Our farmers need this valuable crop to be returned as an option for commercial agriculture
By D. Paul Stanford, Hemp News Director
Hemp is the ultimate cash crop, producing more fiber, food and oil than any other plant on the planet. According to the Notre Dame University publication, The Midlands Naturalist, from a 1975 article called, "Feral Hemp in Southern Illinois," about the wild hemp fields that annual efforts from law enforcement eradication teams cannot wipe out, an acre of hemp produces:
1. 8,000 pounds of hemp seed per acre.
* When cold-pressed, the 8,000 pounds of hemp seed yield over 300 gallons of hemp seed oil and a byproduct of
* 6,000 pounds of high protein hemp flour.
These seed oils are both a food and a biodiesel fuel. Currently, the most productive seed oil crops are soybeans, sunflower seeds and rape seed or canola. Each of these three seed oil crops produce between 100 to 120 gallons of oil per acre. Hemp seed produces three times more oil per acre than the next most productive seed oil crops, or over 300 gallons per acre, with a byproduct of 3 tons of food per acre. Hemp seed oil is also far more nutritious and beneficial for our health than any other seed oil crop.
In addition to the food and oil produced, there are several other byproducts and benefits to the cultivation of hemp.
2. Six to ten tons per acre of hemp bast fiber. Bast fiber makes canvas, rope, lace, linen, and ultra-thin specialty papers like cigarette and bible papers.
By Steve Elliott
As President Barack Obama departs for a three-day trip to Mexico and Central America to meet with several regional counterparts, advocates are urging him to put drug policy reform at the top of the agenda.
The failed Drug War has wreaked havoc throughout Latin America. In Mexico, the War On Drugs has caused an estimated 70,000 deaths, 25,000 disappearances and more than 250,000 internally displaced people since 2006.
Meanwhile, drug trafficking organizations have increasingly moved or expanded their operations to Central America, which has become one of the most dangerous regions in the world, according to the United Nations. And rather than reducing the supply of or demand for drugs, prohibitionist drug policies have only enriched criminal organizations while increasing rates of incarceration and drug-related harms.
Obama is scheduled to meet Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Thursday and then travel to Costa Rica on Friday to meet with President Laura Chinchilla, as well as heads of state of the other Central American countries and the Dominican Republic. Many of these leaders have voiced support for alternatives to drug prohibition -– including exploring options for legally regulating marijuana and other drugs -– in order to reduce the power and profits of violent drug traffickers.
By Steve Elliott
Surprise, surprise -- Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske really hates marijuana legalization.
Kerlikowske, President Obama's drug czar, spoke out this week against recently passed state laws in Colorado and Washington which legalized the possession of limited amounts of marijuana by adults 21 and older. As director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Kerlikowske is required by law to oppose cannabis legalization.
The Drug Czar said the Obama Administration doesn't plan on honoring the new state laws that allow adults in Colorado and Washington to legally use pot, reports RT.com. Last year, voters in both states passed separate laws allowing residents and visitors over 21 to legally have up to an ounce of marijuana.
But despite those laws, both of which overwhelmingly passed with about 55 percent of the vote, Kerlikowske said the Administration will continue to enforce the federal Uniform Controlled Substances Act, under which marijuana is listed as a Schedule I narcotic along with heroin and PCP. Even methamphetamine and cocaine are considered safer drugs than cannabis under the UCSA; both of those substances are classified as Schedule II, by definition safer than marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
Despite the rhetoric from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) about a "21st Century Drug Policy" and their use of the hashtag #DrugPolicyReform on Twitter, President Barack Obama's budget continues to emphasize punishment and interdiction (supply reduction) programs over treatment and prevention (demand reduction) programs, to the tune of 58 percent to 42 percent.
It's a classic case of throwing good money after bad, of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Forty-two years after President Richard Nixon declared a "War On Drugs," the chief casualties are civil liberties and individual privacy rights, with drugs being more easily available than when the "War" (which is really on people, not on drugs) was declared.
The portion of federal drug control spending going to domestic law enforcement in the fiscal year 2014 budget increases slightly from 2012's 38.5 percent ($9.4 billion) and 2013's 38.1 percent ($9.3 billion) to 2014's 37.7 percent ($9.5 billion), an overall increase of 1.3 percent in two years.
By Steve Elliott
Two major Democratic fundraisers have said they would provide the money and expertise to get legalization of medical marijuana on the Florida ballot in 2014.
"I'm prepared to keep raising money and writing checks until I get the signatures to put it on the ballot," said attorney John Morgan -- who routinely hosts presidents and national political figures at his home, and is a former fundraiser for President Barack Obama -- late on Tuesday, reports Barbara Liston of Reuters.
Morgan recently signed on as chairman of People United For Medical Marijuana (PUFMM), a grassroots campaign that, until now, was operating on a shoestring budget. He was recruited by Ben Pollara, a lobbyist and fellow Obama campaign fundraiser, who recently became treasurer of PUFMM.
The problem was, PUFMM didn't have the money to wage a high-profile battle and couldn't get enough signatures to get their medical marijuana legalization proposal on the ballot.
"We were just scraping together pennies," said Kim Russell of Orlando, who founded PUFMM four years ago. The group could barely afford to photocopy its own petition, she said.
Now, PUFMM has commissioned a poll and is planning to hire a company to manage the petition drive. "It's a 180-degree turnaround," Russell said.
As a young man enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, Chris Williams swore an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." Now is the time to show him your support!
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
By SF Gate Staff
The Department of Justice maintains that there has been no change in the Obama administration's medical marijuana policy. President Obama recently told Rolling Stone, "I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana - and the reason is, because it's against federal law."
Yet it also was against federal law in 2008, when candidate Obama did say he would not "use Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws" authorizing medical marijuana. Today, the Department of Justice is waging a full-throated war against medical marijuana dispensaries in California and other states that have legalized it.
In October, a group of California U.S. attorneys announced that they would focus on medical marijuana outlets. They've been raiding area dispensaries ever since. Last week, the office of San Francisco U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag stepped up its offensive by going to federal court to force the landlords of Novato's Green Door Wellness Education Center and Green Tiger dispensary to forfeit their properties.
By Matt Smith, CNN
Medical marijuana advocates are hoping state governments can succeed where their efforts have failed by asking federal authorities to reclassify pot as a drug with medical use.
Shortly before Christmas, Colorado became the fourth state to ask the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana as a narcotic in the same league as heavyweight painkillers including oxycodone. The governors of Washington and Rhode Island filed a formal petition with the agency in November, and Vermont signed onto that request shortly afterward.
By Sandy Goodman, Retired producer for NBC Nightly News; freelance writer
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.
Activists decry restrictions
By Shaun Waterman, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Medical marijuana is coming to the District of Columbia - but still with too many restrictions for some pot advocates.
Now that Congress has lifted its decade-old hold on the measure, legislation to implement a 1998 voter-passed referendum is backed by 10 of the city's 13 D.C. Council members and seems sure to pass.
Council committees and city officials are wrestling with an armful of questions about how the law will work in practice - especially the question of where the licensed dispensaries that will sell the drug can be located, and who will be allowed to own and operate them. And opponents are calling for Congress to block the measure, as it can do under long-standing federal powers over D.C. affairs.
States' moves reflect 'new era' of acceptance
By William M. Welch and Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES — James Gray once saw himself as a drug warrior, a former federal prosecutor and county judge who sent people to prison for dealing pot and other drug offenses. Gradually, though, he became convinced that the ban on marijuana was making it more accessible to young people, not less.
"I ask kids all the time, and they'll tell you it is easier to get marijuana than a six-pack of beer because that is controlled by the government," he said, noting that drug dealers don't ask for IDs or honor minimum age requirements.
So Gray — who spent two decades as a superior court judge in Orange County, Calif., and once ran for Congress as a Republican — switched sides in the war on drugs, becoming an advocate for legalizing marijuana.
"Let's face reality," he says. "Taxing and regulating marijuana will make it less available to children than it is today."
Ending Marijuana Prohibition Would Deal Crucial Blow to Mexican Drug Cartels, Drastically Reduce Border Violence.
(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.
By Elizabeth Lopatto, Bloomberg
Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Madeline Martinez is in constant pain from a disease that is destroying her joints and the discs in her back. Marijuana relieves her discomfort, she said, and the Obama administration has ended her worries that she may someday be jailed for using the drug.
Martinez, 58, of Portland, Oregon, had previously been given Abbott Laboratories’ Vicodin and codeine for her pain. Use of those drugs led to stomach problems, and now she takes marijuana prescribed for her by a doctor. Medicinal marijuana is legal in Oregon, one of 14 states to allow so-called compassionate-care use.
The U.S. Department of Justice yesterday advised federal prosecutors not to seek criminal charges against those who use medical marijuana in accordance with state laws, reversing a Bush administration approach. Along with chronic pain, the American College of Physicians, the second-largest U.S. doctors group, has said marijuana can be used to treat glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and nausea.
“Having disabled people jailed for no reason, that’s terrifying,” said Martinez, who mostly uses a tincture of the drug rather than smoking it. “As a medical marijuana patient, it’s always good to have some stress and anxiety alleviated.”
By Carrie Johnson, Washington Post Staff Writer
The Obama administration delivered new guidance on medical marijuana to federal prosecutors Monday, signaling a broad policy shift that will mean fewer crackdowns against dispensaries and the people who use them.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. instructed government lawyers that in 14 states where medical marijuana use is legal, federal prosecutors should focus only on cases involving higher level drug traffickers or people who use the state laws as a cover story.
By Rick Bayer, MD
US Attorney General Eric Holder recently signaled federal changes in medical marijuana policy. Holder said, “The policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law”; but the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will still target anyone who tries to “use medical marijuana laws as a shield” for other illegal activity. “Given the limited resources that we have, our focus will be on people, organizations that are growing, cultivating substantial amounts of marijuana and doing so in a way that’s inconsistent with federal and state law.”
“... federal and state law ...”
Many have been waiting for a statement regarding President Obama’s drug policy toward medical marijuana, since Candidate Obama repeatedly promised changes in federal policy toward medical marijuana states. Now, in Attorney General Holder’s statement, they have it. Graham Boyd, director of the American Civil Liberties Union drug law project, said Mr. Holder’s remarks create reasonable balance between conflicting state and federal law while finally ending the policy war over medical marijuana.