Planet Watch

The Vilsack Attack?

hempWhat will Biden’s Agriculture Department Mean for Small Farmers and Hemp?

Progressives coast to coast breathed a heavy sigh of relief as Joe Biden took the oath of office, ending the turbulent and reactionary rule of Donald Trump over the past four years.

But hemp cultivation, like the rewriting and replacement of NAFTA, was one of the few areas that actually saw positive change in the Trump years—with bipartisan support. The 2018 Farm Bill that re-legalized the crop after generations of prohibition bore Trump’s signature.

And there are fears that Biden could mean a return to the Washington consensus of a corporate-friendly “free trade” status quo ante, shorn even of the limited populist measures of the Trump era.

For small farmers, including some hemp cultivators, Biden’s choice to lead the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) may provide a case in point.

UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs deschedules cannabis —partially

Planet WatchAt the annual Vienna meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the governing body of the UN Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODCvoted Dec. 2 to strike cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the global treaty regulating drug control policy.

Cannabis, ecology and the California fires

CaliforniaThe year 2020's record-breaking wildfires in California and other Western states have compounded the grim impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic—and have similarly been politicized. Thus far, the blow they have dealt to the burgeoning cannabis industry has been well weathered. But this will clearly pose a growing challenge in the years to come—as those parts of the country where legal cannabis cultivation is most advanced are also the most vulnerable to this devastating sign of ecological disequilibrium.

From Mythos to Monoculture

Posted on August 21st, 2020 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

hempHemp’s Curious Cultural Trajectory

Now that hemp has finally arrived at its long-sought status as a legal crop and commodity, there is a sense of inevitability to its deviation from the utopian vision that animated the advocates who fought for it a generation ago.

A tension that has always existed between two currents in the subculture of hemp advocacy is increasingly weighted toward the more mundane—activists versus entrepreneurs, idealism versus pragmatism, agrarianism versus agribusiness. And finally the original paradigm of a crop with multitudinous uses as “food, fuel and fiber,” holding the potential to solve humanity’s ecological crisis, versus the hegemony of CBD.

Oceania: cannabis comes to a restive region

Posted on April 21st, 2020 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

OceaniaThe global cannabis economy is now reaching Oceania, with commercial cultivation underway in Australia, a legalization referendum coming up in New Zealand, and legal barriers starting to come down in the Pacific Islands. 

What will cannabis economy mean for Africa?

Posted on April 2nd, 2020 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

AfricaA growing number of countries on the African continent are looking to cannabis as the ticket out of poverty, and foreign investment for this sector is flooding in. Activists who pushed for legal commercial cultivation will now face the challenge of crafting a cannabis economy that empowers small farmers and rural communities, rather than replicating the elitist forms of past agro-export industries.

Climate change puts spotlight on cannabis drought-resistance claims

Posted on January 6th, 2020 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

cannabisZambia becomes the latest African country to legalize cannabis cultivation—in the midst of a shriveling drought that has caused massive crop failures. The landlocked republic could be an unwilling test case in whether cannabis is as effective a drought-resistant crop as its boosters claim.

2019: the five biggest moments in cannabis politics

Planet Watch2019 saw advances for cannabis freedom on both the national and global stage—but also some near-misses, from New York state to Mexico, which have left activists frustrated if no less determined. As advocates prepare to carry the fight into 2020, here's a review of what was achieved—or almost achieved—over the past 12 months.

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