Embassy Headlines, Issue 15

The war on drugs continued this week during the 75th anniversary of marijuana prohibition in the United States. 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 of law reform.

Here are the selected headlines for this week.



Qld: Indigenous councils to rule on liquor bans

The Courier Mail mentions evidence showing Action Management Plans “have helped reduce violence in some communities” and arguments that “alcohol restrictions have merely caused a jump in the use of illicit drugs”.


Poland is in the process of further rationalising its drug laws

It would seem that sense may be about to score yet another victory over sensibility in Poland’s drug regulations. A reform agenda, with three principal elements, has been drafted by 15 members of the Polish parliament’s lower chamber, the Sejm, in a co-operative effort by policy experts and NGOs. he amendment proposes, first, to introduce drug ‘assessment tables’, which would make it possible to differentiate between drug possession cases based on the quantity of drugs involved. Secondly, the modified law would make it possible for psychiatrists to prescribe methadone countrywide. The third amendment would make marijuana available for medical use in Poland.


Drug use in England and Wales – the most popular and who uses them

An estimated one in three adults has taken an illegal drug in their lifetime according to the latest figures out from the Home Office, but the number of people aged aged 16 to 59 taking drugs in the past year is at one of the lowest levels since 1996. Around 12m people have tried an illicit drug in their lifetime, the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) has found with the percentage rising slightly from 36.3% in 2010/11 to 36.5% in 2011/12. The number of adults that had taken drugs in the last year however fell to 8.9% – the lowest figure since the measurements began in 1996


UK: MDMA may help treat depression and PTSD, Channel 4 study suggests

Nearly half a million people are believed to take the Class A drug ecstasy every year in Britain and the country was dubbed the ‘drug-taking capital of Europe’ in a recent EU Drugs Agency report. Now, in a UK television first, two live programmes will follow volunteers as they take MDMA, the pure form of ecstasy, as part of a ground-breaking scientific study. Presented by Jon Snow and Dr Christian Jessen, the programmes aim to cut through the emotional debate surrounding the issue and accurately inform the public about the effects and potential risks of MDMA. The six-month long neuroscience study – designed by two of the world’s leading experts on MDMA, psychopharmacologists Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London and Professor Val Curran of University College London – is using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine how MDMA affects the resting brain in healthy volunteers for the first time.


Canada: British Columbia [B.C.] mayors vote to decriminalize pot

B.C. municipal leaders voted Wednesday for a resolution that calls for the decriminalization of marijuana, but they’re facing a major hurdle: convincing Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government to change the law.


Mexican Diplomat Says America Pretty Much Invited The Sinaloa Drug Cartel Across The Border

Leaked emails from the private U.S. security firm Stratfor cite a Mexican diplomat who says the U.S. government works with Mexican cartels to traffic drugs into the United States and has sided with the Sinaloa cartel in an attempt to limit the violence in Mexico. Many people have doubted the quality of Stratfor’s intelligence, but the information from MX1—a Mexican foreign service officer who doubled as a confidential source for Stratfor—seems to corroborate recent claims about U.S. involvement in the drug war in Mexico. Most notably, the reports from MX1 line up with assertions by a Sinaloa cartel insider that cartel boss Joaquin Guzman is a U.S. informant, the Sinaloa cartel was “given carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago,” and Operation Fast and Furious was part of an agreement to finance and arm the Sinaloa cartel in exchange for information used to take down rival cartels.


USA: Now students in Middle Schools are required to undergo Drug Tests

As a 12-year-old seventh grader, Glenn and Kathy Kiederer’s older daughter wanted to play sports at Delaware Valley Middle School here. She also wanted to join the scrapbooking club. One day she took home a permission slip. It said that to participate in the club or any school sport, she would have to consent to drug testing. “They were asking a 12-year-old to pee in a cup,” Kathy Kiederer said. “I have a problem with that. They’re violating her right to privacy over scrapbooking? Sports?” Olympic athletes must submit urine samples to prove they are not doping. The same is true for Tour de France cyclists, N.F.L. players, college athletes and even some high school athletes. Now, children in grades as low as middle school are being told that providing a urine sample is required to play sports or participate in extracurricular activities like drama and choir. Such drug testing at the middle school level is confounding students and stirring objections from parents and proponents of civil liberties.


USA: 75 Years Of Racial Control – Happy Birthday Marijuana Prohibition

Marijuana was prohibited by the federal government 75 years ago on Oct. 1, 1937. By signing the Marihuana Tax Act, Pres. Roosevelt banned all uses of cannabis in the United States. “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”- Harry Anslinger, first Drug Czar.


USA Conference: Final Days of Prohibition, NORML’12, 4-6 October 2012

NORML’s annual conference is the premiere gathering in America of cannabis law reform activists and organizations working for public policy alternatives to the country’s failed Cannabis Prohibition laws. This election year, voters in as many as four states will have the opportunity to vote in the affirmative on legalization initiatives. Additionally, numerous states have passed cannabis law reform measures, placing much needed pressure on the federal government to follow suit.


USA: A Marijuana Revolution in the Making on Election Day

As we approach November, the leading Democrat and Republican presidential candidates remain conspicuously, though predictably, silent regarding the question of marijuana law reform. By contrast, much of the public and the mainstream media can’t stop talking about pot politics. That’s because voters in six states this November 6 will have their say on the subject. If present polls hold, federal officials on November 7 will have little choice but to acknowledge that they have a full fledged reefer rebellion on their hands. 


Comic: Milton Friedman and the War on Drugs

The uncanny parallels between alcohol Prohibition and the ‘war on drugs’, this 28 page comic by Stuart McMillen examines Milton Friedman’s views on drug laws.


Book Review: Darwin’s Pharmacy – Sex, Plants, and the Evolution of the Noosphere

Are humans unwitting partners in evolution with psychedelic plants? Darwin’s Pharmacy shows they are by weaving the evolutionary theory of sexual selection and the study of rhetoric together with the science and literature of psychedelic drugs. Long suppressed as components of the human tool kit, psychedelic plants can be usefully modeled as “eloquence adjuncts” that intensify a crucial component of sexual selection in humans: discourse.

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