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Feature: Signature Gathering for 2010 Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Initiative Suspended, Poor Poll Results Cited

An initiative that would have provided for the nation's first legal, regulated sale of marijuana for personal use is on hold. The organizers of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA) announced last weekend that they were suspending signature gathering for the proposed 2010 initiative after it did poorly in initial polling.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/octalogo.jpg
OCTA campaign logo
But while the OCTA is down, it may not be out. Organizers are suggesting they may be back with a rewrite in time to still make the 2010 ballot.

"We have suspended the OCTA campaign after completing our polling," Oregon NORML head Madeline Martinez confirmed to the Chronicle. "Although the numbers were not too bad, not far from a win."

Martinez and Oregon NORML had joined forces with D. Paul Stanford's The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THC Foundation) and its political action committee, the Committee for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) to promote the initiative. Stanford was traveling and unavailable for comment this week.

The OCTA would have been groundbreaking. It provides for the state liquor commission (to be renamed the Oregon Cannabis and Liquor Control Commission) to license the cultivation of marijuana for sale in state liquor stores and its purchase by adults. It authorizes hemp growing, which would be outside the purview of the commission. It allows for the non-commercial personal growing of marijuana. It provides for the sale at cost to pharmacies and medical research facilities of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

But OCTA as written wasn't selling itself to potential voters, said Dr. Rick Bayer, chief petitioner for the 1998 OMMA. The initial polling results proved as much, he said. Neither the ballot title nor the summary of the initiative won majorities.

The ballot title and summary, written by the state attorney general, are as follows:

Ballot Title: Permits State-Licensed Cultivation of Marijuana, Sale of Marijuana to Adults Through State Liquor Stores

Results Of "Yes" Vote: "Yes" vote permits state-licensed cultivation of marijuana and sale to adults through state liquor stores; ninety percent of net proceeds to state general fund.

Results Of "No" Vote: "No" vote retains all existing prohibitions against the cultivation, manufacture, possession, and delivery of marijuana; retains current statues that permit regulated use of marijuana.

Summary: Current law prohibits cultivation, manufacture, possession, and delivery of marijuana, but permits regulated medical use of marijuana. Proposed measure replaces state, local marijuana laws exept driving under the influence laws. Directs renamed Oregon Cannabis and Liquor Control Commission to license marijuana cultivation by qualified persons and to purchase entire crop. Commission sells marijuana at cost to pharmacies and medical research facilities for medical purposes, and to qualified adults for profit through state liquor stores. Ninety percent of net proceeds goes to state general fund; smaller percentages for education, drug abuse treatment, promotion of hemp products. Bans sales to, and possession by, minors. Bans public consumption except where signs permit and minors barred. Commission to regulate illicit use, set price, other duties. Provides penalties. Other provisions.

"The OCTA ballot title, saying nothing about hemp, was politically unattractive," said Bayer, who had access to detailed polling results. "The ballot title alone polled 30%. Reading the summary, a far better -- but longer -- description of the OCTA, raised supporters to 39%. Telling people about the hemp part and re-polling the ballot title raised supporters to 42%."

That's not good enough, said Bayer. "Tax & Regulate polling at 42% if it had a good ballot title is the best I can make it. Even though 42% is good compared to the national average for tax & regulate, it won't win. These stats had a 95% confidence level or +/- 5%, so the results seem pretty reliable. Even to the most statistically challenged, it was clear that OCTA was not going to win."

But that doesn't mean OCTA is going away, said Martinez. "We know we can easily improve the language and poll very well during this economic crisis and refile in plenty of time for 2010," she reported. "We are very busy now rewriting, re-polling and refiling."

Of course, OCTA isn't the only game in town when it comes to Oregon and marijuana. Recent legislative sessions have featured battles over efforts to gut the OMMA, with more set to come next year. And at least one other group is looking at a medical marijuana initiative for 2010.

"I think it is a reasonable decision after they got polling results that showed it would be a difficult political environment to pass in 2010," said Anthony Johnson, political director for Voter Power, the group that directed the successful OMMA initiative campaign a decade ago and which is now gathering signatures to put a dispensary initiative, Initiative 28, on the 2010 ballot. "This may possibly free up resources and energy to help us get I-28 on the ballot for 2010."

Voter Power is currently trying to get the money together to do similar polling on its initiative, especially in the face of criticism that it could somehow threaten the OMMA. But that hasn't happened yet.

Both OCTA and Voter Power's dispensary initiative have their supporters and detractors in the state's fractious marijuana movement. In addition to tensions between medical marijuana activists and patients and full-out legalizers, the medical marijuana community itself is rife with factionalism and sniping. But it isn't just the marijuana community or the medical marijuana community that needs to be sold on either OCTA or the dispensary initiative -- it's the Oregon electorate.

Feature: NORML Does Berkeley

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) held its 37th annual conference last weekend in Berkeley, California, and what better locale than the pot-friendly San Francisco Bay area? Just across the bay from San Francisco, just a few miles up the road from Oakland's Oaksterdam, just a couple of hours down US 101 from Northern California's marijuana-growing epicenter, Berkeley is the kind of place where NORML is, well, normal.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/normlposter08.jpg
conference poster
The setting, too, was superb, in a hotel on the Berkeley marina, with views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline to one side and the Berkeley hills to the other. Hotel employees and security guards limited their policing to making sure people smoking stayed away from building entrances: "We don't care what you're smoking, just don't do it within 25 feet of the door," they pleaded.

Tie-dyed, long-haired, pot-bellied, aging-hippy mountain pot growers proudly bearing mason jars full of their best home-grown buds rubbed shoulders with suit-and-tie East Coast politicos. Research scientists mingled with hard-core legalizers. Media types met media critics. Lonely activists from the far provinces found their movement peers... and realized they were not alone. And loads of remarkably normal looking people roamed the halls, perused the vendors' tables, listened to conference sessions, and periodically wandered out back to join the non-stop medicating and just plain relaxing going on in the outdoors (in accordance with California's strict anti-smoking laws).

Compared to some other drug reform conferences, with their dizzying array of panels, often four or five at the same time, the NORML conference agenda was blessedly succinct. For the most part, it was one session per time block. On Friday, it was "Pot, Politics 2008 and Beyond," "The Legal Marijuana Generation -- Growing Up and Raising Children in the Age of Legal Pot," "Getting the Story Wrong -- How the Media Lie About Cannabis," followed by a trio of breakout sessions on activism Friday afternoon. On Saturday, it was "What if We Arrested 20 Million Americans -- and No One Noticed?," "The Politics of Marijuana and Health," lunch with a keynoted speech by California Assemblyman Mark Leno (D), "Drug Testing and Cannabis Use: The Case Against Legally Sanctioned Discrimination Via Forensics," and "Oaksterdam, USA (Cannabis Freedom is Closer Than You Think)," "Pot Culture." Sunday was devoted to sessions on setting up and operating dispensaries in California.

"This is not your parent's prohibition," said NORML board chair Steve Dillon, quickly hitting the conference's theme in his remarks opening the event. "It's much worse, much more costly. It's costing us the loss of freedom, our property, and our access to compassionate care. But marijuana prohibition is doomed to fail," he said to cheers. "It's totally illogical and counterproductive to continue to try to prohibit marijuana, but our government will have to be forced to end prohibition. We must elect new leaders and restore our damaged Constitution," he said.

"Marijuana prohibition is deeper and more entrenched than ever," said NORML executive director Alan St. Pierre, reprising the theme. "We'll be arresting a million people a year for pot by 2010 or 2012," he predicted. Marijuana prohibition is becoming harsher and more intensive."

But the prospects for positive change are the best in decades, St. Pierre argued. "If Barack Obama is elected, we will have the best chance for reform in the past 35 or 40 years. Maybe we can actually have an MD for a drug czar, or maybe Dr. Ethan Nadelmann," he daydreamed, to loud applause.

Also speaking at the opening session was Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington, who told the crowd it will take a long, hard, social, cultural, political, and legal battle to do away with "these stupid, absurd, insane marijuana policies." The people are way ahead of the politicians on marijuana legalization he said, urging people to put the pressure on their elected officials.

The day's second session, on the current state and future of marijuana reform politics was wide-ranging, with topics being discussed including the lowest priority initiative in Fayetteville, Arkansas, California Attorney General Jerry Brown's recent directive to law enforcement on medical marijuana, and the role of local activists in fending off an electoral backlash in Mendocino County. The session also saw attention to the big picture, with Drug Policy Alliance head Ethan Nadelmann, Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) head Rob Kampia, and Oregon NORML head Madelyn Martinez discussing current and future state-level efforts. (See a detailed story on those plans here.)

An especially illuminating panel took place Friday afternoon, with former NORML head and MarijuanaNews.com founder Richard Cowan moderating a panel on the press that included NORML's Paul Armentano, MPP direction of communications Bruce Mirken, Oregon activist and XM talk radio host "Radical Russ" Belville, and long-time pot beat reporter Ann Harrison. "We've been lied to and lied about," snorted Cowan, as he prepared to get out of the way and let the panelists explain how and why.

Armentano shone with a dissection of press coverage of the results of scientific studies on marijuana. "Less than 5% of cannabis studies are reported at all by the mainstream media," he noted, citing hard numbers from last year, "and those the media does focus on are the studies that focus on the dangers. Studies with health findings that do not support the dangers of cannabis are typically ignored," he added, listing a number of studies and how and with what frequency they were reported.

Armentano also created a typology of marijuana reporting in the mainstream press. "News reports must have alarmist headlines," he enumerated. "They must be based on press releases prior to publication of the actual research. They must be highly selective. And they must make no reference to earlier contradictory data."

Belville echoed Armentano's analysis of marijuana story types, presenting a list of common pot stories: "It's not your mother's marijuana," "Medical Marijuana Can Cause Adverse Effects, Researchers Say," "Teen Marijuana Use Linked to Later Illness."

Citing the work of political theorist George Lakeoff, Belville then explained how such headlines fit into a "frame," or pre-designed narrative form in which marijuana is associated with vice and filthy hippies. "We have to change the frame," he said in his finest radio announcer voice. "Say cannabis instead of marijuana -- it doesn't have all the bad associations."

Although Ann Harrison has now moved to working on human rights issues, the veteran reporter had plenty of advice for journalists continuing to cover the marijuana. "There was a surge in 2007 marijuana arrests in California," she noted. "What are the costs? How much are the feds paying? That's what reporters need to be asking." But reporters need to find that human angle, she reminded. "Stories run on emotion," Harrison said.

MPP's Mirken had advice on how to influence the media, especially when unhappy with its coverage of the marijuana issue. "Start with the reporter, be polite, take a positive approach, and be specific and factual with your complaint," he said. "Perhaps he will make a retraction or positively update the story, perhaps not. But the idea is to start establishing relationships" that can guide the reporter in the right direction, he said.

An exhaustive recounting of all the conference sessions is beyond the scope of this article. Readers who want more should check out the NORML blog and others who blogged on the conference, because there is much much more that was worthwhile and informative there.

Feature: Beyond 2008 -- Looking Past the November US Elections

With the November 4 elections now less than two weeks away, most people, drug reformers included, are focused on the near term. Drug reformers in particular are watching with great interest as Michigan voters decide on medical marijuana, Massachusetts voters decide on marijuana decriminalization, and California voters decide whether to approve a groundbreaking treatment-not-jail initiative.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/decrim-chart-mpp08.jpg
(chart appears courtesy MPP)
But some are looking past next month's elections and plotting the future of drug reform. Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project is one of them. At last weekend's National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) conference in Berkeley, Kampia laid out his vision for the next few years.

But before that, he bluntly predicted success in Massachusetts and Michigan. "We are looking at a pair of major victories on November 4," he told the cheering crowd.

With a dozen medical marijuana states already and Michigan poised to be the breakthrough state in the Midwest, MPP will be aiming at placing medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot in three more states in 2010 -- Ohio, Massachusetts, and Arizona, Kampia said.

He also listed nine states where MPP is working to move medical marijuana forward through the legislative process. In four of them -- Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New York -- significant progress has already been made, and MPP will attempt to build on that. In five other states -- Delaware, Iowa, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia -- work is just getting started in the legislature.

How successful MPP will be in the near future depends greatly on the outcome of next month's national election, warned MPP communications director Bruce Mirken. "The overarching thing is we will push ahead with as much of this as we can, but it will all be affected by next month's election," he said. "That will either give us a major push or make our lives much more complicated. We're hopeful it will be the former."

But regardless of what happens in November, MPP will also be returning to Nevada in what would be a third bid to actually legalize marijuana possession there. "We will try to file a legalization initiative in Nevada in 2012," Kampia said.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/medmj-chart-mpp08.jpg
(chart appears courtesy MPP)
"Nevada is definitely on the agenda," said Mirken. "We've always considered Nevada to be an ongoing project, we got significantly closer on our last attempt, and we're definitely looking at going back."

One clear sign of MPP's intentions in Nevada is their latest hiring announcement. It includes five positions in the state.

MPP isn't the only national reform organization eyeing the future. "We have a lot planned," said Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) executive director Ethan Nadelmann, "but the bigger question right now is what will happen with California's Proposition 5 (related story here). It contains a marijuana decriminalization provision, and if it passes, it will affect a larger number of people than any decrim measure ever."

But while the outcome of Prop. 5 will have an immediate impact, it will also set the course for DPA's future work in the Golden State. "What we do next in California depends on Prop. 5," he said.

Whatever happens in California, DPA will be continuing to work on medical marijuana legislative efforts in three states -- Alabama, Connecticut, and New Jersey -- as well as implementing the hard-won New Mexico medical marijuana law's distribution provisions, and working with local activists in Maine to get a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot there. The Connecticut legislature passed a medical marijuana bill last year, only to see it vetoed by Republican Gov. Jodi Rell. None of the efforts in the other states have gotten that far yet.

"We will go back and push for medical marijuana in Connecticut," said Nadelmann. "But again, it will depend on our ability to get Gov. Rell to be more flexible. Our legislative sponsor in Alabama has said she is prepared to run with it again, and our New Jersey office has lined up a bunch of legislators to support medical marijuana," he added.

Meanwhile, while MPP is eyeing another legalization run in Nevada four years from now, activists in Oregon's fractious cannabis community are preparing a pair of competing initiatives for the 2010 ballot. Oregon NORML is working on the Oregon Tax Act of 2010, which would regulate and tax adult sales, license the cultivation of marijuana for sale in state-run liquor stores and adults-only businesses, allow for adults to grow their own and farmers to grow hemp without a license, and remove taxation from medical marijuana.

While the Tax Act would do away with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) by rendering it redundant, Voter Power, the group of activists who got OMMA passed a decade ago, have their own initiative in the works. The Voter Power initiative would allow for dispensaries and Patient Resource Centers (PRCs) to sell smokeable marijuana, edibles, tinctures, and lozenges to patients, for growers to legally sell marijuana to dispensaries and PRCs, and for 10% of gross revenues to go back into the Oregon Medial Marijuana Program.

But wait, there's more: According to Kampia, the ACLU is organizing for decriminalization efforts in Montana and Washington, and activists in five additional states -- Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin -- are working on medical marijuana efforts in their state legislatures.

Right now, all eyes are on November 4, but reforming the drug laws is a work in process, and that process is set to advance in the coming years.

Press Release: Hemp Advocates Ask Pro-Hemp Hedge Fund Manager for Help

[Courtesy of Hemp Industries Association] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 21, 2008 CONTACT: Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671 or adam@votehemp.com Hemp Advocates to Andrew Lahde: “Can You Spare a Million to Make Your Vision Reality?” Hemp Food and Body Care Sales Stronger than Ever in 2008 U.S. Farmers Suing DEA to Grow Hemp are Back in Court November 12 BOSTON, MA – The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a trade association made up of hundreds of hemp businesses meeting in Boston today, is appealing to millionaire retired hedge fund manager Andrew Lahde to use a portion of his recent windfall made betting against sub-prime mortgage-backed securities to help bring back hemp farming in the United States. Mr. Lahde garnered media attention for stating in a resignation letter that hemp is needed as an alternative food and energy source and should be grown again in the U.S. “Mr. Lahde’s perspective is right on the money,” says HIA out-going President David Bronner. Retail sales of hemp food and body care products in the United States have continued to set record sales over the past twelve months, according to new data released by the HIA. The strong sales of popular hemp items like non-dairy milk, shelled hemp seed, soaps and lotions have occurred against the backdrop of state-licensed hemp farmers in North Dakota fighting a high stakes legal battle against DEA to grow hemp for U.S. manufacturers. The new sales data validates U.S. farmers’ position that they are being left out of the lucrative hemp market that Canadian farmers have cashed in on for eleven years. The sales data, collected by the market research firm SPINS, was obtained from natural food retailers only, excluding Whole Foods Market and mass-market food and pharmacy stores, and thus under-represents actual sales by a factor of two to three. The new report shows that hemp grocery sales grew in the sampled stores by 65% over the previous year (from August 2007 to August 2008), or by $2.4 million, to a total of $6.12 million. Based on the representative growth of this sample, the HIA Food and Oil Committee now estimates that the total retail value of hemp foods sold over the past 12 months in North America grew from $20 million last year to approximately $33 million this year. In addition, the SPINS data show that sales of hemp body care products grew 10% over the past 12 months in the sampled stores to $12.24 million. Due to the large hemp body care line sold by The Body Shop, as well as the fact that many unreported leading mass-market brands of sun tan lotion and sunscreen products include hemp oil, the HIA estimates the total retail value of North American hemp body care sales to be at least $80 million. “Farmers who want to grow hemp to support the steady double-digit growth are mad as ever about being shut out by our backward federal government,” says Mr. Bronner, who makes Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and uses hemp oil in all his top-selling products. “The HIA is confident that the total North American hemp food and body care market over the last 12 months accounted for at least $100 million in retail sales,” adds Mr. Bronner. Over the last three years, hemp food sales have averaged 47% annual growth, making hemp one of the fastest-growing natural food categories. "Last fall we expected the double-digit growth of the hemp food sector to continue in 2008, as the excitement about hemp milk had led to more brands in the market," comments Eric Steenstra, HIA Executive Director. "We project that growth in the markets for hemp food and body care will keep pace into 2009,” says Steenstra. CORRECTION: In Mr. Lahde’s letter, he said that; “Hemp is the ‘male plant’ [metaphorically speaking, hemp is, like the male Cannabis plant, useless as a drug] and it grows like a weed, hence the slang term." This is not quite correct, however, as hemp is both female and male, but is distinct from the drug varieties of Cannabis because it contains virtually no THC, the chemical that generates a high. # # #

Hemp Industries Association (HIA) Annual General Meeting

Even though it has been over 50 years since the last commercial hemp crop was grown in the United States, a financially viable and environmentally sustainable hemp industry not only exists here today, but is thriving. Business leaders of the worldwide hemp industry will meet to map out plans for bringing back hemp farming in the United States, to present updates on current industry developments, and to share new data about expanding markets. The HIA annual meeting comes on the tail-end of the Natural Products Expo East, taking place October 15-18 also in Boston. Hemp companies are regular exhibitors at the Natural Products Expo, an event attended by thousands of retail buyers for natural food stores, distributors and brokers. Featured speakers at this year’s HIA Annual General Meeting include: Mario Machnicki, Managing Director, American Limetec: “Hemcrete® and the Potential Market for Hemp in Building Construction” Alex White Plume, Pine Ridge Hemp Project: “The Lakota Hemp Building Project & Efforts to Grow Hemp at Pine Ridge” Amy Shollenberger, Executive Director, Rural Vermont: “The ‘Hemp for Vermont’ Bill: How to Successfully Pass State Hemp Legislation” Anndrea Hermann, Executive Director, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance: “Canadian Update” Barbara Filippone, EnviroTextiles: “Hemp Textiles Update” Bernd Frank, Managing Director, BaFa GmbH: “Industrial Hemp in the EU: Experiences and Future Prospects” Carl Hedberg, Consultant & Editor: “The Entrepreneurial Mindset in Mission-Driven Enterprises” (based on the top-selling book on entrepreneurship) Christina Volgyesi, Living Harvest: “The Hemp Foods Market & Consumer Studies Update” Gero Leson, Leson & Associates: “Nutritional Assessment of Hemp Foods and the TestPledge Program” David Bronner, President, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps: “Hemp Industry and Legal Update” For more information including registration, see http://www.thehia.org/2008convention.html or contact Tom Murphy at 207-542-4998 or tom@thehia.org, or Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671 or adam@votehemp.com.
Date: 
Sun, 10/19/2008 - 4:00pm - Mon, 10/20/2008 - 9:00pm
Location: 
891 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA
United States

Press Release: Conference Explores All Aspects of Versatile Hemp Plant

Press Release: October 1, 2008 CONTACT: Tom Murphy 207-542-4998 or tom@thehia.org, or Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671 or adam@votehemp.com Hemp Industries Association Gathers in Boston October 19-20 for Annual Meeting New Data on Growth of Hemp Food and Body Care Markets to be Released Conference Explores All Aspects of Versatile Hemp Plant Boston, MA – Even though it has been over 50 years since the last commercial hemp crop was grown in the United States, a financially viable and environmentally sustainable hemp industry not only exists here today, but is thriving. Business leaders of the worldwide hemp industry will meet in Boston, Massachusetts on October 19-20 to map out plans for bringing back hemp farming in the United States, to present updates on current industry developments, and to share new data about expanding markets. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) Annual General Meeting will be held at the Best Western Roundhouse Suites, located at 891 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. The HIA annual meeting comes on the tail-end of the Natural Products Expo East, taking place October 15-18 also in Boston. Hemp companies are regular exhibitors at the Natural Products Expo, an event attended by thousands of retail buyers for natural food stores, distributors and brokers. Featured speakers at this year’s HIA Annual General Meeting include: Mario Machnicki, Managing Director, American Limetec: “Hemcrete® and the Potential Market for Hemp in Building Construction” Alex White Plume, Pine Ridge Hemp Project: “The Lakota Hemp Building Project & Efforts to Grow Hemp at Pine Ridge” Amy Shollenberger, Executive Director, Rural Vermont: “The ‘Hemp for Vermont’ Bill: How to Successfully Pass State Hemp Legislation” Anndrea Hermann, Executive Director, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance: “Canadian Update” Barbara Filippone, EnviroTextiles: “Hemp Textiles Update” Bernd Frank, Managing Director, BaFa GmbH: “Industrial Hemp in the EU: Experiences and Future Prospects” Carl Hedberg, Consultant & Editor: “The Entrepreneurial Mindset in Mission-Driven Enterprises” (based on the top-selling book on entrepreneurship) Christina Volgyesi, Living Harvest: “The Hemp Foods Market & Consumer Studies Update” Gero Leson, Leson & Associates: “Nutritional Assessment of Hemp Foods and the TestPledge Program” David Bronner, President, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps: “Hemp Industry and Legal Update” # # # More information can be found online at www.thehia.org. An embargoed sneak preview of sales data to be released is available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671 or adam@votehemp.com.
Location: 
Boston, MA
United States

Second Hemp Throw Down

This is the Hemp Throw Down, sister festival to the Hemp Hoe Down. HTD will feature hemp food from the Organibis Kitchen, hemp milk from Living Harvest, hemp beer from Dempsey’s Brewery in Watertown, SD, hemp gear from the Hempire, and hemp t-shirts from the Natural Selection. FRIDAY SEPT. 19 Friday’s lineup includes music from Seeds & Stems (hip-hop reggae – Casper, WY), Sequoia and the Modern Day Warriors (blues/rock/Lakota rap – Rapid City, SD), Half Grass (2 man blue grass – Spearfish, SD), DJ Manatea (ragga jungle – Casper, WY), M.C. Alphamatic (funky rap – Casper, WY), and Better Than Prozac (progressive acid punk – Belle Fouche, SD). The ticket price for Sept. 19 is $10 at the gate. SATURDAY SEPT. 20 Saturday’s lineup will feature Solspectre (funky jam band – Minneapolis, MN) with former RC native Aaron Burkee, Von Veeder Veld (psychedelic experimental rock – RC, SD), Jolly Llamas (reggae folk – RC, SD), Tommy the Silent (guitar folk – Spearfish, SD), and Dog War (reggae’ n’ drums – RC, SD). Entry for Sept. 20 is $15 at the gate. All entrance fees include free camping. Kids 12 and under are free. Friendly dogs are allowed on a leash. No drugs or outside alcohol are allowed. The Hemp Throw Down and Lakota Hemp Days are produced by Keefe Green Productions. Tickets, links to the bands, and additional information may be obtained at http://www.hemphoedown.com and http://www.kizapark.com. Contact Jeremy Briggs for information about this event, if necessary, at 605-484-1806 or keefegreen@yahoo.com.
Date: 
Fri, 09/19/2008 - 12:00pm - Sat, 09/20/2008 - 8:00pm
Location: 
North side of I-90, Exit 37, 5 miles South of Sturgis
SD
United States

Press Release: Hemp Foods Do Not Interfere with Drug Testing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, August 25, 2008 CONTACT: Tom Murphy at 207-542-4998 or tom@thehia.org, Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671 or adam@votehemp.com Hemp Foods Do Not Interfere with Drug Testing HIA Clarifies Journal of Analytical Toxicology Report San Francisco, CA – The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) is pleased that the authors of a new report in the July/August 2008 issue of the Journal of Analytical Toxicology (JAT), titled ”∆9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Content of Commercially Available Hemp Products” (2008, Vol. 32, pages 428-432), found that “the amount of THC present in commercially available [hemp] products is significantly less in products available today” and that eating hemp foods “should not be considered as a realistic cause for a positive urine analysis result.” The HIA does believe, however, that using August 1, 2001 would have been a better cut-off date for the test results than using April 21, 2003 when assessing progress made by the industry. The earlier date would have been better, as it represents the official start of the HIA’s TestPledge program. TestPledge is a hemp food industry self-regulation program that implemented trace THC standards which are lower (and thus more stringent) than the Health Canada protocol for THC. The earlier date is also prior to the DEA’s publication of the “Exemption from Control of Certain Industrial Products and Materials Derived from the Cannabis Plant” (Federal Register, Vol. 66, No. 195) on Tuesday, October 9, 2001. The TestPledge program alleviates concerns by consumers that eating hemp nut or hemp oil products may cause confirmed positive drug tests. TestPledge also dispels concerns regarding hemp oil body care products topically applied to the skin. TestPledge companies commit to implementing quality control measures which limit the amount of trace residual THC in hemp nut and oil, thus eliminating the risk of confirmed positive drug tests and any interference with workplace drug testing. The TestPledge program is based on a study of trace THC in hemp food products that was conducted by Leson Environmental Consulting of Berkeley, California. A study summary was published in July 2000 and is available on the TestPledge Web site at http://www.testpledge.com/answers.htm. The final study, titled “Evaluating the Impact of Hemp Food Consumption on Workplace Drug Tests,” was published in 2001 in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology (2001, Vol. 25, pages 691-698). Hemp foods are made from low-THC oilseed varieties of industrial hemp, most of which are grown in Canada and are on the Health Canada List of Approved Cultivars. Cannabis-flavored candies are made with Cannabis flower essential oil (CFEO), also known as hemp essential oil, which is obtained from steam distillation of the flowers and upper leaves of the Cannabis plant. CFEO should not be confused with hemp oil, also known as hemp seed oil, which is a vegetable oil that is derived from the seeds of low-THC varieties of industrial hemp. Members of the HIA pledge to conduct their business in the hemp industry within the HIA guidelines for ethical business practices, including accuracy in labeling. These business practices preclude the use of drug slang and other marketing gimmicks that may give the “impression of illegality for a rebellious younger generation.” To that end, the HIA issued a Legal Advisory re: Hemp Essential Fragrance on February 24, 2004 and also formally advised its members on February 1, 2007 not to stock products made with CFEO. Such sales and marketing may result in public confusion concerning bona fide hemp seed and oil used in safe, healthy foods that are intentionally marketed so as to avoid having anything to do with drugs. # # #

Feature: Seattle's Hempfest Again Draws Multitudes in Celebration of Cannabis Culture

Last Saturday and Sunday, Seattle's Myrtle Edwards Park, a mile-long strip of land fronting Puget Sound just north of downtown, once again played host to the Seattle Hempfest. And once again, the Hempfest lived up to its reputation as the world's largest marijuana "protestival."

With a core staff of around a hundred, led by the indefatigable Vivian McPeak, and about a thousand volunteers who worked to set up the event, keep it running smoothly, and tear it all down at the end of the weekend, Hempfest is not only a celebration of cannabis culture but also the living embodiment of the grassroots cooperative activism that has flourished for years in Seattle.

From its beginnings as a small pro-hemp event 17 years ago, Hempfest has become the coming out party for America's cannabis nation, which in Seattle includes not only youthful stoners, wizened hippies, and Mr. Bong Head (a guy wearing a working bong contraption on his head), but punks, Goths, ravers, uncostumed twenty- and thirty-somethings, families with children in strollers, and -- the biggest cannabis celebrity in town -- travel writer Rick Steves. Steves once again called for the US to follow the lead of Europe in relaxing marijuana laws.

Over the event's two-day span, an estimated 150,000+ people showed up to see and be seen, listen to four stages worth of live music, peruse the hundreds of vendors' stands for the newest technologies and best buys on glass pipes, t-shirts, hemp items, and other pot-related accoutrements and accessories.

And to get high in public with their comrades. Seattle police have for years now had an accommodation with Hempfest, even more so since the city's voters told law enforcement very clearly in 2003 that marijuana should be the city's lowest law enforcement priority. Police were on the scene, patrolling the park's sidewalks in pairs, but appeared oblivious to the open pot-smoking going on all over the place.

In effect, Hempfest is not only the largest marijuana protestival in the world, it is also a massive act of civil disobedience. Even though Seattle has its lowest priority policy and Washington state has decriminalized pot possession, marijuana use and possession is still against the law. As one speaker addressed the crowd, pointing out this fact and telling listeners that despite all the progress they had made, they were still criminals, the crowd responded with an enormous cheer.

The only real tension at Hempfest occurred when a small group of sign-holding fundamentalist preachers berated the passing crowds, telling them they were going to hell for their sins. That sparked occasional heated discussions. At one point Saturday, Hempfest organizers were heard threatening to send a squad of transgender people to scare off the fanatics.

Some Hempfest attendees took a break from browsing, shopping, and listening to music to actually listen to between-band speeches by activists calling for further marijuana law reform. While decriminalization and legalization were predictably common themes, this year's Hempfest emphasized two other issues: The promotion of hemp and the battle over Washington state's medical marijuana law, especially the ongoing fight over what are appropriate quantities of marijuana allowable for patients. The state is currently tangling with patients and advocates over what constitutes a minimum 60-day supply of their medicine. An earlier proposal called for 35 ounces of marijuana, but Gov. Christine Gregoire sought a review of that, and the state is now recommending a 24-ounce limit.

Besides between-band speeches, political activism also took place throughout Hempfest at the Hemposium tent, although in an indication of the role politics played in the larger festival, crowds in the tent numbered in the dozens, as opposed to the tens of thousands listening to music.

"Every single patient I know will not be in compliance with the 60-day rule. It's not going to work. It's driven by law enforcement, not science," said Douglas Hiatt, a lawyer who represents medical-marijuana users, as he spoke at one of the Hemposium sessions. Hiatt was among the activists calling on patients and supporters to come out for an August 25 action in support of higher limits.

But for most Hempfest attendees, the event was a party, a celebration, not a political seminar. While that may be a disappointment to activists, it is also a demonstration of the breadth and scope of Pacific Northwest cannabis culture. It has gone mainstream, with all the apolitical apathy abundant in the broader culture.

And if Hempfest was a little too mellow for your taste, you could always check out Methfest, not a celebration of amphetamine culture but a scary rock music show put on in nearby Belltown.

Marijuana: Oregon Initiative For Regulated Sales Starts Gathering Signatures

Oregon has already decriminalized marijuana possession and enacted the second-largest state medical marijuana program in the country, and now some Oregon activists are ready to move to the next level. This week, signature gathering began for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA), which would provide for marijuana to be sold in retail stores, among other things.

According to initiative sponsors, the act would provide for "regulating and taxing adult sales; licensing the cultivation of the drug for sale in state-run package stores and adults-only businesses; allowing adults to grow their own and farmers to grow industrial hemp without license; and letting doctors prescribe untaxed cannabis to patients suffering from a variety of illnesses and injuries."

The initiative effort is being led by D. Paul Stanford of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and Madeline Martinez, head of Oregon NORML. Whether other elements of the state's sometimes fractious marijuana community will come on board remains to be seen.

Parts of the community had been in the defensive mode as they prepared to fend off an attack on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) by conservative crime-fighting initiative specialist Kevin Mannix. But Mannix recently took the assault on OMMA off the table, at least for now, and Stanford and Martinez are ready to sail through the breach.

Organizers need 80,000 signatures to put the measure before voters in the November 2010 election. They say the measure will generate millions of dollars a year for the state's general fund through sales to adults. Additional revenues from pot taxes would go to drug treatment programs.

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