Simpa Carter presents: Post Prohibition

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Can Cannabis Save Us From Global Warming?

This week for ISMOKE Magazine I’m looking at an important issue that affects everyone on the planet, global warming. In particular, I’ll be looking at how cannabis can help to reduce the detrimental effects of climate change.

Global warming is a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular, a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels and other human activities.

Although there is much debate in the political sphere there is a growing consensus in the climate science community with a nearly unanimous 97% believing that global warming is happening – scientists agree that the trends observed over the last past century are probably due to human activity.

There are many repercussions of global warming: Rising sea levels, Ocean acidification, increased frequency of natural disasters and catastrophic weather events like the four “1 in 500” level hurricanes that have been (and are) battering the Caribbean and the US east coast recently, Coastal and onshore Flooding, Longer and more destructive wild fire, more frequent and intense heat waves and global temperature rising.

Researchers have found that economic, emissions and population trends show that there’s only a minute chance that the Earth will avoid warming more than 2 degrees centigrade by the end of the century. 

One of the first scientists to warn of the dangers of climate change, Professor Jim Hansen, warns that “shit is hitting the fan”. In a recent presentation, he is quoted as saying:

“We’re too late to stop global warming with just renewable’s, we need to do something much more drastic”.

An international team of researchers, led by Professor Jim Hansen, Nasa’s former climate science chief, said that the world has already overshot targets to limit global warming to within acceptable levels and was “sufficiently grim” to force them to urge “rapid emission reductions” They also warned that efforts would need to be made to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 12.5 percent.

A paradigm shift is urgently needed if human life is to continue to prosper and to function in the way we have become accustomed to. For there to be a brighter future than this grim outlook, we need a drastic overhaul of our cultural and personal consumption habits in the present.

Cannabis can replace many products to help reduce global warming

The daily depletion of destructive resources such as petroleum, plastics, wood for timber, paper etc, petrol for machinery, polyester and other synthetic materials used in clothing, textiles and industry is playing a pivotal role in the acceleration of climate change. These products could be produced from cannabis without the environmental cost, and the fact that they’re not is likely byproduct of the global prohibition and demonisation of the cannabis plant.

Other environmentally detrimental human include behaviours such as the mass exportation of industrialised animal agriculture by countries like Brazil, India and Australia, the three largest exporters of beef.

Cattle ranching is an activity that requires vast areas of land to be deforested to create space to graze them and tens of thousands of gallons of water and tons of feed to sustain and raise the cattle.

Did you know that cattle ranching is now the biggest cause of deforestation in the Amazon? Nearly 80 percent of deforested areas in Brazil are now used for pasture and the remainder mainly being mono crops such as Soy, which is largely used as feed for the cattle.

A large proportion of these trees are felled illegally and with little regard for local wildlife or preservation of endangered species.

It is a symptom of the modern world tragedy, we find ourselves cast in that one of the most bio-diverse places on the entire planet is being decimated to graze cattle ultimately destined for a quarter pounder, happy meal, or milk on our morning cereal.

There is hope yet: India, previously a large exporter has banned the slaughter and sale of cattle which will reduce the global availability by 20%. However, this is likely to be quickly capitalised on by the Australian market ramping up its operations, negating potential beneficial offset to the environment.

Incentivising the farming of Hemp/Cannabis on an industrial scale would massively help to offset a lot of the destructive environmental consequences of climate change. For example, switching all toilet roll, newspapers/magazines, greetings cards, wrapping paper other packaging to Hemp would not only save billions of trees annually, but also in the process would literally suck in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The net carbon sequestration of an industrial hemp crop is estimated at 0.67 ton/hectare annually.

Humans fell something like 15 billion trees each year (wow, more than two for every person on the planet, nice one humans) and the global tree count has fallen by 46% since the beginning of human civilization.

This is a problem when you consider that trees are vital in capturing carbon and turning it into oxygen through the process of photosynthesis.


They also drill water deep into the ground helping to avoid surface flooding and provide an ever-replenishing biomass for ground soils, providing nutrients and the perfect conditions for other flora and fauna to flourish in a rich base that is held together by the root structures of the tree preventing soil erosion and desertification.

In England, we have lost half of our irreplaceable ancient woodland since 1930

“Forests are being lost to development and infrastructure; we are cutting a lot and planting so few, so it may be that England is technically deforesting,” said Stuart Goodall, chief executive of CONFOR the trade association for the UK forestry industry.

Only 1.35 million trees were planted in England in the 18-month period from April 2015 to September 2016 this steep decline in tree planting means the current government is almost certain to miss its manifesto commitment to plant 11m trees in the UK in the lifetime of this parliament.

The 11 million target is neither ambitious nor linked to any policy objectives. It is simply a continuation of the number of trees planted by the 2010-2015 government. We should be planting exponentially more than 11 million trees in the lifetime of this parliament and future governments.

The legalisation of cannabis is coming whether anyone likes it or not and its industrialisation is a necessity when you’re faced with the fact that the UK is currently heading for deforestation.

Another result of deforestation is the massive amounts of pollution that cannot be captured and stored leading to the situation we have here in the UK where we have high levels of pollution and air quality so poor that it is causing 40,000 deaths every year. 

Deforestation is also one of the main contributory factors to onshore flooding as it drastically alters the flow of waterways, streams and rivers coupled with drastically more powerful storms leads to flooding in locations that previously had been untouched by seasonal rains for generations.

The number of people exposed to flooding each year is at risk of tripling from 21 million to 54 million by 2030, according to a study by the World Resources Institute
This would result in the economic cost of flooding increasing from £65 billion to around £340 billion.

This could in part be negated by the immediate ceasing of the felling of billions of trees and the mass planting of cannabis/hemp and switching from the former to the latter for all potential fabrications that we produce.

If done on a large enough scale, this would help to combat climate change through not just deforestation, but also, phytoremediation, a process that using green plants removes, contains or replaces contaminated soil. Cannabis/hemp can be utilised to detoxify, desalinate and remove irradiated and heavy metal contaminants. It is considered to be one of the most cost-effective and environmentally-safe cleanup processes available.

The cannabis plant was even utilised in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster with thousands of industrial hemp plants being planted to help deal with the radiation in the topsoils.

Japan is considering using the same method to aid in the cleanup of the Fukushima exclusion zone. However, this is impeded by the draconian hemp licence laws enforced on Japan by the US in 1948. 

Global warming will create millions of climate refugees in the coming century, all of whom will need housing, food and other resources. Unless nations and international organisations start acting now we simply will not have what we will need.

How Cannabis can help

Designing and creating new homes out of hempcrete is a carbon negative process – Hempcrete is a mixture of hemp hurds and lime used as a material for construction and insulation. Its sustainable, recyclable, carbon negative, lightweight, mould, moisture resistant and non-flammable.

Hemp plastics can make anything traditional petroleum-based plastics can without the need to fabricate a war in order to secure a resource through foreign interventions and the game changer hemp graphene.

Hemp Graphene: Graphene is comprised of a lone hexagonal honeycomb lattice layer of tightly packed carbon atoms, it is one of the strongest, lightest, and most conductive compounds ever discovered.

It’s a British invention that was first discovered in Manchester, where they built an institute for developing the technology that was supposed to build the northern powerhouse.

It is 100 times more effective conductor than copper, lighter than air and stronger than steel. It’s currently being made from graphite/coal and is retailing at around $2000 per gram. However, when produced from cannabis, its $500 per TON, To put that into perspective, that’s 907,185 grams at a saving of $1,814,369,500

Hemp graphene cannot do everything graphene can do, but for energy storage, it is equally efficient at a fraction of the cost.
Hemp graphene superconductors could literally be grown to store whichever renewable is most suitable for that location, be it Tidal/Wave, Solar or Wind.

Utilising this technology would negate the need to secure vast amounts of Lithium what is now a proven inferior battery technology and could save the Afghanistan from its impending “liberation” as it has been discovered to have a trillion dollars worth of Lithium deposits.

Wider adoption of various Hemp technologies could provide the energy needed to ensure that no country would be forced to exploit one of the most dangerous, detrimental, dirty and destructive energy production processes, fracking.

If at this point in human history we deny cannabis as a tool to help prevent climate change because of successive decades of reefer madness and propaganda then we deserve to reap what we have sown.


We need full legalisation to ensure access for all cannabis patients. This is why

This week we’ll be looking at how the total legalisation of cannabis (i.e. medical AND recreational) is the only way to ensure the full and unhindered access for ALL medicinal cannabis patients.

In recent years in the US, a majority of states have voted to legalise the use of medical cannabis. Currently, 28 individual states plus the District of Columbia have legalised at least medicinally, with several states in that list going one step further; also legalising the recreational consumption of cannabis: Colorado, Oregon, California, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Washington and several more states are currently in the process of bringing various bill’s to state legislators, seeking to legalise for either medical or recreational purposes.

This has all taken place while cannabis remains federally illegal in the United States and is still classified by the DEA (Drugs Enforcement Agency) as a schedule one substance having “no approved medicinal value”. This is the same archaic classification as we have here in the UK.

Restricting legal access just to medical consumers means that only patients in states with a limited number of qualifying conditions may acquire the medicine they need. This is because each state’s requisite conditions vary widely, meaning you may not qualify in your home state but may in another.

This can lead to two things which are both not what you want to see in under legal cannabis regulation:

  1. Patients may be forced to lie about conditions in order to receive medical treatment for a different condition not covered in their state.
    2. Patients may get their supply on the black market rather than via regulated channels.

This is epitomised by the back pain and migraine epidemic that swept through California in the latter part of the 1990’s following the passing of prop 215, which in 1996 legalised medicinal cannabis for 12 approved conditions including Cancer, Aids, and you guessed it, Chronic pain and Migraine headaches

It’s now over 20 years later and California has recently passed prop 64, which fully legalises cannabis within the state (except at Federal level). Now all adults have access to legal cannabis patients suffering from Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, BPD, Bipolar, Alzheimers, Tourette’s, Crohn’s, Asthma, Epilepsy, Anorexia, Parkinson’s, Insomnia, Autism and other conditions not covered by medical legislation will finally be able to utilise cannabis legally.

Before this, the patient black hole created as an unforeseen consequence of passing of prop 215 along with the continued criminalisation of non-approved consumers for two decades left a lot of patients suffering alone and unable to seek professional medical help.

They were left ignorant to the benefits of cannabis by the very doctors whose Hippocratic oaths swear to protect them. Those doctors were not allowed to prescribe, condone or in most cases even discuss with patients the possibility of using cannabis, for fear of being struck off as a doctor.

This meant patients whose conditions could be improved by the medicinal use of cannabis weren’t informed about it; they were open to criminalisation should they find out on their own terms and self-medicate.

Let’s be clear – this is still the cold reality facing British patients today.

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This presents opportunistic dealers with the chance to charm their way into the good graces of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. It also ensures the continued protection of “snake oil” salesmen and oil scammers as patients cannot report them to the authorities.

And it guarantees that there is no regulation for the supposed medication cultivated by these dealers who’re too often motivated by nothing more than profit and to happy to scam cancer patients.

There are no lab tests for mould, pesticides, unsuitable growth chemicals and contaminants.

It is interesting to note that states with legal medicinal cannabis have seen a definite reduction in the amount of pharmaceutical prescriptions that patients consume, in particular lowering the abuse rates of opioids that are responsible for the current epidemic in the US.

“States with medical cannabis laws on the books saw 24.8 percent fewer deaths from painkiller overdoses compared to states that didn’t have such laws.”

This was published back in 2014. Unfortunately, there aren’t more recent comparative numbers. But this trend is likely to continue to increase with the availability of information about the conditions that cannabis can help to treat, and with more states voting to allow access to cannabis.

At a time when UK opiate deaths are at dangerous and growing numbers, surely it’s appropriate to look at this as a viable solution to stop people dying?

Issues with the system in the US

However, although the states are moving forward there are still many issues with the current system:

  • Having only certain qualifying conditions accepted in some states but not in others creates Interstate cannabis refugees.
  • Another issue is that they continue to use the antiquated (and racist) term Marijuana 
  • It is still a postcode lottery with regard to whether treatment of your condition qualifies in that state.
  • There are still restrictions on the number of plants patients can grow, meaning if you need a large amount of oil you’ll still have to break the law to cultivate enough for your personal supply.
  • The continued stigmatisation, persecution and presumed criminalisation of patients by healthcare professionals, the media and the authorities continue to cause incalculable mental and physical damage to the individual and the wider society.

The arbitrary nature of State law means that someone who qualifies to grow cannabis in some states could still face not just the loss of employment, incarceration but also forfeiting their home under federal drug asset seizure laws.

After global recreational legalisation, all patients will have the ability to grow their own medicine at home with no restrictions on Cannabinoid content or plant numbers.

It will, as is already evident, reduce the amount insurance companies are paying out to pharmaceutical companies via prescriptions in the states, saving all citizens on insurance premiums.

It will also massively reduce the fiscal burden on the NHS, no doubt saving us millions (probably billions) annually from unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies.

I completely agree that it is vitally important that pharmaceutical drugs go through vigorous testing and are meticulously researched and developed before bringing them to the marketplace. But this, in my opinion, should only apply for manufactured and licensed drugs that carry a risk of serious injury when misused and abused, or ones that are fatal when overdosed upon.

With cannabis, when you consume too much, if it could even be called an “overdose” (we think not) you’re probably heading for a good nights sleep (usually with a full stomach) and, at worse, a slight stoneover.

Remember: despite what the tabloids try to say, no one has ever died from the consumption of cannabis because it isn’t toxic and you can’t overdose on it. That’s why Mountain man can do 14 gram dabs and walk away (for reference 14 grams of oil can probably have a similar THC level to around 2oz or 56g of cannabis buds, although this will vary with strain, batch, extractor and other variables). Don’t try that one at home though!

This is why I believe cannabis should be legalised and regulated as a supplement, as well as a medication, allowing people to cultivate and consume cannabis and experiment with it to determine for themselves the effectiveness of it in relieving the symptoms of their condition. Despite what we’re told by the mainstream media in this country, it is relatively harmless when compared to legal (or most illegal) alternatives.

This maybe difficult because “Big Pharma” are one of the largest political lobbying groups in the world. In the US, pharmaceutical firms spent $250 million last year on lobbying in Washington DC alone.

In the UK it is difficult to come up with a monetary sum for our equivalent because unlike other government departments NHS England does not register its meetings with lobbyists. It also does not routinely publicly disclose all potential conflicts of interest. But it is happening: the pharmaceutical companies interests are being put ahead of those of the general public.

International Medical Cannabis

Israeli companies like Ican and OWC PPharmaceuticals are the latest to join the international cabal of medical cannabis along with, Canada’s Tilrey, Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals, Holland’s Bedrocan and a handful of other companies that have quickly become billion pound global exporters of medicinal cannabis products, monopolising the international supply not unlike the international drugs cartels operating under prohibition for decades.

The relatively low cost of prescriptions in the UK (which is great, by the way) means that the NHS cannot afford to supply most of the currently available cannabis medications at the extortionate rates companies are charging for their products, meaning patients are deprived of potentially beneficial medications.

A great example of this issue is GW Pharmaceuticals Sativex,
a cannabis based medication derived from Skunk No.1 cannabis cultivated in Kent and sold around the world in 28 countries but NOT here in Britain. This means that the 100,000+ British MS patients are denied access to a medication that has been shown to be highly effective at treating the symptoms of MS, which has recently been acknowledged by the MS society itself as being beneficial.

By only allowing pharmaceutically produced cannabis derived medications such as Sativex, Epidolex and synthetic cannabinoids medications such as Marinol and Nabilone to be utilised by patients, it ensures that only the already established international pharmaceutical cartel will be able to provide these drugs, continuing their monopolisation of the medical cannabis marketplace.

This is just a continuation of the current paradigm in which a small group of individuals control the supply, making excessively large profits.

If patients had access to sensibly priced medicine, the option to grow their own, or access via pharmacies, compassion clubs, co-ops or trusted carers, this would remove them from the clutches of criminal dealers.

This current limiting of access to a set number of medical conditions in certain geographic locations is a continuation of the problem. It leaves many patients suffering needlessly.

Actually, the prohibition of cannabis is comparable to the dark ages of science in Europe, where the religious ideology of consecutive rulers contributed to the suffering of the population by denying and even executing individuals for practising magic/witchcraft and using “potions” to heal the sick and cure disease.

This is still going on today just look at the demonisation and witch hunt surrounding Rick Simpson and the many other people who have in defiance of the law chosen to self-medicate with cannabis and teach others how to make cannabis oils and preparations so they too can utilise this healing herb.

Why is cannabis a plant that most nations still deem to be an illegal substance with “no approved medicinal value”? There’s no logic to the continued prohibition of it’s use.

This determination is not just to the detriment of cannabis patients, but also to the wider community.

It is cruel and immoral to deny the means of ceasing the suffering of another human being and by knowingly keeping cannabis illegal with all the evidence of the efficacy of cannabis. If you want to keep cannabis illegal you are part of a problem which is actively perpetuating the suffering of millions of patients around the world.

The only way to once and for all end this debate is to fully legalise cannabis and allow people to utilise the plant, regardless of the benefits they personally ascribe to it, to determine for themselves whether they wish to continue consuming it.

This still leaves space for patentable pharmaceutical medications to be produced and prescribed, but means that patients do not have to wait until treating a condition becomes profitable to big pharma before seeing if cannabis can be of benefit.

Ultimately the recreational verse medicinal debate is simply another way to divide the community and attempt to slow the inevitable. Cannabis will be legalised globally regardless of the efforts of avid prohibitionists, antiquated politicians and the propaganda they continue to spew.