Embassy Headlines, Issue 12

The Nimbin HEMP Embassy believes the war on drugs needs to be re-evaluated urgently and policies must be evidence based.

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


NSW: HEMP Party Annual General Meeting


At our Annual General Meeting at Party Headquarters* 51 Cullen Street Nimbin on Friday the 5th of October from 6pm, we will discuss HEMP Party campaign preparations for the upcoming 2013 Federal Election. In the next few weeks the HEMP Party will call for expressions of interest from members regarding the setting of up State Branches in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the ACT, and the Northern Territory, as well as setting up sub-branches all over Australia. Vote 1 HEMP to re-legalise and regulate Cannabis for personal, medical and industrial uses in Australia. Help, join, branch or donate to the HEMP Party. *Nimbin HEMP Embassy

NSW: Historic opposition to liquor giant in Byron


The head of the Liquor and Gaming Authority says a proposal for a discount liquor store in Byron Bay has generated the most opposition it’s ever received. The authority’s board held a meeting in the popular tourist town to discuss an application from liquor giant Dan Murphy’s. More than a 100 people attended, with many raising the issue of alcohol-related violence in the town.

Qld: Call out to Picket NCPIC conference, 5.30pm Thurs 20 September


Brisbane based drug law reformers have put a call out for people to join their picket of the 2nd National Cannabis Conference, Brisbane Convention Centre, Cnr Merivale/Glenelg Streets, South Brisbane, Thursday 20 September at 5.30pm.

Australian Report: Regulate Cannabis Use







A national report into illicit drugs has recommended decriminalising ecstasy and cannabis under a government-controlled program aimed at helping to curb addiction. The 52-page report on alternatives to prohibition, by the Australia 21 group, was released in Adelaide on Sunday. The Report focuses on what Australia can learn from the experiences of three countries (Portugal, Switzerland and the Netherlands) which have liberalised their drug regimes in some way, and one country (Sweden) which has followed a strict law enforcement policy.

Health groups support new report urging drug law reform in Australia



Two of Australia’s leading public health advocacy groups have expressed their unwavering support for the latest Australia 21 report, Alternatives to Prohibition. The report follows the release in April of the inaugural report The Prohibition of Illicit Drugs is Killing and Criminalising our Children and we are all letting it happen and its finding that the “war on drugs” had failed. The report considers the experience in several European countries where emphasis has shifted from drug law enforcement to health and social intervention. The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) and the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), the peak AOD body representing Australia’s non-government sector, unreservedly back the intent of the new report. They say the exploration of alternatives to enforcement in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal and Sweden had resulted in many positives.

Interview on Australia’s Radio National: Time for a truce in the war on drugs?


Host, Damien Carrick: “Late last week I facilitated a challenging conversation at the Law Institute with four people who have vast knowledge about illicit drugs and their impact. Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton, barrister Greg Barns, a former national president of the Australian Lawyers’ Alliance, Paul Barratt, a founding director and the chair of Australia21 and Dr Alex Wodak, consultant with the alcohol and drug service at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. He’s also a director of Australia21. I started by asking Alex Wodak what harms are associated with drug use in Australia.”

Dobbing mothers unite for drug reform


Parenthood has made Lisa Pryor more certain our drug laws need to be reformed. When a child gets in trouble with drugs, help is a lot more effective than a criminal record.

Australia: Youth Drug Survey


The Drug Policy Modelling Program [DPMP] at the University of New South Wales is conducting a survey of 16-25 year olds for the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) – the Council appointed by the Prime Minister to give advice to government on drug and alcohol issues.

Interview with Australian Researcher: A Jaw-Dropping Explanation of How Governments Are Complicit in the Illegal Drug Trade


The drug war is far, far more than just simply criminals at work, says Scholar Oliver Villar, a lecturer in politics at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Australia, a country where he has lived for most of his life. He was born in Mendoza, Argentina. In 2008 he completed his PhD on the political economy of contemporary Colombia in the context of the cocaine drug trade at the UWS Latin American Research Group (LARG). Whilst completing his PhD, Villar’s research interests in political economy, Latin America and the global drug trade followed teaching positions in politics at UWS and Macquarie University.  For the past decade his research has been devoted to the book (co-written with Drew Cottle) Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror: US Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia” ( Monthly Review Press . He has published broadly on the Inter-American cocaine drug trade, the US War on Drugs and Terror in Colombia, and US-Colombian relations. This abiding interest extends across economic thought, economic development and the development of social and political relationships between the First World and Third World (in particular between the United States and Latin America) and the impact of neoliberal economic globalization. 


Netherlands: Maastricht mayor does u-turn over cannabis club membership


Locals in Maastricht should no longer have to formally register as marijuana users to buy soft drugs from the city’s cannabis cafes, mayor Onno Hoes said in a letter to councillors on Wednesday. Since May 1, cannabis cafes in the south of the country have been turned into member-only clubs in an effort to keep out foreigners. Only locals, who can prove they live in the area, are allowed to sign up for membership. According to Nos television, Hoes says the number of foreigners trying to buy soft drugs has fallen so sharply that the membership cards are no longer necessary.

Stoner voters targeted in Dutch election campaign


With slogans like “Don’t let your vote go up in smoke!”, owners of the free-wheeling cafes where bags of hashish are sold alongside cups of joe are mounting a get-out-the-stoner-vote campaign ahead of next week’s Dutch election. The campaigners are calling on their sometimes apathetic dope smoking clientele to get out and support political parties that oppose the recently introduced “weed pass” that is intended to rein in the cafes known as coffee shops and close them altogether to foreign tourists. At a coffee shop in The Hague, a member of staff selling weed wears a T-shirt emblazoned with a modified Uncle Sam style poster calling on smokers to “Vote against the weed pass on Sept. 12.” Under the new system, coffee shops become member-only clubs and only Dutch residents can apply for a pass to get in. The cafes are limited to a maximum of 2,000 members.

USA: Should Grandma Smoke Pot?


The final cut of the new marijuana infomercial, Should Grandma Smoke Pot? has been released and is now available for public viewing (see video above).  Produced by famous smuggler/author/activist Robert Platshorn and the award-winning filmmaker Walter J. Collins, Should Grandma Smoke Pot? A made-for-TV version of Platshorn’s Silver Tour stuns viewers with medical and legal facts long kept from the public.

USA: Medical marijuana backers seek inroads in South


The home state of the president who didn’t inhale has become an unlikely front in the battle over medical marijuana. This fall, Arkansas will be the first Southern state to ask voters whether to legalize medical uses for pot, a move that offers supporters a rare chance to make inroads in a region that has resisted easing any restrictions on the drug. The state’s top elected officials and law enforcement agencies oppose the idea, but legalization groups hope the referendum shows that medical marijuana is no longer solely the domain of East Coast or Western states.

USA:  Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson says U.S. drug policy outdated and calls on states to vote for legalisation



Richard Branson, the billionaire chairman of the Virgin group has penned an open letter today calling for both political parties to back the legalisation of marijuana. Pointing to upcoming November ballots in the states of Colorado, Washington and Oregon to regulate the sale of marijuana, Branson also cites what he sees as a sea change in support among the public in the U.S. for a change in federal policy on the war on drugs. ‘We have reached a watershed moment for drug reform in the U.S. as attitudes and opinions across the country have dramatically shifted,’ writes Branson who also cites the enormous negative financial and social cost drugs bring to bear as reasons to legalise cannabis.

USA: Bi-partisan companion bills to restore industrial hemp


United States Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced S 3501 Aug. 2, 2012, the companion bill to the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011 in the House of Representatives, HR 1831. If passed, the bills will remove federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, the non‐drug oilseed and fiber varieties of cannabis. “This is the first step toward a common sense policy on hemp that helps create American jobs,” said Senator Wyden. “It is vital that all industrial hemp advocates redouble their efforts to win support in Congress if we are going to reestablish this economically important crop.”


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