Monday, November 28, 2011

Why are harm reduction policies against marijuana doing more harm than good

The war on drugs is a failure. President Obama even stated this when he was campaigning to be president. In the past year the Federal Government has accelerated their agenda against medical marijuana, despite assurances 3 years ago that medical marijuana policies would be considered a states rights issue.

Even dispensaries who have complied with state laws have been attacked by the Federal Government by utilizing the IRS, going after banks who work with marijuana dispensaries, to sending letters to landlords of property in which a dispensary is located threatening to seize their property if they continue to rent out their property to dispensary operators.

The goal of the dispensaries in the 15 states that medical marijuana is legal is to provide a safe clean location where someone can purchase medical marijuana without having to deal with the black market. That is harm reduction.

Somewhere along the way in the name of harm reduction, we have seen a trend which has taken it hostage by the Dept. of Justice.

For example when you have a paramilitary supplied SWAT Team busting down your door and shooting unarmed civilians suspected of possessing marijuana. The balance of harm reduction is thrown out the window, and it causes resentment against the police.

Pablo Escobar is not going to be behind 99% of the doors that deals marijuana in suburban America. It is most likely going to be someone who sells a little bit to their friends so they can afford to have some for themselves.

Pulling up to houses in armored vehicles with semi automatic assault weapons and flash bang grenades is a good way to induce fear in the American public who do decide they are going to use marijuana, but it is not doing anything towards harm reduction because people are still going to use it no matter how afraid they want the people to be.

More harm is done by over zealous prohibitionist than has ever been done by a marijuana plant.
American's are tired of seeing dirty cops planting marijuana on innocent civilians, selling guns to drug cartels, receiving billions of dollars to incarcerate more people than any other country, getting kick backs for seizing property, and using fear as a tool to make us stop using a plant.

If harm reduction was the main priority for law enforcement they would be doing the right thing by making marijuana a health issue instead of a crime issue. If they would divert the billions of dollars they receive every year and give it to health professionals there would be substantially less harm for American citizens.

To accomplish harm reduction the Dept. of Justice needs to rethink their strategy and realize that fear is not the way to go. They tried it and it has not worked, people will continue to use marijuana despite their questionable motivations which comes across as fascist and constitutionally challenging.

Unlike a lot of the younger generation, I still remember what it was like during the cold war against the Soviet Union. I remember all the propaganda against the communist's trying to control every facet of a persons life and I even volunteered in the Navy to stand up against that type of oppression from spreading across the globe and affecting other countries. It seems like nowadays I have to fight the same oppressive ideology in my own backyard.

People who use cannabis in the U.S. is in the millions, and they are being treated similarly to some of the same Gestapo tactics used to round up the Jews in WWII. We are being treated like second class citizens over the use of a plant.

The majority of American citizens who use cannabis want to be law abiding citizens. We want to see our streets safer, we want to see violent crime go down, but we are not the problem, and we do not deserve to have the brunt of police policies pushing us into oppression over a marijuana plant. This is not in any way "harm reduction." 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why The Dept. of Justice Needs To Clean House and Reverse it's Policy On Marijuana

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has become an entity unto itself, and when I finally saw the big picture and realized this, I have to be honest, I actually felt frightened momentarily. (I even took a break from writing for a month to sort things out.) It was a realization that their hunger for power supersedes integrity and true lawfulness.

I do not understand the logic that it is ok to sell guns to cartels, and then turn around and say that medical marijuana patients do not have the same rights as everyone else who owns a gun to protect their family.

How responsible is it for the (DoJ) to arm cartels, when tens of thousands of people a year are dying violent deaths on our borders? Without even getting consent from the Mexican government? Is their going to be accountability from within the (DoJ) and our government now to compensate any death on the border if it is found out that it was by one of the guns our government illegally sold the to cartels?

How about all the money that was made selling those guns to drug cartels in Mexico, go to the victims of the families who end up dying from them? I am sure they could use the blood money the (DoJ) got paid for them.

I wanted to understand how the (DoJ) can decidedly proliferate a justification to treating millions of Americans like second class citizens over a plant. By maintaining the position that marijuana has no medicinal benefits. Despite the fact that 16 states (so far) have recognized it's medicinal benefits, doctors, accredited scientific organizations, and thousands of years of it being used medicinally, the (DoJ) refuses to acknowledge that marijuana has any medicinal benefits.

They are standing in the way of rescheduling a plant that has so much potential, for the sake of power and greed. Most people don't know it but we are paying them billions of dollars a year to fuck us in the ass instead of doing the right thing.

Selling guns illegally to drug cartels, only proves that they are proliferating the problem instead of truly trying to fix it.

I hope others realize the potential problems we have in this side of our government. The side that is supposed to be protecting us being compromised by keeping cannabis illegal. $$$$$$$/POWER
Our own Department of Justice.

The world will not end if marijuana prohibition ended tomorrow. I would like to think if that happened they're would be new jobs, less people in prison, and many cures that can potentially be discovered for people who need it.

Whatever is motivating the (DoJ) to oppress the people they are paid to protect, I hope they realize that no matter how much we want to respect them for doing a good job, it is hard to trust them when they have such a tarnished image.

In closing my final thought is this.
If the (DoJ) is holding back on rescheduling marijuana for money and power, they should be held accountable for committing treason against the American people. What good reason do they have to stand in the way of cancer research, and new jobs in our shitty economy?

Realizing that the (DoJ) is so big and powerful an entity unto itself backed by billions of dollars, and is supposed to protect me is potentially  committing treason against the American people has really gotten me fearful.

I hope the (DoJ) would just do the right thing and just reschedule marijuana, but they sure don't have a good track record for doing the right thing lately.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Marijuana Legalization "It's the economy stupid"

Quick wiki reference of the origination of the term:

"It's the economy, stupid" was a phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign against George H. W. Bush. For a time, Bush was considered unbeatable because of foreign policy developments such as the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War. The phrase, made popular by Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, refers to the notion that Clinton was a better choice because Bush had not adequately addressed the economy, which had recently undergone a recession.

Marijuana Legalization "It's the economy stupid" Should be what politicians need to be hearing during these tough financial times. I am not saying it would fix the problem completely, but considering cannabis/hemp is such a valuable commodity, it should finally get its proper respect and be treated like it is, only legally.

How much money could our country generate by cannabis/hemp being legal is beyond my pay grade. I can just imagine if farmers were left alone to grow in peace, patients could get what they want for their body. There would be new companies making oils, fabrics, food, construction, fabrication, pharmaceuticals, etc. Gee that kinda sounds like a lot of new jobs to me. (Looks around).....

What is it going to take to get the people in office to realize they are hurting our country by ignoring cannabis/hemp during these tough times. I can almost hear our first president, George Washington, screaming from within his sacred tomb. It was there for us when we needed it in the past, and our country would be better off if we did it again.

I have given up on politicians empty promises. The Democrats have basically maintained the status quo on marijuana prohibition, I'm a liberal, so I would rather chew off my fingers than vote for a Republican. So my vote is essentially useless in the distant future. I think the only way to finally get this resolved once and for all is in the courts.

That's why I am working so hard to make a difference. Once I learned how science can be utilized in a court of law to potentially get marijuana possession charges dismissed instead of taking a plea deal, I made it a personal mission to educate as many people who are willing to listen as I possibly can, and not only that provide the resources, expert witnesses, and lawyers, to back it up.

I was fortunate in the fact that I have had the opportunity to learn about the science aspect more indepth than a couple of the best people in the field of forensic identification, and testing procedures. Dr. Fred Whitehurst, and John Kelly.

Without their input and insight I would of never made Beat Marijuana

Once people quit taking the plea deal, and the court costs start going up, because people take them to task of proving the evidence. It no longer becomes such an easy mark for money, for coffers in the law enforcement/prison industry.

 I'd rather my money went to Joe the Farmer.

Marijuana Legalization, It's the economy stupid.

Monday, June 13, 2011

North Carolina Residents Look To 2013 Now For Medical Cannabis Reform

In North Carolina, the deadline has come and passed officially for any hope of residents of the state to be able to legally use cannabis medicinally.  North Carolina's House Bill 577 was not given any priority, and did not get approved.

It is no mystery that the reason why so many refuse to take the time and speak out again, and again, on this important issue is because of fear. It is illegal, and to speak out against it makes you a target for scrutiny. Regardless of that, even if it is just a few of us that are speaking out, our voices are not alone, we will never give up hope that one day we can use our medicine without fearing persecution.

It was affirming to hear an open minded politician (on this subject) stating publicly.

"I don't care whether you are a Democrat or a Republican this is not a partisan issue, it's a bipartisan issue, it's a human rights issue, it is a compassionate treatment issue, it is something that all of us regardless of our political party or registration, can embrace, work together on, and change the policy. Not only in North Carolina, but in this country."
(Rep. D) Kelly Alexander (Mecklenburg District, NC)

It is kind of nice hearing that type of attitude, and we just need to get more people who are thinking like him in office. 

For example,  Mitt Romney.... He stopped to talk to a young man in a wheelchair, and by listening to the dialogue and watching the video, you will see someone who wants to maintain the status quo.

According to recent polls by CNN Mitt Romney At Top of GOP Field.

I really want to see our country get past this compassionate use issue, and reschedule cannabis on the Federal level, so states can take care of it's residents. Why are so many people so quick to get behind someone who fundamentally goes against what you agree with?

As an Independent voter, I get the luxury of simply voting for who I think would be the best man for the job, (or do the least damage) I could never simply vote along a certain political parties line. I know we could find someone more open minded, and qualified, other than someone like.... Mitt Romney? 

As an Independent, I am considered a swing vote, and since there are a lot of us out there, our swing vote can make or break an election for a candidate.

We, are the swing voters who use cannabis to help with our pain, our stress,.. are a huge part of the population, and we are always at risk of facing imprisonment.  In our own country we are treated like second class citizens,  fortunately the world is coming around to a different way of thinking regarding whether drugs should be a health and rehabilitative issue, instead of a law enforcement issue.

 The Global Commission On Drug Policy was released this month. In it's opening statement it declares: "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed."

But for some reason our  Federal Government disagrees...

So next years budget proposal for fighting the war on drugs is estimated to be  around 26 billion  we have already spent over a trillion dollars, and then unconvincingly stating that drug use has gone down, and the war should continue.

193 Billion usd cost on war on drugs 2007

 I  hope people realize that if they are not paying attention to the policies of the politicians they are voting for to represent them, then this cycle of being ignored will continue. When they want your vote the most, put them to the task and call them out on this issue, and if they are against it, find out why they are. Then turn around and ask yourself why you would support them on election day.

The activists that show up, and openly speak out on the bills that matter to us, are being ignored. More support is needed to change public opinion, especially in the South East of the country. Not one state in the South East has budged.

In North Carolina, the next chance for reform will be in 2013. There is a big election between now and then, and by the time they even remotely consider it again, billions of dollars will of been wasted, and millions of lives will be affected.  That sure is a big elephant in the room to just ignore

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

North Carolina Public Hearing On Medical Marijuana #(Video)#

This week in North Carolina, politicians, and advocates for medical marijuana, met up to show support to a bill that is on the brink of being written off.


With so many rational arguments that favor it's multitude of applications, it is mind boggling that the representatives in office have such amazing selective hearing when it comes to marijuana. If you have so many people explaining the benefits, how hard is it to see the most compassionate, humane, thing to do, is be open minded enough to objectively weigh the argument.

Politician's would get a lot of respect if they initially were against it, but took the time to research and educate themselves more about the subject, and changed their position  for it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Update: NJ Weedman's Jury Nullification Trial

Ed Forchion a/k/a NJWeedman  
Battles for Freedom
as his Lawyer, John Vincent Saykanic, Esq.
Files Historic Legal Defense Brief
on 4/20 - Cannabis Day
Mount Holly, NJ - As medical marijuana smokers around the globe celebrate "4/20"-- an internationally recognized date for the celebration of cannabis--Ed Forchion, aka NJWeedman and his lawyer, John Vincent Saykanic, Esq., will be filing a historic legal brief in New Jersey's Burlington County Superior Court, battling for not only Forchion's freedom but for the rights and recognition of marijuana smokers everywhere  (Indictment No. 2010-08-066-I). The filing is historic as it challenges New Jersey drug legislation and may change how the state's medical and criminal marijuana laws are enforced.

On April 1, 2010, Ed Forchion was arrested in Mount Holly, New Jersey with a pound of cannabis in the trunk of his car.  A Burlington County grand jury indicted Forchion in August of last year for violation of the State's drug laws. In October 2010 he pleaded not guilty.   He faces more than a decade in prison if convicted.

Forchion is a dual citizen of New Jersey and California, and he has been evaluated and approved by a medical doctor in California to use marijuana (and has been given a California Medical Marijuana card, which was valid on the date of his New Jersey arrest).  Mr. Forchion also operates a medical marijuana (dispensary) Temple in Hollywood, California called the "Liberty Bell Temple II."

In December 2010, Superior Court Judge Charles Delehey permitted Forchion to challenge the constitutionality of the state's marijuana laws, which makes marijuana possession illegal (and a Schedule I drug)  because it purportedly has no medicinal value.  At the same time, New Jersey is implementing a medical marijuana program for the treatment of needy and ill citizens since New Jersey became the 15th state to legalize the use of medical marijuana on January 18, 2010.

The legal brief raises eight grounds explaining why the indictment must be dismissed.  These include that Mr. Forchion, as a practicing Rastafarian, should be granted a religious exemption under the First Amendment (and Equal Protection Clause) to possess marijuana since marijuana-known as ganja in the religion-operates as a sacrament and is an integral part of the Rastafarian religious ceremony.  Since American Indians are granted an exemption to utilize peyote (a Schedule I drug) in their religious ceremonies, and since  the Brazilian church Uniao do Vegetal (in New Mexico) is permitted an exemption to utilize the sacramental tea ayahuasca (also a Schedule I drug), Rastafarians should be afforded the same religious exemption and equal protection.    

Other issues raised in the brief are: that marijuana should no longer be classified as a Schedule I drug (with the hardest drugs such as heroin, LSD, etc.) since even the State of New Jersey now recognizes its medicinal value; that Forchion should be able to possess the marijuana on the grounds of "medical necessity" since he is a medical marijuana patient (approved in California, one of his two residences); and that the New Jersey marijuana laws do not provide adequate notice that he could not possess his required medicine (and religious sacrament).  

Saykanic says, "It's not only un-American that Rastafarians are discriminated against for their sacred religious views, but it's outrageous that the alleged 'illegal' drug that is their sacrament has now been acknowledged by the State to have great medicinal value, yet they continue to be persecuted."  

Saykanic also says, "The war on drugs is a complete failure and the most glaring example is the law illegalizing marijuana.  The question to be asked is not whether marijuana should be legal but who is making huge profits (and gaining political capital) by propagating the war on marijuana and other drugs?  The failed war is a ridiculous waste of taxpayers' money and a denial of basic American privacy and liberty rights.  Ed's case could well be the beginning of the end of drug law tyranny. "

"The state of New Jersey has made a mistake in classifying marijuana as just a criminal substance," avows Forchion.  Forchion says he uses marijuana for medicinal and religious purposes. Marijuana is frequently used for healing and ritualistic purposes in Rastafarianism, a religion he practices.  Forchion will move to represent himself at trial.

As detailed in his book release, "Public  Enemy  # 420," Forchion has a history that spans decades in his quest for his right to smoke marijuana legally.  A cult figure in the marijuana legalization community, he achieved media notoriety when he was arrested for smoking marijuana in front of the entire New Jersey State Assembly in 2000, and garnered a national platform when he fired it up at Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA during the Republican National Convention. 

Forchion has since become one of the most vocal and recognized members of the pro-pot movement. He is the founder of the Legalize Marijuana Party of New Jersey and has run previous campaigns for Governor, U.S. Senate, Congress, the State Legislature, and the Burlington County Board of Freeholders.

To read more about Ed Forchion a/k/a NJWeedman and support the cause, go to

View his video interview about his pending case at

To view the legal brief, go to

Friday, April 8, 2011

Why House Bill 756 Is Bad for North Carolina

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I recently learned about a bill that is trying to be passed that could threaten a persons ability of getting a fair trial in a possession charge.

House Bill 756
"Spectral Fluorescence Signature Drug Analysis"

The Bill being proposed is wanting the Nartest NTX2000 Drug Analyzer to become the standard for drug testing in North Carolina.

The problem with this particular device is the validity of it's testing procedures. In the North Carolina Bill, there is a certain protocol established within it's wording that takes away the defendants ability to question the validity of the test.

 Drug-testing kit is source of appeals:

Ill show you: This is taken from the Bill:

Criteria for Admissibility. – The results of a Spectral Fluorescence Signature Analysis are admissible as evidence in court under this Article only if the analysis meets both of the following requirements:

(1) It is performed in accordance with the rules of the Department of Health and  Human Services.

(2) The person performing the analysis had, at the time of the analysis, a current 29 permit issued by the Department of Health and Human Services authorizing the person to perform a Spectral Fluorescence Signature Analysis using the 31 type of instrument employed.

(c) Inadmissibility of Analysis Results. 
The results of a Spectral Fluorescence Signature Analysis of a disputed substance alleged to be a controlled substance performed in accordance with this section are not admissible as evidence if:

(1) The defendant objects to the introduction into evidence of the results of the Spectral Fluorescence Signature Analysis of a disputed substance chemical analysis of the alleged controlled substance; and 

(2) The defendant demonstrates that, with respect to the instrument used to analyze the alleged controlled substance, preventive maintenance procedures required by the regulations of the Department of Health and Human Services had not been performed within the time limits prescribed by those regulations. 

Now there is nothing there to question the admissibility to invalidate this particular drug test. You have to take it from the "Companies Word" the people that make the equipment that it is 100 percent accurate.

In the case of Wooten v North Carolina, a lawyer questioned the integrity of this particular testing procedure, Originally Mr.Wooten was convicted of possessing cocaine, he appealed it saying his attorney should have questioned this new technique, but didn't. I am not sure if he won his appeal for a new trial based on this at this time.

The point is, though Wooten or anyone has the right to question the validity now, if this Bill passes, your right to question it will be taken away. All you can ask is if the person testing the substance is qualified to operate it, that maintenance has been performed on the machine, and that the tester has a permit to test. other than that, you have to take the word from the company that sells this machine that it is 100% valid.

Here is a link to Wooten v North Carolina. It is on the bottom of the downloads section.

Here is a statement from the defense attorney in Mr. Wootens appeal:

The State’s evidence does not even describe the method of analysis the NarTest machine uses or how it works; the evidence is simply that you put the substance to be analyzed into the machine and the machine uses ‘florescence’ to determine what the substance is and prints out a result. The State did not present any evidence independent of information for the Nartest’s manufacturer which would establish its reliability; although such evidence might exist, it is not in the record before us. We cannot find that the NarTest machine is sufficiently reliable based upon the evidence presented.


b. The error in admitting Investigator Cahoon’s opinion testimony and report that the substance was cocaine rose to the level of plain error. Because trial counsel did not object to the introduction of Cahoon’s opinion
based on the NarTest machine, this Court must perform a plain error analysis. The identity of a controlled substance allegedly possessed is an essential element of the charge of possession of a controlled substance. State v. Ledwell, 171 N.C. App. 328, 331, 614 S.E.2d 412, 414, disc. rev. denied, 360 N.C. 73, 622 S.E.2d 624 (1995). The State carried the burden of proving that Mr. Wooten possessed cocaine. Expert testimony is required to prove that the evidence is in fact a controlled substance. State v. Llamas-Hernandez, 363 N.C. 8, 673 S.E.2d 658 (2008) (rev’d per curiam, 189 N.C. App. 640, 659 S.E.2d 79 (2009) for the reasons set forth in J. Steelman’s dissent) (“Crack cocaine has a distinctive color, texture, and appearance. While it might be permissible, based upon these characteristics, for an officer to render a lay opinion as to crack cocaine, it cannot be permissible to render such an opinion as to a non-descript white powder.”) The jury could not have found that Mr. Wooten possessed cocaine if the trial court had properly
excluded Cahoon’s opinion testimony and report. 


Standard of Review
“To prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must first show that his counsel’s performance was deficient and then that counsel's deficient performance prejudiced his defense.” State v. Allen, 360 N.C. 297, 316, 626 S.E.2d 271, 286 (citing Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S.
Ct. 2052, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674, 693 (1984)), cert. denied, 549 U.S. 867, 127 S. Ct. 164, 166 L. Ed. 2d 116 (2006). In order to establish prejudice, “[t]he defendant must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694, 80 L. Ed. 2d at 698.
In the event that this Court finds that the trial court’s admission of Investigator Cahoon’s opinion and report that the substance was cocaine did not amount to plain error, Mr. Wooten asserts that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial attorney did not object to the admission of the opinion and report. It is unreasonable and deficient for an attorney to fail to object to the admission of an opinion which is based on a machine which has never been accepted by a court and where no foundation was laid as to its reliability.


For the reasons set forth above, the defendant, Latrell Wooten, respectfully asks this Court to order a new trial. Respectfully submitted this, the 20th day of January, 2010.


The company that makes the Nartest NTX2000 Drug Analyzer, NarTest, has offices in Tallinn, Estonia and in Raleigh, North Carolina (US). They gave 15 Nartest NTX2000 Drug Analyzers to various police departments around the state to field test their product.

I am sure they got quite a conviction count for it and swear by its ability in the field, and how it saves the government money in lab costs. According to Nartest's website, "Costs 10 times less than drug testing in lab" (Unless challenged) Make sure to tell your lawyer to challenge it.

Now the bill says that other testing procedures can be utilized such as the Duquenois-Levine Test. The thing is, then they are back to square one and have to pay the labs on top of using the Nartest product which means more money spent. Either that, or the defendant will have to pay for independent testing...

Prosecutors are becoming aware that Duquenois-Levine Test  can be invalidated with a court certified drug test expertThe problem is most defense lawyers are not aware that they can question the validity of these drug tests, and have evidence dismissed in a court of law. 

Bottom Line is: You Do Not Have To Take The Deal! 

An evidential hearing can have marijuana cases dismissed. You just need a court certified drug test expert. They can provide everything an attorney could need to assist them in having marijuana thrown out.

If you want to learn more about the science in drug testing and how to defeat a marijuana charge, visit my other website.

I am working with several experts and lawyers putting out valuable information using scientific techniques that can invalidate a drug test. We even have acquittals to back us up, and referrals from attorneys who say that they used the information on Marijuana Manifest, and had evidence from cases dismissed.

One of my associates is ex FBI Agent Dr.Fred Whitehurst who was a whistle blower against the FBI forensic labs for putting someone away for 10 years due to faulty lab work, as well as exposing major inadequacies at the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation's (NCSBI) forensic labs.

I am also working with Pulitzer Nominated Author John Kelly, who wrote a book partially funded by the Marijuana Policy Project called "False Positives Equals False Justice" John Kelly, was trained by Fred Whitehurst to help attorneys get marijuana possession charges dismissed due to invalidated testing procedures.

The money spent on this Bill will be wasted, and a lot of people can wrongfully go to jail if the Nartest NTX2000 Drug Analyzer should make a mistake.Tax Money will be wasted if the results are constantly being challenged and further testing is required.

To make a point, if you are facing a marijuana charge, challenge the evidence whenever a Nartest NTX2000 Drug Analyzer is used, and make sure the state pays for it.  The best part is, even if they did other testing procedures, they can be invalidated. 

This is just another really good example of how millions of dollars will be wasted on marijuana prohibition.

There is a finite number of cross comparisons in its database, the potential for false positives is possible due to that fact that they haven't tested this device enough on a multitude of substances out there that could flag false positive.

It says it can detect if a substance is marijuana, did they field test it with every single plant out there to be sure no other plant but marijuana will be detected positively? I doubt it. Yet we are supposed to put our citizens freedom at stake at the word of a company, then have Congress write and pass a Bill in which we cannot question their testing procedures?

Please do not let them pass this bill. Spread the word, and tell Congress of North Carolina to spend that money on something to help the state, not imprison them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Peter Davy Strain

Killer Bud -

This is an interview with a gentleman named Peter Davy in New Zealand. This has not been as easy as I might of expected. Once I started doing the research for this article, I have been on an emotional roller coaster, and I cannot help but empathize for him and his partner. If I ever met a man that deserved a second chance at life, to be left alone, and let him grow, Peter Davy will be the first person to come to mind.

10 years ago Peter was told he had about 5 days to live, the doctor did a cat scan and found a huge tumor at the base of his brain. He went to the hospital 5 days later thinking he would never see another sunrise or his wife and 2 kids again. They did some further testing and it was a tumor of the pituitary gland at the base of the brain and not the brain itself.

He ended up leaving the hospital, they did not operate on him, but gave him an experimental drug to keep the tumor from growing anymore and help get it under control. The drug had a nasty side effect for him, and he was unable to keep anything down. For over a year he continued to take this medication and endured the uncontrollable nausea that went along with it.

Up to this point in his life he never consumed marijuana for medicinal purposes, when he finally did try it again, he was no longer nauseous!
He started to gain weight, and function as a productive person once again.

After realizing the marijuana was helping him, he started doing intensive research on different cannabis strains, and started cross breeding them for seeds to develop strains that helped his condition, as well as creating a strain to help his partner with MS.

He acquired rare/possibly extinct seeds from all over the world and was on the brink of having a couple of strains that could of helped many people when the cops came in, arrested him, and took all his seeds, plants, and research away from him.

He was convicted of growing marijuana for "illicit purposes" and sentenced to prison. He is supposed to turn himself in on all days April 20th.

Jailing Peter Davy will also mean a death sentence for his partner, who suffers from advanced multiple sclerosis.
Judge Neave only reluctantly bailed Peter Davy until sentencing so that he could arrange to sell all their belongings and pay for her to die slowly in a rest home.

Once he is incarcerated he plans on going on a hunger strike to make a stand against the unjust treatment and incarceration of people who out of necessity benefit from medical marijuana.

Peter Davy - 

"I will be going on a hunger strike the moment I am given a prison sentence and I absolutely do not want to be force-fed under any circumstances. I will also be refusing all cancer medication.
"I am 100% committed to continuing with a hunger strike until I am dead," said Peter Davy. "I hate confrontation and I hate publicity, but I have nothing to lose and somebody has to make a stand... or nothing ever changes." 

There is a video of Peter and his partner Tracey on his website, it goes over a lot of what I just wrote, I just wanted to tell it from my perspective, but I strongly encourage everyone to visit his site and hear it from his own words. It is quite moving.

Free Peter Davy!

If you would like to read more about Peter Davy, please visit his website:                              

Peter Davy's focus is also on his scientific research that had been confiscated and rotting away in a evidence locker. He wanted to convey  his focus on describing his work developing different strains more so than his situation, because it is that important to him. So I am picking his brain and trying to help him get his research out there. So now on to the Peter Davy Strain:

Killer Bud -

Okay, so I am not a scientist, but I have been studying up on cannibinoid receptors, seen a few well made YouTube videos explaining how the cannibinoids work inside the brain, the receptors accepting it like it was a key in a lock.
Pretty basic really, that said, if it gets beyond my comprehension, I still want you to explain things, because someone else might get it and it will help others.
One of the things I have been trying to wrap my head around to try and understand about hybrid strains, is how do you go about initially developing a strain and narrowing down certain CBD's for specific maladies.
I understand using yourself and testing the strains, and trying to mentally evaluate how it is making you feel. What other scientific techniques are involved when it comes to determining the certain amounts of CBD's inside a specific strain?

Peter Davy -

The way it makes me feel is actually my number one criteria. In my opinion a lot of medicine is back to front. They produce drugs that in theory should do all sorts of wonderful things but in real life don't work or have horrible side effects. So personal evaluation is actually my front line technique.

There is a lot of research behind that simplistic approach. I researched indigenous strains from all over the world, going back hundreds of years, tracing the spread of cannabis genetics across the world. I wanted the original parent plants... the original genetics... from where cannabis originated. The more pure a strain is then the easier it is to work with from a breeding perspective.

The reason for wanting the pure strains is because they are the strains that were traditionally used medicinally and spiritually by indigenous tribes people for hundreds if not thousands of years.

I have studied plant medicines (cannabis is only recent in the last twelve years) all my life and firmly believe that we (Western civilizations) are only just starting to discover new medicine plants that Eastern tribes have used and known about for thousands of years.

All the really traditional use of cannabis as medicine came from India primarily... extending up into Nepal and Tibet... and sideways into China and the Golden Triangle. This seemed to be the birthplace of cannabis as a medicinal drug. So these are the strains that I went after. Pure tropical plants.

We now come to a critical point. Already, right at the start, my research is diverging away from other people who purport to be Medicinal Cannabis researchers. Nearly all the current research in the world today is concerned primarily with high CBD bushy strains that are most closely associated genetically with Pakistan, Morocco, Lebanese and Afghanistan varieties of cannabis.

If you've researched cannabis as much as I have then you should see a problem already. These are all traditional DRUG PRODUCING countries that supply the worldwide recreational cannabis market. Their plants represent specialized inbreeding to produce fast flowering, bushy plants with a high commercial value for producing hashish. They have absolutely no direct lineage to medical marijuana lines.

Yet these are the plant types that almost every researcher in the world is working with and I say THEY ARE WRONG!!! The whole reason they are getting results that are all over the place (as is happening) is because they are working with inferior genetics in the first place and the wrong sort of cannabis plants.

The correct line of plants is the pure tropical lines. They take up to eighteen months to flower, they grow into small trees, they have small calyxs generally but not always, the seeds should fall not stay attached, thin leaves and a mild lemon taste and smell are all desirable characteristics of true tropical strains.

Many years ago I discovered that these strains have an effect completely different to the mind numbing hammer blow of today's hybrid cannabis plants from Holland. That hammer blow may be quite good for killing pain and getting a good night's sleep but it isn't much use for trying to lead a normal life.

It seems to me that so called "scientists" have completely muddled the true genetics of cannabis strains and have all gone off down the wrong path and researched a strain of cannabis that is more of a tranquilizer than Valium. I'm not convinced we need anymore tranquilizers out there. If you're sick and run down then you need to "kick start" the brain into action... not put it even further into sleep mode.

So long before I ever get anywhere near the "personal evaluation" phase I'm already looking for specific genetics, specific phenotypes, specific country of origin. In my head I know exactly what I'm after. I know the look, the taste, the effect.... it's like a familiar favorite jacket. Whenever I find it the effect is like coming home to an old friend. I know it's going to be a good day.

When people ask me what alkaloid or cannabinoid I'm specifically targeting I always tell them THCV. This is just for the sake of simplicity. I don't have any scientific equipment for measuring cannabinoid content. The NZ Police won't allow me to possess any chemistry or scientific gear. Everytime I've tried to buy chemistry equipment the NZ Police have interfered.

There are approx. 80 different cannibinoids in a marijuana plant. Scientists have really only researched two... THC and CBD... and this research is still in it's infancy. To the best of my knowledge ALL those cannibinoids activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the human endocannabinoid system. Some cannabinoids will activate only one recptor... some both. Some even BLOCK the activity of other cannibinoids or actually block a receptor... or they may have synergies that enhance a reaction when in combination.

For this reason you can see that it is absolutely ridiculous to extract or synthesize a single cannabinoid like delta-9 THC and then expect it to mimic the totality of action of the medicinal use of a cannabis plant. The same logic applies to products like Sativex which may well be made from a complete plant extract but it is only a snapshot in time of a very specific cannabinoid ratio with no scientific evidence of any description that they have the CBD/THC ratio correct for any specific illness.

All I know from my own subjective viewpoint .... and from watching the effect on others.... is that many of the PURE tropical varieties have medicinal characteristics that are completely different to the commercial strains. I have guessed that the difference may be due to high THCV content so that is what I say when people ask me. It may well be some other cannibinoid but I have ALWAYS said that it is the BALANCE of cannibinoids that is important. The ratio is the key.

My plant breeding efforts have been focused at adjusting this ratio and also trying to "fix" desirable medicinal traits as I come across them. For the sake of simplicity I have called this trying to fix THCV but as I've explained..... it may well be some other elusive cannibinoid that I've been tracking all these years. I know the effect... I just don't have gas chromatography to identify the ratios.

Personally I think the pharmaceutical companies are just greedy and haven't got the science even remotely right. I think about the human body like a combustion engine. If we call gasoline THC and we call oil CBD then we see immediately how stupid it is to focus on one over the other when the engine needs both to work. That is a very simplistic approach yet it clearly demonstrates what I'm trying to say.

In a gasoline engine there will be an optimal ratio of gas to oil, and I think there will be an optimal ratio of various cannibinoids to specific diseases.... rather than a single cannibinoid used as a silver bullet like the pharmaceutical companies are trying to do.

The simple truth that all the world Governments are trying to duck around... is that the giant multi national pharmaceutical companies are a failure. Many of their drugs simply don't work and actually make people sicker. There has been a worldwide trend for twenty years back towards more natural remedies that have more of a "balanced" effect. Plant drugs in other words... which is what most modern medicines come from anyway.

The pharmaceutical companies have been fighting this trend tooth and nail because it eats into their profits. Now cannabis has become the battle line all over the world. It is the pharmaceutical companies that are petitioning Governments to keep cannabis illegal except in pharmaceutical form. This is the real war on drugs.

The pharmaceutical companies recognize that cannabis has medicinal potential in so many areas that it represents billions and billions of dollars as a prescription drug.... but nothing at all if people are allowed to grow different varieties for different medical conditions without having to pay the drug companies a cent.

"Let me be clear about that. The Medical Marijuana issue came about because that is the real explanation for what I was doing... not the pack of lies the police told." - Peter Davy 

That is what the war is really about. Governments and police forces are just puppets fighting for the greed of pharmaceutical companies. Make no mistake about it... this is about money... not medicine. The medical science has already been proved.... that debate is over.

This is a money grab plain and simple. A fight to dominate and control a billion dollar industry that is going to revolutionize vast areas of medicine. 

Killer Bud -

You mentioned breeding a strain for patients with MS by making it reduce seizures/shaking yet not so much the mental buzz part, how do you go about that if you don't have symptoms of MS to compare in a self analysis of the strain?

Peter Davy - 

I'm glad you mentioned Multiple Sclerosis because that is a pet area of research for me. It is true that cannabis has been proved in any amount of double blind placebo trials to help with pain, incontinence and spasms from multiple sclerosis sufferers.

That is not what gets me excited about cannabis though. It is far more important than symptomatic relief from suffering. Let me be very clear about this so that there is no mistake. The very latest research (I can provide links to the relevant research documents) into the endocannibinoid system has identified properties in the cannabis plant that actually fight the diseases that cause Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Aids and cancer.

The CB1 receptors in the neural nervous system are particularly good at fighting pain and spasms but the CB2 receptors are part of the immune system. New research using rats has identified a possible link between cannabinoids and the protection of neural sheaths in the brain. MS attacks the neural sheath. Studies with rats infected with a MS analogue have shown that cannabis drastically reduced the speed and progression of the MS disease. There is even very limited evidence (one study only from memory) of neural sheath regrowth, possibly from activation of CB2 receptors.

This is ground breaking cutting edge medicine. There is no other drug in the world that has this property. Cannibinoids have also been proved conclusively to shrink all sorts of cancer tumours and again I can provide links to all the latest research.

** For more information regarding Peter's research, please visit his website for referrals.

This is huge but everybody has got so confused by the recreational cannabis debate and the judgmental symptomatic effect debates... they have missed the real important science. We are talking about some of the worst diseases in the world that have no known cure. Yet along comes a plant that has actually demonstrated in laboratory conditions that it can have a beneficial influence on prevention, delaying and maybe even curing (who knows?) some of these diseases.

That is what really excites me. How dare any Government or police force in the world stand in the way of that sort of research. It is absolutely disgusting and a crime against all of humanity. There's a crime being committed alright... and the crime is being committed by the Government. A Government that forces it's own citizens to suffer from deadly diseases while not only denying them symptomatic relief but also denying any research other than from huge pharmaceutical companies driven by profit not science.

In terms of my own personal circumstances... my partner is dying of Multiple Sclerosis. She has a very advanced and aggressive form of the disease. The perfect volunteer subject. I have never been in a position to offer cannabis to my partner because the police have always busted me long before I had enough for a proper clinical trial.

I had every intention though of slowly and carefully trialling my MS strain on my partner over the winter period (we are approaching Autumn now) because that is when my partner is most ill. Personally I thought it was an ideal situation to prove conclusively for my own benefit one way or another if cannabis could help MS or not.

I had five different strains that I specially bred down different lines to adjust the cannibinoid ratios. I achieved this by breeding selectively back to points (countries) of origin trying to get the purest strains possible specific to old established medicinal heirloom strains.

If the police had not busted me then that research would have begun by now and my partner could well have been feeling a lot better. What the NZ Government has done to us both is cruel in the extreme. I was hurting nobody, I was not selling cannabis, nobody knew about my research... and it was for as good a cause as you could possibly get.

I challenge anybody, anywhere on this planet.... to prove that my research is misguided or not useful. I live with a dying woman and I watch her suffer every single minute of every day. Nobody else has done a damn thing to help her, other than the usual symptomatic drugs that really only scratch the surface at improving quality of life for my partner.

I don't have any money, I don't have a laboratory, I don't have anything except my brain... so I put that to the task and I've been trying my best to find something.... anything... that might help my partner and slow down the progression of the disease.

By coincidence I was already working with cannabis as a medicinal treatment for the tumour of the pituitary gland that I already have. When I met my partner I was already knee deep in research into the effect of the endocannibinoid system on the endocrine system (which is regulated by the pituitary gland). I knew nothing at all about any of the research into Multiple Sclerosis and cannabis.

I was amazed that quite by chance my own little pet scientific project not only overlapped into Multiple Sclerosis but MS was actually more important and could yield far more significant results in terms of identifying true medical strains of cannabis.

Call it karma, or call it coincidence... or say that everything in life happens for a reason. All I know is that somehow the absurdities of life brought my partner and I together at the exact moment that the world began to wake up to the true medicinal properties of a plant that was right under their face the whole time.

I say my research is timely and relevant. Furthermore this isn't some pie in the sky theory. I'm a very practical person who likes to prove things... not waffle on about theories. It is my desire to conclusively prove my science that has got me into this predicament with the police.

My seed exists. The police has it. How much more proof do they need? Just grow my damn seed and see for yourselves. My plants aren't ordinary plants. They're special medicinal tropical strains. They have different properties to commercial strains. They're smoother, nicer, not so strong, no zombie effect.... and I need to know how they work on Multiple Sclerosis.

Those strains and seeds are MY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY!!! I created them with God's help and they don't belong to the Government or the police or anybody else. I have a legal entitlement to register my cultivars just like any other plant breeder.

The NZ Government is stealing my research and my Intellectual Property. they are so vindictive they will destroy my research gene pool just to try and say it was worthless. Just to try and prove they're right by sheer brute force.

They are wrong though. I know what I'm doing. My science is rock solid. My gene pool is worth a lot of money. The GW pharmaceuticals Sativex line began with a very similar gene pool of seeds.

The NZ Government is stealing from me and trying to bury my legitimate research. This is a crime against every person around the world with a debilitating terminal illness that might one day benefit from the research done by people like me.

The best medicinal properties of cannabis lie in the rarer tropical DNA lines. You heard it here first. This is my research and I am the leader in the field at a plant breeding level.

You heard it here first. 

Killer Bud -

Are the original tropical strains indicas or sativas?

Did you cross breed between the two?

It is interesting that you have focused your research on strains from the lesser known indigenous areas where it was primarily already considered medicinal more so than recreational.

Can you explain how the process works when you create a hybrid plant to make THCV more potent or less potent in the next generation? I am just going to focus on the THCV to avoid getting confused amongst the other many different CBD's. I am just curious how the process works in make the plants more or less potent.

To bring it down for instance, do you cross breed it with another plant that has a less strong affect? Thereby creating a medium between two different plants?

I guess most folks are always in the mindset of like you said make it like a mind blowing hammer, where it seems you are trying to create an effective yet moderate variety that makes you feel better but still functional. I am following you correctly on that?

Over the past 10 years, how many generations have you been able to grow and develop?

Before having your plants and seeds (research) taken away, how close were you generation wise to of accomplishing the type of strains you were working towards?

If I was to try a perfected Peter Davy strain, could you describe what would it of tasted like and felt? What about the other strain you were working on for MS, what would it of made someone feel like? 

Peter Davy - 

In answer to your questions regarding breeding I will deal only with the facts regarding my own research. Firstly the police say they seized approximately 10,000 seeds off me. That sounds like a lot but it is tiny. It is less than a peanut butter jar full of seed. A very small peanut butter jar.

I once worked in a hemp seed processing plant. Hemp seed is cannabis seed. It is the same plant and they cross genetically. Every day we used to get in truckloads of pallets of sacks of seed. We had hundreds and hundreds of sacks of cannabis seed. Just to give some perspective. Cannabis is an agricultural crop that is normally grown like corn in large fields.

The Dutch are the ones who made it seem like individual plants and individual seeds are so representative when in fact they aren't at all.

Out of that 10,000 seeds approximately 7000 are my own true hybrid strain. A true hybrid is produced by first inbreeding two distinct lines until they breed true. In fact you get a better hybrid if they not only breed true but are starting to show signs of inbreeding mutation, such as sterility and hemaphrodism.

All my plant breeding is done strictly according to Gregor Mendel's theory of inheritance using the punnet square approach. That is a separate subject that I won't cover here but anybody can look it up on the internet.

My hybrid strain is a cross between a Golden Laos farmhouse strain from the Hmong hill people of Laos and an even rarer Thai strain that became extinct in Thailand in 1985. The Thai strain is one of the very original parent plants used to create the Californian "haze" strain.

These are both pure tropical sativas that had the properties (effect) that I was looking for. Unfortunately I had the seed but have never had the opportunity to grow my hybrid strain because the police took all the seeds. The hybrid was meant to be the parent for the new cross I was hoping to make with landrace high THCV Malawi.

I really only work with pure tropical sativas. I had other seed that people gave me or I had sent by mistake (the sender mixed up the seed or was just trying to do me a favour by including free seed) but I rarely grew it except for comparison purposes.

For example I had a few purple skunk seeds and for some reason people seem to go crazy over purple plants. I used these as a comparison group to compare with my sativas because I found the purple colour a nice obvious "trait" to use for practising my "trait fixing" techniques.

I have tried the usual indica X sativa crosses which is pretty much what everybody else in the world is doing. Frankly I hate them. The results are unpredictable and the F2 line is always a nightmare. Worst of all is recessive indica genes that are almost impossible to eliminate once you have them in a line.

These indica crosses are what destroyed most of the great sativa lines in the first place. In years gone by the most common cannabis worldwide was pure sativa lines from Mexico, Thailand and Colombia. Then the commercial smugglers worked out that they could cross these plants with Pakistani and Moroccan cannabis to get huge bushy hybrid plants that took only half the time to flower. That way the commercial growers could get two crops in one tropical season instead of just one. That was the end of the great sativas. The genetics of many tropical strains now have recessive indica genes and are ruined.

It isn't just about medicinal properties when you start talking about breeding. Indica strains are fundamentally flawed from the start. They are extremely prone to budrot, botrytis... and any kind of fungal disease. All it takes is a tiny bit of moisture or rain.

Tropical varieties are used to rain almost every day. It doesn't hurt them. So right there at the horticultural level you have an issue in terms of plants at the polar opposite extremes of the disease spectrum.

So I don't really like any indica at all to be honest... and indica to me represents CBD (though not always... there are very high THCV Afghan strains).

Potency is a bit of a subjective value. I've seen the same cannabis knock one person to their knees yet have almost no effect on somebody else. This is very true of pure sativas. This is one of the great medicinal qualities of the cannabis plant. It really does affect people differently so there is enormous scope for creating strains specific to certain people or certain diseases.

For my own part I don't like heavy skunks high in CBD. I simply don't smoke them and I don't consider them useful at all. They make me lethargic and they make my brain stupid.

I don't actually believe any of the Dutch hype about the super high knockout THC values of modern commercial strains. Oh I believe they're high THC but I don't believe it's a new thing at all. I've tried some of the strongest Dutch strains out there like White Widow and AK47 but I find them quite weak compared to some of the pure sativas.

Probably the strongest cannabis I've ever smoked was a scrawny little landrace Indonesian sativa with tiny little buds. Probably one of the most pathetic looking cannabis plants I've ever seen yet it had absolutely killer potency.... though in a different way to your standard Dutch hybrid.

None of that smashing numbness that leaves you sitting there in a daze wondering what hit you. The Dutch stuff would kill me. I used to do extreme rock climbing without ropes after smoking pure Thai. Real mountains with real instant death if you made a mistake. I'd hate to do that on anything that slowed me down the way the Dutch stuff does.

A good sativa should be very mild to smoke, almost menthol (lemon taste yummm) and actually pleasant. Instead of a harsh taste you actually enjoy it. It should give an instant burst of energy making it impossible to keep still. There should be an overall feeling of being at one with the world around you and an almost overpowering feeling of creativity.

That feeling of creativity means all the correct synapses are firing instead of shutting down. To me that correolates to a drug that is increasing neuron activity rather than blocking it. In diseases like MS it is this increased neuron activity that is the Holy Grail of medicinal Marijuana.

I want to activate dormant synpases and hopefully guide the physiology of a system into stimulating neural networks and maybe even protecting or actually encouraging regrowth of the myellin sheath. That is what I'm all about.

I personally don't believe that you can increase potency by crossing two lesser potency plants. It's just that the calyx formation is completely different in indica plants so that the active cannibinoids are much more concentrated into a smaller bud area.

When you cross an indica with a sativa it may seem stronger... and test stronger... because all the glands are more concentrated together and the hash type properties of an indica means it is producing more of these glands. I'm not convinced that it is any more potent at a truly fundamental level. There's just a lot more of the active ingredient.

Once again I come back to my argument of finding the right medicinal strain for the disease or person. It isn't a matter of one size fits all.

At the end of the day I could theorise all day long but the proof is in the pudding. The real test is to simply grow my own strains and compare them to whatever else is available. I'm not hiding my research under a rock.... it's right there available to test. The seeds exist... my cultivars exist. Pretty easy to start doing some testing and see if I'm full of crap or not.

I'm calling the Government's bluff. Go ahead and grow my seeds for yourself and do a clinical trial comparison.

As for how close I am/was to completing a Medical strain. Well it's a moving target. There is always room for improvement and even once I produce a strain I'm happy with... it still takes at least seven breeding cycles to get it true breeding with all the desirable traits fixed. In that respect I had a long way to go because the police killed the parent plants. That leaves only my F1 hybrid (in that particular line) seeds that would need a huge amount of work to breed the F2 line back to pure p1 lines. In fact that would be impossible if my parent lines hadn't been pure lines in the first place.

I did have other pure parent lines from Nepal and Tibet mainly but had not had a chance to work with these yet as the plants are twenty foot high monsters and impossible to conceal. 

Killer Bud -

It is my hope that people are going to walk away from this article realizing that there was a lot of hard scientific work involved, and how we may never know how many people this potentially could of helped.

Especially since some of your stock are from such rare strains. What you have accomplished could not possibly be replicated ever again.

Peter Davy - 

The police have all my seeds. I take it seriously and all my seeds were kept in a temperature controlled fridge in a container packed with desiccant (absorbs moisture) in carefully labelled pill containers. When the police got the container they got all the seeds I had.

All my best work was stolen six years ago by the police when they cleaned out a much larger seed collection I had been working on for five years. That had stuff I've never seen in a seed bank or in any photos. All hand collected by a botanist friend (now retired) in the country of origin. Indonesian and Colombian plus genuine Durban Poison collected from the side of the road on the outskirts of Durban.

None of that seed can ever be replaced and that gene pool is now lost forever.

Killer Bud -

I will put contact information out at the end of this article for people to contact New Zealand's Minister of Health to make a plea on your behalf to restore what belongs to you, and give you the ability to continue your research unhindered from the threat of persecution. It is my hope that you will gain many more supporters telling the Minister of Health that you have growing support beyond the boundaries of your country and it is growing.

The Minister of Health's name is Tony Ryall correct? 

Peter Davy - 

That is correct. Thanks. I'd really like my seeds back. Seriously I had the best weed. For at least seven years I've refused to smoke anything except my own stuff because it was simply so superior. If there is one thing I know about... it's how to grow cannabis. 

**If you would like to show support for Peter Davy please contact the Minister of Health, the Honorable Tony Ryall  at:

**The Minister of Health has the authority to give Peter Davy back his seeds and let him continue his research with medicinal cannabis unhindered from persecution.  With your help, maybe we can make this a reality, and the world will no longer have to go "what if?." 
It would be a tragedy to never see the medicinal benefits of his years of hard work because they rotted away in an evidence locker.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Session #2 Interview With Atty Dr. Fredric Whitehurst, On Forensic Identification Of Cannabis

Today Dr Whitehurst and I are going to go into some detail about marijuana odor perception. 

KB - There is a common misconception that for the most part all marijuana smells the same, but those of us who actually smoke can tell the differences between strains. There are some similarities of course, yet there is definitely a distinction between them.

Dr. Whitehurst - As a scientist I am aware of how often the "common sense" of people who have a great deal of personal knowledge about something is so often dismissed by scientists as unfounded.  If scientists have not studied something then at times they have a tendency to dismiss folk knowledge.  One of the issues that fits this is the odor of marijuana.
I have had the occasion to smell what was presented to me as marijuana on quite a number of occasions, first as a law enforcement officer and then as an analytical chemist.  I can not say that marijuana has a particular singular odor.  I know that law enforcement officers "smell" marijuana but what is the basis for that?  Folks who have grown and/or possessed marijuana may also believe that marijuana (whatever that means) has a particular odor.  As a chemist I ask for the foundation of that belief.
I browse the marijuana sales sites on the net and see that the product is sold based upon its appearance, effect and odor.  So different varieties must have different odors.  Is that sales talk or is that real knowledge among people who deal with marijuana every day.
When I talk with Mahmud El-Sohly, who raises marijuana for the government, he tells me that the odor is characteristic.  What does that mean?  What are we detecting?  He has daily access to the plants that he is raising.  But of what variety are those?  Has he actually conducted experiments in detection of volatile organic compounds from cannabis sativa of different varieties?  What are the compounds that we are detecting and how does our olfactory sense function to detect those odors.  Are these questions answered by scientific research?
The law enforcement officer who "smells" marijuana can never be examined because there is nothing in the way of evidence for him to bring forward except his demand that he be believed, his badge, his gun, his uniform and his given authority.  He escapes the protections built into our Constitution by simply declaring himself to be correct and giving defendants in courts of law nothing to review.  That may be fine for folks who just want to be left alone (unless they are themselves charged with crime) but it does not answer the scientific question of whether that officer can in fact smell marijuana and identify the smell of marijuana to the exclusion of all other smells.
    To go further with this question one might refer to the journal article Topics in Heterocyclic Chemistry, 2007 10: 1-42 in which we find that there are 120 terpenoid type compounds which give rise to the odor of marijuana.
Imagine these then in a graph depicting on the "x" axis the compounds 1 through 120 and on the "y" axis the amount of material present.  The envelope formed by a line drawn through the xy coordinates then might be considered as the odor envelope formed by an examination of the quantitative amount of each compound that is present in one particular variety of marijuana and possibly in one plant of marijuana.  Do we know that that envelope does not dramatically change with environmental impact?  We do know that the THC content changes dramatically with weather, soil, and light conditions.  So what about the odor compounds?  Has anyone actually conducted that research?  I have not seen it.  If it does not exist and the folks who know (the individuals who come into contact with marijuana on a daily basis) believe that the marijuana varieties have different odors then who can deny that knowledge?
We might resort to personal attack, calling these users and producers childish names or casting doubt about their genetic lineage, however that does not answer the question posed.  We might ask whether we can trust a man in a uniform with a badge, a gun and a law enforcement demeanor over trusting an individual who smokes marijuana daily, raises the plants and is among them on a regular basis, wearing blue jeans, a T-shirt, long hair and having a cannabis demeanor (whatever that is)?  Though distracting the answers to that question do not tell us whether marijuana actually has different odors.
    The difficulty with raising any of these questions is that marijuana is illegal and we can not conduct experiments and report our results without exposing ourselves to incarceration.  We can not provide our knowledge to courts of law without providing the pedigree for that knowledge and therefore risking incarceration.  The government refuses to allow us to determine the truth here, whatever that truth is. So we can not control the variables; we can not conduct experiments; we can not determine the truth; we can not present a defense in court.  (So much for drug use being a victimless crime).  And do we have law enforcement officers who are not scientists making "scientific" statements in courts of law and denying citizens the right to defend themselves by making the material they have been accused of having inaccessible for scientific review and study. 

KB - I recently wrote an editorial about a drug task force raiding a home in Canada their probable cause for this raid was law enforcements perception of smelling cannabis supposedly being grown at the residence. To their surprise it turned out that the residence had a skunk under their front porch.

This caused the family a lot of grief having to be subjugated to intense scrutiny, and embarrassment for the drug task force which was unable to determine the difference in odor perception between a marijuana plant and a skunk.

Since not all varieties of marijuana do not smell the same, how does a scientist use marijuana odor perception to address that issue?  

Dr. Whitehurst - The only studies that address this issue have been conducted by Dr. Richard Doty.  His paper is available on the web and can be found by simply Googling his name.  He directs the paper toward the smell detection of marijuana basis for probable cause to search and or arrest.

KB - Considering that law enforcement consistently uses marijuana odor perception techniques to determine if someone is possessing cannabis, such as sticking their face up to a cars window to smell inside a vehicle, should this technique be scrutinized when it comes to determining probable cause to search a persons vehicle, or home?

 Dr. Whitehurst - Again, Dr. Richard Doty's paper will surprise you.  Be sure to access it on the web.

KB -  I found the link to Dr. Richard Doty's report "Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 28, No. 2, April 2004"
"These studies are the first to examine the ability of humans to detect marijuana in simulated real-life situations encountered by law enforcement officials, and are particularly relevant to the issue of probable cause."
Dr. Richard Doty "Marijuana Odor Study" 

KB - So now lets say the police think they smell marijuana, so they call in the drug sniffing dogs to validate their suspicions. Since they already believe the person has marijuana, due to their own sense of smell, and possible influence of their handlers the dogs are alerted to the presence of marijuana, should a search be invalidated if a dog's handler is misleading their dogs by their own sense of odor perception?

Dr. Whitehurst - What is it that the dog is smelling?  If an officer works with and around controlled substances every day does he contaminate a place that he is searching with residues from other searches.  Imagine that the dog handler has just been to another marijuana growing site or found a cache of marijuana and processed it.  The residues will be all over him and possibly his dog.  When they come to the new "crime scene" do they, in touching items put the residues on the items they touch without even knowing it?

KB - I recently found this article.

University of Minnesota. "New DNA 'Fingerprinting' Technique Separates Hemp From Marijuana." Science Daily 23 March 2006.

Considering they have the technology to change the DNA of a marijuana plant to look completely different than it normally does, and the ability to take THC in or out of it's DNA structure to possibly design strains of cannabis for industrial purposes, Do you think someone could possibly restructure the DNA of cannabis to look like a completely different species of plant? 

If so, would a new strain of marijuana still be under the same general guidelines of prohibition enforcement if it was to be combined with say a dandelion?

Dr. Whitehurst - What happens when we see transgenic mutations in which common weed plants are mutated to produce THC?.  This happening will result in the end of prohibition of marijuana.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Session #1 Interview With Atty Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, On Forensic Identification of Cannabis

First off, I would like to thank Dr. Whitehurst for taking the time to explain his research with us.

 Frederic Whitehurst was a Supervisory Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory from 1986 to 1998, where he went public as a  whistle blower to bring attention to procedural errors and misconduct.

FBI career

Dr. Whitehurst received a Ph.D. in chemistry from Duke University, a J.D. from Georgetown University and joined the FBI in 1982 and served as a Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI crime lab from 1986-1998.
While employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory, the FBI officially rated Dr. Whitehurst as the leading national and international expert in the science of explosives and explosives residue. He investigated, uncovered and reported scientific misconduct which forced the FBI crime lab to agree to forty major reforms, including undergoing an accreditation process. During this period, Whitehurst was forced to defend himself from retaliation by the FBI by hiring Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, a Washington, D.C. law firm specializing in defending whistleblowers.

I am going to start off very basic, and eventually everything will tie in and hopefully you will see the bigger picture that we are trying to put out there.

KB - Dr. Whitehurst, is marijuana a plant?

Dr Whitehurst - Yes, 
This appears to be one of those "duh" questions, however we should start from the basics.

KB - What is a plant?

Dr. Whitehurst -  According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, American Heritage Publishing Company, Inc. 1975.
"Any organism of the vegetable kingdom, characteristically having cellulose cell walls, growing
by synthesis of inorganic substances, and lacking the power of locomotion."

At this point one must wonder how a police officer "identifies" marijuana without a forensic lab test.  Law enforcement officers carry guns, not microscopes.  Without a microscope one can not determine if the material has cells.  One can not also determine if the suspected marijuana grows by synthesis of inorganic substances.  Of course it lacks locomotion but so does road kill.  So how is it that an LEO even knows when he is looking at material in a little baggy that it is plant material?

KB -Does marijuana have leaves? If so, describe them?

Dr Whitehurst - The blade of the leaf is relatively thin and the principal veins form prominent ridges on the abaxial surface while the adaxial surface (that part of the leaf away from the central stem) is depressed into a groove above the vein. The cells of the upper epidermis are considerably larger than those of the lower and much more heavily cutinized (coated or impregnated with a waxlike, water-repellent material present in the walls of some plant cells, and forming a cuticle which covers the epidermis).

Stomata (one of the minute pores in the epidermis of a leaf or stem, through which gases and water vapor pass) are infrequent or lacking on the upper epidermis and very numerous in the lower one. Epidermal hairs are produced on both surfaces, being more numerous on the lower, and the large persistent hairs produce basal cystoliths. Glandular hairs also occur in large numbers, these being especially noticeable in the young leaf and less so in the mature blade, since they tend to break off with age.

Dr. Whitehurst- Can the law enforcement officer without a microscope then tell you that the green vegetable material he has is a plant and if he can, then can he describe the leaf structure of that plant as compared to the leaf structure of marijuana?  With so many species of plants on the planet how does he say that what he has is only marijuana and nothing else?  He can't.

Dr. Whitehurst- At this point we should realize that there are over 800,000 arrests per year in the US involving marijuana.  Approximately 80% of those are for possession for use.  Possession for use is not possession of growing plants.  The material that is being sold for use is ground up, not whole leaves, and maybe what some folks would feel are whole buds (flowers).  So, addressing the leaf particles first, can one answer the leaf architectural questions posed above without having whole leaves.  Well, of course not.  What we would be trying to do is akin to paleo-botany, attempting to determine the description/species of a plant from parts of the whole but not necessarily the whole leaf structure present.  Is a guess good enough in court? 

KB - Can we leave our analysis with an hypothesis that we have marijuana or do we need to test that hypothesis? 

Dr Whitehurst - Hopefully we would need to test the hypothesis before finding someone guilty of possession.   With only parts of the plant material present (assuming we have proven it to be plant material) have we got enough material for the law enforcement officer to say that it is marijuana?  
For over 70 years forensic laboratories have had to follow a protocol of microscopic and chemical analysis to "prove" the presence of marijuana.  So how is it that a police office is allowed to ignored that established protocol and simply state that he has marijuana, ignoring all the previous analytical practices.  The only reason I can imagine is that, for the most part, citizens have tired of the law and are ignoring it and creating huge numbers of criminal cases and forensic crime labs can not keep up with the overload.  So the standards have been lowered to the point of simply not carrying the burden of proof.  But that is just my hypothesis.

KillerBud - What about the bud?  Could we identify the marijuana from an analysis of the flowers?

Dr. Whitehurst - To do that we would ask ourselves what is a flower?  What are the parts of a flower?  Stamen, petals, pollen, pistils are all parts of flowers.  Simply purchase a 9th grade biology book from a used book dealer and see the questions that must be asked before one knows that something is a flower.  Try right now to draw a flower, a marijuana flower.  Show the stamen, the petals, the pistil, the anther, the parts of the flower.  Marijuana can be both male and female as well as a cross between the two.  So, officer, show me why you think this material is a marijuana flower.  And do any other plants have flowers that could be mistaken for marijuana flowers?  These are all questions that the normal police officer will probably not be able to answer. 

KB - So why does he think that what he has are marijuana buds? 

Dr Whitehurst- Invariably the answer will be smell.  What does marijuana smell like?  I have smelled a lot of marijuana both as a law enforcement officer and as a criminal defense attorney analyzing the materials found in the possession of my clients.  Who ever said that marijuana has a unique odor.  We'll deal with that at a later date, maybe tomorrow.

Can the law enforcement officer without a microscope then tell you that the green vegetable material he has is a plant and if he can, then can he describe the leaf structure of that plant as compared to the leaf structure of marijuana.  With so many species of plants on the planet how does he say that what he has is only marijuana and nothing else?  He can't. 

KB- Regarding expert witnesses, how would an drug test expert witness utilize forensic information such as this that you are explaining here?

Dr. Whitehurst -Unless you have the materials listed in the discovery request below you will not be able to determine if the testing laboratory work product is valid.  Once you have these materials you will need a drug testing expert to review and explain all of these materials.


                   Labatory Discovery: Controlled Substance

1. Evidence collection forms or logs (description of evidence, packaging, identification of
specimens, identification of individuals collecting samples, sample collection procedures).

2. Chain-of-custody records (field-to-lab transfers, and all transfers of evidence and associated
analytical samples within the laboratory).

3. Laboratory receiving records (records documenting the date, time and condition of receipt of
the evidence in question ; laboratory-assigned identifiers; storage location).

4. Laboratory procedures for subsampling (collection of analytical aliquots) and contamination

5. Copies of technical procedures in effect at the time the subject testing was performed (often
termed Standard Operating Procedures, or SOP’s) for each procedure used during sample
screening and confirmation, including; sample preparation, sample analysis, data reporting, and
instrument operation.

6. Copies of the two bracketing controlled substance proficiency results for each analyst and
technician responsible for preparation or analysis of subject specimens, including: raw data and
reported results, target values and acceptance ranges, performance scores, and all related

7. Copies of traceability documentation for standards and reference materials used during
analysis, including unique identifications, origins, dates of preparation and use, composition and
concentration of prepared materials, certifications or traceability records from suppliers, assigned
shelf lives and storage conditions.

8. Sample preparation records, including dates and conditions of preparation, responsible analyst,
procedural reference, purity, concentration and origins of solvents, reagents, and control
materials prepared and used, samples processed concurrently, extract volume.

9. Copies of bench notes, log books, and any other records pertaining to case samples or
instruments; records documenting observations, notations, or measurements regarding case

10. Instrument run log with identification of all standards, reference materials, sample blanks,
rinses, and controls analyzed during the day/shift with subject samples (as appropriate: run
sequence, origins, times of analysis and aborted run sequences).

11. Record of instrument operating conditions and criteria for variables, including as appropriate:
GC column, instrument file identification, tuning criteria, instrument performance check (e.g ion
abundance criteria), initial calibration, continuing calibration checks, calibration verification.

12. Record of instrument maintenance status and activities for instruments used in subject
testing, documenting routine and as-needed maintenance activities in the weeks surrounding
subject testing.

13. Raw data for the complete measurement sequence (opening and closing quality control
included) that includes the subject samples. For GC-MS analysis, this would include: areas and
retention times, injection volumes, dilution factors, chromatograms and mass spectra. As
prepared and as determined values for all quality control samples.

14. A description of the library used for spectral matches for the purpose of qualitative
identification of controlled substances, including source(s) and number of reference spectra.

15. Copy of records documenting computation of the laboratory’s theoretical production yield,
including the basis for the computation, and the algorithm used, as appropriate.

16. Procedure(s) for operation and calibration checks of analytical balances used to weigh
controlled substances.

17. Results of calibration checks and documentation of mass traceability for gravimetric

18. Results of contamination control surveys for trace level analytes relevant to test methods at
the time of analysis, including sampling design and analytical procedures.

19. Records and results of internal reviews of subject data.

20. Method validation records documenting the laboratory’s performance characteristics for
qualitative identification and quantitative determinations of the controlled substance, to include
data documenting specificity, accuracy, precision, linearity, and method detection limits.

21. Copy of the laboratory’s Quality Manual in effect at the time the subject samples were tested
as well as the laboratory’s most recent Quality Manual (however named; the document that
describes the laboratory’s quality objects and policies).

22. Copy of the laboratory’s technical or operational procedures in effect at the time the subject
samples were tested (often termed Standard Operating Procedures, for analytical laboratory
operations) as well as the laboratory’s most recent technical or operational procedures for
analytes detected in subject samples.

23. Copy of the laboratory’s ASCLD-LAB application for accreditation, and most recent Annual
Accreditation Review Report, as appropriate.

24. Statement of qualifications of each analyst and/or technician responsible for processing case
samples to include all names, locations and jurisdictions of cases in which these personnel
testified concerning the same substances found in the present case.

25. Copy of the laboratory’s ASCLD-LAB on-site inspection report, as appropriate, as well as
any reports of on-site inspections by any other testing laboratory audit organization.

26. Copy of internal audit reports generated during the period subject samples were tested.

27. List of capital instrumentation in the laboratory at the time subject testing was performed,
including manufacturer, model number, and major accessories.

28. Production throughput data for the drug testing section: numbers of tests performed per
month or per year, and the number of Full Time Equivalent personnel in the drug testing section
of the laboratory

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