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Hemp: Good Stuff, Bad Rap

Hemp has omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, contains 33 percent protein, is a good source of vitamin E and is low in saturated fat. It's an environmentally friendly crop that grows fast and requires few pesticides. But it is also a controversial food source because of its relationship with its cousin, marijuana.
Publication/Source: 
KSTU (UT)
URL: 
http://www.fox13now.com/health/wellness/sc-health-0119-hemp-20110119,0,5625659.story

Cannabinomics: The Marijuana Policy Tipping Point (BOOK REVIEW)

Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "Cannabinomics: The Marijuana Policy Tipping Point," by Christopher Glenn Fichtner, MD (2010, Well Mind Press, 345 pp., $29.95 HB)

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Cannabinomics? That is simply Chris Fichtner's eye-grabbing term for managing our relationship with cannabis. Or it is cannabis science, cannabis policy, and cannabis economics. Or, more broadly, it is the development of the vocabulary that will allow us to move from pot prohibition to regulation.


I read lots and lots of books about marijuana policy -- it's part of my job -- and I have to say that Cannabinomics is one of the most gratifying I've seen in a long time. While Fichtner covers a lot of familiar territory -- the increasing acceptance of medical marijuana, the amazing stupidity of and harms derived from pot prohibition, the economic potential of marijuana -- he does so in a manner that is both fresh and exceedingly well thought out.

Fichtner is an MD, a psychiatrist, and public mental health specialist who has served, among other posts, as the Illinois state mental health director. As such, he brings a powerful professional focus to marijuana and health and marijuana and mental health. But equally as valuable, he brings with him a calm, considered, and compassionate approach to the Gordian Knot of issues that surround cannabis in our society.

In fact, I would have to say that if I had to choose a single title dealing with marijuana policy to give to  someone new to the conversation, I'd have to go with Cannabinomics. Fichtner is cautious and even-handed -- he is, after all, a psychiatrist, not a wild-eyed pamphleteer -- and that makes his carefully considered judgments all the more powerful.

As a practicing psychiatrist, Fichtner has had ample opportunity to see how medical marijuana (or, as he prefers, therapeutic cannabis) has worked for some of his patients. Cannabinomics includes several abbreviated case histories of patients who, on their own, turned to medical marijuana to relieve symptoms ranging from epileptic seizures to depression to PTSD. That provides him with an opportunity to tout "consumer-driven health care" -- in other words, listening to patients about what actually works for them.

That is at odds with the prevailing model of scientific research on medicines, which relies on rigorous, large sample, carefully-designed testing. As Fichtner notes, there is nothing wrong with such testing, but it should not be exclusively relied on at the expense of real world patient experience. If a patient reports that carefully titrated use of marijuana reduces the frequency of his seizures, it does no one any good to retort that such findings are not supported by the scientific data.

Of course, marijuana is funny that way. It's not a medicine in the eyes of Western medicine because it's not a synthesized and standardized concoction available in pill form from a major pharmaceutical company. In fact, Fichtner suggests that perhaps marijuana should not be treated as a medicine but as an herbal, or traditional medicine. He also wonders, quite convincingly, whether health care in the US is driven more by the needs of pharmaceutical companies than those of human beings.

But while Cannabinomics begins with medical marijuana, it isn't just about medical marijuana. Fichtner also discusses the history and results of marijuana prohibition in the US. Unsurprisingly, like every even-handed observer on the topic, he finds prohibition to be a disaster, both in terms of public policy and in terms of wasted opportunities. He doesn't cover a lot of new ground there, but he does calmly and dispassionately make the case that pot prohibition is one of the great policy failures of the 20th Century.

He doesn’t want it to be one of the great policy failures of the 21st Century, and the final section o Cannabinomics is devoted to getting us off the schneid when it comes to actually enacting real marijuana law reform. Fichtner has some concrete recommendations for that: a federal cannabis regulatory commission, the federal government to become a cannabis purchaser, a pilot program granting veterans access to medical marijuana through the VA, fast-track approval of Sativex, opening the cannabis trade to legal entrepreneurship, and allowing the states to experiment with new licensing processes for age-restricted substances, including alcohol and tobacco.

Cannabinomics is a humane, thoughtful, and powerful look at how we as a society can better deal with one of our most popular -- and least harmful -- substances. It should be especially useful in bringing those who are not pot advocates but who have a genuine concern about what the best marijuana policies might look like into the discussion. And that makes it a very important work indeed.

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The House Made of Hemp

Location: 
Ashville, NC
United States
America's first house made primarily of hemp has been built. Using a product known as Hemcrete – a mix of industrial hemp, lime and water – a team of 40 volunteers, sub-contractors and designers have recently completed construction of a hemp house located in Ashville, North Carolina. Eco-friendly design and construction company Push Design has gained the support of community members and local officials alike and now plans to build more.
Publication/Source: 
Gizmag (Australia)
URL: 
http://www.gizmag.com/first-us-hemp-house/17115/

DVD Review: "Jack Herer is the Emperor of Hemp"

"Jack Herer is the Emperor of Hemp," Memorial Tribute Edition (2010, Double J Films, $19.95)

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Jack Herer, author of "The Emperor Wears No Clothes," and arguably "the greatest cannabis crusader of all time," died in April after suffering a heart attack at the Portland Hempstalk Festival eight months earlier. The passing of the movement icon prompted the release of this memorial tribute edition of "Jack Herer is the Emperor of Hemp," which updates the decade-old release with new interview footage with the prophet of hemp and includes the entire 1943 Department of Agriculture film "Hemp for Victory."


But it's not just the new, never before seen interview material that makes this DVD reissue worthwhile, because Jack Herer's story is fascinating in itself and "Jack Herer" does an admirable job of explicating the man, his evolution, and his passions. (Not to mention you'll get to see NORML founder Keith Stroup before his hair turned white!)

Herer's story is a true American journey (and by the way, it's pronounced HAIR-er, not Huh-RARE). Born in 1939, Herer entered the 1960s as a conservative -- an Army veteran and Goldwater supporter, married and living in California's Central Valley, who was offended by the upheavals of the time, disgusted by anti-war protestors, and blamed much of the upheaval on the demon weed. Who knew?

By the following decade, things had changed dramatically. Divorced, Herer's new girlfriend persuaded him to try marijuana. Here, the DVD shows a dancing girl as Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" booms out on the soundtrack, an apt evocation of Herer's transformation from military policeman to hippie, from Goldwater Republican to radical.

With Emmy Award winner Peter Coyote narrating, and with archival footage and interviews from the likes of NORML's Keith Stroup, historian Michael Aldrich, Kevin Zeese, and Dr. John Morgan, "Jack Herer" tracks Herer's odyssey from author of a 1973 marijuana cartoon book to his subsequent experience as recipient of knowledge from innumerable people about not just pot, but hemp, and all its uses, his opening of the first hemp store on Venice Beach in 1979, and ultimately the publication of the book that made him famous and re-energized the marijuana legalization movement, "The Emperor Wears No Clothes."

The DVD acknowledges the early conflicts between Herer and the drug reform movement, which at first considered him at best an over-enthusiastic partisan and at worst a crank. Herer thought hemp could be central to ending marijuana prohibition, not to mention that it could "save the world," and the be-suited boys back East weren't buying what that wild-eyed, tie-dyed, missionary Californian was selling.

A number of years later, the movement types were suitable contrite. "He overstated the case a bit," said Stroup. "We were embarrassed; we thought it could undermine our credibility."

Instead Herer almost singlehandedly revitalized the pot movement with the 1985 publication of "The Emperor Wears No Clothes," the magnum opus of hemp, and an intoxicating combination of unknown history, polemics, and passion that turned a new generation on not just to hemp, but to pot, the history of its criminalization, and the need to undo prohibition.

"Jack Herer" describes the tenets of "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" fairly without wholeheartedly endorsing his theory of an evil troika of Harry Anslinger, the Dupont family, and Andrew Mellon conspiring to bring on prohibition. And I think that's fair. Herer's conspirators most certainly played a role in pot prohibition, but the anti-marijuana movement was alive and well in this country well before Anslinger and the others were active in the 1930s.

Maybe hemp won't "save the world," but there is no arguing that it is a tremendously valuable plant with a multitude of uses that can help improve the environment, create jobs, and provide us with everything from biodiesel to body panels to an ever-increasing variety of hemp-based foods.

And Herer's perhaps overenthusiastic message was received enthusiastically by that new generation, especially when tied to his never-forgotten broader campaign to legalize marijuana, beginning with initiative campaigns back in the 1970s. Between bringing hemp to the forefront and energizing a movement suffering through the depths of the Reagan Era, Herer cemented his place in movement history.

But he didn't stop there. In fact, he didn't stop until he fell over unconscious at a movement event just after giving one last speech. Herer was a movement presence throughout the 1990s, and by then, had won the acceptance of the movement, which recognized the enormous contribution he had made. Despite a 2001 stroke that laid him low, he bounced back, still out proselytizing and organizing, even as he moved slowly and struggled to control his voice.

In California, at least, every marijuana movement figure of a certain age knew Jack Herer. Whether from his days as the hemp hawker of Venice Beach or the decades of activism that followed, Herer has made a lasting impact on California's -- and indeed, the country's -- marijuana legalization movement. "Jack Herer is the Emperor of Hemp" pays fond homage to a true movement hero. It is definitely worth checking out, especially as you ponder the man, his life's work, and his impact on the marijuana reform movement.

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Cannabis Gets a Trade Association [FEATURE]

The marijuana industry is growing up. On Tuesday, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) officially came into being to represent the interests of the marijuana industry and its consumers. The group aims to influence policy in Washington, DC, just the same way any other industry does -- by lobbying the federal government to protect the interests of its members.

"We've seen such tremendous growth in this industry in the last five years," said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. "It seems like the industry is not just surviving in the midst of economic decline, but booming. But it wasn’t represented in Washington, DC, like all sorts of other industries are. I just started talking to some of the major industry players, and just about everybody was really enthusiastic about jumping on board. This thing just blossomed."

The makeup of the NCIA's board of directors, with about one third of its 23 members from California, one third from Colorado, and one third from the rest of the country, correlates roughly with where the cannabis business action currently is. Most of the board members represent dispensaries or associated businesses, but there's also Kush magazine, Weedmaps.com, a pipe-market, an insurance company, and a hemp-seller.

At least three board members have well-known positions favoring marijuana legalization. As long-time head of the Marijuana Policy Project, Rob Kampia has put big money into legalization initiatives; Oaksterdam University's Dale Sky Jones was a spokesperson for the Proposition 19 legalization initiative; and as director of Sensible Colorado, Brian Vicente is working with others to get a legalization initiative on the ballot there in 2012.

"We wanted to be diverse in the types of businesses represented," said Smith. "It's not just dispensaries, it's all these other businesses creating thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars for the economy."

Becky DeKeuster is CEO of Northeast Patients Group, which will operate four state-licensed, nonprofit medical cannabis dispensaries in Maine. DeKeuster joined the NCIA board of directors and hopes to encourage others in the medical cannabis community to support the fledgling trade association. "I’m proud to be one of NCIA’s founding members," DeKeuster said. "This organization will be a great step forward not only for the medical cannabis industry, but also for the interests of the countless patients nationwide who rely on us to provide safe and effective natural medicine."

Another NCIA board member, Kush Magazine CEO Bob Selan, said that the trade association will be the force that finally unifies an extremely diverse industry. "In my years working for a top cannabis culture publication, I’ve met an astonishing number of talented individuals who are experts in their particular field. From cannabis cultivators to pipe manufacturers to crop insurance brokers, all will benefit from being collectively represented by the national industry association," Selan said.

The NCIA wants to attract at least 200 members in the coming year, Smith said. Regular membership costs $1,000 a year, a sponsoring membership is $2,500 a year, and a sustaining membership is $5,000 a year. If the group meets its membership goals, it could raise a minimum of $200,000 to go to work on Capitol Hill.

A sponsoring membership gives the member the right to vote on the group's board, half of which will be up for election each year. A sustaining membership gives the member the right to run for a place on the board. With the board setting policy, the NCIA is an association that will truly be run by its members.

"Our intention is to hire a lobbying firm," said Smith. "Right now, we have Steve Fox from MPP working part-time for us. As we raise funds, we'll be hiring lobbyists in the District and bringing in a full-time staff."

The group will work to get the federal government to let states set their own marijuana policies, and to ensure that federal agencies treat businesses compliant with state laws just like any other law-abiding businesses, said Smith. He pointed to agencies like the IRS and the Treasury Department, as well as the Department of Justice.

"We want cannabis-related businesses treated the same as any others," he said. "Now, we have things like banks not accepting deposits from legal medical marijuana providers. We may well be lobbying executive agencies to make administrative changes, as opposed to congressional action."

Smith is based in Phoenix, which, as he pointed out, is the "next wave" of legitimate cannabis businesses after Arizona became the 15th medical marijuana state earlier this month, but he'll be hitting the road to build the NCIA, he said. "I'll be traveling the country and getting new members to get the clout we need to make the change we want. Our lobbyist will be representing hundreds of businesses, thousands of jobs, and millions of tax dollars. It's really important we build membership as fast as we can."

The NCIA is in embryonic form right now, but it has the potential to open a new front in the battle to end the persecution of marijuana users and producers. The degree to which it succeeds will be a measure of the real maturity of the contemporary marijuana industry.

Washington, DC
United States

Senate Holds Hearings on Controversial DEA Nominee [FEATURE]

Michele Leonhart's nomination to be Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrator appeared to be on track for an easy confirmation after a Wednesday hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The nomination is opposed by the drug reform, medical marijuana, and hemp movements, but insiders say it is all but a done deal.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/mleonhart.jpg
meet the new boss, same as the old boss
While reformers had hoped one or more senators would ask Leonhart "tough questions" about her tenure as acting DEA administrator, that didn't happen. Sens. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) pressed Leonhart about easing access to pain medications for senior citizens in nursing homes, but that was about the extent of the prodding.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), expressing concern about all that legalization talk in the air, gave Leonhart the opportunity to assure him that she and the DEA stood steadfast. She obliged him.

"I have seen what marijuana use has done to young people," Leonhart said. "I've seen the addiction, the family breakup. I've seen the bad. I'm extremely concerned about the legalization of any drugs," she avowed. "We already have problems with prescription drugs, which are legal, so it's of concern."

Legalizers are singing a seductive siren song, Leonhart warned. "The danger of these legalization efforts, they say we could just end the problem of drugs if we just make it legal," she explained. "But any country that has tried that -- the Netherlands, Alaska -- it has not worked, it is failed public policy."

Leonhart was nominated by President Bush to be administrator at DEA after replacing Karen Tandy in 2007 and has been acting administrator ever since. The Obama administration renominated her as administrator in February, but the nomination languished as the committee dealt with other business, most notably addressing  a backlog of judicial nominations and preparing for confirmation hearings for the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

Medical marijuana and drug reform advocacy groups have opposed Leonhart's nomination on a variety of grounds. As Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's Los Angeles office from 1998 to 2004 and DEA deputy administrator from 2003 to 2007, she presided over hundreds of raids on medical marijuana patients and providers. As acting administrator, she ran DEA while California medical marijuana raids continued unabated until the October 2009 Justice Department memorandum  to quit persecuting patients and providers "whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws."

Even since then, while DEA medical marijuana raids have diminished, they have not stopped. According to the medical marijuana support group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), since the memo went out, the DEA under Leonhart has engaged in more than 30 raids of medical marijuana providers in states where it is legal.

"As the deputy director, Ms. Leonhart supervised an unprecedented level of paramilitary-style enforcement raids designed to undermine safe access and the implementation of state medical marijuana programs," ASA said in an alert to its members.

Leonhart is also drawing fire from advocates for overturning a DEA administrative law judge's decision to issue a license to UMass-Amherst Professor Lyle Craker to grow marijuana for FDA-approved research. That decision left intact the federal government's monopoly on the cultivation of marijuana for research purposes. It is grown only at the University of Mississippi.

And she is being opposed as well for her DEA's recalcitrance when it comes to industrial hemp. In a July letter to the committee, the industry group Vote Hemp said it opposed Leonhart's nomination because under her tenure DEA continues to block hemp production in the US, has failed for more than three years to respond to several applications from North Dakota-licensed farmers to grow hemp, and continues to maintain the fiction that hemp is marijuana.

"Michele Leonhart, the nominee for administrator and a lifetime DEA bureaucrat, severely lacks the vision to change policy on hemp farming for the better," the group said.  "Vote Hemp strongly opposes the nomination of Michele Leonhart to be Administrator of the DEA."

There is another reason to question her suitability to run DEA -- her dealings with and defense of one-time DEA "supersnitch" Andrew Chambers. Chambers earned an astounding $2.2 million for his work as a DEA informant between 1984 and 2000. The problem was that he was caught perjuring himself repeatedly. The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals called him a liar in 1993, and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals echoed that verdict two years later.

But instead of terminating its relationship with Chambers, the DEA protected him, failing to notify prosecutors and defense attorneys about his record. At one point, DEA and the Justice Department for 17 months stalled a public defender seeking to examine the results of DEA's background check on Chambers. Even after the agency knew its snitch was rotten, it refused to stop using Chambers, and it took the intervention of then Attorney General Janet Reno to force the agency to quit using him.

Michele Leonhart defended Chambers. When asked if, given his credibility problems, the agency should quit using him, she said, "That would be a sad day for DEA, and a sad day for anybody in the law enforcement world... He's one in a million. In my career, I'll probably never come across another Andrew."

Another Leonhart statement on Chambers is even more shocking, as much for what it says about Leonhart as for what Leonhart says about Chambers. "The only criticism (of Chambers) I've ever heard is what defense attorneys will characterize as perjury or a lie on the stand," she said, adding that once prosecutors check him out, they will agree with his DEA admirers that he is "an outstanding testifier."

And then there's her connection to the "House of Death" scandal. The "House of Death" in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, was a house used by the Juárez drug cartel to murder people. Dozens of bodies were eventually recovered when the police raided it. The case revolves around a US Immigration and Customs (ICE) and DEA informant in Mexico, code-named "Lalo," who witnessed (and perhaps took part in) a murder in the House of Death during August 2003. In a lawsuit, whistleblower and former DEA Special Agent Sanalio Gonzalez charges that Leonhart and other officials fired him for speaking out about the murders and then helped cover the scandal up.

A number of reform groups have organized Internet and phone call-in campaigns in a bid to derail the nomination. Students for Sensible Drug Policy, NORML, California NORML, and Firedoglake have all sounded the alarm. So has the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

[Editor's Note: The interviews below were conducted before Wednesday's hearing.]

"We are asking our supporters and followers to contact their representatives if they are serving on the committee and tell them to ask her some tough questions about her previous actions," said MPP communications director Mike Meno. "She presided over hundreds of DEA raids on legal medical marijuana providers during Bush admin, and played a crucial role in rejecting applications to do FDA-level research on marijuana."

ASA provided a list of questions for the committee to ask Leonhart, including how raiding medical marijuana providers was an efficient use of DEA resources, how the DEA might work with medical marijuana states, why the DEA didn't just hand over cases of "clear and unambiguous" violations of state medical marijuana laws to state authorities, and when the DEA might get around to deciding the status of a 2002 petition to reschedule marijuana.

"I was hoping that this nomination was going to die a slow death but it appears as if they are going forward with it," said Tom Murphy, outreach coordinator for Vote Hemp. "We sent a letter in opposition, as I know a number of other organizations have. We've also got a pair of action alerts up on our web site. We've been working it against this since June, and we have a long list of reasons to oppose her nomination."

But it doesn’t appear that the senators on the Judiciary Committee are paying much heed to the stop Leonhart campaign. Despite the protests, her nomination is likely to sale through the committee tomorrow and be quickly approved by the Senate.

"Unfortunately, I don't think there's any chance of stopping her nomination," said Murphy. "She was nominated by Bush, and the committee sat on it, and renominated by Obama and they sat it on. Now we're a lame duck session, and they’re moving it. That tells me they have the votes to get it through and it's a done deal."

"The prospects aren't good. Every office we've talked to has said they weren't going to go against an Obama nominee," said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance, which also opposed the nomination. "But if we can get some senators to put pressure on her publicly or privately, maybe she will quit being such as obstacle when it comes to things like Amherst and the raids. We're taking sort of a harm reduction approach, like when Asa Hutchinson was grilled during his hearing and came out in support of reducing the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity."

Getting Michele Leonhart to back off a little on the medical marijuana raids would be a welcome consolation, but don't hold your breath. Progressive drug policy stances are not the traditional province of the DEA, and it looks like nothing is going to change there for the foreseeable future.

Washington, DC
United States

Hemp "Attractive" for Biodiesel, Researchers Say

Researchers at the University of Connecticut reported last week that the fiber crop cannabis sativa, also known as industrial hemp, has several qualities that make it an attractive feedstock for producing biodiesel, a sustainable diesel fuel made from renewable plant resources.

car powered by hemp-based biodiesel fuel (hempcar.org)
Industrial hemp can grow in infertile soils and does not require lots of water, fertilizer, or high-grade inputs to flourish, said researchers led by Dr. Richard Parnas, a professor of chemical, materials, and biomolecular engineering. It produces strong fibers that, until the advent of synthetic fibers in the 1950s, made it the premier product used in making rope and clothing around the world.

Currently, much biodiesel feedstock comes from crops that could otherwise be used for human food consumption, such as soybeans, peanuts, olives, and rapeseed. Similar problems face the production of ethanol, which diverts corn that could have been used for cattle feed (and ultimately consumed as meat by humans) into the fuel production market.

"For sustainable fuels, often it comes down to a question of food versus fuel," said Parnas. "It's equally important to make fuel from plants that are not food, but also won't need the high-quality land."

Parnas pointed out that much of the world still relies on hemp as a primary fiber, mainly because of its ability to "grow like a weed." But in fiber production, hemp seeds are often discarded, and, the researcher said, this waste product could be put to good use by using it as a fuel.

"If someone is already growing hemp," he said, "they might be able to produce enough fuel to power their whole farm with the oil from the seeds they produce."

Parnas and his team used virgin hemp seed oil to create biodiesel using a process called transesterification and achieved a high conversion efficiency with 97% of the hemp oil being converted to biodiesel. The university holds a patent on a biodiesel reactor system that could be customized to make biodiesel from a range of feedstocks, including hemp.

"Our research data could make buying a reactor system with our technology more attractive," says Parnas. "If we have data for the production of many different feedstocks, we can tailor the system to meet the company's needs."

Industrial hemp is grown in Canada, China, and European countries, among other places. But the DEA has barred its production in the US, leading to a bizarre situation in which American farmers have to sit idly by while industrial hemp products are imported from other countries. A number of states have passed legislation authorizing hemp research or production, but they are blocked by the DEA, which refuses to recognize any difference between high-fiber, low-THC hemp and low-fiber, high-THC marijuana.

Storrs, CT
United States

"Stoners Against Prop 19" Debunked in New Video

Last week we reported on the forces lined up for and against California's Prop 19. A surprising element found in the "against" mix are portions of the cannabis reform community. Some of them are clearly self-interested medical marijuana sellers, and we believe that all of them are thoroughly mistaken or misguided. It's a loud group of people, but one whose actual size and significance is unclear.

I did not closely follow the evolution of the "Stoners Against Prop 19," but one event that's said to have given it steam was a video interview by California medical marijuana patient KC Kimber with Dennis Peron, the father of medical marijuana in California and sponsor of the Prop 215 medical marijuana initiative, who regrettably has opposed Prop 19. (I'm having trouble find the video, hence no link.) Kimber discovered later that Peron had fed him a lot of disinformation, and has been campaigning since then for Prop 19's passage. Yesterday he released an interview with cannabis expert and Prop 19 proponent Chris Conrad which debunks Peron's claims.

We hope that common sense (perhaps with some help from our reporting) has already made it clear to our readers that Prop 19 is a legalization initiative (albeit the first stage of legalization with more work to be done); that it will help, not hurt, medical marijuana patients (as I've gone into on Huffington Post); and that any compromises it makes are small and necessary ones and that we'll be far better off, now and in the continuing effort, if it passes. We don't want to contribute an exaggerated sense of the importance of the "Stoners Against Prop 19" movement by focusing too much attention on them, but because the vote is likely to be close, and because some of their claims have made it into the mainstream media, we are posting the video here just in case. If you want more information on this subject, we recommend Chris's Prop 19 Fact Check and Rumor Control page.

Regarding Peron, we see him as a hero for what he did to bring medical marijuana into being in California, work without which Prop 19 might not even be possible today. We've heard that he's ill, and we wish him well. Prop 19 is too important to hold back on, and so even Dennis Peron cannot be let off the hook when he spreads false information about it, at least not until the election's done.
 

Oregon Representative to Introduce Marijuana Legalization Bill

Supporters of marijuana legalization in Oregon failed to get the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act(OCTA) on the ballot this year, but now another path appears to be opening. State Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) has announced he will introduce a legalization bill. He said he expected a hearing in February.

Buckley told the Portland Medical Marijuana Examiner he was using OCTA as a starting point because it was "a good proposal." He said that with budget concerns and "the desire to make progress on this," the OCTA proposal was something for the legislature to consider.

Rep. Peter Buckley and family

OCTA would set up an Oregon Cannabis Commission to regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana -- but not hemp, which would be legal and unregulated. The commission would license commercial growers and processors, which would sell their product to the commission, which in turn would retail it in commission stores. Cultivation and possession for non-commercial use by adults would not be regulated.

Whether Rep. Buckley actually introduces the bill remains to be seen, and its fate in the legislature is murky. But OCTA activists aren't just sitting around waiting for the politicians to set matters right; they are already gearing up for an effort to put OCTA on the ballot in 2012.

It looks like, one way or another, Oregon is vying to be one of the first states to cross the finish line in the decades-long marathon to end pot prohibition.

Ashland, OR
United States

On Cutting Edge of Building Green Homes — With Hemp

The plant fiber used to make the sails that took Christopher Columbus' ships to the New World is now a building material. In Asheville, N.C., a home built with thick hemp walls was completed this summer, and two more are in the works. Dozens of hemp homes have been built in Europe, but they're new to the United States.
Publication/Source: 
USA Today (VA)
URL: 
http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20100913/hemphouse13_st.art.htm

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