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One citizen-journalist’s journey into the drug war bureaucracy shows why previous efforts to reschedule pot have been DEA’d on arrival.
October 30, 2013
Under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug in America. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Cannabis sativa is as dangerous as heroin. (You know… as in heroin!) To justify this ranking, the DEA has declared that the plant has absolutely no medical value. Zero. Nada. Zip. The federal government has determined that this position is backed by science.
Marijuana’s current status as one of the most dangerous drugs in America became official in 1970, during the Nixon administration. (Putting matters in ludicrous perspective, cocaine and even Breaking Bad meth are Schedule II.) Every administration since then has treated marijuana as mad, bad and dangerous to know, with virtually no attempt made to reclassify it. And that list includes the current one.
About the Author
Harmon Leon is the author of six books, including The American Dream, The Harmon Chronicles and Republican Like Me. His…
“It’s a bit of an Alice in Wonderland scenario with the Obama administration,” explains Kris Hermes of American for Safe Access (ASA). “He made statements prior to being elected about changing the policy on marijuana, but in reality the opposite has happened.”
Not only have there been more medical marijuana arrests during Obama’s administration than the entire Bush regime, but even in states like California and Washington, there’s been a steady rise in the number of people being raided even though they’re in full compliance with state law. The federal government has threatened landlords and financial institutions working with medical marijuana businesses; the IRS has been involved with audits; pro-pot lawmakers have been bullied; and veterans using marijuana for conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder have been denied medical benefits by the Veterans Administration—all because of marijuana’s Schedule I status.
On the other hand, dropping pot down a notch to Schedule II (let alone III, IV or V, or removing it from the Controlled Substances Act completely) would be a big step in resolving the clash between state and federal law, since such a move would at least acknowledge marijuana’s medical utility and allow doctors to legally prescribe it.
So what can be done to reschedule marijuana in a country where the “drug czar” is required by law to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a Schedule I substance—in any form?
Time to put on our citizen-journalist’s hat and go through the looking glass into the bizarre legal labyrinth of the rescheduling process. Kris Hermes warned that it wouldn’t be easy: “Bureaucrats shut down and refuse to talk when it’s convenient for them not to talk… when it suits their purpose!”
I Contact the DEA
Phoning the DEA is an unnerving experience—a sensation similar to being in high school and calling your dad at 2 am to inform him that you’ve crashed the family car (though now safe in the knowledge that the NSA will keep tabs on me).
I get a DEA representative on the phone. He goes by the name Rusty. (Perhaps because of his employer’s corroded views on ending the drug war?)
“Could I get any information regarding the rescheduling of medical marijuana?”
“I don’t want to spark a debate,” Rusty from the DEA replies. “I don’t know if that’s something we’d weigh in on. I don’t know what the point would be—our stance is pretty much on our website.”
Rusty from the DEA informs me that the agency’s position on medical marijuana can be found under the tab astutely labeled “The Dangers and Consequences of Marijuana Abuse.” (The thirty-page PDF reads like some bureaucrat’s idea for a remake of Reefer Madness.)
The key words in this manifesto: dangers, consequences, abuse. That doesn’t seem to indicate much willingness to consider pot’s medical value. Apparently, the DEA is still convinced that cancer victims are merely “abusing” marijuana to alleviate their chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea.
Rusty from the DEA adds: “You know, Congress can change this at any point—which people seem to forget.”
Perfect. That would be the same body that recently shut down the federal government and threatened the United States with default. But while the DEA might say that rescheduling is up to Congress, according to the ASA, that’s not exactly the case. The DEA actually delays the process—with no time limit imposed for answering rescheduling petitions, the agency takes the longest possible time before reaching a decision. (And then it says no.) To get around to denying the ASA’s rescheduling petition, it took the federal government a whopping nine years.
I Contact the FDA
According to a memorandum of understanding between the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration, a rescheduling petition has to go through the FDA. (Despite the fact that the DEA is under no obligation to recognize the conclusions of that agency.) Meanwhile, roughly every nineteen minutes, an American dies of accidental prescription-drug overdose—and these are pills approved by the FDA. (“Approved!”) Since the big pharmaceutical companies can’t make money off homegrown medical marijuana, might that be swaying the FDA’s recommendation?
“Can I ask a few questions about the rescheduling of medical marijuana?” I ask an unnamed FDA representative.
“I’m looking into this for you,” she replies.
“We cannot comment on this topic due to pending citizen petitions, other than to say our analyses and decision-making processes are ongoing.”
Not much to work with there, though I’m intrigued by the mention of “pending citizen petitions.” I press on: “What would be the process needed for medical marijuana to be approved by the FDA?”
“As you are aware, Schedule 1 drugs have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and as I indicated before, we cannot comment on this topic of rescheduling due to pending citizen petitions.”
My information parade has been rained out. Why so cagey? After all, the FDA approved Marinol, whose active ingredient is 100 percent synthetic THC (i.e., the stuff that makes pot so dangerous and addictive that it has to be classified as Schedule I). And Marinol, strangely enough, is Schedule III—even though no pot plant in the history of marijuana has tested at 100 percent THC. (Even the strongest pot these days clocks in at under 40 percent.)
So my basic question goes unanswered, though the FDA representative does grant me an open invitation to check out the agency’s website—anytime I please!
My inquiry at the Justice Department yields similar results: “Hi Harmon—DOJ’s enforcement policy on marijuana is in the attached. Thanks.”
My attempt at securing a comment from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals—which threw out the ASA’s appeal on its rescheduling petition—doesn’t go much better: “I’m sorry. I don’t know the answer to your question. I am sure there must be subject matter experts out there who would know.… Good luck!”
Down and Down the Rabbit Hole…
At the heart of the approval process is the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Ironically—or maybe not—the organization is funded by the federal government. Catch-22: for the DEA to reschedule marijuana, scientific studies authorized by NIDA have to prove its medical benefits. This is basically like putting the mice in charge of the mousey snacks. In his now-famous about-face on medical marijuana, Dr. Sanjay Gupta pointed out how many of NIDA’s studies are actually designed to find detrimental effects—with only about 6 percent, he estimates, looking into medical benefits. The end result of NIDA’s efforts: the almost-complete suppression of research into the therapeutic value of marijuana.
“Will Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s statement have any impact on rescheduling medical marijuana?” I ask the NIDA rep.
NIDA’s response: “The best resource for questions about rescheduling is the Drug Enforcement Administration.” (A phone number is provided.)
Reaching deep into my citizen-journalist’s bag of tricks, I try a more straightforward approach: “What would it take to have medical marijuana rescheduled? Clearly we’re at a crossroads where public opinion is changing, yet the federal government doesn’t want to change its stance. Is it left to further scientific studies or any other factors?”
“You’ll need to contact the DEA for questions about rescheduling.”
And so I’m back at square one. It turns out that getting an answer from the federal government on rescheduling marijuana is a lot like contacting the local Scientology center and asking them to go on record about the planet Xenu. In the meantime, the Supreme Court recently declined to hear ASA’s appeal on its rescheduling petition—the one that the DEA waited nine years to reject, and that the DC Circuit Court turned down on appeal, declaring that only Congress has the power to amend the Controlled Substances Act.
If the federal government is determined to maintain marijuana as a highly illegal Schedule 1 substance—despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary and an ongoing sea change in public opinion—then perhaps its best ploy at this point would be to sit on its hands and do absolutely nothing.
Also In This Issue
Katrina vanden Heuvel: “Why Its Always Been Time to Legalize Marijuana”
Mike Riggs: “Obama’s War on Pot”
Carl L. Hart: “Pot Reform’s Race Problem”
Kristen Gwynne: “Can Medical Marijuana Survive in Washington State?”
Atossa Araxia Abrahamian: “Baking Bad: A Potted History of High Times”
Various Contributors: “The Drug War Touched My Life: Why I’m Fighting Back”
And only online…
J. Hoberman: “The Cineaste’s Guide to Watching Movies While Stoned”
Seth Zuckerman: “Is Pot-Growing Bad for the Environment?”
October 30, 2013
By John Kozy
Global Research, October 29, 2013
The English who settled America brought English culture with them. The colonies were nothing but little Englands. When the colonists revolted, they were merely trying to get free of the tyrannical English monarchy, not trying to change the culture. They were perfectly happy with the English way of life. They carried on its practices and adopted the English system of common law.
That sixteenth century culture is alive and well in America today and is why America is in many respects a backward nation. Americans are living 500 years behind the times.
One would like to believe that human institutions exist to enhance the lives of people, but there is very little evidence to support that view. If enhancing the lives of people is not the purpose of human institutions, what is? The American Constitution lists six goals the founders expected the nation to accomplish:
We the People of the United States, in Order to (1) form a more perfect Union, (2) establish Justice, (3) insure domestic Tranquility, (4) provide for the common defence, (5) promote the general Welfare, and (6) secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Unfortunately, no American government has ever tried to govern in a way that seeks to attain these goals. So the American government is either an unconstitutional, failed state or else the framers of the Constitution must be thought of as having engaged in unrealistic political propaganda. At any rate, the American government is not what the Constitution makes it out to be. The question is why? The answer is the stupid political economy!
The English who settled America brought English culture with them. The colonies were nothing but little Englands. When the colonists revolted, they were merely trying to get free of the tyrannical English monarchy, not trying to change the culture. They were perfectly happy with the English way of strife. They carried on its practices and adopted the English system of common law.
That sixteenth century culture is alive and well in America today and is why America is in many respects a backward nation. Americans are living 500 years behind the times.
The English were engaged in economic activities for hundreds of years before Adam Smith published his An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nation; all he did was provide English merchants with a rationalization for what they had always done and wanted to do more of. Laissez-faire (let [them] do), to them, meant the ability to engage in economic practices without being subjected to governmental restrictions and tariffs. Then, like today, merchants wanted the freedom to profiteer by buying cheap and selling dear. Merchants, then or now, have had little interest in abstruse economic theory unless its models promise greater profit.
But buying cheap and selling dear applies to labor as well as materials, and the classical economists provide a rationalization for that maxim too. The subsistence theory of wages, advanced by classical economists, holds that the market price of labour always tends toward the minimum required for subsistence (that is, for basic needs such as food and shelter). Even Alfred Marshall, America’s first modern economist, was of the opinion that wages in the long run would tend to equal maintenance and reproduction costs. So when the Republican party seeks to eliminate regulations and keep the minimum wage low, they are acting just like sixteenth century English merchants and their boot-licking economists. Merchants become sheep dogs that herd human sheep, and our economists think nothing of it. They have adopted the British way of strife totally.
Although this impoverishment of labor is bad enough, in a globalized economy it is devastating. The classical economists held that a subsistence wage had to be high enough to enable the workforce to reproduce itself in order to maintain a labor supply; in a globalized economy, the workforce needed exists in underdeveloped countries. A domestic workforce is entirely unnecessary, so there is no need to even grant it subsistence wages or any other humane benefit. From a merchants’/economists’ point of view, domestic labor becomes expendable. Why pay it anything at all?
What a lovely world our economists advocate! Economics is not merely a dismal science, it is a murderous one.
Merchants and economists constitute a class of totally inhumane human beings. (Isn’t inhumane human a contradiction?) It seems as though two entirely different races have intermingled—the human race and an inhumane one. In the words of Pope Francis,
“A savage capitalism has taught the logic of profit at any cost . . . of exploitation without thinking of people.”
What kind of person would support this economy? Although they may revel in their fortunes and often act and speak like the rest of us, they are not like us. They are evil to the marrow of their bones. Logically, the inhumane are either not human or deranged.
One such person is Arnaud Costinot, an MIT economist, who uses the doctrine of comparative advantage to justify globalization. He is said to hold this:
“Ricardo thought that instead of trying to produce a wide range of goods, countries could grow by specializing in the goods they could produce most cheaply, and then trading those goods with other countries. This made sense, Ricardo claimed, even when a country could make multiple products more cheaply, in absolute terms, than other countries.
How? Suppose, Ricardo posited, that England produces cloth more cheaply than wine, while Portugal produces wine more cheaply than cloth. And suppose Portugal produces both products more cheaply than England does. Both countries could still benefit from trading in equal terms: England could specialize in making cloth, and trade that for wine. But Portugal could specialize in making wine, and trade that for England’s cloth — which would be the cheapest way to acquire cloth, even if Portugal’s own cloth was cheaper to make than England’s.”
Only thing is, Ricardo never wrote any such thing, and to describe what he wrote in this way is intellectual dishonesty at its worst. Ricardo never uses the word “cheaply.” He uses “the number of man hours needed to produce one unit of cloth or wine,” ‘Man hours worked’ is not a wage or a value of currency. The production may not be cheap. By deliberately misstating what Ricardo writes, economists advocate the exploitation and impoverishment of workers and ultimately their destruction—a truly evil and inhumane goal.
This is the only explanation for the right wing’s war on the poor. Beasts of burden are disposed of when they have lost their usefulness, so destroying the middle class is not to be lamented. When the labor of underdeveloped countries became available to manufacturers, the American middle class became expendable. That is the American Republican party’s goal. It seeks to shrink the size of government by eliminating the people who need to be taken care of.
Economists want us to believe that free trade makes everyone richer, but experience teaches us otherwise.
The Internet is replete with articles both pro and con, but the attitudes of people to offshoring is quite consistent. The peoples in underdeveloped nations involved in making products for the West chafe at the extent of the exploitation. Whether in Latin America, Bangladesh, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Czech Republic, or Poland exploited labor is never described as prosperous. Neither has prosperity blessed America’s laborers. Exploitation and prosperity are alien concepts. The exploited are never prosperous and the prosperous are never exploited. No nation can boast of its prosperity gotten by offshoring. The empirical evidence gotten anecdotally is better than the dubious statistical evidence cited by economists (see The Real Cost of Offshoring.) India’s laborers are not getting rich working for American companies. NAFTA has not brought prosperity to Mexican or American workers. A low-wage job is not a gainful (prosperous) one. Marx asked workers of the world to unite; Western corporate leaders tell them to be damned. Any economist who does not see what is happening is intellectually blind. Or perhaps, just plain evil.
In The Story so Far, the Economist put it this way:
ONCE UPON A time the rich world’s manufacturing firms largely produced in the rich world for the rich world, and most services were produced close to where they were consumed. Then Western firms started sending manufacturing work abroad on a large scale. By the 1980s this was well established. The movement was overwhelmingly in one direction: away from rich countries to places where workers with adequate skills were much cheaper.
Whether openly stated or not, lower labour costs were almost always the chief rationale.
To corporations, workers are likened to beasts of burden and the economic elite who advocate this economic practice are then likened to vicious dogs. What a wonderful world! It will not change until the welfare of mankind, rather than profit, becomes the goal of political-economy. If the human race is to survive, the welfare of human beings must be the goal of human institutions.
John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.
October 19, 2013 8:00 pm • By JOE GISONDI – For the Herald & Review
EDITOR’S NOTE: Joe Gisondi and Brian Poulter, journalism professors at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, traveled Illinois 1 this summer and recorded their journey. For our purposes, their journey started in Danville, but the six-part series will cover the length of the road from its origin near Cave in Rock and its end at the south side of Chicago. On the Illinois 1 project, under a grant from Verizon, Poulter used an iPhone 5 and a Nokia Lumia 928 cellphone.
CAVE-IN-ROCK — Chris Berton was more concerned about the blood stains than anything.
Blood, Berton said, is difficult to clean off a deck on this ferry, now churning the three-quarter mile expanse across the Ohio River back toward Illinois.
So Berton tossed the body into the green, sediment-rich waters, where the carcass would either decompose, or, more likely, float along the river until it wedged against an embankment or among some weeds, a possible dinner for a raccoon or turtle.
Fortunately, Berton did not get hurt this morning by the 15-pound Asian silver carp that leaped more than 10 feet over the Loni Jo, the 350-horsepower diesel tug that powers this ferry across the river between Cave-In-Rock, where Illinois 1 ends (or begins, depending on your perspective) and Kentucky State Road 91. Like most silver carp, the fish bounced and tap danced across the deck in rapid-fire gyrations before leaving several red splotches on the crimson deck.
Berton, the boat’s deckhand, has been hit several times by these fish, which can grow to 70 pounds, although state biologists say they encounter very few heavier than 30. But even at that weight, Berton says, they pack a lot of power, making him feel as though he’d been smacked with a Louisville Slugger.
Berton looks like he can take a hit, though. He has wide shoulders and strong forearms, probably strengthened from hooking ropes around the metal cleats to connect the ferry to the tug each time it docks on either side as well as from scrubbing elements such as fish blood and scales from the deck. He walks among the cars he navigated onto the ferry’s three lanes in white New Balance sneakers, saying that arranging cars on board is sort of like playing Tetris, the tile-matching puzzle video game. Chris wears an untucked tan shirt that falls over a slightly growing waist and brown pants, a camouflage-green ball cap, and reflective sunglasses, certainly a necessity when riding over the river for at least eight hours a day.
Several silver carp jump aboard each day, usually when the tug turns around before heading across the river with a new load of cars, trucks and semitrucks. On departure, the tug floats away from shore for a few seconds before Captain Jim Littrell turns on the engine and redirects the boat, pivoting in sort of a three-point turn. The rumbling engine often startles the carp, which begin their wild, airborne dance.
Berton has seen several impressive acrobatics from these fish. He grabs a yellow bucket of water and a brush broom to scrub away the blood before it bakes into the paint. These silver carp, he says, have leaped high enough to fly through open car windows, landing on drivers’ laps. They’ve also jumped out of the water so explosively that they have dented car doors and hoods, and one carp even reached a car on top of a semi’s flat bed. It’s the ones that clandestinely flop inside the engine room that worry Berton the most. “If they sit there long enough,” he said, “they can really stink up the place.”
It’s not clear why silver carp react in this manner, unlike their cousin, the bighead carp, although state biologists like Kevin Irons believe this is a survival instinct. “By doing this, they confuse predators,” says Irons, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ aquatic nuisance species program manager, “and, hopefully, they won’t get eaten.”
Conversely, the larger bighead carp, which frequently grow to 70-plus pounds, say fisheries ex-perts, dive down when threatened.
“It’s just a flight mechanism,” says Paul Rister, a biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
These carp were originally brought over to the United States from China to help control algae in catfish ponds, primarily in Arkansas. Over the years, the fish escaped, spawned and moved out across the region’s main waterways. Now, they far outnumber native species in the Illinois, Mis-souri and parts of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers — as much as 70 percent in some areas, says Irons.
These carp can eat 20 percent of the body weight each day, produce 700,000 eggs a year, and within a few months are too large for predator fish. As a result, they are eating so much plankton that other species, like shad and cuttlefish, are getting starved out, Irons said.
“We haven’t lost a species yet,” Irons says, “but the native species are not doing as well. The in-vasive process is not over. I’m sure they’re (bighead and silver carp) still reaching out to other watersheds.”
Rister recently watched 100 to 150 silver carp leap in the air almost instantaneously while he drove his boat through a large school on Lake Barkley, a 58,000-mile reservoir located about 60 miles south of Cave-In-Rock in the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area. Like Berton, Rister has been hit a few times, which he says is something that “definitely gets your attention.” He says he’s also heard of leaping silver carp breaking one woman’s jaw and bruising the ribs of oth-ers.
Clearly, Brian Poulter and I should carefully scan the water for emerging, flying objects each time we depart these docks on this early August morning, although at six-feet-five, Brian remains both a larger target and a shield. So, I have little to fear, unlike the thousands of people who regu-larly drive boats, fish, and water ski among these large, skittish missiles.
JOSH FANN digs through the rubble of a demolished bank building on a ridge that overlooks the ferry crossing, his blue-and-white Ford Motor Co. ballcap pulled down far over a face that belies his youth. He’s no more than 18, wearing a cut-off gray T-shirt, jeans with a large, torn hole in his right knee, and brown boots. At noon, Josh is worn from bending, picking and stacking unbroken bricks worth reusing by his employer, a local construction company. The back-breaking work and sun are clearly sapping his youthful energy. He’s one of four people on this crew, whose mission is to collect and recycle 6,000 bricks. So far today, they’ve stacked several palettes four to five layers high. But piles of bricks still cover this lot.
Little else is going on at Cave-In-Rock on a Friday afternoon, besides folks filtering into Rose’s Kountry Kitchen around the corner, walking into the newly constructed Area Bank next door, or driving another 200 yards down a declining Illinois 1 to the ferry ramp. The city hall building across the street is empty, as are most of the structures in a town that is tiny both in size at 0.43 square miles and in population with about 318 residents.
"I don’t want to fucking give this United States government one fucking dollar of taxes…" — Jack Herer, "The Emperor of Hemp", September 12th, 2009
“I don’t want to fucking give this United States
government one fucking dollar of taxes…”
– Jack Herer, “The Emperor of Hemp”, September 12th, 2009
(Portland Hempstalk Festival–his final speech.)
The Fallacy of the “Legalize and Tax Cannabis” initiatives.
Overgrow The World
April 21, 2010
I have listened and understood the words of the late Jack Herer, and I am amazed how few people who say they believe in what Jack was saying truly understand the real reasons why he so horrified at the idea of creating new cannabis taxes. Let me explain quickly: THEY ARE NOT NEEDED AT ALL! As a matter of fact, nothing could be further from the truth!
Now I’m sure that many of you don’t believe me. If that is the case, then you also didn’t understand what Jack meant, or perhaps you simply weren’t paying attention, choosing to hear what you agreed with and ignoring what you didn’t understand, or simply weren’t interested in.
The first “ignored fact” is that the vast majority of the “illicit market” for cannabis is underground, hence, completely untaxed. There is a small fallacy to this statement, however, as even those “underground economies” still purchase their supplies, tools and equipment from “legitimate businesses” and those businesses all pay taxes of one form or another. Cannabis growers order pizza, buy gas, hire electricians and plumbers, et cetera. In this admittedly roundabout way, cannabis already is taxed, albeit to a very small degreee in comparison to the total size of the market as it stands, and to the potential which is known to exist.
Let’s say that cannabis/hemp were re-legalized prohibition was repealed today, and it was done so without the creation of any new tax codes specifically for cannabis. Most think that this would be a bad thing, as it wouldn’t be “exploiting the market” without creating new tax codes, new agencies, new enforcement regimes. Unfortunately, the people who believe that have been lied to, and it’s time that they learned the truth.
In actual fact, if cannabis were re-legalized prohibition was repealed today and taxes weren’t considered in the equation in any way, it would still be beneficial to society in terms of savings alone. We’d save money on policing, of which estimates range that between 40-60% of all police costs are directly due to “drug prohibition.” Logic follows that with police not bogged down with grandmothers taking a puff to slow their glaucoma, they would then be able to concentrate their resources on combating real crimes. Things like rape, murder, fraud, home invasion and theft, assault and battery, arson, financial crimes, environmental crimes (of which cannabis/hemp prohibition is one of the leading causes, in fact), and many more REAL crimes with REAL victims.
Taken a step further, lawyers would then be freed up to work on real crimes as well. So would prosecutors. So would judges, court stenographers, prison staff and more. WIthout locking away non-violent “criminals” who have harmed noone else–and this is the scary part for corporations–the “warehousing of otherwise productive humans for profit” would suddenly become far less profitable for the prison-industrial complex to continue, and prohibitionary statute development might begin to fade. With less “legal reasons” to imprison people for essentially minding their own business, more people would not have the lives and futures destroyed.
So let’s say that there were no new taxes created upon re-legalization of cannabis/hemp, and we ONLY consider the tens or hundreds of billions SAVED by no longer wasting time attacking people in their homes for posession or for growing a few plants for their own consumption. Are not those billions of dollars saved a tremendous enough benefit to justify the immediate repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition? Could saving those billions of dollars not be immediately transferred into lower taxes, or public debt reduction? Would those savings alone not be of tremendous, immediate and long-term social value?
Now let’s consider the tax idea on it’s own merit.
With re-legalization repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition, there would immediately follow the creation of new businesses to exploit what is widely known to be a global market for cannaibs and hemp products. Each of those businesses would be subject to business income taxes that currently do not exist. WIthout a single character added to business tax statutes, the net result would be the establishment of “new revenue” from those “new businesses.”
Of course, those businesses would need people to man storefronts, deliver products, develop products, design packaging, grow the raw materials, process the raw materials, et cetera. These jobs would all be legitimate jobs in the real job market. Each of those jobs would be subject to existing income tax statutes. It’s not hard to see how those “new jobs” would in turn be utilized as “new tax revenue sources” which previously did not exist. Again, without a single line of new codes written, a brand new revenue stream has been obtained.
Each of those new employees and businesses would need supplies, equipment, computers, energy sources, and services. All of those businesses and individuals would then use their incomes to purchase those items or services they needed, either to operate or enhance their businesses, or simply to make their lives at home a little better. All of those products would be purchased at existing retailers and/or wholesalers that exist in the current “legitimate marketplace.” All (or the vast majority) of those purchases would be subject to sales taxes at state/provincial and federal levels. Again, not a single comma added to the existing statutes required, but “new revenue” has effectively been attained.
Now let’s take the cannabis market ITSELF.
All of those newly created and legitimate businesses would provide products that people either wanted or needed, be they for medical purposes or for recreational uses. All of those products would then be subject to state/provincial and federal sales taxes. With each sale would then come “new revenues” which do not exist today. Again–are you starting to notice a pattern yet?–without the addition of a single line of code to any existing tax codes.
The Fallacy of “New Government Regulatory Jobs”
People keep being told that “new jobs” will be created in the “new regulatory framework” that “will be needed”, but they haven’t thought this through. Some have partly thought it through, thinking that since a percentage of those worker’s incomes will be clawed back by income taxes–say 25%–that means that those jobs are “cheaper” than “real jobs”. That’s actually not quite right.
When you look the “real economy”, or in other words, the economy from which all government income is derived via the millions of tax codes which exist to take our incomes from us all, any position in this “real economy” is one which is subject to taxation, and therefore, is generally to be considered a contributing position.
On the other hand, when you look at “government jobs” which are wholly funded by “real people” with “real jobs” in the “real economy”, every government position which exists–no matter what country or what level of government–is a drain on society, and must be so, as “we hired them to work for us.”
Now let’s take a simple example that we’ve all heard a million times: “Joe The Plumber.”
If Joe was working in his own shop, or for someone else in their business, he would be a contributing factor in the “real economy” in the amount of taxation on his income, we’ll use 25% for illustration purposes. This means that 25% of his income is diverted to “public employees and projects” needed for society to function as it currently exists.
Now let’s take Joe’s situation if he were a government employee…let’s say he’s employed by the local Public Utilities Comission. Now Joe’s income is wholly funded by tax dollars, and thus, is a drain on society. We’ve established an income tax rate of 25%, so we can now say that Joe is “cheaper” because now his services now only costs us 75% of what they would, had he remained in his private sector job.
Here is the “minor error” in that logic: Joe has moved from the “real economy” to the “government economy”. In making that move, the “real economy” has lost 100% of a “real job”, while the government has gained an employee “at a discount of only 75% of their private sector wages.” When you add that up, you see quite clearly that Joe’s “new job” is effectively now a 175% loss to society as a whole.
Joe’s still making the same amount of money. We’re still paying him the same amount of money when he does his work…but now he is NOT contributing to the “real economy” at all, while he is draining 75% of his wages from unnaportioned taxation of the people who are forced to pay his salary, whether they partake of his services or not.
Unfortunately, this also applies to every “equivalent government position” that exists in the world. Accountants cost 175% of what they would cost in the “real economy.” So do welders, secretaries, cafeteria cooks, lawyers…ALL of them! If they work for the government, they are at a much higher cost than their equivalent “real world” positions in the real economy.
We need to keep this in mind whenever we hear talk of ” new regulations” because that almost always means “new regulatory bodies”, and that DEFINITELY always means “new government employees” which are going to cost us dearly if we allow such things to occur.
If we are forced to accept some form of taxation in order to move closer to the full repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition, so be it…let’s move a little closer…but the second we have a positive change under our belts, we must NOT become complacent! We must continue to fight for the full repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition until the batttle is decisively won.
Once we have some “half-assed reasonable legislation” in place, we can guage what are the worst parts of those enacted bills and target them one by one until they’re all gone, and then, we will have our ofn freedom, and freedom for what is arguably the most important plant known on this planet.
At the Hempstalk Festival, during Jack Herer’s final public speech, he said (among other things):
“I don’t want to fucking give this United States government one fucking dollar of taxes…”
Obviously, he understood my thinking…or perhaps, I simply learned enough to come to an understanding of his.
What about you?
EDIT: I have since come up with the complete solution to the perils of prohibition in THREE WORDS:
If you remember only three words in your lifetime, THOSE are the ones that WILL end cannabis/hemp prohibition.
If we continue to be led by propagandists and prohibitionists into accepting ever-longer-names for prohibition, while believing we are “moving closer to freedom”, we’ll never get there…it’ll just keep getting more complex, more costly, and more damaging to society as a whole…as it has for decades already.
If we allow our politicians to “reschedule” cannabis, this COULD mean an outright statutory BAN on ALL cannabis use, medicinal or otherwise, for the length of time it would take “to conduct safety studies.” We already know that if they keep finding proof cannabis is non-toxic, anti-oxidant, neuroprotectant, et cetera, we also already know that these “safety studies” will be completed in an absolute minimum of 4-6 years, to an absolute maximum of…NEVER!
“Decriminalization” is NOT repeal. It’s still illegal.
“Legalization” simply tells the politicians and courts that we believe the fix to bad legislation conveived of in fraud can only be fixed not by deleting it from the recored entirely, but by making it more complex…but keeping it all on the books for future “quick-n-easy” readoption when prison investors want higher revenues to do their profit-taking from.
“Re-legalization” is just two letters prepended to the above.
“Tax and regulate” tells OUR EMPLOYEES that “we owe them new taxes for not wasting our money attacking us.” If we keep buying into the scam, they’ll get it, too!
“Regulate like [insert commodity of the hour here]” is just another way to justify the creation of a new regulatory body, hire new “government employees”, raise taxes, lower rights and freedoms, all while telling the wilfully ignorant population that “they are free.” They ain’t. They won’t be.
“REPEAL” means: The statutes are GONE. Deleted. History. Erased. Terminated. Removed from the “law” journals. NEVER TO RETURN.
The ridiculous proposition that “if we want it legal again, we have to create new taxes” is also a prime example of idiotic propaganda foisted upon a wilfully ignorant population. Only two seconds of thought tells you the truth of the situation…we do NOT need to “appease our employees” when we finally force them to stop wasting our money. Not wasting all those billions of dollars every year should be, and IS, reward enough to everyone all on it’s own!
When we find out we’ve got a crooked mechanic who’s bee charging us for spark plug changes on every visit that we didn’t really need, and were nothing more than a waste of OUR money…we don’t praise them and give them permanent bonuses, do we? So where did the idea come from, that in order for our employees to simply do their job with a litle more brainpower behind their actions, that we need to give them more money and hire more people? Reality has to sink in eventually, folks! Even through the infinitely thick skulls of “politicians.” They might be as dense as the core of a neutron star, but they still have ear holes! SO START SPEAKING UP!!!
Either we DEMAND the full repeal of prohibition, or we will continue on with it forever, just with a different name, and higher taxes…and let’s face it, folks: OUR EMPLOYEES will be completely happy to rename what they’re doing to us and call it whatever we want to call it, if we’re dumb enough to allow it to continue. Are we really so blind as to STILL not see the truth for what it is?
Want it over? MAKE it over!
It really is just as simple as that.
* That solves prohibition on a national level…we still need to remove cannabis/hemp from the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in order to end prohibition GLOBALLY.
The Fallacy of the “Legalize and Tax Cannabis” initiatives.
Overgrow The World
April 21, 2010
MY PERSONAL COMMENT: SOMETIMES (MOST OFTEN) OLD NEWS IS THE BEST NEWS – SMK.
Senior politicians reveal that US counter-terrorism efforts have swept up personal data from American citizens for years
The scale of America’s surveillance state was laid bare on Thursday as senior politicians revealed that the US counter-terrorism effort had swept up swaths of personal data from the phone calls of millions of citizens for years.
After the revelation by the Guardian of a sweeping secret court order that authorised the FBI to seize all call records from a subsidiary of Verizon, the Obama administration sought to defuse mounting anger over what critics described as the broadest surveillance ruling ever issued.
A White House spokesman said that laws governing such orders “are something that have been in place for a number of years now” and were vital for protecting national security. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, said the Verizon court order had been in place for seven years. “People want the homeland kept safe,” Feinstein said.
But as the implications of the blanket approval for obtaining phone data reverberated around Washington and beyond, anger grew among other politicians.
Intelligence committee member Mark Udall, who has previously warned in broad terms about the scale of government snooping, said: “This sort of widescale surveillance should concern all of us and is the kind of government overreach I’ve said Americans would find shocking.” Former vice-president Al Gore described the “secret blanket surveillance” as “obscenely outrageous”.
The Verizon order was made under the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) as amended by the Patriot Act of 2001, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. But one of the authors of the Patriot Act, Republican congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, said he was troubled by the Guardian revelations. He said that he had written to the attorney general, Eric Holder, questioning whether “US constitutional rights were secure”.
He said: “I do not believe the broadly drafted Fisa order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act. Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.”
The White House sought to defend what it called “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats”. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Fisa orders were used to “support important and highly sensitive intelligence collection operations” on which members of Congress were fully briefed.
“The intelligence community is conducting court-authorized intelligence activities pursuant to a public statute with the knowledge and oversight of Congress and the intelligence community in both houses of Congress,” Earnest said.
He pointed out that the order only relates to the so-called metadata surrounding phone calls rather than the content of the calls themselves. “The order reprinted overnight does not allow the government to listen in on anyone’s telephone calls,” Earnest said.
“The information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the name of any subscriber. It relates exclusively to call details, such as a telephone number or the length of a telephone call.”
But such metadata can provide authorities with vast knowledge about a caller’s identity. Particularly when cross-checked against other public records, the metadata can reveal someone’s name, address, driver’s licence, credit history, social security number and more. Government analysts would be able to work out whether the relationship between two people was ongoing, occasional or a one-off.
The disclosure has reignited longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government’s domestic spying powers.
Ron Wyden of Oregon, a member of the Senate intelligence committee who, along with Udell, has expressed concern about the extent of US government surveillance, warned of “sweeping, dragnet surveillance”. He said: “I am barred by Senate rules from commenting on some of the details at this time, However, I believe that when law-abiding Americans call their friends, who they call, when they call, and where they call from is private information.
“Collecting this data about every single phone call that every American makes every day would be a massive invasion of Americans’ privacy.”
Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “From a civil liberties perspective, the program could hardly be any more alarming. It’s a program in which some untold number of innocent people have been put under the constant surveillance of government agents.
“It is beyond Orwellian, and it provides further evidence of the extent to which basic democratic rights are being surrendered in secret to the demands of unaccountable intelligence agencies.”
Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice under President Obama.
The order names Verizon Business Services, a division of Verizon Communications. In its first-quarter earnings report, published in April, Verizon Communications listed about 10 million commercial lines out of a total of 121 million customers. The court order, which lasts for three months from 25 April, does not specify what type of lines are being tracked. It is not clear whether any additional orders exist to cover Verizon’s wireless and residential customers, or those of other phone carriers.
Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific, named target suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets. The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual.
Senators Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, and Saxby Chambliss, the vice chairman, speak to reporters about the NSA cull of phone records. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Feinstein said she believed the order had been in place for some time. She said: “As far as I know this is the exact three-month renewal of what has been the case for the past seven years. This renewal is carried out by the [foreign intelligence surveillance] court under the business records section of the Patriot Act. Therefore it is lawful. It has been briefed to Congress.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement that the secret court order was unprecedented. “As far as we know this order from the Fisa court is the broadest surveillance order to ever have been issued: it requires no level of suspicion and applies to all Verizon [business services] subscribers anywhere in the US.
“The Patriot Act’s incredibly broad surveillance provision purportedly authorizes an order of this sort, though its constitutionality is in question and several senators have complained about it.”
Russell Tice, a retired National Security Agency intelligence analyst and whistleblower, said: “What is going on is much larger and more systemic than anything anyone has ever suspected or imagined.”
Although an anonymous senior Obama administration official said that “on its face” the court order revealed by the Guardian did not authorise the government to listen in on people’s phone calls, Tice now believes the NSA has constructed such a capability.
“I figured it would probably be about 2015″ before the NSA had “the computer capacity … to collect all digital communications word for word,” Tice said. “But I think I’m wrong. I think they have it right now.”
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The Obama administration's internal legal justification for assassinating U.S. citizens without charge has been revealed for the first time. In a secret Justice Department memo, the administration claims it has legal authority to assassinate U.S. citizens overseas even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the United States. We're joined by Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Official White House Response to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol. and 7 other petitions
What We Have to Say About Legalizing Marijuana
By Gil Kerlikowske
When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology or politics. So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug’s effects.
According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health- the world’s largest source of drug abuse research – marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment. We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms. Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20′s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.
Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.
As a former police chief, I recognize we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem. We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.
That is why the President’s National Drug Control Strategy is balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment while at the same time supporting innovative law enforcement efforts that protect public safety and disrupt the supply of drugs entering our communities. Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. And, as we’ve seen in our work through community coalitions across the country, this approach works in making communities healthier and safer. We’re also focused on expanding access to drug treatment for addicts. Treatment works. In fact, millions of Americans are in successful recovery for drug and alcoholism today. And through our work with innovative drug courts across the Nation, we are improving our criminal justice system to divert non-violent offenders into treatment.
Our commitment to a balanced approach to drug control is real. This last fiscal year alone, the Federal Government spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment programs compared to just over $9 billion on drug related law enforcement in the U.S.
Thank you for making your voice heard. I encourage you to take a moment to read about the President’s approach to drug control to learn more.
- National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
- Marijuana Facts (ONDCP)
- Drug Abuse Warning Network (HHS)
- Treatment Episode Data Set (HHS)
- National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS)
- Monitoring the Future Survey, University of Michigan
Gil Kerlikowske is Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
Law Enforcement, Narcotics, Anti-corruption: Combating Impunity and Exposing Illicit Wealth: Towards an APEC Network on Prosecuting Bribery and Corruption and Tracking Illicit Financial Flows (Dirty Money)
Law Enforcement, Narcotics, Anti-corruption: Combating Impunity and Exposing Illicit Wealth: Towards an APEC Network on Prosecuting Bribery and Corruption and Tracking Illicit Financial Flows (Dirty Money)
01/29/2013 06:07 AM EST
David M. Luna
Director for Anticrime Programs, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
January 26, 2013
It is a pleasure to be here with you as we begin the new APEC year.
The United States applauds the leadership of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia as the APEC Host Economy in 2013 and the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) as Chair of this year’s APEC Anticorruption and Transparency (ACT) Working Group.
Your Excellency, Bambang Widjowanto, KPK Deputy Chairman, as a previous Chair of this very important and influential sub-forum in APEC, let me congratulate you on your appointment as our new ACT Chair and commend your life-long commitment to promoting human rights, advancing the rule of law, and safeguarding integrity in Indonesia.
The KPK remains a model within APEC on prosecuting high-level corruption cases, including within the police and security agencies, and demonstrating to us all that no official is above the law. The ACT must continue to support the KPK and all of our economies’ anticorruption authorities to eradicate corruption, safeguard integrity and public trust, and restore people’s faith in government as a steward of equality and justice.
I would also like to thank the Government of the Russian Federation for its leadership last year, and applaud all of the economies here for our collective achievements in 2012. I am confident that we will make great gains this year on developing an APEC regional network of anticorruption authorities that further protects our economies against abuses of power and the plunder of our national assets, human capital, and natural resources.
In 2013, we must work together to achieve the three core objectives outlined in our ACT five-year strategy: 1) to minimize impunity and kleptocracy by preventing and prosecuting public corruption; 2) to level the playing field for all businesses by fighting foreign bribery; and 3) to shut down the illegal economy and criminalized markets by combating corruption and illicit trade.
Combating Impunity and Kleptocracy: Enough is Enough!
No economy is immune from corruption, nor can any economy combat it alone. In addition to effective governance within our own jurisdictions, we must take collective action to improve governance across borders and reconfigure the way we fight corruption with smarter, more holistic strategies and approaches. We must work to prevent the flow of illicit funds, including proceeds of corruption.
APEC Leaders recognized the ACT work program in the 2012 Vladivostok Declaration on Fighting Corruption. They emphasized their commitment to investigate and prosecute corruption; to enforce our domestic bribery laws and laws criminalizing the bribery of foreign public officials; to fight money laundering and deny safe haven to assets illicitly acquired by individuals engaged in corruption. They also vowed to combat illicit trade by attacking the financial underpinnings of transnational criminal organizations and illicit networks; stripping criminal entrepreneurs and corrupt officials of their illicit wealth; and severing their access to the global financial system.
The Vladivostok Declaration also renewed and elevated APEC Leaders’ commitment to “enhance public trust by committing to transparent, fair, and accountable governance” to empower communities to monitor government policies and voice their perspectives on the use of resources.
Voice and accountability can not only help check corruption, but also allow our citizens and communities to take hold of their destinies, enjoy higher standards of living, and trust that their governments exist to do good. Transparent and open governments tend to pursue cost-effective policies; minimize misallocation of resources; and attract investment from companies looking for solid investment environments and opportunities. This is why eight APEC member countries (Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Russia, and the United States) have joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multi-stakeholder initiative launched in 2011 to promote transparency, enhance accountability, and fight corruption. Indonesia is also a co-chair of the OGP’s Steering Committee this year, and its leadership of both the OGP and the ACT presents an opportunity for us all to further our efforts to enhance public trust and raise standards of living.
Our Leaders have spoken. They have repeatedly affirmed their will to combat corruption across the Asia Pacific region. We must answer them with a transformative good governance agenda that will anchor economic growth and development from Moscow to Jakarta, from Beijing to Lima, from San Francisco to Sydney, and transform people’s lives across all markets in APEC.
ACT colleagues, we must act decisively and collectively to implement the five-year strategy. I am confident that we can fulfill our Leaders’ mandate and achieve APEC’s broader agenda to secure open markets, economic prosperity, and the rule of law.
Fighting All Forms of Bribery
Continued cooperation with the private sector is a critical component of our efforts to level the playing field for businesses across APEC economies.
Our recent work with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and other partners has ushered in a new era of cooperation between the public and private sectors. This partnership is enhancing market integrity and forging a more connected, innovative, and dynamic Asia Pacific region that thrives on openness and a rules-based approach to trade and investment.
We can do more. Building on the APEC Santiago Commitment, the APEC Code of Conduct for Business (Business Integrity and Transparency Principles for the Private Sector), and the Complementary Anti-Corruption Principles for the Public and Private Sectors, we can vigorously enforce domestic bribery laws, including laws criminalizing the bribery of foreign public officials, and fulfill our international obligations. I also hope that we can continue to share experiences and best practices in combating foreign bribery, enlist the private sector as a partner in combating bribery, and provide specialized training to make greater inroads on this important front.
We can minimize corruption as a significant market and trade barrier and improve the investment climate in our economies by ensuring that we effectively investigate and prosecute corrupt public officials and those who bribe them, in compliance with our respective domestic laws and international obligations, where appropriate, under the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and similar instruments.
The United States looks forward to working with Indonesia, China, and all economies to support stronger bribery enforcement, prosecutions, and other actions in APEC in 2013-2014.
Combating Illicit Trade and Shutting Down the Illegal Economy
Sustainable economic growth also depends on our progress to combat illicit trade and its pernicious impact on the environment and markets.
Illicit trade and the illegal economy undermine social stability and the welfare of our communities. Illicit enterprises not only distort the legal economy, but they also divert revenue from legitimate market drivers such as businesses and governments. Illicit trade further hampers development by preventing the equitable distribution of public goods. But this goes beyond just economic harm. The illegal economy also incurs a significant negative social cost, and in some cases, devastates vital ecosystems and habitats.
The dumping of toxic waste contaminates our food and water supplies. Illegal logging and deforestation or poaching exacerbate climate change and undermine our ability in APEC to advance inclusive, green, sustainable development. Poaching and trafficking of endangered wildlife robs economies of their natural assets and their future.
The corruption that allows counterfeit or ineffective pharmaceuticals to enter our communities endangers public health, denying the sick effective treatment and permitting deadly diseases to mutate and become untreatable.
The corruption that allows traffickers to move people across borders and exploit them with impunity not only violates individuals’ basic rights and freedoms but also stunts both their and their communities’ economic potential and political development.
Kleptocracy and the embezzlement of national revenue and assets that are intended to finance the future for our citizens impair the ability of communities to make the investments necessary to stimulate growth. Revenue that could be used to build roads to facilitate commerce, hospitals to save lives, homes to raise and protect families, or schools to educate future leaders and entrepreneurs is instead siphoned away for private gain.
APEC has a number of tools in its toolkit to combat corruption and illicit trade, and we have an ongoing opportunity to work together to comprehensively and holistically combat corruption, as well as illicit finance more broadly; to foster integrity in global markets and supply chains; and to protect and promote economic growth and shared prosperity.
Among them is the ACT Multi-Year Project that Thailand and Chile are co-leading on ways to combat money laundering, recover the fruits of corrupt and criminal activity, and track illicit financial flows. As kleptocrats and criminal entrepreneurs continue to hide the proceeds of their crimes in legal structures such as offshore shell companies and foundations and then launder most of that through casinos, financial institutions, or real estate into the global financial system, we must bring them to justice and, where possible, return their illicit wealth back to impacted communities.
To do this effectively, we must also target more aggressively the financial facilitators and service providers who commit crimes in helping corrupt officials, criminals, and illicit networks inject their dirty money into our financial system.
The APEC-ASEAN Pathfinder Workshop on Combating Corruption and Illicit Trade that will be held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in June 2013, will advance a dialogue among partners across the Asia Pacific region and strengthen cooperation by creating a network of anticorruption authorities, promoting information and intelligence exchanges, and facilitating cooperation and information sharing in investigations related to corruption and illicit trade and efforts to shut down the illegal economy.
More broadly, we can and should support the effective implementation of global anti-money laundering standards promulgated by the Financial Action Task Force. Among these are preventive measures that facilitate financial transparency and help prevent the flow of proceeds of corruption.
Converting Political Will into Action: Regional Networks and Partnerships
We can build on our APEC anti-corruption and transparency commitments and the collaborative relationships around this table to create a regional network of anti-corruption bodies that would facilitate the sharing of intelligence and information, as well as the sharing of best practices and challenges in effectively tracking cross-border corruption, other crime, and illicit financial flows.
The United States is more committed than ever to combating corruption and illicit trade, and we look forward to the discussion here in Jakarta.
Together, we will create a better, more prosperous future by uniting our efforts to combat corruption and support accountability and good governance. We must turn our shared interests into collective action by developing more comprehensive approaches to combating corruption so that we can prosecute corrupt public officials and those who bribe them.
Again, I wish Indonesia a great and successful year in APEC 2013 and applaud my ACT colleagues for developing and pressing forward on a vibrant course of action to fight corruption and promote integrity—a course that I know will lead us towards economic growth and a stronger foundation to build the new markets and investment frontiers of tomorrow.
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Posted: 01/29/2013 12:37 pm EST
WASHINGTON – It’s just January 2013, but in the race to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after nearly three decades in the Senate, one small super PAC is already exploring all options.
Progress Kentucky, launched in December, was born out of discussions among Democratic activist Shawn Reilly, who now heads the super PAC, and his friends as they debated how to defeat McConnell in 2014.
“Nobody else is doing it. So let’s start a super PAC and make it a grassroots effort,” Reilly said, recalling the reasoning process. “Make it of the people of Kentucky and for the people of Kentucky.”
Reilly has a progressive background, having worked for Americans Against Escalation in Iraq in its 2007 summer campaign as well as on a number of statewide and local races in Kentucky. Before starting Progress Kentucky, he was a member of the executive committee of the state Democratic Party.
His group’s first order of business is to find candidates to take on McConnell from both the Democratic Party in the general election and the Republican Party in a primary challenge. As Politico reported on Monday, Progress Kentucky is in contact with Tea Party groups across the Bluegrass State to try to convince a credible conservative to run against McConnell in the primary. The group has already sent out a petition to 22 candidates — Democrats, Republicans and independents — to see if anyone is willing to challenge the state’s senior senator.
By actively seeking out candidates, Reilly said, his super PAC is letting them know that they’ll have support if they run. “Hey, if you want to run, you’re going to have some support on the ground here to help you,” he said.
It may seem strange that a liberal Democratic organization would be working with Tea Party supporters, but Reilly said there are important areas in which the two groups agree.
“They are just as concerned with [McConnell's] corruption and crony capitalism — some of the things that he’s done over the years in terms of earmarks,” Reilly said. “They are just as much concerned about those things as people on the left are. They’re looking for candidates that can deliver that type of message, and we’re looking at potentially supporting those kind of candidates who can deliver that good-government, anti-corruption type of message.”
In fact, this would not be the first time that a Democratic group involved itself in a Republican primary campaign with the intent of knocking off the candidate with the better chance of winning the general election.
Last year, Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, ran ads attacking Missouri businessman John Brunner in the GOP Senate primary because they thought he could have seriously challenged the vulnerable Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in the general election. At the same time, McCaskill’s campaign ran ads promoting then-Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), the seemingly weakest candidate in the Republican field. Akin went on to win the three-way Republican primary and then fulfill Democratic hopes and dreams by laying waste to his own campaign with bizarre comments about rape.
In the 2012 Indiana GOP Senate primary, the super PAC American Bridge 21st Century released numerous memos and online videos attacking then-Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) for not paying taxes in the Hoosier State and for residing primarily in Washington, D.C. These efforts, while not central to Lugar’s primary loss to Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock, helped drive negative news against Lugar during the early stages of the race. Mourdock went on to mimic Akin and lose the general election after spouting inappropriate comments about rape.
But McConnell is not Akin or Mourdock. To pull off something like this, Progress Kentucky is going to need money. So far, it is relying largely on grassroots donations and not on the kind of large contributors that most major super PACs use to fill their coffers. The group has a fundraising target of $100,000 by the end of February and hopes to raise up to $2 million to fund television, field and other voter targeting activities.
The group has also been in contact with labor unions in Kentucky and helped to roll out a report by the Public Campaign Action Fund, a campaign finance reform group, tying McConnell’s use of the filibuster to particular campaign donors. Those connections could help Progress Kentucky as it takes on the incumbent Republican senator.
Posted by Good German on January 27, 2013
Forget rising temperatures and bigger storms, this is the big problem that neither side of the mainstream debate over environmental destruction is talking about. Peter Tatchell reported for the Guardian back in 2008:
The rise in carbon dioxide emissions is big news. It is prompting action to reverse global warming. But little or no attention is being paid to the long-term fall in oxygen concentrations and its knock-on effects.
Compared to prehistoric times, the level of oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere has declined by over a third and in polluted cities the decline may be more than 50%. This change in the makeup of the air we breathe has potentially serious implications for our health. Indeed, it could ultimately threaten the survival of human life on earth, according to Roddy Newman, who is drafting a new book, The Oxygen Crisis.
I am not a scientist, but this seems a reasonable concern. It is a possibility that we should examine and assess. So, what’s the evidence?
Around 10,000 years ago, the planet’s forest cover was at least twice what it is today, which means that forests are now emitting only half the amount of oxygen.
Desertification and deforestation are rapidly accelerating this long-term loss of oxygen sources.
The story at sea is much the same. Nasa reports that in the north Pacific ocean oxygen-producing phytoplankton concentrations are 30% lower today, compared to the 1980s. This is a huge drop in just three decades.
Moreover, the UN environment programme confirmed in 2004 that there were nearly 150 “dead zones” in the world’s oceans where discharged sewage and industrial waste, farm fertiliser run-off and other pollutants have reduced oxygen levels to such an extent that most or all sea creatures can no longer live there. This oxygen starvation is reducing regional fish stocks and diminishing the food supplies of populations that are dependent on fishing. It also causes genetic mutations and hormonal changes that can affect the reproductive capacity of sea life, which could further diminish global fish supplies.
Professor Robert Berner of Yale University has researched oxygen levels in prehistoric times by chemically analysing air bubbles trapped in fossilised tree amber. He suggests that humans breathed a much more oxygen-rich air 10,000 years ago.
Further back, the oxygen levels were even greater. Robert Sloan has listed the percentage of oxygen in samples of dinosaur-era amber as: 28% (130m years ago), 29% (115m years ago), 35% (95m years ago), 33% (88m years ago), 35% (75m years ago), 35% (70m years ago), 35% (68m years ago), 31% (65.2m years ago), and 29% (65m years ago).
Professor Ian Plimer of Adelaide University and Professor Jon Harrison of the University of Arizona concur. Like most other scientists they accept that oxygen levels in the atmosphere in prehistoric times averaged around 30% to 35%, compared to only 21% today – and that the levels are even less in densely populated, polluted city centres and industrial complexes, perhaps only 15 % or lower.
Much of this recent, accelerated change is down to human activity, notably the industrial revolution and the burning of fossil fuels. The Professor of Geological Sciences at Notre Dame University in Indiana, J Keith Rigby, was quoted in 1993-1994 as saying:
In the 20th century, humanity has pumped increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by burning the carbon stored in coal, petroleum and natural gas. In the process, we’ve also been consuming oxygen and destroying plant life – cutting down forests at an alarming rate and thereby short-circuiting the cycle’s natural rebound. We’re artificially slowing down one process and speeding up another, forcing a change in the atmosphere.
Very interesting. But does this decline in oxygen matter? Are there any practical consequences that we ought to be concerned about? What is the effect of lower oxygen levels on the human body? Does it disrupt and impair our immune systems and therefore make us more prone to cancer and degenerative diseases?
The effects of long term oxygen deprivation on the brain, called cerebral hypoxia, are known and some sound reminiscent of the general rise of stupidity in the industrialized world.
Professor Ervin Laszlo (quoted in Tatchell’s article) writes:
Evidence from prehistoric times indicates that the oxygen content of pristine nature was above the 21% of total volume that it is today. It has decreased in recent times due mainly to the burning of coal in the middle of the last century. Currently the oxygen content of the Earth’s atmosphere dips to 19% over impacted areas, and it is down to 12 to 17% over the major cities. At these levels it is difficult for people to get sufficient oxygen to maintain bodily health: it takes a proper intake of oxygen to keep body cells and organs, and the entire immune system, functioning at full efficiency. At the levels we have reached today cancers and other degenerative diseases are likely to develop. And at 6 to 7% life can no longer be sustained.
More specific details regarding the drop in atmospheric oxygen can be found here.
A PRAYER TO OUR CREATOR
WE COME TOGETHER TODAY TO PRAISE YOUR ALMIGHTY YOU HAVE GIVEN US LIGHT FOR WARMTH, YOU GIVE US INTELLIGENCE TO BE ABLE TO AND GIVE US THE STRENGTH, TO CARRY ON, AMEN
GIFTS TO US…
MEADOWS OF FRESH FLOWERS,
AND HERBS,TO KEEP UP HEALTHY,
YOU GAVE US DARK TO SLEEP AND TO REST OUR
WEARY HEARTS AND MINDS FOR ANOTHER DAY,
YOU GAVE US BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO LOVE US,
AND CHILDREN TO CARRY ON OUR NEVER-ENDING
ENDEAVORS – TO CARRY OUT YOUR WILL ,
AS WE KNOW WE WILL NEVER ACCOMPLISH
SEPARATE THE GOOD FROM THE EVIL,
DEAR FATHER IN HEAVEN,
GIVE US THIS DAY, OUR DAILY BREAD,
AND FORGIVE US OUR SINS,
AS WE FORGIVE ALL OTHERS,
TO RECTIFY THE EVIL THAT TO WHICH WE HAVE
TO BRING BACK THE MEADOWS,
THE FLOWERS AND TREE’S,
TO CONTINUE TO HEAR THE BIRD’S AND BEE’S!
BLESS THE HEMP LORD, AND KEEP IT STRONG,
AND ENABLE US, TO CARRY ON…
WE COME TOGETHER TODAY TO PRAISE YOUR ALMIGHTY
YOU HAVE GIVEN US LIGHT FOR WARMTH,
YOU GIVE US INTELLIGENCE TO BE ABLE TO
GIVE US THE STRENGTH, TO CARRY ON,
*Dedicated with Love to Richard J. Rawlings…USMJParty
Published: 25 January 2013 09:16 AM
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Court of Appeals has overturned a $24.7 million jury verdict against Dallas-based Atmos Energy stemming from a lawsuit by landowners who claimed they didn’t get their rightful royalties from an oil and gas project.
The appeals court on Friday ordered a new trial in the case of landowners who sued Atmos.
An Edmonson County jury in 2010 awarded about $7.7 million to the landowners, and the rest to a company owned by Robert Thorpe, which acted as a third-party producer in the project.
The jury initially awarded $31.35 million, but post-trial motions knocked $7 million off the final judgment.
The appeals court also dismissed claims against Atmos for fraud, conversion, negligence, “excessive fees,” and intentional interference with a contract.
Greetings Well the bill has been submitted and now it’s our turn. Senator Perry Clark submitted SB11 to the judiciary committee last week. http://www.mpp.org/states/kentucky/ It is one of the most aggressive legalization bills to date and we are asking all supporters to get on board to help us push this bill through. You can see a summary of the bill here: http://kentuckyveteransformedicalmarijua.blogspot.com/2012/09/gatewood-galbraith-memorial-medical.html
In the coming days I will be sending out information on what needs to be done. We will also be sending out another petition so be sure to sign it as we will be using it to further the legislation along. This is a short session folks but I know that working together we can get this done. I would like to hear from any veterans we might have, specially if you belong to the VFW. There is big news concerning the VA.
Folks I am excited about our chances. I’m hearing more and more positive feedback from legislators everyday. We are getting closer to making this bill a reality. If you have any questions you may contact me here at firstname.lastname@example.org United We Stand! Ron Moore Kentucky Veterans for Medical Marijuana www.kentuckyveteransformedicalmarijuana.net Find your legislator at this link: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/whoswho/email.htm
or Call the Toll-Free Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181 to leave a message.
by PRW Staff — January 6, 2013 – 11:13am
The article below was written by Ted Nace, who founded CoalSwarm. Since 2008, the Center for Media and Democracy has been hosting the CoalSwarm wiki project on CMD’s SourceWatch.org website. SourceWatch is a sister site of this site, PRWatch.org, and other sites of CMD, which include ALECexposed.org and the FoodRightsNetwork.org.
NASA climatologist James Hansen is sometimes called “the godfather of climate science” for his pioneering efforts to warn the world about the threat of global warming. Hansen could also be called the godfather of Earth Island Institute-sponsored project CoalSwarm. It was Hansen who, in 2007, called for a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants after U.S. power companies revealed plans to build more than 150 such plants in the country. His proposal became a rallying cry for hundreds of grassroots citizens’ groups across the country. CoalSwarm was created to help that effort, giving environmental activists, local residents, and policymakers the information they need to challenge the muscle of the coal industry and advocate for a renewable energy economy.
Coal-fired power plant in UtahIn the waning years of the Bush administration, the scattered activists committed to stopping “King Coal” faced long odds. The companies proposing coal plants generally enjoyed the support of local and state officials. Federal officials were greasing the way for more coal mining. Despite the difficult political terrain, environmental and public health advocates went to work, deploying tactics ranging from regulatory interventions to direct-action protests. Power plant opponents joined forces with anti-mining groups in Appalachia, the Southwest, and the Northern Plains, which had already spent decades fighting destructive mining practices such as mountaintop removal.
For this geographically dispersed movement, social media such as listserves, blogs, online publications, and other communication tools proved invaluable in bringing activists together and allowing a diverse array of groups to coordinate their efforts.
CoalSwarm added another tool to the mix — an informational website known as a wiki. CoalSwarm’s initial goal was to empower activists with up-to-date information on the status of each known coal plant proposal. CoalSwarm developed its information on the Center for Media and Democracy’s Sourcewatch.org website, a collaborative online reference that provides portals on topics ranging from the tobacco industry to the financial crisis to the PR industry and corporate front groups.
The anti-coal movement decided to focus on stopping individual coal projects. This proved to be a winning strategy: By October 2012, more than 170 proposed coal plants had been cancelled. For the climate movement, these successes provide a measure of hope at a time when efforts to pass a comprehensive climate change policy at the national level or an overarching climate framework at the global level have failed.
Over time, the scope of the anti-coal movement steadily broadened beyond the issue of new coal plants. In Appalachia, activists struggled against mountaintop removal with marches, blockades, and tree-sits at mine sites; nationwide, banks financing mining operations faced public pressure to give up their stake in dirty coal. CoalSwarm likewise broadened its contents with hundreds of new wiki pages on mines, mining companies, protests, and on the political underpinnings of Big Coal. A major coal-waste spill in Tennessee added the issue of coal waste to the activist agenda, and again CoalSwarm expanded its coverage.
By 2011, having succeeded in stopping most new coal plants, activists launched a nationwide campaign to retire the existing fleet of 500 aging coal plants that then provided the U.S. with about half of its power. The effort was boosted by a $50 million grant from the Bloomberg Foundation to the Sierra Club in July 2011. The initial results were encouraging. In Chicago, for instance, local citizens teamed up with the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization, and, with assistance from the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, finally won a long struggle to shut down a pair of aging power plants.
Students at universities and colleges across the country, too, organized campaigns to shut down coal-fired plants. Once many of those campaigns succeeded, campus environmentalists upped their demands with campaigns aimed at convincing college endowment funds to divest from coal-related stocks. CoalSwarm assisted this effort with profiles of campus coal plants and fact sheets on the “Filthy Fifteen” power and mining companies that students selected as divestment targets.
With the struggle shifting from proposed coal plants to existing coal plants, CoalSwarm’s data on existing coal plants became its most frequently accessed pages. The wiki page “Existing U.S. Coal Plants” had been viewed more than 373,000 times as of October 2012. A rapidly growing table on CoalSwarm’s page “Coal Plant Retirements” showed the success of the plant-retirement campaign: By late 2012, 124 plants were scheduled for retirement. Meanwhile, coal’s share of US power generation was falling rapidly: from 50 percent in 2005 to 38 percent in the 12 months ending in July 2012.
Overseas, however, the picture is not as pretty. Worldwide coal use grew by 61 percent from 2001 to 2011, with nearly all of the increase happening in Asia, especially China.
In 2011 and 2012, CoalSwarm began a concerted effort to broaden the scope of the wiki internationally, beginning with Australia, the world’s leading coal exporter. In a joint effort with the Australian group, Environment Victoria, CoalSwarm created the “Coal Watch” project. In 2011, CoalSwarm worked closely with Greenpeace Australia-Pacific to organize the first convergence of anti-coal activists from across Australia. In 2012, CoalSwarm worked with New Zealand’s Coal Action Network Aotearoa, to create a comprehensive reference on that country’s existing and proposed coal projects.
CoalSwarm turned its attention to India after a 2011 study by Prayas Energy Group reported that hundreds of new coal plants were set to receive environmental permits. In the spring of 2012, CoalSwarm posted an India coal-plant tracker that showed, for the first time, the location and status of 549 proposed coal plants. CoalSwarm also completed the first countrywide survey of grassroots organizing against coal projects in India, describing 32 locations of community opposition, many involving large demonstrations and numerous incidents of anti-coal protesters being killed by police.
For Southeast Asia, another hot spot for coal mining, CoalSwarm teamed up with the Southeast Asia Renewable Energy People’s Assembly to create a map-based tracker linked to wiki pages on coal plants, mines, and terminals in the region, as well as on proposed clean energy projects.
Meanwhile, back in the United States, coal exports have become another troubling issue. Declining domestic need for coal-fired power (in large part due to rock-bottom natural gas prices) has led to a new push by coal mining companies to build export facilities, especially in the Pacific Northwest. In 2012, CoalSwarm developed wiki pages on existing and proposed coal terminals, knitting the information together with the first global coal-terminal tracking map.
The project also began developing information on an issue closely related to coal: fracking for natural gas. While environmentalists debate whether the switch to natural gas is beneficial from a climate perspective, there is no denying that at the local level fracking operations have huge environmental and public health impacts. In addition to providing state-by-state overviews on fracking operations and protests, CoalSwarm provides lists of coal plants being converted to natural gas, information on fracking’s impacts on water and air, and natural-gas-transmission leakage rates.
By the fall of 2012, the CoalSwarm wiki had attracted more than 19 million page views and had grown to some 6,000 pages of information, including profiles of thousands of plants, mines, terminals, and companies; energy overviews of more than 50 countries, as well as of every U.S., Australian, and Indian state; and numerous articles on the impacts of coal and cleaner energy alternatives.
To make all this information more easily accessible, CoalSwarm revamped its website, which now has a clickable globe and topical directory. The aim is to improve accessibility and live up to the description of the project by environmental pioneer Lester Brown, who wrote: “CoalSwarm is the central nervous system that this movement needed. It is invaluable.”
Published: January 20, 2013
By BRUCE SCHREINER — Associated Press
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Industrial hemp’s repositioning toward mainstream status gained ground with a timely endorsement from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. But the plant’s proponents have more work to do in cultivating support to legalize a crop that once was a Bluegrass state staple.
The chamber said recently that provided there’s adequate regulatory oversight, it supports legislation to position Kentucky as a leader in the production and commercialization of industrial hemp. The position was hailed by hemp backers, noting the chamber’s political clout.
“When Kentucky’s leading voice for small businesses and economic development endorses a piece of legislation, lawmakers sit up and listen,” said state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a former state lawmaker.
Comer is leading the comeback campaign for the versatile crop outlawed for decades due to its association with its cousin, marijuana. Hemp has a negligible content of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.
Comer, a farmer himself, touts hemp’s potential while crisscrossing the state, saying Kentucky can become a hub of hemp production and manufacturing. The crop can be turned into paper, clothing, food, biofuel, lotions and other products.
“We could be the Silicon Valley of industrial hemp manufacturing right here in Kentucky,” Comer said recently.
Bills aimed at legalizing the crop have been introduced in the Kentucky House and Senate, and lawmakers are expected to debate the issue when they return to the State Capitol in Frankfort next month to resume the 2013 session.
But hemp backers acknowledge challenges remain, namely resistance from Kentucky State Police. And that opposition could have a spillover effect with lawmakers hesitant to oppose the state’s top law enforcement agency.
State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer last month restated the agency’s opposition, saying law enforcement may have difficulty distinguishing between hemp and marijuana.
Comer met with Brewer following a meeting of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission late last year, but the commissioner said they’ve had no follow-up discussions. Comer said he’d like to have state police support but sees the agency’s resistance as a “non-factor.”
“I was a state representative for 11 years and very few bills ever passed without somebody being opposed to them,” he said.
Republican Sen. Paul Hornback of Shelbyville, lead sponsor of one of the hemp bills, said state police opposition will be an obstacle. But he said the state chamber’s support for legalizing the crop helps reshape the crop’s image.
“Everybody has to feel comfortable with the bill,” said Hornback, a tobacco farmer who once was lukewarm to hemp. “With the stature that the state chamber has, I think it does legitimize it. It brings credibility to the issue.”
Supporters say there’s a ready-made market for hemp, pointing to industry estimates that U.S. retail sales of hemp products exceed $400 million. Hemp is grown legally in Canada and many other countries, and imports into the U.S. include finished hemp products.
At least a couple of Kentucky companies – a tobacco processor and a seed supplier – have expressed interest in branching out into hemp. Hemp supporters say that could lead to jobs, especially in rural areas.
But the resistance of state police could be a sticking point for some lawmakers, including the top House leader.
“It will be difficult to pass any legislation that doesn’t have the support of the Kentucky State Police and Kentucky’s law enforcement community,” said House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. “As long as they have reservations, I have reservations.”
Another potentially key player in the debate, Rep. Tom McKee, D-Cynthiana, said the biggest impediments to hemp’s comeback are the federal ban on hemp and the concerns of state police.
But McKee, chairman of the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee, hasn’t yet staked out a position on the issue.
“We don’t want to close a door on any viable agricultural crop that is profitable and would be well-accepted,” he said.
Under Hornback’s bill, hemp growers would need licenses, and applicants would have to pass criminal background checks.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said he would seek a waiver from the federal ban on hemp for Kentucky if state lawmakers vote to legalize the crop. Paul also has pushed for federal legislation to remove restrictions on hemp cultivation. The Kentucky Republican said hemp supporters need to persuade law enforcement skeptics that the crop “won’t make the drug problem worse.”
“We live in a modern world where we have GPS,” he said in a recent speech in Frankfort. “Couldn’t a farmer or anybody who wants to grow it just get a simple one-page permit and say these are my GPS coordinates where it’s being grown and it could be checked?”
As for Comer, the agriculture commissioner has said he won’t defy the federal government on the issue.
The crop hasn’t been grown in the U.S. since the 1950s. Kentucky once was a leading producer of industrial hemp. During World War II, the U.S. government encouraged farmers to grow hemp for the war effort because other industrial fibers, often imported from overseas, were in short supply.
Because it can thrive in small, sloping plots, Comer said hemp could be a viable crop on marginal land in central and eastern Kentucky.
“A decade from now, someone will look back and think, ‘You mean there were people opposed to growing industrial hemp?’” he said.
Tikkun Olam, a medical marijuana farm in Israel, blends the high-tech and the spiritual.
By ISABEL KERSHNER
Published: January 1, 2013
SAFED, Israel — Among the rows of plants growing at a government-approved medical marijuana farm in the Galilee hills in northern Israel, one strain is said to have the strongest psychoactive effect of any cannabis in the world. Another, rich in anti-inflammatory properties, will not get you high at all.
Marijuana is illegal in Israel, but farms like this one, at a secret location near the city of Safed, are at the cutting edge of the debate on the legality, benefits and risks of medicinal cannabis. Its staff members wear white lab coats, its growing facilities are fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for controlling light and humidity, and its grounds are protected by security cameras and guards.
But in addition to the high-tech atmosphere, there is a spiritual one. The plantation, Israel’s largest and most established medical marijuana farm — and now a thriving commercial enterprise — is imbued with a higher sense of purpose, reflected by the aura of Safed, an age-old center of Jewish mysticism, as well as by its name, Tikkun Olam, a reference to the Jewish concept of repairing or healing the world.
There is an on-site synagogue in a trailer, a sweet aroma of freshly harvested cannabis that infuses the atmosphere and, halfway up a wooded hillside overlooking the farm, a blue-domed tomb of a rabbinic sage and his wife.
In the United States, medical marijuana programs exist in 18 states but remain illegal under federal law. In Israel, the law defines marijuana as an illegal and dangerous drug, and there is still no legislation regulating its use for medicinal purposes.
Yet Israel’s Ministry of Health issues special licenses that allow thousands of patients to receive medical marijuana, and some government officials are now promoting the country’s advances in the field as an example of its pioneering and innovation.
“I hope we will overcome the legal obstacles for Tikkun Olam and other companies,” Yuli Edelstein, the minister of public diplomacy and diaspora affairs, told journalists during a recent government-sponsored tour of the farm, part of Israel’s effort to brand itself as something beyond a conflict zone. In addition to helping the sick, he said, the effort “could be helpful for explaining what we are about in this country.”
Israelis have been at the vanguard of research into the medicinal properties of cannabis for decades.
In the 1960s, Prof. Raphael Mechoulam and his colleague Yechiel Gaoni at the Weizmann Institute of Science isolated, analyzed and synthesized the main psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Later, Professor Mechoulam deciphered the cannabinoids native to the brain. Ruth Gallily, a professor emerita of immunology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has studied another main constituent of cannabis — cannabidiol, or CBD — considered a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety agent.
When Zach Klein, a former filmmaker, made a documentary on medical marijuana that was broadcast on Israeli television in 2009, about 400 Israelis were licensed to receive the substance. Today, the number has risen to about 11,000.
Mr. Klein became devoted to the subject and went to work for Tikkun Olam in research and development. “Cannabis was used as medicine for centuries,” he said. “Now science is telling us how it works.”
Israeli researchers say cannabis can be beneficial for a variety of illnesses and conditions, from helping cancer patients relieve pain and ease loss of appetite to improving the quality of life for people with post-traumatic stress disorder and neuropsychological conditions. The natural ingredients in the plant, they say, can help with digestive function, infections and recovery after a heart attack.
The marijuana harvest, from plants that can grow over six feet tall, is processed into bags of flowers and ready-rolled cigarettes. There are also cannabis-laced cakes, cookies, candy, gum, honey, ointments and oil drops. The strain known as Eran Almog, which has the highest concentration of THC, is recommended for severe pain. Avidekel, a strain rich in CBD and with hardly any psychoactive ingredient, allows patients to benefit from the drug while being able to drive and to function at work.
Working with Hebrew University researchers, the farm has also developed a version in capsule form, which would make exporting the drug more practical, should the law allow it.
FRANKFORT COUNTY, KY (1/15/13) – A study of annual reporting data by Kentucky industries indicates Kentucky saw a reduction in toxic environmental releases in 2011, according to the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (DEP).
Within Kentucky, there were a total of 423 facilities and 154 chemicals reported for the 2011 calendar year.
Under the national Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) program, industries within specific sectors that manufacture, process or use amounts of chemicals over the thresholds established by the 1986 Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act must report releases, transfers, disposal, reuse and recycling activities to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the corresponding state agency by July 1 of each year for the previous calendar year.
The Kentucky DEP conducted an analysis of the reporting data submitted for calendar year 2011 and compiled its report which can be downloaded at http://dca.ky.gov/Documents/KyTRIAnalysis.pdf .
By Michael Bomford
Hemp and flax have a lot in common. Both have a long history in Kentucky, but neither is grown in the Commonwealth today. Both can be used to make fiber for fabric and paper. Both are potential bioenergy crops. Both have seeds rich in nutritious fatty acids. Both are low-input crops, well-suited to organic production.
The key difference is that flax farming is legal in Kentucky; hemp farming is not. Perhaps because the federal government doesn’t allow hemp production, calls for its return are newsworthy. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer coasted to victory after calling for industrial hemp production in the Commonwealth. Two weeks ago, Kentucky’s House Agriculture and Small Business Committee held a hearing on two bills that would change state law to allow hemp production.
The General Assembly is unlikely to pass either bill in 2012, and even if it did, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA’s) interpretation of federal law would also have to change before Kentucky farms can grow hemp legally again. Hemp is Cannabis sativa, the same species as marijuana, but it contains just trace amounts of the psychoactive chemical found in the narcotic. Smoking it won’t make you high. Hemp production has been allowed under North Dakota state law since 1999, but the federal DEA has rejected all applications for permits to grow it commercially there, or in any of the other states that have followed North Dakota’s lead. While North Dakota farmers wait to be allowed to grow hemp, they lead the country in flax production.
Kentucky place names remind us of the historical importance of both hemp and flax in the Commonwealth. Hemp Ridge is near Shelbyville. Flax Branch is a stream in Floyd County, Flax Creek is in Lincoln County, and Flax Patch is in Knox County.
Cutting hemp near Lexington, Kentucky. Click image for source.
Hatchling flax in Kentucky. Click image for source.
In 1775, when hemp was first planted in Kentucky, most settlers already had a patch of flax to supply household needs. For almost a century, Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region was the center of the US hemp industry, which existed mainly to make fiber for ropes, sails, and paper. Flax continued to be widely grown throughout the state, too: By 1850, Kentucky grew about half of the nation’s hemp, and about a quarter of its flax. Farmers often grew the two crops in rotation, since both could be harvested and processed with the same equipment. Flax made a finer fiber, used for clothing; while hemp made a courser fiber, suitable for rope. Except in wartime, hemp prices were often below the cost of production, yet the crop’s ability to combat weeds made it a worthwhile addition to a rotation.
Kentucky’s hemp and flax industries both went into rapid decline in the late 1800s, due to competition from cheaper imported fibers like jute, manila, and sisal; falling costs of domestic cotton production; and the replacement of sailing ships with steamboats. By 1860, Missouri had replaced Kentucky as the nation’s largest hemp producer. Both hemp and flax had almost completely disappeared from the nation’s farms by the late 1940s. The last legal commercial hemp crop was harvested in Wisconsin in 1957. The DEA has prevented hemp from returning legally since then, but flax has made something of a come-back in the Dakotas, Montana, and Minnesota.
Canadian hemp is used to make organic hemp products for the US market, which are certified organic by the USDA.
Most of the hemp sold in the US today comes from Canada, where farmers have been allowed to grow the crop since 1998. Canada also grows more than twice as much flax as the USA. Canadian farmers are not making a lot of money from either crop: Net returns are in the neighborhood of $100 per acre. Most of the income from both hemp and flax production today comes from selling the nutritious seeds, which are rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. The useful fiber portion of the crop often goes unsold because fiber processors are few and far between, and transporting bulky straw is expensive. The economics look a little better for organic production, with substantial premiums available for organically-grown hemp and flax seeds and fibers.
Markets for hemp and flax have been volatile in recent years, with many growers losing money on both crops. Canadian hemp growers were hard hit in 1999, when a California processor contracted to purchase 40% of the hemp crop, then went bankrupt. It took seven years for the industry to recover, then acreage crashed again in 2007, due to a lack of fiber processors. Canadian flax growers were also hurt by a 2009 scandal that closed the European market to Canadian flax, after it was found to be contaminated with a genetically modified variety that had not been released for commercial production. Recent years have seen substantial declines in flax acreage on both sides of the border, as farmers dedicate more land to corn and soybeans, which generate far greater returns.
Lack of hemp processing facilities contributed to crashes in Canada’s nascent hemp industry in 1999 and 2007. Although growing hemp is legal in Canada, Canadian farmers planted more than twenty-five times as much land to flax in 2010. Source: Health Canada
A 1998 study by a University of Kentucky team of economists projected net returns of $120-$340 per acre for hemp production in Kentucky. It didn’t consider flax production, but the Canadian experience suggests that flax could offer similar returns. The authors note that Kentucky-based processing facilities would be needed for farmers to realize profits in the higher end of their projected range. Commissioner Comer wants these to be placed in economically-depressed areas of the state that used to depend on tobacco production. If there really is potential for a low-input, multi-use fiber and oilseed crop, like hemp, then why not experiment with flax? Processing facilities could be built for flax in the near term, and used for hemp, too, should it ever become legal again. The Canadian experience suggests that hemp may not live up to its advocates’ hype, but Kentucky doesn’t have to wait for the federal DEA to change its tune to re-introduce a similar once-prominent crop… flax.
2 Responses to “Feds Won’t Let You Grow Hemp? Try Flax.”
After posting my article, I came across a 2010 dissertation by UK doctoral student Watchareewan Jamboonsri that reports results of flax trials near Lexington, Kentucky, in 2006-08 (http://uknowledge.uky.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1120&context=gradschool_diss, chapter 5).
Two of those years were drought years, and flax yields were very poor. Even in the best year, yield was only 75% of what might be expected in North Dakota or Canada. Jamboonsri concludes that flax is not well suited to Kentucky’s climate.
So why was flax such an important crop in Kentucky’s history? Did early settlers have varieties that were better adapted to Kentucky’s climate? Or was flax such a useful crop that they grew it here despite its poor performance?
All of you that know me also know what I and Richard have been going through for the last year and a half.
As well, all his family and friends and mine also have suffered through this past year.
I have come to a point where I feel it is best to retreat from what I usually do and focus on my
life at hand at this moment.
As this point everyone already knows that Richard isn’t getting any better. I won’t go
any further than that at this point but I will have someone to post updates when they are
specifically needed onto Facebook.
I myself am suffering from depression as well as physical problems and am not functioning well
In short – I am exhausted both mentally and physically. And most certainly
Richard is too.
I will be in touch with Bill Chengelis, Rev. Mary Spears and Henry Fox who I’m sure will take
on the task of posting the important things I tell them.
I suppose that is all there is to say at this point except I appreciate all the prayers, notes of kindness
and support I’ve gotten from all of you.
I hope at some point I will be back. I’m sure (I hope) I will still post once in a while but for now
it will be up to someone else to do the “searching for the newsworthy items to post”.
If anyone needs help getting signed onto the http://kentuckymarijuanaparty.wordpress.com site,
or any others let me know and I will help out with that.
KEEP THE GOOD FIGHT GOING …. DON’T LET OUR GOVERNMENT SHUT US UP ONE PERSON AT A TIME!
WHEN ONE IS DOWN, ANOTHER MUST COME UP AND TAKE THE SLACK – AS I DID WHEN I FIRST STARTED ON
THE OLD USMJPARTY.ORG OF KENTUCKY SITE.
Anyway, I love you all and please keep the prayers coming – we need them.
Peace to Everyone,
Jan 7, 2013
Keeping up with who’s who in Frankfort can be difficult. Here’s a short list of names you’re likely to see during the 2013 General Assembly:
Gov. Steve Beshear is a Democrat serving his second term. Though he’s the state’s chief executive, Beshear has limited sway during legislative sessions. However, his top priority — legalized casino gambling — could be revived again in 2013, and if so, he might involve himself. Also, lawmakers say Beshear should make a statewide push for tax reform if he expects political momentum behind an overhaul of the tax code.
Audrey Tayse Haynes is Beshear’s secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Look for Haynes to be enmeshed in several controversies, including the state’s shift to private management of Medicaid (medical providers are complaining about late and inadequate payments) and preparations for Obamacare, also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Her predecessor, Janie Miller, caught flak from Republican lawmakers and resigned during the 2012 session.
Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, is expected to be chosen by his colleagues as the next Senate president, replacing the departed David Williams. The leadership style of Stivers, a lawyer, remains to be seen. He’s generally more relaxed than Williams, who sometimes ruled the Senate with an iron fist. But he takes seriously his role as opposition leader and isn’t shy about challenging the Democratic administrations of Beshear and President Barack Obama.
Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, is presumed to be the next Senate majority leader, taking the No. 2 spot now held by Stivers. Thayer is a horse-industry consultant and — working with Beshear — advocates casino gambling at horse racetracks. Thayer also co-chaired a task force on state pension reform during 2012, so he will be a key player in whatever the legislature does on pensions.
Senate Minority Leader R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, is a financial adviser at Civic Finance Advisors, raising money for cities, counties and special taxing districts. Democrats are a fast-shrinking minority in the Senate, so Palmer will have as much clout as Stivers allows him. When Williams was Senate president, Democrats seldom got their say.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, is a wealthy lawyer with financial interests in coal and banking. First elected to the House in 1980 while he was still in his 20s, Stumbo is now 61 and one of Frankfort’s most senior politicians. He skillfully uses his power to control the Democratic-led House. He’s also a possible candidate for governor in 2015, setting up rivalries with other Democrats.
House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, is president of RJA Enterprises, though he refuses to say what the company does. He has financial interests in coal and banking, like Stumbo, his fellow Eastern Kentuckian. As Stumbo’s man on the House floor, Adkins helps decide the flow of legislation, giving some bills a thumbs up and others a thumbs down.
House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, is a lawyer and radio executive. Hoover’s Republican caucus has clawed its way up to 45 of the House’s 100 seats. But without a majority, he will continue to deliver indignant floor speeches after Democrats get their way. That said, Hoover successfully challenged the Democrats’ political redistricting map last year, getting it tossed out by a court.
Reuters | Posted: 01/05/2013 2:11 pm EST
Jan 5 (Reuters) – Retired Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy is taking aim at what he sees as knee-jerk support for marijuana legalization among his fellow liberals, in a project that carries special meaning for the self-confessed former Oxycontin addict.
Kennedy, 45, a Democrat and younger son of the late “Lion of the Senate” Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, is leading a group called Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) that opposes legalization and seeks to rise above America’s culture war over pot with its images of long-haired hippies battling law-and-order conservatives.
Project proposals include increased funding for mental health courts and treatment of drug dependency, so those caught using marijuana might avoid incarceration, get help and potentially have their criminal records cleared.
Kennedy wants cancer patients and others with serious illnesses to be able to obtain drugs with cannabinoids, but in a more regulated way that could involve the U.S. Food and Drug Administration playing a larger role.
The eight-term former congressman from Rhode Island and the group he chairs will put forth their plan on Wednesday with a media appearance in Denver.
Their efforts follow the November election that saw voters in Washington state and Colorado become the first in the nation to approve measures to tax and regulate pot sales for recreational use. Kennedy’s group is seeking to shift the debate and reclaim momentum for the anti-legalization movement, in part by proposing new solutions with appeal to liberals, such as taking a public health approach to combat marijuana use.
Legalization backers have argued that the so-called War on Drugs launched in 1971 by former President Richard Nixon has failed to stem marijuana use, and has instead saddled otherwise law-abiding pot smokers with criminal records that may block their avenues to landing a successful job.
Kennedy faults the U.S. government for allocating too much of its $25 billion drug control budget to law enforcement rather than to treatment and prevention.
“Yes, the drug war has been a failure, but let’s look at the science and let’s look at what works. And let’s not just throw out the baby with the bathwater,” Kennedy, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2011, said in a telephone interview.
The U.S. Department of Justice is still developing a policy in regard to the new state legalization measures.
President Barack Obama said in an interview with ABC News last month that it did not make sense for the federal government to “focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that, under state law, that’s legal.”
Conservative political commentator David Frum, a speech writer for former President George W. Bush, is also a board member on Project SAM, which lends it a bipartisan flavor.
For his part, Kennedy is aiming many of his arguments toward liberals like himself. Polls show Democrats largely favoring legalizing marijuana, and among the 18 states that allow medical marijuana, several are in the West and Northeast and are heavily Democratic.
Conservative political commentator David Frum, a speech writer for former President George W. Bush, is also a board member on Project SAM, which lends it a bipartisan flavor.
“The fact is people are afraid on the (political) left to look like they’re not for an alternative to incarceration and criminalization, and they’re afraid they’re not going to look sympathetic to a cancer patient” who might use marijuana, Kennedy said. As a result, he said the legalization position mistakenly comes to be seen as “glamorous.”
Kennedy admits to having smoked pot but also said that, as an asthma sufferer, he “found other ways to get high.”
In 2006, he crashed his car into a security barrier in Washington, D.C., and soon after sought treatment for drug dependency. He said he was addicted to the pain reliever Oxycontin at that time and suffered from alcoholism. He added that he has been continuously sober for nearly two years.
Kennedy, who was married for the first time in 2011, said he worries his 8-month-old son might be predisposed to drug abuse – due to a kind of genetic “trigger” – and that is part of his fight against legalization.
He also said he wants to “reduce the environmental factors that pull that trigger,” such as marijuana use being commonly accepted.
Meanwhile, another prominent figure from Rhode Island, the newly crowned Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, is making waves by also objecting to legalization. She told Fox News this week there are “too many bad habits that go with the drug.”
In Washington state, Alison Holcomb was campaign director for the legalization measure, which billed itself as having a public health element to help people dependent on marijuana.
The measure, which is not set to go into full effect until after state regulators spend most of 2013 setting guidelines, would allow adults 21 and older to buy marijuana at special stores.
Holcomb argued that drug dependency courts are more geared toward users of hardcore drugs, and that the approach her group put forward is the sensible one.
“I don’t know what a public health approach without legalization looks like, if you’re still arresting people,” she said.
Taxes on marijuana sales would generate, at the high end of estimates, over $500 million a year with $67 million of that going to a state agency that provides drug treatment, said Mark Cooke, policy adviser for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state, which supported the campaign.
Also included in the tax revenue would be $44 million for education and public health campaigns – including a phone line for people wanting to quit using marijuana, Cooke said. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Gunna Dickson)
Published: January 3, 2013
By Beverly Fortune — email@example.com
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer brought his pro-hemp message to the Lexington Forum on Thursday.
Since taking office in 2011, Comer has held town meetings in all 120 Kentucky counties, inviting local legislators to attend, to promote industrial hemp. In the early 19th century, Kentucky was the nation’s leading hemp producer.
Comer is backing a bill in the General Assembly that would permit industrial hemp to again be cultivated.
Hemp would produce income for farmers and create manufacturing jobs for products using hemp, he said.
Farmers growing hemp would have to be licensed by the state and their fields inspected regularly, Comer said.
The Department of Agriculture, the state’s largest regulatory agency, would oversee cultivation and sales of the crop.
Hemp is a sustainable, annual crop that “is easy and cheap to grow,” he said. “It grows well in this climate and requires very little fertilizer or insecticides.” The plant grows best in marginal soils found in many Central and Eastern Kentucky counties.
For people, including law enforcement officers, who are concerned that marijuana might be grown in hemp fields and the hemp and marijuana plants confused, Comer said the two look completely different.
Marijuana is a short, bushy plant with lots of leaves; industrial hemp is tall, with a thick stalk and few leaves.
When grown near each other, hemp and marijuana cross-pollinate, and the hemp destroys buds on the marijuana plants, he said. “Industrial hemp is an enemy of marijuana,” Comer said. “Law enforcement should be for industrial hemp.”
The long-dormant Industrial Hemp Commission, revived under Comer, has contracted with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture to conduct an economic-impact study.
For the crop to be grown successfully, there has to be a market for the fibers, Comer said. “Many products we make from plastic, like car dashboards, armrests, carpet and fabrics, are made from hemp in other countries. Hemp is also used to make paper.”
Comer said one major benefit of growing hemp would be the manufacturing jobs created to produce items using hemp fibers, seed and oil.
“The United States is the only industrial country in the world that doesn’t allow industrial hemp to be grown, yet many products Americans buy have hemp as an ingredient,” he said. Hemp is legally grown in Canada and China, and throughout Europe.
If the General Assembly approves growing industrial hemp, the federal government would have to lift restrictions before it could be grown. “I want us to be ready when the federal government gives the go-ahead. I’m convinced they’re going to do that,” Comer said.
Beverly Fortune: (859) 231-3251. Twitter: @BFortune2010.
Kentucky Legislature will be commencing during January. A crucial medical bill was stalled last Legislature session, for all of our family’s sake we cannot let this happen again. Our session this year will only last 30 days, so we need to make this bill a priority. Please take less than ten minutes from your new year and help deprived patients gain safe access to an effective medicine. Inform your district congressmen of your support for BR 55 to pass. The enacting of this bill will benefit our Kentucky patients suffering with Cancer, chronic pain (including migraines), Neurodegenerative Conditions, Gastrointestinal, Mental health (including PTSD), and Congenital Disorders. BR 55 is noted as the Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act.
Marijuana has many currently accepted medical uses in the United States, having been recommended by thousands of licensed physicians to more than five hundred thousand (500,000) patients in states with medical marijuana laws. 18 states and the District of Columbia have protected and provided for their patients by enacting medical marijuana laws. Even to this day, the federal government sends 300 pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes to their patients through the mail, while those who choose the benefits of medical marijuana in Kentucky face criminal charges, the shattering of their family, or even death. There are three main ways you and your friends can help: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/legislators.htm or when calling 1-800-372-7181 verbally dictate your letters to the operator. It’s their job to take your message and deliver it directly to whom it is intended.
Twenty years ago this August, law enforcement killed a decorated Vietnam Veteran, footsteps away from his son and companion because he refused to give enforcement the right to cut his medicinal cannabis crop. After seven long hours of strategizing, with over 30 enforcers of the law present, and multiple helicopters, state enforcers chose to fire military grade weapons with explosive rounds toward the whole family, without negotiation. After the law enforcements gun blasts, the Veterans companion was bleeding from a serious head injury, their son was covered with both of his parents blood, his father was killed by nine bullets with his hands in the air.
Enforcement was able to call all of their actions on that Sunday just in the name of the law. If Kentucky, back in 1993, had enacted the Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act, the above family would not had to experience such a devastating way to lose a provider and father. Still today, many within our state face damages from medical marijuana prohibition and this isn’t just. There is no better way to start the New Year than by making efforts to end this prohibition in our deserving state.
1) Call the Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181 and tell your District Senator to vote YES on the Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Act.
2) Write Passionate Letters/ Emails in support of medical marijuana to your District Senator at:
3) Call your District Senator directly and schedule an appointment to speak with him/her in person. This is the best way to show your support. By visiting your District Senator it personalizes the request to vote YES on the bill and shows that medical marijuana is an important issue to you. http://www.lrc.ky.gov/legislators.htm
You can also help by contacting your District’s House Representative and request they make a companion bill to the Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act.
Go to the Kentucky Legislature: Who’s My Legislature page. This page will tell you who your District Senators and House Representatives are, as well as, all email addresses, mailing addresses, and phone numbers needed. http://www.lrc.ky.gov/legislators.htm
For more information visit, Free the Weed Kentucky at http://freetheweedkentucky.webs.com/
Marijuana has many currently accepted medical uses in the United States, having been recommended by thousands of licensed physicians to more than five hundred thousand (500,000) patients in states with medical marijuana laws. 18 states and the District of Columbia have protected and provided for their patients by enacting medical marijuana laws. Even to this day, the federal government sends 300 pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes to their patients through the mail, while those who choose the benefits of medical marijuana in Kentucky face criminal charges, the shattering of their family, or even death.
There are three main ways you and your friends can help:
http://www.lrc.ky.gov/legislators.htm or when calling 1-800-372-7181 verbally dictate your letters to the operator. It’s their job to take your message and deliver it directly to whom it is intended.
Who’s My Legislator
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Cannabinoids have been reported to reduce chronic pain associated with a variety of conditions. Cannabinoids have also been used in patients for whom other pain relief medications are not working. The active components in cannabis exert their effects on the central nervous system and immune cells. Cannabis is approved in some European countries and Canada. In the United States, it is an investigational drug for pain relief in cancer patients.
Multiple sclerosis (symptoms)
Research suggests that cannabinoids may improve some symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), specifically neuropathic pain, muscle spasms, and urinary symptoms.
Early studies suggest that taking hemp seed oil by mouth may reduce symptoms of eczema, a skin rash also referred to as atopic dermatitis. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Early research suggests that epileptic patients may experience fewer seizures when taking cannabidiol (CBD) together with antiseizure medication. Further studies are required before a conclusion can be made.
Glaucoma (high fluid pressure inside the eye)
Glaucoma can result in optic nerve damage and blindness. Limited evidence suggests that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) taken under the tongue may reduce eye pressure. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Huntington’s disease is a degenerative nerve disorder associated with uncoordinated, jerky body movements and mental deterioration. Early studies suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) may not aid in reducing the severity of uncoordinated body movements associated with Huntington’s disease. Further studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Limited research suggests that cannabidiol may improve sleep quality in those with insomnia (difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep). More research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Appetite/weight loss in cancer patients
Clinical studies have shown no effect of cannabis-based therapies in the treatment of weight loss associated with cancer. Further studies are necessary before a conclusion can be made.
In limited research, no effect of cannabidiol (CBD) was seen on symptoms of schizophrenia in patients for whom other treatments were not working. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Key to grades
A Strong scientific evidence for this use
B Good scientific evidence for this use
C Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work)
F Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work)
Uses based on tradition or theory
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Acne, addiction, allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, angina (chest pain), angioedema (swelling under the skin), arthritis, antiaging, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anxiety prevention, appetite stimulant, asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autoimmune diseases, bipolar disorder (mental disorder), blood thinner, bronchodilation (widens airways and eases breathing), burns, cancer, candidiasis (yeast infection), circulation improvement, constipation, cough, detoxification (removal of toxins), diabetes, digestive aid, diuretic (improves urine flow), dystonia (muscle disorder), energy metabolism, fatigue, gastric acid secretion stimulation (increases stomach acid), general health maintenance, genitourinary tract disorders (disorders of the reproductive and urinary systems), hair growth promoter, heart disease, high blood pressure, hormone regulation, immune suppression, increased muscle mass, increasing breast milk, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), intermittent claudication (pain in arms or legs due to inadequate oxygen), interstitial cystitis (bladder disorder), irregular heartbeat, leukemia (cancer of blood cells), lipid lowering (cholesterol and triglycerides), liver protection, lymph flow enhancement, menopausal symptoms, migraine, muscle relaxation, nausea and vomiting, nerve disorders, neural tube defects (birth defects), osteoporosis (bone loss), painful menstruation, pregnancy and labor, psychosis, rheumatism (joint disease), sedative, sexual performance, skin conditions, spinal cord injury, stomach spasms, stroke, tendonitis, uterine stimulant, varicose veins, vitamin C deficiency, weight gain (patients with HIV or cancer), wound healing.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
For nausea and vomiting, five milligrams/m 2 of body mass of dronabinol (Marinol®) has been taken by mouth before and after chemotherapy, for a total of 4-6 doses daily.
For weight loss and malnutrition associated with cancer, 2.5 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with or without one milligram of cannabidiol has been taken by mouth for six weeks.
For eczema, hemp seed oil has been taken by mouth for 20 weeks.
For chronic pain, 2.5-120 milligrams of cannabis has been taken by mouth in divided doses.
For epilepsy, 200-300 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) has been taken by mouth daily for up to 4.5 months.
For insomnia, 160 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) has been taken by mouth.
For symptoms of multiple sclerosis, 2.5-10 milligrams of dronabinol (Marinol®) has been taken by mouth daily for three weeks. Capsules containing 15-30 milligrams of cannabis extract has been taken by mouth for 14 days. Two and one-half milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), together with 0.9 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD), has been taken by mouth. Cannabinoid-based Sativex® mouth spray has been used at a dose of 2.5-120 milligrams in divided doses. Eight sprays in three hours and up to 48 sprays in 24 hours have been used.
For schizophrenia, 40-1,280 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) has been taken by mouth daily for up to four weeks.
For glaucoma (high fluid pressure in the eye), single doses of five milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or 40 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) placed under the tongue have been used.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for cannabis or cannabis-containing products in children.