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United States: Marijuana Activist Gets Her Supply From Unusual Source - Uncle Sam

By Nat Levy, The Register-Guard

There is a truth that must be heard! Elvy Musikka is one of only a few people on a government program created in the late ’80s that supplies people with medical marijuana.

In 2007, more than 775,000 people were arrested in the United States for possession of marijuana. In that same year, four people received their supply of the very same drug from the U.S. government.

Elvy Musikka was one of them.

Musikka, a 66-year-old Eugene resident by way of Florida, each year receives several tins, each containing 300 marijuana cigarettes grown by the federal government at the University of Mississippi.

She was the third person, and the first woman, to qualify to receive the government-grown product.

She did so following an arrest for growing marijuana, and a subsequent court case where her doctors testified that, unless Musikka was allowed access to marijuana, she would go blind.

“I wanted to go to court because I really don’t believe there is any government that has the right to demand blindness and suffering from their patients,” Musikka said. “That’s who they’re supposed to protect.”

Since moving to Oregon in 2005, Musikka has participated in the public debate over Oregon’s medical marijuana law. In this year’s legislative session, 14 bills are up for consideration in the House and Senate.

Canada: Stonehedge Makes Pitch To Farmers To Grow Industrial Hemp

By John Campbell, The Community Press

There is a truth that must be heard! Stirling – Stonehedge Bio-Resources Inc. is looking for farmers to grow industrial hemp that can be turned into insulation, biomasonry concrete and fuel pellets. It’s also in the market for a site to build a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing plant somewhere along the Highway 401 corridor between Belleville and Port Hope that will employ more than two dozen people.

“The total project is probably going to be in excess of $15 (million), maybe close to $20 million,” John Baker, president of Stonehedge, said in an interview. More than half of that will spent on specialized equipment developed in Europe where industrial hemp is used extensively in a variety of products, including auto parts.

The decortication factory will be the first of its kind in North America.

The Stirling-area company has “commitments” of capital from investors in the United Kingdom and the United States who need “a supply chain .. to grow their business,” – mainly hempcrete, Baker said. They’re “ready to develop the U.S. market.”

Other potential investors have expressed an interest in purchasing equity in Stonehedge as well and Baker has approached the provincial and federal governments for financing in the form of loans. However, even though “there are all kinds of government programs for the green sustainable economy,” the funding is “hard to access,” Baker says. “It’s a slow ... frustrating process.

Colorado: Medical Marijuana Advocates Cropping Up On Western Slope

By Pete Fowler, postindependent.com

There is a truth that must be heard! GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — Medical marijuana seems to be growing on the Western Slope.

A Grand Junction man plans to set up a storefront for a medical marijuana dispensary soon, and the THC Foundation of Denver has said it sees enough demand on the Western Slope that it wants to establish a permanent facility in Glenwood Springs or somewhere nearby in the future to help people obtain medical marijuana permits.

Gregg Davis, of Grand Junction, plans to establish a full-service medical marijuana dispensary in Grand Junction in June. William Hewitt, of Montrose, also reportedly has plans to open a dispensary instead of operating out of his home.

“What we’re wanting to offer is something so THC patients know they have a place to come and they’re safe,” Davis said.

Davis said he’s meeting with the city attorney and is still working on getting a location.

“It might be downtown. It may even be next to the police department,” he said.

The dispensary would be called “The Therapuetic Herbal Cure.” Davis is considering having the dispensary offer a variety of services such as massage. He said many people who have medical marijuana permits are over 60 and suffer from chronic pain.

“When you talk to some of these people it almost makes you want to cry,” he said.

Minnesota: Hemp, Hemp, Hooray - Bill Aims To Aid Farmers With New But Controversial Crop

By Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent

There is a truth that must be heard! It can be made into paper, rope, food, biodegradable plastic and even low-carbon concrete, but in Minnesota it is illegal to grow hemp. A bipartisan group of legislators is hoping hemp production will be a boon to Minnesota farmers and manufacturers as demand for the plant and its byproducts continues to grow. The Industrial Hemp Development Act (HF 608) would allow the state to issue licenses to qualified farmers who pass background checks.

Canada already allows for industrial hemp production, and North Dakota has passed laws to allow its farmers to produce hemp — only to be stymied by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency.

Hemp farmers are required to gain a permit from the DEA, but the agency has continued to reject the applications of North Dakota farmers, prompting them to file suit against the federal government. Six other states have legalized hemp production — Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana and West Virginia — yet none is producing the crop because of DEA resistance.

Oregon: Entrepreneur Finds Health Foods Very Profitable

by Fred Delkin, Oregon Magazine

There is a truth that must be heard! Timing, as they say, can be crucial in determining success or failure, be it sports or business. That truism is certainly appropriate in chronicling an Oregon entrepreneur's spectacular upward climb. Bob Moore, 80 years young, has piloted his Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods into a global sales success in just three decades since its founding in 1978. This privately held enterprise flys under the flag inscribed "whole grain foods for every meal of the day" and pumps out over 400 products that have moved into the mainstream grocery trade with a 20% per annum sales growth and now employs a staff of 170 in a new corporate milling, warehousing, distribution and retail store complex in a Milwaukie, OR industrial park. This supports sales now in double digit millions, with a network of domestic and overseas distributors.

Oregon: Activists Say Medical Marijuana Act is Under Attack

A number of activists will be at the state capitol Wednesday.

By Tim King, Salem-news.com

There is a truth that must be heard! (SALEM, Ore.) - Medical marijuana activists in Oregon are at the state capitol this week opposing SB 388 that would increase police scrutiny of sick people and create more obstacles for those who legally use cannabis for healthcare.

Michael Bachara from The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, says advocates are talking about the Human Services and Rural Health Policy.

Bachara says it is a critical time to push for the rights of sick people who use medical marijuana.

"We need to let our representatives know that we oppose this bill. It would allow law enforcement to inspect our gardens at any time and create even more hoops to jump through and more paperwork that would be a burden not only to the state but also to medical marijuana patients, caregivers and growers throughout the state," said Anna Diaz of Oregon NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws).

Another matter currently at hand is supported by over 1200 Oregon NORML members. That is Senate Bill 388-1, or the "Dash-1" amendment to this bill.

This amendment would allow patients to reimburse a registered cardholder for production costs of medicine, not just their caregiver/grower of record.

California: Hottest Startups Woo Cleantech Investors With Wide-Ranging Tech

From clean diesel engines to personal solar panels, investors had a wide range of new technologies to peruse.

By Christine Blackman, Cleantech Group

Life isn't easy for startups, especially those looking for cash at a time when private equity and institutional investors are spending slowly (see More deals, fewer dollars for cleantech in '09?).

But nearly 20 companies tried their luck pitching to the more-than 900 attendees of the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco this week.

Entrepreneurs from a wide variety of cleantech categories took the opportunity to present colorful visuals and persuade investors that the business plans were secure, despite the global economic crisis.

We monitored the presentations, and picked out a few favorites.

Ener-G-Rotors: Schenectady, N.Y.-based Ener-G-Rotors developed an expander appliance to capture low-grade, low-temperature waste heat from industrial, combined heat power operators and commercial buildings.

The company was given an award for the most promising technology at the forum. Browse past winners here »

Low grade heat that is lost in energy consumption every year could heat every U.S. residence for three years, CEO Michael Newell said. Ener-G-Rotor’s appliance is installed next to the heat source and uses an organic rankine cycle to extract heat from vapor and steam at temperatures as low as 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

United States: Beginning of the End - US Attorney General Says Ending DEA Raids

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Speaking at a press conference on Feb. 25 with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that ending federal medical marijuana raids "is now American policy."

"What the President said during the campaign...is consistent with what we will be doing here in law enforcement" - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Don Duncan, California Director of Americans for Safe Access, says the Attorney General’s comments are the latest sign of a sea change in federal policy prompted by a groundswell of grassroots pressure by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and our allies.

"They came as a response to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids carried out by Bush Administration holdovers in California in January and February," Duncan said.

President Obama indicated he would end the DEA raids during his presidential campaign, a position reiterated by the White House following DEA raids in raids which took placeon February 4.

Michigan: City Pulse - Marijuana Journal

by R.D. Winthrop

Marijuana Journal is a weekly column tracking the implementation of the state medical marijuana law. This column also appears online every Monday.

Medical cannabis users wondering how to go about obtaining state ID cards when the registration period opens in April need to talk to their physician —and by "physician" I mean an M.D. or D.O.-licensed in Michigan — right bloody now.

Do not hesitate, get on the phone and start your due diligence regarding your own medico-legal status. You´ll need time to get paperwork in order, and if your physician is not yet fully informed about the law and its protections you may meet our classic foes, Fear and Loathing. We´re hearing of physicians who don´t want to hear it.

Here´s the bottom line: If your physician will certify your need for cannabis, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Assonication believes you will indeed receive medical quality cannabis, and will stand by your effort to do so.

But you have to start with your physician. Now.

You can find all the information, forms, and personal support you need at http:// michiganmedicalmarijuana.org/. Once you register (anonymously, if you wish), all the information we gather is available, and you are free to talk with anyone in the public forums we host there.

Minnesota: Medical Marijuana Backers Push Bill

By KSTP.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Supporters of medical marijuana are enlisting family members of those who have died in slow agony as they push to get a bill to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's desk this session, even though he remains opposed.

Opponents include a former drug dealer who said authorizing seriously ill patients to obtain and use marijuana would just open the door to mischief.

The bill took its first step on Wednesday, passing the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee on a divided voice vote after an emotional hearing.

"If medicinal marijuana or medical marijuana will alleviate someone's pain in their dying days, who in the hell are we to say no to that?" said Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, who said he became a supporter after watching his mother die of cancer.

Joni Whiting - who lost her 26-year-old daughter, Stephanie, to cancer in 2003 - broke down crying after reading a statement about the ordeal and the relief marijuana brought Stephanie. Whiting said she was anti-drug but came around when she saw how it helped her daughter. She said someone left a package of marijuana on her doorstep after she asked friends how to buy it.

"I have never known who to thank for it but I remain grateful beyond belief," Whiting said.

She added: "I would have no problem going to jail for acquiring medical marijuana for my suffering child."

But others raised doubts.

Hempcrete - Hemp Building Materials - Hemp For Houses

by Rolf B. Priesnitz, Hemphasis.net & Wikipedia

Houses built from hemp have been found to use less energy, create less waste and take less fuel to heat than conventionally constructed homes.

Hemp is perhaps best known for its Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that make it a great addition to a healthy diet, and as a cotton substitute in ecologically-sound clothing and bedding. But it is also a versatile, environmentally-sound building material.

A hemp crop can be grown without the use of herbicides or insecticides and produces up to four tonnes of material per acre per year. Hemp is categorized as a bast fiber crop. It has a stem consisting of an outer skin containing long, strong fibers and a hollow wood-like core or pith. Processing the stems results in two materials: hurds and fibers, both of which have properties that make them extremely useful in building construction.

A variety of wood-like products, such as fiberboard, roofing tiles, wallboard, paneling, insulation and bricks, can be made from the compressed hurds. The fibers can also be used like straw in bale wall construction or with mud in a sort of modified cob style of building.

United States: Paul Stanford Discusses Increasing Medical Marijuana Acceptance in U.S. (VIDEO)

By Bonnie King, Salem-News.com

(SALEM, Ore.) - Medical Marijuana is now legal in 13 U.S. states. This ironic number is a demonstration of the growing popularity of laws that legalize and regulate the medicinal use of cannabis for sick people.

Along with Dr. Phillip Leveque who writes regularly on the subject, one of Oregon's central figures in the effort to bring this herb to people in a legal way is Paul Stanford of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation which operates clinics in several states.

The newest clinic is in Michigan. Paul says their relatively new clinic in the greater Detroit area is off to a great start.

Paul says in the interview posted below, that there are about a quarter of a million legal medical marijuana patients in the United States.

In Oregon, there are over 20,000 and in California there are over 300,000.

Asia: Eco Concerns Slowly Turning Asia Textiles Green

Green-friendly fabrics may be expensive, but increasing consumer demand for the environmentally-correct now is forcing Asia's textile giants to go the extra mile to produce clean cloth.

In a sign of the times, at Paris' twice-yearly Texworld textile trade fair this week, around 60 of the 660 firms exhibiting from around the world flew the green flag, a sharp increase on previous sessions, organisers said.

In China, Bangladesh and India, the world's top textile producers, as well as in Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan, natural fibres, organic yarns, fair trade practices and clean processing are creeping into an industry often chided for polluting soils, wasting water and employing child labour.

"We will be starting organic and fair trade by next year," said Sajedur Rahman Talukder, a marketing manager for Bangladesh's biggest textile-maker, Norman Group of Industries, whose tens of thousands of workers supply western firms such as Ikea.

"It is a market demand."

Eco-friendly fabrics, added South Korean firm Ludia, might currently be a niche product around 15 percent more expensive than run-of-the-mill textile, "but in two or three years the consumers will pay the difference."

"Eco-friendly is our key item, the market has changed," said a company manager.

Oregon: ACLU Stands Up for Medical Marijuana Patients - Join Them

By ACLU-Oregon

In 2009, the Oregon legislature will consider legislation that allows employers to fire an employee who is never impaired in the workplace simply because the employee lawfully uses medical marijuana during non-work hours to treat a medical condition. Yet the law would not penalize workers who take physician-prescribed medications and are actually impaired at the workplace. This is fundamentally unfair and discriminates against medical marijuana patients.

No worker should be removed from a job simply because he or she suffers from a debilitating medical condition that can be controlled by the lawful use of medical marijuana. Actual impairment, not which medication is used, should be the focus of any law giving employers the power to fire employees (indeed legislation is unnecessary because employers already have the ability to terminate impaired employees).

Under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, passed by voters in 1998, Oregonians have the right to use medical marijuana when recommended by a physician to treat a medical condition. Employment laws should not single out medical marijuana patients for harsher treatment than patients using other medications, such as codeine, amphetamines, morphine or other lawfully prescribed controlled substances.

This legislation does not make the workplace safer.

Washington State: Lawmakers Considering Decreasing Pot Penalty

By BRIAN SLODYSKO, Associated Press Writer

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Civil liberties groups, medical marijuana supporters and a smattering of music festival-goers may have reason to rejoice: The Legislature is considering a proposal that would effectively decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

A bill proposed by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, would reduce the penalty for possessing marijuana in quantities of 1.4 ounces or less to a civil infraction carrying a $100 fine.

"Marijuana has been demonized and has been demonized in such an overboard manner," Kohl-Welles said Tuesday.

Currently, possession of small amounts of the leafy drug is a misdemeanor offense, warranting arrest and carrying the possibility of punishment with fines and jail time.

If Kohl-Welles' bill is approved, possession of marijuana would no longer be an offense subject to arrest. However, teenagers younger than 18 would still be subject to current law.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the bill Tuesday.

"Marijuana is less addictive than alcohol, tobacco or caffeine," said former state Rep. Toby Nixon, R-Kirkland, testifying before the committee. "The most dangerous thing about marijuana is the possibility of getting arrested for its possession... I don't think it's the devil weed that many say that it is."

Civil liberties groups support the measure, saying law enforcement officers should focus on more serious crimes.

Global: Hemp as a Fuel - Energy Source

By Jeremy Briggs, Hemphasis

Biodiesel fuel from Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil can be used as is in bio-diesel engines. Methyl esters, or bio-diesel, can be made from any oil or fat including hemp seed oil. The reaction requires the oil, an alcohol (usually methanol), and a catalyst, which produces bio-diesel and small amount of glycerol or glycerin. When co-fired with 15% methanol, bio-diesel fuel produces energy less than 1/3 as pollution as petroleum diesel.

Energy and Fuel from Hemp Stalks through Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is the technique of applying high heat to biomass, or organic plants and tree matter, with little or no air. Reduced emissions from coal-fired power plants and automobiles can be accomplished by converting biomass to fuel utilizing pyrolysis technology. The process can produce, from lingo-cellulosic material (like the stalks of hemp), charcoal, gasoline, ethanol, non-condensable gasses, acetic acid, acetone, methane, and methanol. Process adjustments can be done to favor charcoal, pyrolytic oil, gas, or methanol, with 95.5% fuel-to-feed ratios. Around 68% of the energy of the raw biomass will be contained in the charcoal and fuel oils -- renewable energy generated here at home, instead of overpaying for foreign petroleum.

California: Medical Marijuana Group to Lobby Riverside County Supervisors

By K Kaufmann, The Desert Sun

Patients want county to issue guidelines for collectives, end raids

With President Barack Obama voicing support for an end to federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in California, Coachella Valley patients and advocates are ready to push Riverside County officials for a similar end to raids and prosecution.
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And they are taking their case to the county Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in Riverside where several are expected to speak during the part of the meeting reserved for public comments.

“We’re going to ask them to get the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s office just to sit down with us to talk about how collectives can operate without them coming in and (people) getting arrested,” said Lanny Swerdlow, president of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, a patient advocacy group.

Swerdlow said he has been trying for a few months to set up a meeting with either the D.A. or Sheriff’s Department, without success.

He estimated 10 or more patients might speak at the board meeting.

Stacy Hochanadel, owner of the CannaHelp dispensary in Palm Springs, said he intends to be at the meeting.

United States: Congress To Holder - Let UMASS Grow Pot

By Ryan Grim, HuffPost Reporting From DC

A bipartisan group of sixteen members of Congress sent a letter Thursday to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to allow the University of Massachusetts to grow its own marijuana for medical research.

Marijuana used for research, and that distributed to patients in a closed federal program, is currently grown exclusively by the University of Mississippi. Patients who have smoked it and researchers who have tried to work with it say it's total swag (very low quality).

For eight years, UMASS Professor Lyle Craker has been fighting with the Drug Enforcement Administration to get a license to cultivate his own medical pot.

In February 2007 Craker looked to have won, when DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner ruled that his request was "in the public interest" and called on the agency to license him.

In a last-minute Bush Administration order, however, the DEA reversed Bittner's ruling and refused Craker the license, citing evidence that hadn't been presented during the initial hearing.

The letter from members of Congress encourages Holder "swiftly to amend or withdraw"
the decision and allow Craker to rebut the new DEA evidence.

Forty-five members of the House, along with Massachusetts Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, as well as the Lymphoma Foundation of America, the National Association for Public Health Policy, and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation have all written the DEA in support of Craker's efforts.

Illinois: America Should Grow Hemp Again

By Dan Linn, Illinois NORML

America is the only industrial nation that does not grow hemp. Hemp can be used for many things and at one time in colonial America was illegal not to grow but because of its relations to the cannabis plant it has been outlawed. However, during WWII there was a “Hemp for Victory” campaign.

Illinois should allow its farmers to grow hemp once again. There is not one good reason to continue banning the production of hemp in America. It could help with our struggling economic times or at least should be an option for Illinois farmers. When things get tough shouldn’t all options be considered?

Gov. Ryan twice vetoed legislation in Illinois regarding the production of hemp, but there is no reason why this issue should not be revisited. Hemp can be used for biodiesel fuel, cordage, a food product and many more things so outlawing it makes it even worse. Some say it might save the world and while I won’t go that far at this time I do think it could help, and if it was good to enough to do during WWII I think it should be grown today.

Dan Linn, Executive Director Illinois Chapter National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, Sycamore

Source: http://www.galesburg.com/opinions/x494342176/LETTER-America-should-grow-...

Pennsylvania: History in Every Scene Change

By Howard Shapiro, Inquirer Staff Writer

What you see in the auditorium of the Walnut Street Theatre's main stage is the result of makeovers across two centuries. What you don't see - behind, above and underneath the seating area and the stage - is history intact inside the National Historic Landmark.

The most notable historic piece in the nation's oldest working theater affects every show on the main stage: It's a system of scenery pulleys with sandbag counterweights that must be filled to the proper weight for each piece of scenery that drops into view in every show.

Modern theaters use a simple system of lead counterweights attached to a theater wall on one end and wires that pull scenery on the other. The weights are easily changed to balance different scenery, much as weights are added or removed for different levels of resistance in gym workout equipment.

The Walnut, though, is one of America's few remaining "hemp houses" (along with another Center City stage, Plays & Players on Delancey Place) - theaters whose scenery drops and lifts the old-fashioned way.

A "hemp house" uses stagehands and sandbags to raise and lower set pieces attached to thick ropes made of hemp, the only fiber strong and stable enough for the purpose. Each time the huge Walnut scenery shop builds a piece of scenery that isn't on stage throughout the play and that doesn't move onstage from the wings, it must be raised and lowered by the hemp system.

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