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Open Thread

Updates on some recent activities:

  1. The Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival. I was a judge for the sixth year for this fantastic film fest, this year at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. Got to see some amazing films, not the least of which was the amazing film Monkey, which took seven awards, including Best of the Festival.
  2. “Hair” is running at the Mercury Theater in Chicago. If you’re anywhere in the area, please go see this musical (running through September 24). It’s the best production I’ve seen, with a really outstanding cast, and there’s something about seeing it in these troubled times that is extraordinarily cathartic. My small contribution even got some press:

    “But one of the most powerful moments can be attributed to the highly controversial nudity scene done here with taste, innovation and strength, avoiding the usual discomfort and vulnerability exhibited by most other productions and ensembles. This is largely due to the genius of The Living Canvas’ Pete Guither’s projection design and an explosive harmonious “freedom” sung at the end of “Where Do I Go.”” – PerformInk Review

  3. There’s a reason I never moved in the last 26 years. This packing thing is really kicking my ass. Once I finish moving next week, I think I’ll wait at least another 26 years.

Marijuana politics emerge as 2020 flash point in Politico

Marijuana legalization just moved from the fringes of the last presidential campaign to center stage in 2020.

Between a sweeping new package of legislation introduced last week by one of the top Democratic presidential prospects and, on the other end of the spectrum, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vigorous opposition to recreational use of marijuana, the debate over legalization of cannabis is about to receive a full airing on the presidential campaign trail.

We’ll see, but that would be nice.


Why no one is stopping Détente’s drug war

Interesting analysis.

From the start of his presidency, Duterte offered his subordinates and the public absolution for the drug war. All responsibility, he vowed, would be his, personally. He has said time and again that anyone convicted in a court of law will receive a presidential pardon. That declaration offers the key for his success at gaining public consent for his war on drugs. He has placed himself above, and thus beyond, ordinary law, making himself the supreme law.

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83 comments to Open Thread

  • primus

    Cull prior to packing, cull during packing, cull while unpacking, then again while putting away. Major goal is to reduce inventory so life is simpler and so is the next move. Then, cull every 5 years, going through everything. You will be amazed how disinterested you have become re yesterday’s treasures, and how much better it is to not be surrounded by clutter. BTW congrats on becoming a genius.

    • I wish I had culled every 5 years. However, I’ve made three trips to the dump, one to Goodwill, three to Habitat for Humanity ReStore, two to the library, given some things to friends, and plan to put some stuff out on the curb on moving day, so I’m making some progress in downsizing.

      And thanks!

  • Servetus

    Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is being escorted by security personnel because he recently equated the Vice-President of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela to Pablo Escobar. Now an “uncorroborated” report accuses Diasdodo Cabello of putting out a contract on Senator Rubio’s life:

    13 August 2017 — …Though federal authorities couldn’t be sure at the time if the uncorroborated threat was real, they took it seriously enough that Rubio has been guarded by a security detail for several weeks in both Washington and Miami.

    Diosdado Cabello, the influential former military chief and lawmaker from the ruling socialist party who has publicly feuded with Rubio, was believed to have issued the order.

    At a July 19 Senate hearing, the same day he was first spotted with more security, Rubio repeated his line that Cabello –– who has long been suspected by U.S. authorities of drug trafficking –– is “the Pablo Escobar of Venezuela.” A week ago on Twitter, Cabello called the senator “Narco Rubio.”

    The death threat was outlined in a memo to several law enforcement agencies last month by the Department of Homeland Security. The memo, designated “law enforcement sensitive” but not classified, was obtained by the Miami Herald.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/powerful-venezuelan-lawmaker-may-have-issued-death-order-against-rubio-us-memo-says/ar-AAq0MUX?OCID=ansmsnnews11

    Accusations of drug smuggling were used to topple Panama’s Noriega. Just because the idea worked before doesn’t mean it will work again. Narco Rubio should be more careful. At minimum he might try concocting something more imaginative than relying on a worn drug war theme to target Cabello.

  • Well, all I can say is: CLUELESS!

    Report: Trump says he might pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio
    https://tinyurl.com/yd2yd855

    That would make a real sham out of justice in America.

    • WalStMonky

      .
      .

      Who does he think he is, Dick Nixon?

      Where the heck is “the LAW is the LAW (blah, blah, blah)” crowd when authorities violate their oath and refuse to uphold laws they don’t like? Up in the peanut gallery cheering that law breaking like the hypocritical partisan hacks that they are is where.

  • WalStMonky

    .
    .

    A few years ago there came a time when I decided that it was much more likely than not that Big Prohibition kept shelves and shelves of almost finished “research” studies which could be quickly completed and published as needed to counter any positive events or news about cannabis. It appears that demand has outstripped demand. I think that their cupboard is bare. Let’s file this one in the “weren’t the Coneheads from France?” category:

    133% leap in children admitted to ER for marijuana, study finds

    /snip/
    The number of children who were admitted to emergency rooms for unintentional marijuana intoxication increased by 133% in France over an 11-year period, according to a new study.

    /snip/
    Cannabis is illegal in France, but it has the highest rate of marijuana use in Europe, said Dr. Isabelle Claudet, lead author of the study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

    /snip/
    From 2004 to 2014, 235 children were admitted to ERs with cannabis intoxication, and there was a 133% increase in the admissions rate for it. The number of calls to poison control centers related to cannabis exposure in children increased by 312% in the same period.

    /snip/
    Claudet believes the best way to decrease the number of pediatric marijuana intoxication cases in France is to decrease the concentration of THC in cannabis through regulation.

    I must say that the last one left me fish mouthing when I read it.

    • DC Reade

      wait a minute. say that again.

      From 2004 to 2014, 235 children were admitted to ERs with cannabis intoxication, and there was a 133% increase in the admissions rate for it. The number of calls to poison control centers related to cannabis exposure in children increased by 312% in the same period.

      So we’re talking about an annual mean of 23-24 children per year, in the nation of France, with a population of 66 million. And the highest rate of cannabis use of any nation in Europe, despite its illegality.

      Weighted, the 133%!!!!!!!! increase in ER admission amounts to an increase from approximately 14 to 33 annually, over the ten-year span between 2004 and 2014.

      If any of those 235 ER admissions had led to a single death or permanent disability, you can be sure that we would have heard about it in that story.

      But- 133%!!!!!!!!!! “Coma”!!!

      Faux News strikes again. We all know how heavily they cover health and medical care stories, especially ones about France.

      • DC Reade

        Well, CNN picked it up, too.

        I’d like to link my comment, but I don’t do Facebook, and CNN requires it.

  • DC Reade

    As long as we’re doing medical stories, here’s one I pulled up, about the country United States of America:

    Americans are drinking themselves to death at record rates
    By Christopher Ingraham December 22, 2015

    “…Alcohol is killing Americans at a rate not seen in at least 35 years, according to new federal data. Last year, more than 30,700 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes, including alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis, which is primarily caused by alcohol use.

    In 2014, there were 9.6 deaths from these alcohol-induced causes per 100,000 people, an increase of 37 percent since 2002…”

    “…In recent years, public health experts have focused extensively on overdose deaths from heroin and prescription painkillers, which have risen rapidly since the early 2000s. But in 2014, more people died from alcohol-induced causes (30,722) than from overdoses of prescription painkillers and heroin combined (28,647), according to the CDC…”

    The CDC isn’t including the heavy additional death toll due to opiod use-related kidney failure and hepatitis from IV use, of course. But those deaths aren’t directly due to the opioids; they’re due to the NSAIDs that the pills are cut with, and sharing dirty needles. Furthermore, alcohol is a factor in around 40% of opioid and/or benzodiazepine overdoses. I don’t know how the CDC accounts for that factor in their statistics.

    I think the oblivion mode of alcohol and drug use is juvenile stupidity, at best. I’m glad I grew out of it; even as a teenager, it was a mistake. But for as long as I’ve been alive, the drug laws have been tacitly sending the message- backed up by force- that that we’re all irresponsible adolescents who require strict supervision, and/or dependent clients of the therapeutic state who are too ignorant to be provided with a knowledge base for our own informed decision-making. So it isn’t all that surprising to see more people falling for that implicit official narrative. Some of the adults put under a regime of control that treats them as if they’re in a state of perpetual immaturity are bound to eventually internalize the program. Truculent rebellion, nihilistic binging, and blithely mixing toxic combinations is practically inevitable.

  • DC Reade

    Compare this with somewhere between 14-33 ER admissions (and zero deaths) annually in the years 2004-2014 due to accidental ingestion of too much cannabis by small children in France:

    “There are more than 2,200 alcohol poisoning deaths in the U.S. each year – an average of 6 alcohol poisoning deaths every day…”

    https://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/alcohol/alcohol-poisoning/dpk-vs-alcohol-poisoning.html

  • DdC

    There’s Only 1 Demographic
    That Still Thinks Marijuana Should Be Illegal

    The holdouts: In terms of generation or age, it’s the Silent Generation. Roughly 59% of these people born between the years of 1925 and 1945 have evidently not found arguments in favor of legalization to be persuasive.

    The second group is conservative Republicans, which disapprove of legalization by 62% to 33%. What’s interesting here is other subsets of Republicans, by Pew’s measurements, show support for legalization by a 2:1 margin. It’s the conservative wing that is tilting the overall Republican category.

    How many “crimes” do Corporations Buy?
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/1165

    Is Sessions’s opposition to legalizing marijuana racially motivated?

    The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, which represents Latino lawmakers from across the U.S., passed a resolution endorsing marijuana legalization and slamming prohibition’s racist origins.

    Top Five “Questionable Characters” Involved With Drug Free Florida

    Florida anti-pot leader says weed makes you gay, leads to AIDS (seriously)

  • Servetus

    Researchers at the University of Queensland have discovered the brain’s amygdala produces new stem cells just as the hippocampus does. Cannabinoids are known to act as a neurogenerator and are used by some to treat PTSD, a dysfunction originating in the amygdala:

    15-AUG-2017 — Disrupted connections in the amygdala, an ancient part of the brain, are linked to anxiety disorders such as PTSD.

    Queensland Brain Institute director Professor Pankaj Sah said the research marked a major shift in understanding the brain’s ability to adapt and regenerate.[…]

    “Fear learning leads to the classic flight or fight response — increased heart rate, dry mouth, sweaty palms — but the amygdala also plays a role in producing feelings of dread and despair, in the case of phobias or PTSD, for example,” Dr Jhaveri said.

    “Finding ways of stimulating the production of new brain cells in the amygdala could give us new avenues for treating disorders of fear processing, which include anxiety, PTSD and depression.”

    Previously new brain cells in adults were only known to be produced in the hippocampus, a brain region important for spatial learning and memory.

    The discovery of that process, called neurogenesis, was made by Queensland Brain Institute founding director Professor Perry Bartlett, who was also involved in the latest research.[…]

    AAAS Public Release: Adult brains produce new cells in previously undiscovered area

    Also see: Marijuana administration after a traumatic experience prevents post-traumatic stress symptoms

    • DdC

      Ganja for treating Chronic Prohibitionism

      Conservatives Have Larger ‘Fear Centers’ in Their Brains 12 Apr 2011
      http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1690
      British study shows conservatives’ brains tend to have larger amygdalas, which responsible for primitive emotions. Conservatives’ brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other “primitive” emotions. At the same time, conservatives’ brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate — the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism.

      • DdC

        Inch by inch, step by step, the prohibitionists with chronic prohibitionism will enlarge their brain fear centers until their heads pop like over ripe zits.

        After 12,000 years of human co-existance with the cannabis plant. To supplement the ECS (EndoCannabinoid System). The early 20th Century Prohibition = total abstinence for generations. Larger fear centers, less independent thought and more dependence on authoritarian figures telling them how to act and what to say. Sheep.

    • NorCalNative

      Very cool stuff, but the second link is misleading.

      The study actually used an unspecified “synthetic” CB1 agonist rather than marijuana.

      Amygdala size and function seems to have important health implications for society and maybe even our future as a species.

  • The Big Cheese

    Kapt Nemo’s crazies are really throwing themselves down the stairs and out into the street, at least in Charlottesville. Trump has given these people license to spout their previously hidden lunacy.

    • Servetus

      Shortly after the events in Charlottesville an innocent person was framed as the driver of the Dodge Challenger that plowed into the crowd by a member of the so-called alt-right who labeled the individual a “druggie”. It was later that the actual driver, James Alex Fields, was arrested:

      “BREAKING: #Charlottesville Car Terrorist Is Anti-Trump, Open Borders Druggie,” reported GotNews, a website owned by far-right provocateur Chuck Johnson.

      “[Name redacted] likes taking drugs and getting stoned, a look at his social media shows. What he under the influence when he crashed into the crowd at Charlottesville?” the post read.

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/alt-right-media-framed-wrong-person-in-car-attack-labeled-him-anti-trump-druggie

      Alt-right or prohibitionist? One and the same? According to Johnson, consumption of weed would likely disqualify Fields from entering the ranks of proto-fascists, or the KKK according to Jeff Sessions. We don’t know yet whether the actual car terrorist was a druggie, but Johnson’s tweet is a clear indication of whose side white Christian nationalists favor.

      • DC Reade

        As always, such claims depend on the sort of drugs being discussed.

        It’s been reported that Fields had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in his teens, and put on antipsychotic meds for a while. I’m not sure that counts…

        • The Big Cheese

          Expect to see his medical records featuring heavily in the defense. Maybe Trump will pardon him along with all the other crooks on his list.

  • Servetus

    Despite a greater public familiarity with marijuana and its effects, more young people are being sent to drug rehab despite the fact that marijuana consumption is not increasing among the youth demographic.

    Dr. Miesha Marzell, Assistant Professor of Social Work at Binghamton University, State University of New York, questions the necessity of it all:

    15-AUG-2017 — …As to why numbers are up, Marzell says that it could be that people are seeing any kind of use as high-risk and want to make sure that, from a prevention standpoint, that they stay on top of it.

    “As states legalize, it provides a different access to this drug. It could be that people are reporting any type of use now as risky, whereas before it wasn’t on the minds of people as much,” she said.

    While Marzell notes that any marijuana that a youth does is illegal and high-risk, experimenting with one joint, for example, doesn’t necessarily warrant substance abuse treatment. Marzell said that placing youth in substance abuse treatment unnecessarily can have negative impacts on their life trajectory, as they can be stigmatized.

    “It might not be the best course of action for a drug behavior. If you get a splinter, you don’t put a cast on; if you break your arm, you put a cast on. It’s this overreaction. And it’s also not a good use of funds, because treatment is expensive…We want to make sure that we’re using all of our resources in an appropriate way,” she said.[…]

    AAAS Public Release: Marijuana use amongst youth stable, but substance abuse admissions up

    • I suspect that the social pressure of the parents, schools, and courts running diversion programs are all in high gear out of prohibitionist’s fears of contamination with the devils weed. All an over-reaction to legalization.

      I am sure the substance abuse industry is floating on air ($$$) .

      This kind of thing never works without the component of voluntary uncoerced admission being present.

      I am sure it is less of a problem with pot and more the local social pressures.

    • DC Reade

      I read recently that well over half of people undergoing rehab treatment or classes for “marijuana dependence” were remanded there by the courts, as a condition of more lenient sentencing. My guess is that most of the non-judicially related rehab admissions are for minors.

      The typical criterion for success for people in rehab for a “marijuana problem” is the same is it is for more hazardous and addictive substances: total abstention. If the penitent slips up and “uses” again, it means they’ve fallen off the wagon and are considered at grave risk of falling into an addictive spiral.

      If pot really is nearly as bad as heroin, then that implies that heroin isn’t much worse than pot. So why not get into heroin? Might as well be shot for a sheep as a lamb, as the saying goes.

      Note: I’m not endorsing such a decision. I think it’s foolhardy. But based on the message being sent, I understand the logic for it.

  • Will

    .
    .
    Dispatches from Crazy Town continue unabated;

    CALIFORNIA BUSINESSMAN BELIEVES THE SMELL OF MARIJUANA HURTS WINE GRAPES

    http://tinyurl.com/y7nwbb2p

    “The odor travels, it could permeate grape skins and render the wine deficient, causing it to lose value,” Patrick told the paper

    • NorCalNative

      Make no mistake, California communities that depend on the wine industry are freaking out about cannabis.

      In Sonoma County, where I live, the main newspaper the Press Democrat had exactly ONE mention of the endocannabinoid system in their paper over the years, and that was from a letter-to-the-editor.

      It’s been suggested that Sonoma County’s cannabis industry is worth double that of Colorado’s (approx. 3 Billion) compared to the less-than one-billion per year in wine sales in Sonoma County.

      The smell-penetration issue has been raised by at least one Press Democrat reader. I think it’s total bullshit and the possibility that cannabis terpenes may enter the wine and give it a scent, that’s probably a marketing opportunity rather than something to worry or complain about.

      Harvest season has already started in Sonoma County for some grape varietals. My outdoor cannabis plants are barely into the 4th-week of flowering and they’re putting out some smell but it’s infrequent and you have to almost be right next to the OG Kush and Sour Diesel to smell anything. Many of the grapes will have already been picked before the Terpene Army really comes into play.

      There’s been some talk around here by some vineyard owners of cannabis-infused wines which sounds interesting. I live across the street from a vineyard. There are many nights that the workers are on noisy tractors ALL FREAKING NIGHT. I take one, (i.e., sleepless nights) for Team-Wine many times per year. If cannabis operations were that noisy at night, they’d run the f*cker’s out of town on a rail.

      • Will

        .
        .
        A lifelong friend of mine from Petaluma sent me the article. We’ve had more than a few conversations revolving around various agricultural interests and their alarmist claims about the potential effects of cannabis growing nearby. But have you heard of any strawberry growers worried that their berries might have elevated limonene levels if cannabis is grown too close? Any peach growers thinking their fruit might taste a little too piney, ala pinene? Nah, it is, as you say, total bullshit. There is simply no way cannabis terpenes wafting in an open air environment are so concentrated — even growing in an adjacent field — to make it past the grape skin barrier in sufficient levels to cause flavors to change and cause a grape harvest “to lose value”. If grape skins were so porous the exhaust from the tractors you describe — which are right in the fields — would surely cause some of the grapes to take on diesel emissions flavor characteristics.

        Robert “Pat” Patrick should be ashamed and embarrassed he even suggested such nonsense.

    • DdC

      California finds ‘pot of gold’ in wine and weed
      https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/13/california-finds-pot-of-gold-in-wine-and-weed.html
      One acre of cannabis grown in Northern California can be worth more than $1 million, but real estate broker John Bergman said an acre of planted wine grapes in Sonoma County is valued no more than $200,000.

      Yet among winemakers, there is some nervousness about the influx of cannabis entrepreneurs. Many are worried that the marijuana industry will poach their labor and their customers.

      “Cannabis will be the most highly regulated agricultural commodity in the state of California, period, said Hopkins.

      “I think there’s an opportunity for both industries to flourish in this community,” said De La Montanya.

    • Interesting: Trump says he owns one of the largest wineries in the US – located in Charlottesville.
      https://youtu.be/ON3EjK5DXPk

      At about the 8:15 mark.

      • jean valjean

        Even in the midst of tragedy and national disgrace Trump doesn’t miss the opportunity to promote his businesses. Malignant narcissism writ large.

  • Servetus

    The journal Addiction features a cost effective means of treatment for opioid use disorder using buprenorphine as an exit drug. Cost effectiveness is the key issue as it would be health insurance companies paying for the treatment.

    Buprenorphine produces some good results, but what if buprenorphine was more expensive than other exit-drug treatments? Would it still get selected? Are insurers the only ones making the medical decisions on opioid withdrawal treatment? Should insurers be allowed to make these kinds of decisions at all?

    A big problem is the Yale study was funded by the NIDA, so it failed to compare the cost effectiveness of employing marijuana as an exit drug:

    16-AUG-2017 — Nationally, only about one in five individuals who needed treatment for opioid addiction received treatment in the past year, and fewer received the most effective treatments, such as buprenorphine. Yet studies have shown that treating individuals with such medications is effective. In an earlier analysis of this study, Yale researchers found that when patients are screened for opioid addiction, receive ED-initiated buprenorphine, and a referral for ongoing treatment, the treatment was more effective than a standard referral or brief intervention with referral.

    In this new analysis, the Yale team compared the relative cost and value of the three approaches for individuals screening positive for opioid addiction: referral alone, brief intervention with facilitated referral, and ED-initiated buprenorphine. They compared the estimated costs of health care for patients over the 30 days following their ED visit. Those costs included ED care, addiction treatment, inpatient and outpatient costs, and medications. The research team defined effectiveness as engagement in addiction treatment at 30 days.

    The researchers found that the ED-initiated buprenorphine was the most likely to be cost-effective, with a mean cost of $1,752 compared with $1,805 for brief intervention and $1,977 for referral. The ED-initiated buprenorphine group was nearly twice as likely to be enrolled in addiction treatment, and used illicit opioids for fewer days, during the 30 days after the ED visit.

    “On average, the costs were lowest in the ED-initiated buprenorphine group,” said first author Susan Busch, professor at the Yale School of Public Health. “Those patients did not use additional health care resources, but had better outcomes.”

    “We were excited to learn that not only was ED-initiated buprenorphine more effective in engaging patients in treatment, but it was cost-effective, said senior author Gail D’Onofrio, M.D. “All insurance payers and healthcare systems should be interested in these results.”

    AAAS Public Release: Starting opioid addiction treatment in the ED is cost-effective

    • DC Reade

      The news media is really soft-pedaling the opioid part of that story- preferring to use the euphemism “painkillers.”. While never failing to specify that THC or “marijuana” was found in his bloodstream. But Woods was found to have been using not only Vicodin and Xanax, but Dilaudid. That’s a hazardous combination. And Dilaudid is serious dope. I’ve known more than one junkie to say that one Dilaudid pill was far preferable to street heroin.

      I’m not aware of the full extent of Woods’ pain issues. Apparently, he had his fourth operation for a bad back in April. So it isn’t all that surprising that he might have been prescribed drugs that powerful, although I’m skeptical of mixing opioids, Xanax, and Ambien. That’s a toes-up combination if ever there was one. 40 years ago today, Elvis Presley died from a similar mix of pills.

      And there’s no way he should have been behind the wheel. Woods is getting off lightly on the DUI charge with drug diversion and rehab. If he had been an ordinary citizen- or, worse, poor- they might have thrown the book at him.

      I think people should be able to take whatever they want without being turned into criminals. But when someone is indisputably DUI, I have to call down on that. And it sends a very bad message about drug consumption- that this sort of oblivious recklessness is some sort of new normal. Many people are not charmed by that behavior, and that can lead to bad political fallout.

  • jean valjean

    Philippine police kill 32 in bloodiest night of Duterte’s war on drugs:

    ‘He has said he is “happy to slaughter” millions of of drug users and dismissed the deaths of children as “collateral damage”’.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/16/philippines-police-bloodiest-night-duterte-war-drugs

  • Here is an article that I found very refreshing:
    “Jeff Sessions Is Going to Hell”
    https://tinyurl.com/yc3dowj8

    This whole administration with few exceptions is batshit crazy. I can’t even envision this for over 3 more years. Republican congress needs to awaken.

    Encouragement via Twitter:
    Robert Mueller’s getting closer. #BePositiveIn4Words
    https://twitter.com/molly_knight

    https://twitter.com/DeborahTayla/status/897869938500616193

  • jean valjean

    Did you ever wonder what happened to Miss Teen South Carolina, 2007? Seems she went on to marry Jared Kushner and now holds a “no show job” in the Trump administration:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYd8pWW9AxY

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2017/apr/05/ivanka-trump-asked-if-shes-complicit-in-trump-white-house-video

    Look at the deer in the headlights moment while the question is being asked as she realizes she doesn’t know what “complicit” means. A true Sarah Palin moment. An Indian diplomat recently said of Ivanka that they treat her the same way they treat idiotic Saudi princes.

  • FDA Declares CBD ‘Beneficial,’ Wants Your Input ASAP
    https://tinyurl.com/ycw2vfqp

  • Servetus

    Duterte issued orders to his police squads to shoot human rights activists who document his crimes and extrajudicial killings:

    August 17, 2017 — As Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly “war on drugs”—which U.S. President Donald Trump has praised as an “unbelievable” success—has continued to intensify in recent days with at least 60 people killed this week, Duterte raised further alarm on Wednesday by suggesting that human rights activists attempting to document the possible crimes of his administration should be shot.

    “If they are obstructing justice, you shoot them,” Duterte said, apparently addressing the police.

    The Philippine president also appeared to level threats against his country’s Commission on Human Rights, which he has previously said he would like to abolish.

    “The human rights groups are now investigating. One of these days, you human rights groups, I will also investigate you. That’s the truth. For conspiracy.”[…]

    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/08/17/duterte-recipient-trump-praise-just-threatened-have-human-rights-activists-shot

  • Will

    .
    .
    Okay, I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything positive from the Daily Fail, but they appear to be the first reporting on this study (more outlets likely to follow?);

    Could cannabis PROTECT you from a stroke? People who smoke marijuana every day have better blood flow and oxygen to the brain, controversial study claims

    http://tinyurl.com/ybaorpew

    —————————

    The actual study;

    Residual Effects of THC via Novel Measures of Brain Perfusion and Metabolism in a Large Group of Chronic Cannabis Users

    http://tinyurl.com/ycdwn88f

  • U.S. National Cancer Institute Lists Cannabis as Potential Cancer Treatment
    https://tinyurl.com/ybg3hctn

    … “Apparently government employees who aren’t paid to arrest drug dealers have pragmatic views about marijuana.”

  • United States Cannabis Coalition: Stone and Morgan Cultivate Bipartisan Group
    https://tinyurl.com/y9yqltaf

    Legal doctor prescribed cannabis when you can push just as easily for descheduling – well I commented there.

  • jean valjean

    Trump continues to self-destruct. Is it deliberate? His ghost writer on The Art of the Deal thinks he will resign shortly after doing a deal with Mueller for immunity. “He’ll be doing it to stay out of jail.”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2017/08/17/politics/art-of-the-deal-author-trump-resignation-prediction/index.html

    • Sounds good to me. Might save us all. He should get while the getting is good. Even Nixon was smart enough to see the writing on the wall.

      If this was a tv show it would be cancelled by now. The Republican side of the isle should wake up and smell the roses.

  • “The Michigan Board of State Canvassers just approved a new petition to legalize weed in Michigan. The approval means that the petition can now begin collecting signatures. Since the petition is part of a proposal to make an amendment to Michigan’s constitution, it needs to get more than 315,000 signatures.

    “Broadly speaking, the proposal calls for an end to all laws that prohibit or regulate the use of cannabis in Michigan. Simply put, it would make all forms of weed legal. The change would apply to both medical and recreational use.”

    “On top of that, the amendment would make it so that the state could not tax weed. Similarly, the amendment would keep the state from imposing any other fines or penalties for possessing and using weed.”
    https://tinyurl.com/ydymrjsy

  • DdC

    Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted that he is “proud to stand against a federal government that has lied to Americans for generations about cannabis.”
    https://twitter.com/mattgaetz/status/898158530909396992

    A report from the U.S. Department of Transportation harshly slams roadside marijuana testing methods that are in common use and suggests that Schedule I is blocking research to develop better tests.
    https://www.massroots.com/news/feds-slam-marijuana-impairment-testing-methods

    The California Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on a bill to allow marijuana businesses to take state tax deductions that are disallowed by the federal 280E provision on Monday.
    http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billHistoryClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB420

    A study suggested that “cannabis could modulate the inflammatory effect of alcohol on the pancreas.”
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5539398/

    Marijuana May Help Ease Nerve Pain
    http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread29151.shtml

    Jeff Sessions’ Letters to Legal Weed States Are So Wrong It’s Embarrassing
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/55e05815-6f33-3c7a-8404-f74d7f8d8247/ss_jeff-sessions%27-letters-to.html

  • Servetus

    Steve Bannon’s relationship with Trump has been described as Rasputinesque, and now new information is emerging to support the suspicions.

    An article by Jason Brad Berry at Shareblue Media reports Steve Bannon’s (and his ex third wife’s) former Miami residence at 1794 Opechee Drive featured “porn, drugs, and debauchery”:

    August 17, 2017 — They [the Bannons] had “put padlocks on all the doors, installed video cameras, and had ruined the bathtub, kitchen counter, and floor.”[…]

    Curtis heard the same stories of porn, drugs, and debauchery over and over again.

    “Each person gave accounts that the house was used to film pornography, had a constant flow of men, women — and even children — at the house and that blatant drug use was occurring at all hours of the night and day,” Curtis said.[…]

    Felix, a handyman who frequently worked on the property, told Curtis he had personally “witnessed women and men being filmed in the act.” He described the buckets of chemicals and bags of trash and rags he had to remove. He spent hours scrubbing the master bathtub, “which appeared melted by some form of acid.” Felix suspected the bathtub had been used for “making drugs.”[…]

    The pest control worker described witnessing drug use each time he came to the house, “even at early day hours.” He told Curtis it would blow his mind to know what “what went on in the house.”

    An unnamed male tenant, he said, who was “a heavy set man,” offered him “girls for sex and/or drugs in lieu of payment,” but he never accepted because he could lose his job.

    When the oven range needed repair, the repairman refused to come to the house. Despite the service warranty, Curtis said, he was told no one would come “if the same people were living in the house because ‘that house is evil and the people are evil.’”
    The company ultimately agreed to send someone after being assured the prior tenants were gone.[…]

    http://shareblue.com/steve-bannons-porn-and-meth-house-you-have-no-idea-what-kind-of-evil-stuff-went-on/#.WZWo2VE9ZpQ.twitter

    Bannon’s hedonistic lifestyle is unlikely to deter Trump’s remaining Christian fascist supporters, a group of hypocrites deeply embedded in prohibition who historically have been the backbone of professional drug enforcement. Their priority is nothing less than the installment of a theocratic government based on their crazy faith. It’s called dominionism. At its core, it’s all about the money. Prosperity is Trump’s motif, as it is for the Christian fascists’ who evoke the prosperity gospel :

    …Prosperity gospel … is the belief that financial and physical well-being are evidence of the will of God. If you are poor and sick, well, that’s God’s will, and government has no business interfering.

    You only have to look at the GOP’s so-called “health care” bill to see this doctrinal belief in action. Why eviscerate Medicaid? Well, if God wanted us to keep grandma alive in a nursing home, He would have seen to it that she could afford it.[…]

    http://churchandstate.org.uk/2017/08/the-gops-obsession-with-the-prosperity-gospel/

    The Christian fascists, or dominionists, condemn anyone who might consume medical marijuana for these same reasons. It’s based upon a belief that any illness is deserved due to sin. The principal is a remnant of medieval beliefs underlying Christianity’s 2000-year war on science and medicine — an attempt to eliminate all sorcerers save that of their own priesthood. Trump’s white evangelical base and Trump himself epitomizes those things that make fascism and its constituent drug war the menace to society it always is:

    We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity. Our movement is Christian. — Adolf Hitler, October 27, 1928

  • Mouth

    Because drugs are illegal, a white van plowed into a group of people in Barcelona, simply because x% of that group’s funding comes from drug money. What is Christian Nihilism: keep drugs illegal in order to empower gangs, organized crime and Radical Islam’s advancements upon one’s own nation and other nations; subtly destroy the laws that help protect the religious freedoms of Christians; utilize the war on drugs to drain the economy via drug prohibition and fighting drug money in a long costly war called the War on Terror; destroy the Christian foundations–tenets of charity and pity by resurrecting the morality of power and not humility through strong arm laws, the funding of gangs and terrorists and the destruction of the economy.

    Matthew 8:3132 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.

  • DdC

    “Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”
    ― Zhuangzi,
    The Butterfly as Companion:
    Meditations on the First Three Chapters of the Chuang-Tzu

    Dianne Feinstein Update:
    STANDING AGAINST RACISM, VIOLENCE

    Standing against racism and violence?

    DiFi’s willful ignorance?

    The Racist Roots of Cannabis Prohibition
    By oksika On August 4, 2017

    Feinstein Condemns Violence in Charlottesville (August 12, 2017)
    “Violent acts of hate and bigotry have no place in America. The attacks we are witnessing in Charlottesville are completely unacceptable and must not be allowed to continue. Violence like this will solve nothing and will only beget more violence and sow more division.”

    “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

    Why is Marijuana Illegal?
    http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/why-is-marijuana-illegal/

    Feinstein Opposes New Trump Immigration Bill (August 2, 2017)
    “The immigration bill unveiled today by the White House betrays our country’s values. Our country shouldn’t tell immigrants who perform the most thankless jobs in our society that they can work here but they can’t build lives here. That’s not what this country is all about.”

    “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana
    is its effect on the degenerate races.”

    If anyone truly wants to deal with racism and bigotry then the top priority is the Ganjawar.

    The Racist Ganjawar
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/703
    ~ Using the drug war to keep blacks from voting
    ~ Re-Inventing Jim Crow, Targeting The Counter Culture

    White Supremacy: Its Source and Uses
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/692

  • DdC

    A hypocrite is the kind of politician
    who would cut down a redwood tree,
    then mount the stump
    and make a speech for conservation.
    Adlai E. Stevenson

    Senators Call on Attorney General to Condemn Excessive Use of Force (August 3, 2017)
    “We strongly encourage the Department of Justice to join the chorus of law enforcement organizations in making clear that excessive use of force is unacceptable. The men and women who protect our communities on a daily basis deserve your support.”

    ☛ The Heartlessness of Dying for Prohibition
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/585
    ☛ Cannabis Shrinks Tumors: Government Knew in 74
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/588
    “War on Drugs” continues to “justify”
    Torture and score big for profiteers

    “Melvin & Betty Sembler”
    Why are child molesters getting awards?

    Ignorant Jeff: The blind leading the deaf and dumbed down
    They lowered the bar and the cockroaches entered.

    Feinstein: California Leading the Charge on Climate Change (July 18, 2017)

    ☛ Hemplastic or Fossil Fools Crud
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/819
    Vegetable matter and minerals have competed with each other to become the dominant industrial input for almost 200 years. For the first 150 years, significant advances occurred in the use of both types of material. Then, for a quarter of a century after World War II, hydrocarbons took over almost completely but since the 1980s, carbohydrate-derived industrial products have been sweeping back as a result of technological and political developments.

    • NCN

      Ronald RayGuns: “If you’ve seen one Redwood tree, you’ve seen em all.”

      As a kid I remember walking through a Redwood forest in Mendocino County and seeing huge piles of shit about 12-feet off the ground on a Redwood stump.

      Why does this story about shit-on-a-stump remind me of Republican Senator Feinstein? Probably because shit and willful ignorance are a team.

      What are you smoking these days?

      • DdC

        I’m sampling the Sativa’s. Green Crack
        and Super Silver Haze with some
        Sour Diesel and Sweet&Sour Diesel.

        DiFe uses form rejection letters for anything Ganja. She’s “open” to medicinal for certain critical illnesses. She’s been terrorizing stoners ever since the killer smiled at her as he walked past her office to kill Moscone and Milk..

        DiFe says Leahy’s Amendment goes too far
        in tying the federal government’s hands

        DiFe says Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment goes
        too far in tying the federal government’s hands

        DiFi splainin why hemp is illegal…
        DiFe wrote: Using a relatively simple and inexpensive process of chemical extraction, readily available on the Internet, hemp could be readily converted into a highly potent concentrate known as “hash oil.”

        Rayguns and Nanny started terrorizing Americans in the 1950’s with his side kick Joe McCarthy. Rayguns and the Screen Actors Guild blacklisting as she tried later with DARE and Corporate Pisstasting. Now its racism and the opiatoid epidemic and Feinstein is against stopping the Racist Ganjawar while knowing Ganja is an alternative to what has potentially killed 50,000 Americans. Same as Vietnam and the Civil War.

        • DC Reade

          Hemp into hash oil? An extraction requiring around 50-100 times the volume of solvent used for an equivalent quantity of mid-grade reefer bud, on those stringy little leaves and seed-filled buds that grow on the crops planted for hemp. Which are sewn tightly in order for the stalks- the main part used- to grow as straight and vertical as practically possible. The way bamboo grows. As well as allowing the buds to go to full seed, in order to turn them into oil and meal. You know, where there’s some actual money to be made from it.

          I’d wish people good luck with trying an extraction, but I know damn well they aren’t going to have it. People were trying to use wild Midwestern ditchweed for hash oil extraction back in the late 1970s- remember the Isomerizer?- and it was a total fail.

          You might blow your house up, though, especially if you keep 100 gallons of solvent around to try multiple extractions and condensations in an attempt to concentrate the product.

          So,once again: superstition 1, facts and reason 0

  • Will

    .
    .
    The most willfully ignorant politician award goes to…

    drumroll please…

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Congratulations governor, more than any other dictator in the land, you couldn’t be further removed from what your constituents want. Even after they explicitly tell you what they want and need;

    Gov. Abbott Discusses Medical Marijuana Report

    http://www.krgv.com/clip/13607944/gov-abbott-

  • NCN

    Governor Greg seems to have the requisite skills to be a starter on Team Shit-on-a-Stump.

    Don’t suspect we need to worry about him taking a knee during the National Anthem anytime soon.

  • Very nice article from Bill Piper:

    Trump And Sessions Unmask Historical Links Between The Drug War And White Supremacy
    https://tinyurl.com/y7zgjx2h

  • DdC

    Politicians and Police Officials are Still Making Up Blatant Lies about Fentanyl-Laced Marijuana
    https://merryjane.com/news/politicians-and-cops-continue-to-lie-about-fentanyl-laced-marijuana
    America’s opioid epidemic is a national emergency. Even president Trump, who knows absolutely nothing about drug addiction, conceded earlier this month that declaring a state of emergency was a necessary tool in combating the prescription-pushed addiction crisis. But no matter how serious the opioid epidemic becomes, politicians simply can’t help themselves from making up completely unfounded lies about marijuana laced with the deadly opioid fentanyl.

    Can marijuana finally turn this remote Mojave outpost into a boom town?
    http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-94288656/

  • The reaction to Booker’s marijuana bill that he doesn’t want to see
    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/08/opposition_mounting_to_bookers_marijuana_bill.html

    Sabet’s lunacy nonsense is being promoted in the press.

  • Mike

    The more we know our History —
    The more our lawmakers should have to defend how we
    have made cannabis prohibition laws.

    http://www.drugpolicy.org/resource/marijuana-conviction-history-marijuana-prohibition-united-states

  • DdC

    This Just In

    Kevin Abraham Sabet-Sharghi and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III are freaking out. Kevin is crying out loud that the moon is eating the sun, causing people to do drugs. Beauregard is so upset he is backing off on his crack pipe.

    People Are Getting High on Drugs for the Eclipse
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/people-getting-high-drugs-eclipse-155045275.html

    Sessions Looks Set to Back off His Marijuana Crackdown
    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/sessions-looks-set-back-off-061002034.html

  • Cardinal Tagle’s statement on drug-related killings
    https://tinyurl.com/y74fuuts

    “We cannot disregard each other. Let us invite families, national government agencies, local government units, people’s organizations, schools, faith-based communities, the medical profession, the police and military, recovering addicts etc. to come together, listen to each other and chart a common path. The illegal drug problem should not be reduced to a political or criminal issue. It is a humanitarian concern that affects all of us.”

    Sounds like Catholic support of harm reduction in the Phillipines to me.

  • Servetus

    Are prohibitionists lower level moral reasoners?

    Events of the drug war justify many people’s moral suspicions. Rodrigo Duterte is by far the most vile poster boy for deranged and morally bankrupt prohibitionists in this century or last. AG Sessions wants to revitalize Jim Crow while culling anti-authoritarians and rebellious teenagers in the process. By contrast, applying Kohlberg’s theory, drug law reformers operate on a higher moral level, recommending policies such as harm reduction and scientific approaches to problems of addiction and withdrawal, minus the propaganda and incarceration route.

    Researchers are providing some important answers to identifying the problems of moral distinctions. The work on the moral network of the brain so far reveals vital insights into who is morally high, and who is morally low:

    22-AUG-2017 –…According to the researchers, Kohlberg’s theory implies that individuals at a lower level of moral reasoning are more prone to judge moral issues primarily based on personal interests or adherence to laws and rules, whereas individuals with higher levels of moral reasoning judge moral issues based on deeper principles and shared ideals.

    The researchers’ previous work found an association between high levels of moral reasoning and gray matter volume, establishing a critical link between moral reasoning and brain structure…the researchers aimed to investigate whether the development of morality is associated with measurable aspects of brain function.[…]

    …it remains unknown whether brain reward system function can be affected by stages of moral development,” Rao said. “To our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate the modulation effect of moral reasoning level on human brain reward system activity.

    The finding of increased brain reward system activity in individuals at a high level of moral reasoning suggests the importance of positive motivations towards others in moral reasoning development, rather than selfish motives. These findings also support Kohlberg’s theory that higher levels of moral reasoning tend to be promotion and other-focused (do it because it is right) rather than prevention or self-focused (do not do it because it is wrong).[…]

    “Our study documents brain function differences associated with higher and lower levels of moral reasoning. It is still unclear whether the observed brain function differences are the cause or the result of differential levels of moral reasoning,” explained Diana Robertson, PhD, a James T. Riady professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School and a co-author of the study. “However, we believe that both factors of nurture, such as education, parental socialization and life experience, and factors of nature, like biological or evolutionary basis, the innate capacities of the mind, and the genetic basis may contribute to individual differences in moral development.”[…]

    AAAS Public Release: High moral reasoning associated with increased activity in the human brain’s reward system: New study from Penn researchers provides clues to individual differences in moral development

    The US Constitution forbids a religious test for public office, but nothing is mentioned of brain scans for government officials.

    A brain scan of Trump or Sessions using the latest technologies could have revealed the existence of an organically based moral disability before the election took place, suggesting they and others equally challenged were not fit for duty.

    A consequence of not applying brain tests and scans to politicians – ironically while politicians simultaneously impose involuntary drug tests on US citizens – is that Trump wants to cut $5 billion in medical research funding from the NIH. The NIH was one of funders of the current Penn study that just revealed a new way to delouse the government of neo-fascists such as Trump & Co. For fascists the research is a case of too little too late.

  • Mr_Alex

    @DdC

    I am not sure if this surprises you.

    I met some Batchelor in IT students in my area the other day who do use Cannabis, they actually have mentioned that Cannabis use helps them with the effects of Information Overload caused by more than 1 lecture a day and it also helps them with studying and exams and also despite using Cannabis, they manage to get good academic grades as well. I was also told Cannabis helps with Information/Memory retention as well.

    • DdC

      Not many surprises left.
      Much better than the typical cram pills
      like white crosses speed.

      Toke-A-Day May Keep Old Memory Functioning

      Hang in there Mr_Alex

      In New Zealand, 65% of voters think marijuana
      should either be legalized or decriminalized.

      Even scumbags can’t kill kids and get away with it.

      Duterte faces nationwide revolt over drugs war
      after killing of schoolboy sparks outrage

      Sessions can’t use all of those lies he collected either.

      Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton pushed back against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s criticism of the state’s marijuana legalization law.

      Brown wrote:

      * “Despite the concerns surrounding legalization of marijuana, there can be no denying that Oregon has benefitted from this industry. Oregon has already realized $60.2 million in revenue and created over 16,000 jobs for Oregonians. Tax revenue from the marijuana industry is used to fund schools, to provide mental health and drug treatment and to assist both state and local law enforcement. This does not even take into account cost savings to the criminal justice system… [A] dismantling of the Cole Memorandum would have the opposite effect, driving existing lawful product into the unregulated black market and funding criminal enterprise.”

      Joining the governor in criticizing the leaked State Police draft report that Sessions relied on in his threat letter, Hampton wrote:

      * “This referenced report, attributed to my agency, is not a published report and is regrettably utilized to represent Oregon’s efforts and compliance surrounding marijuana enforcement… Upon examination of early drafts, it was clear the report was in its infancy stage and objective data would be required to supplant many of the subjective or invalidated sources… Unfortunately, the first and least defensible draft of the report was leaked… The agency attempted to make clear the document was not accurate, not validated, outdated and the Oregon State Police did not endorse the conclusions in the draft baseline report. Unfortunately, you sourced the same leaked draft document as evidence against Oregon’s marijuana regulatory structure.”

      In a separate statement to the press, Brown’s office said that the leaked draft report had a “clear bias” as well as a “blatant disregard of any professional research standards,” adding: “By using incomplete data, inaccurate research and unreliable sources, the flawed document drew unsubstantiated conclusions about cannabis legalization in Oregon to serve the author’s personal agenda.”

      There is not a rock big enough
      for the prohibitionists to crawl under…

      The Onion riffed on new studies that appeared to show unclear evidence for medical cannabis’s efficacy.

  • Ustaad

    “Consuming sugar produces effects similar to that of cocaine, altering mood, possibly through its ability to induce reward and pleasure, leading to the seeking out of sugar,” they write, citing rodent studies which show that sweetness is preferred even over cocaine, and that mice can experience sugar withdrawal.

    Robert Lustig, professor of paediatrics at the University of California San Francisco said he shared the concerns of DiNicolantonio and colleagues. “I do believe that sugar is addictive, based on its metabolic and hedonic properties,” he said. Lustig has previously argued that sugar is the “alcohol of the child”. However, while he said he believed sugar was a drug of abuse, he considered it a weak one, on a par with nicotine, rather than drugs like heroin.

    From the comment thread: “it is .. try to not eat sugar for a day.”

    https://tinyurl.com/notherLineVicar

  • DdC

    THC’s ability to dilate respiratory passages
    Single-Dose Effect of Marihuana Smoke — nejm.org
    Bronchial Dynamics and Respiratory-Center Sensitivity in Normal Subjects

    I Love the Smell of Science
    When it Catches up With Stoners.

    “Taking a hit of marijuana has been known to stop a full blown asthma attack.”

    Also As an Expectorant and for Emphysema
    Cannabis is the best natural expectorant to clear the human lungs of smog, dust, and the phlegm associated with tobacco use. Marijuana smoke effectively dilates the airways of the lungs,

    All research into the oxygen blood transfer effects caused by cannabis indicates that the chest (lung) pains, extremity pains, shallowness of breath, and headaches we may experience on heavy smog days are usually alleviated by light cannabis smoking throughout the day. However, heavy pot smoking works no better.

    Time to Hold the Unscrupulous Accountable for Their Deceit.

    Lung Damage Reports
    Debunking “Gutter Science”

    Just a coincidence…
    Vested Interest in Big Pharma?
    Rejecting research and discussion.

    Mary Blackshear Sessions, Jeff’s Wife:
    5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

    She Is Active in CHERUBS, a Charity Supporting Families of Children Born With Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH)

    What logical reason is there for banning research and treatment? Other than profits treating symptoms. That’s sick.

    Ignorant Jeff Avoiding These Lung Studies?
    Excluding the National Commission on Forensic Science
    “The reason the National Commission on Forensic Science has been so important is that it includes leading independent scientists, allowing an unbiased expert evaluation of which techniques are scientifically valid and which are not. NACDL is terribly disappointed that even while acknowledging the crucial role played by the National Commission on Forensic Science, the Attorney General has chosen to disband it.”

  • Servetus

    Yeast bugs have once again made themselves useful to new pharmacological production techniques. It’s not just about alcohol anymore. For Big Pharma, the ideal drug divorces itself completely from natural medicines to produce a synthetic patentable alternative. In this case, the biology of the yeast cell has been tweaked once again to produce psilocybin, the natural ingredient of magic mushrooms:

    25-AUG-2017 — … Although the structure of psilocybin has been known for about 60 years, it has not been possible to decode the enzymatic basis of its biosynthesis. Researchers working with Dirk Hoffmeister at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena have now figured this out. They have identified the four enzymes that transform the amino acidy L-tryptophan into psilocybin. Using genetic technology, the researchers were able to produce the enzymes in bacterial and mold fungi cultures and characterize them.

    AAAS Public Release: Magic enzymes: Enzymatic synthesis of psilocybin, the ingredient of magic mushrooms

    THC has been produced by similar yeast methods. Meanwhile, a voter initiative has been filed with the State of California to legalize psilocybin mushrooms, essentially undercutting Big Pharma and giving wealth back to the people, much as legal cannabis has achieved a slightly greater equalization in the U.S.

    Anyone doubting the threat of social inequality should read Walter Scheidel’s new book, The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century.