The Last American Vagabond
Traveling the US, writing what the people need to know.

   





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House Bills Could Completely 
Legalize Marijuana Across the U.S.

Ninety-five years ago, alcohol was deemed such a dangerous substance that it was made illegal in the United States. The prohibition of alcohol lasted thirteen years, and in that time alcohol was more prevalent that ever. It caused otherwise law-abiding citizens to become criminals and associate with crime syndicates that were allowed to flourish within the nation’s desire, and right, to consume alcohol. Many of the famous gangsters of the time gained power and status solely due to the back market created by prohibition. Many believe that it was prohibition itself that created what Americans know of organized crime. It has been over 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana. In that time the ban has inflicted enormous harm on society and again forced average Americans to interact with criminals for access to a medically substantial substance that is far less dangerous than alcohol. 

Despite the countless personal testimonials claiming cannabis saved the life of a loved one, and numerous studies that demonstrate medical value, or at least elude to the strong possibility of its efficacy, the Marijuana Movement is battling those who simply ignore the facts. As it was in the twenties, there are obvious financial motivators that cause these selfish prohibitionists to pretend that nothing has changed, but it most definitely has, and Americans are waking up to the lies. Two congressmen have introduced bills that could change the current laws on marijuana nationwide.

Colorado State Representative Jared Polis and Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer have introduced two bills on a federal level that would legalize and tax retail cannabis effectively ending federal marijuana prohibition. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which would remove marijuana from theControlled Substances Act's schedules, transfer oversight of the substance from the Drug Enforcement Administration over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and regulate marijuana similar to how alcohol is currently regulated. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act, which would set up a federal excise tax for regulated marijuana.

As with any political maneuver in this country, there is more at stake than just the legalization of marijuana. With the substance being taxed in the same fashion as alcohol, many stand to make a considerable profit from the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act, but it is a step in the right direction. The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act will allow the many parents in need, the access to the medications their children most desperately require. This bill will “leave to the States a power to regulate marijuana” the same way that alcohol is currently regulated. In other words, no state will be forced to legalize marijuana, but a federal regulatory framework would be in place for those that do, and each respective state will have the option to hold an internal vote and decide for themselves. 

“It is time for us to replace the failed prohibition with a regulatory system that works and let states and municipalities decide for themselves if they want, or don’t want, to have legal marijuana within their borders.” Representative Blumenauer

Blumenauer said that the federal prohibition of marijuana has been “a failure” and a profound waste of tax dollars that have needlessly ruined lives. Not many who are aware of the current statistics can argue that statement. One need only look at the rise in drug use during this prohibition era to see that prohibition, not only doesn't work, but causes criminal activity to flourish. 

The current prohibition has created a black market just as the last alcohol prohibition had. Just like the prohibition of the twenties, there are those in official positions that have profits directly tied to that black market. It is for this reason that the 40 year marijuana smear campaign has continued far past its necessity. It is for this reason alone that the majority of Americans can be outspoken about marijuana legalization, yet the government continues to ignore the will of the people. It is the democratic right of this country’s constituents to enact change based on the majority will, yet it has been ignored, until now. It has been almost two years since the obvious majority wanted legalization, but it took until now for this change to even be a possibility, ask yourself why. These congressmen are risking professional backlash for doing what is right, and it is still a possibility that these bills might not pass, despite their obvious support with the ruling body of this county, its citizens. Many of those finically tied to the Pharmaceutical companies, the prison industries, or some of the U.S. banking industry that had been caught laundering money for drug cartels, will do whatever is needed to maintain this illegal cash cow that is marijuana prohibition. It is left to those who can see past the selfish ends to stand up and speak out. 

When a group as large and professionally respected as The New York Times stands up and openly declares that “The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana” it shows just how much the true majority wants the right to choose for themselves. The article claims that “the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems” when discussing potential down sides to legalization, “especially compared with alcohol and tobacco.” They continue on to compare the “gateway theory” to the antiquated “Reefer Madness” propaganda and end with a call-to-action asking congress to end prohibition. 

The importance of an editorial such as this can not be overstated. There are many who naively continue to believe that the government, or any government for that matter, has only the people’s best interest in mind; that congress is overflowing with those who’s only concern is to selflessly think of the greater good. It might be a comforting thought to believe in, but the reality is that these positions are filled with people; many of whom may have the desire to do good, but these are people none the less, with flaws and desires just like the rest of humanity. If history has taught any one thing it’s that money and power, or the desire for both, can corrupt the purest of hearts. It is up to the few, who can think of the whole before the individual, to listen to what the people actually need. It is up to the people to stand behind these rare few as the corrupt fight to maintain the tainted status quo. The upcoming decisions that will be made on these bills will show American’s the truth of whether this county is still truly a democracy or just pretends to be. 


Ryan Cristian     
Posted February 23, 2015
 
    
"The Cannabis Republic"
“We live in a stage of politics, where legislators seem to regard the passage of laws as much more important than the result of their enforcement.”
Sheriff to Use Cannabis
Oil to Save Daughter


The District Attorney said
"he would not prosecute us
"
“One has a moral responsibility
to disobey unjust laws.”

Counterfeit Reality

Posted February 16, 2015

Almost everyone knows that professional Wrestling is not a legitimate sport.  There is little about it that is real. The quirks and characteristics that will personify each wrestler are created in corporate meetings. Each character is furnished with a distinctive “selling point” and slogans to accentuate his character. Each character has a “signature hold” that he uses to demolish opponents. It is rare that a character will win a match with any hold other than his signature hold.

Characters regularly change personalities and even identities. The same person enters the ring, but now, he’s got a different name and different “characteristics.” Alliances shift with surreal regularity. The matches are scripted, and the winners of every match are determined before the bouts ever begin. Even the trash talk before and after the “fight” is meticulously scripted. In the 90s, Mick Foley was a professional wrestler with a particularly ludicrous persona. His “character” was a simpleton who lived in a boiler room and wore a leather muzzle to ensure he didn’t bite anyone. The character was called “Mankind.” He had to be kept separate from civilized society.  

The “selling point” for the “Mankind” character was that he could absorb incredible amounts of punishment without being defeated. His “signature hold” was shoving his hand (with a filthy sock on it) into his opponent’s mouth, gagging the...


U.S. Needs to Focus on Adult Education

Posted February 12, 2015

The United States is suffering from multiple institutional crises, all the signs of imperial decline. Homeless rates are growing, health care services are failing, and the education system has turned into a factory. According to the U.S. Department of Education there are currently 32 million adult Americans who can't read, that's 12% of the adult population, and a further 21% who read below a 5th grade level. The illiteracy rate among the U.S. prison population is a wopping 63%. These numbers have held steady for the past decade, and may even be ticking up. 

As the U.S. education system gears itself toward competing with the international market, it is focusing on test taking and white-collar skills. The lip-service paid to the STEM fields caused the country to stop focusing on literacy, self-learning, and basic reasoning. All three are vital factors for a healthy economy and civic participation. 

In 2012 and 2013 two studies were conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, both of which found that U.S. adults below average literacy and numeracy skills compared to other industrialized countries. The studies ranked the U.S. 16th out of 23 countries in literacy proficiency, 21st in numeracy proficiency, and 14th in problem solving in technology-rich environments...


Ten Myths About Marijuana 
That No One Should Believe
Part 5

Posted February 10, 2015

”While the gateway theory has enjoyed popular acceptance, scientists have always had their doubts. Our study shows that these doubts are justified.” -RAND’s Public Safety and Justice unit, 2002

One of the longest standing marijuana myths is that of the “gateway theory.” This is the theory that marijuana is considered a “gateway drug” which means its use will lead users, unintentionally and irrevocably, into the clutches of harder drugs. The reality is that this theory has been, time and again, disproved by just about every legitimate study conducted on the topic. It would seem that this concept is only alive today, due to its relentless revitalization by those intent on continuing marijuana prohibition. Yet, many continue to be swayed by its proclaimers continued focus on the only valid point in the argument: the correlation between marijuana use and harder drug use later in life.  

Myth #5 - Marijuana Leads to harder drugs - “Gateway Theory...

Tennessee Sheriff Pushes Cannabis
Legalization to Save Daughter

Posted February 9, 2015

There are many afflictions from which one can suffer at a young age, but none cause a parent to feel as helpless as West Syndrome. A child that suffers from, what is called Infantile Spasms (IS) or West Syndrome, is often developmentally delayed later in life and commonly develops autism if the ailment continues at a young age. Babies with infantile spasms commonly stop developing and lose skills that were already mastered, such as sitting, rolling over, or speaking. To make this syndrome all the more heartbreaking, when the seizers are finally stopped, and if the spasms were not controlled or stopped early enough, many children later develop other kinds of epilepsy. About one-fifth of children who have had infantile spasms will develop Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. 

Young Josie Mathes is already at the point where her ailment is affecting her ability to move. 

"She can't sit on her own, she's not...


how to grow indoor marijuana

Alaska: The Last "Green" Frontier

Posted February 8, 2015

On November 4th, the 49th great state of Alaska voted on ballot measure 2, legalizing the use, sale, and growth of recreational marijuana. This comes as no surprise, considering the fact that marijuana has been decriminalized within the home in Alaska since 1975. Despite the short dip back into illegality in 1990, the laws regarding the plant have gone far beyond medicinal purposes. 

Prior to the passing of Alaska’s “Measure 2” residents were allowed to cultivate up to 25 plants in their homes. Possession of less than four ounces was a misdemeanor, while anything over was a felony, accompanied by 5 years in prison. This is comparable with the current laws of California, where dispensaries have already been multiplying. This is a far cry from states that have yet to get with the times. Texans that get caught with even a “puffs worth” are thrown into jail for up to 180 days. Louisiana residents caught with any amount will face 6 months in jail and a $500 fine. One can only...



Posted February 6, 2015

Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in their food, and with good reason. Environmental concerns over the corporate "mono culture farming" methods used to produce these foods, as well as a potential increase in allergic reactions, are causing some to second guess their shopping choices. As a result of these concerns, many Americans have been demanding that food containing GMOs be labeled appropriately. Fair labeling has always been a means in which Americans can not only keep manufacturers honest, but be allowed to choose what is ingested into their bodies.

Unfortunately, GMO labeling has not yet happened in the United States. In fact, major US corporations associated with GMOs have gone out of their way to keep food containing GMOs from being labeled. Millions of dollars have been spent purchasing air time and employing “experts" who claim that, "there is no need to label GMOs" as "they are perfectly safe,” when...


Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia

Posted February 2, 2015

At the beginning of this month, Souad Al-Shammari, one of the women who helped found the Saudi Liberal Network, an online discussion and blogging group, was released from women’s prison after serving three months’ time. Her charge was insulting Islam, and making comments about religious leaders on Twitter. According to a report on Yahoo! News, her daughter stated that she suffered some malnourishment during her sentence due to dietary restrictions, but is currently recovered. 

While this seems an exceedingly harsh sentence for some Twitter comments, her punishment is mild compared with that of Raef Badawi, the man who started Saudi Liberal Network. He was charged with seven years in prison and 600 public lashes for starting the network and insulting Islam. He was initially sentenced to 1,000 lashes, but the sentence was reduced after the United Nations deemed this cruel and unusual. Al-Shammari was lucky to escape such a sentence, but the group’s free speech is currently stunted, as the website has been shut down...


Ten Myths About Marijuana 
That No One Should Believe
Part 4

Posted January 31, 2015

“We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States… marijuana was a legitimate medication.” Dr. Sanjay Gupta

For more than 5000 years cannabis had been effectively used in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Cannabis is one of the 50 “fundamental” herbs of TCM, and is still prescribed today to treat a variety of symptoms. Up until the early 1900’s, cannabis and hemp were used in just about every aspect of American life, from fuel to rope, and most importantly, medicine. It was not until certain industries became threatened by cannabis that it was selfishly and unjustly branded as a dangerous substance. Dr. Gupta noted that the infamous Reefer Madness documentary was entirely funded by DuPont Chemical. DuPont was heavily invested in nylon. In the 1930s, nylon was a new synthetic fiber that would’ve seen hemp fiber as direct competition. As in most...


Total Strength & Performance

Affordable Education and Your Best Interests

Posted January 30, 2015

A few weeks ago, Obama proposed a plan to make the first two years of college free or more affordable for students. Everywhere you looked on the internet, people were posting comments along the lines of, “Sure, but how much are my taxes going to pay for this?” Well, here’s the real math that you need to consider:

If the “War on Drugs” isn’t actually just a war on poverty, making education free and affordable should be our country’s number one priority. Giving people a chance to further their education, or in this case with Obama’s proposal, possibly even get an Associate’s degree in a useful area to get a decent job, would be one of the quickest ways to get young adults, and even older adults off the street, off of drugs, and eliminate a significant amount of drug-related crime. Hell, we could eliminate some homelessness while we’re at it. Do you know how much it costs taxpayers when a homeless person is hospitalized for an accident or overdoses? Considering the frequency, and the fact that...


Why Millennials Will Change the World

Posted January 26, 2015

During a time in the history of our society where things may seem hopeless, where the world seems to be getting more corrupt, increasingly dangerous, and prone to disasters, whether it be natural, or otherwise, it may feel like our apathy, consumerism, and media consumption are factors of our modern world we just have to live with; that we have to accept this downward spiral because there doesn't seem to be anyone who can pull us out of the dangerous cycle we've created for ourselves.

I'm here to tell you that it's BULLSHIT.

The Millennial generation, the generation I just so happen to be a part of, is much more powerful than our grandparents, the general public, and ourselves, give us credit for. In my humble opinion, we have the power to change the world, to shape the future of human existence into the cohesive, peaceful, and powerful society we were always meant to beForget the endless criticism from our elders: that we don't know how to communicate with others, are lazy, spoiled, and just can't seem to master cursive....


The Cannabis Republic
Posted January 22, 2015

“We live in a stage of politics, where legislators seem to regard the passage of laws as much more important than the result of their enforcement.” -  William Howard Taft

Marijuana. The word at one point was spoken is hushed voices with ashamed faces. The country convinced of its evil properties and dangerous effects. Even those in the know, taught to see the evil plant as enemy number one. Yet today, with the connectivity of the internet, we see accounts of healing in real time, children regaining their lives from seizer consumed illness, and the looming cloud of cancer that this country is battling finally being held at bay. Unfortunately, the Federal Government stands stagnate in a rising swamp of Big Pharma bureaucracy. The vast majority of Americans are no longer blind to the loss of this country’s True North. No longer blind to the overwhelming political focus that is placed on profit at the expense of the people’s future well-being. The most recent Gallop poll shows an all time high of 65 percent of Americans that are dissatisfied with the current political system. Americans are unhappy with...


Ten Myths About Marijuana 
That No One Should Believe

Part 3

Posted January 20, 2015

One of the newest concerns about marijuana that has been gaining attention in the media recently is the worry that its consumption causes schizophrenia. This serious affliction is a mental disorder that makes it hard to differentiate between what is real and not real, think clearly or have normal emotional responses. This has become one of  the last clinging defenses for marijuana prohibitionists, claiming that marijuana makes you literally go crazy. 

Myth #3 - Marijuana Causes Schizophrenia 

The idea that marijuana is the sole cause of this illness with no other factors involved is a claim made primarily by sensationalists and those who do not fully understand how the illness works. 

“My first seven years of research were devoted to schizophrenia and I can tell you...


Ten Myths About Marijuana 
That No One Should Believe
Part 2

Posted January 17, 2015

One of the longest standing myths about marijuana, that still continues to find its way into political debate, is the claim that the substance is highly addictive; thus explaining the Schedule I placement, or so the government would have the public believe. This is the most frequently cited perceived harm associated with marijuana today. 

Myth #2 - Marijuana is Highly Addictive

Can marijuana be addictive, yes, but in order to understand addiction in relation to marijuana, one must first have an understanding of the psychology behind addiction in the first place.

“People can have sex without being addicted to it, they can go shopping, but some people become seriously addicted to all these pursuits. Is a pack of cards addictive...

Ten Myths About Marijuana 
That No One Should Believe

Part 1

Posted January 15, 2015

Cannabis has been legalized and/or decriminalized in 34 states and the in the territory of Guam (four of those states and the District of Columbia have legalized it out-right allowing it’s recreational use) and is completely legalized in the entire country of Uruguay. This is the will of the people coming to fruition, despite the overwhelming obstacles set in place by the very government meant to fight for that will. 

Children’s lives have been saved, cancers fought off, and more everyday are rescuing their lives from a debilitating illness due to the medical efficacy of cannabis. Yet, the opposition would have Americans see these grateful citizens as dangerous drug using criminals that are breaking the law. In the eyes of the anti-marijuana campaign, these stories of triumph over...


Colorado Woman Claims Marijuana
Cured Her Son’s Cancer

Posted December 30, 2014

To helplessly watch as a child withers away to the devastating effects of cancer is an experience that no parent should have to endure. One Colorado mother decided, against the advice of her doctors, to focus on alternative treatment for her 4-year-old son, which she claims has completely cured him of a cancer that almost claimed his life. 

Sierra Riddle chose to refuse the vast majority of the chemotherapy that was ordered for her son Landon, despite the insistence of her doctors. That may seem unsafe or even negligent to some, however most are unaware of the overwhelmingly low success rate of the current go-to treatment of chemotherapy. According to a study in the U.S and Australia, chemotherapy provides a cure only 2.2% of the time, leaving an astounding 97% of patients to suffer the tremendously...


ALS Patient Treated With Medical Marijuana Outlives Anti-Marijuana Doctors 

Posted December 23, 2014

Almost thirty years ago a woman named Cathy Jordan was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In 1986 she was given 3 - 5 years to live. At a time when marijuana was in no way recognized as a valid medical treatment, and with no other treatments to rely on, she put her hope in marijuana. Every doctor she spoke with was outraged with this decision. Today Cathy is alive and thriving while most of the doctors with whom she spoke are not.  

“All my docs are retiring or dead. I’ve outlived 5 support groups and 4 neurologists,” Cathy told ASA's Jahan Marcu. 

ALS is characterized by the death of motor neurons leading to loss of limb control, breathing, swallowing...


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Feds End Medical Marijuana Persecution

Posted December 17, 2014

“It’s the first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana," the measure's co-author, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

With a large step in the right direction congress quietly ended the possibility of federal raids on medical marijuana patients. The 1.1 trillion dollar spending bill that is preventing the U.S. government from shutting down included a provision that prohibits federal agents from raiding retail medical cannabis operations in states that have legalized it medically. It is of no surprise that congress would secretly and quietly end this war on marijuana as if it hadn't been a hundred year, nation changing, monumental mistake. One would think that the end of a failed program that had spent over $51 billion dollars, and arrested over 800,000 people a year, and lost out on over...


Death By Malfeasance
The Gross Negligence of the U.S. Government

Posted December 13, 2014


“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
-Edmund Burke

It is an unfortunate truth that many in this country know the feeling of hopelessness one gains from hearing the term “inoperable” or simply the word cancer. It has become a dark cloud looming over every choice made and every corner turned. The sad fact is that current data shows more than 44% of people who died in 2009 in the U.S. had been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life and these figures are increasing. Around 1,660,290 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2014 and about 580,350 Americans are projected to die of cancer, almost 1,600 people a day. This is nearly 1 of every 4 deaths in the United States. Americans currently have the sixth highest cancer rate in the...











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