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Posts Tagged ‘Weed’

2,700-Year-Old Marijuana Found in Grave

Posted by shadmia on February 11, 2009


Nearly two pounds of still-green marijuana has been found in the grave of a man who was buried 2,700 years ago. It is the oldest known stash of pot ever discovered. Found in the Yanghai Tombs near Turpan, Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region, China, a sample was subjected to a battery of tests conducted by an 18-member research team. The results are published in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

To get really technical (skip this part if you want):

A large cache of cannabis, superbly preserved by climatic and burial conditions was tested by a multidisciplinary international team who demonstrated through botanical examination, phytochemical investigation, and genetic deoxyribonucleic acid analysis by polymerase chain reaction that this material contained tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of cannabis, its oxidative degradation product, cannabinol, other metabolites, and its synthetic enzyme, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase, as well as a novel genetic variant with two single nucleotide polymorphisms. The cannabis was presumably employed by this culture as a medicinal or psychoactive agent, or an aid to divination. To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent, and contribute to the medical and archaeological record of this pre-Silk Road culture.

The plain English translation:

The extremely dry conditions and alkaline soil acted as preservatives, allowing a team of scientists to carefully analyze the stash, which still looked green though it had lost its distinctive odor. A barrage of tests proves the marijuana possessed potent psychoactive properties (a relatively high content of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis). However, no one could feel its effects today, due to decomposition over the millennia. The scientists are unsure if the marijuana was grown for spiritual or medical purposes.

“To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent,” says the newly published paper, whose lead author was American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.

The researchers couldn’t tell if the weed was meant to be smoked or eaten. No pipes or other clues were found in the tomb. The large cache was contained in a leather basket and in a wooden bowl, and was likely meant to be used in the afterlife.

The 789 grams of dried cannabis was buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man – who died around the age of 45 – likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, near Turpan in northwestern China. The tomb also contained other items confirming the man’s high social standing.

“This individual was buried with an unusual number of high value, rare items,” Russo said, mentioning that the objects included a make-up bag, bridles, pots, archery equipment and a kongou harp. The researchers believe the individual was a shaman from the Gushi people, who spoke a now-extinct language called Tocharian that was similar to Celtic.

The size of seeds mixed in with the leaves, along with their color and other characteristics, indicate the marijuana came from a cultivated strain. Before the burial, someone had carefully picked out all of the male plant parts, which are less psychoactive, leaving little doubt as to why the cannabis was grown. Scientists also tried to germinate 100 of the seeds found in the cache, without success.

The region of China where the tomb is located, Xinjiang, is considered an original source of many cannabis strains worldwide. The ancient marijuana stash is now housed at Turpan Museum in China.

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Giving Pot to Kids – Teen gets 8 Years

Posted by shadmia on July 28, 2008

Demetrius McCoy, 18 of Watauga, Texas was sentenced to 8 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to two charges of injury to a child causing bodily injury. He also pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary of a habitation. He received 8 years on each of the 4 counts all of which to be served concurrently. It was however the charges related to causing bodily injury to a child that were the most shocking.

McCoy and his cousin Vanswan Polty, were arrested in February 2007 after police found a video while executing a search warrant at the Watauga home of McCoy’s grandmother. Police were investigating burglaries that McCoy and Polty are suspected of committing. On the video McCoy was seen giving his two nephews 2 and 5-years-old marijuana to smoke. Below is the video found by the police.

McCoy who reportedly has a 3-month-old daughter, was seen giving his nephews pot, blowing smoke in their faces, calling them “potheads” and joking about them having the “munchies”. When asked about the incident in an interview from jail, McCoy apologized for causing such a firestorm but indicated that he didn’t consider what he did to be a serious crime.

“Some people give their kids alcohol, let them smoke ice, methamphetamines. Weed ain’t going to kill them,” he said.

Watauga Department of Public Safety Director Bruce Ure took the incident very seriously and said the teens encouraged the two young boys to smoke a marijuana cigar. Investigators were appalled as they watched the tape.

“You’re watching a crime in progress,” Mr. Ure said. “This is their uncle, and he’s encouraging them. They were so willing to go along, to please their uncle. Encouraging a 2-year-old who is clearly a baby – it’s a baby, and they think it’s funny watching him impaired.”

In an attempt to minimize his own actions, he said he doesn’t believe he is the first to expose the boys to the illegal drug and besides “They wasn’t even high,” Mr. McCoy said. “They didn’t even inhale it right.” He said that even if he hadn’t giving his nephews the pot to smoke “the youngsters would have eventually smoked the drug anyway.”

In exchange for the eight-year sentence, McCoy must also testify against his co-defendant, Vanswan Polty, officials said. If McCoy had been convicted at trial, he would have faced up to 10 years in prison. Vanswan Polty, 19, remains in the Tarrant County Jail awaiting trial. He faces two charges of injury to a child, three charges of burglary of a habitation and one charge of failing to identify himself to a peace officer.

“I think Mr. McCoy recognized that a Tarrant County jury was not going to stand for his behavior, and he did the proper thing by taking responsibility for his actions,” said prosecutor Darrell Davila, who handled the case with Leticia Martinez.

McCoy was represented by defense lawyer Ruben Gonzalez Jr.:

“My client accepted his responsibility,” Gonzalez said. “His family has suffered terribly, and it is something he will have to live with.”

Shatorria Russell, the children’s mother, has said she was asleep in another room in the home, which she shared with her children, grandmother and McCoy when the children smoked marijuana. Child Protective Services removed the children from the home shortly after McCoy’s arrest, and  Russell relinquished her parental rights to the state. The children are living with a foster family and are awaiting adoption, CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales said.

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Marijuana Scent is not Enough

Posted by shadmia on July 22, 2008

In what is seen as a victory for the right-to-privacy, the Washington State Supreme Court decided that the scent of marijuana coming from a vehicle is not sufficient reason to arrest all the occupants of that vehicle. The decision was unanimous. They did however uphold the right of the police to stop and search a vehicle that smelled of marijuana but without further evidence they could not arrest nor search all the occupants.

…..we have concluded that where officers do not have anything to independently connect an individual to illegal activity, no probable cause exists and an arrest or search of that person is invalid….the arrest of one or more vehicle occupants does not, without more, provide “‘authority of law’ under article I, section 7 of our state constitution to search other, non-arrested vehicle passengers, including personal belongings.”

This ruling resulted from a case that had been brought up through the lower courts with split decisions. It involved two people, Jeremy Grande and Lacee Hurley, who were in a car which was stopped by the police in April 2006 in Skagit County. The car was driven by Lacee Hurley when they were pulled over by State Patrol Trooper Brent Hanger. Trooper Hanger said he stopped the car because the windows were too darkly tinted. He said he smelled pot in the car, so he arrested and handcuffed Grande and Hurley.

A search of Grande revealed a glass pipe with marijuana in his pocket. Hanger searched the car and found a joint in an ashtray, which Hurley said belonged to her. Both were charged with marijuana possession and Grande was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

The case initially came before the Skagit County District Court, which found there was no probable cause for Grande’s arrest. But the state appealed the ruling and the county’s Superior Court reversed the order. The case was then appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Summing up the state Supreme Court’s decision, Justice Charles W. Johnson wrote:

“Our state constitution protects our individual privacy, meaning that we are free from unnecessary police intrusion into our private affairs unless a police officer can clearly associate the crime with the individual.” In the case of the Skagit County traffic stop, the court found the mere presence of the odor of marijuana was not enough probable cause to warrant the arrest of Grande.

Attorney David Zuckerman, who brought the case before the state Supreme Court, said the problem is that arresting someone based solely on the odor of marijuana can affect innocents.

“The smell of marijuana smoke can linger for weeks,” Zuckerman said. “You could have a perfectly innocent citizen get into a car where somebody smoked marijuana at some point … and an officer can just pull you out of a car and book you based on that.”

The decision doesn’t mean an officer must walk away from a vehicle that smells of pot. Trooper Hanger did have probable cause to search the car, the state Supreme Court decision said, just not to arrest Grande. Law-enforcement officers say it won’t greatly affect the way they make arrests.

“What this means is officers are going to have to be a little more keen in their investigative skills,” said Don Pierce, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

“Normally, if you come across the odor of marijuana … there’s something else going on that helps you identify who the responsible person or persons is.”

Advocates for drug-law reform cheered the ruling as a long overdue step in the right direction.

“As a general statement, it’s a step back from the direction that our government has been going as we’re veering into a sort of surveillance society,” said Alison Holcomb of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington chapter. “It strikes me as refreshing that the court has reaffirmed the values that our constitution calls for.”

When it comes to passengers, though, the scent of pot alone doesn’t give probable cause to arrest everyone in the car. Officers need additional evidence that each individual broke the law.

“Our cases have strongly and rightfully protected our constitution’s protection of individual privacy,” Justice Charles Johnson wrote for the court. “The protections … do not fade away or disappear within the confines of an automobile.”

In a pretrial hearing for Grande, the district judge found there was not specific probable cause to justify his arrest, and suppressed the evidence. But the Skagit County Superior Court overturned that ruling, pointing to a 1979 appellate ruling that said the smell of pot coming from a car was probable cause to arrest the passengers and driver. The State Supreme Court said subsequent federal case law has wiped away the legal footing of that 1979 decision.

I guess it goes without saying but Attorney David Zuckerman said Jeremy Grande was delighted with the decision.

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