West Virginia now joins Missouri and others into Industrial Hemp

“..Farm sovereignty is becoming a major issue not just for states, but also for families. It also seems to be immune from party affiliation.  Hemp is not activism.  It is about economy.”

Science and Technology Are Unlocking the Future of Economy, Religion and Power — Why are governments hindering progress instead of helping?

Phytoremediation is the use of certain plants to remove toxins from the air, soil and water by storing them (along with carbon) in a form that can easily be sequestered and safely stored for the half-life of practically anything.

This technique was used with great success at Chernobyl and is presently turning ears here in the United States, thanks to a rejuvenated battle over the legality of cannabis/hemp (legally, and scientifically, the same plant).  Not to mention the nuclear waste disaster unfolding in Washington state, where it’s oddly legal to smoke the psychoactive herb; but, not yet legal to use the industrial cousin to clean up something that would otherwise cost a fortune to deal with.

Absolutely nothing in our federal government’s current stance regarding cannabis/hemp is even remotely tenable at this point.  “Untenable” is how no less than two popular, peer-reviewed U.S. scientific journals described our federal government’s current enforcement of marijuana laws.  Many months before a panel of judges somehow concluded that no evidence of the safety or efficacy of this plant exists to contradict it’s position as a “schedule I narcotic.”  Reportedly due to the legally arbitrary use of a particular type of FDA study as the sole bar for determining the medical value and relative safety of the substance in question.  Because the Controlled Substances Act itself never states that any such unreachable bar exists in the first place.

To be very clear:  this is purely a legal fiction created entirely out of imagination to fool people into thinking some valid reason exists for not allowing people to use this plant at their own free will for whatever purpose they see fit.  Completely disregarding the simple fact that one major reason said FDA study hasn’t been conducted is because our government has a strict policy in place disallowing such tests to be conducted on any form of cannabis/hemp.  These tests are also notoriously expensive and private companies have no vested interest in going through the lengthy process, in part, because the government already has a patent on certain properties of the herb which it uses to do absolutely nothing with but prevent others from patenting it themselves.

Perhaps the real fear is what might happen to our already disfunctional and brutally effective patent laws once they truly open the doors of what’s possible when people are allowed to patent plants based upon their unique properties (which, obviously, can be easily tweaked and engineered over the course of a relatively short amount of time).  Monsanto is getting very rich using these laws, at the unconscionable expense of farmers in practically every country on the globe.

Monsanto’s negligence and short-sided greed has led to rapidly increasing awareness of their products’ deadly consequences, plus a number of lawsuits with very serious allegations and an impressive list of plaintiffs.  It is quite clear to anybody with even a clue who’s watching this train wreck in progress that following Monsanto’s example is a very bad idea.

Industrial hemp, on the other hand, is widely documented to be the ideal candidate for use in phytoremediology all across the U.S. and most of the inhabited landmasses on earth.  For reasons that include it’s remarkable growth rate and long roots, which allow the plant to thrive in most places even without irrigation and aerate the vital soil deep down for next year’s crop.  These are also a few of the reasons it was often used as a rotation crop and seen by at least a few of our country’s founding fathers to be of utmost importance for this country’s great future.

Yet, this document is not intended as a history lesson or attempt to sell the reader on the virtues of hemp and cannabis(marijuana).  This is, most directly, a discussion of our country’s struggling economy and “inconvenient” problems with our reliance on dirty, dwindling fossil fuels.  It just so happens, thanks to hemp, we now have the opportunity to phase in a widely beneficial, totally sustainable, quickly scalable source of food, fuel, fiber and fun (a topic which I’ll address later).

Although the mainstream media hasn’t reported it yet (that I’m aware of), utilization of these technologies is already in the works here in Montana and other states.  To give the reader an idea of how widespread these ideas have been in certain scientific circles for a long time, consider the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says the following about phytoremediation:

Using Plants To Clean Up Soils

When it comes to helping clean up soils contaminated with heavy and toxic metals, nature has ARS plant physiologist Leon V. Kochian to thank.

During 13 years of research at the U.S. Plant, Soil, and Nutrition Laboratory at Ithaca, New York, Kochian has become an authority on mechanisms used by certain plants to take up essential mineral nutrients and toxic heavy metals from soils. He has also characterized strategies some plants use to tolerate toxic soil environments.

Kochian is an international expert on plant responses to environmental stress, plant mineral nutrition, and use of plants to clean up or remediate soils contaminated with heavy metals and radioisotopes…

It’s not exactly clear based on the information I’ve seen released by the USDA that their scientists have used hemp in the ongoing phytoremediation experiments.  However, one U.S.-based corporation in particular:  X-Change Corporation, has recently been very busy revolutionizing the commercial utility of this technique using hemp’s remarkable properties.  Here’s a tidbit of what Bloomberg Businessweek has to say about the company:

X-change corp/the (XCHC:OTC US)

The X-Change Corporation has entered into a agreement with WOLASTOKWIK NeGoot-Gook, Maliseet Nation at Tobique to participate in the development and growth of a legal cannabis growing facility, clinical laboratory, manufacturing and production facility, and treatment center. The agreement allows for legal cannabis and hemp-based medical research and treatments with true global significance, as the operations under the agreement facilitate medical cannabis and hemp research, clinical trials, and treatments, among numerous other opportunities for the parties to the Agreement, for the first time in North America…

Beyond all of this, X-Change Corporation is now in the process of rolling out their first major line of hemp-based neutraceuticals in California.  Nationwide distribution is promised to begin soon.  Judging by the widely touted properties of hemp as a superfood, the introduction of these and competing products to our grocers’ shelves will improve individual health and promote the growth of new brain cells like nothing else available on the market.  Thanks to abundant quantities of essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6 and 9), which are also proving themselves key to maintaining optimum mental health for those with serious conditions including traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What’s particularly fascinating about X-Change Corp. to me is the fact that it also appears to be the same company now heavily invested in the quickly expanding natural gas and oil industries across eastern Montana and North Dakota:

Posted by No Comments

HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

See the entire article here:

X-Change Corporation (OTCQB: XCHC.PK) announced today through its subsidiary Cress Oil, Inc., an independent exploration and production company based in Houston, Texas that its 65000 Bakken acreage play in Teton County Montana alongside Rosetta Resources Inc., Newfield Exploration Co., Anschutz Exploration Co. and a dozen smaller U.S. independents and Canadian junior oils have neighboring positions. The company is taking advantage of acreage positions across the state from the North Dakota-Montana Bakken play in the Williston Basin, all the way to the new Alberta Basin exploration. Teton County is seen as an analog to the existing Devonian shale oil production…

Another company based in Colorado, Dixie Elixirs, is also making history with their new line of hemp-based (fully legal throughout the U.S.) CBD-rich products that are proven to effectively treat various diseases and common ailments without compromising overall health.  More companies, both private and public, are diligently working to bring lots of various products to market as quickly as possible in order to capitalize on the overwhelming demand for these safe, organic pharmaceutical replacements.

Meanwhile, lawmakers across the country are starting to be greeted by constituents who understand the vast potential we have to improve our environment and quality of life by re-integrating the cannabis plant into our society.  Remarkably enough in its own right, this unusual situation has caused many lawmakers from both major parties to work together with groups representing concerned citizens towards developing reasonable legislation to “fix” our marijuana laws.

Some of these groups, including Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, advocate ending the failed drug war altogether in favor of a system that deals with all substance abuse as a health concern.  This could, theoretically, reduce our prison population by half in a very short matter of time; saving tens of billions of dollars a year while providing more able workers for the booming cannabis-related industries.  Unfortunately, prevailing opinions within the movement itself so far are erring on the side of ‘caution’ by promoting legislation and ideals that fall short of properly correcting our laws in response to pressure from the politicians who ironically refer to themselves as “conservatives”.  Nowhere is this more true, or utterly depressing, than here in Montana where our once thriving medical cannabis industry has been dismantled at the hands of people who simply refuse to even consider anything but their own long-held beliefs on the matter.

We may call our government a democratic republic because it’s structure technically fits that description, but in practice what it seems to have evolved into is a legislative auction house where practically anything is legislatively possible if it comes with the right amenities.  Cannabis provides a terrifying window into the underbelly of American politics today, which apparently hasn’t changed all that much since the days our government first declared the plant illegal.  For a proud U.S. citizen such as myself, who grew up thinking this was the freest and greatest nation in the world, considering the implications of what is still preventing a drastic change in laws becomes unnerving almost immediately.

Although it’s not something I enjoyed considering, it did eventually occur to me that our nation’s battle with cannabis provides a valuable lesson on how to effect real change despite our government’s ineptitude and overbearing nature.  Beyond this, it actually helps provide a blueprint for implementing a far more effective government through utilizing the vast networks of drug policy reform advocates to positively influence the development of new legislation.  The panel working on Amendment 64 in Colorado wasn’t only providing a model for cannabis law reform; they are improving the accountability and effectiveness of our current government as a whole.  You could say our drug war backfired, or you could easily reason that we’ve finally won this war against ourselves by developing a method to improve our government on a fundamental level.

Meaning the definition of marijuana as a “gateway drug” is accurate, in the sense that it is helping science unlock the future of economy, religion and power.  Perhaps the more apt question is how long will certain people in certain governments continue impeding the progress of what’s inevitably going to be a whole slew of booming industries and great benefit to our environment?  After all, we’re presently making great headway towards developing reasonable legislation in dozens of states and in all factions of our federal government.  Below are a couple of articles that give some impressive perspective to the sea-change now occurring in our nation’s drug war.

Briefing for Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur – exceptional qualities of hemp for phytoremediation

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 01/28/2013 – 9:35pm

I was interested to learn of Congresswoman Kaptur’s interest in phytoremediation to clean-up impurities at sites throughout Ohio, and was pleased to report of the exceptional qualities of hemp for that. An interesting article on that subject states the following:

(Hemp.net) In 1998, Consolidated Growers and Processors (CGP), PHYTOTECH, and the Ukraine’s Institute of Bast Crops began what may be one of the most important projects in history – the planting of industrial hemp for the removal of contaminants in the soil near Chernobyl…

US drugs prosecutors switch sides to defend accused Colombian traffickers

After working to take down cartels, former officials say America’s ‘war on drugs’ is misguided and the human cost too high

US prosecutors and other senior officials who spearheaded the war against drug cartels have quit their jobs to defend Colombian cocaine traffickers, saying their clients are not bad people and that United States drug policy is wrong…

note:  this article comes from The Guardian, based in the United Kingdom; and while the reporter is stationed in Los Angeles, the American press still continues ignoring this fascinating and very promising development in the so-called debate over drug policy reform here in the states…

Investing in Hemp (Inc.)

“We are in the midst of another industry spike although with this much volume across the board we are now entering a sustained growth curve for this sector of public companies,” says Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc. “Within the past 3 weeks alone, there has been close to 3 billion shares traded amongst the industrial hemp and medical marijuana industry, roughly translating into almost $200 million.”

This indicates to the investment community that this industry is here to stay, and that they want in at the beginning of the next growth curve. Hemp, Inc., the industry leader that led the last growth curve back in 2009 with a 480% increase, is, again, leading the industry in 2013 as its CEO, Bruce Perlowin , predicted.

According to Perlowin, the last spike was only a precursor to what is happening now in an industry that is officially “unstoppable.”

What are your thoughts on all this commotion and upheaval finally happening in politics today?  Will our lawmakers agree to dismantle the drug war before Obama and Holder concede that marijuana has medical value and prohibition’s been a massive failure anyway?  Or, is this going to take a massive public embrace of our right to Jury Nullification and spark a civil war (of various sorts) to reclaim and defend our Constitutional Rights as Sovreign Citizens of these United States of America?  For more information on the rights and moral obligations of jurors, please visit the Fully Informed Jury Association at www.fija.org.

Purpose

The FIJA mission is to educate Americans regarding their full powers as jurors, including their ability to rely on personal conscience, to judge the merit of the law and its application, and to nullify bad law, when necessary for justice, by finding for the defendant.

The Fully Informed Jury Association(FIJA)is a nonpartisan public policy research and education organization located in Helena, Montana. FIJA focuses on issues involving the role of the jury in our justice system and the preservation of the full function of the jury as the final arbiter in our courts of law. The FIJA mission is to inform all Americans about their rights, powers and responsibilities when serving as trial jurors. FIJA works to restore the political function of the jury as the final check and balance on our American system of government.

To assist supporters who press for a “fully informed jury,” FIJA has drafted the following model bill language suitable for passage into law or for amending a state constitution:  http://fija.org/about/fijas-purpose/

Regarding the topic of fun I mentioned earlier, one example of the many lines of products already for sale through one of Hemp, Inc.’s subsidiaries is described in the above quoted article Investing in Hemp (Inc.) as follows:

..While educating consumers on the many uses of industrial hemp, Hemp, Inc., is also producing hemp-based products proven to increase the body’s overall health and performance. The company boasts HerbaGenix™ nutraceuticals; BasicHemp, their hemp protein shakes brand; and, custom-branded MJ Lover for Him and MJ Lover for Her and Re-Load’s hemp nutraceuticals which are derived from a blend of organic nutrients, herbs, and vitamins including hemp extract, and AFA blue-green algae which is known for its healthful effects…

Finally, the intertwined nature of cannabis with religion seems to this author more than apparent without bothering to quote ancient scripture or cite historical facts.  Because, as this document has hopefully helped to demonstrate on at least a rudimentary level, the scientific documentation and unquestionable market realities of the present are bound to have remarkable benefits for our individual health and resulting spiritual contentment.  If our government fails to acknowledge our basic human rights on this pressing issue soon, we may be seeing just how powerful science and technology have made the concerned citizen in unprecedented and likely unexpected ways.

Your comments and criticism are much appreciated.  Please share these ideas with your friends if you find them worth entertaining and feel free to repost any or all of this document, with proper credit and a link (of course).

Laws Based On Science Don’t Prohibit Symbiosis, Do They?

When I recently discovered that our government considers Ayurvedic medicine a legitimate “whole health system”, it changed my perspective on everything I thought I knew about our government.  Not because of anything other than my own ignorance; however, this has now led me to a simple yet utterly profound realization:  OUR GOVERNMENT PROMOTES THE USE OF CANNABIS AS MEDICINE, LIKELY WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT!

Fact 1:  The National Center for Complimentary Alternative Medicine (NCCAP) states the following on their website:

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/ayurveda

Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It originated in India and has evolved there over thousands of years. In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is considered a CAM whole medical system. Many therapies used in Ayurvedic medicine are also used on their own as CAM—for example, herbs, massage, and specialized diets.

Fact 2:  The use of cannabis for it’s medicinal properties has been inextricable from the entire history of Ayurvedic medicine and many other “whole health systems” that are still popular today.  We may now have a “hot debate” over this particular herb and its uses here in the states, but this is what the folks in India have to say on the subject:

http://www.indianmirror.com/ayurveda/cannabis.html

    • The most valued property of hemp is its percentage of essential fatty acids, which is higher than any other plant in the world.
    • Among its various uses, it is an antibiotic for gram-positive bacteria, relieves nausea induced by chemotherapy and has been used to treat glaucoma.
    • The principal use of Hemp in medicine is for easing pain and inducing sleep, and for a soothing influence in nervous disorders.
    • It is useful in neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, delirium tremens, insanity, infantile convulsions, insomnia, etc.
    • The tincture helps parturition, and is used in senile catarrh, gonorrhoea, menorrhagia, chronic cystitis and all painful urinary affections.
    • The resin may be combined with ointments, oils or chloroform in inflammatory and neuralgic complaints.
    • Seeds and leaves are used to treat old cancer and scirrhous tumors.
  • Few plants have a greater array of folk medicine uses: alcohol withdrawal, anthrax, asthma, blood poisoning, bronchitis, burns, catarrh, childbirth, convulsions, coughs, cystitis, delirium, depression, diarrhea, dysentery, dysmenorrhea,epilepsy, fever, gonorrhea, gout, inflammation, insomnia, jaundice, lockjaw, malaria, mania,mennorhagia, migraine, morphine withdrawal, neuralgia, palsy, rheumatism, scalds, snakebite, swellings, tetany, toothache, uteral prolapse, and whooping cough. Seeds ground and mixed with porridge given to weaning children.

Fact 3:  Fatty acids, like those found in abundance within all forms of cannabis, are essential to brain function and are well-proven to help stimulate new brain growth.  Those interested in helping people with serious brain injuries and conditions like PTSD are now being advised (by our government and health professional alike) to promote the use of fatty acids in the following manner:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23032313 (National Center for Biotechnical Information)

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ingestion as a TBI Prophylactic.

Abstract

Given the hazardous nature of combat operations and training exercises (e.g. airborne operations) conducted by the United States military, servicemembers are at high risk for sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, almost a quarter of a million servicemembers have sustained a TBI.1 A large number of TBIs are a result of the concussive forces generated by improvised explosive devices (IED). A smaller number are a result of penetrating head wounds. Others may be caused by activities resulting in powerful acceleration, deceleration, or rotational forces. Therapies for treating TBI thus far have been limited. Much of the research conducted to date has focused on post-injury pharmacological interventions.2 Additionally, better protective equipment could help in preventing TBIs; however, these issues are outside the scope of this paper. A relatively new area of research is investigating prophylactic measures taken to lessen the effects of TBI. One such measure involves nutritional interventions and their effects on TBI severity. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to elucidate the potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acid intake as it relates to TBI severity.

Shall I repeat the question, or what is it that I’m missing here from the premise that our government is promoting the use of cannabis without even knowing it?  By the way, I credit this sudden burst of mental clarity and “enlightenment” solely to the use of Ayurvedic medicine; particularly the copious amounts of hemp milk (chocolate) which I have now been consuming for the past several months.  Every time credible scientists measure it, cannabis helps promote brain cell growth; even when smoked.  How long can our entire justice system ignore these (relatively) simple facts?

New, Bonus Fact:

Chairman David Howard, R-Park City, a former FBI agent, criticized marijuana as “a joke.”

“This stuff is disguised as medicine,” Howard said. “It makes you delusional. It is psychologically addicting and physiologically addicting and it absorbs in your fat cells, which is the most dangerous drug there is. This is not a drug. It’s a poison.”

It’s High Time for A Real Debate on the ‘ECOMONY’

Way back in May, Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney got visibly upset attempting to dodge a question about Colorado’s “medical marijuana” law (and sixteen other states, if you count D.C.) by turning the discussion to the economy.  Or, as he so eloquently stated, “the ECONOMY, the ECONOMY, the ECONOMY!”

When the interviewer bravely persisted with the question of medical freedom, he then proceeded to explain that illegal drug use is having terrible consequences here and, particularly, in Mexico.  To which he offered no solutions or even a moment’s contemplation, instead telling the reporter from Denver’s CBS 4 how he has a grand plan to give more people jobs and really turn things around.  If you’re curious about how this wanna-be leader of the free world reacts under pressure, or just appreciate quality entertainment, it’s worth a look.

Sadly, aside from drilling everywhere that isn’t already getting ‘fracked’, the GOP’s nomination for president of these United States of America has revealed no coherent plan whatsoever.  Perhaps even more frightening is the reality that President Obama hasn’t done so either.  Of course he says there’s a plan for fixing the economy.  Which, apparently, just hasn’t kicked in yet.

This is an oversimplification of the truth, as Obama has at least been wise enough to embrace the stark reality that we must end our reliance on fossil fuels by creating truly sustainable energy sources and, therefore, industries.  Yet, neither one of them will even go near industrial hemp or the various industries positively impacted by the growth of it’s medicinal cousin.

Lucky for us, Paul Ryan did the unthinkable:  he told a reporter that states should have the right to decide for themselves.  Maybe the more entertaining debate would be between Romney and Ryan over personal freedom?

Romney, on multiple occasions, has explained his opposition to the plant’s use as medicine or a recreational tool.  Given his religious background, not exactly a big surprise.  However, it is yet another jar of flies when you consider the flipside — Rastafari, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism and the surprisingly large number of other religions which consider the herb to be sacred (or have done so in the past.)  In fact, the University of Jerusalem released documentation back in the early eighties describing how cannabis has been mistranslated from the Old Testament as “sweet cane.”  Apparently it was a key ingredient in the holy anointing oil used by ,um, high! priests including Moses and Jesus.  They have since, to my knowledge, been silent on the subject altogether.  Meanwhile, their economy is profiting off the herb and saving lives in the process; thanks to what is widely known as the most advanced “medical marijuana” industry in the world.

What might be an even better (as in, simpler and much funnier) way to settle this debacle would be to ask old Paul Ryan if he thought adults should have the same sovereignty over their bodies and minds as the states apparently should?  His eyes might just pop completely out of his head.  Perhaps we should focus back on the enigmatic and ubiquitous economy.

Here in my home state of Montana, our economy has experienced some ups and downs over the past few years.  Giving some of us a perspective on this important issue which I feel is quite pertinent to the matter at hand.  Because it wasn’t the famous economic crash of ’08 and ’09 that hit many of us the hardest; rather, it was the complete decimation of our medical cannabis industry by federal and state officials.  Who have spent untold millions prosecuting entrepreneurs, their employees; and even sending their landlords to prison, for following state law.  A case that, unbelievably, these  law-abiding citizens (by virtually all accounts and presented evidence) are not even allowed to state in court.

For more information on how much twisted nonsense continues to plague our state and it’s hard-working residents, here’s a good place to start:  the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, who’s already spent upwards of $1 million dollars fighting our state government to reverse an unworkable law passed by a highly controversial (and time-consuming) session of passionate debate last year.  One in which our state lawmakers accomplished very little progress on any other issues.  The law is so bad, the state’s Republican Party addresses the issue as follows in their official platform:

Medical Use of Marijuana

We recognize that a significant problem exists with Montana’s current laws regarding the medical use of marijuana and we support action by the next legislature to create a workable and realistic regulatory structure.

While the state’s Democratic Party, in the depths of their excessive and puzzling use of legalese, have come to the following profound conclusion:

WHEREAS, the voters of Montana approved by initiative the compassionate use of medical marijuana

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Montana Democratic Party supports the right of qualified patients, with a medical condition where marijuana is appropriate, to have safe access to medical marijuana.

Moving Forward on Economic Development

If you are not intimately familiar with the difficulties of growing medical-grade cannabis, it’s likely hard to imagine just how many different local industries are positively impacted by the herb and it’s legal users.  Electricians, construction outfits, real estate agents, doctors, lawyers, restaurants and even the power company (especially in Montana) lost a substantial amount of revenue when the feds starting raiding people left and right.  But, to be fair, I should also note the players who lost revenue after the industry began booming:  pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco companies, private prisons, body shops and funeral homes (partly because traffic fatalities and accidents decreased, as they have in every state where the herb has become legal for medical use.)

Regarding the medicinal plant’s effect on our local alcohol industry, it is important to note that local “craft” breweries have continued to enjoy vast growth before, during and after the raids.  We are now ranked number two, behind Vermont, for the highest number of breweries per capita.  Obviously, most of the revenue collected by huge pharmaceutical and tobacco corporations was not left in the hands of Montanans.  Whereas, all the profit being made by local (legal) cannabis providers had been going back into the local economy — not the black market and Mexican drug cartels Mr. Romney brought up to, somehow, defend our federal government’s current drug policies…

What fascinates me the most about these economic realities, from the perspective of an “underemployed” mechanical engineer, is that it’s only the tip of a huge iceberg.  One that I would not even believe could exist until studying it closely for the past several years.  Industrial hemp really does have the capability of producing a sustainable and flourishing economy, in part because it’s also possible to harvest the plant’s legendary fibers from medical and recreational cannabis.  Using a process that yields copious amounts of organic fertilizer, to boot.

For more on this idea and how to put it into action everywhere, please contact me at gonzo0013@gmail.com; or leave a comment below and subscribe to this blog for coming updates on my own adventures in business.

Tulsi, “elixir of life”, is key to both health care and drug policy reform

An herb called tulsi, or “holy basil”, has been used for millennia throughout South Asia; worshiped for its remarkable healing powers.  Modern science has confirmed the plant’s legendary properties and identified a wide array of health benefits.  Some of which include pain relief, helping overcome anxiety and stress, protecting the immune system and improving mental focus.  It has even been shown to fight certain types of cancer.

One other function of note is tulsi’s anti-depressant effect, which probably has something to do with the subtle feeling of euphoria I get after drinking it (in tea.)  This “high” is nowhere close to the intensity medical cannabis is capable of producing, however it is profound enough to be habit-forming.  It could even be considered addictive, to those unfamiliar with the real definition of the word — a classification requiring the substance in question to cause the user some type of harm.  Bringing me to the point of this exercise:  health care and drug policies need to be grounded in reality and based on scientific principles, or they are doomed to failure.

Unlike most pharmaceuticals, tulsi and its distant relative cannabis have a very long, well-established history of safety.

Drinking alcohol, even in moderation, ‘a dementia risk’

“..Drinking alcohol can cause your blood pressure and blood cholesterol to rise which, in turn, can damage the blood vessels supplying the brain, causing problems like vascular dementia.

“Many people will drink to relax and it’s important to keep an eye on the amount of alcohol we consume.”

She said that the best advice was to keep alcohol consumption light throughout life to reap some benefits and protect against the risks of over-indulging.”

understanding the real problems with our health care is very enlightening

While researching a story on health care for the new YouTube political talk show DUBPOLITICS, I found myself laughing at a debate which occurred in a discussion board on a site called NewBuddhist.com two years ago.  Not only does it give valuable insight on our health care reform issues, it calls into question the very basic freedoms we enjoy as Americans and provides a fascinating window through which to view our evolving internet culture.

It began innocently enough, with someone asking the discussion forum a relatively simple question:  Did Buddha really eat nothing but hemp seeds?  A number of sources claim  Buddha ate only hemp, or only hemp and rice, for six years before his enlightenment.  Science has proven hemp to contain all the nutrients we need for optimal health, including Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids (which have also, much more recently, been proven to increase brain function.)  But the site moderator dismisses any notion of truth to these claims whatsoever.

Furthermore, as the conversation somehow expands to include hemp’s “cousin”, the moderator makes a remarkable claim:  she questions whether or not its legal for someone to even passively encourage ‘drug’ use in an online forum — because, in her mind, it is akin to pedophilia and terrorism.  Which is kinda funny and a little bit frightening.

A lengthy conversation ensues regarding the THC content of hemp now versus hemp in Buddha’s day, over twenty-four hundred years ago.  The idea that Buddha might have gotten slightly stoned from eating hemp seeds with a significantly higher THC content than today’s variety was harshly dismissed by a few veterans of the forum.  So much so, that after they’d chased off whoever asked the question, the conversation turned to them remarking on their unenlightened harshness.

Then somebody new comes along and picks up roughly where the original protagonist left off, wondering if it’s true hemp is the most complete source of nutrition known to man.  After doing more research, the new agitator posts a link discussing how hemp is the most complete food known to humanity.  Moderator promptly closes the thread to further comments.

What fascinates me about this discussion is the notion that better physical and mental health, even perhaps real enlightenment can be achieved through ingesting some form of cannabis.  A claim very similar to the now scientifically-verified assertions of Hindus and Ayurvedic practitioners who worship the herb tulsi for both its healing and enlightening properties.

If there is ever going to be a working health care system in our country, all of this insanity must be addressed properly.  A feat that will require us, the citizens of this once great nation, to stand up and take control of this presently defunct federal government.  No easy task, but we unfortunately have no other choice.  There can be no doubt anymore, for anyone who’s bothered paying attention, that power corrupts absolutely.  Representative government, in a land where corporations enjoy the same rights as citizens, is nothing but a bad joke.

Oakland Marijuana Crackdown:  City Officials Slam U.S. Government

“..U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Melinda Haag, in announcing the civil forfeiture actions on Wednesday, called them part of her office’s ‘measured effort to address the proliferation of marijuana businesses’ in her district.

‘The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state’s medical marijuana laws and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need,’ Haag said in a statement…”

 

True health care reform and economic prosperity depend on improving our collective grasp of reality

Our politicians continue bickering over who’s got a better plan to save the economy and fix our broken health care system, displaying just how far out of touch with reality both ‘sides’ truly are.  Promising the impossible without any tangible details to back up their ridiculous claims, in what has become a classic example of the childish insanity we here in the United States like to call democracy.

Meanwhile, drug giant Pfizer has agreed to pay the U.S. government $60 million “to settle allegations that its employees bribed doctors and other officials in Europe and Asia to win business and boost sales.”  A sad bit of irony, beautifully displaying a perfect example of what is limiting our health care options and preventing long-term economic prosperity.  Short-sighted greed is apparently not helping us to achieve progress, but it is written into the charter of all U.S. corporations.

To be specific, what I’m referring to here is the obligation of corporations to place shareholder profit above all other priorities or even cultural values.  While there is still no excuse for the atrocious (and clearly illegal) practices of companies like Pfizer or, say, Monsanto; addressing the misguided notion that “the bottom line is all that matters” must become a priority for anyone looking to achieve meaningful reform of any kind.

Bringing us to a much bigger problem nobody seems to be discussing:  our government appears incapable of doing anything that might be considered even mildly threatening to the people running these giant businesses or their various interests, which are quite extensive.  It’s no wonder congress has virtually no backing from the public it claims to represent.

Most Americans already know the obvious truth that our government is horribly broken and in need of fundamental reform, yet unable to make any forward progress whatsoever.  A revolution in social media has given us the tools necessary for implementing change; while the ineptitude of our so-called leaders has left us with no choice but to embrace these new technologies and overgrow the oligarchies of the past.  The only trick is, how?

Since our government is effectively being run by these corporate giants who rely on us as consumers to make their profits, the only true form of democracy we have left is voting with dollars.  We must become informed citizens, not only for the sake of one’s own personal health; but for the survival and prosperity of generations to come.  If we don’t find a way to hold these corporations responsible for their actions, by first taking responsibility for our own actions, then we’ll never actually be successful in reforming our government or improving the lot of society.

The real bottom line we need to be basing all of our decisions on is not dollars and cents, but the integrity of the system as a whole.  Which is defined by the integrity of every piece and minute detail of the entire process.  Corruption is an enemy that’s never going to be fully defeated, but transparency and accountability will go a very long way towards keeping it in check.

Overcoming the corruption now plaguing our society is more than just a nice idea, it is the fundamental challenge which must unify those of us striving for a better future.  We may not have the ability to change corporate structure so the “bottom line” is integrity rather than profit, but we can force these ‘all powerful’ corporations to be more responsible through our own responsible actions.  Just like we can improve our own health by simply improving our diet and exercise routines…

Riding for the brand — update on Montana’s first cannabis/hemp processing facility

A few nights ago, I got a chance to watch a screening of the new documentary “Code of the West.”  Then was treated to a fascinating panel discussion regarding the still controversial laws and evolution of our culture.  During which I had the privilege of watching Helena’s Mayor Jim Smith endorse the legalization and taxation of cannabis for all adults!  Below is a trailer for the new documentary.

Official Trailer — “Code of the West”

In agreement with all the reviews which have been coming out across Montana and the country, I thought it was a truly great film that captures the essence of this ongoing battle over medical freedom.

The title for “Code of the West” comes from another, separate piece of legislation which found approval from our Montana lawmakers during the chaotic 2011 session.  Basically, it lays down the code that cowboys tried upholding themselves to long before the days of big brother.  Which, in the distilled form of James P. Owen’s ten rules to live by, don’t sound half bad.

“Ride for the brand”, rule number seven, highlights a fascinating dynamic of politics that I feel is worthy of great exploration.  Because I am in the process of developing a profitable and ecologically responsible business which relies on defying the federal government’s chosen view of this plant.

What’s becoming more apparent, over the time I’ve spent watching these events unfold and becoming politically activated myself, is that a lot of people are unconcerned with the entire topic of cannabis until they realize how it impacts them economically.  Meaning that my little (yet rapidly progressing) business project could become a powerful political bargaining chip this election season.  After all, what politician wants to come down against local recycling, responsible manufacturing and healthy profits; in addition to dictating who has access to what medicine?

The project I’m referring to is a cannabis/hemp processing facility that will initially be turning stalks and stems of medical cannabis plants into high-quality building materials, papers and textiles.  Using an ancient method, called water retting, which also produces large quantities of organic fertilizer.  In today’s quickly-evolving market, it’s a goldmine.

Meaning the only real obstacle to developing an ultra-green and economically sustainable business from scratch is a few pieces of sturdy equipment (hemp fibers are far tougher than cotton, timber or basically any other fiber on earth.)  The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), under its current (outdated, therefore false) interpretation may be viewed as another obstacle.  But I’ve come to view it as free advertising and an opportunity to help change our severely broken laws regarding this plant.

Some people, including a few lawyers, have warned me about the potential ramifications of starting any sort of business associated with the medical cannabis industry in this wildly charged political climate.  My own extensive research into the medical and industrial potential of this sacred herb has left me convinced it should not be criminalized or in any way demonized.  Cannabis ought to be a celebrated part of our heritage and future.

Ganja, an ancient Egyptian sanscrit word for the plant, has unlimited potential in both medicine and manufacturing.  Reforming these counterproductive laws is not only imperative, it is a great lesson for the quickly growing number of us who believe our government is overdue for more extensive restructuring.   The enemy we face is not merely a law, it is the corruption of power inherent in our current form of government.

Even the infamous CSA itself has in it the explicitly defined process through which our U.S. Attorney General is to update the scheduling of substances in light of new information, medical usage and scientific understanding.  They are clearly subverting the intent of this law.

In addition to numerous lawsuits challenging current drug policy on medical grounds and ongoing reform efforts like the petition going around Montana to end cannabis prohibition for adults, there is also significant headway being made in the spiritual recognition of ganja.  A church in Hawaii recently won an instrumental case where the U.S. Ninth District Court of Appeals found they had a legitimate claim to using the herb as sacrament protected under the 1st amendment and Religious Freedom Reformation Act (RFRA.)

The U.S. Supreme Court chose not to hear an appeal, thus giving a pivotal case tacit approval.  A good summary of the case and its potential ramifications can be found here.  Links to all of the official court documents and some very interesting comments can be found here.  Even if we were to somehow fall short on all the current efforts to end prohibition at the ballot, this brutal war appears to be ending anyway.  Medical freedom will be ours and the recycling of cannabis fibers will soon be big business.

More recent developments worth noting include the personal appeal from a cancer-stricken New York Supreme Court judge, who unequivocally states “This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue…” in an opinion piece for the New York Times.  It’s receiving extensive media coverage and poised to become a huge catalyst for an about-face by politicians and others formerly critical of the plant’s medical utility.  Much like “Code of the West” is already doing in theaters across Montana, the U.S. and beyond.

Perhaps the most fascinating development of this whole mess is our government’s ongoing efforts to prosecute lawyer Chris Lindsey, for doing his job by helping Montana Cannabis follow state and local laws.  He is now facing almost seven hundred years in prison because he wouldn’t take a deal (doing so would have him disbarred and require admitting guilt to crimes he did not commit.)  The insane length of his proposed sentence comes from erroneous gun charges which each carry a mandatory minimum; unlike most violent crimes…  A great article, written by Lindsey himself and found at Medical Marijuana Business Daily, explains the situation and concludes with some good thoughts on the future:  “…History is written by the victors, and we will be the victors regardless of the battles fought against us now.”

So, for my part, I’m not going to wait around for change any longer.  I am currently working with the CI-110 petition to give adults in Montana the freedom to choose cannabis, plus I have recently been granted the title of Deputy Director for Montana NORML.  A position with many opportunities to help fight against tyranny and inform people of the possibilities which hemp and cannabis fibers allow for a more efficient economy.  Who knows, maybe Willie Nelson will decide to invest in our processing facility or even open his own?  Please contact me at gonzo0013@gmail.com for more info.

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