Tag Archives: Illegal Substances

Enviroment next victim of U.S. Drug War

From the Oregonian:

Police discovered at least 200,000 marijuana plants in raids during the busy Oregon growing and harvest season that just ended.

They also came upon jury-rigged irrigation pools filled with chemical fertilizers, causing worry among officials and environmentalists that already-threatened steelhead runs could be at risk.

In Grant County, for example, dams and chemical-laden pools were discovered along crystal-clear tributaries of the John Day River. Pot-growing operations, most run by Mexican cartels, pour fertilizer into the pools and run irrigation lines to their plants.

“They dump it by the 50-pound sack right into the water supply,” said Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer, whose department seized 60,000 pot plants at nine operations this summer in raids with the Oregon State Police, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and other agencies.

“It’s a really concentrated level,” he said. “You know it’s got to be harmful for the environment.”

Interestingly enough, Portland opened its first pot dispensary. The disconnect between marijuana laws, the added confusion of the DEA’s hands off policy and how to handle growers is starting to take its toll.

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Moving Towards Legal Marijuana

This just in from the NYT:

People who use marijuana for medical purposes and those who distribute it should not face federal prosecution, provided they act according to state law, the Justice Department said on Monday in a directive with political and legal implications.

And so Obama has held up his end of the bargain.  Earlier, he said that he would make sure medicinal marijuana will not be pursued by the DEA and left towards state jurisdiction.  In an almost ironic parallel, Obama is exercising political rhetoric of state’s rights, one that Reagan championed during his campaign platform regarding civil rights — which devastated the Democrats chances for presidential office for several terms.  Since Obama is African American, it is pretty much a smack in the face.  In addition to attempts to legalize industrial hemp in KY, (here) and protests to keep the DEA off of farmers backs for legal industrial hemp, (here) this marks an iconic period for the legitimacy of marijuana.  Let’s see how long it will last.

UPDATE (10/20): Slate weighs in stating “States could take the new policy as a tacit nod from Uncle Sam to go ahead and allow medical marijuana back home.”

Kentucky Pushes for Industrial Hemp Farming

From the article:

A Kentucky lawmaker has introduced legislation to legalize industrial hemp as a cash crop and a source for alternative fuels.

Sen. Joey Pendleton, a Democrat from Hopkinsville in southern Kentucky, said the time is right to cash in on hemp, because the plant is already legal for research purposes in Kentucky, along with seven other states, and Congress has legislation before it to decriminalize hemp.

Industrial hemp is used in alternative automobile fuels and in such products as paper, cloths, cosmetics, and carpet. Currently, all hemp included in products sold in the United States must be imported.

How would it be used as an alternative fuel? (here)

“Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol or gasoline at a fraction of the current cost of oil, coal or nuclear energy,” Jack Herer, a longtime hemp activist and author of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” said.

In his book, Herer states, “Hemp stems are 80 percent hurds” (pulp byproduct after the hemp fiber is removed from the plant).

Hemps hurds are 77 percent cellulose – a primary chemical feed stock (industrial raw material) used in the production of chemicals, plastics and fibers … an acre of full-grown hemp plants can provide from 50 to 100 times the cellulose found in cornstalks, kenaf or sugar cane.

According to Herer’s research, “Farming only 6 percent of the continental U.S. acreage with biomass [from hemp] crops would provide all of Americans’ gas and oil energy needs, ending dependence upon fossil fuels.”

He added, “Each acre of hemp would yield 1,000 gallons of methanol. Fuels from hemp, along with the recycling of paper, etc., would be enough to run America virtually without oil.

I have heard that one of the benefits of hemp is that the tonnage yielded from one acre is much greater than traditional biomass crops due to its high growth rates and resiliency.   I could only be skeptical because if it was such a miracle plant that COULD replace oil why hasn’t it already in countries where industrial hemp could be grown? Is it profitable?

Besides the skepticism, this is still a good idea.  It opens more people minds up about bringing marijuana legalization closer to reality while also jump starting the experiment of whether hemp really is the miracle plant.