewer accidents than other drivers. If you are a marijuana user visit Medpot to check out some great grinders and other things they have.

The website put a press release on the study, which “looks at statistics regarding accidents, traffic violations, and insurance prices,” and “seeks to dispel the though that ‘driving while stoned’ is dangerous.”

Research studies in the Netherlands at the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research showed that drivers with blood alcohol rates of .5 percent up to .8 percent had accidents five times more than other drivers, and with higher amounts of alcohol, accidents happening up to 15 times more often. But, the marijuana smokers actually showed these drivers posed no risk at all!

Reasons cited for stoned drivings not being much of a threat to public highway safety include their tendency to drive slower, and their propensity to stay home rather than go out partying.

In addition, one study by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows that drivers with THC in their systems have accident responsibility rates lower than those of drug-free drivers.

“What law enforcement agencies and insurers do not understand is that driving while high is actually a safe activity,” CEO James Shaffer said. “I guess the key to safer driving is to use marijuana, but to do it under wraps.”

One recent study indicated that traffic related fatalities fell by up to nine percent in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Entitled “Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption,” the study, conducted in November 2011, found increased cannabis use by adults decreased alcohol related traffic deaths in those states.

The study provides evidence that marijuana is a safer substitute for alcohol when it comes to health and also makes for safer drivers.

“Marijuana users often say that when they are high, they feel like they are driving 60 miles per hour but actually are only going 30 miles per hour,” Shaffer said. “When somebody is drunk driving, on the other hand, they often feel like they are driving 30 miles per hour but they are actually driving 80 miles per hour. This is what makes alcohol dangerous behind the wheel, and marijuana safe.”

Lawyers for accidents involving trucks say that marijuana use can also have an indirect effect on insurance rates (could be a challenge to my auto insurance payout). Because of the correlation between marijuana use and lower rates of accident responsibility, they said marijuana users, as a group, can expect in the future to see lower insurance rates than non-marijuana users or people who get a car insurance with poor credit.

“The hypocrisy of it all is that if you get caught driving under the influence of marijuana, you will be fined and perhaps thrown into jail,” Shaffer said. “What’s worse is that your insurance rates will definitely increase due to the traffic violation.”

The top 10 reasons marijuana users are safer drivers are as follows:

1. Drivers who had been using marijuana were found to drive slower, according to a 1983 NHTSA study.

2. Marijuana users were able to drive straight and didn’t have trouble staying in their own lanes, according to a 1993 NHTSA study done in the Netherlands. The same study concluded that marijuana had very little effect on overall driving ability.

3. Drivers who had smoked marijuana were less likely to try to pass other cars and were more likely to drive at a steady speed, according to a University of Adelaide study done in Australia. The study showed no danger from marijuana and driving unless the drivers had also been using alcohol.

4. Drivers high on marijuana are less likely to drive recklessly, according to a study done in the United Kingdom in 2000 by the UK Transport Research Lab. The study was actually undertaken to prove that pot impairs driving, but instead it showed the opposite—that stoned drivers were actually safer than many other drivers on the road.

5. States that allow medical marijuana see a reduction in highway fatalities; for instance, Colorado and Montana have had a nine percent drop in traffic deaths and a five percent drop in beer sales.

6. Low doses of marijuana were found to have little affect on the ability to drive a car in a Canadian study in 2002. These drivers were found to be in much fewer car crashes than alcohol users.

7. Most marijuana smokers have fewer crashes because they tend to stay home instead of driving.

8. Marijuana smokers are thought to be more sober drivers; traffic information from 13 of the states where medical cannabis is legal showed that these drivers are actually safer and more careful than many other drivers on the road. These studies were conducted by the University of Colorado and Montana State University, exploring the relationship between legal medical marijuana and deaths in traffic accidents.

9. Multiple studies show that marijuana smokers are less likely to be risk takers than those who use alcohol; the studies showed that marijuana use calmed them down and made them pay more attention.

10. Cannabis smoking drivers were shown to follow other vehicles at safer distances, which made they less likely to cause or have crashes.

“Every test seemed to come up with these same results in all of the countries they were done in,” 4autoinsurance.org concludes. “Even so, insurance companies will still penalize any driver in an accident that has been shown to have been smoking pot, so this doesn’t give drivers free reign to smoke pot and drive.”

Story via TokeOfTheTown.com

SOURCE

Hemp legalization added to Senate farm bill

Hemp legalization added to Senate farm bill

By Stephen C. Webster

In a last minute addition to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has submitted an amendment that would legalize the production of industrial hemp, a potential new bumper crop for U.S. farmers.

“Industrial hemp is used in many healthy and sustainable consumer products. However, the federal prohibition on growing industrial hemp has forced companies to needlessly import raw materials from other countries,” Wyden said in prepared text. “My amendment to the Farm Bill will change federal policy to allow U.S. farmers to produce hemp for these safe and legitimate products right here, helping both producers and suppliers to grow and improve Oregon’s economy in the process.”

Allowing American farmers to produce industrial hemp, which is different from its more notorious cousin marijuana, would yield significant and immediate profits the first year, according to an analysis conducted in 1998 (PDF) by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Kentucky.

Researchers found that farmers in the state of Kentucky alone could see between $220 to $605 in net profits per acre of hemp. Adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index, those 1998 dollars would actually be worth $310 and $854 today, although the study’s authors note that variables in supply and demand for hemp could change that valuation.

The average price farmers are getting on an acre of corn, which has been falling thanks to relatively strong supply this year, clocked in at roughly $921 according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures out last week, but their overall take drops significantly due to the costs of production, leaving them in the $200 range on net profits. While a legalized hemp industry would likely never become as essential to Americans as corn, the potential for a high value crop and hundreds of millions, if not billions, in new economic activity is clear.

“This is the first time since the 1950s that language supporting hemp has come to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote. The last time such language was presented was the Miller’s Amendment to the Marihuana Tax Act,” Eric Steenstra, president of the advocacy group Vote Hemp, said in an advisory. “The time is past due for the Senate as well as President Obama and the Attorney General to prioritize the crop’s benefits to farmers and to take action… With the U.S. hemp industry valued at over $400 million in annual retail sales and growing, a change in federal policy to allow hemp farming would mean instant job creation, among many other economic and environmental benefits.”

It’s not clear if the bill has a shot, however. Conservative groups like the Club for Growth are urging Senators to vote against the farm bill, which is under consideration this week, because it has too many attachments unrelated to the agricultural sectors.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), has also called on other Senators to stop adding unrelated amendments, which the Senate spent much of Wednesday doing. If the Senate’s top partisans cannot find an agreeable solution to limiting the bill’s amendments, it is likely to languish and die.

The federal government does not differentiate between marijuana and industrial hemp, but it allows the importation of thousands of products made from industrial hemp. President Barack Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, warned as recently as April in comments made online that industrial hemp was a “controlled substance,” which sent hemp advocates on a rhetorical tirade.

Bills seeking to legalize industrial hemp have cleared at least one legislative chamber in 17 states overall, including Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia, where those bills became law. Scientists say the psychoactive component of marijuana is almost completely undetectable in hemp.
——

SOURCE

Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Child Protective Services

Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Child Protective Services

The views in the following article are those of the author and do not reflect those of any other person or entity. The advice listed should not substitute that of a legal professional and are not given as legal advice. Any examples are purely fictional. The following is of personal opinion and should be read as such. This should not replace any legal or professional advice obtained. I encourage anyone who is seeking advice on any subject involving Child Protective Services to seek the advice of a legal professional.


1. Legally Obligated to Investigate

You may have heard it before, but it is the truth. CPS is legally obligated to investigate every report that is received through central intake. There are instances where CPS does not investigate or the case is closed without investigation. These are instances where there is no real foundation to believe that there is abuse or neglect occurring. For instance, a report is made that a 14-year-old child is being left home alone after school. If the child does not have any special needs, is not causing any damage to property or otherwise putting himself in danger while they are home alone; the child is a normal freshman in high school with no other risk factors, this case might be closed at intake because no real neglect is occurring. If, for example, that same report states that the child has Down’s Syndrome, the report may become an investigation. There are several types of investigations ranging from one conversation with a parent to a full investigation. In any case, if the report makes it to the desk of an investigator, they are legally obligated to respond to that case. This is not a policy, this is the law. Case response time is 24 to 72 hours depending on the case. There are things, such as screening and routing, that can make this slightly longer, but generally, a case will have some response within 72 hours. A response can range from seeing the entire family to seeing just the child, or speaking with any person on the case. There may also just be unsuccessful attempts to contact someone. It does not mean that a parent will necessarily be contacted within 72 hours. A parent may not be contacted for some time after a case is initiated. The reporter is sometimes contacted prior to any action and sometimes not contacted at all.

It does not matter how ridiculous or false a claim may be. When an investigator receives the referral, they must investigate. If the child, parents, witnesses and ten other unrelated persons tell an investigator that something did not occur, the case is still completed. It has to be. That is what and investigator intends to gain from an investigation, the truth about what happened. One of my favorite quotes from a senior investigator was this: “We go out to disprove an allegation as much as they go out to prove it.” When an investigation is received, they have to look at it and gather evidence. When that evidence is gathered, they make a ruling or determination. They cannot take the word of one single person, even the child. They have to look at all evidence. If an allegation is false, give the investigator every resource to show that. Tell him or her why you think someone reported and what their motivation was. Investigators do consider this.

It does not matter how many times a report has been made by the same person or for the same thing. They still have to investigate. There are things that are in place to avoid you being harassed by a reporter or by us. The best way to show this is by example. Let’s say that you have been reported for physical abuse of your child and you completed an investigation. One week after this investigation was closed, the same reporter called in the same allegations. If there is no new incident, the investigation may be closed without you even knowing it was reporter. You may only receive a phone call. You may receive nothing. The case is closed with a ruling that it has already been investigated. If there are new alleged incidents, the case may be investigated again. If this occurs, say, four times in a row, they can start to close these without investigation. It DOES NOT always happen this way. You may be investigated for the same type of allegations from the same reporter many times. It all depends on whether new information is given in each new report. Good investigators will speak to the reporter and attempt to determine if they are doing this for reasons other than concerns for the safety of the child. Just because you are being reported, that doesn’t mean you are guilty. Investigators do not assume you did it when they receive the report.

2. Can CPS see my child without my permission?

The simple answer is yes. The longer answer is:

CPS will usually attempt to see your child before they talk to you. There is one very simple reason for this. Workers want to talk to the child before any parent has a chance to at best, tell them what to say or at worst, warn them of consequences of disclosing abuse. Also, if the child has some sort of bruising or physical showing of abuse or neglect, the worker will try to get to that child before that evidence is gone. If you are reading this, you may be upset because you’ve been falsely accused. Some parents are not falsely accused and it’s important for CPS to catch those children before there can be any intimidation or coaching. If you consider this an injustice or a violation of your rights as a parent, just think of the child who is being sexually abused by a parent. The child may disclose this to a worker if they interview them prior to contact with the parent. If a parent is made aware first, are they not going to intimidate, threaten, or further harm the child in order to ensure the child does not disclose this abuse? CPS will try to see your child at school or daycare or another setting before notifying you. The rules for this may vary in some states, so check your rights in your own state. In many states, you can look up the laws and policies of your child welfare agency on the internet and read them right there.

Now, if you do not want your child interviewed and a worker comes to your school, you can tell them no. Once you have stated to a CPS worker that you do not want your child interviewed, they will not be interviewed without a court order or “exigent circumstances.” That basically means that if you refuse to allow the child to be interviewed, CPS must obtain a a court order from a judge stating that you must allow the interview or that the situation must be of such an emergency or risk to the child that the child must be taken into custody of the worker and interviewed. If the emergency situation occurs, the worker must justify that in a court within 24 hours and obtain the approval of a judge. They must also tell you. Rarely will a child be interviewed by “exigent circumstances” unless the child is removed at that time. See Removals below.

If a CPS worker wants to interview your child at your home, they must ask your permission. They cannot speak with your child at your home with you present without your consent. If you say no, they will not conduct the interview. (See below for Why you should cooperate.) Of special note: If your child is home alone, they can be talked with, but this varies in circumstance. They can’t give a worker permission to enter the home. But, if the child is home alone and that is a danger, the police department will be contacted and all parties may enter your home. This is an extreme circumstance. If an older child is home alone, they generally won’t be fully interviewed at that time. If they are, it will be outside of your home.

3. You do not have to let them in the door-

CPS has no special right to enter your home without your permission and you can say no. Workers do not have a right to obtain search warrants.You can still be cooperative in the investigation without ever letting a worker walk inside your door. You can open the door and allow them to look inside and still not allow them to come inside the home. Workers should ask you before coming in your home. If you say no, they cannot enter. They will not enter. If they do enter, you can contact the police. Once you do consent to allow CPS into your home, you can ask them to leave whenever you like and they must leave. For the purposes of your home and property, CPS worker are just like any other person. CPS worker cannot look through your drawers or search your home unless you give permission. Allowing entry does not entitle the worker to be able to go through your medicine cabinet. They can look around and see what is visible to their eye, but must ask permission to open a drawer or the refrigerator. (See below on why you should cooperate)

4. You have rights –

Parents or alleged perpetrators have rights. Ask your worker about those rights or research them on your own. If you get surprise visit, you can ask for time to look up your rights. You’re in more control than you think. You can say to a worker, “I’d like to talk to you in a few days after I’ve looked over my rights.” In my particular county in my state, they give out a booklet outlining the parent’s rights when they see them for the first time. Ask for time to review them if you want it. You can contact an attorney or consult with one. If it makes you feel more comfortable, do it. In most cases, a few days will not harm your case. In some cases, it may. It is better to cooperate as much as you are comfortable with in the beginning. (See why you should cooperate).

5. Screening and Risk –

So you have been accused of not supervising your child and now workers are asking you questions about drugs, alcohol, pornography, and whether you’ve ever had an abortion. They asked your child if anyone had ever attempted to touch them inappropriately and if they have food to eat every day. You feel like CPS is investigating your life from the inside out. What is going on here?

In a sense, they are investigating your life from the inside out. Workers screen all children for all types of abuse or neglect regardless of the actual allegation. They will be asked questions about the allegation, but they will also be asked broad, general questions about all types of abuse and neglect. The reasons for this should be obvious. If the allegation is false, but Mom and Dad are doing drugs in front of the child, the child is still at risk. They need to know that.

Mom and Dad are going to be asked some general screening questions as well. They’ll be asked about their own childhoods and their own habits. They’ll be asked about whether they have financial problems or domestic violence in their old relationships. These types of questions help a CPS worker determine several things. For example, is the family in a position of high stresses or does the mother or father show a pattern of behavior? Is there a long history of violence or a long history of sexual abuse or incest in a family? They want a complete picture. They want this so that they can identify if a child is at risk, but also to see if there is anything CPS can do to help that family. (See helping).

There are many times when the original allegation is not what the investigator found to be of the most concern in the family. A physical abuse allegation may lead investigators to discover that no physical abuse is occurring, but that domestic violence between Dad and his girlfriend is. They may ask you to attend some domestic violence classes even though this was not what you were reported for.

6. Drug tests

This is a sticky subject. CPS worker can drug test you. They do need your consent. They cannot force you to take it. They do not have legal authority to do that. They will not tell you that they are going to do it first and they will arrange for that test within a very short period. There are certain counties or states that will drug test every person in every case. You can be drug tested no matter your age and your children can be drug tested. There are a million rules that govern this and all kinds of different rules for each situation. You should know what those rules are and know what your rights are.

That said: The way you react to being asked to take a drug test matters. I won’t save this for the last section. If you refuse to take a drug test, you can be court ordered to take one. If you are court ordered, they will give you a nail scrape, hair follicle, or some other type that tests farther back into your history. You will then be required to take this test. This will not be long into the future and you will not “fool” a test by refusing and requiring that a court order be gotten.

If you refuse a drug test, the investigator WILL assume that you are using and act accordingly. This is important to know. People who are clean RARELY (though it does happen) refuse to take a drug test. They are more likely to demand a drug test to be cleared of the allegation of drug use than to refuse to take one on principal. You can refuse on principal and I have had it happen. It is not a good idea. Take the test.

If you are going to be positive on a drug test, tell the investigator before your take it and discuss what will happen. Positive drug tests do not mean automatic removal of your children. It may mean that they have to stay with someone else for a while, but it does not mean your children will be put in foster care. It CAN mean that, it does not always mean that. Every situation is different. Be honest and talk to your investigator. They will not be shocked. They will not overreact. They deal with it every single day.

7. Removal – a very short discussion

I have heard many things about CPS and removals. I have heard things as ridiculous as they have a “quota” they must reach for removing children or that they get “bonuses” for removing a child. I will speak only for myself when I say, I’d rather do anything than remove a child from their family. First of all, when a child is removed, they have just guaranteed ourselves an extra 50 or so hours of extra work. There are many things involved in a child’s removal that only the worker deals with. It is not pleasant and they do not want to do those things. They have enough work and they do not want to make more by removing your child for reasons other that that child’s safety.

Worker do not get bonuses, perks, meet quotas, or anything else for removals. The policy of CPS is to do everything possible to avoid removal. You may not see any of those things or think that any of those things are being done. It may happen very fast for you and you may feel that they have walked in without knowing you at all and “snatched” your baby without a moment of thought. It simply does not work that way. It doesn’t happen that fast for us and they gain information prior to coming to you. There are cases where the situation is so dire that an emergency removal is necessary based on very limited information. That information will be as reliable as possible and devastating information.

Removal is different from placement. If you have been asked to place your child with family or other types of kin, your child has not been removed. You have voluntarily placed your child in another home while you work some type of service or factors become controlled. Removal will involve a court order from a judge either prior to the removal or within 24 hours after the removal. You will be asked to attend court hearings. You will get an attorney. If this is not happening, you have not had your child removed. If your child has been legally removed, you can still place them in a relative or kin’s home.

8. Helping –

CPS can often be demonized. People, who are being investigated, understandably feel like CPS is there to harm them and tear their family apart, pry into their lives and embarrass them. People feel harassed and invaded. I get it. CPS does investigate, but they also can help you. CPS has access to massive amounts of resources and services to provide you with tools, resources, and concrete things that you want or need to help your family work better. As your investigator about anything you need, from diapers to a new home. They will get your resources if there are any. They may recommend things for you and you may recommend things for yourself. CPS is there to help whether it be to help a child from being abuse to helping a parent gain skills or resources. The goal of any investigator is not to harm your family, but to improve it. That being said, they only have the resources they have. They may not be able to fully meet all of the requests that YOU have. They will try.

9. Why Cooperating matters –

I’ve referenced this section several times. There is a reason. Cooperating with CPS is almost always to your benefit. If you don’t allow your child to be interviewed, it is natural for us to wonder why. They will ask you why. They want to know why. Why? Because they will assume you are hiding something.

I have heard every reason for why a parent does not want a child to be interviewed. The most common is that they fear that it will cause that child emotional distress. CPS workers are trained in interviewing children and trained in screening without causing emotional stress to a child. If you do your part to make the child feel less afraid or stressed, they do our part to make any interview as simple and easy as possible for a child. Most children do not find it remotely stressful and enjoy the interview. Workers may provide them with coloring books or other play things to ease the mood and make the child feel more comfortable. I have spent a full hour of pre-interview with a child in the past doing nothing but putting that child at ease before ever asking them a single question other than what their favorite color or school subject is. CPS is in the business of helping children, not harming them. They do everything they can to make children feel more safe and at ease. If a child finds the interview too distressing, they CPS worker may end the interview for that child’s sake. Most of the time, though, children have very little emotional reaction to an interview and express no distress at all.

CPS doesn’t always have to come into your home. If you do not allow us to come into your home when we’ve asked to come inside, they can assume you are hiding something. This happens to worker quite a bit more often than you’d probably expect so it is not as severe as not allowing a child to be seen or not allowing a drug test. But, if the allegation is that your house is a hazard to the child and you do not allow entry into the home, they will assume you are hiding something. If your allegation has any type of concern for people who may be living at the home or any concern for the home environment, they will assume you are hiding something. Not opening the door on principal happens, but it shouldn’t. They aren’t interested in going through your underwear drawer. They want to make sure the home is safe. As I said before, open the door and allow us to look inside and see that you don’t have trash piled to your ceiling or dog feces all over the carpet where your baby crawls around. This CAN be enough. If it is not, they can obtain a court order.

It is possible for you to be completely uncooperative with CPS. If they never see your child, your home, you, or anyone you know there is very little they can do. This, though, can be a very large red flag that something is really wrong. I, personally, suggest that if you do not wish to cooperate in any way, you contact an attorney. Have that attorney talk with us. My personal experience has been that if there is no cooperation, there are a lot of things wrong. They may just go away eventually on one case, but when families have problems, they tend to get involved more than once. If you’re hiding nothing, it’s better to just cooperate. They can close your case a lot quicker and easier if you show us that nothing is wrong.

10. Workers are people, too.

I add this last because I stand by it as the number one thing I wish people would consider. Worker are just people. They are highly trained and educated people, but they are people. They make mistakes. They miss things. They go home to their own lives. They are doing their job. They aren’t doing anything as personal vendetta against you. They aren’t judging you in a personal way. They are regulated and well supervised. They are people with a thankless job that doesn’t pay well and that requires a massive commitment. They have hobbies and dreams and goals. They have feelings. They often have their own children, their own problems, and their own pasts. They are just people.

SOURCE

Chemotherapy Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor in Half……Correction – Marijuana cuts Cancer Growth in HALF

Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows

WAR ON DRUGS

They say this is the first set of experiments to show that the compound, Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), inhibits EGF-induced growth and migration in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing non-small cell lung cancer cell lines. Lung cancers that over-express EGFR are usually highly aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy.

THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.

“The beauty of this study is that we are showing that a substance of abuse, if used prudently, may offer a new road to therapy against lung cancer,” said Anju Preet, Ph.D., a researcher in the Division of Experimental Medicine.

Acting through cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, endocannabinoids (as well as THC) are thought to play a role in variety of biological functions, including pain and anxiety control, and inflammation. Although a medical derivative of THC, known as Marinol, has been approved for use as an appetite stimulant for cancer patients, and a small number of U.S. states allow use of medical marijuana to treat the same side effect, few studies have shown that THC might have anti-tumor activity, Preet says. The only clinical trial testing THC as a treatment against cancer growth was a recently completed British pilot study in human glioblastoma.

In the present study, the researchers first demonstrated that two different lung cancer cell lines as well as patient lung tumor samples express CB1 and CB2, and that non-toxic doses of THC inhibited growth and spread in the cell lines. “When the cells are pretreated with THC, they have less EGFR stimulated invasion as measured by various in-vitro assays,” Preet said.

Then, for three weeks, researchers injected standard doses of THC into mice that had been implanted with human lung cancer cells, and found that tumors were reduced in size and weight by about 50 percent in treated animals compared to a control group. There was also about a 60 percent reduction in cancer lesions on the lungs in these mice as well as a significant reduction in protein markers associated with cancer progression, Preet says.

Although the researchers do not know why THC inhibits tumor growth, they say the substance could be activating molecules that arrest the cell cycle. They speculate that THC may also interfere with angiogenesis and vascularization, which promotes cancer growth.

Preet says much work is needed to clarify the pathway by which THC functions, and cautions that some animal studies have shown that THC can stimulate some cancers. “THC offers some promise, but we have a long way to go before we know what its potential is,” she said.

SOURCE

War on drugs ‘should be abandoned’

War on drugs ‘should be abandoned’

Damien McElroy

A study by the International Institute of Strategic Studies found that the global war on narcotics had failed to contain the scourge of illegal stimulants.

The drugs trade has spread to Africa and Eastern Europe in recent decades and entrenched its standing in its traditional strongholds of Asia and the Americas.

Nigel Inkster, the former assistant chief of MI6 and author of the study, said there was a growing revolt against the cost of the fight in developing countries.

Only “vested interests” in countries where illegal drugs are consumed stood in the way of a change in approach, he said.

Research indicated that the authorities would need to stop 70 per cent of all drugs shipments to disrupt the trade. While no figures for the proportion of the trade stopped are available, the figure is almost certainly far below that threshold.

Therefore ramping up the security services fight against drugs is almost certainly doomed to failure.

“As any doctor is told on his first day, you should not just double the dose,” said Mr Inkster, who is the most senior figure to have worked within the fight against narcotics to openly call for a review. “If your initial diagnosis doesn’t work don’t just double the dose.”

The corrosive effects on security of the narco-economy also weighs as an argument for ending the war. “You can’t do counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics simultaneously,” he said. “Our investigation has shown us that the so-called war on drugs fundamentally undermines international security.”

The report, Drugs, Insecurity and Failed States, highlights two alternative systems. Either decriminalisation of all personal possession, as Portugal instituted a decade ago, or a licensing scheme such as that which brought the gin trade under control in London in the 1700s.

Licensing would also allow states to begin to apply the lessons of antismoking campaigns which have curtailed tobacco use.

Taxation, public health messages and social legislation could marginalise drug use.

SOURCE

Richard Branson: I asked for weed at White House

Richard Branson: I asked for weed at White House

By PATRICK GAVIN |

When you go to a White House state dinner and you’re lucky enough to get some face time with the president, what do you ask the president?

“I asked him if I could have a spliff,” businessman and Virgin Group honcho Richard Branson told a crowd gathered at The Atlantic’s Washington offices Thursday, the day after attending the dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron.
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Branson: I asked for weed at W.H.

“But they didn’t have any,” Branson continued, according to a video of the event as he recalled his effort to procure weed the night before at the White House.

(Also on POLITICO: Obama’s campaign is watching you)

What’s he smoking? Well, Branson is a longtime advocate for the legalization of marijuana — and an admitted recreational pot puffer — and spoke at an Atlantic Exchange panel discussion titled “Benchmarching the War on Drugs.” Branson appeared alongside The Atlantic’s Washington Editor-At-Large Steve Clemons and Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

The Atlantic crowd guffawed mightily, which is appropriate: Branson was quick to note that he was joking.

So passionate is Branson’s work on the issue that one audience member asked him if he’d be a Al Gore of the movement and work on a documentary on the errors of drug policies. (Branson declined, saying his son is a far better documentarian than he could ever be.)

Read more: SOURCE

10 Ways the War on Drugs is an Incredible Success

10 Ways the War on Drugs is a Wild Success

Eric Blair

For all the evidence of how the War on Drugs has failed society, there’s equally as much evidence of how it is a great success to those who continue to support it. The drug war has many advantages if you wish to control society and expand your empire. It also enriches several industries that would otherwise have a very difficult time staying solvent without it.

Here are ten ways the War on Drugs is a wild success:

Military-Industrial Profits:
As the Vietnam War came to an end, it struck fear into the military-industrial machine that enjoyed great profits from that conflict. In a world where contrived enemies were needed to keep a constant funding of weapons, Richard Nixon declared drugs “Public Enemy Number 1”. Thus, domestic armies were erected to combat the illegal drug trade, delivering consistent cash flow to weapons manufacturers. These companies make money, not just from the needs of the DEA, border patrol, and local police forces, but also from drug traffickers. Win-win and profits all around.

Huge Boon to Private Prisons:
The private prison industry thrives off long sentences for drug offenders. At least 25% of their profits come from these nonviolent criminals. A great number more are held on “drug related” charges that may have resulted in drug violence. However, the current trend shows that three-quarters of new inmates admitted to state prisons are nonviolent offenders. Private prisons clearly depend on arresting pot smokers and addicts of more severe drugs.


Prevents Higher Unemployment Rates:
Imagine if the millions of American currently jailed on drug charges were released into a job market already suffering from real unemployment numbers over 20%. Additionally, if it wasn’t for drugs being illegal, countless people like DEA agents, court staff, prison guards, parole officers, drug dealers, etc would otherwise be unemployed. Thank goodness for the war on drugs, or the U.S. economy would look even worse.

Suppresses Minority Populations:
It’s often said that the drug war is a war on minorities: “According to the ACLU, African Americans make up an estimated 15% of drug users, but they account for 37% of those arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convicted and 74% of all drug offenders sentenced to prison. Or consider this: The U.S. has 260,000 people in state prisons on nonviolent drug charges; 183,200 (more than 70%) of them are black or Latino.” So it is a huge success for those who wish to suppress minority populations.

Drives Up Prices:
Making any substance illegal will result in much higher prices than a free market would dictate. Especially when there’s a high demand for that substance. In the case of the cannabis plant, which grows like a weed and requires very little value added, the dried flower would virtually be free if it wasn’t for the harsh restrictions and dangers involved in producing and distributing it. These high prices are terrific for drug dealers and even medical marijuana growers opposed legalization in California because it threatened their profits.

Drug Violence Justifies Tough Gun Laws: The violence generated from the prohibition of drugs is reminiscent of the extreme mob violence during the prohibition of alcohol. Prohibition of anything will always create black markets which require firearms to protect banned products. Recently, the U.S. government itself was caught red-handed supplying guns to Mexican drug cartels in their “Fast and Furious” scandal. It’s now proven that the ATF plotted to use Fast and Furious to push for new gun control regulations. Indeed, most street violence is due to turf wars over the drug trade, and tougher gun laws are proposed as the war escalates. It’s wonderful for those who blame violence on guns and wish to restrict them from law-abiding citizens.

Protects Big Pharma Monopolies: No one is happier about the war on drugs than Big Pharma. Their control over the FDA and monopoly of “controlled substances” would be threatened if all drugs were legalized. They want you addicted to their FDA-approved versions of heroin and cocaine, not something you can get on the black market. In turn, they also benefit greatly when the prices of street drugs increase, as they can then inflate the cost of their products. They love the drug war so much they’ve lobbied to extend it to vitamins and supplements.

Allows Proxy Armies: If you want to create an empire by force, but it’s politically disadvantageous to base your army in certain countries, then the global war on drugs is your ticket to supplying troops or creating proxy armies. One of the most recent examples is Costa Rica, a peaceful country in Central America without an army, where the U.S. bribed the government to allow the Navy and Marines to be stationed off the Caribbean coast to fight the war on drugs. In other nations where even this won’t be allowed, the CIA funds and arms one of the drug cartels who then act as their hired enforcers, or they’re used as an excuse for governments to accept U.S. help to combat the enemy they created. In either case, the U.S. sells more arms and trains soldiers to be used upon command.

Keeps Big Banks Flush with Cash:
It has long been known that big banks happily launder money for the big drug cartels. According to The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “Up to 1.5 trillion dollars in drug money are laundered through legal enterprises, accounting for 5% of global GDP.” Take just this year and one bank, Wachovia; who had to pay a slap-on-the-wrist fine for laundering more than $420 billion for Mexican drug cartels. Imagine where the big banks would be without this money, given that they also needed a bailout of over $23 trillion for lack of sufficient deposits to pay for their gambling habits.

Funds CIA Black Ops: Do you ever wonder where the U.S. government gets all that money for their secret “Black Ops” like underground bases, secret wars, corporate takeovers and seed money, etc? It’s been proven over and over that the CIA (and Pentagon) controls a large majority of the illicit drug trade either directly or indirectly through proxies mentioned above. They’ve been caught in the act of shipping in massive amounts of cocaine, while the CIA now openly admits to protecting and facilitating the opium trade in Afghanistan. If it wasn’t for this tremendous profit, the CIA would not be able to build their secret shadow government.

So, as you can see, there are great benefits to the War on Drugs depending what side of the coin you’re on. If you’re a poor pot smoker, well, you’re out of luck. But if you’re the biggest heroin and cocaine dealer in the world and desire a monopoly . . . well, you’ve got the world right where you want it.

SOURCE

Bath Salts: Because you weren’t Crazy enough on Meth

Cops: Ohio Man Breaks Into Home, Sets Up Christmas Decorations

VANDALIA, Ohio (CBS Cleveland) – A Vandalia man is suspected of breaking into a family’s home while high on bath salts and setting up Christmas decorations.

Terry Trent, 44, was arrested and charged with burglary last week around the Dayton area when an 11-year-old boy found the man sitting on the couch after he had done some Christmas decorating around the house. It is likely that Trent was high on bath salts, according to police reports.

Vandalia police said that Trent entered through one of the home’s back doors and made himself comfortable, lighting candles on the coffee and kitchen tables as well as having the television’s volume on very loudly. Trent had also hung a Christmas wreath on the back garage door.

When discovering that Trent was watching television and playing with the boy’s things, the 11-year-old boy called his mother, who was next door at their neighbor’s house.

The mother told police that Trent attempted to be polite to the boy. He was arrested without incident, but police did find that he was carrying a pocket knife.

“He had said to him, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I’ll get my things and go,’”
the boy’s mother told WHIO.

One man who was working with Trent last week described him as a very caring person involved with the Boy Scouts and a local church program to help convicted felons currently in prison. But he wasn’t acting well that day, the man said, describing Trent as “mentally unstable.”

Police indicated that Trent, who is now being held in Montgomery County Jail, has a history of drug charges.

“He wasn’t acting like his normal self,
” the man said in the report. “I [asked] him what was going on [and] he got mad and left the job. He is paranoid and thinks people are out to get him.”

SOURCE

High IQ linked to drug use

High IQ linked to drug use

The “Just Say No” generation was often told by parents and teachers that intelligent people didn’t use drugs. Turns out, the adults may have been wrong.

A new British study finds children with high IQs are more likely to use drugs as adults than people who score low on IQ tests as children. The data come from the 1970 British Cohort Study, which has been following thousands of people over decades. The kids’ IQs were tested at the ages of 5, 10 and 16. The study also asked about drug use and looked at education and other socioeconomic factors. Then when participants turned 30, they were asked whether they had used drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the past year.

Researchers discovered men with high childhood IQs were up to two times more likely to use illegal drugs than their lower-scoring counterparts. Girls with high IQs were up to three times more likely to use drugs as adults. A high IQ is defined as a score between 107 and 158. An average IQ is 100. The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The lead researcher says he isn’t surprised by the findings. “Previous research found for the most part people with high IQs lead a healthy life, but that they are more likely to drink to excess as adults,” says James White a psychologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.

It’s not clear why people with high childhood IQs are more likely to use illegal drugs. “We suspect they may be more open to new experiences and are more sensation seeking,” says White. In the paper, White and his co-author also mention other studies that find high IQ kids may use drugs because they are bored or to cope with being different.

That seems to ring true for one of my childhood classmates. Tracey Helton Mitchell was one of the smartest kids in my middle school. But, by the time she was in her early 20’s, Tracey was a heroin addict. I found out while flipping channels one sleepless night and stumbled upon the documentary “Black Tar Heroin.

“I was confident in my abilities but there was a dissonance,”
says Tracey, with whom I recently reconnected. “No matter what I did, what I said, where I went, I was never comfortable with the shell I carried called myself.”

PECAN: People choose false realities for their own reasons. Good or Bad, is the government the best authority to determine how you live? Is imprisonment and a lack of future just?

For far too long we have witnessed the destructive force of the American WAR ON DRUGS. A War that has destroyed countless lives while ensuring violence and crime continue.

According to the Drug Factbook preconceived notions of drugs are rarely correct. The Drug War is and will always be a failure. The real “Drug Dealers” are the reprobates who run our nation. Pharmaceutical companies monopolize the market and ensure competition remains illegal. The system is supported by the “Rule of Law” and a Police Force who will do anything to propagate the War including planting of evidence .

Drug abusers are in need of counseling not jail. We need to listen not imprison.

SOURCE

The Marijuana Tax Act Changed Everything

74 Years Ago This Month, The Marijuana Tax Act Changed Everything

By Jasen T. Davisharry

According to a report by Jon Gettman, who has a Ph.D. in public policy and regional economic development from George Mason University, the war on cannabis costs U.S. taxpayers $42 billion per year.

Gettman is also the leader of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis, and is the former head of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

He based his calculations on U.S. government statistics and official federal reports, concluding that the business of cannabis in the country is worth $113 billion dollars. If taxed, the potential revenue stream from taxing this local economy would be significant.

What this means is that every year, instead of using those billions to help the American people, the government spends billions monitoring, arresting and jailing its citizens . . . all because of The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

How did we get here? When America was first founded, hemp was cultivated by everyone—included George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Hemp was grown for rope and paper. Yes, the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp, and hemp’s relative, cannabis, was prescribed as a cure for a variety of medical ailments.

George Washington hempHemp grows at a faster rate than timber. Hemp paper is naturally non-polluting and acid free, since converting trees into paper requires a highly toxic procedure known as the wood pulp sulfide process.

One man, William Randolph Hearst, made quite a profit from his pulp timber and paper mills. Hemp paper was superior, but the process to produce it was labor-intensive. Hearst and the Dupont company, which held the patent on the wood pulp sulfide process, made a lot of money turning trees into paper.

When an invention called the decorticator began to catch on in America in 1935, Hearst and Dupont stood to lose a fortune. If hemp could be mass-produced because of the decorticator, which eliminated the need for hours of labor, timber paper would go the way of the dinosaurs.

At the time Dupont’s main source of finance was Mellon Bank. Andrew Mellon was chairman of Mellon Bank and the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. Pulling strings, he appointed Harry Anslinger as commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

With Anslinger in place, Mellon had nothing to fear. Anslinger was married to his niece. Mellon began to appear before congress in dramatic hearing, citing dubious sources and appealing to prejudice, claiming that smoking cannabis caused everything from dementia to violence to rape.

This was fueled, naturally, by the propaganda campaign waged by Hearst. Even though government and medical studies at the time had long-reported the health benefits of cannabis consumption, Hearst used his publishing empire to generate reports fueled by racial prejudice and dumb hysteria to sway public opinion, and Congress effectively made hemp illegal on Aug. 2, 1937.

Today the same companies that stand to lose from the legalization of hemp and cannabis employ the same strategies to maintain their profit margins. Public opinion is changing, and the discussion to legalize the plant is a lot more mainstream than it once was.

With enough work, proponents for cannabis legalization could possibly overturn decades of ill-conceived legislation to finally make hemp legal again. Perhaps the curse of 1937 might be lifted, and a once-great source of revenue could once again benefit our country.

Voice of Reason

When Harry J. Anslinger was waging his war against cannabis, a cooler head prevailed in the form of New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who was an opponent of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act. In response to reports of the “dangers” of marijuana, La Guardia in 1939 commissioned the New York Academy of Medicine to study the effects of smoking cannabis. In the end, the study (released in 1944) disproved all of the claims by Anslinger and all other pot propagandists.

Article from Culture Magazine

SOURCE

Drugs, the Illegality of Healing and Pharmageddon

Drugs, the Illegality of Healing and Pharmageddon

by Sayer Ji, founder of GreenMedInfo.com

To most of us, the word “drug” conjures varied, if not diametrically opposed images and connotations. On the one hand, “drugs” are illegal substances, associated with addiction, bodily harm, crime, and other unpleasant experiences. These drugs include cocaine, amphetamine, marijuana and heroin, and are generally not considered to have medicinal effects. On the other hand, prescribed or over the counter “drugs” are associated with treating or preventing disease, regulated by the FDA and administered legally to the public in carefully meted doses by doctors. No matter which way you slice it, Americans have the most voracious appetite for drugs on the planet, consuming approximately 700 billion dollars worth of prescribed, over-the-counter and illegal drugs, annually.

The distinction between these two meanings of the word drug may hold hard and fast from the perspective of politics, the law, media imaging and ordinary parlance, but not necessarily from the perspective of biology and pharmacology. Take amphetamine, for instance. Although amphetamine is one of the most addictive and metabolically poisonous drugs found on the street today and responsible for thousands of deaths a year, it is approved by the FDA for the treatment of attention deficit disorder, weight loss, depression and narcolepsy in branded forms such as Adderall, Ritalin and Dexedrine. Marijuana, on the other hand, which has an extraordinary safety profile, and which has been studied for decades for its extensive medical applications, remains illegal throughout the United States and is not approved for prescription as medicine. Politics, economics and social prejudices are the primary reason why certain substances attain approval or disapproval as drugs, not the inherent nature of the substance itself, as one would expect in a civilized society.

The difference between a “good” and a “bad” drug can depend entirely upon the social context within which a chemical like amphetamine is ingested. If acquired on the street within the context of the drug dealer/junky relationship it is a “fix” (albeit self-medication, no matter how misguided). If ingested upon a doctor’s request for a diagnosable disorder, it is considered “medicine.” The former context is socially sanctified; the latter is socially vilified. Ultimately, neither situation can transcend the fact that amphetamine will only offer temporary relief from whatever emptiness or imbalance the drug was supposed to fix or cover up. Nothing within the amphetamine itself will address the underlying food allergies, nutritional deficiencies, emotional issues that may be causing the deficit in attention, sluggish metabolism, inability to sleep or depressive emotional state. In fact, long term amphetamine use is notorious for causing the very thing that it would temporarily remedy: suicidal depression, exhaustion to the point of sudden death, inability to focus, etc.

In some cases the street form of a drug is actually safer than its prescribed form. For instance, the synthetic opioid known in prescription form as Fentanyl is 40 times MORE powerful/addictive than heroin. However the main point of this article is not to decompose the rather essential boundaries that exist between “good” and “bad” drugs, as without them, society as we know it today would drift into greater chaos. Rather, we are going to focus on the way in which the positive sense of the word drug as medicine has been effectively removed from the grasp of foods and dietary supplements – as far as the FDA is concerned – forever.

According to the FDA’s legal definition of a drug, anything that “diagnoses, cures, mitigates, treats, or prevents a disease” is defined as a drug. The problem with this definition is that there are numerous substances, as readily available and benign as found on our spice racks, which have been proven to mitigate, prevent and in some cases CURE disease, and which CAN NOT be called DRUGS according to the FDA. How can this be? Well, the FDA has Godlike power insofar as it has to grant a healing substance its official approval for it to be considered to have legitimate application in the treatment of disease. And historically the FDA has required very expensive clinical studies (approximately $100 million per drug) which are out of the grasp of any interest who might want to demonstrate the efficacy of a non-patentable and therefore unprofitable herb, food or spice.

If Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine, were alive today, he would be forced to qualify himself by saying: “Seek FDA approval for permission to let food be thy medicine.”

The common kitchen spice Turmeric is a perfect example of this extraordinary hypocrisy. Although one can find over 200 biomedical citations on PubMed (pubmed.gov) discussing Turmeric’s ability to cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells, it has not received the FDA’s approval as a drug in the treatment of cancer. With over a million cases of cancer diagnosed annually in America, wouldn’t it be sensible for the FDA to approve the use of a substance with such extraordinary scientific backing and consensus on its effectiveness AND safety? And if not as a pimary chemotoxic treatment, than at the very least as an adjunctive therapy? Sadly, the likely reason this miraculous substance has not been made available to cancer sufferers today is because it can be grown in one’s back yard for free!

Here we have the fundamental point. The FDA’s definition of a drug is not descriptive, but is a persuasive definition which purports to describe the “true” or “commonly accepted” meaning of a term, while in reality stipulating a meaning that serves only the interests of the drug companies it so spinelessly serves. If an herb can not be converted into a proprietary, profitable, patentable commodity, it will forever be barred from attaining the legitimacy of a “drug,” no matter how effective it is at treating disease. When drug companies do manage to produce an extract of a whole herb, they almost invariably make the same fatal error: they equate the healing force of the whole plant with only certain decomposed isolates or ‘mono-chemicals’ found within this living, infinitely complex totality. Even worse, they tinker with these isolates to ensure that they are unique enough to derive a patent, with the unfortunate outcome that the new chemical analogue is now biologically unprecedented. This folly results in profound side effects and toxicity, and serves only one objective: to ensure the 20 year market exclusivity that a FDA awarded patent affords. One can play God by isolating and reproducing facsimiles of a component of a complex living organism such as Turmeric.

But the isolate will never compare to the safety and healing power of the whole herb, produced by Mother Nature Herself; rather, it is more likely to behave like Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, with uncontrollable and violent side effects.

And this is another key point: Mother Nature does not grant patents, even though her formulas are proprietary. She will never lend herself to rampant profit making and outlandish claims, nor will she make the mechanism of her healing perfectly intelligible vis-à-vis the scientific method. It is commodity and profit driven medicine, with its underlying emphasis on perverting the scientific method to serve economic objectives that concerns itself with patent exclusivities, hyperbolic claims and profit as an end unto itself. Rather than lament this fact, I have decided to celebrate it. If whole food supplements, herbs and vitamins are forever exiled from the would-be legitimacy of the allopathic pharmacopoeia, then so be it! This can not obviate the healing gifts that issue prolifically and freely from the Lap of Nature herself; nor does it negate that birthright of health which we all participate in, knowingly and unknowingly. Rather, this exclusion of what works and is right, and good, from the compass and concern of orthodox medical principle and practice, is an indication of a complete failure in credibility of the allopathic system as a whole, and which has earned it its disgraceful nickname: the Disestablishment. Until food is allowed to be considered medicine once again, orthodox medical can not rightly claim to be interested in healing disease. Thomas Edison left us with a sage premonition of a possible future that may still remain within our grasp, when he wrote:

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of human disease.”

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Decriminalize Freedom

Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal

The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
E.D. Kain

Drug warriors often contend that drug use would skyrocket if we were to legalize or decriminalize drugs in the United States. Fortunately, we have a real-world example of the actual effects of ending the violent, expensive WAR ON DRUGS and replacing it with a system of treatment for problem users and addicts.

Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half:

Health experts in Portugal said Friday that Portugal’s decision 10 years ago to decriminalise drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked.

There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal,” said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law.

The number of addicts considered “problematic” — those who repeatedly use “hard” drugs and intravenous users — had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.

Other factors had also played their part however, Goulao, a medical doctor added.

This development can not only be attributed to decriminalisation but to a confluence of treatment and risk reduction policies.”

Many of these innovative treatment procedures would not have emerged if addicts had continued to be arrested and locked up rather than treated by medical experts and psychologists. Currently 40,000 people in Portugal are being treated for drug abuse. This is a far cheaper, far more humane way to tackle the problem. Rather than locking up 100,000 criminals, the Portuguese are working to cure 40,000 patients and fine-tuning a whole new canon of drug treatment knowledge at the same time.

None of this is possible when waging a war.


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Yes, We CAN-NABIS!

Cannabis plant extracts can effectively fight drug-resistant bacteria.

By NORA SCHULTZ

Substances harvested from cannabis plants could soon outshine conventional antibiotics in the escalating battle against drug-resistant bacteria. The compounds, called cannabinoids, appear to be unaffected by the mechanism that superbugs like MRSA use to evade existing antibiotics. Scientists from Italy and the United Kingdom, who published their research in the Journal of Natural Products last month, say that cannabis-based creams could also be developed to treat persistent skin infections.

Cannabis has long been known to have antibacterial properties and was studied in the 1950s as a treatment for tuberculosis and other diseases. But research into using cannabis as an antibiotic has been limited by poor knowledge of the plant’s active ingredients and by the controversy surrounding its use as a recreational drug.

Now Giovanni Appendino of the Piemonte Orientale University, in Italy, and Simon Gibbons of the School of Pharmacy at the University of London, U.K., have revisited the antibiotic power of marijuana by systematically testing different cannabinoids’ ability to kill MRSA.

MRSA, short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a bacterium that can cause difficult-to-treat infections since it does not respond to many antibiotics. Many healthy people carry S. aureus on their skin, but problems arise when multi-drug-resistant strains infect people with weak immune systems through an open wound. In the worst cases, the bug spreads throughout the body, causing a life-threatening infection.

To make matters worse, resistance to antibiotics is rapidly increasing, and some strains are now even immune to vancomycin, a powerful antibiotic that is normally used only as a last resort when other drugs fail.

But when Appendino, Gibbons, and their colleagues applied extracts from five major cannabinoids to bacterial cultures of six strains of MRSA, they discovered that the cannabinoids were as effective at killing the bugs as vancomycin and other antibiotics.

The cannabinoids even showed exceptional activity against the MRSA strain that makes extra amounts of the proteins that give the bugs resistance against many antibiotics,” says Gibbons. These proteins, he explains, allow the bacteria to “hoover up unwanted things from inside the cell and spit them out again.”

Conveniently, of the five cannabinoids tested by the researchers, the two most effective ones also happen to be nonpsychoactive, meaning that they cannot cause a high. “What this means is, we could use fiber hemp plants that have no use as recreational drugs to cheaply and easily produce potent antibiotics,” says Appendino.

This isn’t the first time Marijuana has been shown to have medical benefits. Recently, the father of a 2 year old boy allegedly healed his son of brain cancer by feeding him medical marijuana.

In an attempt to discover how the cannabinoids kill MRSA, the team manipulated several chemical groups within the compounds. Most of the changes did not affect the antibiotic activity at all, and those that did seemed to influence only how well the cannabinoid is taken up by the bacterial cells.

“Everything points towards these compounds having been evolved by the plants as antimicrobial defenses that specifically target bacterial cells,
” says Gibbons. “But the actual mechanism by which they kill the bugs is still a mystery. We’ve tested whether the cannabinoids affect common antibiotic targets like fatty acid synthesis or the [DNA-bending enzyme] DNA gyrase, but they don’t. I really cannot hazard a guess how they do it, but their high potency as antibiotics suggests there must be a very specific mechanism.”

Appendino and Gibbons say that cannabinoids could quickly be developed as treatments for skin infections, provided the nonpsychoactive varieties are used. “The most practical application of cannabinoids would be as topical agents to treat ulcers and wounds in a hospital environment, decreasing the burden of antibiotics,” says Appendino.

Whether the cannabinoids could also be delivered in the form of an injection or in pills is less clear, the pair says, because they may be inactivated by blood serum.

Frank Bowling of the University of Manchester, who has had success treating MRSA-infected wounds with maggots, says that “any alternative treatment that removes MRSA from the wound and prevents it from spreading into the body is fantastic and preferable to using antibiotics that have strong side effects and against which resistance is already developing.” He cautions, however, that the researchers still need to show that the cannabinoids are safe to use.

This is not something that Appendino is too concerned about: “The topical use of cannabis preparations has a long tradition in European medicine, and no allergies have been reported.”

Mark Rogerson of GW Pharmaceuticals, a U.K.-based company that develops cannabinoid-based drugs to treat severe pain caused by multiple sclerosis and cancer, says that the discovery that cannabinoids kill MRSA “really underlines the potentially great diversity of medical applications that cannabis-based medicine can have. You can almost think of the cannabis plant as a mini pharma industry in its own right.” But Rogerson says that it is unlikely that existing cannabis-based medicines could be used to treat MRSA because the exact effect will depend on the correct combination and dosage of cannabinoids.

Meanwhile, Appendino and Gibbons hope that antibacterial effectiveness could also make cannabinoids suitable preservatives for cosmetics and toiletries. “The golden standards of preservatives are parabens and chlorinated phenols,” says Appendino, but these compounds do not degrade well in the environment and are strongly suspected to be hormonal modifiers. He also argues that, since all major cannabinoids are similarly effective, complete purification of a single compound isn’t necessary. So semipurified cannabinoid mixtures extracted from nonpsychoactive plants could make a cheap and easy alternative to conventional preservatives.

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