Embassy Headlines, Issue 19

This week a refresher course on the medical status of Cannabis, if you have friends in high places. There are some winners in the ‘war on drugs’. Those who can see the opportunity and make the right deal.

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.

Australian university studies on ’emerging psychoactive substances’

Two studies currently underway looking at emerging psychoactive substances: donate your urine, or, share trip reports

Australia: Trial brings cannabis spray closer to pharmacies

Cannabis prescriptions could soon be available to Australians for the first time as evidence mounts for its medicinal use in people with cancer and multiple sclerosis. Australian doctors are testing a cannabis mouth spray called Sativex in cancer patients with pain that does not respond well to painkillers such as morphine.

Australia: Police struggle with online drug networks

Australian law enforcement agencies are struggling to deal with booming online illicit drug markets that promise users high levels of security and anonymity, a confidential report has revealed. The report, “Hidden in Plain Sight” issued by the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission and obtained by iTnews’ sister publication SC Magazine, paints a bleak picture for narcotics enforcement.  It shows that police are struggling to cope as traditional drug distribution networks give way to burgeoning online drug stores.

Patented Pot vs. the Herbal Gold Standard

(Repeat) During the last decade a split has developed within the marijuana community. One group is comprised of those who believe that the community’s interests are best served by patenting marijuana strains and marijuana medicines in order to make them safer, more effective, more legitimate, more understood or, perhaps most importantly, more readily accessible since they will be legally available. The other group consists of those who believe that smoked cannabis is the “gold standard” ; the safest, cheapest and, largely because of the ease with which it can be titrated, the most effective form cannabis medicine will take. This second group denies any real advantage of marijuana patents to the consumer, challenges any claim of exclusive rights of the first group to sell a particular strain and opposes the exploitation of a combination of patents and prohibition to force consumers to settle for an inferior product.

Those Pungent Smells Oozing Out of Marijuana Buds Are Actually Giving You Clues About What Their Effects Will Be Like

Scientists are now formally acknowledging something that Cannabis consumers have long taken for granted: aroma is associated with effect.

Released this week: new Count the Costs briefing on alternatives to the war on drugs

The latest Count the Costs briefing outlines possible alternatives to the disastrous war on drugs. The drug war undermines public health and human rights, creates crime, fuels stigma and discrimination, damages the environment, and creates obstacles to development and security – all at huge financial expense. The need to meaningfully explore alternative approaches is therefore not only rational, but an urgent necessity. This need is now being acknowledged at the highest levels. Where once global leaders were silent on the need to look at alternatives, they are now speaking out. Earlier this month, three incumbent presidents – of Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala – took their call to explore alternative approaches to the United Nations, the very institution that enforces the global war on drugs.

Marijuana Majority – New Website Celebrates the Sanity Behind Pot Policy Reform

Marijuana Majority, a new organization that longtime drug policy reformers launched this week, seeks to help people understand that ending our ineffective and harmful marijuana prohibition laws not only makes perfect policy sense, but is a completely mainstream position that enjoys broad support. On MarijuanaMajority.com, we’ve collected in one place quotes and videos from politicians, religious leaders, celebrities, medical professionals, members of law enforcement and others who think it’s time to end the war on marijuana.

UK: The Current Criminal Law Is Not Going to Tackle the Real Dangers of Drugs

The use of the criminal law against those who possess and consume illegal drugs has little positive effect and has many negative consequences, while the use of the criminal law against those who supply illegal drugs has been not been driven politically or carried out effectively. As a result, drugs laws as currently constituted and implemented are an ineffective barrier to the dangers associated with taking illegal drugs.

UK: Growing cannabis in your home should not be illegal

Growing cannabis in your own home should not be a criminal offence, according to a leading professor from the University of Kent. Professor Alex Stevens, the deputy head of the school of social policy, sociology and social research, said: “We should be moving towards progressive decriminalisation. We should be seeking to reform our drug laws to make them less harmful. “One way of doing that would be to start by decriminalising the personal possession of cannabis and also the production of small amounts of cannabis in people’s own homes.”

USA: What It’s Like to Be a Professional Marijuana Trimmer

How many people who obtain perfectly manicured buds from a dispensary consider the steps involved in its preparation? They may give some thought to the role of the grower, but who thinks about the trim crew? People come from all over the world to trim cannabis during the harvest season in California. Between early October and mid-November they swell the population of Mendocino, Humboldt, and other counties. Many others work on indoor grows year round, all over the state. 

USA: How much pot is too much for drivers?

The science of marijuana-impaired driving is a big political issue this year as voters consider whether to make Washington one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana sales. For the first time in our state, Initiative 502 would set a legal impairment level for THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

USA: A funny dope tale

The ‘Lone Ranger’ Story by Jay Thomas on Dave Letterman Show.

USA: What’s in a name? ‘Bath Salts’ vs. bath salts

Sales of genuine bath salts for therapeutic bathing are allegedly dropping as a result of negative media attention to stimulant drugs sold as “Bath Salts”. Many consumers now believe that ordinary bath salts are dangerous drugs.

USA: 10 Craziest Drug Busts

Since the biggest drug bust ever recorded in 1989, the United States has opened an ever-widening spigot of federal spending, amounting to around $1 trillion. It has focused on military and paramilitary interdiction that has crossed countless borders into sovereign countries, in both covert and overt actions that have strained diplomatic relations. Every year since 1989, the US has spent more money than the last. In ’89, under the leadership of President George H. W. Bush, the feds spent a modest $7.8 billion on the WoD. Today, the annual cost has risen to $26 billion. The result? The US incarcerates more of its citizens than Stalin did at the height of the Soviet gulags—most of them low-level drug offenders. So what do we get in exchange? Some flashy police work. 

USA: Media Ignored Expert’s Shocking Findings That Marijuana Helps Prevent Lung Cancer

You’d think it would have been very big news in the spring of 2005 when Donald Tashkin, a professor of pulmonology at UCLA’s David Geffin School of Medicine, revealed at a conference that components of marijuana smoke, although they damage cells in respiratory tissue, somehow prevent them from becoming malignant. But headlines announcing “Pot Doesn’t Cause Cancer” did not ensue.  

USA: The New Pot Barons – Businessmen Bank on Marijuana

Pot use in the United States is rising sharply, and voters may make it fully legal in two states this fall. Smart businessmen are banking on that happening.

USA Final Debate: Why Didn’t Obama or Romney Address International Drug Policy?

One glaring omission from the first two debates was America’s disastrous war on drugs. Neither candidate had addressed American’s longest war – which has flushed well over $1 trillion taxpayer dollars down the drain, incarcerated millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans, and led to massive crime, violence and corruption in almost every corner of the world. 

Italy: I can feel cocaine in the air tonight, oh Lord

According to Italy’s Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, there are detectable levels of cocaine in the air of eight major cities. The report followed the findings in 2006 that cocaine was present in Roman air. Now it’s been discovered that cocaine also occupies airspace in Palermo, Bologna, Florence, Turin, Milan, Verona and Naples. The levels aren’t significant enough to alter one’s consciousness simply from breathing in the air, but the data could be used to shape health policies.

Drug ‘shooting galleries’ to be tested by France

Legalised “shooting galleries” where addicts can inject heroin and other drugs with sterile needles provided by medical professionals could soon open in France, Health Minister Marisol Touraine has said.

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