Posted on 20 April 2011.
Growers spend roughly five billion dollars cultivating that which—in California, at least—is only legally available to those who can prove their medical need. The resonance of the U.S. agricultural investment that is Cannabis lies not just in the plant’s presence in the fiscal sphere. It is a crop whose tenuous legal status and the subsequent means of cultivating it—using indoor sources of heat and light—implicate it in issues of power.
A new study reveals that the production costs of the United States’ largest cash crop—marijuana—make up one percent of the nation’s total electricity production. Marijuana has a surprisingly large carbon footprint. It’s estimated that one joint of marijuana represents almost 2 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. The energy used to cultivate marijuana represents 3 percent of California’s electricity use, 30 hours spent running a 100-watt light bulb for that single joint.
A scientist from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a study that found that the majority of energy consumed in marijuana production is a result of inefficient methods of heating and lighting used to keep indoor cannabis production hidden from law enforcement. The requisite secrecy for those who grow the crop illegally has an accompanying inefficiency. Being unable to police marijuana production also means being unable to police its inefficient energy expenses.
Greenhouse gas emissions can be regulated through programs and legislation when the energy demand is acknowledged and addressed in a realistic context. The electricity demand from marijuana cultivation must be acknowledged as such to be adequately standardized. California’s Air Resources Board could implement policies that set efficiency standards on marijuana production, or use city zoning in favor of medical marijuana cultivation, if only it were acceptable to acknowledge the reality of the plant’s production beyond the narrow scope of medical dispensaries.
Posted in Opinions & Editorials
Posted on 23 October 2010.
By Nikki Broderick ’14
On Nov. 2, 2010, the state of California will vote for the legalization of marijuana for personal use for adults over 21. Marijuana use will not be allowed in public spaces and users who provide the drug to minors will have strict consequences, including three to five years in jail for those who provide marijuana to those younger than 14 years old.
Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996 by Proposition 215, and is one of 13 states that have passed such a proposition. However, this ballot would make personal marijuana use legal for those not suffering from chronic pain or suffering. Although marijuana possession and use would still be illegal under federal law, it would be legal under the state constitution of California.
I say let it pass.
As a state, we’re broke. California’s debt totals nearly 88 billion dollars, and it isn’t going away any time soon. If marijuana were legalized, local governments could regulate and tax the sale of it to generate revenue. This legalization would also save billions of dollars by reducing the number of nonviolent prisoners in California’s state prisons. Last year, 61,000 marijuana users in California were arrested while 60,000 violent crimes were left unsolved. By redirecting resources away from recreational marijuana use that poses no violent threat, police officers would be able to focus on hard crime.
It does seem odd that to finance some of the most important gaps in our budget—education, for example—we have to legalize a drug. Then again, cigarettes and alcohol are legal to adults, both of which have more damaging effects to health than marijuana does. Marijuana also does not cause its users to become violent. Put a hundred people who are high in a room and what would happen? Nothing. They would probably sit around in a relaxed stupor. Put a hundred drunken people in a room? I think that’s the definition of a bar fight.
Let me be clear: I don’t smoke pot and have no desire to. But why should the government be allowed to stop someone from smoking pot when they are allowed to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes legally? People are going to smoke pot, whether or not it is legal. It makes the most sense to regulate, tax and control this substance instead of watching a failed prohibition system flourish while our state spirals deeper and deeper into debt.
For more information on Proposition 19 or anything else on the ballot, visit California’s Voter Information site here.
Posted in Opinions & Editorials
Posted on 09 October 2009.
Wanted: Pot Critic with Taste and Medical Need
Westword, a weekly “alternative” newspaper in Denver, CO, has drawn national attention by requesting the services of a medical marijuana critic. The goal of the newspaper is to review marijuana dispenseries to determine their safety and legitimacy. Last week, the paper asked for potential critics to send a resume and an essay on “What Marijuana Means To Me.” “Every time an application comes in, it’s like opening a little birthday present,” said Patricia Calhoun, editor of Westword. “Most of them are quite hilarious.” Citizens of Colorado voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2000.
Sex Theme Park to Open in China
Coming in October, China will open its first sex-themed park, called “Love Land.” The park will include a sex exhibition detailing the history and practice of sex throughout the world, anti-AIDS measures and the proper use of condoms. The park will also feature sculptures of the naked human body, enormous replicas of genitalia and an extensive photo gallery. The building of this park has generated an overwhelming amount of discussion. Potential visitors in need of a sex education as well as those refraining from vulgarity have voiced their opinions. Lu Xiaoquing, park manager, hopes the park will encourage Chinese men and women to “enjoy a harmonious sex life.”
Doctors “Forced” to Allow Suicide
Kerrie Wooltorton, age 26, of Norwich, England, died four days after her hospital admission. Wooltorton had swallowed anti-freeze, and she explicitly refused any medical help from doctors. Because of her refusal, doctors allowed the suicidal woman to die. Consultant renal physician Alexander Heaton said, “It’s my duty to follow her wishes. I would have been breaking the law. And I wasn’t worried about her suing me; she was in no state to resist me, and I could have forced treatment on her. But I don’t think it was the right thing to do. I feel it would have been assault.”
Posted in News