Send Letter To Your Local Legislator to end the Federal War on Marijuana now


The Beckley Foundation’s Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform is driving forward alternative approaches to drug control in order to create more humane, evidence-based, policies.

The Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform is a joint initiative with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform.  The Meeting at the House of Lords on 17/18 November will launch the first ever Cost/Benefit Analyses of a Regulated and Taxed Cannabis Market, the new Draft UN Convention and other evidence to support the need for change. The Meeting will also enable theGlobal Commission on Drug Policy, to present their recent findings.

For this major new Initiative the Beckley Foundation commissioned a new draft UN convention on all drugs that would allow signatory countries more freedom in deciding their own drug policy.  Together with the All-Party Parliamentary Group the Foundation has commissioned the Cost/Benefit Analyses of both a regulated cannabis market and government regulated heroin supply to addicts.

Whilst many people agree that the War on Drugs has failed, the Beckley Foundation’s Global Initiative is unique in providing a concrete opportunity to examine ways forward.

Tell your legislators to cosponsor Rep. Frank’s bill to end federal marijuana prohibition today!

Right now a bill is sitting in Congress that could end federal marijuana prohibition and protect the ability of states to make their own marijuana laws without federal interference. Urge your legislators to end the federal war on marijuana!

https://secure2.convio.net/dpa/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=762

Method Man Says His is DONE with weed…


Method Man has announced that he is distancing himself from marijuana. Yes you read that correctly. The king of weed has decided that he’s going to let go of the weed, but a little at a time.


In an interview with VIBE, he shared that his music is going to reflect a different side of him, but he never admits that he won’t stop smoking. “I don’t want that every time you hear Method Man’s name you associate it with getting high or marijuana because there’s so much more to me than that. I’m not actually distancing myself from my marijuana culture people but it’s not in the forefront anymore. I got kids to raise, man. Plus it was never really that bad. It gets comes to a point where no matter where you go they’re always thinking you’re high. And I’m not always high. I mean right now I’m sober as a priest.”

Yeah, he’s not going to stop. He’s the president of The Smoker’s Club Tour. And he’s not on any kind of quest to eradicate weed from Hip Hop. It’s just a personal choice. “It’s always going to be there whether it’s Wiz or Method Man or Redman, Big K.R.I.T. whoever. It’s always just going to be there. It’s recreational, baby. Do you know how many closeted weed smokers there are? They’re going to be coming out of the closet like gay men. I’m serious. Then we’re going to have these marches like the gay community did.”

Educating Youth Properly on Cannabis..NORML


NORMLizer – Parental Discretion Advised

Educating and protecting kids is the ultimate responsibility.

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By Allen St. Pierre

Nothing has dogged cannabis-law reformers more during this 40-year-old civil-justice movement than the unjustified but politically damaging charge that legalizing marijuana will put children in danger. Naturally, the government has been all too eager to hype parental concerns about legalizing this mildly psychoactive herb as a way to keep its failed policy of cannabis prohibition viable decades beyond the dozen or so years that alcohol prohibition lasted.

Both Democrats and Republicans intent on maintaining the status quo of cannabis prohibition will continue to push the “What about the children?” button for as long as it continues to fan the flames of fear among voters, the media and law enforcement. Increasingly, Americans have come to realize that the best way to prevent underage people from using marijuana is by creating a tightly controlled and regulated market for adult use rather then letting drug dealers decide who’s old enough to buy. But this is a case we must continue to make.

Exit polling from this past November’s Proposition 19 initiative in California revealed, yet again, that parental concerns about what legalization would look like and how it could impact their children’s lives remain important questions that need to be better answered by reform proponents. In fact, so entrenched are parental concerns about legalizing cannabis that, over NORML’s 40 years of tracking public opinion about cannabis-law reform, a clear trend has emerged: From their mid-twenties until their early fifties, Americans who once supported legalization ceased doing so en masse as they entered their parenting years. However, encouragingly, as our country heads toward the end of the baby-boomer-dominated epoch, Americans in their mid-fifties (i.e., past the age of parenting) have begun to support cannabis legalization again, notably – and not too surprisingly – for medicinal purposes.

In sum, for total legalization to gain political legs in our statehouses and in Congress, parents between the ages of 25 and 55 need to be less oppositional when it comes to ending cannabis prohibition. What can be done to close this important (and, for reformers, strategic) deficit?

For starters, cannabis consumers need to not do truly stupid and reckless things like recording their very young children on camera exposed to cannabis or cannabis smoke; or keeping kids home from school to harvest marijuana crops; or employing young children and teens as “mules” to unsuspectingly move cannabis. Second, the makers of cannabis-related products need to be über-conscious regarding how they market their wares. In the last few years, prohibitionists have seized upon cannabis-infused gumballs, mockups of popular candy brands, colorful soda products (a few years ago, a company marketed a line called Bongwater Soda with flavors like “Rastaberry,” “Banana Spliff” and “Ganja Grape”) and even lollipop pipes.

Also, cannabis-infused edibles must be kept away from children in the same manner that parents largely (and without controversy) secure alcohol and pharmaceutical products.

Bottom line: Parents will continue to oppose legalization if they believe that reform will make the already tough job of raising children even harder, or that cannabis legalization presents some kind of genuine risk to their kids. We must work to make them realize that the greatest risk to their children comes from prohibition instead.

Allen St. Pierre is the executive director of NORML in Washington, DC (norml.org).

Benefits of Marijuana: Physical, Psychological, & Spiritual


The Physical benefits of marijuana are far-reaching, widespread, and long-term. Because of the way marijuana impacts the Autonomic Nervous System which expands the breath and relaxes the body, its potential for health and healing are enormous, and have been completely unrealized by Western Medicine. The following passages are excerpted from The Benefits of Marijuana: Physical, Psychological, & Spiritual:  The Benefits of Marijuana by Joan Bello


The simultaneous opposing action of marijuana is akin to balancing our entire system. Such balance in the ANS can be understood as a charged equilibrium, which is defined as “well-being” experienced as physiological expansion and psychological contentment and responsible for health. (p. 29)

The net effect is a highly functioning, yet relaxed, system with better fuel. This is why, with marijuana, the feeling is both relaxed and alert, which explains, in part, the experience of being “stoned.” Normally the body vacillates between the two opposing modes of being. The effects of the complicated marijuana molecule somehow actually integrate these two modes, simultaneously, as absolutely nothing else does. (p. 30)

Although specific effects of marijuana in the body are well known, each has been taken in isolation without noting that both sides of the Autonomic Nervous System are conjoined. Instead of a perspective that sees the whole person and the simple holistic effect of marijuana, a myopic and reductionistic method of measurement has been employed, and marijuana’s profound meaning for health has been lost. (p. 31)

Marijuana, by its effect on the ANS, enhances both sides of the brain. Through increased Sympathetic action, left brain perception is heightened, while, at the same time, right brain reception is enhanced. This is a physiological fact. More blood, and cleaner blood, is sent to the brain, as in the “fight or flight” reaction. And because of Parasympathetic dilation of capillaries, which signifies relaxation, the blood supply to the entire brain is increased. More blood means more oxygen and consequently clearer and broader thinking. Since marijuana works on both sides of the brain, the most noticeable effect, in our fast-paced mind set, is one of slowing down, which blends the thrusting competitive attitude with the contrasting viewpoint of nurturance to arrive at a more cooperative balance. This experience is, however, not innate to marijuana, but to the mental set of the subject. When we are mellow, tired, and relaxed, marijuana is energizing and affords alertness, determination, and even strength. This variation in the physiological effects has caused great confusion from an either/or framework. And the balancing nature of marijuana (both/and) has not been understood. It both stimulates and relaxes, simultaneously, which equates to an unpredictable variation in effect that is solely dependent on the state of its subject. When the system is sluggish, as with natives in warm climates (Africa, India, South America), marijuana has been used extensively and for centuries to energize it:

A common practice among laborers… have a puff of a ganja (marijuana) pipe to produce well-being, relieve fatigue, stimulate appetite. (Chopra and Chopra, 1939, p.3)

When the system is hyper-aroused, as in today’s lifestyle, marijuana calms. The significance of this fact cannot be ignored. It explains the increased creativity reported as a part of the marijuana experience, because when both sides of brain processes are heightened, both types of brain activity are greater. The left brain notices more, while the right brain receives more. This is the unification of logic and intuition. The term “expansion of consciousness” is explained physiologically as a “shifting of brain emphasis from one-sidedness to balance” (Sugarmena and Tarter, 1978), which fits precisely with the feeling called “high.” (p. 35) Continue reading

Toke Up to Tone Up- The Facts


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By Lankford Jackson
Growing up in California in the 1980s, we were active. Video games had yet to complete their assault on kids’ recreation time. Our games comprised any sport that was in season – or you could simply ride your bike all day long. The sport stars and action-movie heroes we idolized all shared intense training rituals: Whether it was Arnold or Bruce Lee or Sylvester Stallone as Rocky, we dreamed of transforming our bodies and achieving some type of epic victory. And when we discovered weed, those dreams didn’t diminish.

Eventually, however, a full-time job, eating out, drinking and a decreased activity level took their toll. For me, my wake-up call came 16 years ago, when I decided to overhaul my life. Now, as a fitness professional, I’ve discovered that cannabis use is not just conducive to exercise – it’s an outstanding “supplement” for adding lean body mass, as well as an excellent means of aiding the body’s overall recovery from a workout. In fact, it’s the best supplement out there!

During my transition, I had the good fortune to pick up a bodybuilding book by Mike Mentzer. His logical approach to training allowed me to gain 40 pounds of muscle in my first year and took my strength to levels that I believe should have taken at least a decade to reach. In fact, with a half-hour of work once or twice a week, you should be able to see great results as well!

To start, let’s take a look at the laws of hypertrophy (muscle gain), since it’s a logical transition from there to all forms of exercise. Hypertrophy can be broken down into three basic laws, which are common to every single exercise endeavor:
1) You must impose a significant enough stress to cause micro-damage (soreness) and nervous-system response in the targeted muscle or muscle group.
2) You must allow the targeted muscle to recover through rest and nutrition.

3) You must allow the muscle to overcompensateand add extra lean tissue.

You must also allow the nervous system to recover so that the same workload is easier the next time around. For example, after a workout, your muscles may have recovered their original strength in four days, but it may take another three to six days to allow the body to add extra lean tissue.

This last law is often neglected, usually due to ignorance (or by not following the second law). But neglecting this last law will have you spinning your wheels and cause you to stall at a particular plateau quickly. If you follow these rules, however, you’ll soon realize that the last two address recovery, which encompasses 50 percent of your workout results. (The other 50 percent is the workout itself.) But recovery doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

When muscles grow, it’s the result of recovering from damage – and damaging muscles requires intensity.But the intensity of your next workout, and its effectiveness, are both determined by how well you recovered from your previous workout. For example, if you go running on sore legs, your time will very likely be slower. If you try to bench-press while your arms and chest remain sore from your previous workout, expect to have trouble lifting the same amount of weight. Intensity is proportional to recovery: If you only recover to the point where you can complete your last workload, your recovery period has been insufficient – you need to recover to the point where you can exceed your previous workload. In short, you need to get stronger. And to do this, you must pay strict attention to nutrition and supplementation daily, and allow enough days between workouts for your body to adapt and overcompensate for the workload.

If you want to reduce fat, you need to eat a little less. But if you want to gain muscle, you need to eat a little more. Whatever your goals, fitness experts advise eating every three hours, with a complete protein source in each of these meals. Cannabis will definitely help with the eating. It’s not easy to eat six times a day, but a little toke will increase your appetite (and make that chicken and brown rice taste a helluva a lot better).

There are many supplements that provide an energy source for your workout, while amino acids and creatine are ingested post-workout. But for recovery, you have limited choices. Then again, what other supplement enables you to eat every three hours (no easy task), plus help you sleep well and relieve life’s stresses – and all without causing negative physiological effects like booze does?

You guessed it: good ol’ Cannabis sativa! I’d even go so far as to say that you’re foolish not to incorporate it into your recovery program. Continue reading

The HIGH TIMES Interview: Bob Marley


The following interview originally appeared in the September 1976 issue of HIGH TIMES Magazine

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Bob Marley is the fastest-rising, highest-flying star in music today. Like most members of Jamaica’s Rastafarian religion Bob smokes about a pound of marijuana, or “herb,” a week. HIGH TIMES Visited with Bob on his most recent American tour, and we found a lot of things to talk about.

HIGH TIMES: Have you seen HIGH TIMES magazine?

Bob Marley: Hard Times? Ooo-eee! Ooo-eee! HIGH TIMES! Dis supposed to ‘ave de bes’ high in de worl’. HIGH TIMES only de bes’.

HT: Some Thai weed? [Pause] Do you think herb will be legalized?

BM: I don’ know if dis government will, but I know Christ’s government will.

HT: What about the Jamaican government? Mr. Manley, the Prime Minister?

BM: Him? Legalize herb? Boy, I jus’ don’ know. It’s kinda legalized already. Me don’t t’ink is really him, y’know. The realization of de truth. I don’t know if Michael Manley will be de one, or who, but y’know, everyt’ing will reveal right out to de flat truth.

HT: Now when you go back to Jamaica as a big star, are you able to talk to different people and get some things done that you’d like to happen?

BM: Down dere? See, Jamaica jus’ run outa politics today … ya can’t have anything happening. But ya have people who will do t’ings for ya, like ya brethren, y’know. But when ya talk about de people in power, ya haffa be a politics man. Me don’t deal wit’ no politics – me deal wit’ de truth.

HT: Your audience here is mostly white. What do you think about that?

BM: Well, I hear dat we not getting’ through to black people. Well, me tell de R&B guy now, he must play dis record because I wan’ get to de people. We’re not talkin’ about no make me no superstar. Don’ ever make me no star. Me no wan’ be no star. But in de meantime, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. Dat mean, de guy dat make de record, play for de people. Don’ put me in no bracket, y’know what I mean? So dat is wit’ de D.J. Him mus’ realize dis is reggae music. I mean, it’s music.

HT: Do you consider yourself an outlaw?

BM: Outlaw? No, no outlaw. Right in time.

HT: You talk about dancing a lot in your songs. Do you see dancing as a form of communion with Jah?

BM: When ya dance, ya just are Jah. Ya mus’ dance.

HT: When was the first time you got high on herb?

BM: As a yout’. Was in de Sixties. Continue reading

Emerging Clinical Applications For Cannabis & Cannabinoids


Despite the ongoing political debate regarding the legality of medical marijuana, clinical investigations of the therapeutic use of cannabinoids are now more prevalent than at any time in history.

For example, in February 2010 investigators at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research publicly announced the findings of a series of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials on the medical utility of inhaled cannabis. The studies, which utilized the so-called ‘gold standard’ FDA clinical trail design, concluded that marijuana ought to be a “first line treatment” for patients with neuropathy and other serious illnesses.

Among the studies conducted by the Center, four assessed smoked marijuana’s ability to alleviate neuropathic pain, a notoriously difficult to treat type of nerve pain associated with cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injury and many other debilitating conditions. Each of the trials found that cannabis consistently reduced patients’ pain levels to a degree that was as good or better than currently available medications.

Another study conducted by the Center’s investigators assessed the use of marijuana as a treatment for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. That study determined that “smoked cannabis was superior to placebo in reducing spasticity and pain in patients with MS, and provided some benefit beyond currently prescribed treatments.”

Around the globe, similarly controlled trials are also taking place. A 2010 review by researchers in Germany reports that since 2005 there have been 37 controlled studies assessing the safety and efficacy of marijuana and its naturally occurring compounds in a total of 2,563 subjects. By contrast, most FDA-approved drugs go through far fewer trials involving far fewer subjects.

While much of the renewed interest in cannabinoid therapeutics is a result of the discovery of the endocannabinoid regulatory system (which we describe in detail later in this booklet), some of this increased attention is also due to the growing body of testimonials from medical cannabis patients and their physicians. Nevertheless, despite this influx of anecdotal reports, much of the modern investigation of medical cannabis remains limited to preclinical (animal) studies of individual cannabinoids (e.g. THC orcannabidiol) and/or synthetic cannabinoid agonists (e.g., dronabinol or WIN 55,212-2) rather than clinical trial investigations involving whole plant material. Because of the US government’s strong public policy stance against any use of cannabis, the bulk of this modern cannabinoid research is predictably taking place outside the United States.

As clinical research into the therapeutic value of cannabinoids has proliferated – there are now an estimated 20,000 published papers in the scientific literature analyzing marijuana and its constituents — so too has investigators’ understanding of cannabis’ remarkable capability to combat disease. Whereas researchers in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s primarily assessed cannabis’ ability to temporarily alleviate various disease symptoms — such as the nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy — scientists today are exploring the potential role of cannabinoids to modify disease.

Of particular interest, scientists are investigating cannabinoids’ capacity to moderate autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosisrheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as their role in the treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease.) In fact, in 2009, the American Medical Association (AMA) resolved for the first time in the organization’s history “that marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines.”

Investigators are also studying the anti-cancer activities of cannabis, as a growing body of preclinical and clinical data concludes that cannabinoids can reduce the spread of specific cancer cells via apoptosis (programmed cell death) and by the inhibition of angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels). Arguably, these latter findings represent far broader and more significant applications for cannabinoid therapeutics than researchers could have imagined some thirty or even twenty years ago.

THE SAFETY PROFILE OF MEDICAL CANNABIS

Cannabinoids have a remarkable safety record, particularly when compared to other therapeutically active substances. Most significantly, the consumption of marijuana – regardless of quantity or potency — cannot induce a fatal overdose. According to a 1995 review prepared for the World Health Organization, “There are no recorded cases of overdose fatalities attributed to cannabis, and the estimated lethal dose for humans extrapolated from animal studies is so high that it cannot be achieved by … users.”

In 2008, investigators at McGill University Health Centre and McGill University in Montreal and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver reviewed 23 clinical investigations of medical cannabinoid drugs (typically oral THC or liquid cannabis extracts) and eight observational studies conducted between 1966 and 2007. Investigators “did not find a higher incidence rate of serious adverse events associated with medical cannabinoid use” compared to non-using controls over these four decades.

That said, cannabis should not necessarily be viewed as a ‘harmless’ substance. Its active constituents may produce a variety of physiological and euphoric effects. As a result, there may be some populations that are susceptible to increased risks from the use of cannabis, such as adolescentspregnant or nursing mothers, and patients who have a family history of mental illness. Patients with hepatitis C, decreased lung function (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), or who have a history of heart disease or stroke may also be at a greater risk of experiencing adverse side effects from marijuana. As with any medication, patients should consult thoroughly with their physician before deciding whether the medical use of cannabis is safe and appropriate.

HOW TO USE THIS REPORT

As states continue to approve legislation enabling the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana, more patients with varying disease types are exploring the use of therapeutic cannabis. Many of these patients and their physicians are now discussing this issue for the first time and are seeking guidance on whether the therapeutic use of cannabis may or may not be advisable. This report seeks to provide this guidance by summarizing the most recently published scientific research (2000-2010) on the therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids for 19 clinical indications:

Alzheimer’s disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Chronic pain
Diabetes mellitus
Dystonia
Fibromyalgia
Gastrointestinal disorders
Gliomas/other cancers
Hepatitis C
Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Hypertension
Incontinence
Methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA)
Multiple sclerosis
Osteoporosis
Pruritus
Rheumatoid arthritis
Sleep apnea
Tourette’s syndrome

In some of these cases, modern science is now affirming longtime anecdotal reports of medical cannabis users (e.g., the use of cannabis to alleviate GI disorders). In other cases, this research is highlighting entirely new potential clinical utilities for cannabinoids (e.g., the use of cannabinoids to modify the progression of diabetes.)

The conditions profiled in this report were chosen because patients frequently inquire about the therapeutic use of cannabis to treat these disorders. In addition, many of the indications included in this report may be moderated by cannabis therapy. In several cases, preclinical data and clinical data indicate that cannabinoids may halt the progression of these diseases in a more efficacious manner than available pharmaceuticals.

For patients and their physicians, this report can serve as a primer for those who are considering using or recommending medical cannabis. For others, this report can serve as an introduction to the broad range of emerging clinical applications for cannabis and its various compounds.

Paul Armentano
Deputy Director
NORML | NORML Foundation
Washington, DC
January 7, 2011

* The author would like to acknowledge Drs. Dale Gieringer, Dustin Sulak, Gregory Carter, Steven Karch, and Mitch Earleywine, as well as Bernard Ellis, MPH, former NORML interns John Lucy, Christopher Rasmussen, and Rita Bowles, for providing research assistance for this report. The NORML Foundation would also like to acknowledge Dale Gieringer, Paul Kuhn, and Richard Wolfe for their financial contributions toward the publication of this report.

** Important and timely publications such as this are only made possible when concerned citizens become involved with NORML. For more information on joining NORML or making a donation, please visit: http://www.norml.org/join. Tax-deductible donations in support of NORML’s public education campaigns should be made payable to the NORML Foundation.