Cannitrol – Cannabis Control Agent

Marijuana news from around the world


Marijuana businesses in compliance with Colorado law could face federal charges under new enforcement strategy

The new approach could lead to federal charges being brought against marijuana businesses that are in full compliance with Colorado law and not selling pot on the black market, U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer acknowledged in an interview with The Denver Post this week.

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Archaeologists Uncover the Cannabis Shaman of Silk Road-Era China

It turns out the Silk Road was a haven for cannabis culture far earlier than we thought — about 2,500 years prior, according to a recent discovery in China. The scholarly journal Economic Botany reported that archaeologists on a dig in Turpan’s Jiayi cemetery discovered a burial site between 2,500 and 2,800 years old with […] Thanks to

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Love is A Complicated Matter

love is complicated

Last week ran a story about President Obama and his roller coaster relationship with cannabis in an article titled “Can Hemp Repair Fractured Relationship Between Obama and Marijuana?”.  In it we detailed a classic American love story that is currently fractured and in pieces.  The president’s re-election campaign was selling scarves made of hemp, so we started to wonder if this was the first step to the president and marijuana getting on speaking terms again.

Similar to most all romantic problems, the issue can get very complex.  Normally does not get into the “she said/he said” but we cannot resist here.  Last week the move appeared to be an attempt to mend the fences but we have found out a new twist.  Critics were upset with President Obama because the hemp used for the scarves has to be imported from China.  Americans are still not allowed to grow industrial hemp despite all of its known uses and quality.  The president has the ability to push to legalize hemp, instead, he choose to keep it in the dark.  This move hurts desperate American farmers who could benefit tremendously from a newly legal hemp market.

The president and other elected officials often say “what kind of message does this send to our children” when describing hemp, medical marijuana, or cannabis legalization.  However we must ask what kind of message does it send to our children that a benign wonder fiber that could jump start the economy has been criminalized?  Even further what kind of message do we send when we say it is ok for China to produce and export hemp to us, but it is not appropriate for the United States to create their own hemp.  What kind of message does it send to ignore our rich hemp history, (which includes an order by none other than General George Washington to grow hemp fiber for the Revolutionary War) especially in Kentucky.  It always seems that the American government looks to other nations when they need their dirty work done.

The White House had to or should have been well aware of the critical reaction to this story.  How could they think they would get away with acknowledging hemp’s usefulness and diverting the profits toward a re-election campaign but keeping it illegal on U.S. soil?  The only theory we have is that the president was trying to antagonize his former love marijuana.  Instead of granting her legal status he decided to take her cousin out on a date.  Being a gentleman is not a prerequisite for the United States presidency, but the leader of the free world should know better.

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Moving to Legalize Domestic Hemp

GW sow hemp

As the movement for the legalization of marijuana marches on people often forget about the Mary’s sister plant, industrial Hemp.  Both plants are members of the cannabis genus and both are illegal to grow or possess under Federal law.  They are two genetically distinct species with different properties.  Marijuana contains as much as 27% THC in its buds, leaves and trichomes.  Whereas hemp generally contains 0.3% or less THC (although some places do allow for it to contain 1% and remain classified as industrial hemp).  Furthermore the two plants are unsuited to be used interchangeably.  Marijuana is unsuited for industrial purposes such as paper, clothing and building goods due to the nature of growth of the plant fibers.  Similarly, industrial hemp will not get have the effects of smoked marijuana. It is very similar to the way that poppy seeds can make a person test positive for opium, but would produce get them “doped up”.

Since 1937 it has been illegal to cultivate both marijuana and hemp plants, aside from a special dispensation in WW2 (see “Hemp for Victory“).  Today many states have passed laws allowing for compassionate use of medical marijuana, but it is still illegal to domestically grow and distribute industrial hemp products.  This continues despite growing demands for hempen clothing, building supplies, fossil fuel substitutes, and food products.  However, it is legally allowed to import foreign hemp products.  To meet this demand, American companies must purchase goods from Canada, China and a few European countries.  This is a farce.  America (from the time of the colonies) was built on money provided by Hemp cash crops.  At this time we are relegated to sending hard-earned American dollars overseas (OK, Canada is not overseas) to buy raw seed and fiber and end-products that could easily be made here, at an economic benefit for Americans.  This market has nowhere to go except upward, especially as more Americans become aware of the many benefits (nutritional, agricultural, industrial, economical) presented by Hemp.

Currently, eighteen states have recent laws (within the last 20 years), bills, or amendments on the books or pending legislation seeking to allow for domestic cultivation of Industrial Hemp.  Many of those states have only first stage laws that require studies by state boards looking into economic and agricultural benefits.  Many of these studies are underway, but none have been completed.  Part of this is due to the political insecurity that arises from dabbling in marijuana laws.  Although attitudes have shifted greatly in the last several years, many politicians are still wary of endorsing anything marijuana-related.  Regardless of those studies, every bill has language reflecting the worries about Federal prosecution.  The caveats in the bills all mention that Federal statutes must either be overturned, rewritten, or researchers and farmers will require permits or dispensations from the DEA, DOJ or even IRS in order to grow hemp crops and be in compliance of state and federal laws.

The most recent states to challenge this Federal ban include Kentucky, Vermont, North Dakota, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Montana.  Members of Congress have also sought to change the laws.  In 2007, 2009, and 2011 they have introduced “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act” so that low potency cannabis crops would be exempted from the Federal ban.  The current measure, House Bill 1831 has numerous co-sponsors but has not received a Congressional hearing.  If passed, states would have the power to approve and regulate hemp cultivation and trade.  Last year, Hemp imports were valued at over four hundred million dollars.  This number is expected to increase this year and more in the future.  Hemp production could soon be valued at over $1 billion.  Taxed revenues from this business would do well to help offset American debt and trade deficits, if it was a domestic product.  Not only is this an incredibly useful plant, it is hardy and grows in poor soils that are unsuited for other crash crops.  Additionally, rotating hemp through poor soils helps to lock nutrients back into the earth so that other crops can grow better.  It also is a prime source for photosynthesis and carbon sequestration, helping to mitigate the problems posed by increased amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse chemicals present in the atmosphere.

As more information comes to light about hemp it seems that the cultivation of this plant is a win-win situation for the environment, the economy, and the people of our country.  Unfortunately, the same special interests (tobacco lobby, Big Pharma, Alcohol, fossil fuels) who secured the ban over seventy years ago still have enormous political clout.  Combined with the inordinate amount of false information and prejudice against the cannabis plant, those in favor of legalization face a stiff uphill battle.  More than ever it is incumbent upon us, we the people, to take an active role in our nation’s future and declare that this plant should not be denied to us.

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Anti-Marijuana Propaganda from the Mid-20th Century

marijuana propaganda

For over 70 years Marijuana has been illegal in the United States.  In that time, the powers-that-be have used many forms of propaganda to maintain their control over people’s fear of cannabis in order to prevent the reforms happening today.  Initially, the fear and hatred of marijuana was stirred up by Henry J. Anslinger and his cunning use of racism and bigotry.  Anslinger and William Randolph Hearst (Hearst publishing) preyed upon the feelings of the white majority and ideas of miscegenation (white women + not-white men).  They also made sure people feared a minority uprising, led by unstoppable drugged-out berserker pot-heads.  To this day there are still people who fear this, and push for continuing anti-marijuana legislation.  However, one fear cannot be stoked continuously for 70 years.  As time went by new fears were co-opted and put to use for the war on drugs.

Cannabis and hemp were made illegal in the 1930’s, but hemp was then re-allowed in World War 2 because of its industrial use.  After the war ended the ban was reinstated and something else was needed to enforce it.  Enter the threat to National Security.  That’s right, after the Nazis were defeated and ideas of Superior Races were less popular the country needed something else to unify it.  America had a new enemy… Communism!  After the war, Anslinger continued to consolidate power into the government apparatus that would eventually become the DEA.  With Senator Hale Boggs as his partner, President Harry Truman was convinced that drugs were being utilized by Communist China to subvert Americans and undermine our democracy.  In 1951 Truman signed the Boggs Act which imposed strict penalties for violating the import/export laws pertaining to drugs. Part of these penalties were tough mandatory minimum prison sentences.  In 1961, Anslinger had JFK used the US influence at the UN to push for an anti-drug convention that eventually saw over 100 countries agree to make marijuana illegal.  It would not be the last time that national security would be used as a scapegoat for anti-drug sentiment.  All of this helped build the reaction to the counterculture of the 1960’s and 70’s.

In the 1980’s and 90’s, most anti-drug PSA’s (Public Service Announcement) were focused on the negative effects of drugs on the mind, body and social ties.  Anybody remember the “This is your brain on drugs” video with the smashed egg?  Well, after the terror attacks of September 11, that type of ad moved to the back burner in favor of a terror and drugs cocktail.  Many drugs are produced and exported by terror-supporting organizations (not going to debate that here) but once again cannabis was also targeted in these ads.  So the teenager buying a bag from his dealer (which was probably grown domestically, in some backwood) is now helping Al-Qaeda to blow up airplanes and shoot marines.  One particular PSA shows two men debating the truth of this.  The skeptic says he doesn’t believe it, and the other guy says “It’s true,” repeatedly until the other man is convinced. There’s no evidence offered, or even a counterargument. He maintains his position and eventually the other guy is converted.  As a 30-second tv spot makes a strong emotional impression, which is the crux of most propaganda.  Facts are distorted in order to evoke an emotional response, which has been proven to create a stronger impression than just a factual argument… so far.

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Attempts to Stop Online Piracy could Lead to more being Stolen from the People


For many of us, the internet is a tool we use daily and most of us may take it for granted.  Whether we are looking for deals on Craigslist or starting a Wikipedia search that may take us far down roads we never anticipated, the internet as currently constructed offers us so much.  Yesterday some users were shocked to be locked out of popular sites such as Reddit, Wordpress, Craigslist, and Wikipedia. While operational, even Google had noticeable changes to their homepage.  This was all in response to the potential Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

According to these sites, the blackout was a sample of the negative effects the far reaching SOPA legislation could have.  Many feel the internet would become much more restrictive and unable to operate in the way it does currently.  The Stop Online Piracy Act, House Bill 3261, was introduced by Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX).  If SOPA is approved it would grant the U.S. government the right to seek court orders against websites who are accused of facilitating copyright infringement.  Search engines and ISPs would be required to block access to such sites.  There are also many other restrictions that alter the current landscape of our leading source of information.  The main proponents of the bill feel that online piracy needs to be punished, however, major lobbyists from the music and movie industries have donated hundreds of thousands to Lamar Smith’s campaign which has angered many critics.

Those who sponsored the bill do not seem to grasp the far reaching implications this legislation could have.  In a recent article, writer Ben Sherman explains ironically that on Rep. Smith’s website, he used pictures that he never asked permission for.  This would be a violation under SOPA rules.  As is the case with medical marijuana, politicians are in the dark about issues regarding the intricacies of the emerging global economy .  The country needs jobs with web businesses and medical marijuana representing growing fields.  Instead of a common sense approach, politicians have tried to pounce on a bullet point, displaying a total lack of perspective.  Another parallel to marijuana has to do with censorship.  Unfortunately, advocates for marijuana reform have experienced the frustrating battle over censorship for decades.  This is why any legislation limiting information can be dangerous and should be a concern to everyone.

While SOPA may not restrict information quite as much as other countries, the comparisons would not be flattering for most Americans.  China is well known for strict monitoring on what its citizens can access.  Similar actions are seen in political revolts.  Libya caught the attention of the world when it basically shut off its internet and did not allow residents to communicate with the outside world.  Fortunately, the bill has been met with huge public opposition.  Several of the bills co-sponsors have abandoned the legislation and the White House has come out against the bill as currently constructed.  A new bill will likely be created but those in public office are surely to have taken note of the strong reaction by the American people.  One day without Craigslist and Wikipedia was an inconvenience, imagine all of our favorite sites down forever?

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