Affectionately known as ‘Princess Ukok’ after the Altai Mountain site of her burial and subsequent rediscovery, the 2,500-year-old ice-preserved corpse of a young woman in her mid-20s has caused a sensation in archaeological circles—as well as within the cannabis community, due to compelling evidence of her medicinal cannabis use. The tomb of the so-called Princess Ukok was discovered in 1993 on the Ukok Plateau, a flat stretch of grassland nestled in the heart of the Altai Republic, which lies in southwestern Siberia near the borders with China and Mongolia. The discovery was made by Russian archaeologists during excavations in the Pazyryk Valley, a low-lying section of the Plateau, along with numerous other tombs (known as ‘kurgans’ in the local dialect) and artefacts of the period. On the basis of these findings, the Pazyryk Culture is the name now given to the Iron Age society that inhabited the region from the 6th – 3rd centuries BCE, of which Princess Ukok was apparently a notable member. The ‘Princess’ is also commonly referred to as the Siberian Ice Maiden, or as Devochka or Ochi-Bala—the former simply translates to ‘girl’ in Russian, while the latter is the name of a warrior huntress featuring in the Altaic Heroic Epics that constitute a vital part of the oral traditions of the Turkic peoples of northwest Asia.
Sri Lanka, the ‘teardrop of India’, is an island nation situated just 30km from the town of Kanyakumari that lies on the south-eastern tip of India. Sri Lanka enjoys a warm tropical climate and a long growing season, with extremes of temperature mediated by ocean winds; potent, long-flowering varieties of cannabis flourish here.
In the Kingdom of Bhutan, cannabis is so prolific that it is seen as a pest, and is fed to pigs rather than being used by humans for fibre or intoxicant purposes. Bhutan lacks a close connection with the plant. However, there is some evidence of traditional use, and use in modern times is increasing.
A nation with a long history of subjugation by powerful neighbours, Tibet enjoyed a period of independence from 1912 until 1951; it was then annexed by China and renamed the Tibet Autonomous Region. It is thought that Tibetans have made ritual use of cannabis for centuries, and that the plant is even considered sacred by some.
The Republic of Uzbekistan borders Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Like its neighbours, Uzbekistan has a long history of cannabis use, and is part of the region in which cannabis first evolved and developed into its various subspecies. Cannabis is still of socioeconomic importance to many Uzbeks.
The Republic of Tajikistan is situated in Central Asia, and shares borders with Kyrgyzstan, China, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. Cannabis has been utilised in this region for at least 10,000 years, and is an important aspect of the indigenous culture. As violence continues to beset the region, cannabis trafficking is increasing.
Turkmenistan is a Central Asian nation, formerly part of the USSR, which due to its proximity to Afghanistan has become an increasingly significant hub for trafficking heroin and cannabis. As well as being an important transit country, Turkmenistan produces significant quantities of opium and cannabis each year.
The central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan has a long history of cannabis use. Cannabis is indigenous to the region, and Scythian tribes utilised it for fibre, food and drug purposes perhaps earlier than any other culture. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, political upheaval caused the modern cannabis trade to thrive.
The Republic of Azerbaijan lies on the boundary dividing Europe from Asia, and is a crucial part of the traditional trafficking route that each year sees thousands of tons of hashish and heroin transported from Afghanistan and Pakistan on to Europe and Russia. Azerbaijan also produces a small quantity of cannabis and opium.
The putative birthplace of cannabis, Kazakhstan enjoys a vibrant culture of cultivation and use, as well as abundant wild growth of cannabis. The heartland of cannabis in Kazakhstan is the Chuy Valley; in season, locals descend on the plants at night to conduct clandestine harvests, as restrictive laws now prohibit its use.
Malaysia has some of the most draconian drug laws on the planet, and drug offenders are routinely sentenced to death, even when their crimes involve cannabis alone. Despite this, and due to its proximity to the Golden Triangle of heroin production in South-East Asia, Malaysia experiences significant illicit trafficking.
Sensi Seeds keeps a close eye on cannabis legalisation processes all over the world, and especially in the US, where 23 states have legalised cannabis for medicinal purposes and 2 for recreational use. While traveling the US, Sensi Seeds visited dispensaries, talked to patients and activists, attended cannabis cups and took a more in-depth look at medicinal cannabis programs. In today’s article Sensi Seeds would like to take a closer look at Michigan, where cannabis for medicinal use was legalised in November 2008.
Five years ago, when the Czech Republic's liberal management of cannabis consumption and cannabis growing manifested itself in the form of one of the most liberal cannabis laws in the European Union, in many places it was believed that Prague was becoming the new Amsterdam of Europe. However, the police made it clear right from the start that growing cannabis for commercial objectives would be persecuted, and that the opening of coffee shops operating under a different guise would not be tolerated. While the possession of 15 grams of weed or five grams of pot and the growing of up to five hemp plants is no longer a prosecutable offence, but rather subject to a fine, Prague isn't becoming the new Amsterdam.
"Truth is the first casualty of war," Aeschylus, Greek tragedian, 525-546 BC. Naturally, the ancient Greeks already knew what history through the centuries would prove: in every war, in addition all the tribulations that accompany war, the truth gradually loses its meaning, or even disappears completely. The reason is the untruths that are generated to serve other agendas and which are perpetuated via the gullibility that stems from fear, which is in turn used as a form of control.
A new episode of De Rekenkamer (The auditing room) which calculates the costs of all kinds of things, was broadcast on the Dutch public broadcasting channel on 15 May 2014. This episode examined what the actual cost is of the current cannabis policy in the Netherlands. Key question: What does weed cost society?
Lebanon is famous for producing high-quality hashish, which is exported throughout the world. Since the 1990s, the state has actively attempted to eradicate the industry, with varying degrees of success. This year, distracted border police are focusing on the conflict in Syria, leaving Lebanese growers unhindered.
Portugal’s drug policy is among the most progressive in the world. In 2001, the Portuguese government voted to decriminalise personal quantities of all illegal drugs, while maintaining severe penalties for dealers and traffickers. The experiment has been globally hailed as a success, although it is not without its flaws.
The French have relatively harsh drug laws compared with neighbouring European countries. However, in recent years attention has been paid to the successful harm reduction policies many of these neighbours are implementing, and various reforms have been made. In January 2014, France legislated to allow medical cannabis.
At least three Dutch municipalities are seriously preparing a system to regulate cannabis production, according to a report from newsletter Metro. There was supposed to be a meeting on this matter, but because the Dutch House of Commons needed more preparation time, this meeting has been postponed. The municipalities, however, find that they have waited long enough.