Embassy Headlines, Issue 22

All the closet experts on Cannabis have revealed themselves to be quite learned, since coming out after the election. Even the Seattle Police have a guide on how to consume the weed and keep your job in the public service.

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: Mullaway medicine man fined

Tony Bower from Mullaways Medical Cannabis Co was fined $1000 in Lismore Court on Friday for cannabis found by police in the famous Mullaway bus. Mr Bower travels from town to town, offering patients with terminal illnesses or in extreme pain free access to his tincture made from marijuana that he grows himself. He maintains that his tincture contains no psychoactive ingredients and therefore should not be caught up in the state’s law against the use of marijuana, but the court did not agree.


Australia: Northern Rivers Region loses drug crown

The Northern Rivers has lost the mantle of the of the cannabis capital of Australia, according to recent crime statistics. In 2011, Byron LGA slipped to third in the state behind the south-western NSW LGAs of Narrandera and Wakool, while Lismore LGA fell to 11th. The rankings are based on a comparison of the number of offences per 100,000 people in any of the 140 NSW local government areas that have more than 3000 people.


Australia: High time cannabis was legalized, so let’s weed out the problems

Voters in Colorado and Washington passed ballot initiatives on November 6 to tax and regulate cannabis in those states. This means legalisation of cannabis is now inevitable in many countries in the world. It will take time and there will be numerous steps. Perhaps Australia is still a few royal commissions away from legalising cannabis. Several opinion polls show that there are now more supporters of regulated cannabis in the US than opponents. It’s only a matter of time before supporters outnumber opponents of legalised cannabis in Australia. So what would legalised cannabis look like?


Would you like to participate in our study of cannabis growers?

The general community typically has unrealistic views about people who grow cannabis. We want you to help set the record straight by completing an anonymous questionnaire. Find your country and click the survey link to find out more. In Australia, Monica Barratt and Simon Lenton invite you to participate in a study on small-scale cannabis cultivation, conducted by the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) at Curtin University. This study is part of an international collaboration researching cannabis cultivation across Europe, North America and Australasia called the Global Cannabis Cultivation Research Consortium.


Global drug survey to rank Australian use

Drug and alcohol treatments are on the rise in Australia, new research shows, but little real-time information is available about how, why and what drugs mainstream Australia is using. Fairfax Media is partnering with the Global Drugs Survey, created by Adam Winstock, a Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist and researcher based in London, to help create the largest and most up-to-date snapshot of drug and alcohol use in Australia, and how we compare with the rest of the world. Link to survey here.


Australia: Legal highs: what should we do about synthetic cannabis?

Synthetic cannabis is a lab-made product that mimics the effects of cannabis to give users a high when smoked. It has been sold in Australia since 2011 under various brand names, with a range of chemical compositions. The product presents a unique challenge for drug policymakers. Despite 18 months of legislative action intended to ban synthetic cannabis, people in some states claim they can still walk into a sex store or tobacconist and purchase it. Clearly the legislative changes have not been totally effective.


USA: A ‘Party Drug’ May Help the Brain Cope With Trauma

Some veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are seeking treatment from Michael and Ann Mithoefer, a husband-and-wife team who combine psychotherapy with doses of Ecstasy.


Marijuana legalisation in the US: Five burning questions

How will retailers and growers market and advertise marijuana? Can your boss still make you take a drug test? How can police officers prevent drugged driving? The US once prohibited alcohol. Do these laws portend the nationwide end to marijuana prohibition? Will people stop distinguishing between “recreational use” and “medical use” of marijuana?


Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle

The people have spoken. Voters have passed Initiative 502 and beginning December 6th, it is not a violation of state law for adults over 21 years old to possess up to an ounce of marijuana (or 16 ounces of solid marijuana-infused product, like cookies, or 72 ounces of infused liquid, like oil) for personal use.  The initiative establishes a one-year period for the state to develop rules and a licensing system for the marijuana production and sale.


Entering the Legal Marijuana Era – Finding the Pitfalls and Profits in the Years Ahead

Here is a sampling of some of the new industries legalization will spawn: New Products, Conventions & Events, Associations, Testing Laboratories, Ratings Organizations, Newspapers & Magazines, News Specials, Education, Training & How To Guides, Movies, Documentaries & TV Shows, Patents, Support Groups, Pharmaceuticals & Alternative Medicines, Farmers Markets, Marijuana Tourism and additional opportunities in agriculture, processing plants, transportation, distribution, marketing, advertising, training, certification, regulators, and much more.


USA: Marijuana Business Conference Wrapup: Tips, Lessons & Takeaways for the Cannabis Industry

Just days after the most important election in history for the cannabis industry, nearly 400 professionals gathered in Denver for what turned out to be the largest business-focused MMJ event ever held in the US: The National Marijuana Business Conference 2012.


USA: Boulder DA dismissing small-scale marijuana possession cases in light of Amendment 64

District Attorney Stan Garnett will dismiss all pending criminal cases of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, saying the overwhelming support for Amendment 64 in Boulder County makes it highly unlikely a jury would ever reach a guilty verdict in any of those cases.


USA: FedEx, UPS Investigated for Online Drug Shipments

The nation’s two largest shipping companies said they are targets of a criminal probe related to their dealings with online pharmacies at the center of an international crackdown on prescription drug abuse. The federal investigation of the two shipping giants stems from a blitz against online pharmacies that was launched in 2005. Since then, dozens of arrests have been made, thousands of websites shuttered and tens of millions of dollars and pills seized worldwide as investigators continue to broaden the probe beyond the operators. Last year, Google Inc. agreed to pay $500 million to settle allegations by the U.S. Justice Department that it profited from ads for illegal online pharmacies.


War On Drugs: 27 Reasons Why U.S. Doesn’t Have The ‘Moral Authority’ To Lead It In Latin America

Mexican President Felipe Calderón drew international headlines this week when he said the United States didn’t have the “moral authority” to lead a drug war, after the states of Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use.


New law would let Uruguayans grow marijuana at home, in clubs

Uruguayans will be able to grow marijuana at home or in clubs, but the state will be in charge of the trade from cultivation to sale under a government-led legalization bill presented in Congress on Wednesday.


Dutch scrap controversial ‘weed pass’ cannabis laws

Dutch cities are to decide themselves whether to bar foreign drug tourists from so-called coffee-shops, after the government scrapped its unpopular “weed pass” law. The move will allow Amsterdam to keep pulling in millions of foreign soft-drug users, while allowing border towns to clamp down on crime related to drug tourism. “The best way of seeing which measures are effective is at local level,” Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten said in a letter sent to parliament late Monday. “We are abandoning the ‘cannabis card’,” he added.


UK: New generation, new problems, new drugs: time for a different approach?

UKDPC’s conference on the future of drug policy is taking place this week. A live stream of the conference is available.


UK: Why Pot Makes Some People Psychotic

Previous studies have linked smoking marijuana with an increased risk of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, but only a small number of those who smoke pot will ever have a psychotic episode. The new finding could help identify which cannabis users might be at risk for this side effect, the researchers said. “Our findings help to explain why one cannabis user develops psychosis while his friends continue smoking without problems,” said study researcher Dr. Marta Di Forti, of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry.


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