Thursday, April 24, 2014

In Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide: How Christianity Came to Armenia, Myth vs. Fact, Two Tales from a Priest

I. Introduction

Last year, in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, I shared a story from my father. This year, I would like to share the account of how Christianity came to Armenia as told by a priest.

A few years ago I attended an Armenian dinner function. A number of friends and family were in attendance including two Armenian priests. As usual, the conversations were lively and the food and drinks abundant - merriment and passionately uninhibited exchange of ideas is the norm in these gatherings.

Post dinner, while everyone was taking delight in what appeared to be an endless supply of sweets and bottomless cups of coffee and tea, one of the priests asked a question: “who here knows how and why Armenians adopted Christianity?”

All Armenians, even the atheists, are aware and will proudly share the fact that the Armenian Apostolic Church “is the world's oldest national church”; Armenia being “the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in AD 301.” That Etchmiadzin is considered to be “the oldest cathedral in the world”, and that the Armenian Christian order is unique on the religious landscape and has thus been granted stewardship of a quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. Every single adult Armenian in the world knows these facts and if probed will gladly share them with inquisitive minds.

As for how Christianity came to Armenia? Below you will find a synopsis of what the priest told us. Please note, since this conversation took place a few years ago the details have become blurry so I’ll make this short and refrain from sharing too many specifics. If you like your historical facts and fiction cited, the following three sources should be referenced - one, two, three.

II. The Myth

The myth of how Armenia adopted Christianity varies depending on the source. The commonality is that they are all brutal and romantic, just like most biblical stories; full of names, dates, royalty, holy men, miraculous cures, visions, love, death, sacrifice, martyrdom, and virgins. It is with the virgins that this tale begins.

The virgins in this story come from Rome. Escaping persecution and on the mission to convert and share in the love of Christ, 37 virgins begin a long and arduous journey eastward from the heartland of the Roman Empire. While travelling through hostile territory, they are able to spread Christianity to the willing. They are, as well, through divine miracle, able to keep their virtue intact, a feat unheard of for that period.

They make their way into the Kingdom of Armenia and find themselves courted by King Tiridates III. Tiridates, amazed that the nuns were able to keep their purity through their travels, and enchanted by the beauty of one of their members, Rhipsime, brings them to the palace and demands to marry the beautiful virgin. She refuses.

The king, blinded by rage, has all the nuns tortured and killed. Once he realizes what he has done, he descends into madness.

After a certain period in despair, it is Gregory the Illuminator who heals the king which results in Tiridates accepting Christianity.
“In 301 Gregory baptized Tiridates III along with members of the royal court and upper class as Christians. Tiridates III issued a decree by which he granted Gregory full rights to begin carrying out the conversion of the entire nation to the Christian faith. The same year Armenia became the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion.”
Baptism of Tiridates III - source

III. The Fact

The above is the myth of how Armenia adopted Christianity. Below you will find a different adaptation as told by the priest, what is considered to be the true story by the Armenian seminary.

There are no virgins in this story. No holy men, madness, or miraculous cures, only politics.

The story begins in Rome, during the Diocletianic Persecution, in the arena, where Christian are being fed to the lions.

King Tiridates III of Armenia having heard of what takes place at these events has decided to witness the slaughter firsthand.

He watches with amazement as Christians are brought to the center of the arena and when given the choice to renounce their religion and live, they all refuse the offer, which results in their slaughter. He watches as Christian men, women, and children are “mauled and torn apart by wild beasts or forced to fight gladiators who [kill] them for a public spectacle.”

Tiridates does some research into these fanatics who call themselves Christians. He is impressed with what he finds; the simplicity of their belief, and how they are willing to forfeit their lives for this one god.

Tiridates knows that his reign will not last forever and that his kingdom will not endure; his people are fragmented. They are pagans, and they worship countless gods that are no different than those of their neighboring kingdoms. This means that slowly over time Armenia will be consumed and will merge with its neighbors, no longer retaining its uniqueness or remembering its history, and his name will eventually be forgotten.

Tiridates realizes that if whole families are willing to be crucified, eaten alive by lions, and slaughtered by gladiators for their beliefs, then this Christianity has the power to unite his people, ensuring the survival of Armenia.

He returns to his kingdom and proclaims Christianity the official state religion and orders all pagan monuments destroyed.

This is how Armenia became Christian, and it suffered greatly for its choice. It was invaded, occupied, made to be the scapegoat for unrest across the region, and had genocide visited upon its people, but it endured, which is what the primary goal of the Armenian Church has been, to function, as Tiridates had intended, as a cultural center and a unifying force.

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1883) – click to enlarge - source

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy 420!

It’s that time of year again, to commemorate one of the greatest bounties of nature. In preparation for this year’s celebrations I spent a little time updating “Happy 420! (Almost everything you wanted to know about Cannabis)”. Below you will find the full page.

Happy 420 everyone. Here's to our ranks growing and the madness of America’s War on Drugs ending.

I. Introduction

April is indeed one of the most exciting months of the year. On April 19 we have the pleasure of celebrating Bicycle Day, and on April 20 we follow it up with 420.

April 20 has been designated as global cannabis appreciation day. It is a day to let the world know that this beautiful plant genus is part of our society and one of the most important bounties of nature. As our civilization expands and evolves, it has become essential for us to recognize and celebrate this day and share the wealth and knowledge that comes from harvesting and consuming what we have so generously been provided.

Cannabis Sativa 'Blueberry' - Source

As for how this day came to be chosen as an official holiday for the 420 community, in the following 2002 interview, Steven Hager, at the time the editor-in-chief of High Times magazine, explains its origins.
The earliest use of the term began among a group of teenagers in San Rafael, California in 1971, calling themselves the Waldos, because ‘their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school’. The group first used the term in connection to a fall 1971 plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about. The Waldos designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4:20 p.m. as their meeting time. The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase ‘4:20 Louis’. Multiple failed attempts to find the crop eventually shortened their phrase to simply ‘4:20’, which ultimately evolved into a codeword that the teens used to mean pot-smoking in general.”

420 Revealed -- A Day of Peace

Many changes have taken place on the global landscape since that interview, one of the most significant of which occurred on 6 November 2012. During the last United States presidential elections Washington State and Colorado join the fray by legalizing the recreational use of cannabis.
“’It’s very monumental,’ said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a Washington-based group that advocates legalization. ‘No state has ever done this. Technically, marijuana isn’t even legal in Amsterdam.’”

After Historic Votes Legalizing Marijuana, Colorado & Washington Prepare for Federal Gov’t Showdown

So why did the residents of Washington and Colorado disregard the warning from the former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration that “once these states actually try to implement these laws, we will see an effort by the feds to shut it down”? The odds are that they realized that the war on drugs is complete madness. It’s a war that has gone through multiple mutations and over the last few decades grown into the monstrosity that it is today. A one sided war declared by nations on their citizens. A war sustained entirely due to fear, greed, and ignorance.

The Chain of Destruction (Holocaust in Slow Motion)

Further information at: The Five Stages of Destruction as it Relates to America’s War on Drugs: “The House I Live In”

But the tides are turning and the times are changing. What we know for sure is that we’re moving in the right direction and our transformation is reverberating around the globe, to the dismay of some and the jubilation of others.
Uruguay becomes first country to legalize marijuana trade - “A government-sponsored bill approved by 16-13 votes in the Senate provides for regulation of the cultivation, distribution and consumption of marijuana and is aimed at wresting the business from criminals in the small South American nation….

“Cannabis consumers will be able to buy a maximum of 40 grams (1.4 ounces) each month from licensed pharmacies as long as they are Uruguayan residents over the age of 18 and registered on a government database that will monitor their monthly purchases.

“When the law is implemented in 120 days, Uruguayans will be able to grow six marijuana plants in their homes a year, or as much as 480 grams (about 17 ounces), and form smoking clubs of 15 to 45 members that can grow up to 99 plants per year.”

Uruguay's Legal Cannabis Trade (New Documentary)

Below you will find the most recent global map available from wikipedia on the legality of cannabis. Please pay special attention to the dark blue areas, especially in the United States and Uruguay, the 420 celebrations are bound to be quite festive in those regions, not to mention contagious.

click to enlarge - Source: “Legality of cannabis by country”

So while dinosaurs like Canada’s Stephen Harper spew garbage trying to justify their stance on prohibition by getting lost in their own circular argument, some of the greatest thinkers of our time are pointing out the obvious, that the war on drugs is a War on Consciousness:
“I stand here invoking the hard-won right of freedom of speech to call for and demand another right to be recognised and that is the right of adult sovereignty over consciousness. There’s a war on consciousness in our society, and if we as adults are not allowed to make sovereign decisions about what to experience with our own consciousness while doing no harm to others, including the decision to use responsibly ancient and sacred visionary plants, then we cannot claim to be free in any way and it’s useless for our society to go around the world imposing our form of democracy on others while we nourish this rot at the heart of society and we do not allow individual freedom over consciousness.” - Graham Hancock, 12 January 2013, TEDx conference in Whitechapel, London

The War on Consciousness - Graham Hancock

The liberation of information that has come about thanks to the advent of the internet is reshaping our world, and one of the long-standing dogmas being challenged is the validity of prohibition.

Judge Jim Gray on The Six Groups Who Benefit From Drug Prohibition

further information at: The Dominoes Are Falling, the Tides Are Turning, the War on Drugs Is Ending, but Prohibitionists Just Won’t Give up the Ghost: How to End Prohibition

One of the most astonishing aspects of the war on drugs, specifically in relation to cannabis, is that even though the federal government has classified it as a ‘Schedule I’ substance, which means that according to the federal government the cannabis plant “has no currently accepted medical use”, in the United States there are at present 5 people who have a federal medical marijuana license.

Cannabis Medicine - Patient 0: Robert Randall - Patient 1: Irvin Rosenfeld

Rather than respond to public and political demands for marijuana's medical availability, federal drug agencies are instead promoting bureaucratically sanctioned alternatives which are synthetic, expensive and often ineffective. It is ironic that after decades of pretending marijuana is medically useless, federal drug agencies are now aggressively pushing synthetic Marinol, the so-called ‘pot pill,’ by arguing it is as safe and effective as marijuana.”

Marijuana vs Marinol

So while our centralized corporate governments enforce their archaic agendas by desperately waging war on this plant, we should keep in mind that there are countless benefits associated with ending prohibition. Benefits that we have utilized for much of human history by developing a symbiotic relationship with trees (also known as cannabis, ganja, marijuana, weed, pot, herb, grass, Mary Jane, reefer, skunk, kif, Maui wowie, the chronic, and bud).

Taylor French on Medical Cannabis for Parkinson's Disease

THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, is concentrated in the flower - the sex organ - of the cannabis plant and I cannot envision a better way to spend a day than enjoying some BC Bud. So yours truly will be taking the day off while enjoying this exquisite bounty of nature.

Below I have compiled some information on cannabis for those who wish to join in these festivities, as well as for those who wish to learn more about this plant. Consider it just a small list of some of the reasons why we should end prohibition.

While reviewing this information, the most important thing to keep in mind is that those who consume cannabis are not criminals. They are our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, our grandparents and our children, and many have been sacrificed to further the agenda of certain individuals and organizations who feed off the profits from the criminalization of this plant.

Happy 420 everyone.



II. History

Historical Timeline: History of Marijuana as Medicine - 2900 BC to Present -, a “501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity” whose “purpose is to provide resources for critical thinking and to educate without bias”, provides a historical timeline of cannabis as medicine from 2900 BC to the present.

Timeline: Erowid has published a timeline documenting the historical use of Marijuana starting from 6000 B.C. where Cannabis seeds were used in China for food, concluding with the details of the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in 2011.

Interview: 420 Revealed: A Day of Peace (7:52) - “HIGH TIMES Editor-in-Chief Steven Hager visits ABC News to explain the origin and significance of 420 in this 2002 interview. Noting incidents of violence surrounding a day of peace -- a trend sadly continued by the Virginia Tech shootings -- Hager calls for the date to also be used for an exploration into the cause of such tragedies.”

History: A Brief Summary of America’s War on Drugs - In this piece I provide a brief summary of where we stand regarding America’s War on Drugs, starting in 1973 when Oregon became the first state to modify its law and decriminalize marijuana use all the way up to where we stand with Washington State and Colorado legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. Some astonishing statistics are provided regarding the justice and prison systems in the United States as well as some advice on how we can help end prohibition.

Lecture: Cannabis Forgetting and the Botany of Desire: Michael Pollan - “Contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and the author of The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World, Michael Pollan delivers this Avenali Lecture on the stories of four familiar plant species: the apple, the tulip, the potato, and cannabis.”

Lecture: Book Discussion The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973 - “Kathleen Frydl talked about her book, The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973, in which she argues that contrary to common perception, the war on drugs did not begin with President Nixon’s pronouncement in 1971, but was rather a further development of preexisting initiatives. She spoke at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C.”

III. Health and Medical News

News: New analysis finds hempseed oil packed with health-promoting compounds - “Long stigmatized because of its ‘high’-inducing cousins, hemp — derived from low-hallucinogenic varieties of cannabis — is making a comeback, not just as a source of fiber for textiles, but also as a crop packed with oils that have potential health benefits. A new study, which appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, details just how many healthful compounds hempseed oil contains.”

Research: Study conducted in the Czech Republic entitled “Survey on Cannabis Use in Parkinson’s Disease: Subjective Improvement of Motor Symptoms” (pdf) - “An anonymous questionnaire sent to all patients attending the Prague Movement Disorder Centre revealed that 25% of 339 respondents had taken cannabis and 45.9% of these described some form of benefit….

“We realized that after this public information, some of our patients spontaneously started to take cannabis to alleviate their PD symptoms. The aim of this study therefore is to evaluate their possible experience with cannabis….

“Due to the illegal status of cannabis in the Czech Republic, it was impossible to run a proper clinical trial and we had to use an anonymous retrospective questionnaire-based study; we are well aware of its limitations. Questionnaires are used quite commonly in clinical research because they enable obtaining data from a large group of patients; however, results from this type of study cannot be conclusive and should rather serve as a baseline for future research.”

Taylor French on Medical Cannabis for Parkinson's Disease

News: Marijuana stops child's severe seizures - “She was having 300 grand mal seizures a week. Her heart had stopped a number of times. When it happened at home, Paige did cardiopulmonary resuscitation until an ambulance arrived. When it happened in the hospital, where they'd already signed a do-not-resuscitate order, they said their goodbyes. Doctors had even suggested putting Charlotte in a medically induced coma to give her small, battered body a rest….

“Charlotte gets a dose of the cannabis oil twice a day in her food. Gedde found three to four milligrams of oil per pound of the girl's body weight stopped the seizures. Today, Charlotte, 6, is thriving. Her seizures only happen two to three times per month, almost solely in her sleep. Not only is she walking, she can ride her bicycle. She feeds herself and is talking more and more each day.”

Medical News: Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows - “The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies.”

Suppression: U.S. Government Repressed Marijuana-Tumor Research - “A Spanish medical team’s study released in Madrid in February 2000 has shown that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana, destroys tumors in lab rats. These findings, however, are not news to the U.S. government. A study in Virginia in 1974 yielded similar results but was suppressed by the DEA, and in 1983 the Reagan/Bush administration tried to persuade U.S. universities and researchers to destroy all cannabis research work done between 1966 and 1976, including compendiums in libraries.”

Documentary: Medical Cannabis - Then & Now - “A SHORT FILM ABOUT THE PROHIBITION OF NATURE & THE NATURE OF PROHIBITION. Cannabis is one of the oldest and safest medicines in human history. The oldest historical medical text, by Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, lists it as one the most important of the botanical remedies. It has been utilized since prehistory until the 19th century without a single recorded death resulting from its use - compared to legal pharmaceutical drugs which kill 200,000 people a year... This film is in support of Peter Davy, a Timaru cancer patient currently facing a prison sentence for growing medicinal cannabis to treat his illness. He will be sentenced on 4/20 this year (2011). Starring Professor David Nutt, Dr Geoff Noller, Dakta Green and a cross section of medical users.”

Medical News: Federal Government Reports Marijuana Effective in Combatting Certain Cancers Reports ADSI - “In a recent report, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the Federal government's National Institutes of Health (NIH), stated that marijuana ‘inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer cell lines.’ The same report showed marijuana slows or stops the growth of certain lung cancer cells and suggested that marijuana may provide "risk reduction and treatment of colorectal cancer. Referring to the NCI report, Patient Rights attorney Matthew Pappas said, ‘The Federal government's continuing attack on people prescribed medical cannabis by their doctors is hypocritical considering the benefits reported by its own National Cancer Institute.’”

Medical News: Cannabis sativa hemp, the miracle plant, contains the cure for cancer and other ailments - “My name is Rick Simpson. I have been providing people with Hemp Oil medicines, at no cost, for about three years. The results have been nothing short of amazing. Throughout man's history hemp has always been known as the most medicinal plant in the world. Even with this knowledge, hemp has always been used as a political and religious football. I want this knowledge out there for everyone to learn! Watch the documentary Run From The Cure to understand more about using cannabis as a cure for cancer and other medical problems!”

Medical News: New Studies Destroy the Last Objection to Medical Marijuana - “New research on "vaporization" has demonstrated that all those fears about the ill effects of smoking marijuana are 100 percent obsolete….Unlike smoking, a vaporizer does not burn the plant material, but heats it just to the point at which the THC and the other cannabinoids vaporize…. In a rational world, the government officials objecting to medical marijuana based on the health risks of smoking would greet this research with open arms. They would join with groups like the Marijuana Policy Project in spreading the word about this important, health-enhancing technology.”

Research: The Marijuana Myth: What If Everything You Think You Know About This Plant Is Wrong? - “And that's when I uncovered information that really challenged the stories I'd been told. People were using this ‘weed’ to get off of opiates, alcohol, tobacco, heroin, cocaine and other powerful drugs. Thus, it was gaining traction as ‘an exit drug,’ instead of the ‘gateway drug.’ Seniors were also secretly using it to improve their cognition. Wait...what? How is that possible? Didn't marijuana make you a ‘brain-dead loser’? No, not according to the scientific data I discovered. The opposite was true as researchers found that the plant allowed neurogenesis in the brain -- the growth of new neural pathways, even when the brain had been damaged by age or trauma.”

Lecture: WAMM's Healing Garden, with Valerie Corral - “Co-founder of WAMM (Wo/men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana) in Santa Cruz,CA, Valerie tells of the amazing help that Cannabis brings to the terminally ill, with spiritual benefits from a mindful approach to life and death in hospice. Conference hosted by Patients Out of Time.”

Medical News: Marijuana skin cream could help allergies - “The chemicals that give marijuana its mood-altering kick might also be an option for treating skin allergies, according to a study done in mice.”

Scientific Research: British Journal of Pharmacology: Special Issue: Cannabinoid Receptor 2: CB2 Receptors (January 2008 Volume 153, No 2, Pages 177–401) - “This issue has been edited by Ruth Ross and Ken Mackie and contains 16 review articles and 5 original articles which seek to give further insight into the function and role of the hitherto enigmatic CB2 receptor. The meeting ‘CB2 cannabinoid receptors: New vistas’ was held in Banff, Canada in 2007 and was organized by Keith Sharkey, Ken Mackie, Betty Yao, Marnie Duncan and Ruth Ross. This meeting was designed to bring together scientists studying CB2 receptors from diverse perspectives, including those interested in the chemistry of CB2 ligands, the role of CB2 receptors in normal biological processes, and the involvement of CB2 receptors in pathological processes.” abstract and Commentary (pdf).

News: Former Surgeon General: Mainstream Medicine Has Endorsed Medical Marijuana - “The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second largest physician group in the United States. Its 124,000 members are doctors specializing in internal medicine and related subspecialties, including cardiology, neurology, pulmonary disease, oncology and infectious diseases. The College publishes Annals of Internal Medicine, the most widely cited medical specialty journal in the world. In a landmark position paper released in February, these distinguished physicians are saying what many of us have been arguing for years: Most of our laws have gotten it wrong when it comes to medical marijuana, and it's time for public policy to get in step with science.”

Medical News: Smoked Marijuana Improved ADHD Driver's Performance - “Researchers noted that 'people with ADHD are found to violate traffic regulations, to commit criminal offences and to be involved in traffic accidents more often than the statistical norm' and conclude from their investigation that 'it has to be taken into account that in persons with ADHD THC may have atypical and even performance-enhancing effects.'”

Medical News: Marijuana May Slow Alzheimer's - “THC, the key compound in marijuana, may also be the key to new drugs for Alzheimer's disease. That's because the marijuana compound blocks the formation of brain-clogging Alzheimer's plaques better than current Alzheimer's drugs. The finding -- in test-tube studies -- comes from the lab of Kim Janda, PhD, director of the Worm Institute of Research and Medicine at Scripps Research Institute.”

Medical News: Results from Two Studies of Marijuana and Multiple Sclerosis - “Two recent studies – one conducted in Great Britain and one in Canada – provide new information about the possible effectiveness of marijuana or its derivatives as a treatment for MS symptoms.”

News: Marijuana might cause new cell growth in the brain - “A synthetic chemical similar to the active ingredient in marijuana makes new cells grow in rat brains. What is more, in rats this cell growth appears to be linked with reducing anxiety and depression. The results suggest that marijuana, or its derivatives, could actually be good for the brain.”

Mental Health: POT STIRRING: Some are using marijuana as their drug of choice to curb anxiety - “A hundred years ago, a doctor might have recommended marijuana for my condition—or “nervous inquietude” as the U.S. Dispensatory called it in 1854—and to anyone suffering from menstrual cramps, gout, cholera, or migraines. During the nineteenth century, American pharmaceutical companies freely produced cannabis for ailments. But in 1937, Congress criminalized “marihuana” with a tax act. In 1996, when California passed the first state initiative to decriminalize marijuana for treating illness, certain liberal populations, like the People’s Republic of Berkeley, quickly embraced cannabis as a means to ease nausea and other symptoms associated with AIDS, cancer, and treatments for both. Yet it didn’t get any notice in the area of anxiety and depression.”

Medical News and Politics: Medical Pot Use Not Associated With “Serious” Side Effects, Study Says - “The medical use of cannabis is not associated with serious negative side effects, according to a meta-analysis published this week in the journal of the Canadian Medical Association (CMAJ)… Investigators ‘did not find a higher incidence rate of serious adverse events associated with medical cannabinoid use.’ Responding to the study, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: ‘Cannabinoids possess a safety profile that is unmatched by virtually every other available prescription drug or over-the-counter medication, including aspirin. To think that almost no serious adverse side effects have been associated with drug's medicinal use over a 30-year period is remarkable. What other medications can make such a claim?’”

Health: Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection - “The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer. The new findings ‘were against our expectations,’ said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years… ‘We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,’ he said. ‘What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.’”

Further information on this story at: The Greatest Story Never Told - “…something in marijuana exerts an anti-cancer effect.”

Health: Prenatal Marijuana Exposure and Neonatal Outcomes in Jamaica: An Ethnographic Study - “Measurements and main results. Exposed and nonexposed neonates were compared at 3 days and 1 month old, using the Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale, including supplementary items to capture possible subtle effects. There were no significant differences between exposed and nonexposed neonates on day 3. At 1 month, the exposed neonates showed better physiological stability and required less examiner facilitation to reach organized states. The neonates of heavy-marijuana-using mothers had better scores on autonomic stability, quality of alertness, irritability, and self-regulation and were judged to be more rewarding for caregivers.

Conclusions. The absence of any differences between the exposed on nonexposed groups in the early neonatal period suggest that the better scores of exposed neonates at 1 month are traceable to the cultural positioning and social and economic characteristics of mothers using marijuana that select for the use of marijuana but also promote neonatal development. Pediatrics 1994;93:254-260; prenatal marijuana exposure, neonatal outcomes, Jamaica, Brazelton scale supplementary items.

Medical News and Politics: What Your Government Knows About Cannabis And Cancer -- And Isn't Telling You - “Fortunately, in the past 10 years scientists overseas have generously picked up where U.S. researchers so abruptly left off, reporting that cannabinoids can halt the spread of numerous cancer cells -- including prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and brain cancer. (An excellent paper summarizing much of this research, "Cannabinoids for Cancer Treatment: Progress and Promise," appears in the January 2008 edition of the journal Cancer Research.) A 2006 patient trial published in the British Journal of Cancer even reported that the intracranial administration of THC was associated with reduced tumor cell proliferation in humans with advanced glioblastoma…

“What possible advancements in the treatment of cancer may have been achieved over the past 34 years had U.S. government officials chosen to advance -- rather than suppress -- clinical research into the anti-cancer effects of cannabis? It's a shame we have to speculate; it's even more tragic that the families of Senator Kennedy and thousands of others must suffer while we do.”

IV. Politics and Economics

Statement: Former LA Police Officer Mike Ruppert Confronts CIA Director John Deutch on Drug Trafficking – “On November 15, 1996, there was a town meeting in Los Angeles on allegations of CIA involvement in drug trafficking. Former Los Angeles Police Narcotics Detective Mike Ruppert seized the opportunity to confront then CIA Director John Deutch.”

Interview: Mike Ruppert: Wall Street, CIA and the Global Drug Trade - “Well, in March of '98, it was about four months after I confronted CIA Director John Deutch at Locke High School on world television--he had come to Los Angeles to talk about allegations about CIA dealing drugs. I stood up on CNN and ABC Nightline and I said: ‘I am a former LAPD narcotics detective. I worked South Central and I can tell you, Director Deutch, that the Agency has dealt drugs in this country for a long time.’ And the room exploded, and what I saw at that time was there was a crying lack of knowledge in the body politic about how much evidence there really was about the criminal activities of the Central Intelligence Agency, specifically about dealing drugs. I said: ‘Wait a minute; I can pull out a little newsletter and say, 'If you look at this document, here's the proof for that.'’ Because a lot of people were running around with the vague notion that maybe the CIA were bad guys and had done some things wrong, and they didn't know how much actual proof there was. So that's been the mission: to present the real proof that's irrefutable about what goes on.”

News: “Absurd on every single level”: How the feds may be crippling the legal pot industry - “Because the federal government still classifies pot as a dangerous drug, corner cannabis stores and cultivators cannot secure access to traditional banking services, and do a shocking amount of their business in cash. Banks are reluctant to work with pot-related businesses, out of fear that the government will prosecute them for laundering illegally obtained money. This heightens the potential for crime at pot shops, imposes heavy costs on businesses seeking legitimacy, and could cripple the industry just as it gets started.”

News: High Times launches investment fund for marijuana business - “Executives at High Times, a New York magazine that has covered the marijuana scene for four decades, are launching a new private-equity fund expected to boost a burgeoning American marijuana industry.

“The HT Growth Fund plans to raise $100 million over the next two years to invest in cannabis-related businesses. ‘What we are looking to do is provide capital and credit to companies that are established and have grown and reached their potential as much as they can without access to traditional capital markets,’ said Michael Safir, managing director of the new fund and former business manager of High Times.”

Interview: Retired Police Captain demolishes the War on Drugs - “LEAP co-founder, Peter Christ, appears on WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, NY and takes on all aspects of our disastrous War on Drugs. Captain Christ is vice-chair of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition”

News: Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke - “If you've ever been arrested on a drug charge, if you've ever spent even a day in jail for having a stem of marijuana in your pocket or "drug paraphernalia" in your gym bag, Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal Lanny Breuer has a message for you: Bite me.

“Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who's ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a ‘record’ financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.”

Interview: Mike Levine & Gary Webb - The Big White Lie + Dark Alliance= CIA drug cartel – “Michael Levine joins Montel Williams with Gary Webb to discuss the CIA's active sabotage against the American people, and their unwillingness to cooperate with open investigations.”

Mike Levine & Gary Webb - The Big White Lie + Dark Alliance = CIA drug cartel

Article: Freeway Ricky Ross and the CIA Cocaine Conspiracy - “In the 80s the US government financed a dirty war by bankrolling the Contras against the left-wing Sandanistas of Nicaragua. To help fund their campaign, the CIA allowed rebels to flood American cities with crack cocaine, with the help of street dealers like LA's Freeway Rick. But when news of the conspiracy spread, someone had to take the fall.”

Freeway Ricky Ross talks about his past drug kingpin status

News: BUSTED: Over 70% of All Major US Drug Seizures Are Marijuana Related - “A new study has found that over 70% of recent seizures of illicit drugs in the United States are marijuana related, painting a picture of the American drug landscape and a mis-prioritized, failed, war on drugs. The study, ‘Busted: Analyzing America’s Most Recent Drug Hauls,’ looked at major drug seizures as reported by over 1,500 media outlets in the United States during a 13 month period from March 2012 – April 2013.

“The study found that of the 5,000 most recent drug busts reported in the news, 70.5% involved marijuana — 140% more than all cocaine (13%), heroin (10%) and methamphetamine (6%) busts combined. The study did not look at prescription medication abuse or other designer drugs, only the ‘big four,’ which together account for 69% of the seized drugs analyzed by American forensic labs each year.”

Hypocrisy: U.S. drug czar slams medical marijuana during S.F. event - “Speaking at a gathering of law enforcement officers at the University of San Francisco, Kerlikowske also said that calling cannabis medicine ‘sends a terrible message’ to the nation’s teens. High school students are more likely to smoke marijuana than tobacco due to the growing ‘perception’ that marijuana is less harmful, he said. Kerlikowske had stern words for legalization, which is often painted as a solution to the public health and budget woes caused by drug use. ‘The Obama Administration strongly believes it is a false choice,’ he said, and not ‘ground in science.’ ‘Medicinal marijuana has never been through the FDA process,’ he added. ‘We have the world’s most renowned process to decide what is medicine and what should go in peoples’ bodies. And marijuana has never been through that process.’”

News: Washington State and Colorado Join the Fray: Cannabis Legalized - The big news from 6 November 2012 was not that the lesser of two evils won the US presidential elections, but that “Washington and Colorado voters legalized recreational use of marijuana.” Under the measures, “personal possession of up to an ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana would be legal for anyone at least 21 years of age. They also will permit cannabis to be legally sold and taxed at state-licensed stores in a system modeled after a regime many states have in place for alcohol sales.” In addition, the cultivation of up to six plants for personal use will be legal in Colorado while still remaining illegal in Washington State.

News: UN Drug Czar: States Can't Legalize Marijuana Under International Law - “The president of the UN's International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Raymond Yans, wrote a threatening letter to the U.S. government to challenge marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. Apparently the voters in Colorado and Washington were unaware that they would have to not only fight off the federal government, but global drug czars as well in their effort to exercise their local sovereignty.”

News: Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal - “Health experts in Portugal said Friday that Portugal's decision 10 years ago to decriminalise drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked. ‘There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal,’ said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law. The number of addicts considered ‘problematic’ -- those who repeatedly use ‘hard’ drugs and intravenous users -- had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.”

Interview: Lottery winner puts $1-million toward effort to legalize marijuana - “Bob Erb has been playing the lottery since he was a young pothead in the 1970s, smoking 15 joints a day. Today, Mr. Erb is still crushing 15 joints a day — except now he’s smoking them as a multi-millionaire. The 60-year-old Terrace, B.C., farmer and grandfather won a $25-million jackpot last November and promptly began doling money out to friends, family, charity and hard luck cases. Perhaps the biggest recipient, however, has been a cause very close to his heart: the legalization of marijuana. Mr. Erb has dropped $1-million for the effort, and is probably now the biggest financial backer of 420 Day, the annual pot-fuelled haze of a protest this Saturday. He spoke with the Post’s Sarah Boesveld Thursday about his high life and plans for bringing pot legalization to national attention:”

Interview: National Disgrace - “Harry Levine has often described what reform of marijuana arrest policies should look like in this country: Everyone should be treated like white, upper-middle class people already are (“they don’t get arrested, ticketed, or fined”). The Queens College, CUNY sociology professor has published reports and articles about marijuana arrests in New York City, California, Colorado, Washington, and other states and major cities. His research, compiled with attorney Loren Siegel, has served as a key resource for those urging recognition that pot arrests in the United States are, as Levine tells TNI, racist to the point of national scandal.”

Statistics: Some Astonishing Statistics - According to the FBI, in 2011 49.5% of arrests for drug abuse violations were related to marijuana, 43.3% of those for simple possession. “Police made 757,969 arrests in 2011 for marijuana-related offenses,” a minor decrease from the past 5 years when the total was over 800,000 arrests per year.

The monetary cost of this has been astronomical to the U.S. taxpayer. In 2007 alone, a staggering $74 billion was spent on corrections, $104 billion on policing, and $50 billion on judicial, even though reports indicate that $37 billion would be saved annually with legalization.

click to enlarge - Source

Keep in mind that “the United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population. But it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners”, with "1 in 100 U.S. adults behind bars.” The numbers become even more mindboggling when you consider that “the U.S. correctional population -- those in jail, prison, on probation or on parole -- totaled 7.3 million, or 1 in every 31 adults.

Source: chart, table

News: Pot Prisoners Cost Americans $1 Billion a Year - “The new report is noteworthy because it undermines the common claim from law enforcement officers and bureaucrats, specifically White House drug czar John Walters, that few, if any, Americans are incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. In reality, nearly 1 out of 8 U.S. drug prisoners are locked up for pot. Of course, several hundred thousand more Americans are arrested each year for violating marijuana laws, costing taxpayers another $8 billion dollars annually in criminal justice costs.”

Corruption: Policing for Profit: The Drug War’s Hidden Economic Agenda - “During the 25 years of its existence, the "War on Drugs" has transformed the criminal justice system, to the point where the imperatives of drug law enforcement now drive many of the broader legislative, law enforcement, and corrections policies in counterproductive ways. One significant impetus for this transformation has been the enactment of forfeiture laws which allow law enforcement agencies to keep the lion's share of the drug-related assets they seize. Another has been the federal law enforcement aid program, revised a decade ago to focus on assisting state anti-drug efforts. Collectively these financial incentives have left many law enforcement agencies dependent on drug law enforcement to meet their budgetary requirements, at the expense of alternative goals such as the investigation and prosecution of non-drug crimes, crime prevention strategies, and drug education and treatment. In this article we present a legal and empirical analysis of these laws and their consequences. In so doing, we seek to explain why the drug war continues with such heavy emphasis on law enforcement and incarceration, and show the way to more rational policies.”

News: Researchers say marijuana is less of a drag than cigarettes - “A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine was completed on 5,263 teenage students in Switzerland and is producing some hair raising results. In line with a lot of studies that have been released in 2007 and 2008, this study boldly claims that it has found that marijuana use does not produce the fearful symptoms spread by anti-drug groups. The study seems to make a case that teenagers who use only marijuana, opposed to students who use marijuana and cigarettes are more active in sports, have better grades, are more socially adept and have used less illegal drugs.”

Documentary: The War on Drugs: The Prison Industrial Complex - “The war on drugs has been going on for more than three decades. Today, nearly 500,000 Americans are imprisoned on drug charges. In 1980 the number was 50,000. Last year $40 billion in taxpayer dollars were spent in fighting the war on drugs. As a result of the incarceration obsession, the United States operates the largest prison system on the planet, and the U.S. nonviolent prisoner population is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska. Try to imagine the Drug Enforcement Administration erecting razor wire barricades around two states to control crime and you’ll get the picture.” (Please note that the first few minutes of the following documentary are in Dutch, but the rest is in English).

News: Denver 'Legalizes' Possession of Marijuana, Again - “The measure, which passed with a solid 57% of the vote, reads as follows: 'The Denver Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office shall make the investigation, arrest and prosecution of marijuana offenses, where the marijuana was intended for adult personal use, the City’s lowest law enforcement priority.'”

Video: Police Officer Steals Marijuana (0:55) - “Police Officer bakes brownies then calls 911 and says ‘I think we are dying.’ This shows us how little the law enforcement community actually knows about Marijuana and its effects. By making this call, the officer actually admits to stealing and consuming an illegal substance. Should not he then be charged with possession and theft? Why was he allowed to just resign? Is he above the law? This is Pathetically hilarious if you consider how many people are rotting in jail for lesser crimes.”

Cover-up: Global drug Czar refuses to answer questions regarding the use of Cannabis from an NGO representative

News: In the UK, “cannabis has been reclassified by the government from a Class C to a Class B drug, carrying a higher maximum jail sentence for possession… It's a decision that has been taken for political reasons, to trump the Tories' law and order agenda, rather than for any scientific reason.” This decision was made despite claims that there was no scientific basis for a change. “The experts - including doctors, police, judges and drug counsellors” - had “concluded that cannabis should remain in the Class C category.”

All the experts admit that we should legalise drugs”, which explains why numerous scientists have decided to resign in reaction to the UK government sacking its top drug adviser after he said that “marijuana, Ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol”. David Nutt said he was disappointed by his sacking:

“Politics is politics and science is science, and there's a bit of a tension between them sometime … I'm not prepared to mislead the public about the harmfulness of drugs like cannabis and Ecstasy.”

Atrocity: Quadriplegic Serving 10-Day Sentence For First-Time Marijuana Charge Dies In DC Jail - “A 27-year-old quadriplegic man sentenced to serve ten days in a Washington, DC jail on charges that he possessed a minor amount of marijuana died while in custody last week (2004) due to inadequate health care, including prison officials' failure to provide him with a ventilator.”

Statistics: Drug War Clock - This site keeps track of the money spent on the War On Drugs in the United States. “The U.S. federal government spent over $15 billion dollars in 2010 on the War on Drugs, at a rate of about $500 per second.” Further information on Americas war on drugs available at Basic Facts About the War on Drugs, and information on the American prison system available at Human Rights Watch.

Politics: Top 10 Pot Studies Government Wished it Had Never Funded
I loved the oops’s so I had to put them all in

Politics: Cops & Customs Agents Caught Drug Smuggling - “Following last September's crash of a Gulfstream jet used by the CIA for torture flights that contained 4 tonnes of cocaine, more customs officials and cops have been caught in drug smuggling and drug dealing rackets. Customs supervisor Walter Golembiowski and officer John Ajello face narcotics, bribery and conspiracy charges after they were arrested for helping smuggle drugs and contraband through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.”

Political Medical News: Canadian Medical Marijuana Users Banned from the US; and DNA Samples Taken - “The US is accumulating data on every single person in every possible way and follows their own rules, ignoring any rights we think we might have. That medical marijuana is legal in California has no relevance to them. There is no distinction between marijuana use and heroin addiction to them. Nor is there any distinction between a medical user and a street drug dealer. I was now declared criminally ill despite being legal in every inch of Canada and did not commit any offence on US soil. It has been three months since this has happened, and I am still traumatized by the entire experience but at least able to talk about it.”

Political News: Tough-on-crime policies ineffective, U.S. sentencing expert contends - “The Harper government is embracing tough-on-crime policies even as the United States backs away from similar approaches that have produced record levels of incarceration, huge taxpayer costs and racialized prisons, says an American expert on sentencing policy…“Mauer's observations are relevant because the federal Tackling Violent Crime Act, which received royal assent on Feb. 28, echoes the punitive approach to crime adopted in the United States in the 1980s…“The Harper government pushed the bill through even though crime rates in Canada have been falling steadily since the early '90s and are now at their lowest level in 25 years.”

Economics: £300m cannabis windfall for Dutch - “Cannabis nets the Dutch treasury more than £300 million a year and has become one of the country's top cash crops, new figures show.”

Statistics: Canada tokes at 4 times world average: UN - “Canadians use marijuana at four times the world average, making Canada the leader of the industrialized world in cannabis consumption, a recent United Nations report found. The 2007 World Drug Report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime says that 16.8 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 64 smoked marijuana or used another cannabis product in 2006. The world average is 3.8 per cent.

“In the report, Canada ranks fifth in the world for marijuana use, behind Ghana at 21.5 per cent, Zambia, 17.7 per cent, and Papua New Guinea and Micronesia with 29 per cent each. Cannabis accounts for the bulk of global drug use, consumed by 160 million people.”

Opinion: It’s Time To Legalize All Drugs, Not Just Marijuana - “The most dangerous thing about any illegal drug is its manufacture and distribution exists solely on the black market. Anything that exists on the black market is by its very definition unregulated and dangerous. Black markets can be faulted in almost every way for almost every American affliction: poverty, violence, a lack of quality education, crime and healthcare. While we still haven’t legalized marijuana we are sitting on the tipping point, but it’s important to remember that prohibition never has and never will work, regardless of what is being prohibited. It’s time to push this conversation, the Drug War is not just a war on some people, it’s a war on all people.”

News: Oregon’s Largest Media Outlet Calls For Legislature To Tax And Regulate Marijuana - “It’s not everyday that a state’s largest media outlet tells the state’s legislature that they ‘shouldn’t pass up their chance to determine how legalization would work.’ But that’s exactly what happened yesterday when The Oregonian’s Editorial Board published an article with those exact words. Oregon House Bill 3371 was passed out of the Judiciary Committee this last week. Oregon House Bill 3371 would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. It brings me great joy to see an article like this at the same time that the Oregon Legislature is currently working on a bill. Public opinion is on our side, traditional media now appears to be on our side, and hopefully the Oregon Legislature is taking note of all of it.”

News: Policing for profit thrives in BC - “In British Columbia, the government can take away your home, your car and your cash, without ever charging you with a crime. Most people in BC are not aware of how easily the government can take away their most valuable possessions. It doesn’t matter if you’ve ever been charged with a crime. In many cases the government doesn’t need to go to court at all! The BC Liberals have made it easier and easier for police to profit from seizing private property. This trend is called “policing for profit” and it is very dangerous. Policing for profit corrupts police forces and results in policing priorities being set based on their financial gain.”

News: Ex-DEA Chief Lobbying Holder to Nullify Marijuana Legalization Owns a Drug Testing Company - “It turns out Peter B. Bensinger, who in the letter is representing the lobbying organization Save Our Society from Drugs, has a huge financial stake in preventing the legalization of cannabis. He is the founder and CEO of a drug testing company. After Bensinger left the DEA he founded Bensinger Dupont Associates which according to their website handles large scale drug testing for corporations.”

V. Famous Marijuana Smokers

Scientist: Carl Edward Sagan, Ph.D. (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, astrochemist, author, and highly successful popularizer of astronomy, astrophysics and other natural sciences. He pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He is world-famous for writing popular science books and for co-writing and presenting the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which has been seen by more than 600 million people in over 60 countries, making it the most widely watched PBS program in history.

Carl Sagan was also a marijuana advocate. “Under the pseudonym ‘Mr. X’, he contributed an essay about smoking cannabis to the 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered. The essay explained that marijuana use had helped to inspire some of Sagan's works and enhance sensual and intellectual experiences. After Sagan's death, his friend Lester Grinspoon disclosed this information to Sagan's biographer, Keay Davidson. The publishing of the biography, Carl Sagan: A Life, in 1999 brought media attention to this aspect of Sagan's life. Not long after his death, widow Ann Druyan had gone on to preside over the board of directors of NORML, a foundation dedicated to reforming cannabis laws.“

Elder: María Sabina “(1888 - November 23, 1985) was a Mazatec medicine woman who lived her whole life in a modest dwelling in the Sierra Mazateca of southern Mexico. Her practice was based on the use of the various species of native psilocybe mushrooms. abina was the first contemporary Mexican curandera, defined in New Age parlance as a native shaman, to allow Westerners to participate in the healing vigil known as the velada, where all participants partake of the psilocybe mushroom as a sacrament to open the gates of the mind. The velada is seen as a purification and as a communion with the sacred.”

In the early 1930's, prior to Maria's rise to prominence, Robert J. Weitlaner, witnessed, but it is not recorded he participated in, the Mazatec mushroom ceremony just northeast of Oaxaca. On July 16, 1938, his daughter Irmgard, with an anthropologist who eventually became her husband, Jean Bassett Johnson, together with two others, Bernard Bevan and Louise Lacaud, attended a mushroom rite in Huautla. Johnson later gave a full account of the event and were the first white persons ‘recorded’ to attend such a ceremony (although it is said they did not participate in the ceremony or ingest the mushrooms).”

R. Gordon Wasson encountered Sabina on his trip to Mexico in 1955. “On June 19th, 1955 she introduced him to psilocybin mushrooms during a healing ceremony. He became the first Westerner to experience the effects of these psychedelic fungi, followed shortly thereafter by Valentina Wasson. Wasson wrote about his experience with María and the psilocybin mushrooms in an article for Life Magazine in 1957. In the Life Magazine article, Wasson referred to María Sabina as ‘Eva Mendez’ in an attempt to protect her privacy, but the attempt failed. Over the coming years, María Sabina was inundated with visitors from the United States. The onslaught of ‘young people with long hair who came in search of God’ disrupted her village and led to her arrest on more than one occasion by local federales.”


Politician: Barack Obama, the 44th and current President of the United States, and the ungrateful hypocrite, who has forgotten about his online audience, “inhaled frequently”.

Scientist: Francis Harry Compton Crick “(8 June 1916 – 28 July 2004), was a British molecular biologist, physicist, and neuroscientist, and most noted for being one of the co-discoverers of the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953. He, James D. Watson and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine ‘for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material’.”

Crick forged his own path through life… He seldom read newspapers, because working in intelligence had convinced him that most stories never reached the press”, and “he experimented with marijuana and LSD.” Crick, the “father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD when he first deduced the double-helix structure of DNA.”

“Despite his Establishment image, Crick was a devotee of novelist Aldous Huxley, whose accounts of his experiments with LSD and another hallucinogen, mescaline, in the short stories The ‘Doors Of Perception’ and ‘Heaven And Hell’ became cult texts for the hippies of the Sixties and Seventies. In the late Sixties, Crick was a founder member of ‘Soma’, a legalise-cannabis group named after the drug in Huxley’s novel ‘Brave New World’. He even put his name to a famous letter to the Times (pdf) in 1967 calling for a reform in the drugs laws.”


Athlete: Wakakirin Shinichi (born September 21, 1983 as Shinichi Suzukawa) is a former sumo wrestler from Hyogo prefecture in Japan. His highest rank was maegashira 9. He was thrown out of the sport in February 2009 after being arrested for cannabis possession.”

This incident shocked Japan. 6 months before, four sumo wrestlers were “kicked out of the sport for using the drug and a player on the national rugby team was banned for life.” In addition, police “arrested a rock star and staged high-profile raids at some of the nation's top universities, arresting students and confiscating Ziploc bags full of suspicious substances.”


Athlete: Michael Phelps “is a retired American swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 22 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals (18, double the second highest record holders), Olympic gold medals in individual events (11), and Olympic medals in individual events for a male (13). In winning eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps took the record for the most first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games. Five of those victories were in individual events, tying the single Games record. In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps won four golds and two silver medals, making him the most successful athlete of the Games for the third Olympics in a row.”

“In February 2009, publication of a photograph of Phelps using a water pipe, a device used for smoking tobacco or marijuana, resulted in the loss of Kellogg as a sponsor, as well as a three-month suspension from USA Swimming. Phelps admitted that the photo, taken at a student party at the University of South Carolina, was authentic.”


VI. Entertainment

Music: Bob Marley: No Woman No Cry (5:56) - Here is a little Marley to light up your day. This song specifically is one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy. And here is the Boney M (4:34) version just in case you enjoy your 70’s flash, I know I do.

Gathering: UCSC Porter Meadow 420 (2:59) - “Time Laps starting 1.5 hours before and ending 1.5 hours after 4:20 at UCSC.”

Entertainment: 4/20 Parachute Stoner Dash (Yakety Sax Benny Hill theme) - “Festivities at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.”

Celebration: “Vancouver 420 Celebration 2008!! 10,000 Strong!!” (4:17) - “Everyone came out this year! Great Turn-out!! Good show! Same time next year!”

Music: Cypress Hill - Hits From The Bong LIVE (4:38)

Truth: Bill Hicks - Drugs and Evolution (4:36).

Economics of Entertainment: Marijuana Movies: Riding High In Hollywood? - “Pot-centric comedies have become a major cash crop for Hollywood. Between sleeper hits and blockbusters, the genre has generated more than $400 million in domestic box office in the last 10 years, and even more on DVD — following a pattern typical for other genres, like horror flicks and family fare. Stoner roles have launched or resurrected the careers of Oscar winners (Sean Penn, Fast Times at Ridgemont High), movie stars (Matthew McConaughey, Dazed and Confused), and former child actors (Neil Patrick Harris, White Castle). And for better or worse, toking up on screen even seems to have lost some of its shock value.”


Music: Cannabis helps me unwind says Violinist Nigel Kennedy - “Nigel Kennedy, the 51 year old orchestral violinist and Birminghams original ‘Aston Villain’ has told how orchestral musicians will often use illicit or prescription drugs to fight off stagefright, and after a long evening playing in front of an audience, he will often unwind by smoking a joint or two.”


VII. Religion and Spirituality

Spirituality: Spiritual use of cannabis - “The cannabis plant has an ancient history of ritual usage as a trance inducing drug and is found in pharmacological cults around the world. Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC, confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus. In India, it has been engaged by itinerant sadhus for centuries, and in modern times the Rastafari movement has embraced it. Some historians and etymologists have claimed that cannabis was used as a religious sacrament by ancient Jews, early Christians and Muslims of the Sufi order.”

Biblical: Moses was high on drugs: Israeli researcher - “High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week… ‘As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don't believe, or a legend, which I don't believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics,’ Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday. Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the ‘burning bush.’’”

Religion and Politics: Jamaica Explores Legalizing Marijuana - “Jamaica is considering the legalization of marijuana, a drug revered by members of the island's large Rastafarian population who say smoking it is part of their religion. “A seven-member government commission has been researching possible changes to the Caribbean nation's anti-drug laws, which some police complain are clogging courts and jails with marijuana-related cases…

“In 2003, a government commission recommended legalizing marijuana in small amounts for personal use. But lawmakers never acted, saying legalization might entail loss of their country's U.S. anti-drug certification. Countries that lose it face economic sanctions.”

Deity: Shiva “is a major Hindu god and one aspect of Trimurti. In the Shaiva tradition of Hinduism, Shiva is seen as the supreme God. In the Smarta tradition, he is one of the five primary forms of God. Followers of Hinduism who focus their worship upon Shiva are called Shaivites or Shaivas.”

Cannabis or ganja is associated with worship of the Hindu god Shiva, who is popularly believed to like the hemp plant. Ganja is offered to Shiva images, especially on Shivratri festival. This practice is particularly witnessed at temples of Benares, Baidynath and Tarakeswar. Ganja is not only offered to the Lord, but also consumed by Shaivite (sect of Shiva) yogis. Charas is smoked by some Shaivite devotees and cannabis itself is seen as a gift (‘prasad,’ or offering) to Shiva to aid in sadhana…

“During the Hindu festival of Holi, people consume a drink called bhang which contains cannabis flowers. According to one description, when elixir of life was produced from the churning of the ocean by the gods and the demons, Shiva created cannabis from his own body to purify the elixir (whence, for cannabis, the epithet angaj or body-born). Another account suggests that the cannabis plant sprang when a drop of the elixir dropped on the ground. Thus, cannabis is used by sages due to association with elixir and Shiva. Wise drinking of bhang, according to religious rites, is believed to cleanse sins, unite one with Shiva and avoid the miseries of hell in the after-life.”


VIII. Environment

Information: Hemp - “Hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes including the manufacture of cordage of varying tensile strength, durable clothing and nutritional products. The bast fibers can be used in 100% hemp products, but are commonly blended with other organic fibers such as flax, cotton or silk, for apparel and furnishings, most commonly at a 55%/45% hemp/cotton blend. The inner two fibers of hemp are more woody and are more often used in non-woven items and other industrial applications, such as mulch, animal bedding and litter. The oil from the fruits (‘seeds’) oxidizes (commonly, though inaccurately, called "drying") to become solid on exposure to air, similar to linseed oil, and is sometimes used in the manufacture of oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturizing agent, for cooking, and in plastics. Hemp seeds have been used in bird seed mix as well. A survey in 2003 showed that more than 95% of hemp seed sold in the EU was used in animal and bird feed. Hempseed is also used as a fishing bait.

“In modern times hemp is used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, construction (as with Hempcrete and insulation), body products, health food and bio-fuel.”

Article: Hemp Could Free Us From Oil, Prevent Deforestation, Cure Cancer and It’s Environmentally Friendly – So Why Is It Illegal? - “Hemp is a tall, beautiful and gracious looking annual plant that can reach heights over twelve feet. Although hemp (cannabis sativa) and marijuana (cannabis sativa var. indica) come from a similar species of plant, they are very different and confusion has been caused by deliberate misinformation with far reaching effects on socioeconomics as well as on environmental matters. The reason hemp is illegal is not because of any negative impact to the environment or human health, but exactly the opposite. It is so environmentally friendly, nutritionally and medicinally beneficial, that it provides too many abundant resources which would make it impossible for powerful corporations to compete.”

Commentary: How Hemp Threatens the Corporatocracy | Brainwash Update - “Abby Martin takes a look at the real reason why hemp is illegal in the US, the truth might surprise you.”

Interview: Building Toward The Future With Hemp - “All over the Pacific Northwest one can see the effects of the massive deforestation that's been taking place out there during the past 20 years. Whole valleys and mountainsides have been clear-cut - stripped of all plant life - to meet our insatiable demand for fiber, paper and wood. So when High Times learned that Bill Conde, a longtime hemp activist who once ran for governor of Oregon, was researching making an alternative to plywood utilizing hemp, we decided to look into it.

“What immediately stands out when going to see Conde is the huge billboard for Conde's Redwood Lumber on the side of Interstate 5, just outside of Harrisburg, Oregon. On one side of the company name is a giant green marijuana leaf and on the other side is an American flag inside a peace sign. In the heart of lumber country, the lumber industry is talking about planting hemp and converting to it as a primary source of fiber. Credit goes largely to Conde, David Seber and Barry Davis, partners in the research and development company called C & S, the company at the forefront in research on hemp use for fiber. HT met with Conde and Seber - Davis was unavailable - to find out what progress they've made in developing a substitute for clear-cutting old-growth forest.”

Documentary: Hemp for Victory - 1942 USDA Full Film - Government Promotes Hemp - “Hemp for Victory was a film released by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1942, urging U.S. farmers to grow industrial hemp for World War II. Of course, it was just five years earlier in 1937 when the anti-Cannabis campaign efforts of Harry Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics successfully culminated in the early stages of both hemp and marijuana prohibition.”

Information: The history and benefits of hemp - “Hemp is another word for the plant Cannabis sativa L. Marijuana comes from this same plant genus – and so do broccoli and cauliflower. But the strains of hemp used in industrial and consumer products contain only a negligible level of the intoxicating substance delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Thus, industrial grade hemp is not marijuana. Hemp is the most useful and beneficial plant in nature.”

Documentary: The Hemp Revolution - “This documentary covers a whole lot of ground. It deals with every historical and contemporary aspect of hemp usage and cultivation (mainly in the U.S.), which turns out to be a lot. From describing the production of a fibre much more durable and economic than wood, the documentary discusses hemps multilateral uses as e.g. food products, as a non-polluting fuel and as a pharmaceutical product with much less griveous sideeffects than chemical pharmaceutical products. The film also investigates why America went from a country which produced vast quantities of the non-narcotic industrial hemp, to the complete ban on hemp production in 1938. This story in particular is interesting, and it points out that the large oilbased industries actually had a key role in the aforementioned ban. Food for thought! The conclusion of the documentary could be that hemp may prove to be a valid alternative to both oil and wood in the future.”

IX. Education

Lecture: “Former narcotics investigator Mike Ruppert , and author of ‘The Truth and Lies of 911’, was forced out of the LAPD in 1977 when he exposed evidence of drug trafficking by the CIA. This is one of his first appearances caught on Video in 1997 at the Granada Forum in Tarzana, CA. Topic is ‘CIA Drug Running’”

Documentary: At approximately 1:27:00 into the following amazing documentary, The House I Live In, reflecting on the work of Raul Hilberg , Richard Lawrence Miller provides a summary of the step-by-step process of destruction as it relates to America’s War on Drugs.

Further information at: The Five Stages of Destruction as it Relates to America’s War on Drugs: “The House I Live In”

Documentary: As for the facts about cannabis and drug prohibition, the following documentary, The Union, is an excellent introduction to the topic.

History: One of the most astonishing aspects of the war on drugs, specifically in relation to cannabis, is that even though the federal government has classified it as a Schedule I substance, which means that according to the federal government the cannabis plant “has no currently accepted medical use”, in the United States there are at present 5 people who have a federal medical marijuana license.

Children's Book: "'It’s Just a Plant' is an illustrated children's book about marijuana. It follows the journey of a young girl as she learns about the plant from a diverse cast of characters including her parents, a local farmer, a doctor, and a police officer."

Classification: Drug classification rethink urged - “The designation of drugs in classes A, B and C should be replaced with one more closely reflecting the harm they cause, a committee of MPs has said… The alternative system was prepared by Professor David Nutt, a senior member of the Committee that advises the government on drug classification, and Professor Colin Blakemore - chief Executive of the Medical Research Council. There are three class A drugs in the top five of the system, as well as one Class B and alcohol.”

“Tobacco is listed as the ninth most harmful drug and cannabis, a class C drug (UK), comes in at number 11. Perhaps most surprising is the presence of two Class A drugs - ecstasy and LSD - in the bottom six. This places them well below tobacco and alcohol and a number of class B and C drugs.”

Education: Gary Webb on C.I.A. Trafficking of Cocaine - “Gary Webb is the San Jose Mercury News journalist that was run out of his job and blacklisted from the industry for daring to report what he found out. ”

Evidence Begins To Indicate Gary Webb Was Murdered - “We will simply not let the issue drop. How on earth can somebody have two different gunshot wounds and their cause of death still be passed off as suicide?

Government Tactics: Cannabis blunder at Tokyo airport - “A customs officer hid a package of the banned substance in a side pocket of a randomly chosen suitcase in order to test airport security. Sniffer dogs failed to detect the cannabis and the officer could not remember which bag he had put it in…

“‘I knew that using passengers' bags is prohibited, but I did it because I wanted to improve the sniffer dog's ability,’ the officer was quoted as saying. ‘The dogs have always been able to find it before... I became overconfident that it would work.’”

Lecture: Don’t Talk to Police - “Law school professor and former criminal defense attorney tells you why you should never agree to be interviewed by the police.”

Truth: Doug Stanhope on Medicinal Marijuana - “Doug discusses drug use, medicinal, recreational... whatever.”

X. How to End Prohibition

As for what we, personally, can do to help end America’s war on drugs? Our best option is to support grassroots organizations that are working towards repealing prohibition, they did, after all, get the ball rolling on this.
In 1973 Oregon became the first state to modify its law and decriminalize marijuana use, which meant possession became a civil offense punishable by a fine. A key reason for this legislative change was pressure exerted by the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), a private citizens group founded in 1971 that believed drug laws were unfair to recreational users."
Below you will find the names and websites of some of the more prominent groups spearheading the battle to end prohibition in the United States and Canada. They are trying to bring sanity back into our lives and I’m sure they would appreciate our support as much as we appreciate their efforts.

Organizations Working Towards Ending Prohibition

  • Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)

  • Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)

  • Erowid

  • Moms for Marijuana

  • Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

  • Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)

  • DrugSense

  • Educators For Sensible Drug Policy (EFSDP)

  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (USA) and NORML Canada

  • The November Coalition

  • Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER)

  • Drug Policy Alliance (DPA Network)