Embassy Headlines, Issue 10

The Nimbin HEMP Embassy is always trying to get the good news out there. Michael Balderstone provides his selection of news stories relating to the War on Drugs and Cannabis law reform issues, every week with the HEMP Embassy Headlines. Here are the selected headlines for this week.


USA: Smoke the Vote


The 2012 election is, without a doubt, the most important one yet in the world of marijuana law reform. Three states, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon will be voting to legalize marijuana use by responsible adults, and Montana, along with Massachusetts, will be voting on medical marijuana issues. Couple these reform efforts with a presidential election and we have history in the making. This page will periodically be updated, so be sure to check back for the latest election news.

Is Korea’s drug policy working?


Korea’s relationship with illegal substances has evolved in the last two decades to present new challenges to the authorities. From the 1990s, the range of available drugs increased to include Yaba, LSD, Ecstasy and Nalbuphine hydrochloride, according to “Drug Control Policy in Korea,” a 2004 report by Cho Byung-in, a senior research fellow at the Korean Institute of Criminology. The profile of the average user also became harder to predict. Where drug abuse had been seen as largely confined to the criminal and entertainment worlds, by the turn of the century drug users included significant numbers of salaried workers, housewives, students and farmers. The response from the authorities to these trends has been tough by the standards of almost anywhere. The Act on the Control of Narcotics of 2000 allows for habitual sellers of banned substances to receive the death penalty, while smuggling can carry life imprisonment.

Belize to Consider Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession


On July 16, the government of Belize released a press statement announcing the appointment of a committee to evaluate a proposal to decriminalize marijuana possession. The committee – to be headed by a former police minister – was appointed by the Minister of National Security. The proposal in question seeks to remove criminal sanctions for possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana and instead impose fines and mandatory drug education. Currently, possession of less than 60 grams of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to US$26,000 and/or up to three years in prison.  The government’s press release states that the initiative “is driven by increasing evidence that the current legislation clutters the courts and the prisons with primarily a marginalized segment of our population. The added impact of a permanent criminal record further disadvantages this already marginalized group as it establishes a barrier against meaningful employment (…) This is further supported by international trends toward decriminalization.”

Antigua: Local Rastafarian weighs in on legitimising marijuana use


A move to consider the decriminalisation of small amounts of marijuana in Belize has evoked reaction locally. Rastafarian elder King Frank-I said Antigua & Barbuda’s Rastafarian community, which has been making repeated calls for the drug to be decriminalised, wants authorities here to pattern the Belize model. The government of Belize is looking into the possibility of allowing small amounts of marijuana possession in an effort to clear up space in the country’s overcrowded jails.

Thailand: New drug war awaits victory



The government’s claims that its war on drugs is a success are hard to swallow. It may be true that the one-year-old government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has made the campaign a centre of its policy. Certainly the public relations machine is spouting numbers of arrests, prosecutions and the like. But the public knows that true success in the war on drugs can easily be measured with two major results, both of which are prominently missing.

USA: Local Dispensary Owner Arrested and Government Seizes Cars, Guns, Cash


Just ten days after the scheduled ban on the last remaining medical marijuana dispensaries took effect in Long Beach, police announced the arrest of a Long Beach dispensary owner, who they say has been running the collective illegally as a commercial for-profit enterprise.

USA: Mom has son wear ‘Smoked pot, got caught’ sign as punishment


BEAUFORT, SC – What would you do if your teenage son got busted for smoking marijuana? One low country mother isn’t taking it lightly and she’s doing all she can to make sure he doesn’t do it again. Pacing a main intersection in Beaufort, wearing a sign reading “Smoked pot, got caught! Don’t I look cool? not!” and “Learn from me, don’t do drugs” isn’t exactly the way Brandon Mathison, 13, planned on spending his Friday night. But after he got busted this past weekend for smoking marijuana with his friends, this is the punishment his mother, April Mathison, came up with.

USA: Cannabis Carbon Footprint: Marijuana Industry’s Environmental Impact


Debate over the War on Drugs and the legality of marijuana persists in the U.S., as thousands recently rallied in Seattle for legalization and millions of dollars have been raised in support of legalization measures in two states. Yet an often overlooked part of the debate is marijuana’s environmental impact — what is the carbon footprint of cannabis? According to a 2011 report, indoor marijuana growing may account for one percent of the entire country’s electricity consumption. The independent report, by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researcher Evan Mills, Ph.D., notes that this energy use costs about $6 billion annually. The report also claims that the carbon dioxide pollution from this electricity use “plus associated transportation fuels equals that of 3 million cars.”

UK: Drugs and dotcoms – How the legal highs industry exploded online


The drugs scene used to be so much more straightforward. You had your E’s and whizz, your weed, coke and LSD, and, for the more hardcore aficionados, crack and heroin. Whether you were a dabbler, an addict or an ardent anti-drugs campaigner, at least you knew what was out there. Today, police, pill-poppers and professors are facing a cornucopia of drug types so diverse it makes Procter & Gamble look like a local sweet shop. New “legal high” chemical compounds, often branded as “research chemicals” to dodge various laws (more on which later), are at the heart of the trend. They’re cheap, incredibly easy to buy, and, of course, legal.

UK: Cannabis effect on epilepsy


Researchers at the University of Reading have discovered that three compounds found in cannabis can help to reduce and control seizures in epilepsy.

UK: Cannabis more damaging to under-18s, study suggests


Adolescents who are regular users of cannabis are at risk of permanent damage to their intelligence, attention span and memory, according to the results of research covering nearly four decades. The long-term study which followed a group of over 1,000 people from birth to the age of 38 has produced the first convincing evidence, say scientists, that cannabis has a different and more damaging effect on young brains than on those of adults. “This work took an amazing scientific effort,” said Professor Terrie Moffitt of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, one of the authors.

Online Drug Markets


As well as Silk Road, there are a growing number of businesses selling online at the moment, with or without Tor networks. Pot2Peer has recently appeared. “You have reached Pot2Peer, a compassionate marijuana dispensary utilizing the latest in peer-to-peer and anonymous electronic payment technologies to provide safe and discreet access to high quality cannabis products for personal consumption.”

What Is DMT?


Video with excellent descriptions of DMT from Joe Rogan.

Should Facebook Be Censoring Marijuana Law Reform Ads?


JustSayNow.com — a group working to “make sure marijuana reform isn’t neglected this election cycle” — tried to launch ads last week on Facebook.com for its new campaign “Don’t Forget Marijuana”. “The ads featured President Obama, Mitt Romney and images of marijuana [leaves] alongside a message encouraging people to join the campaign,” they wrote in an online statement. “Facebook rejected the ads on the ridiculous grounds that the simple act of showing a marijuana leaf promotes drug use,” JustSayNow stated. UPDATE 08/14/12:
Apparently Facebook is relenting. Just Say Now organizer Brian Sonenstein tells Huffington Post in an update yesterday evening that 15,000 people signed a FireDogLake petition to end the censorship, and the cause was taken up by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Is Alice in Wonderland really about drugs?


Alice in Wonderland fans have been marking the 150th anniversary of the fateful boat trip that saw the genesis of the children’s tale. But why do so many see adult themes in the story?

Book Review: FARC, The Longest Insurgency


The FARC (the Spanish-language acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) are considered terrorists by the US, Colombia, and the European Union, and narco-terrorists at that because of their participation in Colombia’s extremely profitable coca and cocaine trades. They are criticized for their penchant for kidnapping members of the upper and middle classes, for their sometimes indiscriminate use of weaponry, and other human rights violations. In his eponymously-titled primer on the FARC, longtime and on-the-ground observer of Colombian affairs journalist Garry Leech paints a far more nuanced picture of the world’s longest-running insurgency than the caricature described above. He provides the historical context of political violence and extreme — and still-growing — inequality out of which emerged peasant self-defense militias in the wake of La Violencia in the 1950s, militias that in 1964 would become a Marxist-Leninist politico-military organization whose aim was to overthrow the Colombian capitalist state and replacement it with a communist one.

Book Review: Distilled Spirits


The co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) believed LSD could be used to cure alcoholics and credited the drug with helping his own recovery from often debilitating depression, according to new research. About 20 years after setting up the Ohio-based sobriety movement in 1935, Bill Wilson came to believe that LSD could help “cynical alcoholics” achieve a “spiritual awakening” and start on the path to recovery. The discovery that Wilson considered using the drug as an aid to recovery for addicts was made by Don Lattin, author of a book to be published in October by the University of California Press, entitled Distilled Spirits.

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