September 2009


September 30, 2009 – Just over four years ago, former U.S. DEA administrator Karen Tandy announced to the world that her agency had struck “a significant blow … to the marijuana o11sg734legalization movement” by indicting Canada’s so-called ‘Prince of Pot,’ Marc Emery.

For nearly two decades Emery operated a successful marijuana seed bank operation in Vancouver, British Columbia — a venture which he used to directly fund cannabis law reform efforts around the globe, including the magazine Cannabis Culture, the internet site Pot TV, and the founding of the British Columbia Marijuana Party.

Emery’s seed business was hardly a secret. For many years, Emery mailed copies of his seed catalogue to Canadian politicians. A Canadian court convicted him in 1998 and sentenced him to a $2,000 fine. Undeterred, Emery continued to sell seeds — and pay federal taxes on his profits — up until his arrest. Canadian authorities were happy to accept his tax money, and officials at Health Canada, which oversees Canada’s legal medical marijuana program, often recommended that patients contact Emery for grow advice. Nevertheless, when the Feds came calling, the Canadian authorities were swift to throw Marc Emery to the wolves.

Even though Emery’s alleged crimes would have warranted, at most, a month in jail in his home country, Canadian authorities yesterday placed Marc into custody so that he can be extradited to the United States. Once here, he faces up to five years in prison for pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana (more than 100 plants) in violation of 21 USC 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B).

But lets not kid ourselves. Marc Emery was hardly a high level target because he sold marijuana seeds to the U.S. — a simple google search will yield dozens of listings of competitors that presently engage in similar activities. No, it wasn’t so much what Marc did (”There isn’t a single victim in my case, no one who can stand up and say, ‘I was hurt by Marc Emery.’ No one,” he told the Vancouver Sun) as it was what he did with his money that aroused the ire of U.S. anti-drug officials.

And we have Karen Tandy’s own words to prove it.

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director @ September 29, 2009. Source.

September 30, 2009 – Mary Jane’s Soda, marketed as “a relaxing soft-drink that delivers euphoric relaxation and focus to a stress-filled life,” implicitly mimics the effects of marijuana. The drink’s y560ck10website says that the effects of the drink are sometimes compared to that of alcohol, but without the “drowsiness, beer goggles, tough-guy syndrome, and hangovers.”

“We created Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda as an alternative to alcohol, for people who want a healthy, natural, and legal way to relax and unwind,” said CEO and creator Matt Moody.

You may remember the “pot sucker” controversy from a few years ago. The suckers were marketed as “hemp-flavored lollipops.” The notorious candy, sold at Spencer’s, a gift shop found in many malls, spawned a debate about the ethical considerations of marketing illicit substances to young children. “Every lick is like taking a hit,” claimed the producers of the candy. Subtlety was clearly not a priority.

The company sold hundreds of thousands of the suckers before being yanked from the shelves, so the market was there. The proponents of Mary Jane’s Soda must have taken notice.

William Wood, a 23-year-old journalism major from Atlanta, said “That is clever marketing. They obviously couldn’t market it explicitly as an alternative to marijuana. They are probably trying to get the college-age market.”

The multi-billion dollar energy drink industry markets heavily towards college students. “I could see that [Mary Jane’s Soda] being used to accompany energy drinks if someone drinks too many Red Bulls to get through the school day, and they want to counteract the caffeine,” said Wood. This is something I can relate to. I could see myself using the drink for this purpose but several studies are being done on the negative effects of energy drinks and perhaps I should see how those pan out before acquiring another habit.

The company’s website recommends drinking its product after a long day or before a first date to calm the nerves. It claims to be helpful for job interviews and public speaking. Road rage, something every Georgia State student can relate to, is another reason the website lists.

“I wouldn’t drink it,” says Courtney Hill, a freshman from Alpharetta. Wood said, “I probably wouldn’t drink it because I only drink water.”

I cannot comment on the taste, as the product is not currently available on the east coast. “If it’s herbal and all natural, it probably does not taste great,” said Wood. He makes a good point. Mostly anything herbal is not very tasty, at least in my experience. The website does not really address the taste except to say that past attempts to put Kava in a drink have failed at masking the naturally bad taste and that Mary Jane’s Soda is the first to do so successfully.

The website says not to drink Mary Jane’s Soda if you are on any prescription drugs. “That sounds dangerous,” says Hill. I personally cannot help but wonder how many Americans are not taking any prescription drugs. Kava, the main ingredient, has been used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes in the South Pacific for thousands of years. Other medicinal uses for the root are to relieve muscle tension, to treat depression, and as a mild anesthetic. Its relaxing properties also have been used for insomnia.

The drink is being marketed as an ‘anti-energy drink.’ “People could buy it. College kids buying soda and marijuana-yep, people will buy it,” said Wood. Hill, a non-drinker, doesn’t share this sentiment. Hill said “I think it’s stupid.”

“If it’s in stores and readily available, then I could see it selling. I have a hard time seeing people getting on the internet to have soda shipped to them,” said Wood. I wouldn’t order it either. The time it would take alone would deter me from making an online purchase. If I see it in stores, then I’ll try it. However, Mary Jane’s Soda is not currently available to Georgia State students unless they order online. The online price is $56 for a pack of 24, so this relaxation comes at a price that I would venture to say most college students would probably not pay. By: Kirkland Carter. Source.

September 29, 2009 – “Standing Silent Nation” won the award for best Native documentary at the Cherokee Film Festival. The films shows a Lakota family’s attempt to grow industrial hemp as a viable economic development project on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota only to have it repeatedly destroyed by federal officials because of laws applying to marijuana production.

What does a family have to endure to create a future for itself? “Standing Silent Nation,”, features Alex White Plume and his Lakota family, who planted industrial hemp on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota after other crops had failed. They put their hopes for a sustainable economy in hemp’s hardiness and a booming worldwide demand for its many products, from clothing to food. Although growing hemp, a relative of marijuana, was banned in the U.S., Alex believed that tribal sovereignty, along with hemp’s non-psychoactive properties, would protect him. But when federal agents raided the White Plumes’ fields, the Lakota Nation was swept into a Byzantine struggle over tribal sovereignty, economic rights and common sense.

September 29, 2009 – The National Institute of Drug Abuse has set aside $3,000,000 to “support 3KIkHdresearch studies that focus on the identification, and preclinical and clinical evaluation, of medications that can be safe and effective for the treatment of cannabis-use and cannabis-induced DISORDERS, as well as their medical and psychiatric consequences.”

They state “Cannabis-related disorders (CRDs) including cannabis abuse or dependence and cannabis induced disorders (e.g., intoxication, delirium, psychotic disorder, and anxiety disorder) are a major public health issue. Cannabis use includes marijuana, hashish, and other tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) containing substances.”

Looks like they are going to spend 3 million dollars creating a drug to heal the DISORDERS created by the best drug the planet ever gave us. It seems we have to keep Big Pharma happy…at whatever cost, and that means we need to turn cannabis use into a major public health issue. Source

Once again, NOT the change people voted for.

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September 28, 2009 – A realistic, globally scalable plan to transfer CO2 from the atmosphere into soil and raw materials is already available – it’s called industrial hemp…PD*28303500

Our basic premise is that hemp is far more productive than typical agro-forestry projects, producing annual, versatile biomass alongside more rapid CO2 uptake. It can produce a vast range of sustainable raw materials with an overall low environmental impact, as well as improving soil structure, using low fertilizer and no other chemical inputs (i.e. reduced agrochemical residues).

Hemp can be grown on existing agricultural land (unlike most forestry projects), and can be included as part of a farm’s crop rotation with positive effects on overall yields of follow on crops. This, along with super versatility in diverse soil conditions and climates, makes hemp cultivation a viable and genuine potential large scale contributor to GHG mitigation.

Replacing Unsustainable Raw Materials

The vast quantities of hemp derived products and raw materials created by large scale cultivation could replace many oil-based unsustainable products and materials, particularly in construction, locking in captured CO2 and creating secondary benefits to the global environment. In particular, hemp could be used to replace significant quantities of tree-derived products, allowing reduced use of existing tree populations, thus maintaining their CO2 uptake.

Hemp also produces much higher quantities of stronger and more versatile fibre than cotton, and many other fibre crops, which often have very high chemical residue and water footprints. Extra processing required by hemp is also at least partially offset by its recycling potential.
Carbon Absorption of Hemp – HGS Preliminary Conclusions

Our carbon uptake estimates are calculated by the examining the carbon content of the molecules that make up the fibres of the hemp stem. Industrial hemp stem consists primarily of Cellulose, Hemicellulose and Lignin, whose chemical structure, carbon content, (and therefore absorbed CO2) are shown in the following section:

* Cellulose, 70% of stem dry weight:

Fig 1: Chemical structure of Cellulose (Hon, 1996).

Cellulose is a homogeneous linear polymer constructed of repeating glucose units. The carbon content of cellulose accounts for 45% of its molecular mass.

* Hemicellulose, 22% of stem dry weight:

Fig 2 : Chemical structure of Hemicellulose (Puls and Schuseil, 1993).

Hemicellulose provides a linkage between cellulose & lignin. It has a branched structure consisting of various pentose sugars. Based on an example of hemicellulose structure like the acetylated xylan chain with ? – 1, 2 bond to 4 – O – methyl glucuronic acid & an ? – 1, 3 bond to L – arabinofuranose pictured above the carbon content of hemicellulose accounts for 48% of its molecular mass.

* Lignin, 6% of stem dry weight:

Fig 3. Chemical structure of Lignin (Hon, 1996).

Lignin is a strengthening material usually located between the cellulose microfibrils. The lignin molecule has a complex structure that is probably always is variable (3). Using the example above, the carbon content is calculated to be 40% of the molecular mass.

To summarise the above, one tonne of harvested stem contains:

0.7 tonnes of cellulose (45% Carbon)
0.22 tonnes of hemicellulose (48% Carbon)
0.06 tonnes of lignin (40% Carbon)

It follows that every tonne of industrial hemp stems contains 0.445 tonnes Carbon absorbed from the atmosphere (44.46% of stem dry weight).

Converting Carbon to CO2 (12T of C equals 44T of CO2(IPCC)), that represents 1.63 tonnes of CO2 absorption per tonne of UK Hemp stem harvested. On a land use basis, using Hemcore’s yield averages (5.5 to 8 T/ha), this represents 8.9 to 13.4 tonnes of CO2 absorption per hectare of UK Hemp Cultivation.

For the purposes estimation, we use an average figure of 10T/ha of CO2 absorption, a figure we hold to be a reasonably conservative estimate. This is used to predict carbon yields, but CO2 offsets will be based on dry weight yields as measured at the weighbridge.

The roots and leaf mulch (not including the hard to measure fibrous root material) left in situ represented approximately 20% of the mass of the harvested material in HGS’ initial field trials. The resulting Carbon content absorbed but remaining in the soil, will therefore be approximately 0.084 tonnes per tonne of harvested material. (42% w/w) (5).

Using Hemcore’s UK yield estimates (5.5 – 8 T/ha) this represents 0.46 to 0.67 tonnes of Carbon per hectare (UK) absorbed but left in situ after Hemp cultivation.

That represents 1.67 to 2.46 T/ha of CO2 absorbed but left in situ per hectare of UK Hemp Cultivation.

Final figures after allowing 16% moisture (Atmospheric ‘dry’ weight) are as follows:

CO2 Absorbed per tonne of hemp stem 1.37t
CO2 Absorbed per hectare (stem) (UK) 7.47 to 11.25t
CO2 Absorbed per hectare (root and leaf) UK) 1.40 to 2.06t

Hemp ‘Self Offsetting.’

According to Defra, UK Farming emits a total CO2 equivalent of 57 millions tonnes in GHG’s. UK agricultural land use is 18.5 million hectares. This amounts to an average of around 3.1 tonnes of CO2 per hectare total embodied emissions. As a low fertiliser and zero pesticide/herbicide crop, with little management input, the carbon emissions of hemp cultivation is well below the average. Therefore we can assume the matter remaining in soils roughly offsets the cultivation and management emissions.

References

1. Hon, D.N.S. (1996) A new dimensional creativity in lignocellulosic chemistry. Chemical modification of lignocellulosic materials. Marcel Dekker. Inc. New York.(5)

2. Puls,J., J. Schuseil (1993). Chemistry of hemicelluloses: Relationship between hemicellulose structure and enzymes required for hydrolysis. In: Coughlan M.P., Hazlewood G.P. editors. Hemicellulose and Hemicellulases. Portland Press Research Monograph, 1993. (5)

3. Bjerre, A.B., A.S. Schmidt (1997). Development of chemical and biological processes for production of bioethanol: Optimization of the wet oxidation process and characterization of products, Riso-R-967(EN), Riso National Laboratory, Roskilde, Denmark. (5)

4. Anne Belinda Thomsen, Soren Rasmussen, Vibeke Bohn, Kristina Vad Nielsen and Anders Thygese (2005) Hemp raw materials: The effect of cultivar, growth conditions and pretreatment on the chemical composition of the fibres. Riso National Laboratory Roskilde
Denmark
March 2005. ISBN 87-550-3419-5.

5. Roger M Gifford (2000) Carbon Content of Woody Roots, Technical Report N.7, Australian Greenhouse Office.

These figures do not include the additional carbon dioxide that is saved by substituting unsustainable raw materials, to end products derived from harvested hemp that effectively locks in CO2. Such products include, building materials, plastics, cosmetics, composite boards and insulation materials. According to Limetechnology Ltd, Hemcrete locks up around 110kg of CO2 per m3 of wall, compared to the 200kg of CO2 emitted by standard concrete. It also excludes the carbon savings of replacing tree-derived products and leaving trees to continue to absorb CO2

Accurate Validation

Biomass is produced by the photosynthetic conversion of atmospheric carbon. The carbon uptake of hemp can be accurately validated annually by calculations derived from dry weight yield. This yield is checked at the weighbridge for commercial reasons prior to processing.

Highly accurate figures for total biomass yield and carbon uptake can then be made, giving a level of certainty not available through any other natural carbon absorption process.

Sources: http://mrgreenbiz.wordpress.com/2009/09/28/hemp-co2-the-science/
http://www.hempglobalsolutions.com/science2.php

September 27, 2009 – Society may be moving away from paper dependency, but we’re not there yet. Forty-two per cent of the world’s industrial wood harvest goes to the production of paper, and 87 per cent of that paper is used by industrialized western nations like the United States and Canada. And despite its pristine appearance, paper is anything but clean.

The process industrial paper makers use to turn wood pulp into paper has been shown to result in a number of harmful chemical by-products such as carbon monoxide, ammonia, nitrogen oxide, mercury, nitrates, methanol, benzene, chloroform, and dioxins. Despite its negative side effects wood paper is the only game in town these days, but it wasn’t always that way.

Back in the day hemp paper was a popular and widely used alternative to wood paper. Many of the founding documents of the United States are printed on hemp: two drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Hemp paper doesn’t require bleaching, lasts longer and is more durable than its wood-based brother. So why didn’t it catch on?

Declaration of Independence
declaration_of-independence

At first the reason was a practical one. When the Industrial Revolution took the Western world by storm, people built machines to make larger amounts of paper faster, to meet with the growing demand brought on by the spread of literacy. Hemp, however, proved too much for the first machines. Its fibers were too tough. And so wood pulp based paper became the golden standard.
People didn’t give up on hemp, though. In the early 1920s and ‘30s mechanization was getting more sophisticated and industrial hemp paper production looked like a viable option. Hemp, being a highly renewable resource and relatively easy to grow, had the potential to revolutionize the paper industry (among others). Deforestation could be slowed and many of the harmful chemicals used in the making of paper could be done away with.

But by this time there was a whole industry based around the use and production of wood pulp paper. People had become rich off wood and they wanted to keep the money coming, people like William Randolph Hearst.

Hearst owned a large number of newspapers in the United States. He also owned large tracts of forest and paper mills. Using his newspapers Hearst launched a massive smear campaign against hemp. He published any number of articles with headlines like, “Marihuana Makes Fiends of Boys in 30 Days,” and “Hasheesh Goads Users to Blood Lust.” His articles actually popularized the term Marihuana. Many of the articles published in Hearst’s papers would later be used as evidence against hemp in the mid-1930s when the U.S. government held hearings to consider whether the plant and its relatives should become controlled substances.

In 1937 after various hearings on numerous levels of government, the U.S. adopted the Marihuana Act. This act didn’t criminalize the possession or cultivation of hemp, but it might as well have. A tax was levied on anyone who dealt commercially with hemp (by this time Hearst’s campaign had proved so successful that cannabis and hemp were considered practically the same thing) and strict rules surrounded its production.

Farmers were required to pay $1 a year to register as growers but could be subject to a fine of $2000 or five years in prison if they inadvertently violated the conditions of the Act—for instance should any plant in their crop test above the allowed level of THC (the average income at the time was about $500 a year). Those who chose to pay the tax were required to register their names and place of business with the tax collector who was then obliged to give out that information to anyone who wanted it provided they paid the fee ($1 for every 100 names). Those who wanted to import hemp were charged $1 per ounce of hemp they wished to buy, and were charged a fine of $100 per ounce if found in possession without paying the tax.

As a result most farmers were either too poor or too afraid of the consequences to attempt commercial hemp production and the cost of trying to import hemp into the eager U.S. market became prohibitively high. The technology that would have allowed the large-scale production of hemp paper withered for lack of opportunity, wood pulp kept its monopoly on the paper industry and Hearst continued to make money. The laws that Hearst encouraged with his media blitz are still in place today in the U.S., though in a slightly different form. Source.

September 27, 2009 – Big pharma can’t allow cancer or any other disease to be cured because they will lose their business of drugs, pills and all the illness causing products they make and distribute to the dis-eased. Curing cancer has no benefit to them whatsoever even though the cure has been made and known for decades. Medicinal herbs, Hemp Oil and other forms of plants are known to be beneficial in eliminating cancer. Watch the video:

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