Green Life



Washington voters passed Initiative 502 in November 2012 which legalized the public sale and consumption of marijuana in the state. Regulated by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, the initiative is a hefty 64 pages of legal definitions that will not interest anyone but lawyers and law students. What is of interest in the initiative is the Intent section, describing what the original purpose of Initiative 502 actually is.

The text from the initiative states:

“The people intend to stop treating adult marijuana use as a crime and try a new approach that:

(1) Allows law enforcement resources to be focused on violent and property crimes;

(2) Generates new state and local tax revenue for education, health care, research, and substance abuse prevention; and

(3) Takes marijuana out of the hands of illegal drug organizations and brings it under a tightly regulated, state-licensed system similar to that for controlling hard alcohol.


This measure authorizes the state liquor control board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age and older, and add a new threshold for driving under the influence of marijuana.”

This is a clear and simple statement of what supporters of the legalization of marijuana sought when presenting the initiative. A simple summary is a request to the people of the state of Washington to have the police shift their priorities to violent and property crimes, create a new source of revenue that will support education and health care, among other social needs, and give the State Liquor Control Board the authority to control and regulate the availability of marijuana with the intent of stopping drug cartels, trafficking and black market drug dealers from profiting from its sale and use.

Based on the intent of Initiative 502, it is not difficult to see why it was passed into law. Everything in it is a positive step for the State and for the general welfare of the people. There is no indication of promoting the sale of marijuana. If anything, it makes a simple and positive case for the adoption of legal marijuana in the state.

The first point in the Intent section is to have the police focus on violent and property crimes, presumably instead of arresting users of marijuana. People’s lives and property have a greater value to public safety than a person smoking a joint on a park bench or in their car. This argument has merit on two fronts.

The first is that in most cases smoking a joint is an issue of possession, not oppression. While marijuana is a controlled substance, the same argument can be made for alcohol, yet rarely are people arrested for drinking alcohol on a park bench. The second is that the police are public servants whose salaries and resources are funded by taxpayer money. The best use of that money is to protect people and property. Resources diverted to prioritize other criminal activity reduce the effectiveness of the police force to carry out its primary duty.

Adding a new source of revenue to the State’s coffers is the second point of the Intent section. Marijuana sales can be taxed with the revenue being used to expand educational and health care systems, while also dealing with those who have serious substance abuse problems.

For many years the argument has been made that due to the government’s opposition to marijuana it was not able to be taxed unless it was made it legal, and the result was losing millions of dollars in tax revenue every year. Instead, the government chose to conduct a drug war against it and many other illegally imported drugs that have cost American taxpayers billions of dollars over the last several decades. Yet even with the government admitting that marijuana was a drug but did not deserve classification with the harder and more harmful drugs such as cocaine and heroin, the opposition to its legalization continued.

As we see in the third point of the Intent section, this continued opposition allowed drug cartels and black market dealers to make considerable profits selling a product that the American government could have easily made legal and collected tax revenues from for its own use. Initiative 502 charted a course for a safe and legal way to regulate, sell, and control the distribution of marijuana and at the same time removes the illegal profiteers from the system.

Opponents of legal marijuana often overlook the American government’s own research and evidence pointing to the many positives that come from applying the drug to medical applications. According to the national Institute of Health (NIH), ““CBD [found in marijuana] is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that may also be useful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures, and possibly even treating psychosis and addictions.” Continuing its search for possible medical uses, the NIH states it is moving in a direction “to treat autoimmune diseases, cancer, inflammation, pain, seizures, substance use disorders, and other psychiatric disorders” with the drug.

An interesting point in the intent of the initiative was to place the control and regulation of legalized marijuana in the hands of the State Liquor Control Board. The drafters of the initiative saw that the people most qualified to deal with the legalities and problems, should the initiative come into law, were the people who had experience with another once outlawed and currently controlled substance – alcohol. Making the case for any medically supported uses or advantages of alcohol consumption is difficult. However, despite this lack of any socially beneficial value the State allows its production and consumption. Choosing this regulatory group was definitely the right decision.

Recommending control by the State Liquor Control Board because they are the most qualified addresses another issue brought up by legalization opponents. Many have a valid concern over the effects on a society that makes marijuana legal and available – in particular the children. This concern is answered by placing the regulatory responsibility in the hands of those who have a long history of dealing with such issues. At one point in history the manufacture and sale of alcohol was prohibited by Federal law. Some 80 years later we have not become a nation of alcoholics and the children of the previous generations have served their country well.

As with the introduction of any new law, especially one that will likely have such a significant impact, there will be problems to solve. However, legal marijuana offers a number of benefits including additional revenues to state and federal governments, and its use as a drug in the treatment of various physiological and psychological illnesses. Law enforcement resources can be put to better use, and users will not have to go to the dark corners of an alley to buy it. It is a win-win for the society as a whole.

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The amazing cannabis plant and how it grows


For the cannabis grower the most important plant/environment interaction to understand is the influence of the photoperiod. The photoperiod is the daily number of hours of day (light) vs. night (dark). In nature, long nights signal the plant that winter is coming and that it is time to flowers and produce seeds. As long as the day-length is long, the plants continue vegetative growth. If female flowers do appear, there will only be a few. These flowers will not form the characteristic large clusters or buds. If the days are too short, the plants flowers too soon, and remain small and underdeveloped.

The plant “senses” the longer nights by a direct interaction with light. A flowering hormone is present during all stages of growth. This hormone is sensitive to light and is rendered inactive by even low levels of light. When the dark periods are long enough, the hormones increase to a critical level that triggers the reproductive cycle. Vegetative growth ends and flowering begins.
The natural photoperiod changes with the passing of seasons. In the Northern Hemisphere, the length of daylight is longest on June 21. Day-length gradually decreases until it reaches its shortest duration on December 22.
The duration of daylight then begins to increase until the cycle is completed the following June 21.

Because the Earth is tilted on its axis to the sun, day-length also depends on position (or latitude) on Earth. As one moves closer to the equator, changes in the photoperiod are less drastic over the course of a year. At the equator (0 degrees altitude) day length lasts about 12.5 hours on June 21 and 11.5 hours on December 22. In Maine (about 45 degrees north), day-length varies between about 16 and nine hours. Near the Arctic Circle on June 21 there is no night. On December 22 the whole day is dark. The longer day-length toward the north prevents cannabis from flowering until later in the season. Over most of the northern half of the country, flowering is often so late that development cannot be completed before the onset of cold weather and heavy frosts.

The actual length of day largely depends on local conditions, such as cloud cover, altitude, and terrain. On a flat Midwest plain, the effective length of day is about 30 minutes longer than sunrise to sunset. In practical terms, it is little help to calculate the photoperiod, but it is important to realize how it affects the plants and how you can use it to you advantage.
Cannabis generally needs about two weeks of successive long nights before the first flowers appear.
Plants use a fundamentally different “life strategy” from animals. Animals are more or less self-contained units that grow and develop to predetermined forms. They use movement and choice of behavior to deal with the changing environments. Plants are organized more as open systems – the simple physical characteristics of the environment, such as sunlight, water, and temperature, directly control their growth, form, and life cycles.
Once the seed sprouts, the plant is rooted in place and time. Since growth is regulated by the environment, development is on accordance with the plant’s immediate surroundings. When a balance is struck, the strategy is a success and life flourishes.

Behavior of a plant is not a matter of choice; it is a fixed response. On a visible level the response more often than not is growth, either a new form of growth, or specialized growth. By directly responding, plant in effect “know,” for example, when to sprout, flower, or drop leaves to prepare for winter.
Everyone has seen how a plant turns toward light or can bend upward if it its stem is bent down. The plant turns by growing cells of different length on opposite sides of the stem. This effect turns or right the plant.

The stimulus in the first case is light, in the second gravity, but essentially the plant responds by specialized growth. It is the same with almost all facets of a plant’s live – growth is modified and controlled by the immediate environment. The influence of light, wind, rainfall, etc., interacts with the plant (its genetic make-up or genotype) to produce the individual plant (phenotype).
The life cycle of Cannabis is usually complete in four to nine months. The actual time depends on variety, but it is regulated by local growing conditions, specifically the photo-period (length of day vs. night).

Cannabis is a long-night (or short-day) plant. When exposed to a period of two weeks of long nights – that is, 13 or more hours of continuous darkness each night – the plants respond by flowering. This has important implications, for it allows the grower to control the life cycle of the plant and adapt it to local growing conditions or unique situations. Since you can control flowering, you control maturation and, hence, the age of the plants at harvest.

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HEMP SEED: THE MOST NUTRITIONALLY COMPLETE FOOD SOURCE IN THE WORLD Seeds of the plant cannabis sativa, hemp seed, contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. No other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form, nor has the essential fatty acids in as perfect a ratio to meet human nutritional needs. The importance of hemp seed nutrients to human health cannot be fully appreciated without some understanding of bio-chemistry in life. Unfortunately, any attempt to understand the flow of life leads into the realm of the most troublesome of the three infinities — the infinitely complex. Some deep thinkers believe life is a paradox not to be understood but experienced to the fullest. However, the Sages have said, “Know thyself.” At any rate it is paradoxic to attempt simplifying the infinite complexity of flowing life. Yet, it is far better for the health and development of any thinking and feeling, uniquely individual human being, to pursue knowledge than to lounge in ignorance. One out of two Americans win die from the effects of cardiovascular disease (CVD). One out of four Americans will die from cancer. Researchers believe cancers erupt when immune system response is weakened. Pioneers in the fields of biochemistry and human nutrition now believe CVD and most cancers are really diseases of fatty degeneration caused by the continued over-consumption of saturated fats and refined vegetable oils that turn essential fatty acids into carcinogenic killers. And if this is not scary enough, more Americans are succumbing to immune deficiency diseases than ever before. Sadly it is ignorance of human nutritional needs that will cause this overwhelming majority of Americans to die slowly from these afflictions — the greatest killers in affluent nations.

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