Study: Frequent Users of Marijuana, Alcohol and Tobacco Already Know the Health Risks


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Users of marijuana and alcohol tend to know more about the health effects of those substances than those who abstain, according to new research.

The findings, drawn from a large sample of Swiss men, showed that men who regularly use marijuana, alcohol and tobacco looked for information about the health risks of those substances more than those who didn't use them, reports Tia Ghose of Fox News reports.

This calls into question the effectiveness of campaigns against substance abuse, which often count on scare tactics highlighting the health risks of drugs, according to the study, which was published in the International Journal of Public Health on July 11.

"When you know a lot about the risks and everything about the substances, it doesn't really bring you to consume less," said study coauthor Petra Dermota, a psychologist at the University of Zurich. "You even consume more." (Perhaps in the case of cannabis, at least, once folks have looked into it and learned it is virtually harmless, they aren't scared to use it anymore.)

To see whether health information kept people from using drugs, Dermota and her associates surveyed 12,000 men, all around age 20, who were entering the Swiss Army. Because the Swiss have universal, mandatory military service, the sample represents a cross-section of the young male population, Dermota said.

U.K.: Up To 1/3 Of Stolen Electricity In Britain Used To Grow Cannabis


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The United Kingdom's energy regulator on Wednesday proposed new rules to combat electricity theft, revealing that up to one-third of the power stolen each year goes to grow illegal cannabis.

"Theft of electricity increases the costs paid by customers and can have serious safety consequences," claimed Chiara Redaelli, an economist at Ofgem, which regulates energy in Britain.

"It leads to misallocation of costs among suppliers that can distort competition, and hamper the efficient functioning of the market," Redaelli claimed. "It also has links to organized crime, and in particular cannabis cultivation."

Up to 25,000 cases of electricity theft take place each year in the U.K., according to Ofgem, and this costs the industry at least 200 million pounds ($304 million), about 7 pounds or $10 per customer.

About one-third of the stolen electricity is used to power the lights under which marijuana is grown, according to Ofgem.

The high level of cannabis-related electricity theft is due to the intensive energy requires of marijuana farming, according to Redaelli. She said illegal pot farms each consume around 12,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or electricity per month -- 40 times more than the average domestic consumption of 300 kWh per month.

"This consumption is often not paid for, either because it is unrecorded (because of meter tampering) or because the bill is not paid," Redaelli claimed.

Global: The Difference Between Hemp, Marijuana and Cannabis

By Paul Stanford, CRRH

There is a truth that must be heard! There is a lot of confusion about the difference between hemp, cannabis and marijuana. Hemp, cannabis or marijuana all are scientifically denoted by the Latin term, cannabis sativa; hemp, cannabis or marijuana are all the same plant species, cannabis sativa. According to US law, hemp is the stalks, stems and sterilized seeds of cannabis sativa, and marijuana is the leaves, flowers and viable seeds of cannabis sativa. Male or female cannabis has no differentiation by law or science, beyond sex. Of course, you can't get any cannabis or hemp seeds except via female flowers. Just as there are different varieties of corn, there are different varieties of cannabis. The varieties of cannabis that are over-regulated but legal in Canada & Europe are those that produce less than 0.3 percent THC. Since most THC is in the flowers, this low THC variety is a patented French variety which has been specifically bred to have very few flowering sites, thus little THC. Unfortunately, this patented French 'low THC but legal in Canada & Europe' variety also, conversely, produces very little seed compared to varieties of cannabis with more flowering sites, and thus more THC. The seeds of cannabis produce the most productive and nutritious vegetable oil and protein for humans on our planet. Hemp is our oldest crop sown, for over 12,000 years, and produces more fuel, fiber, food and medicine than any other plant.

Oregon: Earl Blumenauer - The Marijuana Initiative Process, The Decade of Decision

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

Earl Blumenauer on Reform Since 1973, when Earl Blumenauer first voted for legislation that successfully decriminalized marijuana in Oregon, he has been a supporter of a reasonable approach to marijuana regulation.

While he feels there are still many questions about the effects of marijuana use, he believes that this is an issue best left to the states. Blumenauer strongly supports the initiative process and encourages people to push forward in this process of changing the law.

"I suspect that doing your job right, engaging people in this debate, in this discussion, looking at the facts, trying to bring people together in a thoughtful non-hysterical way, letting the evidence speak for itself...I suspect this will be your decade of decision," Blumenauer proclaimed at the 2010 National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's (NORML) Conference at the Governor Hotel in Portland.

After so many years working for the people of Oregon, Blumenauer has seen the evidence of our failed war on drugs, and feels that a re-examination of the way we handle marijuana and hemp would be greatly beneficial. Oregon has the potential to lead the way forward to a better future through regulation rather than prohibition.

United States: 10 Reasons to Revisit Marijuana Policy Now - Americans Increasingly Favor Legalization of Pot

Culturally, marijuana has become hardly more than a punch line. But in reality, U.S. marijuana policy is no joke; it causes great harm, both directly and indirectly. Here are the 10 most important reasons our marijuana laws deserve serious reconsideration

By Maia Szalavitz,

There is a truth that must be heard! For the first time ever, a solid majority of Americans supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use: 56%, according to the most recent Rasmussen poll. Support for legalization has been growing steadily since the 1990s; in 1994, just 25% were in favor.

In November 2010, California residents voted on a ballot initiative to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana. Although the measure failed to pass — 46% to 54% — the fact that the initiative made it onto the ballot and garnered that much support was itself historic. Indeed, it was fear of the initiative’s passage that led then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to decriminalize possession of up to 1 oz. of pot shortly before the vote — a move that was intended to bleed voter support from the ballot question. Had it passed, California would have been the first state to legalize the drug outright. In 2012, Colorado and Washington State will vote on total legalization.

United States: Gary Johnson: Face reality, legalize pot

Editor's note: Gary Johnson is a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination and served as governor of New Mexico from 1994-2003.

By Gary Johnson, Special to CNN

There is a truth that must be heard! (CNN) -- In 2002, I became aware of a woman who had already served more than six years of a 25-year prison sentence. Her crime? She was addicted to codeine, and she had fraudulently written herself more than 100 prescriptions for Tylenol III.

It seemed to me that this woman had already served far too much time in prison -- in fact, more than a person would likely serve if convicted of second-degree murder -- so I used my authority as governor of New Mexico to release her.

United States: Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012 - Recovery Zone on KBOO

By Stephanie Potter, KBOO Staff

United States: Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012  - Recovery Zone on  KBOOWill Oregon be the first state to end the prohibition of cannabis? Host Stephanie Potter speaks with Paul Stanford and Jennifer Alexander about Initiative Number 9 which is the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012. This initiative would regulate the legal sale of marijuana to adults through state-licensed stores, allow adults to grow their own, license Oregon farmers to grow marijuana for state-licensed stores, and allow unlicensed Oregon farmers to grow cannabis hemp for fuel, fiber and food. Initiative organizers have until July 7, 2012 to gather 90,000 registered Oregon voters' signatures to qualify for the November 6, 2012 ballot.

OCTA 2012 is also announcing a series of three benefit concerts featuring reggae music legends, Toots & The Maytals on Independence Day weekend. Toots & The Maytals will headline three shows, starting at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene on Saturday, July 2, then the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond on Sunday, July 3, and culminating at the Washington Park Rose Garden Amphitheater in Portland on Monday, July 4.


Oregon: Marijuana Legalization: Full Speed Ahead

By Steve Elliott, Toke of the Town/Special to Hemp News

Oregon:  Marijuana Legalization: Full Speed Ahead It's full speed ahead for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA), a ballot initiative which would legalize and tax marijuana in the Beaver State, as the Oregon Supreme Court has dismissed the only challenge to OCTA's ballot title.

The challenge -- filed by Bradley Benoit from the Beaverton, Ore., area -- came from an earlier comment regarding OCTA's summary explanation. The comment requested the summary of the measure describe in detail the fact that the Oregon Attorney General would be responsible for defending Oregonians, and the law itself, should a federal case arise.

The comment was addressed, and the Attorney General included Benoit's comments in the revised, certified ballot title, according to OCTA campaign spokesman Kyndall Mason.

"In an attempt to stall the signature gathering effort, Benoit filed a Supreme Court challenge to the title stating his comments were not fully addressed," Mason explained. "This decision from the Oregon Supreme Court sends a clear message to Benoit that his concerns were adequately addressed in the certified title released after the comment period."

According to Mason, the decision also marks a crucial step forward in the process to collect signatures for the ballot measure, which would end Oregon's prohibition on adult marijuana use and industrial hemp.

Global: Cannabis, Cancer and Hemp Medicine

By Rick Simpson

When are people going to wake up and look at what the system has been doing to them?

In 1923, the Canadian Government in all their wisdom passed laws restricting the use of Indian Hemp for medicinal purposes. Then in the 1930’s they renamed Hemp “Marijuana” and proceeded to try to brainwash the public into believing that hemp was some new, dangerous, and addictive drug. Right up the present day the government has continued their smear campaign against hemp with no evidence to back up what they have been telling us.

Hemp is not a drug, it is a plant, and hemp is the most medicinal plant on Earth. Throughout history, hemp has always been known to be man’s oldest known and safest medication. Also, the non-addictive nature of this plant has been known for thousands of years. In medicine hemp was known as a panacea, which means “cure-all” and the old pharmacopeias reflect this.

So why would our government pass laws to restrict the use of a plant that was known to possess all of these medicinal virtues? The answer is sickening, yet simple (big money). Governments’ rich friends wanted hemp outlawed because hemp presented a danger to their monetary concerns. Laws are supposed to be put in place to do the greatest good for the greatest number; obviously this law restricting hemp’s medicinal use is corrupt.

China: Oldest Marijuana Stash Found in Gobi Desert Grave

By Ethan Russo, Oxford University Press

Here is a great slideshow of pictures from the world's Oldest Marijuana Stash Found in Gobi Desert Grave.


[NORML Audio Stash]

Canada: Researchers High On Ancient Pot Find

By Dean Beeby, Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Researchers say they have located the world's oldest stash of marijuana, in a tomb in a remote part of China.

The cache of cannabis is about 2,700 years old and was clearly "cultivated for psychoactive purposes," rather than as fibre for clothing or as food, says a research paper in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

The 789 grams of dried cannabis was buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, near Turpan in northwestern China.

The extremely dry conditions and alkaline soil acted as preservatives, allowing a team of scientists to carefully analyze the stash, which still looked green although it had lost its distinctive odour.

"To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent," says the newly published paper, whose lead author is American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.

Remnants of ancient cannabis have been found in Egypt and other sites, and the substance has been referred to by authors such as the Greek historian Herodotus. But the tomb stash is the oldest so far that could be thoroughly tested for its properties.

The 18 researchers, most of them based in China, subjected the cannabis to a battery of tests, including carbon dating and genetic analysis. Scientists also tried to germinate 100 of the seeds found in the cache, without success.

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