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United States: Year in Review - 2008 a Huge Year for Marijuana Reform

In this annual season of year-end reviews, marijuana policy reformers are counting 2008 as one of their most successful years ever. 2008 saw major progress on legal reforms plus a raft of new data that validated reformers' critiques of current marijuana laws.

Among the changes are marijuana decriminalization Massachusetts, the addition of Michigan as the nation's 13th medical marijuana state, and new research verifying that marijuana helps with pain relief.


[ Medical Marijuana]

Colorado: Bring back hemp

By US Citizen

The United States uses corn for ethanol because hemp is illegal. Hemp was made illegal due to a greedy component of capitalism combined with ignorance. Hemp prohibition is grave and dysfunctional, affecting world improvement, as Dennis Newman (Letter: “Change needed on ethanol,” Nov. 13, 2008), exposes. Instead of embracing hemp for what it is; a God-awesome creation, America’s leaders strive to exterminate it. Before greedy ignoids conspired to prohibit hemp, it was referred to as the billion-dollar crop, when the B-word wasn’t thrown around so loosely.

America has had the technology to build and fuel cars using hemp since the 1930s. A sane argument to perpetuate prohibiting free American farmers from utilizing the plant doesn’t exist. Some estimates indicate using 10 percent of America’s farmland to cultivate hemp would eliminate any need for foreign petroleum. Discussion of alternative fuels without mentioning hemp is foolish and any and all research into hemp’s history backs it up. And that’s just for fuel; hemp is equally beneficial for feeding people who are starving to death.

America’s future political atmosphere may be more conducive to changing hemp’s status as a Schedule I drug along side heroin and LSD. Americans must work hard the next few years to re-establish hemp as a component of American agriculture. In fact, environmentally conscientious Americans must fight harder than big oil and other mega corporations which profit immensely off hemp prohibition and spend huge fortunes to guarantee its existence.

Europe: Report urges regulated market for cannabis to replace prohibition

By Duncan Campbell, The Guardian

UK: A report on cannabis prepared for next year's UN drug policy review will suggest that a "regulated market" would cause less harm than the current international prohibition. The report, which is likely to reopen the debate about cannabis laws, suggests that controls such as taxation, minimum age requirements and labelling could be explored.

The Global Cannabis Commission report, which will be launched today at a conference in the House of Lords, has reached conclusions which its authors suggest "challenge the received wisdom concerning cannabis". It was carried out for the Beckley foundation, a UN-accredited NGO, for the 2009 UN strategic drug policy review.

There are, according to the report, now more than 160 million users of the drug worldwide. "Although cannabis can have a negative impact on health, including mental health, in terms of relative harms it is considerably less harmful than alcohol or tobacco," according to the report. "Historically, there have only been two deaths worldwide attributed to cannabis, whereas alcohol and tobacco together are responsible for an estimated 150,000 deaths per annum in the UK alone."

The report, compiled by a group of scientists, academics and drug policy experts, suggests that much of the harm associated with cannabis use is "the result of prohibition itself, particularly the social harms arising from arrest and imprisonment." Policies that control cannabis, whether draconian or liberal, appear to have little impact on the prevalence of consumption, it concluded.

United States: 20 Million Arrests, and Counting

By Paul Armentano

This November, moments before millions of voters flock to the polls to elect America’s 44th president, law enforcement officials will make their 20 millionth marijuana arrest.

Yet in the days leading up to this appalling milestone, it’s unlikely either candidate will call foror even so much as entertain any change in U.S. pot policies. It’s even less likely the mainstream media will care.

Since the early ’90s, the total number of Americans busted annually for pot has nearly tripled. In 1991, police arrested a modern low of 288,000 people for minor marijuana violations in the United States, according to the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report. By 2006 (the last year for which data is available), a record 830,000 people were arrested. (Of those arrested, an estimated 90 percent are charged with minor possession not trafficking, cultivation or sale.)

That’s one American arrested for pot every 38 seconds.

Yet despite this massive increase in arrests by contrast, federal statistics indicate that adult marijuana use has remained fairly stable over the past decade the mass media and Congress continue to ignore the story.

United States: 872,721 marijuana arrests in 2007, up 5.2% from 2006

By Russ Belville, NORML Stash

Record Number Of Americans Arrested For Marijuana

The FBI has released its annual report on Crime in the United States 2007. Once again, the number of people in the United States arrested for marijuana has gone up. 872,721 Americans were arrested for marijuana in 2007, and of those arrests, 89% or 775,138 were arrests for simple possession - not buying, selling, trafficking, or manufacture (growing).

This represents an increase in marijuana arrests of 5.2% from the previous year and the fifth straight year marijuana arrests have increased from the previous year. Now a marijuana smoker is arrested at the rate of 1 every 37 seconds and almost 100 marijuana arrests per hour.

Marijuana possession is increasingly the bulk of the “War on Drugs”

More arrests for marijuana are for simple possession than for any other drug. While only 11% of marijuana arrests involve buying, selling, trafficking, or manufacture, that rate for heroin and cocaine is 27% and that rate for synthetic drugs is 31%.

While arrests for marijuana sales/manufacturing increased by 7.6% over 2006, heroin and cocaine sale/manufacturing arrests dropped by 3.8% and synthetic drugs sales/manufacturing arrests dropped 2.6%.

While arrests for marijuana possession rose by 4.9%, heroin and cocaine possession arrests fell by 8.1% and synthetic drugs possession arrests fell by 5.4%.

About Hemp News

Hemp News, a compilation of international news stories about hemp and cannabis, is a public service of Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH). This is intended for political and educational use on the subject of cannabis and the wide-ranging effects of drug prohibition.

The Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) goal is to educate people about the medicinal and industrial uses for cannabis in our global society in order to restore hemp cultivation and end adult cannabis prohibition.

This site is intended to be an avenue for the community to empower themselves with information about this diverse and wonderful plant called HEMP. There is a truth that must be heard!

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