Marijuana Sellers Thriving With White Rhino

Marijuana Sellers Thriving With White Rhino
Posted by CN Staff on December 01, 2008 at 06:14:32 PT
By Dave Shiflett
USA -- Here’s some holiday cheer: At least one U.S. industry is not only booming but avoids government intervention like the plague. When these folks need a bailout they call their lawyers, not their lobbyists.“Marijuana Nation,” which airs tomorrow on National Geographic Channel at 10 p.m. New York time, is an intriguing look at the U.S. marijuana business, estimated to turn a tidy $65 billion annual profit despite an often perilous sales environment.
Anchored by Lisa Ling, former co-host of “The View,” this hour-long show presents enough market stats to make an analyst salivate.Marijuana, first used as an intoxicant in China some 5,000 years ago, is now the most widely used illegal substance in the world, according to Ling. About 200 million people use pot in one form or another and the market is growing steadily, with 2 million Americans projected to try it for the first time this year.They’re smoking some powerful weed. In the 1960s most marijuana contained 3-4 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) -- the substance that makes you high. That’s like near beer next to today’s cannabis, which can boast concentrations of over 20 percent.Ling, whose waist-length hair and slim figure make her look like a Grateful Dead twirler, spends much of the program in California, where 22 million marijuana plants are estimated to have been harvested in 2006. That represents a tenfold increase over 15 years ago. Pot is far more profitable than the state’s wine industry, according to the show. Medical Use   California is also benefiting from sales of medical marijuana, which brought an estimated $3 million in tax revenue to Oakland in 2003. Ling points out that a prescription isn’t all that hard to come by. One stoner on the program says he needs weed because he broke his finger several years ago.The first anti-pot laws were passed in Texas in 1914 in response to toking among immigrant workers. By 1937 the drug was illegal throughout the U.S. and federal law still puts it in the same category as heroin.Ling dons a helmet and fatigues to join a bust deep inside California’s Sequoia National Forest, where she rappels from a helicopter like a special-ops warrior. Public land is popular with pot farmers; in 2007 more than 250,000 plants were seized in this forest alone.Yet these efforts seem futile. Law-enforcement officials say growers often plant five plots, assuming two will be seized by police and/or “pot pirates” while animals will eat the equivalent of another. That leaves two plots that can produce millions in profits. Hothouses   Other entrepreneurs have taken operations indoors, turning their homes into hothouses where three to four annual harvests are possible. Florida, the show says, is the capital of the indoor trade.The program also looks at spinoff businesses, including an Internet seed catalogue that offers brands such as White Rhino, Wonder Woman and Haze. Bongs as long as bazookas, and one that looks like an octopus, are also available to aficionados.There are a few humorous touches, including a worker at a pot dispensary wearing a “DARE To Keep Kids Off Drugs” T-shirt. Ling also lists negative side effects, ranging from memory loss to depression and abnormal heart rate. But she also reminds viewers that marijuana is a blessing to some cancer patients and may help combat osteoporosis.Last year, 800,000 Americans were arrested on pot charges, 90 percent for possession. In Virginia, where George Washington grew hemp, two plants can get you up to 30 years in prison.Now that’s really dopey.Dave Shiflett is a critic for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.Complete Title: Marijuana Sellers Thriving With ‘White Rhino,’ ‘Wonder Woman’Source: (USA)Author: Dave ShiflettPublished: December 1, 2008Copyright: 2008 Bloomberg L.P.Contact:  dshifl aol.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on December 03, 2008 at 18:31:14 PT
That's very true. I find it nice not to have to follow the news about Obama anymore. It was intense and now all I feel is relief that it is over. Now I can think about other things that are important to me.
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Comment #19 posted by afterburner on December 03, 2008 at 18:10:27 PT
FoM #15
"For 8 years all I have heard is fear and now the fear has been replaced with hope. ... My glass is now half full not half empty.""You can't smile and frown at the same time." --Try it.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on December 02, 2008 at 10:34:02 PT
Nat Geo's Explorer: Marijuana Nation 
Nat Geo's Explorer: Marijuana Nation tonight, Dec. 2
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on December 02, 2008 at 08:45:31 PT
Chicago Heights Makes Minor Pot Cases Ticketable
 Chicago Heights Makes Minor Pot Cases Ticketable December 2, 2008 
CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. (STNG) ¯ If you get caught with small amounts of marijuana in Chicago Heights, you'll no longer face criminal charges. Instead, you'll get a ticket and go through an administrative hearing in city court, according to a new ordinance approved Monday night by the city council.The city used its home rule authority to make the change. The new ordinance applies to those found with less than 30 grams of marijuana.City attorney TJ Somer said addressing such offenses as ordinance violations rather than crimes helps "unclog" the criminal justice system while providing extra revenue for the city.That's because the city doesn't have to share revenue from fines with the Cook County Circuit Court system.Copyright: 2008 Chicago Sun-Times
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on December 02, 2008 at 07:34:03 PT
A Song of Hope
Power To The People - John Lennon
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on December 02, 2008 at 07:18:28 PT
Marijuana Nation
Since Obama has been elected I haven't been worried about much of anything as far as issues go. I barely check out the news anymore. For 8 years all I have heard is fear and now the fear has been replaced with hope. I don't know what will happen as far as marijuana reform goes but it will be better then we have had under the Party of fear.Fear is a control mechanism and I won't have my mind highjacked because then they win. My glass is now half full not half empty.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on December 02, 2008 at 06:47:38 PT
Naturally, we dread this...
We're so used to being abused, beat up on, and slapped around. We're like the abused spouse or child. We're so used to being beat up on, mocked, insulted, and mistreated that we dread knowing they're coming. Maybe they won't beat us and give us black eyes and busted lips this time. Maybe. But long experience tells us they probably will.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on December 02, 2008 at 05:55:26 PT
Explorer: Marijuana Nation
Video: airtime: Tuesday, 10pm ET (National Geographic) 
 "This is not your father’s marijuana,” cautions Lisa Ling as she jumps into the subject of this most lucrative and controversial of cash crops. And, at the start of this episode of National Geographic’s Explorer, Ling is literally jumping in, riding along with the U.S. Forest Service (and, she adds, “several other law enforcement agencies") in a chopper over the green forests of California mountains. “We’re in crisis mode,” asserts the team leader, his jaw set and his jumpsuit camo. “Every time we go out and look, we find more than we found the time before.” The “more” here consists of actual plants, organized into increasing numbers of gardens on private and public properties. Growers protect their livelihood with guns: as the team leader tells Ling, marijuana is now “the most dangerous thing that we in the Forest Service investigate.” This situation is different from two decades ago, Ling explains, when most pot was smuggled into the States. This shift in industry dynamics expands—or at least reconfigures—the borders of the “marijuana nation” of the program’s title. Ling talks with former smuggler Todd Steele, who was running 20-ton loads from Colombia when he was just 17, back in the 1980s. Photos show a tanned, sweet-faced younger Steele, posing on his boat. Looking back, he says, “We were just down there to do business with a product we thought was a wholesome way to make a living.” Indeed, this is the most frequent argument made by growers in Marijuana Nation, that American regulations are hypocritical. Pot, argues Steele (who quit smuggling when he was 26, “with no regrets") is not so different from other intoxicants. “As an outlaw,” he says, “I saw the laws that I was breaking as unfair because drugs are sold legally in the U.S. every day, with alcohol: with every bottle of beer that’s sold, with every bottle of vodka that’s sold, with every fancy bottle of wine that’s sold, Americans are dealing drugs.” Ling notes that though he was, in fact, arrested and sentenced to 12 months, there was a time when marijuana was legal to grow and sell in the U.S. She points to colonial Williamsburg, where many households grew marijuana for industrial purposes,” including cloth and paper. Today, laws are changing in and outside the United States. Ling visits a grower in Canada, whose greenhouse is technically legal (he’s allowed to grow medical marijuana for himself and two other patients), but plainly tremendous. Ling’s Explorer team is the first television crew allowed to glimpse the operation, and her “whoas” and “wows” indicate that our close-framed view of towering, verdant plants is probably limited. The major point here, Ling says, is that the indoor growing allows the grower to “bypass Mother Nature,” and so produce more potent, “perfect plants,” with very high percentages of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive substance in the plant. She inspects a bag of the product and comments, “This could get you very high.” The Canadian grower and cannabis-butter-maker nods ("If you smoked it, yes"), then reframes the conversation with a more philosophical question: “But what’s high?” Marijuana Nation doesn’t exactly take up this broader issue, and also barely notes the environmental effects of illegal outdoor gardens (the damage discovered during that raid of the mountainside crops in California, she narrates, includes “a cleared forest, irrigation tubing, terraced land, and toxic illegal fertilizer,” which “add up to an environmental tragedy"). Instead, it focuses on what’s happening “on the ground,” the continuing mutations in medical marijuana laws and their interpretations. In Oakland, where U.S. laws may be the most tolerant, medical marijuana is dispensed by storefront vendors (following brief consultations and perusals of doctor’s recommendations). As advocate Richard Lee tells it, the area of the city now known as “Oaksterdam” was revitalized economically by the cannabis industry. He runs a “cannabis university” that features classes in likely legal problems as well as cooking and packaging. And, Ling adds, if the Oakland medical marijuana business had been included in a federal taxation plan, some $3 million in taxes might have been reaped in 2003. The economic effects of pot are considerable: some analysts see the expanding agribusiness as “displacing corn as the leading cash crop in America.” In California alone, Ling says, the production of some 26 million plants in 2006 marked a tenfold increase from 15 years earlier and now outpaces revenues for winemakers. Marijuana’s social and political effects are equally compelling. According to the “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery, a leading marijuana activist, he’s made millions of dollars by selling seeds over the internet since 1995, through “Marc Emery Direct Marijuana Seeds.” Emery says he’s “paid taxes on every penny,” and moreover, he’s put most of the profits back into the pro-cannabis movement, organizing demonstrations, supporting publications and local organizations, agitating for legislation. Currently, Ling says, the Canadian he’s facing extradition to the U.S., and she asks him why he’s chosen “this kind of life,” that has him evading American officers. “I’m flattered to be thought of so highly by the U.S. Justice Department,” he smiles, but rejects the idea that his criminal behavior is at all harmful to the general population. Ling notes the drug’s potential deleterious effects: “anxiousness, paranoia, abnormal heart rhythm, and a general sense of uneasiness,” and, for especially potent versions, can include “schizophrenia-like symptoms in the user.” But Marijuana Nation is more interested in what makes pot so “desired by so many.” Noting that its use can be charted back 5,000 years in China, the program briefly observes the chemical effects (THC binding with receptors in the brain), and spends time with users like Emery. “How do you get any work done?” Ling asks, noting his very relaxed demeanor. He has a schedule, he assures her, and does most of his work late at night. “The cool thing about pot,” he says, “Is how you’re perceiving it in your head is changing.” 2008
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Comment #12 posted by BGreen on December 02, 2008 at 04:52:18 PT
Sam Adams re: post #10
Yes, this is going to be a propaganda piece. There's no way to avoid that as long as law enforcement gets to talk. The truth has been lost to propaganda long ago and lies are the only language law enforcement speaks.That being said, the trailer I watched showed Lisa Ling expressing shock at the militaristic tactics being used in the war on cannabis. What better way for her to show us than by joining a bunch of machine-gun-toting dingle-berries attacking a plant as if it was Osama Bin Ladin. The best way to show an animal is in it's natural surroundings, and these anti-marijuana warriors are the most ridiculous animals I've ever seen.Lisa Ling has seen the worst of what drugs can do and now she has seen cannabis. She knows there is no comparison.One of the things Lisa Ling said on the trailer was that we needed to get all sides together to solve this problem. She's never said that about any other drug she's covered. That kind of pragmatism is exactly what we need.Also, NatGeo is shown worldwide, so there's a chance that the show could be favorable towards us AND be seen by the entire world.I'm hoping that's what's going to happen.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #11 posted by Yoshi on December 01, 2008 at 19:03:39 PT:
continued insanity or custodial gods manipulation?
"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it." John Lennon
The suppression of plant medicines opium, cannabis, mushrooms, peyote has to be more than bumbling profit or control driven govt/corporate interests, I know we're led by the worst among us, but seriously it would seem like an unbelievable long shot that we've wound up here. But I guess the big bang theory sounds even crazier
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Comment #10 posted by Sam adams on December 01, 2008 at 16:49:18 PT
Natl Geo
Looks to be another propaganda piece. If she's rapelling out of helicopter I doubt it's going to be honest or fair. The NG channel has been sensationalized and even militaristic since Rupert Murdoch bought it. I'm surprised they don't have mountain lions attacking her while she's up in the woods.Have you noticed that they never have Lisa Ling rapelling into Citigroup? or the Federal Reserve? That is where the real crime is occurred - the govt's stolen 2.5 trillion dollars and no one's rapelling into their garden or rolling black SUV's and SWAT teams into their houses.Then you realize what WOD and scapegoating is all about.
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Comment #9 posted by E_Johnson on December 01, 2008 at 16:42:50 PT
Oops that's 16 percent
But you see -- the government's figure isn't realistic.And it's kind of scary that nobody is doing the math and people are perpetuating this malarkey without thinking about it.
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Comment #8 posted by E_Johnson on December 01, 2008 at 16:38:23 PT
Storm Crow that math doesn't add up for me
I don't think that's the root of their error, because even the bottom leaves of female plant have about 4-5% THC.And the majority of the dried plant mass comes from the buds. The leaves only look big. When they dry, they don't make up much of the total weight or volume at all.So do the math. Let's assume that 20% of the plant's weight comes from 5% THC sun leaves, another 10% comes from the sugar leaves and the rest from the buds.Suppose the sun leaves come in at 5% THC, the sugar leaves at say 10% and the buds at 20%. Then the average potency of the plant if you ground the whole thing up and did it like that would be 2 x 5 plus 1 times 10 plus 7 times 20, divided by 10.That comes out to 15%. That doesn't give you 3-4%.I think this fictitious 3-4% number comes from the fact that most of the pot being seized back then was wild hemp growing in ditches, where the highest THC you could find in the plant would be 3-4% tops.
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Comment #7 posted by Storm Crow on December 01, 2008 at 15:19:10 PT
Like apples and oranges!
"In the 1960s most marijuana contained 3-4 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) -- the substance that makes you high. That’s like near beer next to today’s cannabis, which can boast concentrations of over 20 percent."OK, I was there! I smoked that 60s weed- which was NOT the lovely manicured sinsimilla buds we see today! The pot of the 60s was a whole plant (usually the roots were removed, but not always)scrunched into a kilo. Dealers would remove the main stems but everything else was sold! Leaves, seeds, side stems and buds- it all went in the baggie! Now, leaves, seeds and side stems are far lower in THC content than seedless buds! The heavy seeds have virtually zero THC! Stems are mostly woody tissue- the stem's bark has a bit of THC, but not much. The leaves' THC varies in content, with the largest leaves having the least THC. Yes, cannabis has improved, but not THAT much! If you were to take today's cannabis -with leaves, seeds and stems- I am sure that the analysis would come out FAR below that "20%" that is claimed. The 60's "straight off the plant" pot vs todays carefully manicured sinsimilla bud! Talk about biased comparisons! It would be nice if they made an even an attempt at having a "level playing field"!
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Comment #6 posted by E_Johnson on December 01, 2008 at 14:03:08 PT
Will they allow comments?
I want to point out that it's meaningless to cite the average of a given distribution when you know nothing else about the distribution.The War on Pot literally depends on journalists being unable to handle simple quantitative reasoning.That I find distressing in the extreme.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on December 01, 2008 at 10:11:41 PT
"may help combat osteoporosis"
Without "Jaw in a bucket" syndrome and ceaseless pain that comes from some of the osteoporosis drugs available today?That's wonderful... or it would be if we were allowed to access the wonders of the plant.The truth of the sheer abuse of so many people by prohibition becomes more profoundly clear each and every day.Prohibitionists are freaking monsters.They are indeed, perfect examples of being the infamous 'White washed sepulchers, looking good on the outside, but inside, they are filled with filth, and rot, and dead men's bones.'
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Comment #4 posted by THCdrummer on December 01, 2008 at 09:47:16 PT:
Nat Geo
im definitely watching that tomorrow
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Comment #3 posted by HempWorld on December 01, 2008 at 09:21:10 PT
The first anti-pot laws were passed in Texas in 19
14 in response to toking among immigrant workers.This fact was arbitrarily mentioned in the above article. It signifies institutionalized racism and fascism as of that day on ... right up until now. And ... nobody gives a damn, go figure ...
On a mission from God!
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on December 01, 2008 at 09:09:23 PT
Math lesson
If the government seizes one ton of 20% THC pot and six tons of 1 percent THC wild hemp from WWII, then the average THC of the marijuana seized is between 3 and 4 percent.I am shocked that someone from Bloomberg doesn't understand how the concept of "average" works!
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on December 01, 2008 at 07:49:39 PT
White Rhino
Hey, I saw that white rhino, man!Or was it Wonder Woman?I don't know man, I was pretty stoned!I was smoking some Godzilla Green Ganja, man.Have you ever seen a rhino in a Wonder Woman suit?
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