The events of September 11, the continuing war in Afghanistan and the escalating anthrax scare will all have a profound affect on members of the cannabis culture in North America and around the world. Regardless of which groups or individuals are actually behind the suicide hijackings and anthrax mailings, it is clear that the US government has seized upon these events as an excuse to take actions and enact laws which would otherwise face great public criticism.
What changes can pot-people expect to see in our way of life? The first difference to come to the fore is that the US border has become tighter, which means that less pot is entering into the US from Canada and Mexico. The US government is passing legislation to triple the number of US Customs, Border Patrol and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) personnel at the northern border, as well as giving Customs and INS $50 million each to spend on new equipment for “monitoring” the Canadian frontier.
The US had already been escalating its war on Canadian marijuana before September 11, by opening a DEA office in Vancouver, stepping up border inspections in BC, infiltrating the RCMP, setting up drug traps on interstate highways, and creating an “Integrated Border Enforcement Team” (IBET) along 150 miles of the crucial herb smuggling zone that starts on BC’s Pacific coast.
Yet whether increased border scrutiny will have any real effect is unsure, as border agents regularly estimate that they catch only about 2% of the bud that is crossing the borders. Nevertheless, the mere perception of increased security has apparently prompted many cross-border smugglers to take a hiatus, or to redirect their efforts elsewhere.
More BC Bud has already been reported in Canada’s eastern provinces, indicating that some smugglers are taking the much safer west-east route over heading south. Although BC Bud won’t fetch as much in Ontario as it would in the US, it’s still more profitable than selling it locally in BC.
With this article being written while BC’s outdoor harvest is being dried and cured, most observers expect the street price of pot in BC to drop as the market becomes saturated. While this is good news for local tokers, it is bad news for the Americans who rely on BC Bud for their livelihood, medicine, or even to relax in these stressful times.
Despite tighter borders, Canadians can expect to see heavier traffic in US pot-tourists, as US pot supplies dry up while the drive to Vancouver or Montreal becomes more attractive than the flight to Amsterdam.
When the reduction of available imported pot is coupled with the massive layoffs among airlines and other industries, it is also logical to expect a sharp increase in the number of Americans growing their own bud. Pot prices rising due to scarcity will only help to increase this domestic cultivation, as will growing awareness about cannabis’ medicinal applications.
Although an increase in US growers would signal heavier business for Canada’s thriving mail-order seed businesses, the ongoing postal-anthrax scare is resulting in sterilization procedures which could also shut down the mail-order seed industry.
Killing mailed seeds
In late October, the US Postal Service announced the $40 million purchase of eight electronic sterilization systems from Titan Corporation. Wil Williams, a spokesperson for Titan, told ABC News that each machine can treat about 1,000 pounds of mail per hour. Williams also warned that the system could ruin unexposed film, harm electronic equipment, damage plants and inhibit seeds from germinating. “The point is not how the technology could damage mail, but how it could secure US mail,” he added hopefully.
Titan’s “surebeam” system uses electricity to generate a beam of electrons which disrupts cell structures and breaks down DNA. The system also allows the beam of electrons to be changed into x-rays for deeper penetration. The system is about a hundred million times more powerful than an airport security x-ray machine.
Titan has been marketing its surebeam system for food irradiation, claiming that it eliminates bacteria and kills or sterilizes insects. Although the system can apply lower doses which would affect only bacteria, company officials have claimed that the dosage levels required to cleanse the mail will also kill seeds and bulbs.
In a prepared statement, the Postal Service said it is doing research “to ensure that the technology used for sanitizing equipment does not cause other problems by damaging sensitive material.”
ABC News quoted seed and film shippers as being worried about how this process would affect their products. A spokesperson for Burpee Seeds, America’s largest seed shipping company, suggested that they could be forced to use a private carrier for their seed deliveries.
The website of the Professional Photographers of America advises its members that it “has not received any concrete assurances from the Post Office that the new equipment will not harm photographic film.” The same article cites an Airborne Express representative saying that since their shipments are traceable back to the shipper, cargo carriers would not be a popular option for bioterrorists. However, none of the major express delivery companies would commit to not implementing sterilization procedures in the future.
Cannabis Culture publisher Marc Emery, one of the world’s largest distributors of mail-order marijuana seeds, explained that the future situation was uncertain. “We don’t know exactly what is going to happen. Of course we are making every effort to ensure that our business will survive, but at this point I cannot make any predictions. I encourage anyone thinking of growing their own marijuana in the future to order their seeds now while it is still possible to do so.”
Treating anthrax and radiation
Whether or not seeds continue to be available through mail-order, Americans will be needing more pot than ever. Aside from its potent stress relief qualities, and the possibility that being high can help you perceive past the lies coming out of your TV set, a goodly stash of marijuana should also be a top priority for anyone creating their Armageddon Survival Kit. The medicinal benefits of cannabis include protection against nerve gas, radiation sickness, and cancerous tumors. Cannabis is even a common folk remedy for anthrax!
Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax is also known as “woolsorters’ disease” because most anthrax infections occur from having a cut on the skin while handling contaminated wool.
Cannabis has been used as a traditional remedy for anthrax in Africa and other regions. In the mid-1800’s, Dr William O’Shaughnessy helped introduce marijuana medicines to western culture. He used cannabis extracts to successfully treat anthrax, as well as palsy, blood poisoning, parasites, and numerous other conditions.
These references are likely to using cannabis externally, as a poultice or ointment placed over infected skin. The antibacterial and antiviral properties of cannabis are well documented, so that it has been used to treat anthrax should come as no surprise.
Whether direct application of cannabinoids to the lungs by smoking a joint can help with the more severe effects of inhaled Bacillus anthracis has not been studied, but having a steady amount of THC flowing through your system at all times can also provide a measure of protection against brain damage from nerve gas and chemical attacks.
US military tests have shown that rats given synthetic cannabinoids were about 70% less likely to suffer brain damage after being exposed to a variety of nerve gases, including sarin. The cannabinoids worked both as a preventative measure and as an antidote, so keep a few phatties ready for emergencies! Other research shows the efficacy of synthetic cannabinoids against brain damage from head injury and strokes (CC#16, Marijuana protects your brain).
In these trying times some worry about radiation exposure, perhaps from a nuclear weapon or terrorist attack against a nuclear power plant. Exposure to high levels of radiation causes symptoms including nausea and cancerous tumours. Cannabis’ effect on reducing severe nausea is well-known ? lesser known is the ability of cannabinoids to destroy cancerous tumours.
In 1974, the US National Institute of Health commissioned researchers at the Medical College of Virginia to find evidence that marijuana harms the immune system. Instead they found that THC slowed the growth of lung and breast cancers, and of a virus-induced leukemia. Their results were hushed up by the US government, and no further research was allowed. However, the March 2000 issue of Nature Medicine contained a study from researchers in Madrid, who had destroyed previously incurable brain cancer tumors in rats by injecting them with THC (CC#25, THC destroys brain cancers).
The healing powers of cannabis are not limited to humans ? this miraculous plant also has the potential to help clean the earth from toxins. Fields of cannabis are being grown in radioactive soil around Chernobyl by the Ukrainian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, in partnership with a US company called Phytotech (CC#18, Hemp helps Chernobyl).
Phytotech specializes in using plants to clean up polluted sites, a process called phytoremediation. Cannabis is excellent at breaking down organic pollutants and removing metal and radioactive contaminant’s from the soil. Phytotech representatives have said that “hemp is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants we have been able to find.”
Overgrow the government
The amazing healing powers of cannabis are needed on this Earth more than ever before. If world governments were serious about protecting the health and safety of their citizens, they would encourage all people to have a sizable garden of high-potency pot growing for its multitude of beneficial uses. Perhaps the US government’s World War II plea for farmers to “grow hemp for victory” could be changed to a modern call to “grow pot for peace.”
Yet since this isn’t likely to happen soon, and since the financial rewards available to those willing to take a risk in cultivating this special plant are greater than ever, this is actually a good time to start up that garden you’ve always dreamed of. For health, happiness and healing the earth, there’s never been a better time to grow more pot, and overgrow the government!
Smuggling for fun and profit
The US-Canadian border is 4,000 miles long, and it’s one of the most important borders in the world for North America’s cannabis culture.
American officials are now demanding that the US-Canadian border become a fortress zone similar to the US-Mexico border. There are between 965 and 1,773 US Customs and Border Patrol employees working the US-Canadian border, compared to 9400 agents working America’s southern border. The US is going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to hire more guards and install sophisticated monitoring and data-collection systems in the north.
The US ambassador to Canada, former Massachusetts Republican governor Paul Celluci, is a drug war zealot who has been pressuring Canada not to liberalize its marijuana policies. He wants Canada to provide more assistance to US efforts to stop Canadian marijuana and pot seeds from entering the country.
Customs agents are searching more and more people and their possessions heading south, causing long lines and headaches, especially at border crossings in the Seattle-Vancouver and Detroit-Toronto corridors. When new officers come online during the next three years, the headaches will get worse.
Americans are angry, sad, confused, worried, and grieving. Marijuana can make them feel better, so don’t Canadians have a humanitarian duty to export as much marijuana south as possible? Figure out how you can facilitate shipments of Canadian marijuana medicine to our friends in the United States, and help heal this continent!
Here are my suggestions:
? Many of the smaller US-Canadian border crossings are open less than 24 hours a day. Let’s go on road trips and conduct surveillance missions at the border, noting which crossings are staffed full time and part time, then share the information with trusted marijuana smugglers.
? Who needs paved border crossings? At least 60% of the border region consists of undeveloped terrain well-suited to overland smuggling. How far can you walk, and how much can you carry on your back? At $4000 per pound, isn’t it time to nurture a love for the great outdoors?
? Look to the sea. US Customs and Coast Guard are paying more attention to Puget Sound, the Pacific, the Georgia Strait and the San Juan De Fuca Strait, but they can’t possibly cover it all. It’s time to make use of those kayaks, surfboards, wetsuits, and maritime navigation skills. Being on the water also makes it easier to ditch your load if you’re about to get caught. Be sure to use a rental boat or one you can afford to lose, as property seizure is a common tactic.
? Be creative. It’s easier to smuggle hashish than marijuana, and easier still to smuggle cannabis products that don’t even look like buds. Hash-making products are readily available, and simple water extraction using the Ice-o-lator or Bubblebags will translate your bulky buds into a smaller, more potent product, easier to slip across borders undetected. Food products are also an excellent way to disguise pot. High-potency candies and fruitcake are more likely to pass scrutiny than the most tightly sealed bag of buds.
? Be political! Contact your elected officials and tell them you don’t want a militarized border zone. Work to have your union, club or company oppose the border crackdown. None of us wants terrorists to get through, but we want to be able to go back and forth with our righteous product without worrying about being searched and seized.
? Buy seeds from Marc Emery ? now! If the US postal service begins to zap all first class mail, it might become very difficult to get live seeds through US mail. If you ever intended to order seeds, do it right away, before anti-anthrax equipment is installed.
? Be safe. Even though it is exciting and profitable to sneak euphoric pot-products across the border, this is not a game, and there can be serious consequences if caught. Be discreet. Don’t brag about your success or flaunt your profits. Be careful who you trust.
? Be smart. Plan your actions carefully, have back-up options, escape routes, and a good lawyer on retainer. Do some cross-border test runs without any herb. Outline all possibilities and plan for them. Know what to say and how to behave to minimize the damage if you do get caught.
Smuggling kind buds to those in need is a great way to earn a living while also generating good karma. The most successful smugglers are those who know the risks, and use ingenuity, steady nerves and careful planning to outwit the narcs and bring good medicine across the border.