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Southwest Asia: US, UN Squabble Over Afghanistan Opium Production Drop, But Taliban Stash Suggests No Shortages Any Time Soon

In August, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its annual survey of Afghan opium production, reporting for the first time in several years a slight -- 6% -- decrease in overall production. Last Friday, the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office), released its own US government estimate, claiming that production was down a whopping 31%.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/afghanistanopiummap08.gif
opium security map, ONDCP, July 2008, from whitehousedrugpolicy.gov
Both the UNODC and ONDCP concurred that acreage devoted to poppy production was down, but the UNODC said increased productivity in remaining poppy fields meant the decrease in production was not as great as the decrease in acreage. The ONDCP report said yields were decreasing, not increasing. Both UNODC and ONDCP agreed that 18 provinces were now poppy-free, up from 12 two years ago.

"Afghanistan needs peace, a flourishing economy and the rule of law to succeed as a democracy," said drug czar John Walters as he announced the figures. "Each of these conditions is undone by narcotics production. That is why today's news is so encouraging to the people of Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been victimized for too long by the violence, misery, and addiction caused by the illegal drug trade. We look forward to continuing cooperation with the Government of Afghanistan and our allies as we work to defeat the narcotics industry and the terrorist groups that rely on the drug business to kill innocent people and attack democracy and freedom across the globe."

Despite the US report, UNODC officials in Afghanistan were sticking to their numbers. At a Kabul press conference Monday, UNODC Afghanistan head Christina Orguz said she had "high confidence" in the UNODC numbers because they were based on ground inspections, analysis of the actual opium yield of the latest crop and satellite imagery.

"Whichever figure it would turn out to be right would be a tragedy because it's still far too much produced, in any case," she said.

Both the US and the UN reported some successes in luring farmers away from the poppy crop with public information campaigns and alternative development programs. Eradication and interdiction have been less successful, but now NATO and the US have committed their forces to deeper involvement in the anti-drug effort. Still, Afghanistan remains the world's leading opium producer by far, accounting for 93% of global production.

And, if UNODC head Antonio Maria Costa is correct, Afghanistan has for the past several years produced more opium than the global illicit market can absorb. According to the UNODC, global demand for illicit opium is steady at about 4,500 tons a year, while Afghanistan has been producing considerably more for the past few years. Some 6,000 to 8,000 tons are surplus, and Costa thinks he knows where they are.

"Where is it? We have been asking," he told Time. Because of the surplus, "the prices should have collapsed," said Costa. "But there has been no price collapse."

Costa said he believed the missing opium was being stockpiled by the Taliban for lean times and as a price control mechanism. "This is classic market manipulation," he said.

So, while the US and the UN can congratulate themselves on production reductions and squabble over how big they really are, the Taliban is sitting on a gold mine of opium. At an estimated $465,000 a ton for opium, that adds up to a $3.2 billion war chest, and even a dramatic drop in production or successful eradication will not impede the Taliban's ability to wage war against the West and the government in Kabul.

Drug War Chronicle Video Review: "Prince of Pot: The US v. Marc Emery," Directed by Nick Wilson (2008, Journeyman Pictures)

Let me say right up front that Marc Emery sometimes pays me money to write articles for his magazine, Cannabis Culture, so I am not a completely disinterested observer. That said, "Prince of Pot" director Nick Wilson has done a superb job of explaining who Emery is, where he came from, and what he is all about -- and in tying Emery's trajectory to the larger issues of marijuana prohibition, the drug war in general, and Canadian acquiescence to US-style prohibitionist drug policies.

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Marc Emery (courtesy Cannabis Culture magazine)
I assume that anyone reading these words already knows who Marc Emery is: Canada's most vocal advocate of marijuana legalization, founder of the BC Marijuana Party, publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine, operator of POT-TV, and former proprietor of the Marc Emery Seed Company. Emery made lots of money with his seed company, and plowed much of it back into the marijuana legalization movement, not only in Canada, but also bankrolling activists in the US Marijuana Party south of the border and putting some loonies (Canadian nickname for their one-dollar coin) into various Global Marijuana Marches. For Emery, the seed company was merely a means to an end, a method of raising money to subvert marijuana prohibition, or, as he nicely put it, to overgrow the government.

But all that came to a crashing halt three years ago, when Emery and two of his employees, Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle on marijuana trafficking charges for his seed sales. Now, the Vancouver 3, as they have come to be known, face up to life in prison in the US if and when they are extradited.

The documentary, which is available from Journeyman Productions, opens with some vintage Emery, addressing the crowd at a pro-legalization, anti-extradition rally in Vancouver, the headquarters of his operation. "The DEA says I am responsible for 1.1 million pounds of pot," he said to cheers from the crowd. "I would be happy to believe that. That's the problem -- the DEA and I agree on the facts."

"Prince of Pot" follows Emery's career from his beginnings as an Ontario bookstore owner who loathed stoners, but came to embrace their cause as he fought the Canadian government's censorship of "drug-related" magazines like High Times. Early on, Emery displayed the same qualities that propelled his meteoric rise to the heights of the pot legalization movement: a libertarian sensibility, "an ego that takes up 40% of his body weight," as one observer put it, an aggressive, abrasive personality, a penchant for the publicity stunt, and a mouth that never stops working.

The documentary also shows that Emery's exhibitionism isn't limited to the sphere of the political. Early on, viewers are treated to a shot of Emery's backside as he gets out of bed, and another scene shows him naked on a Vancouver nude beach being anointed with cannabis oil by his young wife Jodie in an experiment to see whether it could have an impact on "any cancerous or pre-cancerous cells." (No word on how that turned out.)

But if Marc Emery's ass is on the screen, it's also on the line, and this is where "Prince of Pot" really shines. The documentary makers interviewed the unrepentant US attorney in Seattle who indicted him and a Seattle DEA agent who justified the bust, and confronted DEA head Karen Tandy at a 2006 international DEA conference in Montreal.

"Prince of Pot" hones in with precision accuracy on Tandy's post-bust press release where she bragged about how Emery's arrest was "a blow to the legalization movement." That press release may be Emery's best long-shot chance at avoiding extradition because it provides evidence that his prosecution was politically motivated.

All of the feds, of course, deny that was the case, but, in tracing Emery's career, his succession of trivial arrests by Canadian authorities, and growing US frustration with Canada's seeming indifference to his activities, the documentarians make a strong case that Marc Emery was busted not because he sold seeds, but because he was a burr under the saddle of Washington.

The documentary also features a strong cast of Canadian supporters, including former Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell ("The drug czar is an idiot"), Vancouver East MP Libby Davies, Toronto attorney Alan Young, Ottawa attorney and criminal justice professor Eugene Oscapella ("Why should we emulate the failed drug policies of the United States?"). Vancouver activist David Malmo-Levine, shown smoking a foot-long joint at one point, makes a compelling observation, too: "They want to send him to prison for life," he exclaims, recounting the DEA's argument about the harm Emery has caused by promoting marijuana production. "What harm? Show me the bodies," he demands. "There has to be at least one body if they want to send him away for life. There has to be at least one person who suffered more than bronchitis."

Washington state marijuana defense attorney Douglas Hiatt's brief appearance is also powerful and worth noting. Visibly angry at the injustice of the marijuana laws, Hiatt lashes out at prosecutors and the DEA. "If the DEA wants to talk about destroying families," he growls, "they can talk to me about the families they've destroyed for trying to use medical marijuana. The only thing I see ruining people's lives is the government's policies," Hiatt spits out. His righteous wrath is refreshing.

At one point in the documentary, film-maker Wilson says that for him, "It's not about seeds, it's about sovereignty." From the Canadian perspective, he's right, of course, but it's really about marijuana prohibition, and Wilson does a wonderful job of sketching its history and ugly current reality.

At the end, the documentary speculates about a possible deal for Emery to serve a shorter prison term in the US. That didn't happen. Neither did a proposed deal that would have seen charges dropped against Rainey and Williams and Emery serving a few years in a Canadian prison. Now, it's back to fighting extradition, and given that the decision to extradite is ultimately a political one made by the Justice Minister and given that the Canadian federal government is in bed with the US on drug policy, extradition remains the most likely outcome.

In a touching scene, Emery and his wife argue over whether he will serve his cause by martyring himself, something he seems determined to do. I have personally counseled him otherwise. I suggested that he become the marijuana movement's Osama bin Laden. No, not that he blow up DEA headquarters, but that he escape to a hidden cave complex somewhere in the Canadian Rockies and bedevil his enemies with communiques from his hidden sanctuary. I, for one, would rather see Marc Emery figuratively flipping the bird to the US government than disappearing, like so many others have, into the American gulag.

Check out this documentary. It's a good one. It'll give you goose bumps at some points, make you want to cry at some, and make you want to cheer at others.

The Drug Czar Can’t Stop Panicking About Medical Marijuana

Here we go again:



Pete Guither couldn’t make it all the way through. I’m not even going to try. We’ve heard all of this before. We heard the same thing in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Yet no one is demanding the repeal of those laws. Medical marijuana works and so do the laws that protect patients from arrest.

If you’re in Michigan, vote Yes on Prop. 1. Pass it on.

Prevention: Drug Czar's Billion Dollar Anti-Drug Media Campaign a Waste of Money, Study Finds

Despite spending more than $1 billion between 1999 and 2004, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has failed to demonstrate any measurable positive effects -- and it some cases, it may even have made youths more likely to use drugs, a new study has found.

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John Walters
The campaign, memorable for its over-the-top TV ads linking marijuana smokers to terrorists and drivers who run down children in fast-food parking lots, was initiated in 1998 and originally derived from a Partnership for a Drug-Free America program. Its goal is to reduce teen drug use.

The findings come from a congressionally-mandated study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School of Communication. The researchers conducted four rounds of interviews conducted between 1999 and 2004, each involving about 5,000 to 8,000 youths between the ages of 9 and 18 years. The study will be published in the December edition of the American Journal of Public Health.

"The evidence does not support a claim that the campaign produced anti-marijuana effects," concluded the authors, led by Professor Robert Hornik. "There is little evidence for a contemporaneous association between exposure to anti-drug advertising and any of the outcomes... Non-users who reported more exposure to anti-drug messages were no more likely to express anti-drug beliefs than were youths who were less exposed," they wrote.

"Despite extensive funding, governmental agency support, the employment of professional advertising and public relations firms, and consultation with subject-matter experts, the evidence from the evaluation suggests that the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign had no favorable effects on youths' behavior and that it may even have had an unintended and undesirable effect on drug cognitions and use," the report said.

The authors found that the anti-drug ads may have inadvertently suggested to youth that other kids were doing drugs. That could have had pushed more kids to try drugs, they suggested.

"Youths who saw the campaign ads took from them the message that their peers were using marijuana," the report found. "In turn, those who came to believe that their peers were using marijuana were more likely to initiate use themselves."

While the anti-drug message may have been muddled, the ads were seen. Overall, 94% of the youths interviewed reported seeing one or more ads a week, with an average frequency of two or three a week.

Still, teen marijuana use is down, declining by 40% between 1997, before the campaign began, and 2007, according to the annual Monitoring the Future surveys of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders.

In an interview with ABC News last week, lead author Hornik said that the reported decline in marijuana use "could be due to lots of influences, not just the campaign." He said he had gone into the study expecting positive results, "but we couldn't find 'em."

This would appear to be a program ripe for the chopping block when Congress returns next year. After all, we are in for a time when we can't afford to be paying for unproven programs.

South Pacific: DEA Mass Body Search of Plane Passengers Spurs Angry Reaction in Marianas

Lawmakers and travel industry spokesmen on the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, are furious with the DEA over an October 4 incident where the agency conducted a mass body search of passengers arriving on a charter jet from China. Tourism officials have apologized to China over the incident, the local congress has passed a resolution condemning the searches, and in the latest reverberation, the Marianas government has pulled its police from the local DEA task force.

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Northern Mariana Islands (map from 4uth.gov.ua)
The Marianas, formally known as the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI), is a US territory situated roughly three-quarters of the way to Australia from Hawaii. The islands have a population of about 80,000 and rely heavily on tourism.

The October 4 incident occurred in the pre-dawn hours when a Shanghai Airlines charter flight arrived at Saipan International Airport. Acting on what it said was a tip about drugs on the flight, the DEA subjected 147 of 187 arriving passengers -- all Chinese nationals -- to intensive body searches. The agents forced passengers into a small room, then forced them to remove their clothing to be searched. No drugs were found, although the DEA reported it had seized some contraband plant and animal items.

Many of the passengers were outraged by their treatment and reported it to their government. They also vowed never to return to the CNMI again. That had local officials scrambling to undo the harm.

"I want to let you know that my administration is extremely displeased with the manner in which this activity was conducted," said Gov. Benigno Fitial in an October 10 letter to the tour company and hotel involved in the deal that brought the Chinese tourists to Saipan. "We did not approve of this and do not support such treatment of visitors to our islands."

That same day, Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Perry Tenorio sent a similar letter to the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles. "We hope that this regrettable and isolated incident does not alter your affection for the CNMI and its people," Tenorio said.

Late last week, still fuming over the DEA's actions and unresponsiveness, the CNMI House of Representatives passed a strongly worded resolution demanding that the US Department of Justice investigate the mass search. The resolution also called for the department to inform China that the DEA -- not local customs or immigration officials -- was responsible for the searches.

"The House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands hereby calls for a full and complete investigation into the activities and the causes of those activities that led to an episode at the Francisco C. Ada Saipan International Airport that embarrassed and degraded honored guests of the Northern Mariana Islands and may have violated their civil rights," stated the resolution.

"These searches, and the abhorrent treatment of the passengers subjected to it, caused extreme embarrassment, discomfort, fear, and a feeling of perverse violation to the affected tourists and other guests of the Commonwealth," the resolution said. It also called the searches "harsh and irrational" and said they had caused irreparable harm "to the reputation of the Commonwealth and to the psyches of the victims of this demeaning episode."

And that's the watered down version. After Federal Relations Committee Chair Diego Benavente expressed concern over harsh language, the House voted to remove a provision of the resolution containing the phrase "multiple fondling of the passengers' private parts."

The fall-out continued this week. The CNMI Department of Public Safety announced Monday that it was pulling four Saipan police officers from the DEA Northern Marianas task force. That comes just days after the CNMI withdrew six other police officers and one customs officer from the task force. That withdrawal will be in effect until the DEA provides a complete explanation of the October 4 incident, government officials said.

At this point, the government of the CNMI doesn't seem to care much what impact the withdrawal will have on the DEA's work. When asked if the pull-out would hamper DEA operations, a police spokesman replied only, "That remains to be seen."

Initiatives: Drug Czar, Prison Guards Gang Up on California's Treatment-Not-Jail Proposition 5

Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP--the drug czar's office) director John Walters headed to California this week to try to defeat a ballot initiative that would divert thousands of drug offenders from prison in the nation's most populous state. The state's powerful prison guards union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), has entered the fray too, pledging a million dollars to help finance a last-minute opposition campaign.

The target of their ire is the Nonviolent Offenders Rehabilitation Act (NORA), which will appear on the ballot as Proposition 5. NORA would profoundly deepen and broaden the shift toward treatment instead of incarceration that began six years ago with Proposition 36. If NORA passes, it would:

  • require the state to expand and increase funding and oversight for individualized treatment and rehabilitation programs for nonviolent drug offenders and parolees;
  • reduce criminal consequences of nonviolent drug offenses by mandating three-tiered probation with treatment and by providing for case dismissal and/or sealing of records after probation;
  • limit courts' authority to incarcerate offenders who violate probation or parole;
  • shorten parole for most drug offenses, including sales, and for nonviolent property crimes;
  • create numerous divisions, boards, commissions, and reporting requirements regarding drug treatment and rehabilitation;
  • change certain marijuana misdemeanors to infractions.

All of that is too much for drug czar Walters, who showed up in Sacramento Tuesday to blast the initiative as a back-door move to legalize drugs. The Drug Policy Alliance, which is backing NORA, and its top funder, financier George Soros, cannot achieve drug legalization "by being honest and straightforward," so they deceptively offered up Prop. 5 to undermine the drug court system, Walters charged. Passage of Prop. 5 would "weaken our capacity to help people in the criminal justice system" who still remain subject to punishment if they fail, he said.

That guaranteed a sharp retort from Prop. 5 supporters. Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, spokesperson for Yes on 5, called the measure "a common sense response" to prohibition-related crime and blasted Walters as a spokesman for failed policies. "President Bush's drug czar has come to California to insist that we continue with the failed approach that has been so ineffective and has crowded our prisons full of nonviolent offenders," Dooley-Sammuli said.

The Legislative Analyst's Office calculates that Prop. 5 will lower incarceration costs by $1 billion each year and will cut another $2.5 billion in state costs for prison construction. This doesn't include savings related to reduced crime, lower social costs (e.g. emergency room visits, child protective services, welfare), and increased individual productivity.

But filling California prisons full of nonviolent offenders is a jobs program for the prison guards union. While earlier in the campaign season, the union had been distracted by a failed effort to recall Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, last week it announced it was kicking in a million dollars to defeat the initiative.

"CCPOA never has been shy about making sure that our voice is heard," union spokesman Lance Corcoran said. "We'll continue to do that. We've always put the resources necessary to get the job done," he said.

But while the prison guards and the drug czar join other law enforcement groups in lining up against Prop. 5, the measure has broad support within the treatment community, as well as endorsements from the League of Women Voters of California, the California Nurses Association, the California Federation of Teachers, and the Consumer Federation of California -- among many others.

ONDCP Random Student Drug Testing Summit

There is no cost to attend the summit but, because space is limited, people are encouraged you to register as soon as possible at http://summits.csrincorporated.com or send an email to summits@csrincorporated.com or call (703) 312-5220 if you have additional questions. AGENDA 8:30 - 9:00 a.m. Registration 9:00 - 9:05 a.m. Welcome and Introductions 9:05 - 9:25 a.m. Opening Remarks 9:25 - 9:45 a.m. Presentation: Legal History/Current Legal Issues 9:45 - 10:15 a.m. Presentation: Current Drug Testing Technology 10:15 - 11:00 p.m. Presentation: Developing a Student Drug Testing Policy 11:00 - 11:15 a.m. Break 11:15 - 11:45 p.m. Presentation: Student Assistance Programs - Help When It's Needed 11:45 - 12:15 p.m. Panel: Success Stories from Local Local Programs 12:15 - 12:30 p.m. Presentation: The Student Drug Testing Institute - Support for Schools that Drug Test 12:30 - 12:50 p.m. Q&A 12:50 - 1:00 p.m. Closing Remarks
Date: 
Wed, 10/29/2008 - 9:30am - 2:00pm
Location: 
State and Dodge Street
Albany, NY 12207
United States

Wow, I almost forgot it was Drug Free Work Week

Fortunately, the drug czar remembered, which makes sense because it’s his third favorite drug war theme-week. And having burdened us with this annoying ritual, he goes on to explain unintentionally how unbelievably unimportant it is:

October 20-26th is Drug Free Work Week

Every year, the Department of Labor sponsors a Drug Free Work Week to raise awareness of the consequences of drug use on the workplace.  According to recent research this is a serious problem:

•    75 percent of the nation’s current illegal drug users are employed—and 3.1 percent say they have actually used illegal drugs before or during work hours.

That means 97% of drug users don’t go to work high. Seriously, these numbers show that the overwhelming majority of drug users have jobs and scrupulously avoid drugs on workdays. That’s not a problem, that’s awesome.

And it goes to show how completely nuts you are if you think we have to drug test everybody to keep them from spilling bong water in the copier. Even at my office – where we oppose drug testing and advocate drug legalization – we’ll still throw you the hell out if you come in drooling and screwing around. If there’s ever been a solution in search of a problem, it’s the little plastic cup that proves you smoked pot at some point in the past month.

Unfortunately, in the drug war, we always do things the hard way and that’s why the federal government would rather prosecute purveyors of prosthetic piss-test penises than admit that anyone with half a brain shouldn’t need laboratory results to identify the dumbass in the department.

Meanwhile, Joe Sixpack, the very epitome of traditional American values, is far more likely to mix business with pleasure than the average illegal drug user:
•   79 percent of the nation’s heavy alcohol users are employed—and 7.1 percent say they have actually consumed alcohol during the workday.
But nobody drug tests for that, so the workplace drug testing tyranny tinkles on, untethered by the towering absurdity of busting employees for smoking pot over the weekend, while vastly larger numbers get drunk on their lunch break with impunity. The whole thing is such a monument of stupidity and craziness, I suppose it’s fitting that the drug czar must set aside a whole week each year to bask in it.

Punk Rock Bonus: Here’s NOFX with "Go To Work Wasted"

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. # # #

Drug Czar Tells Cartels to Surrender or Die

If the traffickers don’t surrender soon, drug czar John Walters will kill them with his bare hands:

U.S. drug czar John P. Walters, in Mexico City to reassure officials that aid to fight drug gangs is in the pipeline, said traffickers resort to "fear and horror" in their campaign to take over government institutions but will ultimately fail.

Ultimately, he said, the drug lords will face a stark choice: "They surrender, or they die." [LA Times]

Walters then pulled a hand grenade from his vest and destroyed a speeding SUV from 100 yards away.

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