Colombia Gold. The miraculous switch from demonic to divine.

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Marijuana
Lighting a joint. Photo: news.vice.com

Pot. Weed. Grass. Dope. Herb. Bud. Skunk. Mary Jane. Marijuana.

There are lots of words used to describe marijuana and there are many kinds too, offering all different sorts of highs – granddaddy purple, lemon haze, northern lights, and colombia gold.

There are also two different types of plants; hemp, which is a non-psychotropic plant used in the formation of clothing, oils and fuel, and Cannabis (sativa/indica), which is the plant containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the psychotropic substance which causes the pleasant high that people feel upon ingestion and which is used in medical products for various ailments.

So where does it come from? Why do people say it’s so bad?

FACT: Marijuana is one of the oldest cultivated crops – traces of burnt seeds have been found in ruins dating back to the prehistoric period. The history of cannabis use goes back as far as 12,000 years. According to Doctor Barney Warf, a professor at Kansas University “For the most part, it was widely used for medicine and spiritual purposes. For example, the Vikings and medieval Germans used cannabis for relieving pain during childbirth and for toothaches.”

Archeologists have uncovered ancient tombs in Siberia from as far back as 3000 B.C., and upon examining the contents of the crypts, they have found enormous mounds of mummified psychoactive marijuana.
It is widely held that farmers in China cultivated cannabis crops and traded them with travelers from Korea and even further inland around 2000 B.C. A thousand years later, plants found their way to Southern Asia and India and the Middle East, likely brought by invasion forces. In India, the pschoactive elements of marijuana have been celebrated as a top solutions for stress, regularily smoked for relaxation, just as someone in the US might have a glass of scotch or wine at the end of the day.
Eventually marijuana was introduced into South America, and then into Mexico. Incredibly, throughout it’s 14,000 year journey from Asia to Europe and down through Africa and across to South America (Colombia) and then upwards to the borders of Mexico, the marijuana plant had largely been considered healthy and useful, used in a wide range of applications from pain management to spiritual awareness, to materials like clothing and lubricants.
Sounds good so far. What changed?
It was in the first 30 years of the 20th century that marijuana began its downward spiral in the public eye. In the 20’s and 30’s poor migrant farmers in Mexico and in the lower American states smoked marijuana to take the edge off their hard lives. Unfortunately, media outlets publicized the fact and somehow tied the marijuana to a string of crimes, unwittingly launching a negative perception campaign that spread North.

In the mid 1920s, an American government official, Harry Aslinger, who at the time was working for the American health department, was asked for his opinion about marijuana. He stated, “It doesn’t harm people, and there is no more absurd fallacy than the idea it makes people violent.”

In the late 1920’s cotton had become one of the top agricultural products from the United States. Cotton production accounted for a huge percentage of the GDP of lower states and the Cotton Growers Association (CGA) levied enormous pressure on the federal government to find a way to prohibit the production of cannabis, a plant which had been proven to be superior to cotton for ease of groth and fibre strength in making clothes.

In 1930, after taking over the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the same Harry Aslinger, launched a major assault on marijuana, doing a 180 degree flip from his previous comments, stating now that there was no worse substance than cannabis.

He stated, (of people who smoke marijuana) “First, you will fall into ‘a delirious rage.’ Then you will be gripped by ‘dreams… of an erotic character.’ Then you will ‘lose the power of connected thought.’ Finally, you will reach the inevitable end-point: ‘Insanity.'”

FACT: In the late 1930’s as Aslinger was researching the effects of marijuana, he reached out to 20 top scientists in the country for their opinions. 19 of the 20 (95%) said that marijuana is totally safe and should not be criminalized.

In 1937, Aslinger’s Marijuana Tax Act officially criminalized cannabis and made it illegal to possess marijuana throughout the country. In doing so, he paved the way for the CGA to establish a complete monopoly on the fabric industry in the country. Within the next decade, through trade embargos, the US forced other countries to also change their laws and criminalize the plant.

Around 1950, marijuana made its way into Colombia, initially in the interiors and eventually finding its way out to the coast and into the fertile Sierra Nevada mountains. In fact, Colombia is now world-famous for one of the strains which originated there, Colombia Gold.

FACT: In the 1970s, Colombia was responsible for 70% of the marijuana sold in the United States.

The war on drugs has brought incredible turmoil, grief, suffering and destruction – all thanks to illegitimate political policies. How many people have died in Colombia as a result of the war on drugs?

Today, the (American) federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, along with heroin and LSD, indicating it has high potential for abuse and addiction, no accepted medical uses and no safe level of use,” explained Dr Warf.

Ironically, there are now no less than 25 American states which have legalized marijuana use for medical purposes and another 7 states where smoking marijuana recreationally is A-OK.

Just this week, Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Government of Colombia granted a manufacturing license to a Canadian firm eventually produce various types of marijuana oils and resins for medical purposes.

“The announcement today means that the process laid out by President Santos is almost complete, and we are pleased to have been granted approval at this important stage,” said Jon Ruiz, President and CEO of PharmaCielo Ltd. “This approval brings us that much closer to our goal of becoming the world’s leading supplier of naturally grown high-quality medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts.”

In a very short time, Colombia has gone from being heavily involved in the war against drugs to becoming a producer of the same. It’s too bad so many people had to die in the process.

Editor’s Note: Here is a great article from the Huffington Post explaining the farce of marijuana criminalization.

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