Embassy Headlines, Issue 126


The consequences of imprudent laws are far more harmful than the effects of Cannabis use.

The harm caused by prohibition is measured in lives. Including the lives of people with criminal records and the quality of life for those suffering with a medical condition that Cannabis can treat more effectively than any other drug. 

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.

NSW Premier Mike Baird to open medicinal cannabis symposium [Sydney Morning Herald]

Premier Mike Baird will launch a symposium debating the medical use of cannabis on Friday. His appearance will add further weight to a controversial push to decriminalise the use of cannabis for the treatment of sick and terminally ill patients. Lucy Haslam, whose 24-year-old son Daniel has been using cannabis for relief of nausea, vomiting and poor appetite related to chemotherapy for the treatment of bowel cancer, has organised the symposium with the support of state government funding. To be held in Tamworth on Friday and Saturday, the symposium follows Mr Baird’s public support for finding a way to use cannabis as a medical treatment for illnesses such as cancer. The symposium will host a range of Australian and overseas health and legal experts to discuss the merits of the treatment.

It’s time to prepare for a post-prohibition world instead of a futile war on drugs [WA Today]

Although politics can often be a merciless occupation, the reality is that, with the right message, a great many Australian citizens value courage and vision – especially in our leading politicians. Gough Whitlam’s 1972 campaign slogan, ‘It’s time’, surely applies in spades to drug policy in Australia now. The time for exploiting futile drug prohibition for short-term political gain should be over. Many countries are now starting to explore what a post-prohibition world might look like. Australia should join that exploration.

Greens urge govt to grow medical cannabis [EchoNet Daily]

The NSW Greens will tomorrow (Wednesday) introduce its bill for legalising medical marijuana proposing the government grow its own supply so children with incurable epilepsy can be treated. But Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone told Echonetdaily that the proposed bill did not go far enough and would do nothing to stop the black market trade. Mr Balderstone also said that continued demonisation of cannabis was leading people to opt for harder drugs such as ice, which was not as easily detected. ‘The more you hassle people using weed the more the people turn to powders and pills and other chemicals,’ he said. MLC John Kaye said the bill would do away with a clinical trial which he said would serve no purpose and proposed a better model. Dr Kaye told Fairfax Media that premier Mike Baird was stuck on the issue of supply of medical marijuana, being ‘caught between his own humanitarian instincts and the innate conservatism of his party’. The state government is currently considering expert advice on conducting a clinical trial which would precede any legalisation. But Dr Kaye says ‘no purpose is served by a clinical trial, cannabis has been around for thousands of years’. On that point, Mr Balderstone agreed.

Pros and cons of medical marijuana to be discussed at Queensland Epilepsy Symposium[News Medical]

The pros and cons of medical marijuana is a discussion focus at the fifth annual Queensland Epilepsy Symposium, Epilepsy – On the Horizon. Jointly hosted by Epilepsy Queensland Inc, Griffith Universityand St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane, the event will be held at Gardens Point Campus of QUT University in George Street, Brisbane on Thursday, November 20, 2014.

Decisions need to be made about medicinal cannabis [Sydney Morning Herald]

Some opponents argue that conventional medicines are more effective and safer than cannabis. This is not necessarily true. Sometimes they don’t work or may have unacceptable side effects. Nausea following cancer chemotherapy is an example of a very distressing condition where conventional medicines often don’t work. Why can’t we allow medicinal cannabis to comfort people under these circumstances? Several studies show that medicinal cannabis does not increase the risk of recreational cannabis use. A recent study suggests medicinal cannabis may reduce the risk of overdose deaths from prescription opioids by 25%. Some opponents claim that the health risks of cannabis are very serious. How can this be when about 2.5-5% of the world’s population use recreational cannabis but this use is estimated to account for only one-thousandth of the global burden of illness? In short, it’s a mess. Some states and the ACT are conducting yet more inquiries, when clearly a national approach is what’s required. Can we accept a solution reliant on state police and judges being reluctant to enforce the laws? Some politicians are happy to start now, others are determined to block any action. Health experts are divided. The net result is that cannabis is now being used widely in Australia but without quality control or regulation. It’s just not good enough.

NSW Greens’ medical cannabis plan would allow epileptic children access [Sydney Morning Herald]

The Greens have unveiled a proposal for legalising medical marijuana that would have the government growing its own supply and treating children with incurable epilepsy. “Mike Baird hasn’t found a way forward on supply [of medical marijuana],” said MLC John Kaye who will introduce a model into the upper house on Wednesday. “The Premier is caught between his own humanitarian instincts and the innate conservatism of his party.” Mr Kaye’s proposal appears significantly more wide-ranging than anything Mr Baird has countenanced since provisionally lending his support to the issue earlier this year. For one, it would do away with the clinical trial on which  the state government is currently taking expert advice, and which would precede any legalisation. “No purpose is served by a clinical trial,” Mr Kaye said. “[Cannabis has] been around for thousands of years.”

Our Tootie takes on PM in cannabis debate [Warwick Daily News]

When Tootie Hiles was diagnosed with brain cancer seven years ago, she put up one hell of a fight.  Told that merely speaking could become impossible, the passionate singer and songwriter defied the odds and came out on the other end while still belting out a tune.  But the fight is still not over.  After pulling through life-saving surgery, Tootie is now left to battle complications including memory and stability issues, epilepsy, constant headaches and pressure bleeds.  Traditional prescription medication offers little relief and now Tootie has called on the Prime Minister to help her and others battling terminal illnesses.  She has developed a petition to ask Mr Abbott to legalise cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Police sniffer dogs at music festivals despite drug warnings [The Citizen]

Police sniffer dogs will be used to patrol music festivals and other public events in Victoria this summer despite survey findings that suggest their presence could encourage unsafe drug use. Sergeant Glenn Barrot, of the Victoria Police Dog Squad, said that the use of the dogs had proven to be effective in eradicating drug use at festivals. “We know that when we turn up to these festivals there are fewer overdoses than when we don’t turn up,” he said. However, opponents of sniffer dogs argue that festival goers are more likely to panic and take all of their drugs at once to avoid being detected by the dogs, instead of using drugs at staggered intervals during the festival. A study by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, which surveyed 500 festival goers in New South Wales last summer, supported that view.

How cannabis was used to shrink one of the most aggressive brain cancers  [The Conversation]

Widely proscribed around the world for its recreational uses, cannabis is being used in a number of different therapeutic ways to bring relief for severe medical conditions. Products using cannabinoids, the active components of the cannabis plant, have been licensed for medical use. Sativex, for example, which contains an equal mixture of the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), is already licenced as a mouth spray for multiple sclerosis and in the US, dronabinol and nabilone are commercially available for treating cancer-related side effects. Now, in a study published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, we’ve also shown that cannabinoids could play a role in treating one of the most aggressive cancers in adults. There are more than 85 cannabinoids, which are known to bind to unique receptors in cells and which receive outside chemical signals. These receptors feed into signalling pathways, telling cells what to do. Recent studies have shown that some cannabinoids have potent anti-cancer action. For example, both THC and CBD have been shown in a number of laboratory studies to effectively induce cell death in tumour cells by modifying the faulty signalling pathways inside these cells. Depending on the cell type this can disrupt tumour growth or start to kill it.

American Weed S1 Ep4 – Rocky Mountain Medicine [SBS]

Rocky Mountain Medicine – With everything invested in the newly booming medical marijuana industry, the De Noue family of North Boulder Wellness Centre struggles to turn a profit. Meanwhile, pot entrepreneur Josh Stanley faces a huge challenge in persuading Colorado to finance scientific research and development into cannabis as medicine, while the Denver Police Department conducts undercover operations to try to keep a lid on the expanding black market in marijuana. (From the US) (Documentary Series) (Part 2 of 4) M (A,D)

Doomsday Seed Vault Now Has Marijuana Seeds – Your Weed Will Survive The Apocalypse Even If You Don’t  [Inquisitr]

Doomsday Seed Vault has already preserved multiple types of marijuana seeds to ensure their survival in case of Armageddon. Buried inside a mountain on a remote Norwegian island, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is an ultra-secure facility that is harboring the most precious resource of our planet besides water. The vault, built in collaboration with agricultural institutions from around the world, has been commissioned to safeguard important crops in the event of global catastrophe. Now, the marijuana plant has made it to the list of crops that will be safeguarded for our future generations.

Watch Ganjapreneurs Pitch Their Pot Business on a Shark Tank–esque New Show [Slate]

The Marijuana Show, which premiered online today (they couldn’t wait until 4:20 p.m.), isn’t your regular cutthroat reality show. It’s a little kinder and mellower strain than others in the genre. The show is part The Apprentice, part Shark Tank, and part marijuana history lesson. Filmed in Denver, the capital of America’s legal pot industry, the first episode, “Hemp, Hemp, Hooray,” finds ganjapreneurs pitching co-creators, producers, and directors Wendy Robbins and Karen Paull for a spot on the show. Robbins and Paull filmed 20 episodes for Season 1 following the entrepreneurs from auditions and call backs through mentoring with pitch masters, lawyers, and investors during the show’s “Bud Camp.” At the end of the season, they begin helping the aspiring business owners land between $25,000 and $1 million in venture capital.

Farmville creator: It’s easier to help grow marijuana than negotiate with Facebook executives all day  [The Guardian]

Tom Bollich founded Zynga in 2007 and left before it went public. Now he’s reinventing himself as a marijuana entrepreneur, devising sustainable agriculture for the pot industry.

Pot start-up rolls out accessories [Yahoo Finance]

Time for the marijuana industry to get a makeover, says Josh Gordon, founder and CEO of e-commerce start-up The Bureau. He’s weeding out tie-dye and leaf graphics for chic new designs. The 27-year-old said he has high hopes to “raise the standards for the [marijuana] industry,” and nix the black-market feel. “Whether we’re talking about a grandmother dealing with [the] side effects of chemotherapy, or a modern professional that consumes recreationally, they deserve to be treated like the high-value consumer they are,” said Gordon. Growing up, Gordon spent winters at his family home in Colorado, where the cannabis industry has gone more mainstream. “I was, and still am, surprised to see that cannabis is sold in plastic baggies, repurposed plastic pop-top containers and other methods that more closely mirror the days where cannabis was only available on a street corner,” the founder told CNBC. Read More Booze on the move While working on his MBA in New York in 2011, Gordon founded a start-up called Rodawg. This month he changed the name to The Bureau, referencing a storage cabinet. The Bureau wholesales to dispensaries, including California medical marijuana dispensary Harborside Health Center, as well as direct to consumers via its new website, thebureau.nyc. The start-up is preselling jars, cases, tubes and bags made with embossed glass, treated woods, hidden compartments and even odor-proof and child-resistant features.

How to Become a Billionaire Drug Trafficker – Legally [Yahoo Finance]

ArcView Group Market Research, a San Francisco-based Cannabis investment research firm, forecasts a 64 percent surge in the legal US cannabis market to $2.34 billion, from initial estimates of $1.53 billion by year end 2014. Furthermore, ArcView’s research indicates that the five-year US national marijuana market could grow to $10.2 billion. When marijuana becomes completely legalized in the US it could be 10-20% the size of the alcohol market, translating into total revenues of $40-80 billion per year. Eyeing such massive potential revenues the ‘Cannabis Dream Team’ at Kaneh Bosm BioTechnology (KBB-CSE)has structured 3 key verticals to earn a share of those revenues. The executives at Kaneh Bosm are pursuing an automated Cannabis retail system, the BioCanna ADM, a massive greenhouse flagship production center, and a Cannabis production facility design and construction division, Kaneh Bosm EPC.

Medical marijuana patient sues for workplace discrimination  [News]

A graduate student has sued a textile company for refusing to hire her for a two-month internship because she uses medical marijuana to treat frequent and debilitating migraine headaches, a decision her lawyer calls discrimination.  Christine Callaghan, who is studying textiles at the University of Rhode Island, sued Westerly-based Darlington Fabrics Corp. and its parent, the Moore Company, on Wednesday. The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Callaghan, said it believes it’s the first lawsuit of its kind in the state.

Why Congress Probably Won’t Block Marijuana Legalization In Washington, D.C. [Forbes]

At a press conference yesterday, Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s congressional delegate, urged her colleagues to respect the will of the voters who overwhelmingly approved marijuana legalization in the nation’s capital last week. She was joined by three congressmen, including Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who said trying to block legalization in D.C. or in Alaska and Oregon, where voters also said no to marijuana prohibition last week, would flout “fundamental principles” that “Republicans have always talked about,” including “individual liberties,” “limited government,” and “states’ rights and the 10th Amendment.” Norton noted that “we’ve had a threat to try to overturn our legalization initiative.” She was referring to Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), who after the D.C. vote told The Washington Post, “I will consider using all resources available to a member of Congress to stop this action.” Although there is no doubting Harris’s sincerity, those resources probably will prove inadequate.

TED Talk: What Has The War On Drugs Done To The World? [Reset Me]

Twenty years ago, Ethan Nadelmann left his teaching position at Princeton University to become a full-time advocate for ending the drug war. As the founding executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the largest and most influential organization promoting drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, Ethan’s vision and leadership have had a monumental impact on public opinion and changed the course of history. Take a few minutes, as soon as you can, to hear Ethan Nadelmann’s newly released TED Talk that was featured on Wednesday as the day’s lead item at TED.com. There is a good reason for the standing ovation Ethan received at the conclusion. The ideas he presents are provocative, enlightening and becoming more mainstream than anyone could have imagined when he began his activism more than two decades ago.

93-year-old great grandmother smoking weed for the first time  [Dangerous Minds]

93-year-old “Silver Princess” and her son “Open Sky”—these are their code names, btw—record themselves smoking the good shit for the very first time. Since they both live in the state of Washington where weed is legal, grandma and her son are willing to try it at least once. Why not, right? Hilarity ensues as they videotape themselves toking up. Pure comedy.  I’m not entirely convinced this is grandma’s first time. She immediately knew the word for a spliff was a “joint” while her son struggled to find the appropriate word for it.  The whole thing is really amusing to watch and incredibly adorable, too.

Congresswoman Open to Medicinal Cannabis for Vets with PTSD [The Anti Media]

I recently caught up with  Sheila Jackson Lee, U.S. Representative of Texas’s 18th congressional district, as the City of Houston held its annual celebration of Veterans Day. The ceremony was the typical flag waving, local politicians patting themselves on the back for blindly supporting wars and then celebrating the wounded who fight valiantly for a cause that less and less resembles a fight for democracy or freedom but could more accurately be described as war for corporate interests. The military-industrial complex we were warned about so long ago. Jackson Lee is on the Committee on Homeland Security and a staunch supporter of the Security and Surveillance States. She spoke about the need to support the troops and urged elected officials to consider all options before rushing into war. I asked her about her thoughts on providing veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) access to Cannabis and other treatment alternatives to the typical pharmaceutical remedy. 

NYC decides pot fines are just the ticket [Al-Jazeera America]

The New York Police Department will stop arresting people for possession of small amounts of marijuana and instead issue them civil citations, city officials said Monday, citing both a severe racial disparity in the law’s implementation and the burden of arrests on the criminal justice system as reasons for the change.  Citizens who are stopped by police with small amounts of the drug will receive civil summonses, like parking tickets, instead of permanent arrest records that could limit their opportunities later in life. It’s a model that is increasingly being used in cities across the United States. “Now there will be fewer unnecessary, low-level marijuana arrests,” said Mayor Bill De Blasio, who ran on a campaign last year emphasizing police reform. “That energy goes into fighting more serious crime.”

‘Selling off NHS for profit’: Tories’ and Liberal Democrats’ links with private healthcare firms revealed  [Mirror UK]

Wonder why cannabis is illegal? Could it be because our politicians are corrupt? One in five Coalition MPs have links with private firms who could profit from the Government’s NHS reforms, a damning dossier will reveal on Tuesday. Prime Minister David Cameron, former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and his successor Jeremy Hunt are among 64 Tory MPs named in a study by the Unite union. Deputy PM Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable are among seven Liberal Democrats on the list. All 71 MPs named in the dossier voted in favour of the Government’s controversial Health and Social Care Act in 2012, which opened up the NHS to more private firms.

Cannabis robbers ‘raiding wrong houses’ [BBC UK]

It used to be that burglars were after your jewellery or your laptops or your fancy tellies, but in some English cities there’s a new target – cannabis.  Police in Nottingham say burglars are raiding houses where cannabis is being grown. There’s a decent profit in selling it. But in many cases they’re raiding the wrong houses, upsetting a lot of people and coming away with nothing. Sima Kotecha speaks to one man whose house was wrongly targeted.

The new strain of cannabis that could help treat psychosis  [The Guardian]

Although widely seen as a potential trigger for schizophrenia, marijuana also contains an ingredient that appears to have antipsychotic effects. Tom Ireland visits the UK’s only licensed cannabis farm and meets the man responsible for breeding a plant that might be of benefit to millions.

Bob Marley fronts marijuana brand to sell healing power of the herb  [The Guardian]

Bob Marley is to become the face of the world’s first international marijuana brand. The late reggae superstar’s family has teamed up with a private equity firm to launch Marley Natural, which will offer “heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains” inspired by those Marley enjoyed. “My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb,” said Cedella Marley, Bob’s daughter. “He viewed the herb as something spiritual that could awaken our well-being, deepen our reflection, connect us to nature and liberate our creativity.” She said Marley Natural was an “authentic way to honour his legacy by adding his voice to the conversation about cannabis and helping end the social harms caused by prohibition.”

Afghan Opium Cultivation Rises to Record Levels [New York Times]

Prohibition — the income is always there when politicians need it. The Taliban regime in the late 1990s was the only Afghan government to completely eradicate opium cultivation, but the Taliban now both tax and actively participate in opium production.

EGA Raffle 2014 – Raffle Tics Now On Sale [Entheogenesis Australis]

It is with great excitement that EGA celebrates its 10th birthday this year with a one-day indoor symposium in Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday the 6th of December. In continuation of tradition we will of course be running the infamous EGA Raffle to raise funds and share amazing prizes with the entheo community. For our 10th birthday we hope to generate a raffle that is bigger and better than ever – and we can’t do it without your help!


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