Embassy Headlines, Issue 104

The DEA want Doctors in Boston to choose between their drug prescribing licenses and their ties to marijuana dispensaries. Protecting the profits of drug companies is more important than protecting the health and welfare of people.

Duty of care and the standard code of ethics for health workers is of no concern for the US Drug Enforcement Agency.

The Embassy Headlines are a selection of recent articles from news services and media sources primarily concerning Cannabis issues, the consequences of prohibition and the challenges for law reform.

Here are the selected headlines for this week.

Embassy-Headlines-104 

Poll: Should Cannabis be Legalised for Medicinal Purposes? [Sunday Night on 7]

On Sunday night 15 June, 2.8 million votes said YES to legalising medical marijuana in Australia. To contact your health minister about this issue: http://yhoo.it/1ne9DEV


Marijuana: The illegal medicine [Sunday Night on 7]

A former drug squad detective has spoken out about acquiring marijuana for his terminally ill son and fighting the government to legalise the drug. Lou Haslam’s son Dan is using medical cannabis to manage his nausea, vomiting and poor appetite from chemotherapy, but more recently has also used cannabis oil in a bid to halt the progression of his disease. “I ran the drug unit in the north west of the state, Tamworth through the Queensland border involved in many, many drug operations and many, many arrests of people using cannabis and growing cannabis,” Lou told Sunday Night reporter Helen Kapalos. “I have never felt like I am breaking the law… If I am trying to save my son from the hell he goes through every fortnight then it’s completely the right thing to do.”  The Haslam family has started a petition onChange.org.au which already has 135,000 signatures.


Should medical cannabis be legal? [The Saturday Paper]

Tony Bower runs Mullaways Medical Cannabis Pty Ltd, a federally registered company established to develop and deliver medicines derived from cannabis. The 58-year-old Aboriginal with a huge greying beard gets about in shorts and a T-shirt, and is extremely laidback for a man whose life’s work has essentially made him an outlaw. The country’s key medicinal dealer is on the precipice of prison.  Mullaways’ first product, one Bower hopes to mass-produce and market, is an organic medical cannabis tincture.  At present, Bower gives away the tincture free to anyone who can prove a medical need, usually with a letter from their doctor. He makes no money, but he claims that it’s part of his cultural heritage to help those in need. Which he does; hundreds of people. All through Nimbin and the surrounding shires, I run into people who have had their life, or that of someone close to them, improved by Bower’s tinctures. One older man, with emphysema and a bad back, begins to tear up as he talks about the improvement in the quality of his life. As far north as Brisbane, as far south as Melbourne, people talk about Bower’s work, including many who have never met him. Bower wants to supply his medicine to the world, but at present, Mullaways is mired in a legal half-existence. The tincture, which has been tested by NSW police, contains no illegal compounds and is entirely legal. But the specially grown cannabis plants from which he synthesises it are entirely illegal. In 2008 he applied for a licence to cultivate, possess and supply cannabis, from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, along with a 129-page submission of his research, samples of his product and an application fee of $1600. Nearly five years later, his application for a five-year licence is still tied up in red tape. “It’s legal,” he says. “They just won’t allow me to grow the plant, that’s all.”


Skinner softens stance on medicinal cannabis [Daily Telegraph]

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner has softened her stance on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes saying she supports a proposed trial of home-grown pot. Tasmanian company Tasman Health Cannabinoids has applied for a licence to grow cannabis to conduct a clinical study in conjunction with the University of Tasmania. “I am advised there is a proposal seeking approval to extract the non-hallucinogenic component from cannabis grown in Tasmania with a view to clinical trials to prove its safety and effectiveness. I support this approach,” Ms Skinner said. Tasman Health Cannabinoids CEO Troy Langman said with the go ahead, they could provide high grade cannabis for medical purposes within four months. “It will be grown indoors under a highly secure environment similar to the security protocols in Canada,” Mr Langman said. “The relative isolation of Tasmania also provides a natural security advantage.”


Medical Cannabis – Issue Backgrounder Number 5, June 2014 [NSW Parliamentary Research Service]

On 28 May 2014, The Australian reported that the NSW Greens MLC, John Kaye, would soon introduce a bill that would allow people with a terminal illness to apply for a card that would prevent them from being prosecuted for possessing a small quantity of cannabis. The card would be issued by the Department of Health based on advice from the patient’s treating doctor and would be “tightly monitored”, Dr Kaye said. He said the measures would mean thousands of people in NSW would no longer have to make the “terrible choice” between breaking the law and suffering. “It is time for science and compassion to win out against prejudice and hysteria,” he said. On 29 May 2014, the NSW Nationals MP Kevin Anderson announced his intention to introduce a Private Members Bill to approve the use of cannabis by terminally ill patients.


Magistrate issues cannabis driving warning [EchoNet Daily]

Magistrate Heilpern placed Bunter on a good behavior bond for 12 months, and recorded no conviction. But not before saying ‘whether one considers these laws of driving with cannabis in their system as road safety measures or prohibition is debatable … people will either be drivers or smokers, but with the current regime you certainly can’t be both’. Not in New South Wales anyway. When dealing with a minor drug possession matter a little later involving Nadine Callander, who offered her ‘deepest apologies’ for the indiscretion, Mr Heilpern observed that she had chosen the wrong medicine. ‘Cannabis is not available for medicinal or psychoactive reasons here in NSW,’ he said, before listing the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, much of mainland Europe and many states of America as places where such reasons were recognized by law.


Beyond Prohibition by Prof David Nutt (YouTube PRISM)

Part 1 of a presentation by Prof David Nutt at the 2013 APSAD conference in Brisbane, Australia. Link to Part 2 here.


Cannabis goes corporate: Dot-bong boom explodes as Big Marijuana flexes its muscles[ABC]

The momentum for more US states to legalise seems unstoppable. Public support is trending up but most importantly, Wall Street is moving in. And that is what worries former US congressman Patrick Kennedy. “What’s really behind this legalisation is money, plain and simple,” he said. Patrick Kennedy is no longer in Congress. He pulled the pin on his career in 2010 to deal with a raging addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs that at one point, saw him crash his car into a barricade outside the Capitol Building. Now married and the father of two children, he has been in recovery for four years. “Just like the liquor industry. They don’t make money off average drinkers. They make money off people like me, because I couldn’t stop,” he said. “The mentally ill, or those who have predisposition for addiction and alcoholism …  they are really the candidates that the Big Marijuana industry is targeting. “You capture an addiction, you’ve got a customer.” He is out to spread the message that cannabis is more addictive than people realise, far more potent than it used to be, and a danger to people at risk of mental illness. But he has a hell of a task in front of him.  The fact is, plenty of Americans enjoy using cannabis and while a certain proportion become addicted, many find it does not ruin their lives.  And they have years of their own experience of doing it illegally to draw on.


Colorado preparing to spend $9 million on medical marijuana research [Denver Post]

 More than a decade after voters here first said marijuana could be medicine, Colorado is preparing to embark on the largest state-funded effort to study the medical benefits of cannabis. Under a bill signed this year by Gov. John Hickenlooper, the state health department will give out about $9 million in grantsin the next five years to researchers for marijuana studies. Most importantly, the research is expected to include clinical trials on the kinds of marijuana products actually being used in Colorado — something that federally funded studies on marijuana have lacked. “Our intent is to be rigorous scientifically, but to also act with some expediency because these are products that a large percentage of our population is using today,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, the executive director and chief medical officer of the health department. “We want to make sure that what’s happening out there in everyday practice isn’t harming people.”


Unusual witness presses medical-marijuana cause [Philly.Com]

During the last 32 years, stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld has smoked 130,000 marijuana cigarettes – with the federal government’s blessing. As jaws dropped in a Harrisburg legislative chamber filled with state senators, Rosenfeld made the remark Tuesday and then held up a silver canister containing 300 pre-rolled joints, a month’s supply. He continues to receive the canisters from a government-authorized farm in Mississippi to help treat a rare bone-tumor disorder. This despite the drug’s classification by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a top-tier hazardous substance with no medicinal value. “I’m living proof of the hypocrisy of the federal government,” Rosenfeld, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., told the Law and Justice Committee, which is considering a bill to legalize medical marijuana. Rosenfeld is one of two federal medical marijuana patients nationwide. Rosenfeld was approved for the Compassionate Investigative New Drug program in 1982 and then was grandfathered into receiving a continuing supply when the program was shut down a decade later during the government’s war on drugs. Diagnosed when he was 10 with multiple hereditary exostoses, a genetic condition in which painful bone tumors multiply throughout the body, Rosenfeld said his first doctors had warned he might not live past his teenage years. “This is not the harmful drug the government makes it out to be and the government has been lying to us, all these decades,” Rosenfeld said in an interview. He underwent several surgeries to remove the tumors and was prescribed a morphine derivative and various other addicting narcotics. While experimenting with cannabis during his college years, he discovered he was able to sit for longer periods without pain and his tumors were decreasing in number. “It’s amazing how well it works,” Rosenfeld said. He said that he has undergone various tests and his lungs and brain have not shown any signs of being compromised by the drug. The program started in 1976 when Robert Randall, a glaucoma patient, sued the government, saying cannabis was preventing him from losing his sight. A federal judge agreed. Rosenfeld became the second patient after spending a decade appealing to the federal Food and Drug Administration to be part of a cannabis research program. In 1992, then President George H.W. Bush shut it down and allowed only the 13 patients involved to continue to participate, Rosenfeld said. Musikka Elvy, who lives in Oregon, is the only other federal cannabis patient currently in the program. She uses it to treat glaucoma. Rosenfeld said that the marijuana that he and Elvy receive is grown at a government farm at the University of Mississippi.


DEA targets doctors linked to medical marijuana [Boston Globe]

US Drug Enforcement Administration investigators have visited the homes and offices of Massachusetts physicians involved with medical marijuana dispensaries and delivered an ultimatum: sever all ties to marijuana companies, or relinquish federal licenses to prescribe certain medications, according to several physicians and their attorneys. The stark choice is necessary, the doctors said they were told, because of friction between federal law, which bans any use of marijuana, and state law, which voters changed in 2012 to allow medical use of the drug. The DEA’s action has left some doctors, whose livelihoods depend on being able to offer patients pain medications and other drugs, with little option but to resign from the marijuana companies,where some held prominent positions. The Globe this week identified at least three doctors contacted by DEA investigators, although there may be more. Dr. Samuel Mazza, chief executive of Debilitating Medical Conditions Treatment Centers, which won preliminary state approval to open a dispensary in Holyoke, said the DEA investigator’s visit came shortly after state regulators announced the first 20 applicants approved for provisional licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.


New York: 80 Marijuana Possession Arrests A Day In First 4 Months of 2014 – More of the Same [Hemp News USA]

NYPD is primarily arresting ordinary high school students, college students and young workers, most of whom are blacks and Latinos


Proposed Rule Changes Would Be Devastating to New Mexico Patients [MPP Blog]

New Mexico is considering rule changes that would make the medical marijuana program less transparent and less accountable. The proposed rules would also make it harder for patients — many of whom are disabled veterans suffering from PTSD and chronic pain — to access their medicine. Thousands of seriously ill patients are worried that their medicine will be taken away.  The proposed rules would reduce the number of plants that patients could grow from twelve currently to six. They would also create a new $50 patient application fee, force patients to pay for their own criminal background checks, and remove necessary checks and balances in the system. They would also triple the annual fees licensed producers must pay, which would surely be reflected in medical cannabis prices.


Time for a just peace to end the “war on drugs” [Socialist Worker]

The U.S. “war on drugs” is being widely and publicly criticized–from a number of different political quarters–as unwinnable, inhuman and racist. It’s a long time coming–and some of the newfound critics ought to own up to their share of the responsibility for this immensely destructive war being launched in the first place. But at least the long-hidden reality of U.S. drug policy is finally under a national microscope. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have acknowledged that drug laws are racially biased and need to be reformed. According to Holder, “Too many people go to too many prisons for far too long for no good law enforcement reason.” Politicians ranging from Democratic Vice President Joe Biden to Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich–both of whom played a part in the passage of tough-on-crime, mandatory minimum drug laws–are now saying these laws are too harsh and a waste of taxpayer money. There is a serious discussion of rolling back cruelly draconian punishments, granting clemency for drug law violators, and drug decriminalization and legalization. At the end of May, the editorial board of the New York Times published a scathing editorial that concluded: “The American experiment in mass incarceration has been a moral, legal, social and economic disaster. It cannot end soon enough.”


Why Is One of America’s Most Prestigious Medical Journals Promoting the Feds’ Anti-Marijuana Propaganda Line? [AlterNet]

Want to know the federal government’s rationale for keeping pot criminally prohibited? Look no further than a review article in the June 5 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. The paper, titled “Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use,” and authored primarily by Nora Volkow, director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, lays out the federal case for keeping marijuana illegal. Predictably, it is far from convincing. Volkow’s review highlights a laundry list of supposed harms associated with the use of cannabis. But a closer inspection of these claims finds many of them to be specious at best. 


How Neuroscience Reinforces Racist Drug Policy [The Atlantic]

Brain scans do not speak for themselves. The seemingly objective science of neuroimaging can be used to justify a moral argument for or against legal marijuana—to show it as a legitimate medicine, or as a danger to your health. 

A recent neuroscience study from Harvard Medical School claims to have discovered brain differences between people who smoke marijuana and people who do not. Such well-intentioned and seemingly objective science is actually a new chapter in a politicized and bigoted history of drug science in the United States. The study in question compared magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of 20 “young adult recreational marijuana users” (defined as individuals 18 to 25 who smoke at least once a week but who are not “dependent”), to 20 “non-using controls” (age-matched individuals who have smoked marijuana less than five times in their lives). The researchers reported differences in density, volume, and shape between the nucleus accumbens and amygdala regions of the two groups’ brains—areas hypothesized to affect a wide range of emotions from happiness to fear, which could influence basic decision-making. Researchers did not make any claims about how marijuana affected actual emotions, cognition, or behavior in these groups; instead; the study merely tried to establish that the aggregated brain scans of the two groups look different. So, who cares? Different-looking brains tell us literally nothing about who these people are, what their lives are like, why they do or do not use marijuana, or what effects marijuana has had on them. Neither can we use such brain scans to predict who these people will become, or what their lives will be like in the future. Nonetheless the study invented two new categories of person: the “young casual marijuana user” and the young non-marijuana user. This is the latest example of turning to brain imaging to make something seem objective. Establishing brain differences among certain groups highlights the uniquely ignoble political history surrounding the criminalization of a plant.


Realm of Caring California raises money for grow house after relocating in LA [San Gabriel Valley Tribune]

With a wait list nearing 1,000 people, pediatric cannabis group Realm of Caring California is looking to grow. The recently relocated non-profit foundation, which turns cannabis into a non-psychoactive oil that helps treat seizures in children and adults, hopes to eliminate its wait list by opening a $100,000 marijuana growing facility in central or northern California. Director Ray Mirzabegian expects a big chunk of the needed money — an estimated $30,000 — will come from a fundraising dinner hosted Monday night. “If not by the end of this year, by spring of next year, there is not going to be a waiting list in California,” Mirzabegian said Monday to a roaring crowd. “Nothing matters to us but the children and the patients.” Realm of Caring, which was founded in Colorado, opened an office in Los Angeles last year, but the city’s limitations on dispensaries forced it to close almost immediately. RoC treats children and adults with seizures, cancer and other ailments using Charlotte’s Web, an oil created from a branded strain of cannabis named for its first patient Charlotte Figi. The oil, which contains high amounts of the compound cannabidiol but low amounts of THC, produced a series of anecdotal success stories that caused flocks of desperate families to relocate to Colorado — and later California.


Drug dealer in court for selling cannabis tells judge he was ‘providing public service’ and only did it to keep the town calm [Daily Mail]

Andrew Hardy, 48, had cannabis growing in his flat in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. It was discovered by officers after a police raid on October 31 last year. Prosecutor Kevin Jones said: ‘He was frank with the police and said he was “making Shrewsbury calm.” ‘He said he was providing a service to the public and was dealing small quantities almost every day.’ He was jailed for 20 months after he admitted drug dealing at Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday.


Druglink interview with John Collins on the economics of drug policy [International Drug Policy Consortium]

John Collins coordinates the international drug policy project at LSE IDEAS. He is the editor of the latest report to call for an end to the drugs war, but the analysis from this expert group of economists points to a more realistic, incremental approach than sweeping legislative change.


Mexico May Follow U.S. On Marijuana Legalization [SF Weekly]

The president of Mexico dubbed the drug war “failed policy,” and hinted strongly that Mexico, the source of most of America’s illegal drugs, could follow the U.S.’s lead on marijuana legalization. Marijuana prices for cartel-connected farmers have plummeted in recent years as the U.S.’s drug policy becomes more and more lenient. Keeping marijuana illegal in Mexico makes no sense when the plant is legalized north of the border, President Enrique Pena Nieto told Madrid-based newspaper El Pais in an interview published Sunday, according to Reuters. And as everyone — including Maureen Dowd — now knows, marijuana policy is changing rapidly in America, with the drug available for medical use in almost half of the country. These words are just that: words. But they’re the strongest words yet from a sitting Mexican president, whose predecessors have said much the same thing after leaving office. 


Sinaloa Cartel Leader ‘El Azul’ Dead? ‘El Mayo’ Now In Control? [InSightCrime]

The Sinaloa Cartel has reportedly lost “El Azul,” one of its two remaining leaders, as well as another key member running operations in northern Mexico, although so far the cartel  has maintained its cohesion in the face of similar losses.  Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno, alias “El Azul,” allegedly died of a heart attack on June 7 while recovering from injuries sustained during a car accident, reported Riodoce.   El Azul is one of the Sinaloa cartel’s remaining top leaders — after the capture of Joaquin Guzman Loera, alias “El Chapo,” in February — the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been offering $5 million for his arrest since a 2004 indictment. On the day Esparragoza died, Mexican authorities arrested Juan Carlos Lopez, a key Sinaloa Cartel operative in the northern state of Chihuahua. Lopez had allegedly controlled the cartel’s operations in this state since November 2011 and trafficked cocaine and synthetic drugs to the United States, reported Diario las Americas


Jamaica to relax some restrictions on using pot [Sacramento Bee]

Jamaica’s government on Thursday announced a major rethinking of its marijuana laws, including plans to partially decriminalize small amounts of pot and to allow possession for religious, scientific and medical purposes. Justice Minister Mark Golding said the Cabinet is backing a proposal to make possession of no more than 2 ounces (57 grams) of marijuana, or “ganja” as it’s known locally, a petty offense that would result in a fine but not a criminal arrest. Golding also announced that marijuana will be decriminalized for religious purposes — a major victory for Jamaica’s homegrown Rastafari spiritual movement. Many Rastafarians smoke marijuana as a sacrament which they say brings them closer to the divine but they have always faced the possibility of prosecution for doing so. Government plans call for decriminalization for medicinal and scientific purposes as Jamaica hopes to cash in on the burgeoning cannabis industry. “It is not only wrong but also foolhardy to continue with a law that makes it illegal to possess ganja and its derivatives for medicinal purposes,” Golding said. Legislation will also be drafted to provide a path for people to get criminal records expunged if they have been convicted under the current law for smoking small amounts of marijuana.


Frequent marijuana use is associated with greater nicotine addiction in adolescent smokers[PubMed]

Marijuana and tobacco are the substances used most commonly by adolescents and co-occurring use is common. Use of one substance may potentiate the addictive properties of the other. The current study examined the severity of nicotine addiction among teen smokers as a function of co-occurring marijuana use. Marijuana use was associated with greater reported nicotine addiction among adolescent smokers. The findings suggest a role of marijuana in potentiating nicotine addiction and underscore the need for treatments that address both smoked substances.


Taster’s Choice [The New Yorker]

Every few months, I spelunk into the world of online indie television. It’s nearly always a disappointment: most series, even those which have managed to Kickstart up some hype, are half-baked and amateurish—more audition tapes than real productions. When I heard about “High Maintenance,” a Web series about a pot dealer in New York City, my expectations were calibrated low. Then I watched it. And I thought, Finally, finally, finally. Each episode of “High Maintenance” is between six and fifteen minutes long, and the episodes are released in sets of three, every few months. Then the show streams for free on the indie video-sharing site Vimeo. Yet despite its D.I.Y. origins “High Maintenance” doesn’t feel like a self-indulgent pet project—instead, it’s more like a shoebox that opens into Narnia. Freed of the constraints of thirty-minute or one-hour formulas, the episodes are luxurious and twisty and humane, radiating new ideas about storytelling.


Veterinary marijuana? [American Veterinary Medical Association]

Since 2011, some 300 people have told Dr. Douglas Kramer about having experimented with medical marijuana for a pet. Prior to that, Dr. Kramer had worked at a small animal practice in California, where clients would occasionally admit to giving marijuana to an animal companion for a medical reason. He now runs his own mobile practice in the Los Angeles area focused exclusively on pain management and palliative and hospice care. Now, Dr. Kramer finds himself at the forefront of an effort to bring veterinary medicine into the national debate about medical marijuana. On the basis of his review of medical marijuana research, Dr. Kramer believes there’s ample evidence to support using marijuana in veterinary patients as an alternative or adjunctive treatment for postoperative or chronic pain and also for palliative care. Pet owners aren’t waiting on the science, however. Dr. Kramer’s survey shows they’re feeding marijuana to pets to treat behavior-based disorders, including separation anxiety and noise phobia, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and feline immunodeficiency virus infection; for management of pain, nausea, and seizures; and as an appetite stimulate. Cannabis oil is also being used topically to treat tumors. Physicians in states where medical marijuana is sanctioned are exempt from prosecution by the state for recommending the schedule I drug to patients. Such protections do not apply to veterinarians, for whom it is illegal in every state to prescribe or recommend marijuana to treat an animal patient.  


WHO urged to act on booming e-cigarette sales as study finds market growing at 10 brands per month [ABC]

Doctors and health academics from around the world are urging the World Health Organisation (WHO) to regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes, which are booming in an uncontrolled global market. A US study has found the e-cigarette market has more than 500 brands and is expanding at a rate of more than 10 a month with the product often purchased online. In a trawl of the internet, US researchers found that as of January 2014 there were 466 brands, each with their own website, and 7,764 different flavours. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices which heat a liquid, typically propylene glycol, to a vapour. The liquid usually contains nicotine and flavouring. Supporters say the gadget can help wean smokers off conventional tobacco, whose bouquet of toxins has been blamed for the death of millions.


Science and the law hazy on e-cigarettes [ABC]

While most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, some don’t. They can come in a range of flavours—including mint, strawberry and chocolate.  Supporters say they are safe and are saving the lives of countless smokers who no longer inhale carcinogenic smoke. Detractors say the health benefits and risks are still unclear. ‘They are a huge business and they are growing all the time,’ says Marilyn Krawitz, a lecturer at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle and  a solicitor with Perth firm CMS Legal. ‘The first e-cigarette was created in 2003 by a Chinese pharmacist, and since then they are being used all over the world. There are at the moment thousands of Australians who use e-cigarettes. In the UK there are about 700,000 people who use e-cigarettes, and the industry is expected to be about a $23 billion industry by 2023.’ Krawitz has been researching the hazy legal status of e-cigarettes here in Australia. Under federal law, nicotine is listed in Schedule 7 of the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons. This means nicotine products cannot be sold unless they are approved for therapeutic use or are a device similar to traditional cigarettes. To date, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has not approved an e-cigarette product on the therapeutic goods register. However, there is a loophole that allows Australians to access e-cigarettes containing nicotine. ‘A lot of Aussies are importing e-cigarettes with nicotine from other countries,’ says Krawitz. ‘If you look on the Customs website that mentions e-cigarettes, it says that the importation of e-cigarettes is not prohibited, and actually Australians can import about a three-month supply of e-cigarettes with nicotine. So we have a situation where federally you can’t sell e-cigarettes with nicotine, but Australians can legally import a three-month supply, provided the supply doesn’t state that it has therapeutic benefits.’ Recently the WA Supreme Court ruled against Perth businessman Vince Van Heerden, who was prosecuted under state laws for selling nicotine e-cigarettes. The Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling and found Mr Van Heerden breached section 106a of the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 which prohibits the sale of a non-tobacco product designed to resemble a tobacco product, such as a food or toy.


Neuroscientist Describes Her DMT Trip [Reset Me]

Neuroscientist Dr. Michele Ross is a former drug researcher for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, turned medical marijuana and psychedelics advocate. Dr. Ross says she sought out non-neurotoxic, nonaddictive DMT to help her heal from trauma.  In this clip, Dr. Ross describes her DMT trip in detail.


Warnings over demand on emergency services during World Cup tournament [Alcohol Concern UK]

Alcohol Concern have release a briefing about the increasingly entwined relationship between alcohol and football, in advance of the World Cup. A new briefing produced by Alcohol Concern highlights that while pubs and off-licenses are already prepared with their football-themed alcohol promotions, the police and A&E departments will also have to prepare for the fast-approaching World Cup. Research is growing around how the consumption of alcohol during previous World Cup tournaments has been associated with significant spikes in the demand for emergency medical treatment and domestic violence. This is while the drinks industry continues to work hard to align itself with the healthy image of sport. The briefing highlights the rise in demand on emergency services over previous World Cup tournaments.

  • In 2010, the FIFA World Cup 2010 tournament was associated with a 37.5% rise in assault attendances across 15 hospital emergency departments on England match days.
  • It’s also been reported that incidents of domestic violence increased by up to 30% on the days of England’s fixtures during the World Cup in 2006.
  • Research examining data from a police force in the north west of England across the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups found the risk of domestic violence rose by 26% when the English national team won or drew, and a 38% increase when the national team lost.

Tom Smith, Policy Programme Manager at Alcohol Concern, said: “Alcohol and football is becoming increasingly entwined. The fact that FIFA has pressurised Brazil to overturn domestic law so that World Cup venues will now sell alcohol shows the power the drinks industry has already had on the FIFA World Cup 2014.


Deadly “legal highs” which mimic Class A drugs to be banned [Gov.UK]

A lethal psychedelic drug should be controlled as a Class A substance, according to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). AMT, which acts in a similar way to LSD, should be banned along with other deadly substances in a group of chemicals known as tryptamines, which also includes 5-MeO-DALT, known as “rockstar” or “green-beans”. The ACMD’s experts have gathered evidence which shows these highly potent drugs have become widely available in the UK, but they currently fall outside of controls in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The council proposes expanding the current description of the tryptamine family of compounds under the Act to ensure that newly created drugs are also banned.


Police charged over Ballina station bashing [EchoNet Daily]

Six former and serving NSW police officers have been charged with perjury and assault for lying to the police watchdog over the ‘violent’ arrest of a young man. The charges come after the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) found the north coast officers subjected then-23-year-old Corey Barker to ‘brutal and violent’ treatment, but instead claimed Mr Barker had hit an officer. The fresh charges stem from Barker’s arrest in January 2011 after a late night confrontation between his mates and police in a Ballina street. Barker was later charged with a string of offences, including assaulting Senior Constable David Hill. However, the credibility of the evidence from six officers about what happened that night came into question after Ballina Magistrate David Heilpern viewed CCTV footage – initially thought to be damaged. Mr Heilpern referred the case to the PIC after finding the footage from the police station did not show Mr Barker throwing a punch. Mr Barker’s assault case was also thrown out of court.


From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Buds in business no more. Liberals pride themselves on their entrepreneurial background, but one state minister is curiously shy about his early initiative — turning a share house doing a bit of dope-dealing into the major mari-h-uana supplier for a third-tier university. Now he is getting nervous about a few former customers angry at their onetime connection’s current policies. Word is they’re not planning to let the grass grow under their feet…Comment: It would be interesting to know who it is given they are being hypocritical. Does anyone know?

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