Embassy Headlines, Issue 13

The Nimbin HEMP Embassy believes that the conflated war on drugs is futile and ignorant. Bundling Cannabis with other substances is denying the potential of the plant for hemp seed food and cosmetics, as a renewable resource for ethanol and bio-diesel, for textiles from the plant pulp and fibre, and as a safe effective medicine.

The Embassy Headlines are a selection of recent 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: Legalise Drugs – No More Sniffer Dogs



The Australian Sex Party has strongly criticised the NSW government for deploying more sniffer dogs on the streets of Sydney as a way of controlling drugs and drug dealers. Party President, Fiona Patten said that increased police dog activity on the streets and trains would do nothing to catch the ‘Mr Bigs’ of the illegal drug industry, as they all drove luxury cars and flew light planes. She said the only effect of this move would be to raise the price of illegal drugs on the black market, to send more young people to jail for recreational drug use and cause a greater escalation of the entire drug trade. “Throwing more police and dogs onto the streets shows a blunt, anti-intellectual approach to the problem of drug abuse”, she said. “It sends a message to the people of Sydney that the government is completely bereft of new ideas to deal with the problem. The war on drugs is lost and everybody knows it. We need a completely new paradigm based on treating drugs as a health issue and not a law and order issue.”

Senate Resolution on Australia21 Drugs Report


Senate motion supporting Australia21’s efforts on drug law reform, carried on the voices. Thank you Senator di Natale.

Was Australia intended as a hemp colony?


Two hundred years ago hemp, cannabis sativa, was used as the basis for sail and rope. In the Age of Sail hemp was as important as oil is in the modern era. Historian Dr John Jiggens wrote a book called Sir Joseph Banks and the Question of Hemp, in which he used previously unpublished documents by Sir Joseph Banks on the hemp question.

Australian (illicit) drug policy timeline 1985 – 2012


This paper provides a list of key events, policy and legislative changes that have occurred in Australia between 1985 and September 2012. Events are listed by jurisdiction, at the national and state/territory level.

UK: Drugs policies are not working, believe 75% of MPs



More than three-quarters of MPs believe the UK’s drug policies are not working, according to a poll for a respected commission poised to deliver a landmark report assessing the evidence for continued prohibition. The poll’s publication comes ahead of the release of several major reports into the future of UK drug policy that will ensure the debate about reforming the country’s laws becomes a key issue for MPs for the rest of the year. The poll, conducted by ComRes for the UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC), found that 77% of MPs believed the UK’s current policies were ineffective in tackling the problems caused by illegal drugs.

Holland Election Leaves Up in the Air the Question of “Weed Pass”


The next Dutch Prime Minister is a strong proponent of the restrictive “weed pass.” But because the election was very close, his coalition may save pot smoking in coffee shops for tourists. There has been trial run of “weed pass” beginning last spring in the south of the country, near the borders of Belgium and Germany, aimed at tourists who travel into Holland and make a mess of things, as a result of their pot smoking. The rest of the plan which would affect Amsterdam, and would create private clubs for pot smokers with tourists excluded, is due to be implemented at the end of the year.

Teens quickly climb the ranks in Mexico’s drug war


As Mexico’s violence between cartels continues to rage on, older, more experienced gunmen are being killed off, leaving their spots to younger, inexperienced sicarios — cartel hit men — who are not even old enough to legally drive a car, said George W. Grayson, a professor at the college of William and Mary and the author of “The Executioner’s Men,” a book about the history of the Zetas, their members and their operations.

Has Britain’s war on drugs led to more executions in Iran?


Human rights campaigners are increasingly worried that funding to combat the narcotics trade is providing indirect assistance to a judicial system that is engaged in what Amnesty International describes as ‘a killing spree of staggering proportions’.

Japan’s depressing increase in prescribed drug use


The impressive sales growth of psychoactive medications in Japan has occurred over a short period of time. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the word utsu (depression) received wide currency. According to the health ministry, the number of clinics treating depression increased by 140% between 1996 and 2008, as the number of people diagnosed with depression jumped from 240,000 in 1999 to 700,000 in 2008. Sales of psychoactive drugs have gone up by 30% in the past four years. The media has portrayed psychoactive drug usage as being out of hand, owing to the lack of alternative treatments, meaning counselling. As with most mental illnesses in Japan, depression was seen as a condition that had been ignored for too long, and drug treatment was a means of catching up with the rest of the world.

USA: Drug Policy in the 2012 Elections



When it comes to drug policy and the 2012 elections, there is plenty on the table.

Pense Livre: A New Drug Policy Initiative to be Launched in Brazil


On September 18th in Sao Paulo Brazil a new network called “Pense Livre” (Think Free) is being launched. Pense Livre will assemble more than 60 Brazilian leaders to discuss the best practices to reduce damage and violence associated with drug policy. The Pense Livre Network will aim to promote a broad and critical debate on drug policy. It will bring together more than 60 young leaders from across Brazilian society which will include business people, journalists, filmmakers, doctors, psychologists, activists, researchers and lawyers.

Five Marijuana Compounds That Could Help Combat Cancer, Alzheimers, Parkinsons (If Only They Were Legal)


They don’t even get you high, so why are these natural, non-toxic substances illegal? Because they’re derived from cannabis.

Book Review: Narcomania – A Journey Through Britain’s Drug World


It’s embedded from the high street, to the five star hotels which act as resplendent drug dens for the privileged set, to the global banking system. But it is a truth that is kept under wraps.

Book Review: Confession of a Muslim Psychedelic Tea Drinker


The place of drugs in Islam is much more complicated than most people recognize. Because the Qur’an only speaks specifically of wine, Muslims have had to figure out Islamic positions on other substances. The absence of a Qur’anic verse or authentic statement from the Prophet on weed, for example, allowed for a number of possibilities. Some thinkers used qiyas (analogical reasoning) to make a ruling on weed derived from rulings on alcohol: If wine is intoxicating and forbidden in the Qur’an, then all intoxicants belong in the category of wine. Because wine is haram (prohibited), then so must be hashish (which, lacking our modern distinctions, included pot). Other Muslims, based on a more literal reading of the Qur’an, argued that no one has a right to forbid what the Qur’an itself does not. They felt that for wine and hashish to share one quality does not mean that they are automatically in the same class of substance. The Qur’an’s silence on weed empowered both the herb’s opponents and defenders.

Book Review: The Lebanese Connection – Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic


As global drug trade scholar Jonathan Marshall makes clear in his masterful and highly informative The Lebanese Connection, despite the terrifying sectarian war next door, the violent echoing clashes in Tripoli, and the Bekaa farmers’ and traders’ violent defence of their industry, this is a relatively quiet time in Lebanon’s history in the international drug trade. According to his elaborately sourced estimates, Lebanese hash production was at level five to seven times higher during the period on which he focuses, the Lebanese civil war of 1975 to 1990.

Survey: Substance use and life values


Researchers from Liverpool John Moores University (UK) are carrying out a survey on how people who use substances (e.g. alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs) feel in their day to day life. This project is being coordinated by Prof Harry Sumnall, Professor in Substance Use at the Centre for Public Health. The survey includes questions on substance use (including illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco). The research takes a neutral view on substances, and does not condone use or criticise users.


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