Vilksack’s nomination [for Agriculture Secretary] has now been withdrawn. Although Vilsack told the Des Moines Register he didn’t want to comment on why he had been sacked, sources at the Obama transition headquarters reported “a flood of calls and emails” from organic consumers opposing Vilsack’s nomination.
By Jennifer Viegas
Wed., Dec. 3, 2008
Stash for the afterlife: A photograph of a stash of cannabis found in the 2,700-year-old grave of a man in the Gobi Desert . Scientists are unsure if the marijuana was grown for more spiritual or medical purposes, but it’s evident that the man was buried with a lot of it.
Nearly two pounds of still-green plant material found in a 2,700-year-old grave in the Gobi Desert has just been identified as the world’s oldest marijuana stash, according to a paper in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Botany.
A barrage of tests proves the marijuana possessed potent psychoactive properties and casts doubt on the theory that the ancients only grew the plant for hemp in order to make clothing, rope and other objects.
They apparently were getting high too.
Lead author Ethan Russo told Discovery News that the marijuana “is quite similar” to what’s grown today.
“We know from both the chemical analysis and genetics that it could produce THC (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase, the main psychoactive chemical in the plant),” he explained, adding that no one could feel its effects today, due to decomposition over the millennia.
Russo served as a visiting professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Botany while conducting the study. He and his international team analyzed the cannabis, which was excavated at the Yanghai Tombs near Turpan , China . It was found lightly pounded in a wooden bowl in a leather basket near the head of a blue-eyed Caucasian man who died when he was about 45.
“This individual was buried with an unusual number of high value, rare items,” Russo said, mentioning that the objects included a make-up bag, bridles, pots, archery equipment and a kongou harp. The researchers believe the individual was a shaman from the Gushi people, who spoke a now-extinct language called Tocharian that was similar to Celtic.
Scientists originally thought the plant material in the grave was coriander, but microscopic botanical analysis of the bowl contents, along with genetic testing, revealed that it was cannabis.
The size of seeds mixed in with the leaves, along with their color and other characteristics, indicate the marijuana came from a cultivated strain. Before the burial, someone had carefully picked out all of the male plant parts, which are less psychoactive, so Russo and his team believe there is little doubt as to why the cannabis was grown.
What is in question, however, is how the marijuana was administered, since no pipes or other objects associated with smoking were found in the grave.
“Perhaps it was ingested orally,” Russo said. “It might also have been fumigated, as the Scythian tribes to the north did subsequently.”
Although other cultures in the area used hemp to make various goods as early as 7,000 years ago, additional tomb finds indicate the Gushi fabricated their clothing from wool and made their rope out of reed fibers. The scientists are unsure if the marijuana was grown for more spiritual or medical purposes, but it’s evident that the blue-eyed man was buried with a lot of it.
“As with other grave goods, it was traditional to place items needed for the afterlife in the tomb with the departed,” Russo said.
The ancient marijuana stash is now housed at Turpan Museum in China . In the future, Russo hopes to conduct further research at the Yanghai site, which has 2,000 other tombs.
© 2008 Discovery Channel
Diane Goodman, organic food advocate, dies
by Shara Rutberg
Diane Joy Goodman, a key figure in the sustainable food movement, died of liver failure on Nov. 14. She was 61.
Goodman’s passionate advocacy helped transform the landscape of food both locally and nationally. She served as chair of the California Organic Foods Advisory Board and was a member of the National Organic Standards Board and the Organic Trade Association, where she was an active member of many committees and task forces. She helped craft and pass the national organic standards in 2000. Most recently, she worked as a consultant helping clients understand those standards, navigate the certification process and communicate organic practices.
“She lived passionately committed to her beliefs, her work, her friends and her family,” said her daughter, Allyson Jossel. “Her death leaves a huge whole in this universe, and there are no words to express how much my mother will be missed.”
“”She brought a real passion and commitment to helping convert large and small farms to organic practices,” long-time friend and colleague Katherine DiMatteo, former executive director of the OTA, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Through her own deep engagement she became well-versed in everything organic. She brought all of that into her work and life, and the line between the two was quite blurred.”
Born in New York City, Goodman lived in San Francisco for the last 30 years, except for the time she spent in Washington working on organic standards legislation. Early in her career, she worked for the pioneering produce wholesaler Greenleaf Produce. She kept a hand in produce, literally, helping procure fresh food for her daughter and son-in-law Laurence Jossel, who own the popular Nopa restaurant in San Francisco. Goodman often attended three farmers markets each week and could be spotted climbing into the beds of farm trucks, hand-picking figs for the restaurant.
The Diane Joy Goodman Memorial Fund has been established at Bank of America. The account number is #02699-70175. A memorial party to celebrate Diane Joy Goodman’s life will be held Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Nopa.
November 24th, 2008 By: Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director
Smelly Money Leads To Major Legal Review Of California’s Medical Marijuana Distribution
In an important legal case decided today that cannabis reform advocates have been waiting on for nearly two years, the California Supreme Court ruled that criminal defendants are not entitled to a defense as Proposition 215 (Prop 215) caregivers if their primary role is only to supply marijuana to patients.
“We hold that a defendant whose care-giving consisted principally of supplying marijuana and instructing on its use, and who otherwise only sporadically took some patients to medical appointments, cannot qualify as a primary caregiver under the Act and was not entitled to an instruction on the primary caregiver affirmative defense. We further conclude that nothing in the Legislature’s subsequent 2003 Medical Marijuana Program (Health & Saf. Code, § 11362.7 et seq.) alters this conclusion or offers any additional defense on this record. ”
Prop 215 defines primary caregiver to be the “individual designated by the [patient]… who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person.” According to the Court, these words ” imply a caretaking relationship directed at the core survival needs of a seriously ill patient, not just one single pharmaceutical need. ”
The Court concluded, ” a defendant asserting primary caregiver status must prove at a minimum that he or she (1) consistently provided care-giving, (2) independent of any assistance in taking medical marijuana, (3) at or before the time he or she assumed responsibility for assisting with medical marijuana. ”
The Court’s ruling effectively limits the caregiver defense to relatives, personal friends and attendants, nurses, etc. In particular, it excludes its use by medical marijuana “buyers’ clubs,” retail dispensaries and delivery services.
The remaining legal defense for medical marijuana providers is to organize as patient cooperatives and collectives, which are legal under SB 420.
“The Mentch decision highlights the inadequacy of California’s current medical marijuana supply system,” California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer told the Indy Bay News . “The law needs to allow for professional licensed growers, as with other medicinal herbs.”
Amazingly, this case found its way to California’s high court because bank tellers reported Mentch to law enforcement because his cash deposit smelled strongly like cannabis (Mentch was caught with approximately 200 cannabis plants that he believed he was lawfully tending, in compliance with Prop 215, for five medical patients who possessed a physician’s recommendation).
Full text of the People vs. Mentch is found here. Listen to NORML Legal Counsel and founder Keith Stroup on today’s AudioStash talk about the significance of the court ruling and likely implications on how patients can continue to lawfully access medical cannabis.
CNN – Nearly half the respondents in a survey of U.S. primary care physicians said that they would seriously consider getting out of the medical business within the next three years if they had an alternative. . . A U.S. shortage of 35,000 to 40,000 primary care physicians by 2025 was predicted at last week’s American Medical Association annual meeting.
Scientific Blogging – Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore have shown for the first time that the emotions aroused by joyful music have a healthy effect on blood vessel function.
Music, selected by study participants because it made them feel good and brought them a sense of joy, caused tissue in the inner lining of blood vessels to dilate (or expand) in order to increase blood flow. This healthy response matches what the same researchers found in a 2005 study of laughter. On the other hand, when study volunteers listened to music they perceived as stressful, their blood vessels narrowed, producing a potentially unhealthy response that reduces blood flow. . .
Compared to baseline, the average upper arm blood vessel diameter increased 26 percent after the joyful music phase, while listening to music that caused anxiety narrowed blood vessels by six percent. . .
During the laughter phase of the study, a 19 percent increase in dilation showed a significant trend. The relaxation phase increased dilation by 11 percent on average; a number that the investigators determined was not statistically significant.
Most of the participants in the study selected country music as their favorite to evoke joy, according to Dr. Miller, while they said “heavy metal” music made them feel anxious. “You can’t read into this too much, although you could argue that country music is light, spirited, a lot of love songs.” says Dr. Miller, who enjoys rock, classical, jazz and country music. He says he could have selected 10 other individuals and the favorite could have been a different type of music.
In 8 of the 10 initiatives, drug reform got a higher percentage than did Obama!!!
NORML – Millions of Americans cast votes Tuesday in favor of marijuana law reform, approving nine out of ten ballot measures seeking to liberalize penalties on cannabis use and possession.
In Massachusetts, 65 percent of voters approved Question 2, which replaces criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana (punishable by up to six-months in jail and a $500 fine) with a civil fine of no more than $100. More than 1.9 million Massachusetts voters (and all but three cities) backed the measure – a greater total than the number of voters who endorsed President Elect Barack Obama (1.88 million). Question 2 is expected to become law within 30 days – making Massachusetts the thirteenth state to decriminalize the personal use and possession of cannabis. However, opponents of the measure – which include the state’s governor, attorney general, and all twelve state district attorneys – note that lawmakers still have the legal option to amend or repeal the new law.
In Michigan, 63 percent of voters approved Proposal 1, which legalizes the physician-supervised use and cultivation of medicinal cannabis by state-authorized patients. More than 3 million voters endorsed the measure, which received approximately 150,000 more votes in Michigan than did Obama. Proposal 1 goes into effect on December 4th, at which time nearly one-quarter of the US population will live in a state that authorizes the legal use of medical cannabis.
Thousands of voters in various municipalities also backed local ballot initiatives supportive of marijuana law reform. In Arkansas, 66 percent of Fayetteville (population: 67,000) voters approved Question 16, which directs law enforcement to make activities related to the investigation and prosecution of adults who possess up to one ounce of marijuana their lowest priority.
In Hawaii, Big Island (population: 172,000) voters approved a similar initiative, which directs law enforcement to make activities related to the investigation and arrest of adults who possess up to 24 ounces of cannabis and/or 24 plants their lowest priority. The measure, which voters backed by nearly a 3 to 2 margin, also forbids the County Council from accepting government funding to promote federal marijuana eradication efforts on the Big Island.
In Massachusetts, voters in four state House districts (encompassing 15 towns) passed nonbinding public policy questions directing each district’s state representative to vote in favor of legislation to legalize the medical use of cannabis. More than 70 percent of voters in each district backed the measures.
Finally, voters in Berkeley, California endorsed Measure JJ, which eliminates local limits on the quantity of medicinal cannabis that may be possessed by patients, and liberalizes municipal zoning guidelines for patient dispensaries.
By contrast, California voters rejected a statewide sentencing reform measure (Proposition 5), which sought expand the diversion of non-violent offenders to drug treatment and would have decreased minor marijuana penalties to a non-criminal infraction. Numerous politicians, including Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrat US Senator Dianne Feinstein, joined forces with law enforcement and the California Beer and Beverage Distributors to lobby against the measure, which gained just 40 percent of the vote.
Voters in Michigan and Massachusetts passed MPP’s landmark ballot initiatives to change marijuana policy in their states.
Today, voters in Michigan and Massachusetts passed MPP’s landmark ballot initiatives to change marijuana policy in their states.
Of the 13 marijuana policy statewide initiative victories in the history of the country, we just scored the second and third most important. (The first was California’s medical marijuana law in 1996.)
MPP’s Massachusetts initiative was the first time in history that a decriminalization initiative appeared on any statewide ballot, and voters passed it by what appears to be an overwhelming majority. The measure removes all criminal penalties for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana — replacing it with a $100 fine, which can be paid through the mail without lawyers or court appearances, just like a speeding ticket.
And Michigan voters passed MPP’s medical marijuana initiative, making Michigan the first Midwestern state to permit medical marijuana use by seriously ill patients (and the 13th in the U.S.). Michigan now becomes the second largest medical marijuana state in the country (second only to California). And as a result of tonight’s victory, almost one quarter of the nation now resides in states with medical marijuana laws.
Despite formidable opposition (including lies and dirty tricks from our opponents), common sense won — in large part because of thousands of MPP supporters who donated as generously as they could to both campaign committees.
The majority of these donors don’t even live in Michigan or Massachusetts but donated because this is what the movement for changing marijuana laws is all about — a partnership between people across the country, giving whatever they can afford in order to push change forward. The people of Michigan and Massachusetts owe a debt of gratitude to thousands of people in the other 48 states and Washington, D.C., who donated money for victories that they won’t personally see in their own states. And this is exactly how it works: In the upcoming two-year cycle, we’re going to be choosing a new slate of states, and we’ll all pitch in nationwide to pass those too … which includes passing bills through state legislatures too.
I’ll have more on our upcoming plans for you soon. But for now, please join me in celebrating two incredible victories.
Marijuana Policy Project
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This information about MARIJUANA and HUMANS will astound you!
Hypothesis on the symbiosis of humans and the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis.
This paper is dedicated to two of the greatest farmers I know-
My Father Stephen G. Saunders and my Grandfather, James Levi Evans.
This paper points to several key physiological correlations between the chemical components found in the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis, and the chemical components required for the biological functioning of the mammalian species, Homo Sapiens.
The first correllary which bears scrutiny is the correllation between the nutritional requirement for Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) for proper maintenance of brain tissue, skin, and hair, and the chemical composition of the fruit produced by the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis. The essential fatty acid profile of the fruit of the Cannabis Sativa plant contains the full spectrum of essential fatty acids required by humans on a daily basis, perfectly balanced nutritionally down to the tenth of a percent, with nothing added, and nothing left out. This corrollary, when combined with the historical and cultural fact that the fruit of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis has been consumed for food for thousands of years by humans suggests that the consumption of this fruit has played a major role in the formation of the current chemical and physiological structure of the brain, skin and other physiology of humans.
The second correllary can be found by examining the structure and composition of neuro-receptor sites which exist on the surface of the brain of the species Homo Sapiens. The surface of the human brain contains minute areas which are called “neuro-receptor sites” which function to allow chemical compounds to interact with and have an influence in creating and maintaining all of the various chemical “states” of the brain. These receptor sites vary in size and shape, and thus allow various compounds to “lock in” to them, causing various changes in the chemical composition of the brain. Some of these receptor sites are “substance-specific”, which means that they will only allow specific compounds to “lock in” to them. Some receptor sites are susceptible to a phenomenon called “blocking”, which is created by compounds which, when “locked in” to certain receptor sites, create changes in the chemical composition of the human brain by preventing other compounds from “locking in”.
The chemical compound manufactured by the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis that sometimes has a psychoactive effect on the brain chemistry of humans called TetraHydraCannabinol (THC) consists of a particular formation of a compound called Cannabinol which is also manufactured naturally by the body to aid in the proper functioning of the cornea of the human eye, and support the ability of the human eye to discern the difference between lines and shapes. This compound has a neuro-receptor site in the network of neuro-receptor sites found on the surface of the brain of humans which is “substance specific” which is to say that no other chemical compounds are able to “lock in” to these receptor sites.
The surface of the brain of humans contains more of these “substance specific” neuro-receptor sites THAN RECEPTORS FOR ALL OTHER CHEMICAL COMPUNDS PUT TOGETHER.
The arrangement of these “substance specific” neuro-receptor sites for Cannibinoids across the surface of the human brain has been scientifically described as “ubiquitous”. Ubiquitous is defined scientifically as “the state of being everywhere at the same time”.
A symbiosis between the two species which would influence this level of chemical integration would require many tens of thousands of years of consumption of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis by humans to create such an enormous influence on the physiological structure of the brain of the species.
While virtually every creature on the planet has “substance specific” neuro-receptor sites for TetraHydraCannabinol (THC) and other Cannibinoids, the mammalian species Homo Sapiens has the unique condition of being capable of ingesting and utilizing TetraHydraCannabinol (THC) in such enormous capacities over all other chemical substances which influence the functioning of the brain of the species.
The Cannabinoids are found on the leaves and flowers of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis, as well as inside the fruit or “seeds”. The Cannabinoids are ingested by humans and delivered to the brain by consumption of the seeds/fruit as food. The Cannabinoids are also delivered to the brain by consumption of the leaves and flowers of the plant by burning and breathing the resultant smoke, or eating the leaves and flowers. The latter methods, which use the leaves and flowers create a psychotropic/psychoactive effect on the brain.
In examining the use for the Cannibinoids in the physiology of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis, we find that the plant manufactures the compound for use as a filter that blocks the upper end of the spectrum of light of the sun known as “ultraviolet” or UV light.
The TetraHydraCannabinol (THC) is a protective shield for the plant against UV radiation. In light of these empirical facts, this paper demonstrates proof of species symbiosis between humans and the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis, predicated upon scientific proof which answers the following questions:
- a) Does the deprivation of the full and balanced spectrum of Essential Fatty Acids delivered by the fruit/seeds of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis from the nutritional diet of humans create adverse effects on the health of the species?
Correllations between the historical date of the political prohibition of the fruit/seeds for use as a food source in the United States, and the ensuing decline in the use of the fruit/seeds as a food source throughout the rest of the world due to martial enforcement, AND the rise of aberrative forms of disease and illness cannot be overlooked.
- b) Does the effect of filling the “ubiquitous” numbers of “substance specific” neuro-receptor sites for TetraHydraCannabinol (THC) and other Cannibinoids located on the surface of the brain of humans create for this brain, as it does for the leaves and flowers of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis the effect of blocking or screening the brain and it’s brainwave activity from the effects of the radiation of Ultraviolet (UV) light?
Current commercial research and development into the use of THC as an effective ingredient in the manufacture of sunscreen for human skin suggests that it’s function in the substance specific neuro-receptor sites on the surface of the human brain, acts for the brainwave activity of the human brain in a similar capacity.
- c) While the consumption of the leaves and flowers of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis by humans through oral ingestion and smoking has been a part of human culture as far back as recorded history, is the sudden and sharp rise in the chronic smoking of the leaves and flowers of the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis by humans a symptom of malnutrition due to insufficient consumption of the seeds/fruit of the same plant, which would, as a staple in the diet of humans provide enough quantities of non-psychoactive/ psychotropic cannabinoids to the brain, in addition to the vital, balanced profile of Essential Fatty Acids delivered by the seeds/fruit of the plant?
While there are many, many additional corollaries which support the hypothesis of symbiosis between humans and the plant species’ Cannabis Sativa, Indica, and other hybrid strains of Cannabis, this paper focuses on physiological and biological data and ensuing questions and call for research outlined above.
Stephen H. Saunders is a researcher and media developer who can be contacted at email@example.com ©2002 Stephen H. Saunders
Stephen H. Saunders is a researcher and media developer who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
2002 Stephen H. Saunders