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Hindu god banishes cannabis tourism from Indian village

Posted on July 11th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South AsiaA local Hindu deity has issued an edict ordering that guest-houses that cater to cannabis-imbibing tourists in a remote Indian village be shut down. That's the gist of the startling headline in Hindustan Times of July 11. Malana village, high in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, is famous for its premium-quality hashish, but has traditionally been isolated from the outside world. Now village elders fear the community's unique culture is threatened by the swarms of tourists drawn by Malana's storied bhang.

Reefer madness hits Nepal

Posted on March 21st, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

South AsiaThe number of drug-related offenses is "higher than any other heinous crime in Nepal and is increasing at an alarming rate," according a none-too-objective March 17 account in Kathmandu's The Himalayan newspaper. The article credulously regurgitates the claims of a new report from the country's Narcotics Control Bureau, breaking down crime figures since 2011. The total for drug offenses rises to around 1,800, while those for murder and rape remain in the hudreds, and abduction in the two-digit range. And what kinds of drugs are at issue here? We are luridly told that "cultivation of genetically selected strains have [sic] led to increase in cannabis harvests. As a result, cannabis cultivation is increasing even in the hilly areas, posing a grave threat to security, according to the report."

Archaeologists unearth ancient cannabis 'burial shroud'

Posted on October 18th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Central Asia Archaeologists working in China's far western Xinjiang region report the discovery of an "extraordinary cache" of cannabis, found in an ancient burial site. National Geographic says the unprecedented find "adds considerably to our understanding of how ancient Eurasian cultures used the plant for ritual and medicinal purposes."  Writing in the journal Economic Botany, archaeologist Hongen Jiang and his colleagues describe the burial of a 35-year-old adult man with Caucasian features in Xinjiang's Turpan Basin. The body was laid out on a wooden bed with 13 cannabis plants—each nearly three feet long—placed across the chest.

Medical cannabis kosher for Passover

Posted on April 20th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

kosher cannabisOn the eve of the Passover holiday, a breakthough is reported in the controversy over whether cannabis is kosher. The Times of Israel just couldn't resist the smart-alecky lede: "Getting baked on Passover is no longer just for matzah, a leading Orthodox rabbi ruled, after sniffing (but not smoking) some cannabis leaves..." Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, Israel's leading Orthodox halachic (Jewish law) authority, ruled that cannabis is kosher for Passover and can be either eaten or smoked over the eight-day festival, during which strict dietary laws apply. Kanievsky issued the ruling in response to a query from the cannabis advocacy group Siach—which means both "plant" and "conversation" in Hebrew.

Native American church schism sues for right to cannabis

cannabisA seemingly schismatic Oregon branch of the Native American Church claims the US government illegally seized its sacramental cannabis—and is fighting in court to get it back. Oklevueha Native American Church leaders James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney and Joy Graves brought the case Jan. 15 in a US district court in Portland. Graves says she mailed five ounces of cannabis to a church member in Ohio on Dec. 10, but it never arrived. The Postal Service tracking website reported that the package had been seized by law enforcement. A postal inspector in Portland told her cannabis is illegal under federal law and was unimpressed by her claim that she sent the herb to a church member with esophageal cancer for use in healing rituals, according to Courthouse News Service. Oregon legalized medical marijuana in 2007 and approved recreational cannabis through a ballot measure last year. Both remain illegal in Ohio, although small quantities are decriminalized there. Sending cannabis through the mails is a federal crime.

Kosher cannabis spells relief for Judeo-tokers

Posted on January 2nd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

leafPharmaceutical firm Vireo Health of Minneapolis announced Dec. 30 that its medical marijuana has been certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, the body that sets such standards for America's half-million Orthodox Jews. The OU's Kosher Certification program usually stamps its seal of approval on food products. But now Vireo Health, one of five companies licensed to market medical marijuana in New York state, has received the OU's imprimatur for herbal product—a first in the industry. The New York Daily News reports that the OU rabbinical association gave its certification after inspecting the company's facilities and finding that the cannabis is produced according to the laws of kashrut—for example, being entirely free of insects.

UK drug bill to ban church incense?

Posted on September 28th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

EuropeThe British tabloids are having a field day with this one. The Daily Mail warns that the UK's pending Psychoactive Substances Bill—aimed at closing the loopholes that permit "legal highs"—could outlaw incense and criminalize priests. Under the proposed law, it would become a criminal offense to sell "any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect," with a seven-year prison term. Two church groups, the Association of English Cathedrals and the Churches' Legislation Advisory Service, are urging lawmakers to make a "specific exemption" for incense. In testimony to a parliamentary inquiry, the Association warned: 'Cathedrals regularly make use of incense during worship services, especially celebrations of the Eucharist. Incense has been used for worship purposes for millennia, and by the Christian church since its foundation."

Congo basin tribe uses medical cannabis: study

Posted on August 14th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

AfricaThe Slog blog makes note of a new report from anthropologists at Washington State University which appeared in the American Journal of Human Biology, entitled: "High prevalence of cannabis use among Aka foragers of the Congo Basin and its possible relationship to helminthiasis." The research found that roughly 95% of Aka men smoke tobacco (compared to 17% in Black Africa and 31% globally) and 68% smoke cannabis—both of which are correlated with lower rates of helminths, or parasitic worms. The Aka didn't tell researchers they smoke to prevent helminths, but to "increase their courage on a hunt, dance better, increase their vital force, or to increase their work capacity when working for Europeans or village people." They say cannabis is especially helpful when hunting elephants, and that women prefer husbands who smoke—which could account for the especially high rates of male smoking. But the researchers surmised that plant toxins in cannabis and tobacco alike serve to protect the Aka from parasites, and they are unconsciously self-medicating with the herb.

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