Monday, April 02, 2007

More reefer madness

Everyone warned me. I can't say I wasn't told. But motherhood is far more work than I'd imagined. So, in the last few months I've just produced two articles (and a beautiful bouncing boy).

The first was on cannabis research in the US, where scientists hoping to grow the weed for medical research have had to fight a long court case with the DEA. The latest news is that they've had an unexpected breakthrough, winning an important court case. The fight isn't over, by any means, and we shall have to wait and see if America's DEA agrees with court's decision that a professor of agronomy can be allowed to grow cannabis. At the moment the government maintains a monopoly in the growth of cannabis. This has restricted the supply of the weed to researchers.

Joint action

Mar 1st 2007
From The Economist print edition

A victory for American cannabis researchers

FOR almost six years Lyle Craker, a researcher who studies medicinal plants at the University of Massachusetts, has been trying to grow pot. Quite a long time, one might think, for a professor of agronomy—his students, presumably, have far less trouble. The difficulty for Dr Craker, though, is that he would like to grow marijuana legally, but the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has so far refused to give him a licence. (More... subscription required)

The second piece was an article for a new journal called Ethos. The blurb describes it thus: "published three times a year and will be aimed at politicians, civil servants, think-tanks and other interest groups involved in delivering public services. Ethos will help lead and anticipate the public policy agenda, as well as stimulate debate on the future direction and challenges facing government and the wider public service arena." We will see. In any case, the commission, on the new Chinese eco-city of Dongtang was too interesting to pass up. The piece makes the point that even if this eco-city experiment is successful in builing a zero, or even low carbon city, it is just one of hundreds that China will be building in the near future. Depressingly, a project of such vision seems beyond any other country in the world. Dongtan is unique. The world needs thousands of these, not one. But as they say, a journey of a thousand miles...