Review: Maria McFarland’s ‘There Are No Dead Here’

Drug Policy Alliance executive director Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, a veteran Latin America specialist with Human Rights Watch, tells a grim but also inspiring story in There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Colombia (Nation Books). It details the efforts of three courageous Colombians to bring to light official complicity in the reign of paramilitary terror in the country over the past generation.

These three won a measure of success, but at the cost of relentless death threats and assassination attempts. One paid the proverbial ultimate price. Their interlocking tales paint a picture of Colombian officials’ staggering cynicism, especially during the 2002-2010 presidency of Álvaro Uribe, whose administration was thoroughly integrated with the ostensibly illegal right-wing paramilitary networks, even as he denied everything and portrayed himself as a centrist democrat.

Author and DPA head Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno

The book opens with the figure who became a martyr in the quest for truth—Jesús Maria Valle, an attorney and human-rights defender in the city of Medellín, who was among the first to raise the alarm about the mounting paramilitary violence in the 1990s. Uribe was then governor of the department of Antioquia, where Medellín is located. Valle initially tried to alert him about the violence in rural communities, before determining that the governor’s own anti-guerilla militia force was cooperating with the paras. In 1998, armed men invaded Valle’s office and assassinated him.

Antioquia proved to be a testing ground for the strategy Uribe would apply nationally as president. Iván Velásquez, the prosecutor and jurist who doggedly investigated the Uribe government’s collaboration with paramilitary groups, picked up Valle’s torch. Uribe road-blocked Velásquez every step of the way, launching a media smear campaign against him, while paras operated in the shadows with threats and attacks on his team.

President Trump Supports the Death Penalty for Drugs

President Trump supports the death penalty for drug dealers, according to a report by the respect news outlet Axios.

In Singapore, drug trafficking offenses result in a mandatory death penalty, a law that has drawn the ire of international communities including the United Nations. However, apparently President Trump loves it, and he’s been telling friends for months that the country’s policy is the reason its drug consumption rates are so low.

“He says that a lot,” said a source who’s spoken to Trump at length about the subject. “He says, ‘When I ask the prime minister of Singapore do they have a drug problem [the prime minister replies,] ‘No. Death penalty’.”

According to the report; “He often jokes about killing drug dealers… He’ll say, ‘You know the Chinese and Filipinos don’t have a drug problem. They just kill them.’”

The report notes that:

  • But the president doesn’t just joke about it. According to five sources who’ve spoken with Trump about the subject, he often leaps into a passionate speech about how drug dealers are as bad as serial killers and should all get the death penalty.
  • Trump tells confidants a softer approach to drug reform — the kind where you show sympathy to the offenders and give them more lenient sentences — will never work.
  • He tells friends and associates the government has got to teach children that they’ll die if they take drugs and they’ve got to make drug dealers fear for their lives.
  • Trump has said he would love to have a law to execute all drug dealers here in America, though he’s privately admitted it would probably be impossible to get a law this harsh passed under the American system.

Last year President Donald Trump invited Phillipines President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House despite his murderous drug war that has led to the killing of over 7,000 people without trial.

The post President Trump Supports

Study: Cannabinoids May Prevent Depressive and PTSD-Like Symptoms Following Severe Stress

Cannabinoids may prevent both depressive and PTSD-like symptoms following exposure to severe stress, according to a new study being published by the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.

“Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition highly comorbid with depression”, begins the abstract of the study, which was also published by the U.S. National Institute of Health. “The endocannabinoid (eCB) system and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are suggestively involved in both disorders.” For the study, researchers “examined whether cannabinoids can prevent the long-term depressive-like symptoms induced by exposure to the shock and situational reminders (SRs) model of PTSD.”

Researchers administered a compound meant to mimic the effects of natural cannabinoids in rats two hours after a severe shock. “Cannabinoids prevented the shock/SRs-induced alterations in social recognition memory, locomotion, passive coping, anxiety-like behavior, anhedonia, fear retrieval, fear extinction and startle response as well as the decrease in BDNF levels in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC)”, states the study. “Furthermore, significant correlations were found between depressive-like behaviors and BDNF levels in the brain.”

The study concludes; “The findings suggest that cannabinoids may prevent both depressive- and PTSD-like symptoms following exposure to severe stress and that alterations in BDNF levels in the brains’ fear circuit are involved in these effects.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at The Academic College Tel-Aviv-Yaffo and the University of Haifa (both in Israel), can be found by clicking here.

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Smokin Js – Activism, Family, Culture

By Aaron A.

Cubicle life wasn’t what a young Jay Fratt saw for himself in 1997.  Production deadlines and endless engineering meetings did not fulfill his desire to be a part of the ever-evolving, independent alternative culture blossoming in the 90s.  He decided the monotony and repetition of the robotic corporate grind, was not for him.  So, Jay quit his 9-5 job in the plastics industry in order to create a different future, one in which he openly and actively pursued his greatest passion, the legalization of industrial hemp.  Thus was born the small hemp themed clothing store which over 20 years would grow and evolve into the oldest alternative pipe & tobacco store in SW Washington State … Smokin Js.

What a long strange trip it’s been!  Smokin Js has grown up as a business during substantial cultural changes in Washington State.  From medical cannabis legalization in 1998 to full recreational cannabis legalization in 2012, Smokin Js has participated in cannabis activism and education in Washington State the entire way.


Free Glass and Promotional Fun

The founder of Smokin Js grew up during the birth of the Internet.  Back then you were expected to contribute something to the Internet in trade for asking for something.  Jay has taken this idealistic philosophy to the advertising methods of Smokin Js.


  • Email List Promotion  


Smokin Js has an email list!  Like duh, but they do things a little differently than most.  With each email they send they give something away for free to a random person who opens the email.  Typically during the Christmas and 420 months the prize is sick, or should I say dope af.

Sign up Here


  • Instagram Photo Contest


Yeah Smokin Js is on Instagram.  Proud to have never paid for a service or bought a single follower, Smokin Js is legitimately connected to each person following the company feed.  One

Study: CBD May Help Treat, and Cause the Death of, Endometrial Cancer

CBD (cannabidiol) and CBD-rich extracts may provide a potential treatment option for endometrial cancer, according to a new study published by the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

Endometrial cancer,

“Among a variety of phytocannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most promising therapeutic compounds”, begins the study’s abstract. “Besides the well-known palliative effects in cancer patients, cannabinoids have been shown to inhibit in vitro growth of tumor cells. Likewise, the major endocannabinoids (eCBs), anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), induce tumor cell death.”

The purpose of the present study “was to characterize cannabinoid elements and evaluate the effect of cannabinoids in endometrial cancer cell viability.” Endometrial cancer is a variety of cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus.

After conducted a series of tests, researchers found that “these data indicate that cannabinoids modulate endometrial cancer cell death. Selective targeting of TPRV1 by AEA, CBD, or other stable analogues may be an attractive research area for the treatment of estrogen-dependent endometrial carcinoma.”

They conclude by stating that; “Our data further support the evaluation of CBD and CBD-rich extracts for the potential treatment of endometrial cancer, particularly, that has become non-responsive to common therapies.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at the Universidade do Porto in Portugal, can be found by clicking here.

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Review: ‘When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir’

This book is powerful, maddening, joyous, sad, romantic, uplifting, humble, honest and true. Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele do a fantastic job telling Khan-Cullers’ amazing and yet all too typical story.

Amazing, because this young, black and queer woman has managed to create a community full of love, respect and activism in a world not created for her. Typical, because the harassment and abuse she and her family have suffered at the hands of overzealous law enforcement officials, underfunded and overwhelmed social programs, and abusive prison authorities happen to black and brown people every day.

When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (St. Martin’s Press) is not a long read, but it took me a while to finish, mostly because I had to stop occasionally to process and think about the many points the authors make. Like how, in the aftermath of the Columbine shootings in 1999, it wasn’t predominantly white schools like the one she attended that installed metal detectors, even though mass shootings are much rarer in predominantly black schools. Like how the young men in her neighborhood would be terrorized by the cops and strip-searched on suspicion of minor infractions, even though the white weed dealer at her high school had no fear of getting arrested.

One scene describes police coming into Khan-Cullors’ home without a warrant to arrest her activist boyfriend. He hadn’t broken any laws. How did the cops know where he was? His name wasn’t on the lease. It reminded me of when Chicago police assassinated 21-year-old Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton, in 1969. How many young activists are targeted before they even really get started?

The lesser known benefits of cannabis

By Stephen M.

Marijuana StudiesMarijuana consumption – a controversial topic that divides people into two categories, those that are pro and those that are against it. Although it still remains illegal in many countries and states around the globe, cannabis has been proven repeatedly to bring amazing benefits, health wise. If the topic is rather unfamiliar to you, learning a few insights might help you decide if smoking, vaping or utilizing cannabis in other ways is something that you should consider doing. Here are the benefits of cannabis that you might not be aware of:

Relives stress – combats anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression mainly triggered by a high level of stress have become aggravating problems for people nowadays. If you are confronted with issues of this kind yourself, it can be difficult to find solutions that can actually provide you with effective and noticeable results. Well, cannabin’s hybrids, such as Gorilla Glue 4 cannabis strain can actually help you effectively fight against depression and anxiety, showing results even after the first usage. Because it gives you the chance to truly unwind and obtain a deeper relaxation, you can reduce your stress level considerably. The recreational use of marijuana might appeal to you, but being able to combat issues such as anxiety and depression, which are lowering your quality of lie, are certainly prospects that will make you think more about this possibility.

Fighting insomnia

Dealing with insomnia or unrestful sleep can affect your work performance and other sectors of your life. Finding the root of the problem is often difficult, and instead of resorting to certain medications that come with a long list of potential side effects, choosing the cannabis alternative is far safer. If you discuss with marijuana consumers, they will be able to tell you how much this weed has managed to help them in this department. Sleeping peacefully will no longer be a problem for you.…

Federal Spending Deal Keeps Medical Marijuana Protections in Place… For Another Few Weeks

After a government shutdown lasting only a few hours, Congress passed yet another temporary spending bill on Friday that will keep medical marijuana patients and providers safe for a little while longer. The bill includes the amendments that has been part of the spending budget since 2014, which prevents the Department of Justice from spending resources to prosecute people or businesses that are in compliance with state laws. This deal is set to expire on March 23.

Congress will need to pass another spending bill before then in order to continue keeping state medical marijuana programs safe. In the event of a government shutdown, there will be nothing to stop federal prosecutors from targeting medical marijuana programs around the country.

However, supportive lawmakers are using the temporary reprieves to push for even more comprehensive protections, including amendments that would extend protections to businesses in the adult-use market.

Please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support state marijuana protections in the final spending bill.


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Travel Guru Rick Steves Talks Up Legal Pot on Capitol Hill

When Rick Steves isn’t touring Europe or writing and producing travel guides, he’s trying to legalize marijuana. The PBS host and NORML board member visited Washington to speak with members of Congress on Feb. 13.

After a press conference attended by NORML’s Keith Stroup and the Marijuana Policy Project’s Don Murphy, Steves went to briefings with House and Senate reps. The Congressional Cannabis Caucus, a bipartisan organization founded in 2017 by Reps Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Don Young (R-Alaska), organized the House briefing.

His next stops were Maryland and Delaware, where he called on the state legislatures to regulate cannabis.

“I’m not for pot,” he told Freedom Leaf. “I’m for common sense. I’m anti-legislating morality and anti-incarceration.”

RELATED: Celebrities Bringing Cannabis Brands to the Market

Steves contributed $50,000 to Maine’s Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in 2016, and helped legalization efforts in his home state of Washington by donating $350,000 in support of Initiative 502 in 2012. He also supported the passage of Measure 91 in Oregon in 2014.

“What I do is a …

Review: Shira Adler’s ‘The ABC’s of CBD’

CBD is the unsung hero of the cannabis plant, while the psychoactive THC takes the spotlight. Shira Adler dispels myths about cannabidiol and highlights its many benefits in The ABC’s of CBD: The Essential Guide for Parents (And Regular Folks Too).

Author Shira Adler

Best-known for treating inflammation, CBD’s properties range from antibacterial to anti-nausea and anti-convulsive. Adler traces CBD to 8,000 BCE, when hemp was cultivated in East Asia, and then to the American Revolution, when George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were the country’s most famous hemp farmers.

Adler uses “cannabis” to denote the marijuana cultivar of the cannabis plant and distinguish it from hemp, and is quick to explain that “CBD can be derived from both cannabis and hemp plants. Hemp doesn’t flower and cannabis does.” She further delineates that “far less THC exists in the hemp plant” and, in a comical discussion about CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, compares the body’s endocannabinoid system to the Oompa-Loompas and a set of bowling pins.

RELATED: FDA Warns Four CBD Companies About Making Medical Claims

Although there’s a heavy dose …

Over $1.5 Billion in Legal Marijuana Sold in Colorado in 2017

According to data released by Colorado’s Department of Revenue, there was $1.51 billion in legal marijuana and marijuana products sold in 2017.

The $1.51 billion sold is an increase over the $1.3 billion sold in 2016. In 2015 there was $995 million sold, and in 2014 – the first year of legal sales – $683 million in marijuana was sold.

According to the new data, which was released today, there was $1.09 billion in recreational marijuana sold in 2017. As for medical marijuana, licensed dispensaries sold $416 million worth. These sales resulted in roughly $250 million in new taxes for Colorado.

In Washington State – which legalized marijuana in the same election as Colorado – at least $1.2 billion in legal marijuana was sold in 2017, though data for November and December isn’t available yet. Based on current trends, the state will end with just shy of $1.5 billion sold for the year, closely mirroring Colorado’s total.

In both states those 21 and older can purchase up to an ounce of marijuana from a licensed marijuana retail outlet, while also being allowed to purchase marijuana products such as edibles and tinctures.

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Fox News Poll: 59% of U.S. Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana

According to a new Fox News Poll, a large majority of voters in the United States favor legalizing marijuana.

The poll found that 59% of voters support marijuana legalization, up from 51% in 2015, and 46% in 2013. The polling shows that just 32% of voters oppose marijuana legalization, down from 49% in 2013. Millennials (72%) have the highest level of support, followed by Gen Xers (60%) and baby boomers (52%).

“This is a massive shift in opinion over a very short period. As more states legalize marijuana without the negative consequences opponents have warned about, support will likely continue to increase,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Daron Shaw, his Republican counterpart.

Two-thirds of Democrats (68%) and independents (67%) favor legalization. Republicans split 46% to 46% (in 2015, 59% of Republicans were against it).

Majorities of very conservative voters (61%) and white evangelical Christians (53%) oppose legalization. However, opposition among those groups is down 14 and 16 points, respectively, from five years ago.

“When you look at the growing percentage of people who say they support legalizing marijuana, especially among those under 30 years of age, it’s obvious why the Democrats are anxious to get pot initiatives on the ballot in statewide elections,” says Shaw.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,002 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from January 21-23, 2018. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.

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Review: ‘So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley’ 

While such esteemed authors as Stephen Davis and the late Timothy White penned terrific biographies of Robert Nesta Marley, no writer is more knowledgeable about the Reggae King than Roger Steffens. It took him many years, but he finally completed his book: So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley (W. W. Norton).

Steffens is curator of the world’s largest reggae archives, which bursts the seams of his modest Echo Park bungalow in Los Angeles. The Vietnam veteran and photographer/archivist/historian has been an obsessive fan since he was mesmerized by a 1973 Rolling Stone review of the Wailers’ Catch a Fire. The next day, he watched the seminal Jimmy Cliff film, The Harder They Come, which cemented his lifelong obsession with reggae.

The author has created a reggae Rashomon in telling Marley’s story through more than 75 different interviews that frequently contradict each another. You won’t learn too much about Marley’s personal life or his series of relationships, though there’s plenty of input from Cindy Breakspeare, the former Miss World and mother of Marley’s son Damian, who Bob famously holed up with in London after the attempt on his life in Kingston in 1976.

RELATED: Review of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Live! (Deluxe Edition)

Provinces Take Lead in Canada’s Legalization Ramp-Up

Canada is moving full steam ahead with its plans to legalize recreational marijuana this summer. The federal government, however, has delegated much of the responsibility for ironing out the details of regulation to individual provinces.

In November, Canada’s Department of Finance announced that excise taxes on cannabis flowers would not exceed $1 per gram or 10% of the product’s sale price, whichever is higher, and that marijuana-tax revenue would be divided equally between the provinces and the federal government.

Unhappy with the 50-50 split, provincial leaders came out against the proposed regulations, arguing that since their governments are doing most of the regulatory work, they should receive a larger share of tax revenue.

“The federal government must be smoking something to think it will work for the provinces,” Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci stated. “It’s unacceptable. We need to get into a room together to work this out.”

Quick to respond, Ottawa officials met with officials from the 10 provinces and hammered out an agreement that would give provinces 75% of marijuana-tax revenues for the first two years of legal sales. The provinces …

New Study Finds Cannabis Use Does Not Harm Human Fertility

Cannabis consumption does not have a negative impact on male or female fertility, according to a new study.

The study, titled Marijuana use and fecundability in a North American preconception cohort study, was published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health. It was conducted by researchers at Boston University’s School of Public Health.

For the study, “Female participants completed a baseline questionnaire on which they reported lifestyle and behavioural factors, including frequency of marijuana use within the previous 2 months.” Male partners “completed an optional baseline questionnaire on similar factors, including marijuana use. Women completed follow-up questionnaires every 8 weeks for 12 months or until pregnancy, initiation of fertility treatment or loss to follow-up, whichever came first.”

After analyzing the data, researchers found that; “In this preconception cohort study, there was little overall association between female or male marijuana use and fecundability.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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San Francisco District Attorney to Expunge Over 3,000 Marijuana Charges

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has announced that he will retroactively apply California’s new marijuana legalization law to past criminal charges.

super silver hazeThe move will lead to the expungement (removal from criminal records) of more than 3,000 misdemeanor marijuana convictions dating back to 1975. This will be one of the largest batch of expungements in the city’s history.

“Instead of waiting for people to petition — for the community to come out — we have decided that we will do so ourselves,” says Gascón. “We believe it is the right thing to do. We believe it is the just thing to do.”

According to Gascón, prosecutors will also review and potentially expunge 4,940 felony marijuana cases.

The move is made possible thanks to the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016. The initiative legalized the possession, use and licensed distribution of up to an ounce of marijuana for those 21 and older.

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Report: Marijuana Industry Job Postings Increased by 445% in 2017

According to data compiled by ZipRecruiter, the total number of marijuana industry job posts increased by 445% in 2017, compared to an increase of just 18% one year prior.

“In 2016 alone, nine states made marijuana (either medical or recreational) legal”, states a ZipRecruiter report. “Shortly after, the number of cannabis industry job posts rose dramatically.” According to their data, “the total number of industry job posts increased by 445% in 2017, compared to an increase of just 18% one year prior.”

The data “also shows that the cannabis industry is growing more rapidly than some of today’s fastest-growing fields. Year over year growth of job posts in the cannabis industry is outpacing both tech (254% growth) and healthcare (70% growth)— by some reports, there are 14% more legal marijuana workers than there are dental hygienists in the U.S.”

ZipRecruit’s Q4 data for 2017 “revealed an especially dramatic leap in the number of new cannabis industry job posts. The number of cannabis industry job posts increased 693% year over year and 79% quarter over quarter. This impressive growth can probably be attributed to SMBs preparing for the kick-off of retail cannabis sales in Q1 of 2018 in huge markets like California.”

The report shows that the top 5 MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) with the highest total number of job posts in 2017 were concentrated in Colorado, California, and Washington. “When it comes to growth in this industry, we see the most significant growth in states that recently loosened their marijuana laws”, states ZipRecruiter. “Two out of the top 5 MSAs exhibiting the greatest job post growth are located in Florida, which legalized medical cannabis in 2016.”

Below are the MSAs with the most marijuana job openings, according to the report:


  1. Los Angeles, CA
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Miami, FL
  6. Portland, OR
  7. Las Vegas, NV
  8. San Jose, CA
  9. Santa Barbara, CA
  10. Tallahassee, FL


The …