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High danger hydrangea?

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French police hunt gang peddling ‘cheaper weed’

Thieves are thought to be stealing colourful plants in northern France because smoking some varieties can get you high

A pink hydrangea flower or an evil cheap drug much sought after in northern France? Photograph: Lisa Carpenter for the Guardian

Some gardeners prefer the spiky Hydrangea paniculata; others opt for the smoother mop-head varieties such as Hydrangea macrophylla. Others, often those with yellow as opposed to green fingers, do not much care. They just like to rip off the petals of any old hydrangea – also known as hortensia – and smoke them, police in France have claimed.

Gendarme in northern France are on the trail of the “Hortensia Gang”, acting on reports that dozens of the wintering plants have been stolen or severely pruned in the past few weeks.

Initially sceptical that youngsters were roaming private and public gardens chopping off hydrangea heads and leaves to dry, mix with tobacco, and smoke as a cheap alternative to cannabis, police say they are now investigating.

As part of their inquiries, officers spoke to local pharmacists who confirmed the hallucinogenic and euphoria-inducing effects of the hydrangea bloom, of which there are thousands of varieties. Experts say the effect is similar to that of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in the cannabis plant.

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The Pot Pot Rots

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The great marijuana (Cannabis sativa) debate.

Marijuana has had a potted history, controlled in 1906 as a medicine, until it was banned outright in  the 1930s.

“Several scholars argue that the goal was to destroy the hemp industry, largely as an effort of Hearst, Andrew Mellon and the Du Pont family. They argue that with the invention of the decorticator hemp became a very cheap substitute for the paper pulp that was used in the newspaper industry.They also believe that Hearst felt that this was a threat to his extensive timber holdings. Mellon was Secretary of the Treasury and the wealthiest man in America and had invested heavily in nylon, DuPont’s new synthetic fiber, and considered its success to depend on its replacement of the traditional resource, hemp.” – Wikipedia

FBN public service announcement used in the late 1930s and 1940s – image: Wikipedia

A campaign to justify the banning by smearing the reputation of cannabis was waged, and the moneybags won; cannabis became illegal.

Since this time the laws have made millions of criminals, made cannabis a source of income for the drug cartels and dealers as the world waged a war on it.

The war has been totally ineffective, it has not decreased usage; quite the opposite it increased usage. Billions of dollars have been spent in this futility.

Some countries began to question the effectiveness of the ban; with places like Holland, Belgium and Portugal timidly making inroads to normality. Meanwhile a few Latin American countries have begun to question the situation too.

Now we come to an unassuming man, a humble man, one José Mujica, he is the president of Uruguay. José Mujica is the antithesis of nearly every president in the world, he is the president that we all deserve instead of the arrogant power hungry bastards that we are saddled with. Previous post on The World’s Poorest President

Uruguay MPs back marijuana legalisation bill

Those supporting the bill want it passed quickly

Members of Uruguay’s House of Representatives have passed a bill to legalise marijuana.

If it goes on to be approved by the Senate, Uruguay will become the first country to regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana.

The measure is backed by the government of President Jose Mujica, who says it will remove profits from drug dealers and divert users from harder drugs.

Under the bill, only the government would be allowed to sell marijuana.

The state would assume “the control and regulation of the importation, exportation, plantation, cultivation, the harvest, the production, the acquisition, the storage, the commercialisation and the distribution of cannabis and its by-products”.

Buyers would have to be registered on a database and be over the age of 18. They would be able to buy up to 40g (1.4oz) per month in specially licensed pharmacies or grow up to six plants at home.

Foreigners would be excluded from the measure.

Political tussle

The bill was approved by 50 of the 96 MPs present in the lower house following a fierce 13-hour debate in the capital, Montevideo.

The supporters of the measure argued that the fight against drugs and drug trafficking had failed, and the country needed “new alternatives”.

“The regulation is not to promote consumption; consumption already exists,” said Sebastian Sabini of the governing centre-left Frente Amplio (Broad Front) coalition, which has a majority of one in the lower house.

Marijuana use has reportedly doubled in Uruguay over the past year. An estimated 22 tonnes of marijuana are being sold in the country annually, according to Uruguay’s National Drugs Committee.

But Gerardo Amarilla of the opposition National Party said the government was “playing with fire” given the health risks he said were linked to marijuana use.

All eyes were on Dario Perez, a member of the governing coalition but a strong opponent of the bill, whose vote could have scuppered the bill.

During his 20-minute speech, Mr Perez reiterated his belief that the issue should be put to a referendum and not have been “imposed” by the government.

But to applause by supporters of the bill in the public gallery, he finally concluded that as long as he was a member of the coalition, he would vote with it, despite his personal misgivings.

The bill is now expected to be approved by the Senate, where the left-wing government has a bigger majority.

But opposition politicians said that even if the law made it through the senate, they would launch a petition to have it overturned.

A survey carried out before the vote by polling organisation Cifra suggested 63% of Uruguayans opposed the bill.

Papal opposition

The progress of the bill is being watched closely across the region, says BBC Mundo correspondent in the region Ignacio de los Reyes.

President Jose Mujica says he has never tried marijuana but believes it should be legalised

For decades, drug trafficking has caused tens of thousands of deaths throughout Latin America.

Uruguay may have not experienced the bloodshed caused by drug trafficking, but the proposal could be seen as a test for violence-torn nations looking for an end to their drug wars, our correspondent adds.

The vote also comes just days after Pope Francis criticised drug legalisation plans during a visit to neighbouring Brazil.

The pontiff said it was “necessary to tackle the problems which are at the root of drug abuse, promoting more justice, educating the youth with the values that live in society, standing by those who face hardship and giving them hope for the future”.

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The Great Marijuana Debate

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First of all, we need to look at why cannabis is illegal.

“Many people assume that marijuana was made illegal through some kind of process involving scientific, medical, and government hearings; that it was to protect the citizens from what was determined to be a dangerous drug.

The actual story shows a much different picture. Those who voted on the legal fate of this plant never had the facts, but were dependent on information supplied by those who had a specific agenda to deceive lawmakers. You’ll see below that the very first federal vote to prohibit marijuana was based entirely on a documented lie on the floor of the Senate.

You’ll also see that the history of marijuana’s criminalization is filled with:

  • Racism
  • Fear
  • Protection of Corporate Profits
  • Yellow Journalism
  • Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators
  • Personal Career Advancement and Greed

These are the actual reasons marijuana is illegal.

A picture named leaf.gif
Background

For most of human history, marijuana has been completely legal. It’s not a recently discovered plant, nor is it a long-standing law. Marijuana has been illegal for less than 1% of the time that it’s been in use. Its known uses go back further than 7,000 B.C. and it was legal as recently as when Ronald Reagan was a boy.

The marijuana (hemp) plant, of course, has an incredible number of uses. The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, and over the centuries the plant was used for food, incense, cloth, rope, and much more. This adds to some of the confusion over its introduction in the United States, as the plant was well known from the early 1600′s, but did not reach public awareness as a recreational drug until the early 1900′s.”DrugWarRant.com

Most Americans have no idea why cannabis (marijuana) is illegal.

The truth is that the move was politically motivated, and not beyond corporate interference.

Check this:

Is a major reason that cannabis is illegal today.

“DuPont’s involvment in the anti-hemp campaign can also be explained with great ease. At this time, DuPont was patenting a new sulfuric acid process for producing wood-pulp paper. “According to the company’s own records, wood-pulp products ultimately accounted for more than 80% of all DuPont’s railroad car loadings for the next 50 years” (ibid). Indeed it should be noted that “two years before the prohibitive hemp tax in 1937, DuPont developed a new synthetic fiber, nylon, which was an ideal substitute for hemp rope” (Hartsell). The year after the tax was passed DuPont came out with rayon, which would have been unable to compete with the strength of hemp fiber or its economical process of manufacturing. “DuPont’s point man was none other than Harry Anslinger…who was appointed to the FBN by Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, who was also chairman of the Mellon Bank, DuPont’s chief financial backer. Anslinger’s relationship to Mellon wasn’t just political, he was also married to Mellon’s niece” (Hartsell). It doesn’t take much to draw a connection between DuPont, Anslinger, and Mellon, and it’s obvious that all of these groups, including Hearst, had strong motivation to prevent the growth of the hemp industry.”The Vaults of Erowid

Cannabis was made illegal at the behest of a corporate giant.

Nothing to do with being a drug, nothing to do with madness nor jazz music. Everything to do with corporate profits.

Of course the USA pushed the world into the same thinking, dragging the rest of the world into its own cesspool.

Now other countries are starting to think for themselves, and the American government doesn’t like it.

Uruguay, Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and now Chile are beginning to question the logic and search for better ways to manage the issue. Places like Holland, Belgium and Portugal have already made inroads into the issue.

Chilean senator’s confession heats debate on legalising marijuana

Marijuana remains an illegal substance in Chile, but there are a growing number of shops in the country which sell cannabis products.

A recent admission by Senator Fulvio Rossi that he occasionally smokes the drug has heated the debate over whether the drug should be legalised.

Check the BBC video clip.

Slow Junk

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“We often think about how cannabis, and its most famous ingredient, D9-THC (delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol) might impact our brains and behavior. But it’s time for us to pause, and think about what’s really important: our junk.

Yes, behavior and short term memory are one thing, but your SPERM! The very future of the species may hang in the balance of our pot-imbued balls.”

Source: scientopia Read more

 

Work this Out

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Summit of the Americas agree war on drugs a failure

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This weekend’s Summit of the Americas did not produce a joint communiqué charting the future of the hemisphere, but the 31 leaders agreed on one thing: The U.S.-led war on drugs has been a dismal failure.

The summit pledged to create a panel of experts through the Organization of American States to consider drug policy reforms, and new approaches to stem the violence and power of the drug cartels.

Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has created mandatory-minimum prison terms at home for minor drug offences, seems to have moved beyond the rhetoric of a Reagan-era counter-narcotics crusade: “Everyone believes… that the current approach [to the war on drugs] is not working, but it is not clear what we should do.”

The onus is on the hemisphere’s leaders, including Mr. Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama, to consider innovative, evidence-based policies. The decriminalization of marijuana – which comprises between 25 and 40 per cent of the drug cartels’ revenues – is one option. In the Netherlands, where licensed coffee shops can sell small amounts of marijuana, the rate of cannabis use is just 5 per cent, versus 14 per cent in the U.S. The policy of tolerance helps the government regulate cannabis sellers, and also distinguishes between soft drugs and cocaine and heroin.

In Portugal, where all drugs were decriminalized in 2001, there has been a decrease in serious drug use and drug-related deaths, and a savings to the criminal-justice system. “The aim shouldn’t be to totally decriminalize the whole enterprise, but to set some reasonable standards so that people don’t become criminals for minor drug use and clandestine organizations don’t make obscene amounts of money,” said Allert Brown-Gort, a Latin American expert at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

The problem with the current war-on-drugs policy is that it is unwinnable – and leads to weakened states, staggering levels of violence and continued drug consumption in Canada and the U.S. The U.S. spent $8-billion to help Colombia eradicate coca fields, only to have coca production shift to Peru and Ecuador and cartels set up new smuggling routes in weaker states. Guatemala and El Salvador now have the highest homicide rates in the world, while 50,000 people have been killed in Mexico since 2006.

In the words of Guatemalan President Otto Perez, a champion of drug liberalization, it is time to “stop being dumb witnesses to a global deceit” and consider treatment, harm reduction and decriminalization as viable alternatives.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Opinion:

Oh, they’ve just figured that out…

It has been evident for 20 years to everybody else!

As usual, the USA doesn’t agree, idiots!

 

Drug Tourists

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Earlier in the week I wrote about New Zealand’s ACT Leader Don Brash and some thoughts on the decriminalisation of cannabis on Short Sighted Kiwis. In the post I called on the experience of other countries, including Holland, and the problems they have encountered, not over the use of cannabis, but the ‘drug tourists’ who come because it is illegal in their own countries.

Here is a report from the BBC News:

Maastricht bans cannabis coffee-shop tourists

Cannabis is widely available in the coffee shops of Maastricht

A ban on some foreign tourists has come into force in the cannabis-selling coffee shops of the Dutch border city of Maastricht.

City authorities say the influx of tourists buying soft drugs is threatening public order and causing major traffic problems.

Coffee shop owners say the ban won’t work and will hit the local economy.

However, the ban does not apply to visitors from Germany and Belgium who are the majority of foreign customers.

The move comes ahead of a proposed nationwide crackdown being discussed in the Dutch parliament.

The BBC’s Anna Holligan says the ban is being seen as a test case that could be implemented in other Dutch towns and cities.

There are about 700 coffee shops in the Netherlands. The cultivation and sale of soft drugs through them is decriminalised although not legal.

An estimated 6,000 people visit Maastricht’s coffee shops every day – most making the quick trip across the border from Belgium and Germany.

But from Saturday, anyone who doesn’t hold a Dutch, Belgian or German passport will be told to leave.

Opinion:

Quite rightly so. These ‘drug tourists’ should stay at home and make their governments change the law, so they can enjoy the fruits of their labours in their own back yard without being labelled criminals.

Holland is trying to be responsible about the whole thing, if the neighbouring countries weren’t so pig-headed, they too could take advantages of relaxing the law and have the people spending their millions at home instead of putting it in the Dutch coffers.

NB:

I know this is not intended as a political blog, but I couldn’t resist a comment on this subject.

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