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Study Finds No Liink Between Marijuana Smoking and Cancer | Dopers' Cafe Opens in Britain | DEA Wipes Out L.A. Cannabis Resource Center | Drug War Becomes a Shooting War | Pot: It's Just What the Doctor Ordered | Maine Studying Plan to Supply Confiscated Marijuana to Patients | Study Says Marijuana Ingredients Kill Rat Tumors | Kill the Meth Bill | Tight like that Gage  

Study Finds No Liink Between Marijuana Smoking and Cancer

May 24, 2006

Marijuana smoking does not increase a person's risk of developing lung cancer, according to the findings of a new study at the University of California Los Angeles that surprised even the researchers.

They had expected to find that a history of heavy marijuana use, like cigarette smoking, would increase the risk of cancer.

Instead, the study, which compared the lifestyles of 611 Los Angeles County lung cancer patients and 601 patients with head and neck cancers with those of 1,040 people without cancer, found no elevated cancer risk for even the heaviest pot smokers. It did find a 20-fold increased risk of lung cancer in people who smoked two or more packs of cigarettes a day.

The study results were presented in San Diego Tuesday at a meeting of the American Thoracic Society.

The study was confined to people under age 60 since baby boomers were the most likely age group to have long-term exposure to marijuana, said Dr. Donald Tashkin, senior researcher and professor at the UCLA School of Medicine.

The results should not be taken as a blank check to smoke pot, which has been associated with problems including cognitive impairment and chronic bronchitis, said Dr. John Hansen-Flaschen, chief of pulmonary and critical care at the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia. He was not involved in the study.

Previous studies showed marijuana tar contained about 50 percent more of the chemicals linked to lung cancer, compared with tobacco tar, Tashkin said. In addition, smoking a marijuana joint deposits four times more tar in the lungs than smoking an equivalent amount of tobacco.

"Marijuana is packed more loosely than tobacco, so there's less filtration through the rod of the cigarette, so more particles will be inhaled," Tashkin said in a statement. "And marijuana smokers typically smoke differently than tobacco smokers -- they hold their breath about four times longer, allowing more time for extra fine particles to deposit in the lung."

He theorized that tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a chemical in marijuana smoke that produces its psychotropic effect, may encourage aging, damaged cells to die off before they become cancerous.

Hansen-Flaschen also cautioned a cancer-marijuana link could emerge as baby boomers age and there may be smaller population groups, based on genetics or other factors, still at risk for marijuana-related cancers.  

Dopers' Cafe Opens in Britain

By Anthony Browne Stockport
The Observer
November 19, 2001

The directions from Stockport Tourist Information were enthusiastic. 'Turn left on to the A6, and walk across the open land.

You can't miss it,' said the telephonist.

Stockport, which has until now been famous only for its hat museum, has never seen anything like it. Over the last two months hundreds, if not thousands, of people have been making determined pilgrimages there from London, Edinburgh, Carlisle and Milton Keynes. They come by train and car in pursuit of news spreading by word of mouth and internet: Stockport is home to Britain's first-ever Amsterdam-style coffee shop.

Tucked away in a quiet, cobbled retail centre, the innocuous- seeming 'Dutch Experience' is betrayed only by the sound of garrulous chatter and the distinctive smell of marijuana wafting in the autumn air. Outside, between the pictures of cannabis leaves, signs warn: 'Over 18 only, ID required' and 'No alcohol, or drunk and disorderly persons on the premises'. Inside, alcohol is the last thing on people's minds.

From its opening at 10 in the morning to closing at 10 at night, the Dutch Experience is packed with people rolling joints, inhaling deeply and grinning peacefully. By lunchtime last Wednesday, there were at least 50 people in its two rooms, by evening over 100. No one bothered to hide this still illegal activity. It's all totally open.

Its founder, Colin Davies, a former carpenter, said the numbers increased sharply after the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, announced that cannabis possession will no longer be an arrestable offence, and reckons he gets more than 500 visitors a day. 'I've created a monster,' he laughs, as he sits on the bench, taking a puff. 'They're coming from all over the country - the closest coffee shop is in Holland.'

His customers sit playing cards or table football, drinking coffee or Coca-Cola, chatting and criticising each other's joint-rolling abilities. 'I've never seen anyone take so long to roll a spliff,' scolds one woman.

Some are nervous on their first visit, while others have been coming every day since it opened on 15 September. Paul Cooper, 18, who this week starts working for a government project on drug use, is one of the regulars: 'It's such a calm, quiet atmosphere in here; there's never been a raised voice. There's been no fights. It's not like a pub, where you drink 10 pints of Stella, and it all gets very rowdy.'

Billy Roberts, 44, a bricklayer, comes as often as he can from Bolton. 'This place is brilliant - it's just like the ones in Holland. You know what you are getting when you come here. Colin Davies is making history - he's a real hero,' he puffed.

Davies became a cannabis activist after shattering his back in a fall and finding that the illegal drug was the best one for relieving pain. In 1996 he started the underground medical marijuana co- operative, secretly growing cannabis as a painkiller for people suffering from multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, who had to provide a doctor's certificate to prove eligibility. He was prosecuted twice by police, but both times juries simply acquitted him because he was helping sick people.

But it was the Conservative politician Peter Lilley who inadvertently persuaded him to open the Dutch Experience. On a plane to visit a coffee-shop owner in Amsterdam, Davies read about Lilley calling for the legalisation of cannabis, and by the time he landed he thought the time was right for coffee shops in Britain.

The purpose of the coffee shop is to use the money made from social users of cannabis to provide it free - or at cost price - for medicinal users. 'People in wheelchairs shouldn't have to pay for their medicine - they should get it free, and that's what we're doing,' said Davies.

One woman, in her early forties, whose hands are crippled with rheumatoid arthritis, was particularly appreciative: 'This stuff is much better quality than what you get on the street - I've been sold Oxo cubes so many times. It gets to my bones better - the pain relief is far better than anything I can get from the doctor. And I get it for free - I couldn't afford to buy it.'

Two weeks before opening, Davies and his Dutch partner Nol van Scheik wrote to the police and the council setting out their plans. The police raided on the day he opened, but they reopened a few hours later and since then the police have left them alone. The council didn't reply to the letter, but instead sent them a rates bill. 'That's the only licence I will get from the council,' said Davies.

He stays on the right side of police tolerance by not selling cannabis openly through a booth with a menu - he only plans to do that when he feels the time is right. But he makes sure customers have no trouble getting hold of either super-skunk grass or Lebanese gold resin.

The council has not had a single complaint from the public, and is turning a blind eye. Its leader, Fred Ridley, said: 'This is not a matter for the council, but for the police. If someone wants to test the law - and that's the way the law has been changed before - they must accept the consequences if the law of the land is enforced.'

Manchester Police said in a statement: 'We recognise there is ongoing debate and research into the medical benefits or otherwise of cannabis. The police, in appropriate cases, exercise discretion and judgment.'

The Dutch Experience has had open support from the local MEP, Chris Davies, who has visited twice. 'I applaud it. It seems an excellent way of meetings people's desire to try things other than alcohol without leading them on to harder things,' he said.

Other cannabis campaigners are eyeing the Stockport trailblazer with envy, and there are already plans to open them in Worthing, Taunton and Brixton.  

DEA Wipes Out L.A. Cannabis Resource Center

Marihuana Policy Project
November 3, 2001

On October 25, scores of DEA agents descended upon the L.A. Cannabis Resource Center in West Hollywood, seizing the center's computers, files, bank account, plants, and medicine. The DEA cited the May 2001 U.S. Supreme Court decision as justification for its action. No charges have been filed.

The raid effectively shut down the largest, best organized, and most respected medical marijuana distribution center in Southern California. West Hollywood city officials, who have strongly supported the club, are calling a press conference to protest the action at City Hall at 2:00 p.m. on October 26.

The federal war on medical marijuana users continues to target distribution centers, while leaving STATE medical marijuana laws and individual patients and caregivers unmolested.

Last month, a garden in Ventura, California, that grew marijuana for the L.A. Cannabis Resource Center was seized by federal agents. Additional DEA action was recently highlighted in the ongoing case of a Cool, California, physician and attorney whose medical marijuana distribution operation was raided, with the DEA seizing thousands of patient records, in addition to a small number of marijuana plants that were being grown for personal use.

These heavy-handed DEA actions can only be interpreted as the will of Asa Hutchinson, the new DEA administrator (and former U.S. House member) who declared war on medical marijuana during his confirmation process in the U.S. Senate in July.

MPP's strategy to address the DEA problem is to pass H.R. 2592 in Congress, which would allow states to determine their own medical marijuana policies without federal interference. If H.R. 2592 were to be passed and signed into law by President Bush, then California could authorize medical marijuana distribution centers, which would therefore be immune to federal raids and prosecution.

On September 27, MPP sent a mailing to its nationwide membership asking people to write to their U.S. House members in support of H.R. 2592. In the next few days, MPP will issue an e-mail alert to its 30,000 members and allies nationwide, asking everyone to visit MPP's soon-to-be-unveiled Web page that will make it easy for citizens to fax pre-written letters to their members of Congress.


MPP is funded entirely by the contributions of its dues-paying members nationwide. To support MPP's work and receive the quarterly newsletter "Marijuana Policy Report," please send $25.00 annual dues to:

Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) P.O. Box 77492 Capitol Hill Washington, D.C. 20013 202-232-0442 FAX

Because MPP devotes 100% of its efforts toward influencing public policy, contributions are not tax-deductible. However, donations to MPP Foundation, MPP's educational branch, are tax-deductible and can be made on-line at  

Drug War Becomes a Shooting War

Ellen Komp
Anti-Drug War activist
September 5, 2001

Grover T. "Tom" Crosslin, 47, who owned Rainbow Farm campground in Newberg Township, Michigan, was shot and killed by an FBI "observer" on Monday, September 3 after a four-day standoff at the campground. One day later, Crosslin's roommate Rolland Eugene Rohm, 28, was fatally shot at the property by a Michigan State Police officer. Both men allegedly aimed guns at the law enforcement agents who shot them.

According to news reports from local papers and the Associated Press, the situation began Friday when deputies went to the farm after neighbors said Crosslin was burning buildings on his property, which is the target of civil forfeiture proceedings. The fires "were set by Crosslin - not law enforcement," a statement earlier Monday expressing hope for a peaceful resolution said. "It should be noted forfeiture proceedings for this property had previously been initiated in May 2001 and Crosslin was aware of the fact he was in the process of losing Rainbow Farm," the statement said.

"This drug war isn't a metaphor anymore. They're killing us now for resisting them," said attorney Brenda Grantland, President of the Board of Directors of FEAR (Forfeiture Endangers Americans Rights,

Authorities arrested Crosslin and five others in May after a two-year investigation into allegations of marijuana use at the 34-acre campground. A court order issued in June prohibited Crosslin from having festival gatherings at the farm, whose Web site says it ''supports the medical, spiritual and responsible recreational uses of marijuana for a more sane and compassionate America.'' Police allege he violated the order by holding a festival August 17-18, which prompted the bond hearing.

Crosslin, owner of Rainbow Farm since 1993, had been charged in May with manufacturing marijuana, more than 200 plants, a 15-year felony; maintaining a drug house, a two-year misdemeanor; and felony firearm, a five-year felony. Rohm was charged with manufacturing marijuana, maintaining a drug house and felony firearm.

Crosslin was scheduled to appear in court Friday for a hearing to revoke his $150,000 bond. But instead he skipped the hearing and then allegedly set fire to buildings on his property, which he had stood to lose under the state's Drug Forfeiture Act. Police said an anonymous telephone caller told them the fires were set "to ambush law enforcement officers when they arrived in response to the fire.''

It's believed Crosslin or Rohm fired shots at three aircraft that flew over the property. One of the aircraft, a helicopter used by WNDU-TV, Channel 16, South Bend, was damaged.

The FBI had joined Cass County Sheriff's deputies and Michigan State Police on Sunday. On Monday, Crosslin had federal charges levied against him, resulting in the dispatch of FBI agents and a federal warrant against Crosslin on charges of attempted destruction of an aircraft and using a firearm to commit a felony. He was facing up to 30 years in prison if convicted of those.

Rohm's stepfather, John Livermore, said he and Rohm's mother drove all night from Tennessee to try to help police negotiate, but were never allowed to speak to Rohm, who Livermore said has a learning disability. Livermore said he believes Rohm left the house because he thought police were going to allow him to see his 12-year-old son, Robert. The boy had been taken from the campground and put into foster care by the Family Independence Agency after the drug arrests in May, according to Crosslin's attorney Dori Leo.

Early Tuesday, Rohm had said he would surrender at 7 a.m. if his son were brought to see him, Cass County Sheriff Joseph Underwood, Jr. said. The sheriff said police were in the process of granting the request when shortly after 6 a.m., a fire was reported at the compound. Rohm was then seen leaving the residence with a long gun and walking into the yard, Underwood said. That's when the confrontation with police took place.

Buzz Daily, 44, a Cass County farmer, said Crosslin and Rohm were known for their generosity. At Christmas, he said, they would drive their pickup truck into Vandalia and distribute gifts throughout the town of about 350 residents. They also would buy food and clothes for people staying at the campground, he said.

Daily also lashed out at police, saying he could not imagine Crosslin or Rohm brandishing a weapon. "I'm surprised that with all the money (police) put into this, they didn't have any non-lethal means of resolving this," said Daily, who said he'd known the pair for about five years and attended several HempAid festivals at the campground.

Daily and others said they weren't sure what would happen to Rainbow Farm. But he urged those who support forfeiture reform or marijuana legalization to come to the funerals for Crosslin and Rohm. Funeral arrangements had not been determined on Tuesday afternoon, Rohm's family said.

Vandalia is about 30 miles northeast of South Bend, Ind., in southwest Michigan. A historical marker in the town park describes Vandalia as a one-time junction on the Underground Railroad. Slaves escaping through Illinois and Indiana were taken in by local Quakers, who guided the slaves east into Canada.

The campground, at 59896 Pemberton Road in Newberg Township, includes shower and bathroom facilities, a coffee bar called The Joint and a hemp-themed gift shop. Each year it hosts two festivals called HempAid and RoachRoast, according to the Web site

This story was culled from several news accounts available at  

Pot: It's Just What the Doctor Ordered

Dan Evans
San Francisco Examiner
June 15, 2001

In his home in the Berkeley Hills, surrounded by books and drawings made by his 7-year-old daughter, Dr. Tod Mikuriya seems like a fairly normal guy. It's hard at first glance to tell that his life revolves around an illegal substance: marijuana.

In his calm, easygoing demeanor, Mikuriya tells how he has written some 5,800 recommendations for marijuana. That's more than anyone else.

Though he sees most patients at his home, he also makes house calls, traveling throughout Northern California, dispensing recommendations to the bedridden. But he also gives pot recommendations for everything from post-traumatic stress disorder to alcoholism.

That's why he is under investigation by the Medical Board of California. Proposition 215, passed in 1996, allows ill people to possess and grow pot with a doctor's blessing. But, according to the state, some blessings come a little too cheap.

Prop. 215 passed on Nov. 6, 1996 -- 1,612 days ago. So on average Mikuriya has recommended marijuana to more than three-and-a-half patients per day, including weekends and holidays. He acknowledges that he does nothing else, but insists he examines each patient thoroughly.

And there's the rub. Mikuriya says it's his vocal stance about the usefulness of pot that brought on the ire of the Medical Board. But the board contends -- presumably based on his astronomical number of patients -- that the Berkeley doctor does little more than a cursory exam before writing a weed recommendation. In an ongoing investigation for more than a year, the board has sought the medical records of about 45 patients.

Mikuriya, 67, says turning over the documents would be a breach of patient-doctor confidentiality, and filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court on May 22 attempting to stop the board's efforts. The state says it needs the records to prove its allegations.

Mikuriya claims there is a conspiracy afoot to keep him down. State officials are split on the medical marijuana controversy. While some local law enforcement agencies strongly oppose pot possession for any purpose, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed papers earlier this year with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative. Though the cooperative lost its fight at the high court, Lockyer's argument that the state should be allowed to make and enforce its own drug laws illustrates his stance with the drug.

The Medical Board complains that Mikuriya gives his consent for pot too easily, not that consent shouldn't ever be given.

But it's hard to tell exactly what the Medical Board's view really is. Karin Fetherston, the senior investigator for the board dealing with Mikuriya's case, did not return a request for comment. And Deputy Attorney General Larry Mercer also refused to talk about Mikuriya, saying the government's side is completely contained in its court filings.

Some facts do emerge from the filings. The Medical Board complains that Mikuriya recommends marijuana to patients not under his care, who are not all that sick, and fails to conduct anything that would amount to a medical examination.

The state claims Mikuriya recommended marijuana to a patient in Nevada County who suffered from alcoholism. Without identifying any specific cases, Mikuriya acknowledged he recommends marijuana for alcoholics. It's a useful treatment for the disease, he said. Marijuana has no real side effects, he said, while alcohol, besides its devastating social effects for alcoholics, is tremendously damaging to the body.

"In fact, it's possible to function adequately while driving and using machinery" after using marijuana, he said.

Attorney Susan Lea, who is defending Mikuriya against the state, blames the state's prosecutorial zeal against her client on people and prejudices held over from the Dan Lungren era. Lungren, a strong opponent of medical marijuana, was the state attorney general under Gov. Pete Wilson.

Lungren raided medical marijuana clubs, shutting down one run by Prop. 215 standard-bearer Dennis Peron. Many in the medical marijuana community regard Lungred as a villain. Lea said many attorneys from that era, including Mercer, still feel it is their goal to silence all doctors who recommend pot.

"In these people's minds, if we can get rid of Mikuriya, no one will be around to recommend marijuana," she said.

Usually, for a complaint to be filed against a doctor with the Medical Board, says Lea, the patient has to complain. But that hasn't happened in this case. Instead, the 45 subpoenaed medical records represent failed prosecutions, she said. Jury after jury acquitted Mikuriya's patients -- usually charged with possession or cultivation, said Lea -- which upset the district attorneys and sheriff's departments working on the cases.

"They've gone to the medical board because they're losing in the criminal courts," said Lea, a Stinson Beach attorney. "You're dealing with a group of very biased people, and they don't like to lose."

Mikuriya said his interest in the medicinal use of cannabis started in 1959, his sophomore year of medical school at Temple University in Philadelphia. The useful properties of the drug, he said, simply didn't jibe with its illicit nature.

"It's just social mind poisoning," he said.

That social poisoning is something the doctor knows a lot about, having been 7 years old when World War II broke out. He grew up in a tiny town in Eastern Pennsylvania. After seeing propaganda films about the nation's then-enemies, Mikuriya says his classmates would beat him up because his father was Japanese. (His mother was German, which didn't help). Sometimes, he said, they would shoot him with BB guns, playing "kill the Jap" and force his sister to watch.

The disparity between the pharmacological use of marijuana and its legal status, he says, is a "collective delusional fiction" of the same ilk. Medical decisions should be left to doctors, he said. Law enforcement agencies are making ill-informed medical decisions because of their bias.

"Unfortunately, they have the tenacity to think they can make health care decisions," he said.

E-mail Dan Evans at  

Maine Studying Plan to Supply Confiscated Marijuana to Patients

New York Times
March 23 2000

Augusta, Maine -- Breaking new ground in the national campaign to legalize the medical use of marijuana, the sheriff of Maine's most populous county recommended to lawmakers yesterday that marijuana confiscated during drug arrests be doled out to patients.

Such a system, Sheriff Mark Dion of Cumberland County told legislators, would mean that patients would not have to violate laws against buying marijuana and ``become criminals in order to survive their illness.''

Dion spoke at a hearing on a bill that highlighted the increasingly common confusion and contradictions that ensue when a state passes a referendum approving the use of marijuana for patients with cancer, AIDS and certain other diseases.

Thus far, the Hawaii Legislature and voters in California and seven other states have passed such ballot measures, all in the West except Maine, which passed the Maine Medical Marijuana Initiative in November by a vote of 61 percent to 39 percent. The law exempted patients from state laws against the personal use of marijuana and said they could grow up to six plants to supply themselves.

But the initiative could not exempt patients from federal laws, nor could it help those who could not grow plants themselves and must buy marijuana from suppliers who were, by definition, criminals.

So Maine, like other states, has found itself facing a knotty question: Voters have said they want medical marijuana available, but how could it be legally distributed?

One answer is the bill examined yesterday by the Legislature's Joint Committee on Health and Human Services, which set a national precedent by proposing that the state take a step beyond the approval of medical marijuana and actually supply it.

The bill would create a system for registering patients whose doctors have affirmed that they had a condition that might be alleviated by marijuana, and it would have the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency provide them with confiscated supplies. Maine's woods tend to attract marijuana growers, officials say.  

Study Says Marijuana Ingredients Kill Rat Tumors

By Lisa Richwine, Reuters
March 6, 2000

Chemicals found in the marijuana plant were, in a third of cases, able to kill a rare and usually fatal type of brain tumor when tested on rats, researchers said on Monday.

The findings were called promising, but the implications for humans are unknown as the study only involved 30 rats injected with cannabinoids, the active chemical ingredients in marijuana.

Writing in the journal Nature Medicine, scientists at Complutense University in Spain injected cannabinoids directly into cells of malignant gliomas that had been implanted in rat brains.

The treatment "eradicated" the cancer in one-third of the cases and another third survived longer than expected, they wrote.

Marijuana, or cannabis, is best known for its ability to give people a "high," but the plant also has medicinal properties, such as relieving pain and nausea.

The scientists said they did not know if the cancer treatment was appropriate for humans, but they planned further studies. Cancer treatments that work in animals may be too toxic or not effective in humans.

The chemicals activated two receptors, or chemical doorways to cells, which prompted an increase in a lipid known as ceramide. The researchers theorized that ceramide in turn activated a chain of protein reactions that killed the cancerous cells.

One of the researchers, Dr. Manuel Guzman, said in an interview he hoped to start human tests in about a year. "We are quite happy with (the findings), and we believe we can at least try and see what happens in humans," Guzman said.

Dr. Daniele Piomelli of the University of California at Irvine wrote in separate article the rat findings were encouraging, given the bleak scenario for treating malignant gliomas.

Patients usually receive surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but median survival is 40 to 50 weeks.

"Although incomplete, these findings must be seriously considered, " Piomelli wrote.  

Kill the Meth Bill

by Mari Kane

America loves the outlaw, especially in glitzy Los Angeles. That's something I discovered last year over dinner at a Hollywood Bowl concert with my mother, sister and daughter. We were talking about the business I'm in- industrial hemp- and mom said she had a dream where she met a certain movie star hemp celebrity and, in it, he told her that I was going to go to jail.

By the time I finished choking on my pasta salad there seemed to be a lull in the din, and I said, perhaps a little too loudly, "well, I might just have to go to jail." As soon as the words left my mouth I was in an EF Hutten commercial with the voice-over saying: "when Mari Kane talks, people listen." The vibe that a crowd of opera buffs heard my announcement of guilt was so strong you could have heard a napkin drop. Sitting there, I got the feeling they were more than a bit titillated as they wondered if they'd seen me on TV.

My reason for imparting this amusing memory and the reason I blurted out that I was headed for jail, is because it now looks, more than ever, that I am.

This is because the Federal bill I told my mother and sister about that evening is still alive. It is S.486, and is called the Defeat of Methamphetamine Act but will be remembered as the Death of Free Speech Act. Sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the co-author is none other than my own Senator, Diane Feinstein (D-CA) from the state where the most valuable crop is cannabis.

Anyone who was shocked to learn that taxpayer dollars are being used to insert anti-drug themes into Hollywood productions will be mortified to know that producers of pro-drug information are soon to become canaries in a constitutional coalmine. The part that would put me in jail reads:

"It shall be unlawful for any person to teach or demonstrate the manufacture of a controlled substance, or to distribute by any means, information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of a controlled substance, with the intent that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime."

I've never been arrested, have always filed my taxes and I vote regularly. But it just so happens that I have a web site devoted to industrial hemp, the legal stuff that is connected, both politically and genetically, to marijuana. I never thought of as a tool for teaching an activity that constitutes a Federal crime, but it does contain an excellent article on medical marijuana by Harvard MD Lester Grinspoon, as well as various stories about Prop 215 and cannabis-related books for sale. If the Defeat of Meth bill becomes law, I will be a criminal for posting all of this information!

It's a wacky world where one can go to jail not for growing, trafficking or dealing drugs, but by simply talking about them! Today's law-abiding activist is tomorrow's political prisoner.

Last year at the Hollywood Bowl I laughed about this bill, incredulous that it would ever go anywhere. Now, I'm very, very concerned since the Senate has passed their version of the bill and has sent it off to the House.

While the Meth bill is a clear violation of the First Amendment, House sponsor Chris Cannon is unconcerned about it's constitutionality and is emboldened by a recent case where Paladin Press settled a suit in which a reader of their how-to-commit-a-murder guide, "Hit Man," used the book in a real-life triple murder. The victim's families sued Paladin in civil court and the publisher settled for $5 million. If S.R. 486 is passed, the government will use this precedent to defend drug censorship.

However, Paladin's book promoted murder- an age-old crime against humanity, where anti-drug war publishers are non-violently passing information on a 70 year-old political quagmire. There is a difference.

The desire for free speech and religion are what drove the Pilgrims to this continent in the first place and by abandoning these principles to Drug War hysteria we will propel ourselves back to pre-Enlightenment Europe. If the drug debate is allowed to be silenced by the law then any kind of speech can be repressed.

The Defeat of Meth bill should be killed immediately and our representatives need to be reminded that while drug paranoia may come and go, the Constitution is here to stay.

As for me, I won't ever shut up - even under lock-down.

Author Mari Kane is the publisher of The International Hemp Journal (formerly known as HempWorld), and Hemp Pages-The Hemp Industry Source Book, and is a board member of the Hemp Industries Association and Californians for Industrial Renewal. She can be contacted at, or visit the Hemp Pages website at .  

Tight like that Gage

by Louis Armstrong

Speaking of 1931 - we did call ourselves Vipers, which could have been anybody from all walks of life that smoked and respected gage. That was our cute little name for marijuana, and it was a misdemeanor in those days. Much different from the pressure and charges the law lays on a guy who smokes pot - a later name for the same thing which is cute to hear nowadays. We always looked at pot as a sort of medicine, a cheap drunk and with much better thoughts than one that's full of liquor. But with the penalties that came, I for one had to put it down though the respect for it (gage) will stay with me forever. I have every reason to say these words and am proud to say them. From experience.

Now I'll relate a few incidents from the West Coast in California when Vic Berton (the top drummer then in all Hollywood) and I got busted together. It was during our intermission at this big night club which were packed and jammed every night with all sorts of my fans, including movie stars. Anyway, while Vic and I were blasting this joint - having lots of laughs and feeling good enjoying each other's company. We were standing in his great big lot in front of some cars. Just then two big healthy Dicks (detectives) came from behind a car nonchalantly - and said to us, we'll take the roach boys. (Hmm).

Vic and I said nothing. So one Dick stayed with me until I went into the Club and did my last show, he enjoyed it too. Because when he and I were on our way down to the police station we had a heart to heart talk. First words that he said to me were, Armstrong I am a big fan of yours and so is my family. We catch your program every night over the radio. In fact, nobody goes to bed in our family until your program's over. And they're all great - which I was glad to hear, especially coming from him. Ho Ho. Then I confidentially told him since you and your family are my fans they'd be awfully sad if anything drastic would happen to me, the same as the other thousands of my fans. So please don't hit me in my `chops', when he said to me, why, I wouldn't think of anything like that. That's all I wanted to hear. Immediately I said, OK let's ride. I also told him - after all I'm no criminal. I respect everybody and they respect me. And I never let 'em down musically. Hell, he said, you ain't doing any more 'n' anybody's doing. It's when they get caught is when they're found out.

Then this Dick confidentially told me, he said, Armstrong, this wouldn't have happened if that band leader - he probably smoked marijuana himself - who's playing just up the road from you, and the big name that he's supposed to have, didn't get jealous because you are doing bigger business than him. So he dropped a nickel on you (meaning) he dropped a nickel into the telephone and called us and stool pigeon on you. They sent me and my partner to come up for the assignment, and when we found out that you was the one we must nab (arrest) it broke our hearts. They told me, you must understand we can get you six months for a roach (meaning) the stub of a joint of gage. That's when they laughed when I pulled my whiskers and said to them, `Ooh no, don't do me no favor such as that.' I was so relaxed on the way down to the station until I forgot I was being busted.

When we reached the police headquarters there were several officers, including the man at the desk, sitting around. And the minute we came through the door they all recognized me right away. They too had been diggin' my music nightly over the radio. Oh boy, were those guys glad to see me. They gave me one look (with glee) and said, what' ta' hell are you doing here this time of night away from the club? So we yakity yakity while I was being booked. That's one reason why we appreciated pot, as y'all calls it now. The warmth it always brought forth from the other person - especially the ones that lit up a good stick of that `shuzzit' or gage, nice names. Now, when it came to summing it up, the difference between the vipers and those using dope and all other kinds of drastic stuff, one could easily see who were actually dope addicts. First place they were never clean, and they stays dirty-grimey all the time. Show most addicts a bucket of water and they'll run like hell to keep it from touching them. But a viper would gladly welcome a good bath, clean underwear and top clothes - stay fresh and on the ball.

We didn't do much drinking lush. When we did we always figured that pot would cut liquor any time. And being physic minded like we were we would take, a good laxative (of some kind) and keep our stomachs cleaned out, because that good stuff we were smoking gave you an appetite. And drinking makes you eat like a dog. A good cleaned out stomach makes one feel like any human deserves to feel, and I've always been physic minded. Mayann (Mother) used to tell me and Mama Lucy (my sister) always stay physic minded. You may not get rich but you won't ever have those terrible ailments such as cancer etc. And she would go out by the railroad tracks and pick a lot of peppers, grasses, dandelions, etc. and she'd bring it home and boil that stuff and give us kids a big dose of it. And my gawd - we'd make sprints to the toilet and afterwards feel `oh so good', all cleaned out 'n' stuff.

Every time I'd `light up' with a cat (viper) I'd mention laxatives and was happy to know that everybody got the message. Because for a while we were drinking Abalena Water. It came from a well in Abilene, Texas. We drank that well dry, so had to get another kind of physic. So we started taking Pluto Water, which was great. Then here come this book - a health book written by Gaylord Hauser. When I read down to the part where he recommended some `herbs' - herbal laxatives - I said to myself, `erbs, - Hmmm, these herbs reminds me of the same as what my mother picked down by the tracks in New Orleans.' Right away I went to the Health Store and bought myself a box of Swiss Kriss and took a big tablespoonful - make sure and see if it worked me the same as the other laxatives. Yes it did. Wow! I said to myself, yes indeed, this is what I need from now on - and forsake all others.

But back to the time I was busted on the coast. I spent nine days in the Downtown Los Angeles City Jail, in a cell with two guys who were already sentenced to 40 or 45 years for something else. Robbery, pickpocket, or whatever they were in for, didn't make any difference to me, and they cared less as to what I was in for. The most important thing was we were so very glad to see each other. Because it was a week ago I was blowing some good shuzzit with both of those characters. We reminisced about the good ol' beautiful moments we used to have during those miniature golf days. We'd go walking around, hit the ball, take a drag, have lots of laughs, and cut out.

Anyway, one night real late - those two cats started fighting amongst themselves over something, and the first words they said to me was, move out of the way `Pops', we don't' want to hurt them chops. And they fought their asses off until the jail keeper came and stopped them. One of them bit the other's finger off. They were intelligent, highly educated guys too. And they loved Pops' horn. It was actually a drag to me when I had to leave them in their cell and go to trial. They also expressed sadness. So we finally said goodbye.

As we walked through the cellblocks, where prisoners of many many nationalities were locked up, they looked up and saw me walking with this great big deputy sheriff and (en mass) they hollered Louie Armstrong over 'n' over. They also hollered sing Old Rockin' Chair, etc. etc., and I smiled and said, "Fellers, I don't have time right now, nothing but to concentrate on what I am gonna tell this judge." They all laughed and cheered, saying Good luck Louie. On the way to court we stopped at the clothes room to pick up the suit I went in there with. The man handed me my suit, which was torned all through the lining, looking for some stuff I guess, stronger than pot. Referring to me, he said, Why this man is no `Heeb' (their word when talking about dope fiends).

So I got to trial. Everybody were there - which takes in my boss, manager and a whole gang of lawyers - and I said to myself that I was straight. Meantime the Chicago papers were all on the stands, with big headlines saying Louis Armstrong will have to serve six months for marijuana, and things like that. The judge gave me a suspended sentence and I went to work that night - wailed just like nothing happened. What strucked me funny though - I laughed real loud when several movie stars came up to the bandstand while we played a dance set. and told me, when they heard about me getting caught with marijuana they thought marijuana was a chick. Woo boy - that really fractured me! Every night I would run across those same detectives who arrested me, glad as ever to see me, and me back on the mound blowing again.

Now I'm back in the club, and everything's running along very smoothly when one night the washroom boy comes up to the bandstand and says there is a white boy in the washroom who wants to see me in there. I asked who it was, and he said, I don't know but he just came up from the south and he has a large croaker sack (meaning Burlap bag) full of something that he said is especially for you. (Hmm). I went into the men's room and there was this fine ofay musician (a good one) who's father was big judge down south, so you can easily see he was well off. He led me to the corner and showed me this sack. It was full of gage in the rough-dirty looking and had to be cleaned.

He said "Louis this muta (one of the names lots of the Ears used) came from out of the back yard where the chickens trampled all over it, so it should be well seasoned." He and I went to the hotel over on Central Avenue, rolled up our sleeves, cleaned it real beautifully and rolled up one a piece. We dragged on down halfway to a "roach" and he was right. When we got on down there we could taste the cackling, the crowing and the other things those chickens did. Beautiful.

We finished at the club with a big closing night, and a big farewell celebration from everybody. With a promise to return, which I did a year later, I left the coast - arriving home in Chicago on a Sunday morning. Had a sleep up into the afternoon, then had my supper while listening to some of my records. Lil was out visiting some place. The door bell rang. I went to the door and found one guy standing there, pointing towards four other youngsters getting out of the car. I said Boys, I'm very glad to see you. It's been a long long time. The minute they came in they told me, "Pops, we came to serenade you." Those boys pulled out their guitars, ukes etc. and wailed awhile with a perfect beat which lifted me up just beautifully. Then they put up their instruments, one cat pulled out a big `bomber' - lit it - took two drags and looked straight into my eyes as he passed it to me, saying, "Pops, we all feel you could use this stick after all you've been through." I said, "Aw boys, Y'all didn't have to do this, reaching for that joint at the same time." Each of them pulled out a stick a piece and started blowing and talking about a lot of interesting things.

That moment helped me to forget a heap of ungodly things. Made me have the right frame of mind for my opening day at the theatre on the South Side, which was really something else. After all, the vipers and fans in Chicago thought I was actually serving time from the incident on the coast with my boy, Vic Berton, whom I still think is the greatest drummer of all times. So the theatre was packed to the rafters. They came to hear what their boy Louis had to say, and when I was introduced you can imagine the house coming down with thunderous applause which lasted for a whole gang of minutes. Made my heart flutter with happiness.

Soooo, when they quieted down I said Yea, you thought I was. But I wasn't. And that did it. Such yells . . . Dipper, Satchelmouth, etc, we're glad to see you back. We went into our show and every tune was a gasser. We did three shows a day, each one packed 'n' jammed. After two weeks in Chicago I formed a band and went on the road, playing theatres in different cities and towns.

One stop was the Royal Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland, located in a poor negro neighborhood. The people were so poor until they couldn't afford to buy hard coal. When we arrived in the town it was as cold as a well-digger's you-know-what. Freezing. Well, I heard about these people who were too poor to get coal to keep themselves and their kids warm, so I bought some for them. Yass I did. Went to the coal yard, ordered a ton of coal and had the company to deliver it to the Lobby of the Royal Theatre. Then I had all of the folks who needed coal, to help themselves, it made them very happy. And they made it their business to come backstage and thank me personally - of course it all caused me to stick out my chest with pride. I came up through life the hard way just like those folks.

As we always used to say, gage is more of a medicine than a dope. But with all the riggermaroo going on, no one can do anything about it. After all, the vipers during my haydays are way up there in age - too old to suffer those drastic penalties. So we had to put it down. But if we all get as old as Methuselah our memories will always be of lots of beauty and warmth from gage. Well, that was my life and I don't feel ashamed at all. Mary Warner, honey, you sure was good and I enjoyed you 'heep much'. But the price got a little too high to pay (law wise). At first you was a 'misdemeanor'. But as the years rolled on you lost your misdo and got meanor and meanor. (Jailhousely speaking). Sooo "Bye Bye, I'll have to put you down, Dearest."

[signed] `Soul Foodly, Satchmo'.


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