Sunday, June 16, 2013

WA groundwater at risk by gas fracking

WA groundwater at risk by gas fracking

A LACK of legislation which would force mining companies to carry out stress surveys before fracking in WA is putting groundwater resources at risk, according to a leading petroleum researcher. 
“Constituents of fracking fluids are often considered ‘trade secrets’ and not revealed. Even regulators are left in the dark,” —Dr Lloyd-Smith. Image: iStock
Fracking or hydrofracking, is a controversial mining technique which involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to increase the extraction rates and recovery of trapped pockets of gas (or oil).
The process has been banned or suspended in France and parts of the US, UK, Canada and South Africa after it was linked to falling water tables, groundwater pollution and local seismic events.
Prof Evans said the problems with fracking in the US and Queensland occurred because companies did not properly evaluate stress fields in those areas.
“They assumed that the overburden stress was greater than the horizontal stress,” Prof Evans said.
“What’s happened in that case is when the horizontal stress gets to a certain level it can cause the fractures to go vertically or horizontally depending on the stress direction.
“If the facture goes [vertical] you will then have contaminants entering into groundwater.

There is no legislation saying that companies have to do these stress field analyses,” Prof Evans says. “That is the problem.”


  1. "The Water Trigger" goes before parliament today but so far only applies to CSG and new coal mines.An extension that applies to shale is expected.

    Here's the Australian's take on it :

    Labor's green plan could 'kill off' gas industry

    LABOR risks a new brawl with state governments and the resource industry over billions of dollars of investment as Julia Gillard and her allies consider legislating dramatic new powers to veto major projects.

    The federal plans would extend Canberra's intervention in coal-seam gas to target another energy source, shale gas, in a step that would appeal to environmentalists but infuriated resource industry executives who heard of the moves over the weekend.


    World Heritage gets mixed message on reef

    WHEN the World Heritage committee meets in Cambodia this week it will receive conflicting signals on how seriously Australia takes its global responsibility to safeguard the Great Barrier Reef.

    The UNESCO meeting will not decide whether the government should be shamed with the declaration of an "in danger" listing for one of the world's greatest environmental assets.


    Leave coal in ground: experts

    Most of Australia's coal reserves will have to be left unburnt, according to a report from the federal government's Climate Commission.

    The report puts the advisory body on a collision course with some of the nation's biggest export industries and marks the first time a government agency has endorsed calls for fossil fuel industries to be phased out because of their contribution to climate change.

    Its findings suggest most of Australia's known coal, oil and gas reserves - many of which are already subject to minerals production licences held by companies such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto - must be left alone if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

    The commission acknowledged its conclusions were ''sobering'' and that the potential for economic disruption could be serious but said there was no alternative if the world was to avoid dangerous climate change. ''How people react to this is up to the policymakers and governments, as well as investors,'' said Lesley Hughes, who co-authored the report, The Critical Decade 2013 - Climate Change Science, Risks and Responses.


    ''It isn't our job to reconcile the politics of this with the science; we are simply presenting the facts as best we know them. Just because the facts may be unpalatable to some people doesn't make them any less important.''

    Australia's fossil fuel resources are the equivalent of about 51 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, about one-twelfth of the world's ''carbon budget'' of about 600 billion tonnes - the amount scientists estimate can be burnt by 2050 if the world is to stop temperatures rising more than two degrees.

    If that budget is exceeded, it is likely to trigger dangerous global warming that escalates up to four or five degrees this century, the report says. The world is still eating into its budget far too fast, with average global emissions rising at about 3 per cent a year, it says.

    ''If emissions could somehow peak in 2015 … the maximum rate of emission reductions thereafter would be 5.3 per cent, a very daunting task,'' the report said.


    Gas prices jump on offshore push

    Victorian households and businesses are faced with sharply higher gas prices over the next few years as the slew of gas export projects in Queensland pushes domestic gas prices to international levels.

    A forecast by the Grattan Institute, released on Monday, has found that the average household gas bill in Victoria will rise by about $150 to an estimated $900 a year by 2020.

    The impact will be more muted in other states such as NSW and Queensland, since they use much less gas than Victorians.

  2. Climate Commission report says 80 per cent of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground

    The report's author, Professor Will Steffen,


    "We have to leave most of the fossil fuels in the ground and of course that has obvious implications for investment decisions this decade."


    Xstrata mining emissions causing lead poisoning in Mount Isa children: report

    New research says mining emissions are a cause of lead poisoning in children in Mount Isa in north-west Queensland.

    The research published today in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Pollution has found the lead levels in dust from Xstrata's operations "form a significant pathway" for exposure

    And it accuses both government and industry of misleading the public about the cause of the lead poisoning, which can cause irreversible brain damage in children.


    Clive Palmer warns Chinese 1000 jobs threatened if cash doesn't come his way

    CLIVE Palmer has told his closest advisers and a major Chinese company that he will have to axe about 1000 Australian jobs from his businesses unless he receives a massive cash injection.

    The Australian has obtained a document in which Mr Palmer warns "the livelihood of over 1000 employees (of his) group and associated companies depends upon" receiving an urgent payment from the company, CITIC Pacific.


    AFP failed to probe BHP bribery claims

    Federal police made a ''critical decision'' not to investigate criminal allegations that Australians working for BHP Billiton had bribed officials in Cambodia, China and Western Australia and instead handballed the case to the corporate regulator, which also ran no probe.

    Confidential documents reveal how the AFP and ASIC, with the knowledge of federal officials, mishandled one of the nation's highest-profile corporate graft cases after US officials referred it to their Australian counterparts in May 2010.

    US anti-corruption investigators have been probing BHP Billiton since 2009


    Unions fear for future of Oakajee

    Unions say it will be a huge setback for the state's mining workforce if the mothballed Oakajee Port and Rail project is not revived.

    Japanese backer Mitsubishi has suspended all work on the $6 billion project, in another blow to workers still shaken by Woodside's decision to move its Browse project offshore.

    The Premier Colin Barnett is now trying to shore-up investment support in China.


    Barnett coy on China Oakajee help

    Premier Colin Barnett has stopped short of giving further concessions to China to win its backing for the collapsed $6 billion Oakajee port project, underlining the difficulty he faces in reviving the development this decade.


    It cited low iron ore prices and an inability to broker an equity tie-up with China, amid diplomatic wrangling, for its move.


    Asked if he would consider any royalty concessions or help on red tape, including visas for Chinese workers, Mr Barnett declined to comment, other than to reiterate the broad details for any Chinese involvement in the port.

    "This (assistance) was not discussed," Mr Barnett said.


    Mr Barnett surprised local industry in April by providing a gift of $15 million in magnetite iron ore royalty concessions to Chinese-backed Gindalbie Metals, in what he said was a "gesture of goodwill" to WA's biggest trading partner.

    Gindalbie is seen as one possible customer for Oakajee

    Iron ore miners had been promised a broader review of magnetite royalties, in a bid to help develop new projects.

    But after giving Gindalbie its concession, which did not result in any new iron ore production, Mr Barnett said any further handouts would be on a "case by case basis".

    Opposition Leader Mark McGowan has criticised Mr Barnett for interfering in Oakajee, initially by unilaterally favouring Mitsubishi with rail concessions that complicated the project and angered China.


  3. Bleak rain outlook for Wheatbelt

    The Wheatbelt could be consigned to permanent drought, putting jobs and communities at risk, unless greenhouse gas emissions are slashed quickly, a new report has found.

    The Climate Commission's annual update on the state of climate change warns the situation facing WA's South West is worsening, despite the best efforts of farmers.

    Average rainfall across the region has declined markedly since the 1960s in a development scientists believe is linked to climate change.

    Big winter cold fronts no longer swing across the South West as often or intensely as they once did.

    According to the commission, reduced rainfall has become more pronounced since 2000 with the biggest reductions in autumn and winter.

    "The decline in rainfall in the WA Wheatbelt is greater than reductions in any other wheat-growing region in Australia," the report said.

    "In South West WA, a reduction in winter and spring rainfall of about 10 per cent is expected by 2030, although much stronger declines have already been observed over the past four decades.

    "Changing rainfall and higher temperatures could result in a reduction of up to 30 per cent of 1999 yields by 2050."

    The commission warning comes as the agricultural industry continues to struggle and complains State and Federal emergency aid packages are not enough to ensure farmers can survive.

    The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation estimates median stream flows into the South West's waterways could fall by one-quarter by 2030.

    The Climate Commission's report argues this decade is critical in trying to limit increases in global temperatures.
    It said some of the effects of climate change warned about have already happened, including more heatwaves, changed rainfall patterns, bushfires and sea level rises.


    Beware of NW rent bubble

    One of Queensland's richest men has warned mum and dad investors not to trust "property spruikers" promoting unrealistic returns on Pilbara housing after the number of properties advertised for rent in Port Hedland topped 200.

    Kevin Young, who heads The Property Group, said some agents were still promising double-digit percentage rental returns in the Pilbara, despite an easing of the mining boom and an increase in the number of properties coming on to the market.

    He said Port Hedland, for example, had more than 200 rental properties on the market and investors risked getting burnt.

    House and rent prices have been on the slide in the Pilbara.

    In the three months to March 31, average advertised rents in Port Hedland, Newman, South Hedland and Karratha all fell - the first time since data collection began eight years ago.

    The slide is bad news for investors but good news for the Pilbara community, which has been battling to make housing more affordable for years.
    Soaring demand for accommodation from mining companies has priced non-miners out of the market.

  4. WONDER what WOODSIDE must be thinking ....
    this after Israel said it will reserve more Leviathan gas for domestic use...

    Iran to send 4,000 troops to fight alongside Syrian regime: report

    Iran will send 4,000 of its troops to Syria to aid president Bashar al-Assad's forces in its fight against rebels, according to the UK's Independent newspaper.

    The "military decision" means that Iran is now "fully committed to preserving Assad's regime," wrote journalist Robert Fisk, citing pro-Iranian sources.

    Key points
    Iran will send 4,000 troops to fight alongside Assad's forces
    Iran's Shiite rulers are staunch allies of Mr Assad, who belongs to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam
    The rebellion in Syria is largely Sunni
    Shiite Hezbollah fighters are already joining forces with Assad's troops
    Leaders of Britain and Russia met overnight for talks on Syria

    As well as sending Revolutionary Guards, Iran has reportedly proposed to open a "Syrian front" against Israel in the Golan Heights.

    The decision was reportedly made before Iran's presidential election, and came as the US approved a move to arm the Syrian opposition.

    It compounds fears that the Syrian conflict is taking on broader regional and sectarian dimensions.

    Iran is a predominantly Shiite Muslim country and a staunch ally of Mr Assad, who belongs to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

    The rebellion in Syria is largely Sunni.

    The Assad regime has also received recent support from fighters loyal to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

    The rebels, meanwhile, are reportedly getting military support from Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, which plans to supply them with anti-aircraft missiles to counter the regime's air force.


    Labor shamefully abandoned Assange: Pilger

    PROMINENT Australian journalist John Pilger has accused the federal government of shamefully abandoning Julian Assange.

    The long-term WikiLeaks supporter has also accused Foreign Minister Bob Carr of lying about Assange's case, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Assange entering the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

    Assange has been granted political asylum by the South American country but won't leave the embassy for fear of being arrested and extradited to Sweden over sexual assault allegations.

    The former hacker is worried he'll then be handed over to the US.

    Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino will meet with Assange at the embassy on Monday morning Australian time ahead of talks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

    Pilger says the British government has a legal obligation under the refugee convention to allow Assange safe passage out of the country and he's still hopeful a diplomatic solution will be found.

  5. This should be interesting :

    INPEX stock split raises questions on project costs

    INPEX Corporation is planning to increase the number of shares to 3.6 billion from 9 million, an a move that has led analysts to question possible project costings.


    Looking forward to the next Chevron update too.


    Buru shares which peaked at around $3.50 in the first half of 2012 are now at $1.30 and have been dropping like a stone since January 2013 when they were at $2.70.


    1. If you really want to see a share price fall off a cliff check out Pluton (PLV).

      In a trading halt over various issues at Cockatoo Island it began trading again in the second half of January this year at $0.23 and fell immediately to $0.05 - $0.06 cents where it has stayed.

      BERGMAN was blowing his trumpet at the top of his lungs a couple of years ago declaring he had broken new ground by doing a deal for the TO's in shares.

      The TO's were deceived by Bergman and promptly launched a Court case claiming this - NO WONDER!

      When the deal was signed the shares were just above a dollar but almost immediately fell to below $0.30 cents.

      The deal is now a complete waste of time with Irvine Island well and truly on the back burner and a very long term prospect in deed.

      KRED is listed among the major share holders with a stake of 3.4 % of the 246.5 million shares.


      Couldn't find any new information on the court case.


    2. Woodside have slid from around $38 to $34 lately.They face a couple of problems with Leviathan 1/ the Israelis want to reserve more of the gas for domestic use 2/ the Iranians want to go to war with Israel and the Syrian conflict could be the excuse they need.3/ some serious weaponry is pouring into the conflict and advanced missiles could be used to take out off shore platforms.

  6. CSG veto power shared but Greens rebuffed

    THE commonwealth will gain the power to veto coal-seam gas developments because of potential damage to the water table, but has avoided an even bigger brawl with industry by rejecting the Greens' demands for tighter environmental laws.

    Labor yesterday rebuffed an attempt by the Greens to extend environmental powers further, ending divisions within federal cabinet that threatened to escalate a fight with miners and gas companies. Although the Gillard government is pressing ahead with new powers over water resources, it decided against a more radical plan to legislate similar powers over national parks. It also rejected new environmental controls over the burgeoning shale gas industry.

    Concerns over the government's position grew yesterday as the Senate began debating the environmental reforms but federal cabinet last night overcame its divisions and agreed that Labor would vote against the Greens' amendment in the Senate.


    Environment Minister Tony Burke last night made it clear the government supported the environment bill in its current form.

    The gas industry had feared the government would go further by extending the powers to shale gas, add a new power in the law to restrict developments in or near national parks and prevent any "bilateral" agreements to refer the powers to the states.

    Farmers remain deeply concerned about the expansion of the coal-seam gas industry into prime agricultural land and retain a deep scepticism about the government's ability to ensure the protection of the water table.

    Stuart Armitage, who farms cotton on the rich, black volcanic soil around Cecil Plains on Queensland's eastern Darling Downs, said agricultural producers were worried CSG operations would impinge on the bore water that fertilises the soil to create some of Australia's best farming country.


    In the past few years, there have been several floods on the Darling Downs that have kept dams high, but most of the time the farm relies on the plentiful supply of bore water just below the ground surface in the seam known as the Condamine Alluvium. Coal-seam gas comes not from this seam but from the Walloon coal measures that lie underneath the Condamine Alluvium, about 800m below the earth's surface.

    "They say they're not taking the water from where we get our bore water in the Condamine Alluvium, but it'll still have an effect," Mr Armitage said.

    "They need to take water out of the Walloon coal measures to get the coal-seam gas flowing. So instead of having a high-pressure aquifer beneath where we get our water, there's going to be a low-pressure aquifer, and that's going to affect how much water we can use for irrigation."


    Environmental groups had pressed for the inclusion of national parks in the environmental laws so that Canberra could put a stop to state decisions to allow farmers and shooters to use the parks. Victoria allows farmers to use some parks as grazing areas while NSW allows recreational shooting at some times.

    Resource companies were worried that if Canberra legislated the powers over national parks, it could restrict coal-seam gas or other projects nearby.


  7. CSG veto power shared but Greens rebuffed...cont...

    Resources Minister Gary Gray warned his colleagues against including national parks in the environmental regime but some of his colleagues appeared willing to side with the Greens. The Australian understands that Mr Gray wrote to Julia Gillard in recent days to advise her of the damage to the resources industry if the new laws went too far, given that existing environmental safeguards were already working.

    Mr Burke has pursued the expansion of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act this year despite criticism that his changes duplicate state and federal regulation.

    NSW regional independent Tony Windsor has strongly backed the changes out of concern at CSG developments in his electorate of New England.

    Mr Windsor proposed an amendment in the lower house that was passed to prevent a future government passing the "water trigger" powers to the states, in effect circumventing the Coalition's plan to do so. The legislation was last night before the Senate.

    The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association stood by its criticisms of the changes last night.

    APPEA chief executive David Byers said a government statement that ruled out extending the new rules to shale gas was simply "harm minimisation".

    "No specific industry should be singled out by legislation designed to regulate water use or matters of national environmental significance," he said.

    "The bill is a textbook example of how to increase green tape and costs to business, while delivering no environmental benefit.

    "It is also in direct contravention of last year's COAG agreement . . . to minimise duplication in environmental approvals processes."

  8. Cnooc, Shell awarded new offshore oil, gas permits

    CHINA National Offshore Oil Corp, known as Cnooc, and Royal Dutch Shell are among companies that have committed to spend at least $180 million over the next three years searching for new oil and gas deposits in Australia.

    Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray said 13 permits, mostly off the coast of Western Australia, were awarded in the first round of a new release of exploration blocks.

    Spending on drilling programs could rise to more than $550m, Mr Gray said in the statement.

    Cnooc's Australian unit was awarded permit WA-484-P in the northern Carnarvon Basin, while Woodside Petroleum beat five other bidders to win the WA-483-P permit in the northern Exmouth sub-basin. Perth-based Woodside has committed to drill one exploration well.

    Shell clinched three permits, while other winning bidders included Japan's Inpex Corp, France's Total and US-based Apache Corp.


    Defiant Snowden promises more leaks

    WASHINGTON (AFP) - Rogue US intelligence tech Edward Snowden issued a defiant rebuke to his critics in Washington on Monday and warned more leaks were on the way, declaring: "Truth is coming and it cannot be stopped."

    The 29-year-old former contractor for the National Security Agency dismissed allegations he was a traitor or a Chinese agent, and insisted he had exposed a dangerous US global surveillance network that threatens the privacy of millions.

    US President Barack Obama's administration has protested that the programs exposed by Snowden's leaks were vital to protecting US citizens from terrorism, but the revelations have triggered an embarrassing global debate.

    Snowden, who fled last month from his job at an NSA base in Hawaii to Hong Kong carrying with him a cache of secret documents, is unrepentant, and he vowed to expose more details about how US agents spy on private emails.

    "More detail on how direct NSA's accesses are is coming," he said, in an online interview hosted by The Guardian newspaper, repeating his allegation that US federal agents have access to private users' Web traffic.

    The government has opened a criminal probe into Snowden's acts and partially confirmed his allegations by defending the programs to access Internet data and phone records, saying that they have thwarted dozens of terror attacks.

    The degree to which US agencies have direct access to private communications stored on servers operated by private Internet giants has proved to be one of the more controversial aspects of the revelations.

    Firms like Google and Facebook say they provide information only when presented with a court order, and deny that they have effectively given the NSA "back door" access directly to their data banks.

    But Snowden repeated his claim that almost any intelligence analyst with access to the NSA signals intelligence database could target almost anyone's emails or phone metadata and that warrants are rarely audited.

    "They can enter and get results for anything they want," he said.

    "Phone number, email, user ID, cell phone handset ID (IMEI) and so on. It's all the same. The restrictions against this are policy-based, not technically-based, and can change at any time," he said.

    Snowden alleged that Americans' communications were collected and consulted on a "daily basis," with analysts having access to all details associated with a targeted email address, such as IP addresses, raw data, content, headers and attachments.

    "They excuse this as 'incidental' collection, but at the end of the day, someone at NSA still has the content of your communications," he added.


  9. Collecting information in WA has been hit hard by Barnett's budget!


    Police down to last notebook

    Rockingham police station has sent out a desperate plea to other stations for stationery in the wake of a State Government spending freeze.

    The station had just one notepad and three days worth of A4 photocopy paper last Tuesday as officers tried to ration stationery before the new financial year.

    An email forwarded by Rockingham Sen. Sgt Stuart Mearns on Tuesday, which has been obtained by The West Australian, asks officers in charge of nearby stations to spare anything they can.

    The email said the station was out of some stock, including fold-back clips, and asked for 10 lined pads because they had only one left.

    "The guys use them out on the road, they come wrapped in packs of 10 and are very cheap (88 cents)," it read. It also requested six boxes of A4 paper, stating "we are down to our last six reams and we go through an average of two a day".

    Treasurer Troy Buswell announced the belt-tightening on May 14 in a bid to cut expenditure until the new financial year and find $92 million savings without affecting frontline services.

    Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said he was gobsmacked.

    "It's a sad day when our police force is reduced to begging in order to do their jobs," he said.

    "The police taking evidence and photocopying documents is a frontline service, it is not some frivolous activity."

    WA Police Union president George Tilbury said the lack of supplies was an embarrassment for the Government.

    "It shows that the Barnett Government cannot appropriately fund its police service and is letting officers down," he said. "Police officers should not have to be scraping around to borrow spare reams of paper or paper clips.

    "Policing is not a business, it is a 24/7 emergency service that needs to be funded appropriately."

  10. WA police need to save money and concentrate on "real crime."

    Alaska: Push to Legalize Marijuana Begins

    The state will be the next battleground in the effort to legalize marijuana. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, whose office oversees elections, certified a ballot initiative application on Friday that would make it legal for adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Supporters will have one year to collect 30,169 signatures from qualified voters across the state to get the question on the ballot. They aim to do this by January. The effort in Alaska comes after voters in Washington State and Colorado legalized marijuana last year. The proposal would make it legal for those 21 and older to use and possess up to an ounce of marijuana, though not in public.


    Trying to Sell Wall Street on the Value of Marijuana

    Kalvin Savanh grew up in Portland, Ore., and, during high school, he said, he grew marijuana. About 15 years later, Mr. Savanh, 33, still helps grow it — but now it is legal.

    On Friday, Mr. Savanh and a childhood friend, William Serafica, the co-founders of Dynamiq Lightning, a Portland-based company that sells products for indoor cannabis cultivation, met near Wall Street with about 40 potential investors to encourage them to enter the cannabis industry at a time when 19 states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.


    The two were among representatives from 18 start-up companies who attended a conference organized by the ArcView Investor Network, a group of entrepreneurs looking to invest in legal cannabis companies. The companies represented do not grow or sell marijuana, but rather provide services to the industry — like security, lighting and storage.

    “This is a historical moment,” said Troy Dayton, 36, chief executive officer of the ArcView Group. Likening the rise of the cannabis industry to the technology boom of the 1990s, he said he saw marijuana as the next frontier. “We’re announcing to Wall Street, this is the real deal,” he said.


    While those in the industry spoke optimistically about marijuana moving from the fringe to the mainstream in the next several years, and of more states legalizing it, resistance remains.

    In New York, it is doubtful that the Legislature will vote to legalize marijuana this year. While the Assembly approved a measure last week, the Senate has never brought it up for a vote. In a radio interview in April, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said: “I think we have to be very, very careful. Yes, there are potential upsides. But you don’t want to increase the distribution of drugs by creating another system.”

    Still, those gathered at the conference on Friday were upbeat about their long-term prospects.

    Daniel Williams, 35, the president of Canna Security America, a Denver-based security solutions company for the medical marijuana industry, was optimistic. “I believe once we hit the 25-state mark, that will be the tipping point of federal legalization.” Besides, he said, “the cannabis industry is growing so quickly, there’s no stopping it.”


    The New Stoned Age: Bill Maher on the Greening of America

    Economic incentive to legalize weed and the failure of the War on Drugs have produced a sea change in America that's here to stay

    It's a brave new pothead world. Until fairly recently, even a year ago, I would not have guessed that we would be at the place we are now – with 18 states legalizing medical marijuana and, according to one recent poll, a whopping 85 percent of the nation supporting medical use. For all our political rancor, it turns out, what ultimately unites us is pot. Weed is one of the few things that both hillbillies and hippies like. Rappers smoke pot, and country artists smoke pot. There's just as much pot on Willie Nelson's tour bus as there is on Snoop Dogg's tour bus. Marijuana is bridging the red and blue divide and becoming a purple issue.


    Bill Clinton once said, "If you look back on the Sixties and think there was more good than harm, you're probably a Democrat. If you think there was more harm than good, you're probably a Republican."


    Republicans have always been an uneasy alliance of Jesus freaks, gun nuts, generic obese suburbanites and the super-rich, but what binds them is this idea that life was perfect in Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1958. As soon as President Obama was elected, this visual of a black guy who liked smoking pot walking into the White House was too much. Whenever you hear them say, "I want my country back" – from what? Did Blackmanistan invade us? They may want it back, but that America is gone forever.


    Of course, there's a big economic incentive to legalizing marijuana. More than a decade ago, there was a county in Georgia where the people fired the sheriff because he was busting pot farmers. The crop was their lifeblood, so they got rid of the hardass and elected a sheriff who pledged to look the other way. That's the kind of sea change that's happening in America right now. If 40 years of abject failure of the War on Drugs has taught us anything, it's that the customer base is large, strong and loyal. So as in everything, money talks. And money is there to be made. There's no going back. We've reached the tipping point, legal marijuana is here to stay – it's just a matter of how fast it will happen across the country.


    The 40 Greatest Stoner Albums

    In celebration of Rolling Stone's pot-centric new issue, we present this fully-baked list of the 40 best stoner albums ever. Our picks range from 1970s black-light warhorses to keyboard-drenched, slow-toke faves from the 2000s, with enough variety to soundtrack any kind of weed buzz. Our criteria? We wanted albums that were especially great for blazing along with, but also just plain great, period – meaning they also had to sound awesome when you're not high as a giraffe.


    10 Best Stoner Movies of All Time

    Practically anything can count as a stoner movie if you're high enough. 18-hour nature documentary? Whoa, look at those fish, man. Somber black-and-white drama? Sure, why not! But the greatest stoner flicks have something more – a certain sticky green magic that makes you crack up laughing like the very first time you saw them, even on your ten-thousandth viewing. Read on for our definitive list of the 10 greatest works of pothead cinema. Truth be told, most of them are pretty hilarious even if you're completely sober. But they're definitely way funnier if you're not.


  12. MarijuanAmerica: Inside America's Last Growth Industry

    From California to downtown Detroit, there's a green revolution sweeping across the nation — and it's changing the weed business forever


    If you spend enough time up in the Emerald Triangle — an area in Northern California comprising the adjoining counties of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity — you might notice a few things.

    There's the crab fisherman selling you fresh crabs from his boat with a lit joint hanging from his mouth. There's the jingle on the local radio station with the chorus "Going to jail sucks!" (It's an ad for a bail-bond agency, which runs right after an ad for a hypdroponic-growing store.)

    If you're in the Triangle in October, at the start of the harvest season, you might notice people standing by the side of the road with cardboard signs that read "Looking For Work", or signs simply depicting a hand-drawn pair of scissors.

    You might notice that locals call hundred-dollar bills "Humboldt twenties" and complain about how expensive everything is, or their use of the verb formation "getting flown," meaning one's property has been buzzed by a DEA helicopter (e.g., "We got flown a bunch of times this summer, so we knew a bust was coming").

    At some point, your cellphone will probably stop working, and you might notice how the two-lane road darkens as it slices into a canyon of redwoods, and how your car shrinks, too, puttering at the foot of the giant, primeval forest, and how that Bigfoot-themed souvenir shop several miles back is starting to seem like a beacon of civilization. And if you keep going, eventually, somewhere deep in the mountains, you will arrive at Vic Tobias' place.


    Tobias is a marijuana grower, and he is having a very long day. His waterlines froze, or broke, he's not sure which, but that has meant no running water at his house for the past couple of days. This coincided, as luck would have it, with out-of-town visitors — buyers looking to be introduced to other local growers with weight to unload. Tobias has been scrambling to set up the meets, a delicate process in a part of the country where new faces are not generally greeted with small-town hospitality, where it's considered sloppy form (as one grower tells me) to give your real name to the pizza-delivery guy. Most urgently, though, Tobias has 45 marijuana plants in full bloom that need to be harvested by tomorrow morning if he wants to move his product on schedule. It's close to midnight, and he's been up since dawn......


    Ethan Nadelmann: The Real Drug Czar

    The most influential man in the battle for legalization is a wonky intellectual in dad jeans

    The driving force for the legalization of marijuana in America – a frenetic, whip-smart son of a rabbi who can barely tell indica from sativa – has just entered enemy territory. Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, is here in California's crucible of conservatism, Orange County, to talk about the failure of the War on Drugs and why the government should leave pot smokers alone. As a grizzled ex-DEA agent glares at him from the audience of a lecture hall on the campus of U.C. Irvine, it's clear that this crowd has not gathered to celebrate cannabis culture. And that's just the way Nadelmann likes it.


    The Real-Life High Times of 'High Maintenance'

    'The weed delivery guy is the only stranger you let inside your home,' says the hilarious web series' co-creator

    What if the weed delivery dude was always showing up when you were in the midst of a personal crisis? So it goes in High Maintenance, a remarkably well-crafted series of 10 Web comedy shorts about an unnamed bike-­riding dealer – "the guy" – who heroically offers herbal relief to stressed-out New Yorkers.


  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.