Check it out on http://live.norml.org – Rick Steves coming up soon, plus discussions from the founder of Oaksterdam, Richard Lee; Dr. Harry Levine on race and marijuana arrests; and California NORML’s Dale Gieringer on the current legal landscape there.
Who among us doesn’t like to brag after a job well done? It’s human nature, right?
Given this fact, it’s both curious and notable that the DEA has suddenly ceased publicizing data regarding how many millions of feral hemp plants (aka ‘ditchweed’) law enforcement eradicate each year.
In previous years, upwards of 98 percent of all the pot seized by law enforcement was categorized as ‘ditchweed’ — a term the DEA uses to define “wild, scattered marijuana plants [with] no evidence of planting, fertilizing, or tending.”
For instance, in 2005 the DEA reported that cops destroyed some 219 million feral hemp plants versus only four million cultivated marijuana plants. DEA data for the year 2004 tells a similar story. Of the estimated 265 million marijuana plants destroyed by law enforcement that year, more than 262 million (roughly 99 percent) were classified as ‘ditchweed.’ In 2006, roughly 84 million plants seized by law enforcement (and more than 94 percent of all the marijuana eradicated) were ‘ditchweed.’
So, how much ditchweed did police confiscate in 2007? That would be anyone’s guess.
Upon referencing Table 4.38 (Number of marijuana plants eradicated and seized, arrests made, weapons seized, and value of assets seized under the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, by State, 2007) in the latest version of the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, visitors will discover that the column that previously reported on ‘ditchweed’ seizures (in prior years’ tables, it was seventh column from the left) is now conspicuously missing.
So why would the DEA abruptly want to cease taking credit for destroying hundreds of millions of pounds of marijuana each year? Perhaps it’s because unlike cultivated marijuana, feral hemp contains virtually no detectable levels of THC — the primary psychoactive component in cannabis — and does not contribute to the black market marijuana trade.
Or perhaps it’s because the public was finally beginning to smarten up to the fact that they’ve been paying their police millions of dollars each year to do nothing more than pull a few weeds.
Born the same year in 1970, Earth Day and NORML have grown up side-by-side. Today, millions of Americans will celebrate and be mindful of the basic message of Earth Day: Living in harmony with nature.
Frustratingly, NORML recently discovered through a tip from a supporter and a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that an anti-drug group based in Florida called Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF) in their zeal against anything having to do with cannabis harass major corporations and retailers to stop marketing all products that are made of hemp, books that educate about the plant and even CDs from musical artists that dare mention the word ‘hemp’. (more…)
By George Rohrbacher, NORML Board member
When Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, first strode onto the public stage in 1832 and stepped into American History, he was wearing a pair of hemp pants.
From many points of view, Abraham Lincoln was America’s greatest President. Besides guiding America though the Civil War, the most troubled passage since our nation’s founding, he possessed the keenest intellect of anyone to have ever lived in the White House. He also possessed the greatest understanding of the life lived by the common man of anyone who had been or will ever be elected President. Abraham Lincoln came from the dirt, the death, the toil, and struggle of the American frontier. (more…)
In mid-March the Reason Foundation published a report entitled ‘Illegally Green: Environmental Costs of Hemp Prohibition’. The report updates the precarious hemp industry in the United States and its continued struggles under absurdly strict federal laws that are meant to control the psychoactive strain of the plant, usually described as ‘marijuana’.
Hemp is legal for farmers to grow in virtually all countries where marijuana is still illegal (i.e, Canada, France, Great Britain, Switzerland, China, Romania, etc…), and to help highlight the non-sensible government policy Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota will soon build a home constructed of hemp in conjunction with the 2008 Hemp Hoe Down.
“There are numerous environmental advantages to hemp,” said Skaidra Smith-Heisters, a policy analyst at Reason Foundation and author of the report. “Hemp often requires less energy to manufacture into products. It is less toxic to process. And it is easier to recycle and more biodegradable than most competing crops and products. Unfortunately, we won’t realize the full economic and environmental benefits of hemp until the crop is legal in the United States.”