Tag Archives: weed

Chemotherapy may “help” Cancer grow!

Chemotherapy can backfire and boost cancer growth: study
AFPAFP –

Cancer-busting chemotherapy can cause damage to healthy cells which triggers them to secrete a protein that sustains tumour growth and resistance to further treatment, a study said Sunday.

Researchers in the United States made the “completely unexpected” finding while seeking to explain why cancer cells are so resilient inside the human body when they are easy to kill in the lab.

They tested the effects of a type of chemotherapy on tissue collected from men with prostate cancer, and found “evidence of DNA damage” in healthy cells after treatment, the scientists wrote in Nature Medicine.

Chemotherapy works by inhibiting reproduction of fast-dividing cells such as those found in tumours.

The scientists found that healthy cells damaged by chemotherapy secreted more of a protein called WNT16B which boosts cancer cell survival.

“The increase in WNT16B was completely unexpected,” study co-author Peter Nelson of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle told AFP.

The protein was taken up by tumour cells neighbouring the damaged cells.

“WNT16B, when secreted, would interact with nearby tumour cells and cause them to grow, invade, and importantly, resist subsequent therapy,” said Nelson.

In cancer treatment, tumours often respond well initially, followed by rapid regrowth and then resistance to further chemotherapy.

Rates of tumour cell reproduction have been shown to accelerate between treatments.

“Our results indicate that damage responses in benign cells… may directly contribute to enhanced tumour growth kinetics,” wrote the team.

The researchers said they confirmed their findings with breast and ovarian cancer tumours.

The result paves the way for research into new, improved treatment, said Nelson.

“For example, an antibody to WNT16B, given with chemotherapy, may improve responses (kill more tumour cells),” he said in an email exchange.

“Alternatively, it may be possible to use smaller, less toxic doses of therapy.”

SOURCE

Colombia decriminalizes pot and coke possession

Colombia decriminalizes pot and coke possession

?Colombia’s highest court has decriminalized possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana. Now, in the nation that holds the dubious distinction of being one of the world’s leading producers of coca leaf, no longer can people be arrested and imprisoned for using these drugs for their own personal use. Anyone caught with their own personal stash of 20 grams of marijuana, or one gram of cocaine, will not be prosecuted. The Supreme Court ruling overturns a 2011 strict drug law enacted by the former government of Alvaro Uribe, which the court declared unconstitutional.

SOURCE

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


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

Custom Search

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

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

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.
Continue Reading
Text Size


+
reset

Listen
Celebs arrive for state dinner
Latest on POLITICO

Sunday shows: Next stop Illinois
Puerto Rico gov: Santorum fumbled
POLITICO Influence: Hitting the Hill
SCOTUS won’t televise health case
Hayes quip a ‘cheap shot,’ says kin
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

Rise in British Cocaine Use May Have Peaked…….maybe

Rise in use of cocaine has peaked, says EU drug agency report

Alan Travis,

According to the EU’s drugs agency, the rise in the use of cocaine across Europe over the past decade has peaked.

The relentless rise in the use of cocaine across Europe over the past decade has peaked as a result of the austere economic climate, according to the European Union’s drug agency.

However, the UK remains at the top of the European league table for cocaine use – as it has for seven out of the last eight years – despite the bubble bursting.

The annual report from the Lisbon-based European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction, published on Tuesday, shows illicit drug use across the EU relatively stable, with positive signs that cocaine use has peaked and cannabis use among young people continuing to decline.

But the agency says this encouraging picture is being offset by new threats from ‘legal highs’ and other synthetic drugs. It says that 39 new substances have been identified so far this year via the European early warning system on top of the 41 notified for the whole of 2010.

There are no signs of decline in their use and more than 150 new substances are being monitored by the authorities.

The EU drugs agency said this rapid appearance of new substances is being driven by a record 600 online retailers willing to despatch an order for what purports to be ‘psychoactive substances’ to at least one other EU state. The total includes 80 online shops selling mephedrone based in the UK.

The July survey that found these retailers also discovered a much wider variety of products. Many also displayed prominent disclaimers such as ‘not for human consumption’ or ‘for use only as plant food’. Others exercised caution by placing restrictions on delivery.

Ireland and Poland have both rapidly passed legislation limiting the open sale of ‘legal highs’. Health inspectors in Poland closed down 1,200 stores last year.

The report says cocaine has established itself over the past decade as the most popular stimulant drug across Europe with more than 4 million people using it every year.

“But the new data presented today raises the question as to whether its popularity has now peaked,
” it adds. “The financial burden associated with regular cocaine use may make it a less attractive option in countries where austerity is now the order of the day.”

Experts say the bubble has burst because the average retail price for cocaine has reached between 50 and 80 euros per gram. There is also a growing recognition of the problems linked to cocaine use that has tarnished its image as an affluent lifestyle drug.

The EU data shows cocaine use by young adults, aged 15 to 34, in the UK has dipped from 6.1% in 2009 to 4.8% in 2010, with similar declines in Spain, Italy and Denmark.

The fall in popularity also echoes recent trends in Canada and the US, which have cocaine popularity levels below those in Britain.

Cannabis remains Europe’s most popular illicit drug with 78 million – or 20% of all Europeans – having tried it. Around 22.5 million Europeans used cannabis in the last year but its popularity is in sharp decline among schoolchildren.

A link with declining levels of cigarette smoking, changing fashions and the easy availability of other drugs may all lie behind the decline, said the experts. The proportion of schoolchildren in England who have ever tried cannabis has almost halved from 40% in 2000 to 22% last year.

Wolfgang Gotz, the EU drugs agency director, said the drugs market was quick to adapt to threats and opportunities: “This is reflected, not only in the sheer number of new substances appearing on the market, but also in their diversity and in how they are produced, distributed and marketed,” he said.

“We need a proactive strategy that allows us to identify new drugs and emerging trends so that we can anticipate their potential implications.”

He warned that individual national efforts were likely to prove ineffective without a co-ordinated response across Europe.

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

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.

SOURCE

Toke of the Town

Lawmakers to introduce bill to legalize marijuana

AFPBy Luis Robayo | AFP –

A group of US representatives plan to introduce legislation that will legalize marijuana and allow states to legislate its use, pro-marijuana groups said Wednesday.

The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, and allow people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal.

The bill, which is expected to be introduced on Thursday by Republican Representative Ron Paul and Democratic Representative Barney Frank, would be the first ever legislation designed to end the federal ban on marijuana. Ron Paul and Barney Frank have teamed up to introduce legislation legalizing marijuana. Not decriminalizing it, but actually totally legalizing it.

It is being billed as “bipartisan legislation” but Ron Paul is the only Republican co-sponsor. According to the Marijuana Policy Project: “The legislation is the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.”

On this, the 40th anniversary of the WAR ON DRUGS, basically every thinking person agrees that marijuana prohibition is an expensive failure. Will this bill even get a floor debate in the House of Representatives?

Sixteen of the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

But planting, selling or commercially distributing marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Last year, California citizens voted not to legalize recreational marijuana use, although the debate continues in about half a dozen other states.

Three weeks ago a group of ex-presidents of Latin America as well as former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan denounced the failure of the global war on drugs and called for urgent changes, including the legalization of cannabis.

Between 1998 and 2008, worldwide consumption of opiates increased 35 percent, with cocaine use growing 27 percent and marijuana use growing 8.5 percent, according to the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

June marks the 40th anniversary of the “WAR ON DRUGS” launched by President Richard Nixon in 1970, the first major US anti-drug initiative.

SOURCE

If at first you don’t succeed……throw another billion at it.

Name one government program that for 40 years has failed to achieve any of its goals, yet receives bigger and bigger budgets every year. If you said “the War on Drugs,” you’ve been paying attention.

The Obama Administration is unable to show that the billions of dollar spent in the WAR ON DRUGS have significantly affected the flow of illicit substances into the United States, according to two government reports and outside experts.

The reports specifically criticize the government’s growing use of U.S. contractors, which were paid more than $3 billion to train local prosecutors and police, help eradicate coca fields, and operate surveillance equipment in the battle against the expanding drug trade in Latin America over the past five years, reports Brian Bennett of the Los Angeles Times.

“We are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who chairs the Senate subcommittee that wrote one of the reports, which was released on Wednesday.

Professor Bruce Bagley, University of Miami: “I think we have wasted our money hugely”

?”I think we have wasted our money hugely,” said Bruce Bagley, an expert in U.S. anti-narcotics efforts. “The effort has had corrosive effects on every country it has touched,” said Bagley, who chairs international studies at the University of Miami at Coral Gables, Florida.

Predictably, Obama Administration officials deny reports that U.S. efforts have failed to reduce drug production and smuggling in Latin America.

White House officials claim the expanding U.S. anti-drug effort occupies a “growing portion” of time for President Obama’s national security team, even though it doesn’t get many Congressional hearings or headlines.

The majority of wasted American counter-narcotics dollars are awarded to five big corporations: DynCorp, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, ITT and ARINC, according to the report for the contracting oversight committee, part of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Counter-narcotics contract spending increased by 32 percent over the five-year period from $482 million in 2005 to $635 million in 2009. Falls Church, Va., based DynCorp got the biggest piece of the wasted pie, a whopping $1.1 billion.

Sen. Claire McCaskill: “We are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return”

?These contractors have plenty of ways to waste your tax money. They train local police and investigators in anti-drug methods, provide logistical support to intelligence collection centers, and fly airplanes and helicopters that spray herbicides to supposedly eradicate coca crops grown to produce cocaine.

The Department of Defense has wasted $6.1 billion of tax money since 2005 to help spot planes and boats headed north to the U.S. with drug payloads, as well as on surveillance and other intelligence operations.

Some of the expenses are “difficult to characterize,” according to Senate staff members, which is government-speak for “OK, you caught us wasting money again.” The Army wasted $75,000 for paintball supplies for “training exercises” in 2007, for example, and $5,000 for what the military listed as “rubber ducks.

The “ducks” are rubber replicas of M-16 rifles that are used in training exercises, a Pentagon spokesman claimed.

Even the Defense Department described its own system for tracking these contracts as “error prone,” according to the Senate report, which also says the department doesn’t have reliable data about “how successful” its efforts have been. Go figure.

In a separate report last month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, there is the conclusion that the State Department “does not have a centralized inventory of counter-narcotics contracts” and said the department does not evaluate the overall success of its counter-narcotics program.

“It’s become increasingly clear that our efforts to rein in the narcotics trade in Latin America, especially as it relates to the government’s use of contractors, have largely failed,” Sen. McCaskill said.

The latest criticism of the United States’ War On Drugs comes just a week after a high-profile group of world leaders called the global Drug War a costly failure.

The group, which included former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and past presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, recommended that regional governments try legalizing and regulating drugs to help stop the flood of cash going to drug cartels and other organized crime groups.

US protects the Drug Trade

James Gregory, a Pentagon spokesman, demonstrated his willingness to lie his ass off by claiming the Defense Department’s efforts against drugs “have been among the most successful and cost-effective programs” in decades.

“By any reasonable assessment, the U.S. has received ample strategic national security benefits in return for its investments in this area,
” said Gregory, who seems to inhabit a particularly improbable alternate reality.

Back in the real world, the only effects most objective observers can see run along these lines: Backed by the United States, Mexico’s stepped-up Drug War has had the unintended effect of pushing drug cartels deeper into Central America, causing violence to soar in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Another effect has been the vast expansion of Orwellain surveillance technology, supposedly to combat drugs, but ever-so-useful to the authoritarian regimes in Central America (and in the United States) in suppressing dissent.

The U.S. is currently focusing on improving its efforts to intercept cellphone and Internet traffic (of “drug cartels,” yeah right) in the region, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

During a visit to El Salvador in February, William Brownfield, the head of the State Department’s anti-drug programs, opened a wiretapping center in San Salvador, as well as an office to share fingerprints and other data with U.S. law enforcement.

SOURCE