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Kit O'Connell: Approximately 8,000 Words Posts

Antifa Are On The Ground In Texas Helping Harvey Relief Efforts (UK Independent)

Posted in Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

My Gonzo Notes essay on “Antifa & Hurricane Harvey” was quoted in the UK Paper, The Independent.

Flawed But Promising, Could The Industrial Hemp Farming Act Be The Key To Hemp’s Future?

Posted in Journalism, and Ministry of Hemp

A new bill before Congress could remove the last barriers to hemp growing in the United States, but only if legislators remove harmful provisions that prevent it from being a complete solution to hemp’s legal troubles.

In 2014, new legislation once again allowed the states to grow hemp for research purposes after decades of prohibition. Unfortunately, that law still leaves room for government agencies to threaten hemp growers and vendors, and falls far short of total legalization.

Industry advocates have spent years lobbying Congress for a bill which would completely legalize industrial hemp and remove it from Drug Enforcement Agency oversight and interference. Though deeply flawed In its current form, there’s hope that the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, currently making its way through Congress, could be an important step in that direction.

What Are The Antifa Doing After Harvey? (#GonzoNotes)

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, Journalism, and Occupy Wall Street

Recently I heard from a reporter writing an article for a major mainstream newspaper who wanted to talk with antifascists. After checking out his Twitter, I decided to give him a shot. 

We spent about an hour talking about my work with Oh Shit! What Now? an antifascist anticapitalist educational collective that’s hosted everything from computer security classes to discussions of education reform. I stressed the everyday nature of real antifascist organizing, and emphasized that all of us are involved in other social justice causes. 

When the article came out — actually an opinion piece, it turned out — it was a horrorshow of predictable hot takes about antifa that ignored nearly everything I told him, and most of the other constructive work being done by antifascists around the country. 

Study: Out of 2,400 CBD Users, 42 Percent Gave Up Pharmaceutical Drugs

Posted in Journalism, and Ministry of Hemp

A new study shows that many consumers are giving up conventional pharmaceutical drugs in favor of CBD.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of dozens of cannabinoids found in hemp, but unlike THC it doesn’t cause people to get “high.”

In a study released in early August, market-research firm Brightfield Group surveyed 2,400 registered users of Hello MD, a medical cannabis education and advocacy website. One of the study’s most dramatic findings is that 42 percent of people who use CBD report that they’ve given up pharmaceutical drugs in favor of cannabis in some form. This figure includes both strains of psychoactive cannabis, a.k.a. “marijuana,” with high levels of CBD and CBD-only products like CBD oil supplements made from industrial hemp.

‘Beyond Movement Silos’: How Advocates Are Showing Up For Those In The Texas Legislature’s Crosshairs

Posted in Austin, Journalism, and Rewire

The halls of the Texas State Capitol are no strangers to protests, but for organizers witnessing a resurgence of grassroots advocacy and activism, it’s a heartening sign after a series of discouraging years.

Thousands joined the 2013 “people’s filibuster” against HB 2, the omnibus anti-choice bill that eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but then momentum faltered with the defeat of Wendy Davis (and other Democratic candidates) in the 2014 election, followed by more setbacks in the intervening years of elections and Republican-led legislative sessions.

After the 2017 legislative session, Texas Republicans ensured that crucial funding bills remained unpassed, forcing lawmakers to return for a special session that costs taxpayers thousands of dollars per day. The Republicans hope to use this opportunity to build on new restrictions on abortion and a “Show Us Your Papers” anti-immigrants’ rights law, both subject to ongoing lawsuits, while forcing through unpopular and discriminatory legislation that failed to pass during the regular term.

Colorado Hemp Farmers Look To Congress For Access To Federal Water Rights

Posted in Journalism, and Ministry of Hemp

Though it’s legal to grow industrial hemp in Colorado, many farmers are breaking the law if they try to water their crops.

In western states, water rights are governed by complex laws that determine how farmers irrigate their crops. Even rainwater that falls on land owned by a farmer may be affected by federal water rights laws, and the federal government still essentially considers hemp illegal.

“That has been an issue almost from the onset that has stopped people from growing industrial hemp unless they had wells of their own or were using city water, which is difficult when you move into real agricultural areas,” said Duane Sinning, seed coordinator at the Colorado Department of Agriculture, in an interview with Ministry of Hemp.

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