"The word "illusion" is used to denote different aspects in Hindu philosophy. Many monist philosophies clearly demarcate illusion from truth and falsehood. Per advaita philosophy, illusion is something which is not true and not false. Whereas in general usage it is common to assume that illusion is false, Hindu philosophy makes a distinction between Maya (illusion) and falsehood."
One would hope after the past few decades, that the illusions of cannabis propaganda would give way to the light of reason and reality. Apparently not. The Ministry of Truth is still quite hard at work spreading carefully constructed illusions, subterfuge and deceptions. Spin doctors are paid to produce shoddy "research" and quotes for the media. Professional, peer-reviewed research is buried. What is a poor citizen supposed to believe? Really? When the prohibitionists consistently concoct an Orwellian double-speak narative, why are they surprised when no one believes them any more?
Reality is that the illusion is fading away. A vast web of lies is being challenged, dis-proven and replaced. Education and the internet have provided a way to the truth. Now it is possible to find information and discover alternate views about the war on drugs, cannabis, social change, technology, innovation & so much more. The flow of information drives this process. No longer do the TV & news "sources" present the dominant opinion to everyone. Seeing a different truth is quite eye opening. Reality takes on a new dimension. Those who seek the facts, find out the truth and reveal that information are few & far between. The truth will set you free.
Illusion is when you believe that hemp is not cannabis -or- that medical marijuana is magically different that so called recreational weed or pot. Illusion is using slurs, racist and derogatory terms to describe the entire sub-culture. Illusion is when you believe that the pharmaceutical corporate drug industry has any real interest in the plant beyond synthetic chemical analogues. Illusion is when you have no idea that this natural, organic agricultural crop impacts several large, well entrenched industries. Illusion is when you imagine that draconian rules & regulations will eliminate "organized crime". Illusion is when you think that criminal sanctions from the drug war are good for our civilization.
Reality is that the war on drugs is a waste. It has failed. Worse, it has impeded one of the more useful plants that has ever evolved on our planet from being used on a global scale.
Reality is when you see through the illusion and get a glimpse of the future. A vision shared by a those crazy enough to believe that there is another way. Ideas of atmospheric phytoremediation via agricultural carbon sequestration. Concepts of closed loop fuel systems... wholesale changes in manufacturing technology. The list goes on.
Reality is that the science of CB1 and CB2 receptors is now being researched. Complex relationships between THC / anandamide molecules are just beginning to be understood. Interactions between the various cannabis compounds are finally being acknowledged as part of the extensive range of therapeutic effects. Reality is that the ancient medical use of cannabis is coming back into the 21st century. Science is starting to understand the true wisdom of Mother Nature. Knowledge and science - not illusion.
Reality is that research & science are also the key to unlocking the massive potential of this particular crop. Over the past generations, cannabis has been out of the loop. While other fields advanced, very few were ever allowed to do serious inquiries into the value of cannabis. Chemical science, Materials science. Agricultural science. Medical science. Reality is that new research is just now starting to show interesting results. A large number of questions remain to be answered. New taxonomy research on the origin of the species indicates that the "Indica" strain is world dominant... even within the industrial "hemp" cannabis genetics. "Sativa" strains were likely cultivated mostly for fiber or seed from 18,000 years ago in a different region of the world. This presents a different set of facts from the generally accepted information. Scientists are starting to unlock carbon technology. Specific areas deal with carbon from agricultural sources. This has the potential to be a serious game changer. What role will cannabis play?
Future considerations: Industrial Cannabis Revolution
Five myths (illusions) are being repeated over & over in the mainstream media. Ask yourself: Why do we hear these same stone cold lies? Must be willful ignorance or intentional deception. Smoke and mirrors. This is beginning to irritate me just a little bit after 30 or 40 years. Lets take these myths in order.
Number One: Cannabis potency is "so much stronger than it used to be". Really? This is Nonsense. It is a little bit like complaining that vodka is 40% while whiskey is 35% and beer is 7%. Cannabis has varied from very low THC levels to quite high THC levels for million of years. The overall historical average has tended to be lower yet the Dutch government shows a consistent range for a decade. It varies. In my experience, the real modifying factor here is that both medical & social cannabis breeding has brought out higher THC strains. This is just modern selection & breeding. Smart business too - Very Popular with customers! (Quality drives any market) A study conducted by the Trimbos Institute and commissioned by the Dutch Health Ministry showed that, in 2012, the average level of THC was 13,5%. This is a relatively large decline from 2011's average percentage of 15,5%. It involved analyzing cannabis purchased in 48 of the Netherlands' 651 coffee shops. A relatively small sampling considering the hundreds of strains available worldwide.
Number Two: Cannabis contains over 400 chemicals. Double speak! So what? Coffee contains 1,500 chemicals. Only 21 of those chemicals have actually been tested on animals and 16 of these cause cancer in rodents. Yet, coffee remains perfectly legal and is generally considered fairly safe. Rat poison contains only 30 chemicals. There are 483 chemicals in marijuana, but only 75 of them are unique to the Cannabis plant - these are called cannabinoids. Do your own research. This myth is used to insinuate that "toxic" chemicals or cancerous (smoke) by-products are contained in cannabis.
Number Three: Cannabis needs to be "studied" more because "There is no research". "Cannabis has no therapeutic value." Balderdash! Why on earth do they keep saying this rubbish? Can't they read? Apparently not. Here's a list of 15,000+ studies collected by Granny Storm. No, I didn't count them all and I haven't finished reading all of them yet, either. None of the medical tests currently used to detect brain damage in humans have found harm from cannabis, even from long-term high-dosage use. This collection is keeping some friends of mine really really busy.
Number Four: Cannabis "impairs driving like alcohol". Horsefeathers! This one gets a lot of traction in the media. I fully agree, impaired driving IS dangerous…. no matter what you are impaired with: Chemicals, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, lack of sleep, food, cannabis, cell phones… whatever. Simple answer. If you're not functioning: Don't drive. It's way more fun to have someone else drive. There's a joke, "Smokin' weed? Nothing straightens you up faster than a cop driving by". The science does not support the hysteria. We have a driving study from 1993 ~ and I quote: "Drivers under the influence of marijuana retain insight in their performance and will compensate where they can, for example, by slowing down or increasing effort. As a consequence, THC's adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small."
Number Five: Cannabis and "hemp" are 'cousins' or magically "different" somehow. Preposterous! More double speak. So-called "hemp" was bred ONLY for low THC during the 1970's in France. Cannabaceae is well defined in scientific literature & taxonomy. The cannabis family & sub-species are distinct and include: Sativa (Latin for cultivated), Indica (Latin for "Indian") and Ruderallis (wild from Siberia). These sub species ALL breed together. Cannabis does not, for example, breed with it's cousin, Humulus (hops) at all, ever. Newer, current research indicates that the so-called "hemp" strains are more genetically related to the Indica segment of the species - rather than the Sativa strains cultivated for fiber & seed in other parts of the world. Selective breeding has developed a range from broad leafed "Indica" strains used historically for food & sacrament to taller, narrow leafed "Sativa" strains for rope & clothing. In other words, the Indica "drug" strain subspecies is world dominant. A recent archeological discovery in Taiwan shows cannabis use 35,000 years ago. This archeological evidence pushes cannabis use back well beyond the earlier records of 12,000 years ago. Doesn't look like our ancestors were fooled by prohibition at all, either.
Next considerations: Cannabis Infrastructure
Really makes me wonder. Over the years there are myths & tales which get re-cycled and attain the status of urban legend. Some of these myths seem to come from prohibitionists. Other tales seem to get repeated by cannabis growers as nothing more than bragging rights for marketing purposes. For example we see this idea from the straight stoners: "OMG Today's marijuana is so much stronger than weed from the 60's" -or' 70's -or 80's....." (Like that's a bad thing?) My considered and humble opinion?
Horsefeathers. Scientific testing done over decades by the Dutch government, for example, shows that cannabis varies from 3.5% to an average of 7% with some rare samples as high at 18%. This has been true since the dawn of time. My considered opinion? So what? Many of the land-race strains from the 60"s were much more psychoactive than current indoor hybrids. Occasionally a truly psychedelic variety would show up from the high mountains of Oaxaca, for example. I speak from rather direct experiences. A related piece of non-sense is that cannabis and hemp are "cousins". It is the same plant. Watching hemp farmers try to distance themselves from cannabis is quite hilarious. Gentlemen, really. So called "hemp" strains were NOT really chosen & bred for their stellar performance in seed nor superior fiber production. This deceptive terminology is nothing but semantic illusion engineered by prohibitionists doing selective breeding to isolate low-THC strains since the 1970's. A way to control the cannabis community.
Similar government wisdom is at work with the "medical marijuana" market. Recreational cannabis is outlawed and strict controls are being established over medical cannabis: an herb with dozens of cannabinoid compounds and thousands of uses. As if prohibition is beneficial only if you are not suffering. Major corporations wish to the become the new organized criminals in the cannabis community. Speaking of "organized criminals", a study done recently by a professor at UBC found that a mere 5% of illegal grow-ops were connected to organized crime. Leads to the joke that IF you have ever tried to buy a pound of good weed, organized is the LAST thing you can call these people. In my delicate view, the real criminals are the prohibitionists. Consider the vast sums of taxpayers monies spent on "agencies", "think tanks", "consultants", "media partners", "propaganda", "NGO's", "spin doctors", "non-profit groups" in the shadows; just to maintain prohibition. This is the hidden part of the war on drugs that is not visible like the obvious police costs, court costs and prison costs. The hard social costs are even more extreme. Hidden below that is the corruption that infects every single level of enforcement: from bribes at the ports of entry, cannabis in the prison system to the payoffs at higher levels all the way up the food chain. Our children suffer the most and the biggest risk of "marijuana" is the risk of getting arrested.
The really crazy part of this is that some higher authority has decided that an ancient species is not "legal"... no matter what real evidence surfaces. The high priests of prohibition seem to use this social disaster as a means to control the cannabis nation: those who fail to comply. It is a simple way to collect records, information and resources from the population that dares to alter their consciousness. Part of this rhetoric is a "drug free" world, driven by a civilization awash in drugs: chemical pharmaceutical compounds with massive side effects. The real truth is that drugs are manufactured and herbs are grown. A much bigger truth is that cannabis has the very real potential to impact a very serious problem: rising CO2 levels. The true oxymoron here is that the governments and corporations outlaw the healing of the nations.
Next considerations: Cannabis Phytoremediation
The roots of prohibition can be traced to the colonial empires of the past. British Empire politics and policies encouraged prohibition for nearly 500 years. On the other hand, the British Navy sailed on cannabis ("hemp") for rope, clothing and sails. It was a requirement that citizens grow the plant everywhere, in every port. This did help to spread "Indian Hemp" around the world. Hail Britannia. Cannabis prohibition appears to be just more of the same with a modern twist: profiling of the citizens. Racist roots aside, the net effect of prohibition results in wholesale records, criminal and otherwise, that are created and stored in "law" enforcement databases worldwide. A clear violation of Human Rights & Freedoms. Section 8 of our Charter states: Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure. The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that the purpose of Section 15 is to protect those groups who suffer social, political and legal disadvantage in society. Discrimination occurs where, for example, a person, because of a personal characteristic, suffers disadvantages or is denied opportunities available to other members of society. Searching the internet and phone records, for example, to detailing connections between those in the cannabis community, is illegal. Yet it happens every day. Guilt by association. Members of the cannabis culture are routinely discriminated against on a daily basis.
The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that a limit on Charter rights is acceptable if:
• the limit deals with a pressing and substantial social problem, and
• the government's response to the problem is reasonable and demonstrably justified.
Criminal court cases where deeply held spiritual beliefs are examined (on trial in relation to cannabis), the judges rulings have used the "not withstanding" clause to violate Charter Rights on a consistent basis. Jail time has been ordered to "punish" the defendants ~ as if that would change their beliefs! The governments response is neither reasonable nor justified - except under the terms of prohibition. A sincere belief in the Tree of Life can land you in prison. In no uncertain terms, this is persecution of a religious minority under Section 2 of the Charter. Very clear violations of the Charter of Rights & Freedoms.
The larger social & economic impact is even greater. We've all seen the numbers and the statistics. They seriously suck. The entire justice system is broken. Indeed the pressing and substantial social problem IS prohibition itself. A failed social policy that undermines our civilization in corrupt ways. In the words of the Senate in 2002, prohibition is "a failure of good governance". What is the way out? One approach is to jam the machine. Stand on your rights as a citizen. Simply refuse to plead guilty, drag the whole thing out for months. This serves to occupy valuable time & resources in the "justice system'. It's just not worth spending all that effort into prosecuting minor cannabis consumers. Putting them in jail only costs the taxpayers more & more year after year. Worse, the issue is never resolved. Law enforcement can't even keep cannabis out of the prisons. Prohibition contributes nothing but social & financial damage to all citizens. Taxpayers suffer under the burden whether they agree or not. Billions of tax dollars wasted. Decade after decade. Qualifies as taxation without representation. We do not consent.
Another tactic is by democratic vote. In States where a ballot initiative is (even) allowed, the citizens have overturned cannabis prohibition. Oddly enough, the sky didn't fall. Here in Canada they don't really let us vote. The last referendum was years and years ago. A national referendum was held on alcohol prohibition in 1898.... yes, 116 years ago. Guess what? Prohibition fell as a result of the citizens being sick & tired of being subject to a social policy created by politicians and vested interests. The sky didn't fall. Sound familiar? History has a tendency to repeat itself.
Work by on this subject (by other experts) notes that Washington and Colorado have already legalized cannabis. "I think it can be safely said that Washington's law is viewed as problematic. Colorado is better. I think we can do better yet. Something simple and not overly restrictive." For example:
• A preamble, with a list of Whereas':, listing the evils and failures of prohibition.
• Cannabis, in any form, formulation, product or extract, shall be legal for adults to possess, grow and to give away for free.
• Commercial sales and cultivation of cannabis shall subject to the same regulation as other retail, industrial or agricultural businesses and be subject to standard taxes only.
• Age limit (18 - 21) ie: If you can vote, cannabis is legal.
• People having past convictions for cultivation, possession or sale, shall have their criminal records expunged.
• Nothing here shall change the law on impaired driving.
• Nothing here shall be construed as superseding current medicinal "marijuana" laws.
• Add protection for parents from government agencies as to use, possession, or growing in homes with children, and for medicinal use by children.
When writing such a bill, avoid restrictive:
• Local options
• Tax earmarks
• Public consumption
• Outside vs inside grow
• Cannabis vs Hemp
• Grow quantities
• Lab testing*
Here in Canada, the recommendations of the Senate* report ©2002, the Liberal's majority vote on Resolution 112 ©2012 and the draft policy paper* tabled by the Young Liberals ©2013 will be the guiding documents for the repeal of prohibition after the next election. It is a serious political and social issue. This problem began in Parliament, it must end there. Nothing less will do. Our descendants may be stuck for 50 or 100 years with what we come up with... so it is vital that we get it right. Convoluted rules, regulations and restrictions will impact the free market innovations and products for years to come. We'll get to those in a bit.
Next article: Regulating Cannabis - Oxymoron #2