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Benefits of Marijuana Delivery

delivery

The benefits of weed delivery are many. Keeping stoned people from getting behind the wheel of a car is the most obvious. There is also the privacy factor, as well as convenience, but for medical patients who are homebound, delivery services are a genuine lifeline. Just ask “Tyrone,” a homebound vet who lost one leg to the Vietnam War and the other to diabetes brought on by alcoholism he suffered after coming home. He regrets not turning to cannabis to cope with his PTSD back in the 1970s. Now he medicates with a variety of concentrates and edibles to cope with stress, depression, and insomnia. That he can anonymously place an order and receive a dosage “without having to deal with the world” makes cannabis delivery an easy decision for him. “My guy knows me,” he says with a chuckle. “Sometimes I just say hello and he answers with ‘One Tyrone special, comin’ up!’ ”

Read original article from the Seattle Weekly here by  May 3, 2017 1:30AM

Marijuana Is Shaping Up to Be a Defining Election Issue Across the County

defining

 

California voters may have spoken on recreational marijuana in November, but rather than settling the issue, that vote has set the stage for several local battles over whether to allow marijuana operations.

Because Proposition 64 passed last fall, state licensing to marijuana businesses is slated to begin Jan. 1, 2018 — though local jurisdictions have the power to forbid them in their boundaries.

That has teed up a new set of pot-related efforts, from a group seeking to overturn the County Board of Supervisors’ ban to cities softening their stances on marijuana in the face of voter petition drives.

In March, the County Board of Supervisors banned new recreational and medical cannabis operations in unincorporated areas of the county, while phasing out existing medical marijuana dispensaries. Yet the matter could be headed for a public vote.

The Southern California Responsible Growers Council is exploring a 2018 ballot initiative that would give the green light to pot farms and medical marijuana dispensaries. Specifics are still being hammered out, said Adrian Kwiatkowski, the executive director of the group, which includes farmers feeling the pinch of rising labor and water costs.

“You have the voters of the county saying one thing, and the supervisors saying something else,” Kwiatkowski said. Recreational marijuana shops aren’t part of the initiative because they’re more likely to be targeted should the federal government crack down on cannabis, he said.

In the county, only San Diego, Lemon Grove and La Mesa have ordinances allowing medical marijuana dispensaries. San Diego is alone in having cleared a path for recreational cannabis sales.

Prop. 64 pertained to recreational marijuana, but its broad voter support has also prompted a renewed push in recent months for medical cannabis dispensaries. That includes in Vista, where the medical marijuana industry and the City Council have dueling dispensary plans.

The group Vistans for Better Community Access will soon gather signatures for a ballot measure that would allow up to 10 medical marijuana dispensaries. An alternative proposal from the council would permit a maximum of two dispensaries and place tighter restrictions on where they can open.

The Council, which was staunchly opposed to dispensaries until the petition came along, has argued it put forth a plan to retain local control.

Vince Duffy, a Sacramento-based campaign consultant who’s leading the initiative campaign, said two dispensaries aren’t enough to meet patient demand.

This will be the group’s second time collecting signatures. More than 7,000 signatures submitted earlier this year — enough to qualify for the ballot — were invalidated because of a paperwork error. Now, the group is aiming to put the measure before voters in four to five months, said Duffy.

Craig Balben, president of North Coastal Prevention Coalition — a nonprofit that educates on drug and alcohol abuse — said the marijuana industry too often turns to the ballot box instead of compromising on regulations.

“My experience has shown me that the industry is not necessarily willing to work on any regulations. They want to force their will on cities,” Balben said. He also expressed concern over dispensaries increasing teen access.

“We don’t want to be against marijuana for the sake of being against marijuana. It has nothing to do with just being prohibitionists,” he said. “We want to collaborate and work together and figure out what are good public health policies and what are good regulations.”

Scott Chipman, head of the anti-legalization group San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods, said residents are increasingly concerned over marijuana and want to lend the group a hand.

But Chipman fears that the message of groups against cannabis will be drowned out by a marijuana industry that appears to be growing more powerful.

“We will try to inform by showing up at city council meetings, county supervisor meetings and planning group meetings,” he said.

Oceanside, too, is re-evaluating its stance on cannabis after facing a medical marijuana ballot measure, which is on hold. Last month, the Council set up an ad hoc committee to study cultivation, distribution and sales of marijuana. The committee will report back to the full Council in five months with options for regulations.

Councilman Jerry Kern sits on the ad hoc committee and suggested forming it, even though he voted against Prop 64.

Kern said given Oceanside’s support of Prop 64, maintaining the city ban runs the risk of a ballot initiative that would limit the city’s say on the number of dispensaries and their locations.

“The problem with ballot-box initiatives or ballot-box zoning is that the city loses all control,” Kern said. “We want to get out ahead of this.”

Kern said he’s also heard from struggling farmers who are interested in growing cannabis. It’s a similar story in Encinitas, where a council subcommittee is exploring marijuana cultivation in hopes of saving what’s left of the flower industry.

The local group Oceanside for a Safer Community earlier this year planned a measure to potentially allow up to 10 dispensaries. David Newman of the group said it hit the pause button on the initiative to work with the ad-hoc committee on regulations. He added that the group is prepared to resume the initiative if the Council again denies medical dispensaries.

Hezekiah Allen is the executive director of the California Growers Association, which also wants to end the Board of Supervisors’ ban on cultivation. Allen said ballot measures tend to be costly and divisive, but an initiative may be the only route given the board’s repeated opposition.

“Whenever you see an imbalance between the voters and the elected officials, I think that ballot measures become much more practical and likely, and I think we’ve reached that point in San Diego,” Allen said.

While the potential measure from the Southern California Responsible Growers Council only covers the unincorporated areas, it would go before the entire county for a vote. That seemingly bodes well for the initiative’s chances, considering that more than 57 percent of county residents backed Prop 64.

“Looking at the voter data, it’s a sea change in cultural attitudes and public opinion,” said Vince Vasquez, an independent elections analyst, regarding Prop. 64 versus a failed 2010 state ballot measure to legalize marijuana.

Beyond local initiatives, the medical marijuana industry plans to flex its muscle in other races.

Phil Rath, executive director of United Medical Marijuana Coalition in San Diego, said the group plans to fundraise for marijuana-friendly candidates in the city of San Diego. The group has yet to determine which candidates it will endorse.

Although San Diego allows dispensaries, Rath said there’s still much to be decided. For instance, the coalition is advocating at the local and state levels that dispensaries be able to sell both medical and recreational marijuana, instead of picking one.

“Our view is that the regulation of the industry is going to be an ongoing conversation,” Rath said.

Read original article from the LA Times here by  May 16, 2017

San Diego legalizes recreational pot dispensaries, might allow pot farms, testing labs

San Diego legalized recreational

 

San Diego legalized recreational pot dispensaries on Tuesday and the city also opened up the possibility it will allow pot farms, manufacturing facilities and testing labs.

San Diego is the first city in San Diego County to approve recreational marijuana sales since state voters approved Proposition 64 in November, and no other cities in the county have indicated they intend to follow suit.

Sales of recreational pot will begin when statewide regulations being crafted in Sacramento are completed sometime before January 2018. Dispensaries along the coast may have to wait for Coastal Commission approval, but city officials said that’s expected by October.

The San Diego City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to allow the sale of recreational marijuana at 15 dispensaries approved by the city to sell medical marijuana, pending the state action.

Council members also agreed to consider later this year approving regulations for commercial cultivation, testing and distribution of marijuana in bud and other forms, such as edibles.

Specific regulations for those activities weren’t available for the council to approve on Tuesday because city staff and the San Diego Police Department had recommended the city ban them based on concerns about crime and other potential problems.

Council members said they were partly motivated by the November election, when 62% of city voters approved Proposition 64.

“They told us what they expect us to do,” said Councilman Chris Ward, noting that Proposition 64 also allows local governments to legalize cultivation, manufacturing and testing.

Read original article from the LA Times here by David Garrick February 1, 2017, 8:50AM

Looking at the future of cannabis – Meadow interview with A Green Alternative

A Green Alternative: Leading the Change in San Diego’s Transforming Cannabis Industry

aga-leading-the-future

 

A Green Alternative is the first permitted dispensary in San Diego County, and also the first in San Diego to partner

with Meadow. They deliver all over the city and set themselves apart by the high quality of their products, their

concern for patients, and their focus on customer service. We sat down with AGA’s COO Zach Lazarus to talk about

our favorite plant and the future of the cannabis industry.

 

Meadow: Hey Zach, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. Let’s jump right in: can you tell us a bit about how

you got started in the industry? Why cannabis?

 

Zach: After I met my partners, I saw the good they were providing in the community and wanted to participate in

that. I got to see first hand how they were helping people, especially cancer patients, and I wanted to get involved.


“I got to see first hand how cannabis was

helping people, especially cancer patients.”

 

Meadow: So what were some of the challenges that you faced while building and growing your dispensary?

 

Zach: One of the biggest was definitely the lack of traditional banking. There are no small loans to help grow

operations or smooth cash flow. Then there are the issues with taxation: the unfairness around 280E and not

letting businesses claim their expenses means we get taxed multiple times on the same dollar. Also there are

concerns about safety when serving our community. Unlike pharmacies, we have an armed guard to make sure

our patients are protected.


There is a big split between the operators of lawful and unlawful dispensaries: on issues of safety, taxation, and

serving the community the differences are huge. We have to consider issues of general liability and workers comp

insurance, while unlicensed dispensaries cut corners and pay employees under the table. This has made the

market pretty saturated, but it’s just a matter of time before municipalities, counties and the state are all

aggressively closing unlawful dispensaries. This has already started happening in Chula Vista, where they are

switching from civil to criminal penalties. 


“There is a big split between the operators of lawful

and unlawful dispensaries: on issues of safety, taxation,

and serving the community the differences are huge.”

Looking at the future of cannabis

 

Meadow: Big changes are under way. Can you tell us a little bit about how you found Meadow?

 

Zach: Well, [Meadow CEO David] Hua gets it. Meadow is educating people about cannabis, and their founders have

the vision for a medicinal revolution of cannabis. Others will try to copy and fail, but Meadow’s platform and

business model will set them up to be like the General Electric of cannabis, the go-to provider for licensed

dispensaries and delivery services serving patients.

 

Meadow: That’s very flattering! We do have a big vision, but so do our partners, exceptional people like you. So

what advice would you give budding cannabis entrepreneurs? What does it take to be successful in the cannabis

industry?

 

Zach: Look at all the future licensing opportunities, and find one that fits your mold or where you believe you could

pursue a business model that would be successful. Next, operate legitimately at the municipal level, and be ready

for state licensing by 2018. There are opportunities out there, you just have to find them. I think Humboldt may be

saturated right now, but we’ll have to wait and see.

 

“Meadow’s founders have the vision for a medicinal

revolution of cannabis… [They will be] the go-to provider

for licensed dispensaries and delivery services.”

 

Meadow: That’s an interesting thought. Right now land prices there are rising quickly, and possibly unsustainably.

What do you see as the future of cannabis, say in the next 5–10 years?

 

Zach: My personal take is that Proposition 64 [the Adult Use of Marijuana Act] will pass in November. After that

happens we have a year of compliance before recreational sales start. I expect that prices will spike, leading to

bubble, and we may see a typical gram go up to $40 even. This will lead to a a larger black market forming, until it all

comes crashing down to maybe as low as $6 a gram once new facilities are licensed and come online. This will make

cannabis far more accessible than under prohibition.

 

“Proposition 64 will pass in November. After that happens

we have a year of compliance before recreational sales start.”

 

Meadow: Well, it sounds like we have an interesting time ahead of us! Thank so much for taking the time to speak

with us Zach.

 

Zach: Thank you! Looking forward to continuing our partnership to bring cannabis to the world.


meadow-logo

Meadow builds software for the medical cannabis industry in California.

To learn more about turnkey software for your storefront, delivery, and back office, visit www.meadowplatform.com

 

 

 

 

Article reposted from:

The Dandelion

Musings from the Meadow

on Medium.com here

 

Marijuana Puzzle

San Diego, here’s a puzzle while you wait for your marijuana delivery.

We realize that waiting for your marijuana to be delivered can be an agonizing and sometimes an
excruciating process. So we decided to share a puzzle that can help you pass the time.
*hint* Scrolling the mouse wheel over the puzzle pieces can turn them around.
Have fun San Diego!
marijuana-puzzle

For more great puzzles visit jigsawplanet.com.

About Strains and Terpenes

Each strain has its own aroma and effect.

This unique signature is not only the result of cannabinoids, but also due to lesser known molecules: The flavonoids, terpenes, terpenoids.

Some strains are sedating, some energizing, some take your spirit to the land of euphoria, some are perfectly apt as a natural painkiller, some spill a bucket of inspiration in your head and some provide a bit of all of the above. But it’s not only the cannabinoids that are responsible for these different effects – lesser known molecules known as flavonoids and terpenoids play a huge role in the overall aroma and effect of a strain.

Often, the overall quality of a strain is measured by its THC content, and of course, a few tokes of some fine weed with a good load of THC will get you high. But it reveals an approach overly focused on one single compound – THC in this case. This same fixation can be found across the pharmacological landscape, it is the obsession with the “active ingredient“. Wether it’s THC or vitamin C – much of the work over the last century has been about isolating the active compound and stripping it from its natural environment. And there are good reasons for this; it allows for more precise dosage and standardization of quality. Research is easier with just one compound, cutting out the noise of complex natural systems. And lastly, isolation of active compounds allows for processes to be turned profitable, which is much more difficult with natural preparations.

terpenes
Everyone agrees that good bud is more than just a THC level. At this point, cannabinoids have become well known and CBD became the second most important “active ingredient“. But what this approach hides, is that a good smoke is much more about an intricate balance between all ingredients, rather than a single percentage of an isolated compound. This is particularly true in the case of a very complex plant like cannabis, which produces well over 220 compounds. About 85 of those are cannabinoids, and another 120 are so called terpenes and some 20 are flavonoids.

WHAT ARE FLAVONOIDS?

The unique smell and flavor of a cannabis strain is produced in part by its flavonoids, the aromatic molecules. Some flavonoids, like quercetin, luteolin and kaempferol, naturally appear in many different plants. But flavonoids that are unique to cannabis are called cannaflavins, and they don’t just smell good, they are pharmacologically active. For example, cannaflavin A has been found to to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the inflammatory molecule PGE-2, and it does this 30 times more effectively than aspirin.

Similar to CBD, flavonoids also modulate the effects of THC. Through complex biochemical mechanisms, flavonoids interact on many different sites in the body. Some interact with estrogen receptors, others act as potent antioxidants or inhibit enzymatic processes.

WHAT ARE TERPENES AND TERPENOIDS?

Terpenes appear naturally and abundantly in humans, plants and animals, often to deter parasites. Similarly to flavonoids, terpenes also emit a strong smell and flavor. Terpenes are volatile molecules that evaporate easily and contribute to the aroma of the buds. Research has discovered that terpenes are psychoactive and contribute to the overall effect of a strain. They show a wide range of effects, including sedation, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and many more. Perhaps surprisingly, up to 30% of cannabis smoke is composed of terpenes and terpenoids.

The difference between terpenes and terpenoids is that terpenes are simple hydrocarbons, while terpenoids consist of additional functional groups. In nature, simple hydrocarbons like terpenes are often the building blocks for larger and more complex molecules, such as steroids, pigments and vitamins. In cannabis, terpenes and THC share a biochemical precursor, geranyl pyrophosphate, which is developed in the resin glands of the plant and then evolves into the cannabinoids and terpenes.

Just like many other strong-smelling flowers and plants, cannabis develops those terpenes to attract beneficial insects and to repel predators. Many factors, including the climate, weather, maturity level of the plant, the used fertilizers, the soil type the plant grows in and even the time of day have influence on a plant’s development of terpenes.

The great variety of aromas in cannabis strains is already impressive, but the most fascinating property of terpenes is their ability to interact with the other active compounds in the plant. Terpenes can modify how much THC passes through the blood-brain barrier. But their influence reaches even as far as to regulate neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, altering their rate of production and decomposition, their movement and availability to receptors.

While well over 100 different terpenes and terpenoids have been identified in cannabis, we are summarizing below some of the most prominent ones. Here a short list of terpenes, their aroma and medicinal benefits.

Borneol

Aroma: Spicy, menthol, camphor
Effects: Sedative, calming
Medical value: Used in traditional Chinese medicine as moxa, also to reduce stress.
Also found in: Cinnamon, galanga, and wormwood
Strains high in Borneol: The church, Diamond Girl, Green-o-matic

Carene

Aroma: Sweet, cedar, pungent
Effects: Unknown
Medical value: In aromatherapy used to dry excess fluids, tears, running noses, excess menstrual flow and perspiration
Also found in: Cedar, pine, rosemary
Strains high in Carene: El Niño, Lemon Skunk, King’s Kush

Caryophyllene

Aroma: Spicy, warm, sweet, woody
Effects: Unknown
Medical value: anti-inflammatory and analgesic. In high doses a calcium and potassium ion channel blocker. One of the compounds that contributes to the spiciness of black pepper.
Also found in: Black pepper, hops, lavender, rosemary, cloves, oregano.
Strains high in Caryophyllene: Arjans Haze #2, Super Silver Haze, Nevilles Haze

Eucalyptol

Aroma: Spicy, minty, camphor
Effects: Centering, balancing and stimulating
Medical value: Used as a cough suppressant. Antibacterial, used in mouthwash and body powder.
Also found in: Rosemary, sage, wormwood, basil, tea tree, camphor laurel
Strains high in Eucalyptol: Kings Kush, ChemDawg, Bubba Kush

Limonene

Aroma: Sour, citrus (lemon, orange, grapefruit)
Effects: Uplifting, refreshing
Medical value: Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, enhances the mood
Also found in: Citrus fruits, rosemary, peppermint
Strains high in limonene: OG Kush, Damn Sour, Diamond Girl, Super Lemon Haze, Jack the Ripper, Lemon Skunk

Linalool

Aroma: Sweet, flowery, citrus, candy like
Effects: Uplifting and sedating
Medical value: Helps with anxiety, elevates the mood
Also found in: Over 200 plants produce linalool; Lavender, mints, rosewood, citrus fruits, birch trees, and even some fungi.
Strains high in linalool: Amnesia Haze, Grape Ape, G-13, Lavender, Deep Purple, LA Confidential

Myrcene

Aroma: Sweet, fruity, green vegetative, tropical, earthy
Effects: Sedation and relaxation
Medical value: Antimicrobial, antiseptic, analgesic, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, elevates the mood.
Myrcene is also found in: Mango, hops, lemon grass, thyme, guava, East Indian bay tree, verbena and mercia
Strains high in myrcene: White Rhino, Sweet Mango Auto, K. Train, El Niño, Skunk #1, White Widow

Pinene

Aroma: Pine
Effects: Mental Focus, alertness, aids memory, counteracts some of the effects of THC
Medical value: Bronchodilator, helps with asthma, acts antiseptic, antibiotic, insect repellant
Also found in: Pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, dill
Strains high in pinene: Trainwreck, Cheese, ChemDawg, Super Critical, Jack Herer, Bubba Kush, Super Silver Haze

Terpineol

Aroma: Sweet, floral, citrus, lilac
Effects: Strongly physically relaxing, responsible for the couchlock?
Medical value: Unknown
Also found in: Apple blossoms, orange
Strains high in Terpineol: Money Maker, White Rhino, Superbud

Reprinted from http://www.zamnesia.com/blog-beyond-cannabinoids-flavonoids

California, Always Setting Trends In All Things That Matter!

GoGreen

BY | Original Article here

When it comes to setting any “Green” trends, the whole country seemingly looks all the way west… to California!

From electric cars to banning plastic bags to legalizing marijuana, California is one of the states that is in the

lead, if not the one setting the pace for change throughout the country.

 

As if the natural beauty of California isn’t enough, San Diego opened its first legal marijuana dispensary, A Green

Alternative, late last year. The dispensary itself sets the tone for what the industry should follow: you will find a

large selection of medical marijuana products of all types. The environment itself is impressively clean and safe

with guards at the entrance to ensure the safety of their employees.

 

However, the best part is that A Green Alternative took things a few steps further to deliver the ultimate client

experience. Just in case a client doesn’t feel like heading to the shop because they are tired after a long day of

work or perhaps they feel sick… the reason doesn’t matter. Using GoMeadow, the patient can place an order

and have it be delivered to their door… never having to step outside or change out of their pajamas. So, in essence,

the premier San Diego marijuana delivery service, pretty much!

 

Of course, the industry is in its infancy and is already showing great signs of progress. The legalization process is

the first step and with A Green Alternative creating a safe, clean environment for the rest of the city and state to

follow, things are headed in the right direction. But what else is amazing about California?

Health Trends!

Most health trends seem to take root in California before they catch on with the rest of the country. In fact, if you

have lived on the east coast and then checked out California’s cuisine, you will notice a huge difference in the way

food is made there.

 

For instance, east coast’s version of Chinese food is way different than the west coast version in both flavor and

nutrition. The same can be said for Mexican food. Mexican food on the east coast is loaded with sour cream and

cheese (which makes it extremely delicious in a fattening way!) However, order Mexican food on the West coast

and it contains more guacamole, no sour cream if any, and very little cheese. In the same manner, one cannot find

New York style pizza in California (for the obvious reason, but still!) or any marvelous foods such as a stromboli or

delicious cheesesteaks:

delicious cheesesteak

If you are addicted to those foods, it takes a bit of an adjustments. If you start looking at the overall picture,

however, you will realize that most foods in California are prepared in a more health conscientious manner. You

will find more hiking activities (more activities, period!), fruits, avocado/guacamole, fresh seafood, and farmer’s

markets every where.

 

California is all about embracing nature, your body, health, a clean state of mind. While the rest of the country

complains about the housing market, Californians enjoy everything amazing this state has to offer its residents!

Welcome to A Green Alternative

Watch our Introductory Video

Welcome to A Green Alternative, here is our introductory video on our YouTube channel, it already has

more than 18,000 views since April! Please comment and like our video, we would love to hear from you.

With the popularity of this first introductory video, we plan to make more in the future, so feel free to

comment with your suggestions for which topics you would like us to cover. Here is the link to leave

your comment at: https://youtu.be/Hx8osfy0WFU

Desert Rose Nursery clones

Desert Rose Nursery clones

Hello everyone! My name is Ron Chavez, Executive Director and Head Grower for

Desert Rose Nursery. I want to thank Zach and the team over at A Green Alternative for the

opportunity to introduce you to Desert Rose Nursery. Desert Rose Nursery is committed to

bringing patients the best genetics that the world’s most talented growers have to offer. We do

this by searching for the best phenotypes available.

Phenotypes, genetics, what does all of this even mean?

Simply put, we find the cream of the crop and offer them to you. Seeds and clones have their

own distinct advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages of using seeds is that you

may be able to find that one special phenotype of a certain strain that is superior to others.

It’s sort of like hitting the lottery. With clones, someone has already hit the lottery and we

are sharing the winnings with you. Clones offer uniformity, a true representation of the strain

with the flavor and effect you were looking for.

Now, a pro tip for all of the people who subscribe to this blog. We drop off new clones to

A Green Alternative every Tuesday afternoon. The time varies, but Tuesday is the day to catch

them with the biggest selection and the freshest roots. Spring is here! it’s time to start clearing

out an area in the backyard or find the sunniest spot on your back patio. Get your Desert Rose

Nursery branded clones at A Green Alternative and Happy Farming!

Pass Me the Bhang – The Fight for the Legalization of Marijuana in India

Pass Me the Bhang – The Fight for the Legalization of Marijuana in India

Visitors to the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh are left mesmerized by the stunning landscape of the region, lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, the majestic Himalayas in the backdrop. And there’s something else – marijuana!

Clusters of cannabis plants here, there and everywhere! Growing freely, with unbridled joy, without a care in the world. Farmers in many states in India grow marijuana, also called as “ganja” or the Indian help plant, within and around their properties. Marijuana is one of the most commonly grown drugs in the world, which is consumed by 125 million people each year. In India, marijuana has a rich history behind it. It is intrinsically tied to the Hindu religion and mysticism. Indians have consumed and celebrated different versions of the marijuana plant such as bhang, weed and charas (hash) for over a thousand years. Hindu religious texts mention marijuana in a positive context, and say that it helps the user attain ecstasy in the true sense of the word.

Lord Shiva – the most powerful of all Hindu Gods, loves smoking weed, according to several mythological texts. It is said that Lord Shiva once wandered off into the fields every time after an argument with his wife, Goddess Parvathi. Tired, he fell asleep under a leafy plant. Upon waking up, Shiva tasted the plant’s leaves and felt instantly rejuvenated and full of energy. He made the plant his favorite food. That plant, which captivated Lord Shiva so much, is none other than the cannabis plant.

Indians have a tradition of drinking bhang, a derivative of the cannabis plant on Holi, everybody’s favorite Hindu festival which is celebrated with joy. Bhang is very much a part of the Hindu religion and culture. Indeed, the Hindu soldiers of the past would drink bhang to give them courage just before a battle, just as soldiers in Western armies would have a whiskey.

That’s all really great, and very heartening for many of us, but here’s the problem – marijuana is still illegal in India because of an unfortunate law that was put in place in the 1980’s under pressure from the U.S. government. Back then, the U.S. was fighting the much criticized “War on Drugs” and literally forced its allies such as India to sign the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), which made marijuana a banned substance.

Unwilling to do anything that would upset the world’s richest and most powerful country, the Indian government led by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi banned the use of marijuana. Anybody caught buying or selling marijuana was now at risk of being sent to prison. Marijuana, which was a part of the Indian culture and religion for hundreds of years, was now banned in India, because of a silly law which nobody in the India wanted, not even the government.

A lot has changed since then in the West. Marijuana is today approved for medicinal use in the U.S. and there is a growing realization that the “War on Drugs” which criminalized so many for no good reason was a mistake, to say the least. But marijuana is still banned in India, not even allowed for medicinal use. There are a lot of people that go to prison each year for the possession of the drug. The only thing thats dangerous about the drug is getting caught with it!

Legalization of marijuana would create tens of thousands of new jobs in India, where unemployment is such a big problem. In Colorado marijuana legalization has created over 10,000 new jobs.

The government in India is aware of economic and social benefits of the cannabis plant. Steps are being taken in the right direction. The government of the state of Uttarakhand has made it legal for farmers to cultivate the Indian hemp plant. This is a good move but not nearly enough of the farmers are allowed to sell their harvest to the government. Unfortunately the farmers are excluded from selling their hemp crop to private industry buyers.

There is a growing cry in the country to legalize the use of marijuana. After all, marijuana was legal in India for much of its history, except for the last 30 years. It is just not right to deny the people of India the right to something that is such a big part of their culture.