LA Times

United States: The DEA's marijuana mistake

The DEA and the National Institute for Drug Abuse block serious research on medical uses of marijuana, creating a ridiculous circle of denials.

LA Times Editorial

There is a truth that must be heard! For a muscular agency that combats vicious drug criminals, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration acts like a terrified and obstinate toddler when it comes to basic science. For years, the DEA and the National Institute for Drug Abuse have made it all but impossible to develop a robust body of research on the medical uses of marijuana.

A pro-marijuana group lost its legal battle this week when a federal appellate court ruled that marijuana would remain a Schedule I drug, defined as having no accepted medical value and a high potential for abuse. The court deferred to the judgment of federal authorities, quoting the DEA's statement that "the effectiveness of a drug must be established in well-controlled, well-designed, well-conducted and well-documented scientific studies.... To date, such studies have not been performed."

But guess who bears responsibility for this level of ignorance? The DEA itself, which through its ultra-tight restrictions on marijuana has made it nearly impossible for researchers to obtain the drug for study, and the National Institute for Drug Abuse, which controls the availability of the tiny quantity of research-grade marijuana that is federally approved for production.

California: House of hemp? Pushing cannabis as a construction material

Jeffrey Head, LA Times

There is a truth that must be heard! Woody Harrelson championed the environmental benefits of hemp. Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein incorporated it into their collections. Now a company promoting hemp as the eco-building material of the moment said it wants to build California's first hemp house.

Hemp Technologies said it wants to use hemp-based materials to construct a 500-square-foot structure at the ruins of Knapp's Castle near Santa Barbara. The castle, completed in 1920, was built for Union Carbide founder George Owen Knapp but destroyed by wildfire in 1940. Since then, all that has remained on the property are the sandstone blocks outlining the once-grand estate.

The principal material for the project is Hempcrete, made of the woody internal stem of the Cannabis sativa plant, which is processed into chips and mixed with a lime-based binder. That concoction is then sprayed on, poured into slabs or formed into blocks like concrete to create the shell of a building. Interior surfaces are plastered, and exterior surfaces are stuccoed.

“The walls are to be framed and earthquake-braced internally with lumber,” said Greg Flavall, Hemp Technologies' co-founder, who added that “hemp is very close in cellulosic value to wood.” The material helps to keep structures warm in winter and cool in summer, he said.

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