Embassy Headlines, Issue 11

The Nimbin HEMP Embassy believes the war on drugs needs to be re-evaluated urgently.

The Embassy Headlines are a selection of articles from news services and media sources concerning Cannabis issues and the consequences of prohibition and the challenges of law reform. Here are the selected headlines for this week.


Australia: Smokers and a pleasure worth dying for


Once smoking was regarded as both a pleasure and a right; and wherever you looked, advertisers had a brand for you. Whether your secret self image was international jet-setter or regular Aussie larrikin, the enticement was there to light up. Not anymore. Yet smoking is still legal and despite the threat of bad breath, disease and death, still brings pleasure to millions. Smokers are just more challenged now about their addiction. “I don’t care if it’s raining; you can’t smoke in the house.”

Queensland: ‘Louis Vuitton’ designer death drug hits the streets


A deadly batch of ecstasy pills branded one of the most dangerous to ever hit the streets has been linked to at least one death and a spate of overdoses.  The tablets, imprinted with the Louis Vuitton symbol, are suspected to have been involved in a 22-year-old man’s death after a Brisbane house party last weekend.

Queensland: Out of puff – council light on Queen Street Mall smokers


Just 22 people have been fined for smoking in the Queen Street Mall in the entire year since Brisbane City Council banned the practice in the popular pedestrian thoroughfare. The council, which introduced $200 smoking fines a year ago today, confirmed council officers had had more than 12,800 ”conversations” with Queen Street Mall visitors about smoking.However, it said just 22 people were issued with fines – fewer than two per month. Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said he believed in a “friendly but firm approach to enforcement” and the low fine rates reflected the policy of issuing fines to smokers as a last resort.

USA: Turning to Frogs for Illegal Aid in Horse Races



Monkey-frog horse race?  It sounds like some cross-species monster competition dreamed up by Dr. Moreau or Monsanto.  More than thirty racehorses in Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas have tested positive for an illegal performance-enhancing drug derived from South American frog venom.  As reported in today’s issue of the New York Times, racing regulators have long suspected that trainers were doping horses with dermorphin, a painkiller forty times more powerful than morphine that is found in skin secretions of the Waxy Monkey Leaf Frog, Phyllomedusa sauvagii, traded internationally as an exotic pet.  Dermorphin belongs to a novel class of compounds first identified in skin secretions of the related frog species Phyllomedusa bicolor, used as a stimulant by indigenous hunters of the Amazon.  Frog venom had so far evaded detection in racehorse drug screening until Denver-based Industrial Laboratories tweaked its tests.

USA: Conventions and puppets


Tampa — host to the Republican Convention has effectively outlawed some basic elements of free speech — including puppets. (And by “puppets,” I’m not talking about the politicians!) The city has banned sticks, strings and masks — the basic rudiments of puppeteering — during the convention. Police have been very clear that this was targeted at puppets specifically. Andrea Davis, a spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department, explained the reasoning to the Tampa Bay Times: “Their heads have been used to hide weapons and other matter, fecal matter.” Really? I have been a puppetista — someone who creates, fabricates and deploys puppets for use in civil resistance — for about 25 years. I have never heard of using a puppet to hide shit — that would be too degrading to the puppet and all the hard work that went into producing it! But, time and time again, I have heard many allegations from authorities that urine or shit was going to be used in some kind of assault — with no factual basis of it ever having been done. This is just one among many examples of how, as David Graeber has eloquently illustrated, police hate puppets.

Mexico’s “Caravan for Peace” Heads to Washington


The Mexico-based Caravan for Peace and Justice and its American allies are now more than halfway through their 6,000-mile, 27-city journey to focus attention on the drug war’s terrible toll in both countries. After beginning two weeks ago in San Diego, the caravan has now traversed California, Arizona, New Mexico, and miles and miles of Texas, and on Wednesday, was set to join with African-American and other activists to march over the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma, Alabama.

USA: Team Finds Atomic Structure of Molecule that Binds to Opioids in the Brain


Scientists have for the first time determined the three-dimensional atomic structure of a human opioid receptor, a molecule on the surface of brain cells that binds to opioids and is centrally involved in pleasure, pain, addiction, depression, psychosis, and related conditions. Dozens of legal and illegal drugs, from heroin to hospital anesthetics, work by targeting these receptors. The detailed atomic structure information paves the way for the design of safer and more effective opioid drugs.

USA: Child Porn, Coke Smuggling – Hundreds of DHS Employees Arrested Last Year


Border Patrol agents smuggling weed and coke. Immigration agents forging documents and robbing drug dealers. TSA employees caught with child porn. Those are just a few of the crimes perpetrated by Department of Homeland Security employees in just the past year. Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security nearly a decade ago, the agency’s inspector general has been tasked with uncovering corruption, waste and criminality within its own ranks. The IG has had his hands full.

UK: There are no age limits in a black market for cannabis


If cannabis impairs the IQ of those who smoke as teenagers, then legalising it is the best way to mitigate that harm.

USA: Pot & IQ – A Flawed Debate



Pot prohibitionists are sounding the alarm over a just published study suggesting a decline in IQ among a group of cannabis users who began consuming pot as adolescents and continued persistently for two decades. Yet, even if one is to accept the study’s findings at face value, it’s hard to see how concerns regarding the potential impact of cannabis on the developing adolescent brain are any way a persuasive argument in support of present day marijuana prohibition. After all, virtually no one wants kids as young as 12 or 13 years of age consuming a mood-altering substance like cannabis. Yet, under cannabis criminalization – a policy that prohibits its use for people of all ages and compels all consumers to acquire the product on the black market instead of from licensed businesses – teens are more likely to have easy access to pot, not less. Need proof? Just ask them.

USA: Ayn Rand on Drugs


According to the book Ayn Rand Answers by Robert Mayhew (Penguin, 2005) as quoted by OnTheIssues.org, Rand said, “I do not approve of any government controls over consumption, so all restrictions on drugs should be removed (except, of course, on the sale to minors). The government has no right to tell an adult what to do with his own health and life. That places a much greater moral responsibility on the individual; but adults should be free to kill themselves in any way they want.”


USA: 2012 Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users


Thank you for checking out MPP’s first annual Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users list. In order to come up with the final ranking, we asked our supporters to choose from nearly 200 influential people to help us narrow down the list to the final 50 you see here. In sum, we’re not concerned with an individual’s popularity, or even whether he or she supports marijuana policy reform. Rather, the 2012 Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users list is meant to identify people who have used marijuana and achieved high levels of success or influence.

USA: Marijuana Legalization: More Than 100 College Professors Express Support For Colorado’s Legal Pot Measure


Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has released a letter today signed by more than 100 college professors — from Colorado and around the nation — that support the group’s November marijuana legalization initiative, Amendment 64, which seeks to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adults similar to the way alcohol is regulated. The marijuana advocacy group is releasing the letter on the day that President Barack Obama makes a campaign stop at Colorado State University in what is expected to be a campaign speech about the issues that affect young college-age voters.

Colorado, Oregon, Washington or … Uruguay, who will be first to legalize marijuana?


Drug policy reform is moving along in the world and 2012 might very well be the year when marijuana will become legal in some part of the world, more precisely, somewhere in the Americas.

How Weed Can Protect Us From Cancer and Alzheimer’s


Hardly the harmful intoxicant that many once thought it was, cannabis is a nourishing plant that actually improves and prolongs life.

Book Review: Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know


Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know will provide readers with a non-partisan primer about the topic, covering everything from the risks and benefits of using marijuana, to describing the current laws around the drug in the U.S. and abroad. The authors discuss the likely costs and benefits of legalization at the state and national levels and walk readers through the “middle ground” of policy options between prohibition and commercialized production. The authors also consider how marijuana legalization could personally impact parents, heavy users, medical users, drug traffickers, and employers.

Book Review: Drugs, Insecurity, and Failed States – The Problems of Prohibition


Drugs, Insecurity, and Failed States provides succinct, yet fact-filled overviews of the deleterious effects of prohibition in all three countries, as well as West Africa and Central America. In all of them, the lure of the profits of prohibition exceed the threat of law enforcement or the ability of the state to suppress the black market economy. That’s not news. What is newsworthy about Drugs, Insecurity, and Failed States is who has produced it. The authors, Nigel Inkster and Virginia Comolli, are, respectively the director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk at the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) and a research analyst at that august institution. Not only that, Inkster is a veteran of the British Secret Intelligence Service who spent his last two years as the Assistant Chief and Director for Operations and Intelligence.

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