NYT: Repeal Prohibition, Again

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It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.

We considered whether it would be best for Washington to hold back while the states continued experimenting with legalizing medicinal uses of marijuana, reducing penalties, or even simply legalizing all use. Nearly three-quarters of the states have done one of these.

But that would leave their citizens vulnerable to the whims of whoever happens to be in the White House and chooses to enforce or not enforce the federal law.

The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.

There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the “Reefer Madness” images of murder, rape and suicide.

There are legitimate concerns about marijuana on the development of adolescent brains. For that reason, we advocate the prohibition of sales to people under 21.

Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable, and would have long been dealt with had we as a nation not clung to the decision to make marijuana production and use a federal crime.

In coming days, we will publish articles by members of the Editorial Board and supplementary material that will examine these questions. We invite readers to offer their ideas, and we will report back on their responses, pro and con.

We recognize that this Congress is as unlikely to take action on marijuana as it has been on other big issues. But it is long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition.

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Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast to Make THC

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How do you get weed without the weed? By genetically engineering yeast to produce THC, of course.

Once theorized in a stoner magazine column more than a decade ago, a biotech startup working in Ireland is actively trying to transplant the genetic information that codes for both THC and another cannabinoid called CBD into yeast so that new medicinal (and, perhaps recreational) "marijuana" can be grown in a lab—no plants necessary.

"Right now, growing medical marijuana is expensive and it's heavily regulated as well. It's slow to grow, you've got to go through several different strains before you get a stable blend," Sarah Choukah, CEO of Hyasynth Bio, told me. "We're thinking to bypass all this, to make it quick to grow, we can develop pot from technology that could give us customizable blends of yeast."

That's right—you can have different strains of THC-producing yeast, just like you do with marijuana. On its website, the team says that "rather than relying on plant strains generated from selective breeding, specifically crafted microbes can be designed within a matter of days."

Choukah and her cofounder, Kevin Chen, say they aren't exactly sure what the final form of their product will be, but you won't smoke it. Most likely, the THC will be delivered via a patch, a topical cream, or in vaporizer or e-cigarette form. 

The goal here, at first, isn't to create another way for people to get high. Instead, it'll be using the ability to quickly and precisely modify THC content to create more specialized treatments for specific diseases, such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. It'll also be creating reliable THC for researchers to work on. But the recreational market is certainly on the team's radar. 

"Further down the line, depending on how the regulatory environment is, we might get into recreational," Choukah said. 

The plan here is much like other schemes to make bacteria, or algae, or yeast create something that it doesn't do in nature, like we see with lab-grown meat and certain types of biofuels. The team hopes to insert cannabis DNA into yeast and then use the fungus' natural biological properties to turn it into a THC factory. Besides THC and CBD, the team hopes to eventually synthesize other cannabinoids. 

Scientists originally discovered the gene that codes for THC back in 2009, and early reports suggested that the find would lead to researchers who tried to take THC out of cannabis to create new strains of hemp. Turns out, they're doing the opposite.

"People have thought about doing this before, but never really went after it," Chen said. "People don't like to work on cannabis research because there are regulatory hurdles to get into it. And then, I guess, there are some people who think there's an ethical issue with working on an illegal drug."

The team says it's completely legal to modify yeast to create CBD, while THC is a little trickier. That's one of the reasons why the company is going to initially focus on the medicinal side of things, but Choukah admitted the company has been keeping a close eye on legalization efforts in Washington, Colorado, and other states.

Choukah and Chen already have some seed funding (get it?) and say they're going to work in the lab within the next week or so, and will be working on an accelerated timeline—they hope to know whether this will work or not by next month. If yeast proves tough to work with, the team will try to reengineer E. Coli or algae, instead. The company is set to present its work at a synthetic biology demonstration day in Ireland on August 19

"If we hit the jackpot," Chen said. "We'll have it by then."

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FDA rejects medical uses of marijuana

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that it does not support the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The FDA said in a statement that it and other agencies with the Health and Human Services Department had "concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use."

A number of states have passed legislation allowing marijuana use for medical purposes, but the FDA said, "These measures are inconsistent with efforts to ensure that medications undergo the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the FDA approval process and are proven safe and effective."

The statement contradicts a 1999 finding from the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, which reported that "marijuana's active components are potentially effective in treating pain, nausea, the anorexia of AIDS wasting and other symptoms, and should be tested rigorously in clinical trials."

Bruce Mirken, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said Thursday: "If anybody needed proof that the FDA has become totally politicized, this is it. This isn't a scientific statement; it's a political statement."

Mirken said "a rabid congressional opponent of medical marijuana," Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., asked the FDA to make the statement.

Souder, chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on drug policy, has said the promotion of medical marijuana "is simply a red herring for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Studies have continually rejected the notion that marijuana is suitable for medical use because it adversely impacts concentration and memory, the lungs, motor coordination and the immune system."

The FDA statement noted "there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful." It also said, "There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana."

Mirken responded, "There is abundant evidence that marijuana can help cancer patients, multiple sclerosis patients and AIDS patients. There is no scientific doubt that marijuana relieves nausea, vomiting, certain kinds of pain and other symptoms that don't respond well to conventional drugs, and does it more safely than other drugs.

"For the FDA to ignore all that evidence is embarrassing," Mirken said. "They should be red-faced."

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ANNUAL SMOKE IN AT THE WHITE HOUSE 2014!

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About

Friday July 4th 2014 , will be a landmark day in our long standing struggle to achieve an end to the Federal Government’s opposition to reschedule T.H.C.
 

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

High Noon-3:00pm White House/Lafayette Park
3:00pm- 3:15pm Front of White House Photo opportunity
3:15pm- March steps off to Lincoln Memorial
3:00pm- 9pm Lincoln Memorial

(THIS IS A NATIONAL PARKS PERMITTED EVENT)
This has been coordinated with US Secret Service, National Parks, National Parks Police and D.C. Police

Website http://www.smoke-in.us

 

45th Annual Smoke-In Rally | Washington Peace Center
 
 
Street Address: Lafayette Park (north side of the White House)
City: WashingtonState/Region: DC
Date: Friday, July 4, 2014 - 12:00pm to 3:00pm
 
Event Description: The 45th Annual Smoke-In Rally...
 
 
FROM "WAYWARD BILL" THE U.S. MARIJUANA PARTY HEAD CHAIRMAN:
 
 
Getting prepared for the 45th Annual Smoke in at the White House Rally, Cannabis March, and a rock em sock em good time at Music Stage followed by the most awesome fireworks on the Fourth of July!
 

Greeting fellow members of the cannabis freedom movement!

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Written by:  Ed Norton - USMJParty Hawaii

Greeting fellow members of the cannabis freedom movement. Like many of you, I have done some research as to my states motive and incentive in not making cannabis totally legal in our country.

I found this pdf format “FREDERAL GRANT FUNDING DOCUMENT” which was released in or for the year 2013. What this document actually is, is a state by state federal grant funding distribution accountability disbursement of those federal grant dollars that each and every state receives after they show cause that that particular state has a “drug problem” within that state.

Now, in laymen’s terms, the more arrests made in a state means the more of a drug problem they have. And the easiest drug arrest any cop or police agency could make to show cause for those federal dollars who be to make the most prevalent drug arrest in our country, and you guessed it by now. MARIJUANA! With one marijuana arrest every 42 seconds in our country totaling well over “SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND {650,000} nonviolent innocent Americans for simple possession of MARIJUANA’

What I would like everyone to do, is take this document, {and I’ll walk you through the process here} and see how much money OUR federal government is giving to each state that you choose to privy yourself with. Here’s an example. I’m in the state of Florida, and when I did the research within this document I was astounded when I read that my state receives over a HALF BILLION DOLLARS IN FEDREAL GRANT monies which is CLEAR MOTIVE and INCENTIVE for law enforcement throughout the state of Florida to conspire to arrest it’s citizens for simple marijuana possession. $585.115.853 in 2013 EXACTLY!

I also read the many sheriffs and police sites here in Florida, that our citizens are also arrested for drug paraphernalia. i.e, a marijuana pipe with a smear of marijuana residue or even a roach in a person’s ashtray. Both as noted also are entered in Florida narcotics arrest statistics in order to “PAD” or bring greater statistics to show cause OR TO INFLATE for those federal grant dollars.

Ok, that being said, why not take a look at your state and see for yourself this conspiracy for those arrest incentive dollars money game that every state is in competition for.

Also, to back up my investigation, I’m attaching this you-tube video released by the “Young Turks You-tube channel” Which was released when that news group was on national cable network, and are now mainly on You-Tube” where they also explain in detail of a “Huffington post Investigation” Which also backs up this federal document. I’ll attach that article as well for your investigation of this blatant conspiracy that being perpetrated upon our innocent men, woman, and yes even children who are arrested in wholesale numbers for those competitive federal funding drug money grant dollars.

PLEASE, I FOUND THE INFORMATION WHICH I HAVE YET TO SEE ON ANY PRO CANNABIS SITES THUS FAR! It’s all hear guys, this is a conspiracy and YOU must take a few minutes that it would take to see this document and only then will your hair stand on the back of your heads, I promise you that this information will BLOW YOU AWAY GUYS! And you will be appalled at what you’re going to see. I did the research, now you have to stop toking for a while and read this atrocity. I promise, you’ll tanks yourselves that you did take the initiative to investigate.

OK, anyway, getting to the actual document. Here’s that pdf web address.
On the main page, towards the right side, you will see the word “GRANTS” {Click on that word.}
From there, it will take you to a page titled “GRANT PROGRAMS” Now to the far left of that portion of the document, you’ll see at the top left, the word “GRANTS”
Scroll all the way down until you see another word “FIND GRANTEES NEAR YOU” {NOW CLICK ON THOSE WORDS}
After clicking on that you will be directed to a page which displays a map of America with each state within out union. Now click on ANY or Your state, and that will take you to the actual federal grants page which if you scroll down to pages 6-7, you will see the monies that your state receives in federal grants for ARRESTING NON VIOLENT, INNOCENT CITIZENS FOR MARIJUANA AND OTHER DRUG RELATED OFFENCES! {WLECOME TO THE RABBIT HOLE}

Now you can get a better understanding of WHY the many state by state police agencies are arresting you, your loved ones, and your friends among others who are caught in this constant circle of our criminal justice system all for the all mighty dollar! Also, ask yourself if you reasonably believe that if THE FEDERAL MONEY CASH COW STOPPED, WOULD PEOPLE BE ARRESTED AS THEY ARE NOW? If that happened, watch how fast cannabis would become legal and taxed to hell in order to bring revenue to your and EVERY STATE IN AMERICA! WAKE UP AMERICA!
Well there it is. I did the research, now you must READ THE UNDISPUTABLE TRUTH, act and vote YES for cannabis in your state and put a stop to this obvious conspiracy to arrest, convict, and incarcerate our United States of AMERICAN citizens in wholesale numbers and are incarcerated in our many private for profit prisons throughout our GREAT NATION! Thank you for taking the time as I did to investigate this ongoing problem in our country. FREE THE WEED!

February 2012 The Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy...
whitehouse.gov

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