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Mexico Drug War a Lost Cause as Presently Fought

By Sandy Goodman, Retired producer for NBC Nightly News; freelance writer

Mexico Drug War a Lost Cause as Presently Fought There's a powerful new piece of evidence that, the way it is being fought, the war on drugs on the Mexican-American border is a lost cause. It comes in a report issued by the Council on Foreign Relations, a highly-respected foreign policy think tank, that recommends that, as an experiment, the federal government allow states "to legalize the production, sale, taxation and consumption of marijuana." The report says authorities should redirect scarce law enforcement resources to stopping the importation of more dangerous drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

A spokesperson points out that the council takes no position on the reports it publishes by the people it calls "our experts," in this case Professor David A. Shirk of the University of San Diego, a scholar on U.S.-Mexican relations and a former fellow at Washington's prestigious Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. But the spokesperson adds that in her four years with the council she cannot recall its issuing any other report recommending legalizing marijuana. The report also recommends a commission to study the advisability of legalizing drugs generally.

United States: Drug War Now Killing More People Than Afghanistan War

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

United States: Drug War Now Killing More People Than Afghanistan War More people were killed in Drug War-related violence in Mexico last year than died in the war in Afghanistan, according to year-end reports from both countries.

In Afghanistan, about 10,000 people -- 2,043 of them civilians -- died in the fighting last year.

Although that conflict involves air power, heavy weapons, and numerous roadside bombs, it was less deadly last year than the Mexican Drug War, with a death toll estimated at around 13,000 by CNN.

In mid-December, the Mexican attorney general's office reported that 12,456 people had been killed through the end of November, reports Phillip Smith at AlterNet. With a death toll of more than 1,000 per month in 2010, a year-end figure of more than 13,000 looks to be accurate.

More than 140,000 U.S. and NATO troops are in the ninth year of a guerilla war with thousands of Taliban fighters who reap the profits of the illegal opium/heroin trade.

In Mexico, more than 50,000 federal troops are in the fourth year of a fight with the drug cartels, who all seem to also be at war with each other.


2011: Cannabis Resolutions in the New Year

By Stephanie Bishop, Hemp News Correspondent

2010: A Year to Remember; Ten Stories on Hemp and Cannabis Reform

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with the responsible use of marijuana by adults and it should be of no interest or concern to the government. They have no business knowing whether we smoke or why we smoke." Keith Stroup, NORMLCON 2010

Compiled by Hemp News

1. Global: U.S.-Mexico Drug Summit Fails to Acknowledge Obvious Solution to Violent Drug Cartels

Ending Marijuana Prohibition Would Deal Crucial Blow to Mexican Drug Cartels, Drastically Reduce Border Violence.

There is a truth that must be heard! (WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Today, high-ranking officials from the United States and Mexico concluded a three-day conference meant to outline ways the two nations could reduce the illicit drug trade-associated violence that continues to plague the U.S.-Mexican border.

Washington: Seattle Hempfest 2010: Rick Steves - Cannabis Is a Civil Liberty

“A society has to make a choice: tolerate alternative lifestyles or build more prisons.” Rick Steves

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

Washington: Seattle Hempfest 2010: Rick Steves - Cannabis Is a Civil Liberty In August, travel writer and activist extraordinaire, Rick Steves, spoke to the Seattle Hempfest Hemposium about the futile attempt to enforce a failed prohibition, Europe's successful and pragmatic harm reduction approach to marijuana and the basic non-apologetic stance of cannabis use as a civil liberty. “I believe, very strongly, that it is the responsible, adult, recreational, no apologies necessary, ‘it just makes my music more fun,’ recreational use of marijuana is a civil liberty," Steves explained.

United States: Top Ballot Item: Bid to Legalize Pot in California

If Passed, Prop 19 Would Allow Adults 21 and Older to Possess up to an Ounce of Pot for Personal Use

By Associated Press

Washington: Marijuana Legalization Makes Economic and Common Sense


There is a truth that must be heard! I'm sitting in a chill wind on the corner as people stream by on their way to or from the Bellingham Farmer's Market and it's threatening rain. I observe and am open to conversation but few stop to sign my petition. The rejection is starting to get to me and I gain a new-found respect for the young traveler making his way across an indifferent America.

I have had better luck in friendlier environments, like near the Food Co-op, or outside Uisce on St. Patrick's day. I have collected better than 400 signatures personally, and met a lot of very nice people.

And overwhelmingly the people I speak with agree with and support Initiative 1068, which removes all civil and criminal penalties in Washington state civil and criminal for adult cultivation, possession, use, transport, and sale of "marijuana" - as hemp (English) and cannabis sativa (Latin scientific name) is referred to in the prohibition statutes.

This prohibition of a plant - this attempted obliteration of a crop that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew and that clothed the Revolutionary Army, and provided the paper upon which the Declaration of Independence was drafted - is long overdue to end.

Prohibition didn't work for alcohol, which is actually toxic and addictive. Prohibition creates organized crime, turns the police into racketeers, and diminishes respect for the government. Prohibition is an experiment that has failed dismally.

United States: Congressional Research Service’s Medical Marijuana Report

By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

There is a truth that must be heard! The Congressional Research Service (CRS), part of the Library of Congress, has a mandate to research and publish non-partisan, up-to-date and relevant information for members of Congress and their staff to help them craft legislation.

The most recent CRS white paper on medical cannabis in the United States is, in fishing parlance, a ‘keeper’. Released for public consumption on April 2, 2010, it is a well researched, scholarly and important document for reformers to download and keep close at hand as a very well presented primer on the history and current domestic legal status of medical cannabis. Of particular help are the many numerous citations and footnotes for greater reference and depth of understanding.

Very often, and rightly so, taxpayers–notably cannabis consumers–are frustrated at how state and federal governments spend tax dollars arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating; interdicting, eradicating and propagandizing in support of cannabis prohibition. But, this most recent CRS report (like many previous reports from them on cannabis and drug policy) is an invaluable report to add to one’s ‘reform library’ that you and I can feel good paying for.

Wisconsin: Hemp - Gone But Not Forgotten

By Jessica VanEgeren, The Capital Times

Wisconsin: Hemp - Gone But Not Forgotten A recent Cap Times cover story on the state's extensive history with hemp - a hardy crop that no longer can be legally grown in the United States - sparked a trip down memory lane for a number of readers across the state.

"It was like walking through a canopied jungle," says Curt Hellmer of Stoughton. "Or rows of mature corn without the thick leaves near the ground."

That's how Hellmer, now 55, recalls his childhood experiences some 50 years ago when he used to play in the 8- to 10-foot-tall hemp stalks in his grandfather's hemp fields. The family made money on the crop by selling it to a rope manufacturer in Platteville, Hellmer says.

Back when Hellmer was running through hemp fields as a kid, Wisconsin was the country's second-leading producer of hemp. That all changed when the plant, which contains minimal levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), became classified as a controlled substance in 1970.

When growing hemp was still legal in the United States, farmers had to pay $1 for a "special tax stamp" that allowed them to grow or produce "marihuana."

A copy of a permit that was issued to Lafayette farmer, Horatio Bale, in 1943 was emailed to the paper after last week's cover story.

Bale's son and daughter-in-law, Kurt and Joanna Bale, still live on the family farm. It's not uncommon, they say, to find hemp still growing in patches.

United States: A Stain On Our Integrity (Harry J. Anslinger and the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act of 1937)

Marijuana is taken by ____ musicians. And I'm not speaking about good musicians, but the jazz type." Harry J. Anslinger, Commissioner of the US Bureau of Narcotics 1930-1962

By Resident of Kentucky

United States: Is America Ready to Legalize Marijuana? (Poll)

By MSNBC Staff

United States: Is America Ready to Legalize Marijuana? (Poll) In California, marijuana stores legally exist to sell different varieties of pot to customers that need the drug for medical purposes. One shop, for example, pays the state some $300,000 in taxes and the federal government $500,000 in taxes. One problem: DEA could shut them down and arrest the people working and selling in the store. State and Federal laws are contradictory.

United States: Recycling Reefer Madness: Why It Still Doesn’t Work

By Steve Elliott, NEWS JUNKIE POST

There is a truth that must be heard! It happens with an all-too-familiar regularity: Another “scientific” study that attempts to draw some connection, however tenuous, between smoking pot and schizophrenia.

Just this week, the findings of a study allegedly indicating that smoking marijuana can “double the risk” of psychosis received heavy publicity. Of course there were the inevitable “sky is falling” reactions on the part of faux-horrified commentators who already decided, years ago, that they were against pot and are all too happy to trumpet what looks like confirmation of their prejudice.

Problem is, those findings are in conflict with previous reviews and ought to be interpreted with caution – but you won’t be reading that in mainstream news outlets.

Here’s something else you won’t see in the mainstream media. There is absolutely no empirical evidence – none – indicating that rising rates of cannabis use have resulted in parallel increases in rates of mental illness.

It would stand to reason, wouldn’t it? Considering modern rates of usage, if marijuana really produced psychosis, the streets would be choked with non-functional, burned out potheads. It doesn’t. They aren’t.

“I’ve said it for years now,” film director John Holowach, responsible for the documentary High: The True Tale of American Marijuana, told me. “If pot and mental illness were linked, the two should rise and fall with one another, but they don’t.”

Global: Professor Raphael Mechoulam - Discovery of THC and Beyond

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff

There is a truth that must be heard! Raphael Mechoulam is an Israeli professor for Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. While working on research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Michoulam succeeded in the isolation, structure elucidation and total synthesis of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main active principle of cannabis. He and his research group have also succeeded in the total synthesis of the major plant cannabinoids delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, cannabigerol and multiple others. Another research project initiated by him led to the isolation of the first described endocannabinoid anandamide which was isolated and characterized by two of his postdoctoral researchers, Lumír Hanuš and William Devane.

Over the past few years, Professor Mechoulam, has become a great inspiration to activists, doctors, scientists and citizens worldwide for his dedication and continual striving to find cures to devastating human ailments, such as PTSD and chronic pain.

Professor Mechoulam has been awarded several prizes from the Heinrich Wieland Prize to the Ulf von Euler Lecture in Physiology. In 1999, the International Cannabinoid Research Society established the "Raphael Mechoulam Annual Award in Cannabinoid Research".

Global: U.S.-Mexico Drug Summit Fails to Acknowledge Obvious Solution to Violent Drug Cartels

Ending Marijuana Prohibition Would Deal Crucial Blow to Mexican Drug Cartels, Drastically Reduce Border Violence.

There is a truth that must be heard! (WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Today, high-ranking officials from the United States and Mexico concluded a three-day conference meant to outline ways the two nations could reduce the illicit drug trade-associated violence that continues to plague the U.S.-Mexican border.

Unfortunately, officials concluded their talks without making any reference to the most sensible and guaranteed strategy for reducing that violence: removing marijuana from the criminal market, and depriving drug cartels of their main source of income and strife.

“The only solution to the current crisis is to tax and regulate marijuana,” said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Once again, Mexican and U.S. officials are ignoring the fact that the cartels get 70 percent of their profits from marijuana. It’s time to face the reality that the U.S.’s marijuana prohibition is fueling a bloodbath in Mexico and the United States.”

The Obama administration has said it will provide the Mexican government with a $1.4 billion aid package to combat the Mexican drug cartels, in addition to seeking $310 million in its 2011 budget for drug enforcement aid to Mexico.

Washington: Vivian McPeak - Cannabis Freedom Fighter

"No political or human rights movement in America has made it this far without eventually winning, it's just a matter of time." Vivian McPeak

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff

Washington: Seattle Hempfest - A Minute With Vivian McPeak It has been said that Vivian Mcpeak, Seattle Hempfest Event Director, is quite possibly the most inspirational speaker in the hemp movement, and this writer agrees with that consensus.

Vivian has the ability to energize a crowd like no other and has become a pillar of strength for those who demand their voices be heard regarding cannabis reform. There have been many fantastic and inspiring speakers throughout the years at the Seattle Hempfest from the iconic Jack Herer to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) founder Keith Stroup, but once you have heard Vivian speak, something about you is different; you feel you have become a part of history.

United States: The Roots of Hemp Prohibition in America

By Ms. Sylence Dogood, Hemp News Staff

A distinct variety of the plant species Cannabis sativa L., the hemp plant is harvested for its fibers, seed, seed meal and seed oil. Marijuana is a group of flowering plants that includes three species of Cannabis, all indigenous to Central Asia and surrounding regions, but both Hemp and Cannabis can be readily grown in many regions throughout the world.

There have been over eight million Cannabis arrests in the United States since 1993, including 786,545 arrests in 2005, and Cannabis users have been arrested at the rate of 1 every 40 seconds. Statistics show that about 88% of all marijuana arrests are for simple possession, not manufacture or distribution, according to FBI Uniform Crimes Report. Large-scale marijuana growing operations are frequently targeted by police in raids to attack the supply side and discourage the spread and marketing of the drug, though the great majority of those who are in prison for cannabis are either there for simple possession or small scale dealing.

The effects of marijuana prohibition in the United States today are similar to the effects of alcohol prohibition in the United States from 1920 to 1933. Prohibition sought to achieve forced abstinence from alcohol through legal means and constitutionally banned its manufacture, sale and transport throughout the United States.

Washington: Washington State Should Decriminalize Marijuana

By Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Toby Nixon

Washington: Washington State Should Decriminalize Marijuana Washington State -- Once again, the annual Hempfest drew tens of thousands to parks along Seattle’s waterfront this past summer. In its mission statement, the all-volunteer organization that produces the event says, “The public is better served when citizens and public officials work cooperatively in order to successfully accomplish common goals.”

We agree. That is why we, as a Democratic state senator and former Republican state representative, support Senate Bill 5615. This bill would reclassify adult possession of marijuana from a crime carrying a mandatory day in jail to a civil infraction imposing a $100 penalty payable by mail. SB 5615 was voted out of committee with a bipartisan “do pass” recommendation and will be considered by legislators in 2010.

The bill makes a lot of sense, especially in this time of severely strapped budgets. Our state Office of Financial Management reported annual savings of $16 million and $1 million in new revenue if SB 5615 passes. Of that $1 million, $590,000 would be earmarked for the Washington State Criminal Justice Treatment Account to increase support of our underfunded drug treatment and prevention services.

United States: Support for Legalizing Marijuana Grows Rapidly Around U.S.

Approval for medical use expands alongside criticism of prohibition

Would you support medical marijuana?

By Karl Vick, Washington Post Staff Writer

United States: Support for Legalizing Marijuana Grows Rapidly Around U.S. The same day they rejected a gay marriage ballot measure, residents of Maine voted overwhelmingly to allow the sale of medical marijuana over the counter at state-licensed dispensaries.

Later in the month, the American Medical Association reversed a longtime position and urged the federal government to remove marijuana from Schedule One of the Controlled Substances Act, which equates it with heroin.

A few days later, advocates for easing marijuana laws left their biannual strategy conference with plans to press ahead on all fronts -- state law, ballot measures, and court -- in a movement that for the first time in decades appeared to be gaining ground.

"This issue is breaking out in a remarkably rapid way now," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Public opinion is changing very, very rapidly."

The shift is widely described as generational. A Gallup poll in October found 44 percent of Americans favor full legalization of marijuana -- a rise of 13 points since 2000. Gallup said that if public support continues growing at a rate of 1 to 2 percent per year, "the majority of Americans could favor legalization of the drug in as little as four years."

United States: AMA Calls for Feds to Review Marijuana Restrictions

By Stephanie Condon, CBS News

There is a truth that must be heard! The American Medical Association on Tuesday adopted a resolution calling for the government to review its classification of marijuana, in order to ease the way for more research into the use of medical marijuana.

While the AMA, the largest physician's organization in the U.S., explicitly states it does not endorse any current state-based medical marijuana programs or the legalization of marijuana, the move is a significant shift that continues a trend toward support for easing restrictions against the drug.

"Our American Medical Association (AMA) urges that marijuana's status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines," the AMA's statement (PDF) reads. "This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product."

United States: American Medical Association Rethinking Prohibition

By Daniel Tencer

There is a truth that must be heard! The American Medical Association on Tuesday issued a cautious but historically significant call to change America's marijuana prohibition laws, urging a "review" of the drug's status as a Schedule I drug.

At a meeting in Houston, the AMA's House of Delegates adopted a new policy that calls for "marijuana's status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods."

That does not mean the AMA supports the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana.

Schedule I drugs are those considered to have no medical benefit and to be harmful when used under any circumstances. As such, marijuana is currently grouped by the federal government with drugs like heroin and LSD. By comparison, cocaine and methamphetamines are classified as Schedule II drugs, which may have some clinical benefits when used in the proper circumstances. The AMA's stance could simply result in the rescheduling of marijuana as a controlled substance that has some medical benefit.

However, Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, calls the move "historic" all the same, noting that it comes from "what has historically been America's most cautious and conservative major medical organization."
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