Switzerland: Marijuana Helps Keep Prisons Safe


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Allowing prison inmates to smoke marijuana -- it's an idea that makes so much sense, it would probably never be implemented, right? Wrong: The sensible Swiss have already done it.

A recent study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy estimates that 50 to 80 percent of inmates in Swiss prisons use cannabis. Marijuana is a relatively safe drug, according to prison staff, and cracking down on consumption would have more negative effects than positive ones.

Thirty-one male prisoners were interviewed, along with 27 prison staff, nine of whom were female.

Both guards and prisoners describe marijuana as a calming way to decrease the trauma of the prison experience. Survey participants said that a crackdown could increase fear and result in a shift to harder drug use.

While prisoners estimated up to 80 percent of inmates use marijuana, guards estimated it at only 50 percent.

(Graphic: North Platte Post)

2011: Cannabis Resolutions in the New Year

By Stephanie Bishop, Hemp News Correspondent

There is a truth that must be heard! I was born in 1974, the year Nixon left office. Somewhere in my late teens, I realized my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was toxic and the Smurfette Big Wheel, which I loved, was made by a little Kid is Asia for 2 cents a day. I don’t think they make much more 35 years later. Since then, you wouldn’t believe the amount of information I have taken in and processed. Governments are spending more money on guns, missiles and warplanes than basic services for their people. Our food is toxic on purpose. Corporations focus on the bottom line, destroying lives and entire eco-systems to see it grow. The really rich continue to violate the really poor. All of our financial systems are non-sustainable. Our air and water, the very things we need to survive are polluted. The list goes on and I haven’t scratched the surface. It’s enough to drive a person mad.

I learned to build up my filters and decipher truth from subtle lies. I joined anti war groups and attended rallies, marching with thousands of individuals dedicated to ending commodity wars fought on our dime and in our name. Eventually, I had to look for solutions or be lost in the vastness of problems humans face today. I had to focus on something with the potential to save the World. I found this solution in the Cannabis Plant.

California: A Letter From Eddy Lepp


The dark angels of Babylon are among us and are trying to take one of our own.

The Reverend Eddy Lepp is to be sentenced February 23, 2009 to two life sentences for growing the sacred herb.

He was denied a religious defense even after the judge ruled he met all the standards necessary to allow this.

Eddy Lepp had notified the Governor, the Attorney General, the Board Of Supervisors of Lake County, the Lake County District Attorney, and the local Sheriff; all by certified mail that he was growing the sacred herb for medicinal and spiritual use – by the members of the Multi-Denominational Ministry of Cannabis and Rastafari.

Jah Rastafari.

Reverend Lepp protected all members of his church, and was the only one charged.

After four years of litigation, his trial was reduced to two very short days of testimony due to restrictions placed by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel. The whole trial was over in less than one week.

We ask that you contact Judge Marilyn Hall Patel and ask that she be lenient in sentencing Reverend Lepp for this victimless act. Court Information: Eddy is scheduled to appear in front of the court February 23, 2009 to face possibly two life sentences.

We hope you will take the time to write the judge and ask for leniency in Eddy's sentencing.
Here is a sample letter that we ask all concerned to please sign and send to Judge Patel. You are welcome to change the wording in any way you want, but be respectful so the Judge pays attention to your message!

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State and Zip

Honorable Judge Patel

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.

Montana: Ex-Missoula neurologist pens paper on old stash


A 2,700-year-old bowl of marijuana, the world’s oldest pot stash, has been unearthed from a tomb in central China.

“The evidence all indicates that there was intent to utilize this cannabis for psychoactive purposes,” said Ethan Russo. “What we’ve found here is the oldest, clear-cut and proven sample of psychoactive cannabis in the world.”

Russo, who for 24 years worked as a neurologist in Missoula and still serves as a pharmacology faculty affiliate at the University of Montana was lead author on a paper describing the find, published this month in the peer-reviewed “Journal of Experimental Botany.”

The tomb, Russo said, belonged to “a shaman, or a chief, someone of extremely high stature.”

Found alongside the skeleton and the 2 pounds of marijuana were several other items, including horse bridles, archery equipment and a harp. (No pipes were found, however, and Russo remains uncertain as to whether the marijuana was to be smoked or ingested in the afterlife.)

The site is located amid the Yanghai Tombs, near Turpan in China’s Gobi Desert region. Locals stumbled across the sprawling graveyard some two decades back, while digging irrigation wells, but it was not until 2003 that formal archaeological investigations were launched.

To date, Russo said, only 500 or so of the 2,500 graves there have been excavated.

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