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Marijuana: Idaho Resort Town Passes Three Initiatives -- Again

For the second time in less than a year, voters in the Sun Valley town of Hailey, Idaho, have approved a trio of marijuana reform initiatives. A measure legalizing medical marijuana, another legalizing industrial hemp, and a third directing the city to make marijuana law enforcement its lowest policing priority all passed. A fourth initiative that would have directed the city to tax and regulate marijuana distribution failed.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/selkirk-mountains-northern-idaho.jpg
Selkirk mountains, northern Idaho
Voters passed the same three initiatives in November, but city officials balked at enforcing them. That stance was strengthened by a December opinion from the Idaho Attorney General's office that the local initiatives conflicted with state law.

But Ryan Davidson, chairman of the Idaho Liberty Lobby, the group that organized both efforts, put the initiatives back on the ballot. Another round of ballot box victories would make it "politically less viable" for local officials to oppose the will of the voters, he told the Idaho Mountain News.

Where things will go from here remains to be seen. The Hailey mayor, a city councilor, and the chief of police sued the city earlier this month over the initiatives in search of a judgment the city can use as a guide for dealing with them.

Dia Mundial de la Marijuana (Global Marijuana Day), Mexico City

Here in Mexico's capital, several thousand people gathered at the Alameda Central, a large park in the historic center of the city, to celebrate Global Marijuana Day. Punks, Goths, hippies, and members of all the other "urban tribes" that constitute the youth counterculture of one of the world's premier cities came together for a day of respect, tolerance, music, and above all, to call for the legalization of the sacred herb. Of course, it's not just the youth cultures of Mexico City that we're talking about here; it's the global cannabis culture. Cannabis Nation knows no boundaries. In many respects, I could have been standing in Memphis or Malmo or Madrid or Mombasa or Minsk--the t-shirts and slogan are the same, the concerns roughly identical. I'll say this for the global prohibition of marijuana: It has created a global culture of resistance that supercedes national identities or barriers. The music and musicians were spot-on, but lyrically and rhythmically. Some of the songs were pure celebration:
We're going to the beach and I wanna smoke We're going to dance and toke
Some of the songs were highly politicized and, naturally, critical of the US. One rapper compared Bush ("creating hell on earth") with Hitler and Hernan Cortes, placing him squarely in a particularly Mexican pantheon of villains. Speaking of politics, one of the great battles going on in Mexico right now is over the government's efforts to privatize Pemex, the state oil monopoly. For many Mexicans, Pemex is a symbol of the Revolution a century ago that overthrew foreign domination. After the Revolution, the Mexicans expropriated the foreign oil companies; now they fear the government is going to give the national oil industry back to the foreigners. One sign at the march tied that struggle to the struggle for marijuana legalization:
Mariguana y petroleo Eso es nuestro patrimonio Marijuana and Oil That's our patrimony
The police presence was minimal, and as far as I could see, there were no problems and no arrests, although pot-smoking was open and frequent throughout the day. I took lots of photos, as you can see. (Sixteen more below the fold.)Sadly, my memory stick got full, and I missed some of the potentially most impressive shots, when the multitude was marching down Avenida Juarez, past the Bellas Artes palace and in front of some of the old colonial buildings in the city center. Still, Global Marijuana Day in Mexico City was a trip. Enjoy the photos, and look for a full report on the action in the Chronicle later this week. marching down Avenida Juarez -- Torre Latinoamericana in the background marching around the Alameda Central at the circulo Benito Juarez hip hip and reggaeton artist Moyenei Youalli G police observe the event -- no arrests march organizer Leopoldo Rivera addresses the crowd Jorge Hernandez Tinajero and Leopoldo of AMECA explaining the medical marijuana and decrim bills before Mexico's Congress Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling) mask with marijuana leaf Reefer Bender (Futurama character) civil disobedience civil disobedience jello with marijuana leaf police woman in front of signs mounted policeman in sombrero, with punketos (punks) Sylvia Maria Valls, Mexican activist and friend of DRCNet from our 2003 Latin America conference
Location: 
Mexico City
Mexico

8th Annual Hemp Hoe Down

For seven years the Hemp Hoe Down has supported the Alex White Plume tiospaye in its struggle to produce hemp, a crop the US government foolishly prohibits. Alex's talks have been featured at the Hoe Down each year. Alex hosts the Lakota War Pony Races and Lakota Hemp Days each year, and hosted the Hemp Industries Association's annual confence in 2002.

We were saddened in December (2007) to learn that Alex's house near Manderson, in the Oglala Lakota Nation, burned to the ground.

Hemp Hoe Down 8 will be a benefit event for the White Plumes. In addition, the Hemp Hoe Down crew will sponsor workshops to build a hemp house and a Maka Akan Wicoti (community upon the Earth) for and with the White Plume family.

Currently, we're making plans (architectural and logistical) to construct a series of buildings consisting of residences, community center, storage buildings, etc. As a matter of good sense and conscience, we will build with hemp if we can, and with other renewable, sustainable, non-toxic, small-environmental-footprint materials always. As things come together, we'll keep you posted.

"We" are the Hemp Hoe Down crew and the Alex White Plume tiyospaye and all of you who help with the Eco Wicoti permaculture projects. We are Maka Akan Wicoti.

Want to help out with time, money or building materials? Email us about the Eco Wicoti PermaCulture Workshops.

For more information, see http://www.hemphoedown.com/. 

Date: 
Thu, 05/08/2008 - 10:00am - Sat, 05/10/2008 - 11:59pm
Location: 
13014 Pleasant Valley Rd I-90 Exit 37
Sturgis, SD 57785
United States

Announcing a Hemp Building Project at Kiza Park Starting May 11th

Kiza Park is located 3 miles north of Manderson SD, on BIA 33, near Wounded Knee, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A hempcrete building project/workshop will be conducted at this site from May 11th through June 15th, supervised by American Limetec. We’re calling this project Maka Akan Wicoti (Community Upon The Earth), or Eco-Wicoti. For a variety of reasons, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota is one of the poorest locales in North America. The population grows while employment opportunities are nearly non-existent. Federal assistance under the Bureau of Indian Affairs is substandard. The supply of adequate housing diminishes each year. A crisis, (and now an opportunity) presented itself on December 20, 2007. The family homestead of Alex and Debra White Plume burned to the ground as the result of an electrical fire. The house was home to Alex and Debra, daughter Rosebud and her children, and grandchildren Tyson and Denise. The home served as the hub around which the White Plume clan turned. Many irreplaceable artifacts, ceremonial items, and records from their lifetime of work in human and indigenous rights are now gone. Alex has been Oglala Sioux Tribal President and Vice President. The White Plumes oversee a political action group called Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) that is stopping uranium mining on the reservation and the Black Hills. Owe Aku is also active in protecting water, sacred sites, and economic development through renewable energy as well. In 2002, the White Plumes became the only farmers within the boundaries of the USA to have raised and delivered a crop of hemp since 1968. The United States quickly made it impossible to do so again. The Lakota Hemp Project is still fighting what they see as legal and political stupidity. Now, the perfect moment in time for the global hemp movement to take action has arrived. Building a home and community that demonstrates the potential of hemp to the world is now underway. Hempcrete is a building material that is formed by combining air-lime based binders with the chopped core of the hemp plant stem. It can be pored into a form almost identical to pouring concrete, or spray applied. Hempcrete homes are lightweight, fire, water, earthquake, and rodent resistant, have excellent thermal mass and insulation characteristics that allows the homes to breath, which saves money on heating and cooling costs, has high sound insulation, and good flexibility. This building technique also sequesters a lot of carbon, reversing the damaging effects of greenhouse gases, providing one the best value materials for low impact, sustainable and commercially viable construction. The Roman aqueducts were most likely built this way, as were still active bridges in France dating to the sixth century. Homes such as these are being built in Europe today, and a new Chicago company called American Lime Technology is ready to use this technique here in the U.S. The White Plume’s community center will be the first building of its kind in America. With help from friends, relatives, and the global hemp community, rebuilding efforts are now in progress. A surviving portion of the foundation of the burned home has been re-used to build a simple building to get the family under a roof. The community center, located above Kiza Park, will be the site for this hempcrete building project. The community center is intended for neighbors to use for wakes and meetings, while serving as the hub around which a sustainable community will be built. The community center needs to be rebuilt, because much of the building materials in it have been used to rebuild Alex and Debra’s new house. The community center already has a floor, a foundation, and a timber frame, which are the requirements for a hempcrete building. Underneath the siding is a plywood wall that will be used to facilitate the spraying of the Hempcrete. The roof on the center needs to be replaced. A green tin will be used, which lasts much longer than asphalt. Then a solar powered water heater will be installed over the tin. The center already has electric power, and an original homestead well is nearby where a solar well pump will be installed. The inside of the building needs funding and labor to finish the interior rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and utility. Every possible conservation and sustainability technique will be incorporated into all aspects of the design, including water consumption, composting toilets, heating and cooling, and renewable energy. A green pool where plants instead of chemicals clean gray water for gardening is in the planning, as well as a greenhouse system. The entire lot will be fenced off to keep horses out of the gardens, which will have row covers to keep the grasshoppers out. Housing/rental bungalows built out of straw bale and cob will then be strung along the ridge beside the road all the way down to the Kiza Park. A natural amphitheater in front of Wounded Knee creek, and a bridge into the campground will then be built, linking the community center with Kiza Park. The idea is to create a thriving eco-community that provides workshops and information for others on Pine Ridge and around the region, teaching them how to live sustainable by providing a sustainable model. Then an eco-hemp store will be opened in Kiza Park to bring economic development and further knowledge to the area, which will be passed on to others, providing a location where tourists, hemp enthusiasts, and visitors can come and stay in a green cottage, ride horses and mountain bikes, take classes, and eat buffalo and other organically grown local foods, all in a comfortable and educational environment. The 8th Annual Hemp Hoe Down (May 8-10, 2008) at the Elkview Campground near Sturgis, South Dakota, will be held as a benefit for the White Plume building project. This year's event proceeds will be applied to help build the green home. The Hemp Hoe Down regularly features workshops regarding sustainability, and will be expanded this year to allow attendees the option to travel to Pine Ridge after the event and help participate in the construction of the home. Donations will be contributed to the construction of the house, and volunteers and workers are needed. Engineers, contractors, and others involved in construction are encouraged to attend to learn this amazing building technique. Hemp will have to be imported from Europe for the Hempcrete portion of the house, which will be expensive. However, American Limetec has graciously offered to do the construction and workshop without a fee. Join us! Learn sustainable building techniques. Email Jeremy Briggs at jb@hemphoedown.com. Please send donations to Alex White Plume, PO Box 71, Manderson, SD, 57756. For more information visit: www.bringbacktheway.com; www.hempheodown.com; www.kizapark.com; and www.americanlimetec.com.
Location: 
SD
United States

Happy 10th Birthday, Canadian Hemp Industry!

[Courtesy of Ruth's Hemp Foods]

 

This week marks the 10th anniversary since Canada's Industrial Hemp Regulations came into effect.

On March 12, 1998, about 100 people gathered in Tillsonburg, Ontario with great excitement to hear our former Minister of Health, Allan Rock, make the announcement, formalizing what we had been working towards for several years previous.

We've come a long way. Starting at just 264 licensed acres in 1998, a high point was reached in 2006 at over 48,000 acres.

And the players have changed as well - very few of the faces in that room are still involved, and many new ones have appeared.

Now to grow hemp in the US... see below for a delicious way to support American farmers.

To celebrate the birthday of the modern hemp industry, we're taking 20% off of all our products! Shop at www.ruthshempfoods.com, and at check-out, code in Happy 10 to receive the discount. It will be good until March 22.

In Hemp and Health,


Ruth

VoteHemp bar

Support the right of American farmers to grow hemp!

Despite the fact that most Canadian hemp is now sold in the US, it is not legal to grow in that country... yet! Read about the struggle to legalize commercial hemp at

www.VoteHemp.com.

And here's a delicious way to support VoteHemp: buy the VoteHemp bar - we donate 20% of the profits of this bar to VoteHemp. Scroll to the bottom of this page http://www.ruthshempfoods.com/hempbars.html to buy the VoteHemp bar.

VoteHemp bar

hemp field

 

                   
Location: 
Canada

Hemp: Licensing Bill Passes Minnesota House, Would Require Federal Approval

A bill that would take Minnesota a step down the path toward the legalization of industrial hemp farming has now passed two House committee votes in two weeks. The hemp bill, HF 2168, would establish a process for licensing producers and distinguishes hemp from marijuana under state law, but any actual hemp planting would have to wait until approval by the DEA. There is no sign of that happening any time soon.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/votehemp1.jpg
hemp plants (Luke Zigovitz for votehemp.com)
The bill was introduced last year and carried over into this year's session. On February 25, it passed the House Agriculture, Rural Economies, and Veterans Affairs Committee. On Tuesday, the bill passed the House Public Safety and Civil Justice Committee on a narrow 7-6 vote.

It was opposed by organizations representing Minnesota law enforcement. The Minnesota Peace/Police Officers Association's Bob Bushman told lawmakers he feared allowing industrial hemp farming would open the door to drug legalization in the state. He also complained that it would be burdensome on the state's crime labs, although it was unclear how.

It has been nearly a decade since the first hemp bill came to St. Paul. Several were introduced in 1999, only to fail in committee. The same thing happened in 2002. It looks like this year the bill will at least make it to the House floor.

If the bill were to become law, Minnesota would join seven other states -- Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia -- that have passed legislation removing barriers to its research or production.

North Dakota’s Licensed Hemp Farmers File Appeal in Eighth Circuit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 19, 2007 CONTACTS: Tom Murphy 207-542-4998 or tom@votehemp.com, Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671 or adam@votehemp.com North Dakota’s Licensed Hemp Farmers File Appeal in Eighth Circuit BISMARCK, ND – Two North Dakota farmers, whose federal lawsuit to end the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) ban on state-licensed and regulated commercial hemp farming in the United States was dismissed on November 28, 2007, filed their appeal today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. A copy of the appeal will be available later this evening at: http://www.VoteHemp.com/legal_cases_ND.html. Lawyers working on behalf of the farmers, State Representative David Monson and Wayne Hauge, are appealing the district court’s inexplicable ruling that said hemp and marijuana are the “same,” as the DEA has contended. The ruling failed to properly consider the Commerce Clause argument that the plaintiffs raised — that Congress cannot interfere with North Dakota’s state-regulated hemp program. Indeed, the lower court itself recognized in the decision under appeal that “the stalk, fiber, sterilized seed, and oil of the industrial hemp plant, and their derivatives, are legal under federal law, and those parts of the plant are expressly excluded from the definition of ‘marijuana’ under the CSA [Controlled Substances Act].” “This appeal is basically saying why can Canadian farmers grow non-drug industrial hemp plants to produce perfectly legal hemp fiber and seed commodities for the interstate US market, but North Dakota farmers cannot under North Dakota’s state-regulated industrial hemp program,” says Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra. “The DEA has banned hemp farming for 50 years by conflating hemp and marijuana on very shaky legal ground while at the same time imports of hemp fiber, seed and oil are allowed. With North Dakota regulating industrial hemp, there is no reasonable threat farmers would be able to grow marijuana without being caught,” says Steenstra. Scientific evidence clearly shows that industrial hemp, which includes the oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis that would be grown pursuant to North Dakota law, is genetically distinct from the drug varieties of Cannabis and has absolutely no use as a recreational drug. Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp advocacy group, and its supporters are providing financial assistance for the lawsuit. If the suit is ultimately successful, states across the nation will be free to implement their own regulated hemp farming programs without fear of federal interference. More information about the case can be found at: http://www.VoteHemp.com/legal_cases_ND.html. # # # Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com and www.HempIndustries.org. BETA SP or DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.
Location: 
Bismarck, ND
United States

Marijuana: Idaho Balks at Town's Pot Initiatives

Last month, voters in tiny Hailey, Idaho, approved three municipal initiatives that legalized medical marijuana, cultivation of industrial hemp, and ordered the city to make enforcement of state and federal marijuana laws the lowest law enforcement priority. Now, city officials have delayed acting on the initiatives, and Idaho's attorney general says the first two initiatives conflict with state law and are invalid and the third "is likely not an allowable subject for an initiative, and therefore invalid."

In the brief written by Deputy Attorney General Mitchell Toryanski, Toryanski said that in addition to conflicting with state law, the initiatives were also problematic on free speech grounds and because they affected the constitutional division of powers between the state and municipalities.

In the brief, Toryanski wrote that: "The Idaho Constitution guarantees that 'every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. The right to free speech includes the right not to speak.'"

Toryanski also cited Idaho case law on the division of powers to invalidate the lowest law enforcement priority initiative, noting that "while subjects of a legislative nature were allowable for local initiatives, subjects of an administrative nature were not."

"None of this surprises me in the least," Hailey city attorney Ned Williamson told Sun Valley Online. "There are at least three issues, three problems with the initiatives."

"The provision in the initiatives that require you guys to advocate for changes in law violate your freedom of speech and freedom of political discretion," Williamson said, referring to the requirement imposed on city officials to attempt to persuade officials in other cities, the county and anyone else to promote legal use of marijuana.

"The bottom line is that major provisions of the initiatives are illegal and are invalid," Williamson said. "It coincides with what I said in the past, and we have to decide how to proceed." Williamson said the city can choose between litigating, repealing or amending the initiatives.

Now, city officials have put off any decisions even on whether to move ahead with the oversight committees mandated by the initiatives. No word yet from the Idaho Liberty Lobby, the group that sponsored the initiatives.

Press Release: North Dakota’s Licensed Hemp Farmers Appeal Federal Court Decision

[Courtesy of Vote Hemp] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2007 CONTACT: Adam Eidinger: 202-744-2671, adam@votehemp.com or Tom Murphy 207-542-4998, tom@votehemp.com North Dakota’s Licensed Hemp Farmers Appeal Federal Court Decision BISMARCK, ND – Two North Dakota farmers, who filed a federal lawsuit in June to end the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) ban on commercial hemp farming in the United States and had their case dismissed on November 28, have filed a notice of appeal today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Lawyers working on behalf of the farmers, Representative David Monson and Wayne Hauge, are appealing a number of issues. In particular, the lower court inexplicably ruled that hemp and marijuana are the “same,” as the DEA has contended, and thus failed to properly consider the Commerce Clause argument that the plaintiffs raised — that Congress cannot interfere with North Dakota’s state-regulated hemp program. Scientific evidence clearly shows that industrial hemp, which includes the oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis that would have been grown pursuant to North Dakota law, is genetically distinct from the drug varieties of Cannabis and has absolutely no recreational drug effect. Even though the farmers' legal battle continues, the lawsuit prompted the DEA to respond to the North Dakota State University (NDSU) application for federal permission to grow industrial hemp for research purposes, which has languished for nearly a decade. University officials, however, say it could cost them more than $50,000 to install 10-foot-high fences and meet other strict DEA requirements such as high-powered lighting. NDSU officials are reviewing the DEA’s proposal, and Vote Hemp is hopeful that an agreement can be reached before planting season gets under way. If an agreement between the DEA and NDSU is reached and ultimately signed, it would pave the way for agricultural hemp research and development in North Dakota. Such research is key to developing varieties of industrial hemp best suited for North Dakota’s climate. “We are happy this lawsuit is moving forward with an appeal,” says Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp, a non-profit organization working to bring industrial hemp farming back to the U.S. “We feel that the lower court’s decision not only overlooks Congress’s original legislative intent, but also fails to stand up for fundamental states’ rights against overreaching federal regulation. Canada grows over 30,000 acres of industrial hemp annually without any law enforcement problems. In our federalist society, it is not the burden of North Dakota’s citizens to ask Congress in Washington, D.C. to clear up its contradictory and confusing regulations concerning Cannabis; it is their right to grow industrial hemp pursuant to their own state law and the United States Constitution,” adds Steenstra. Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp advocacy group, and its supporters are providing financial support for the lawsuit. If it is ultimately successful, states across the nation will be free to implement their own hemp farming laws without fear of federal interference. More on the case can be found at: http://www.VoteHemp.com/legal_cases_ND.html.
Location: 
Bismarck, ND
United States

Hemp: Court Rejects Bid By North Dakota Farmers to Get DEA Out of the Way

In Bismarck, US District Court Judge Daniel Hovland Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by two would-be North Dakota hemp farmers seeking to end the DEA's ban on commercial hemp farming in the United States. Controlling opinions in the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals find that the federal Controlled Substances Act includes industrial hemp within the definition of marijuana, thus leaving hemp under the jurisdiction of the drug agency, Hovland wrote in his 22-page decision.

Backed by a state law permitting industrial hemp production and a friendly state Department of Agriculture, farmers Wayne Hauge and David Monson, the latter also a Republican state legislator, applied for licenses from the DEA to grow hemp. When the DEA failed to act on their applications, they sued in federal court.

Attorneys for the farmers said they are considering whether to appeal the decision. Among possible grounds would be the court's finding, following the DEA, that hemp and marijuana are the same thing.

While recognizing that industrial hemp could be a valuable commercial crop for North Dakota and that the farmers are unlikely to ever get DEA approval of their applications, Hovland wrote that the issue is one best resolved by Congress.

"The policy arguments raised by the plaintiffs are best suited for Congress rather than a federal courtroom in North Dakota," wrote Hovland, noting that a bill -- the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007 -- had been introduced to address the issue. "Whether efforts to amend the law will prevail, and whether North Dakota farmers will be permitted to grow industrial hemp in the future, are issues that should ultimately rest in the hands of Congress rather than in the hands of a federal judge."

"Obviously we are disappointed with the decision," said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a grassroots group working to bring industrial hemp farming back to the US. "The court's decision shows it understands that the established and growing market for industrial hemp would be beneficial for North Dakota farmers to supply. Yet the decision overlooks Congress's original intent -- and the fact that farmers continued to grow hemp in the US for twenty years after marijuana was banned. If the plaintiffs decide to appeal the case, we would wholeheartedly support that effort. We are not giving up and will take this decision to Washington, DC to prompt action by Congress on HR 1009, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007, which would clarify a state's right to grow the crop," added Steenstra.

While the farmers lost their case, it has apparently prompted the DEA to finally act on an eight-year-old application from North Dakota State University to conduct research on industrial hemp. During oral arguments in the case two weeks ago in Bismarck, the DEA's failure to act on the university's application came under discussion as the court weighed the likelihood of the agency ever responding to the farmers. Now, the DEA has sent a "Memorandum of Agreement" to the university which, if signed by the school, would clear the way for research to get underway.

"It seems our arguments about the DEA's delay in processing NDSU's application have resulted in the agency finally taking positive action to allow research," noted David Bronner, president of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a manufacturer of soap and other body care products using hemp oil imported from Canada.

But that's small solace for hemp advocates and North Dakota farmers in the face of a federal court system that has so far been unable to apply common sense to the hemp question.

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