Embassy Headlines, Issue 32

This week there are more signs of progress for Cannabis law reform. Many more people now see that prohibition is prejudicial rhetoric enforced by ignorant bigots who incite hatred. Corporate sponsored discrimination towards people who hold different beliefs. Follow the ‘money trail’ for funding the ‘war on drugs’ to find the real criminals.

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.


Qld: HEMP party on way to high which will rival major players

HEMP Party officials have declared the body a force to be reckoned with, arguing that its membership is growing towards numbers that will soon rival a major political party. The political party – with HEMP standing for Help End Marijuana Prohibition – elected office bearers yesterday at the foundation meeting of its new Sunshine Coast branch. Queensland president Nic Daniels said the single-issue party had three goals – to fight in parliament for the decriminalisation of recreational cannabis use, to legalise its use for medicinal and pharmaceutical purposes, and to promote its industrial applications. 

Smokers back ban on cigarettes says study funded by “Quit Victoria”

Most Victorian smokers would back a move to make cigarettes illegal, a survey suggests. The survey of more than 4500 adults, funded by Quit Victoria and published in the Tobacco Control Journal this month, found 72 per cent agreed it would be a good thing if cigarettes were banned from sale in shops.

USA: Drug Arrest Adds Name to Church’s Prayer List – Its Ex-Pastor

“This is all the work of evil,” Elizabeth Badjan, a longtime parishioner, said on Sunday as she left the 8:30 a.m. Mass at the church. “He was not close enough to God. He was tempted by the devil.” It was just days after the news that Monsignor Wallin had been indicted on charges that he had been part of a cross-country drug ring, sold crystal meth and possibly laundered the profits through an adult sex toy and video shop he owned. 

From Montevideo to Washington: A New Dawn for Drug Policy

While both Mexico and the United States have adamant objections to drug legalization, their first order of business is to transform their common enemy: the drug war that is so rooted along their shared border. Luckily, for President Barack Obama and Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto, a series of developments across the continent—including new administrations in Latin America, a change of rhetoric in the region, and U.S. gun control proposals—may open the door to change in current drug policies, which have thus far failed to effectively assuage the so-called war and restore its collateral damage.

Pivotal Pot Meeting in USA This Weekend

About three hundred activists — the people who likely will operate and staff the next legalization effort in California in 2016 — will gather with their allies at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center this weekend for a pivotal meeting on the future of freeing the herb. “Cannabis in California: Ending the 100-Year War,” sponsored by the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, will pack eleven strategy sessions over two days with the rock stars of the reform community, including Colorado Amendment 64 campaign co-director Mason Tvert; Washington Initiative 502 director Alison Holcomb; the leaders of Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance, and NORML — as well as major dispensary operators, union organizers, and pioneers in the movement. These are “people who are seriously active in legalization efforts taking place in the state,” said California NORML director Dale Gieringer.

USA: The DEA’s marijuana mistake

The DEA and the National Institute for Drug Abuse block serious research on medical uses of marijuana, creating a ridiculous circle of denials.

USA: Medical Marijuana Patient Advocacy Group and Herbal Medicine Industry Collaborate to Enhance Product Safety

The Cannabis Committee of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the only national trade association that is focused primarily on herbs and botanicals and herbal products, issued recommendations this week to regulators of dispensaries in California, Colorado, and Massachusetts, and will make similar recommendations in other medical marijuana states over the next few days. The committee, in cooperation with medical marijuana advocates Americans for Safe Access (ASA), has over the past year coordinated the development of best practice protocols in several areas, including cultivation; manufacturing, packaging and labeling; laboratory practice; and distribution.

Medical Cannabis Provides Dramatic Relief for Sufferers of Chronic Ailments, Israeli Study Finds

In 2009, Zach Klein, a graduate of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film and Television Studies, directed the documentary Prescribed Grass. Through the process, he developed an interest in the scientific research behind medical marijuana, and now, as a specialist in policy-making surrounding medical cannabis and an MA student at TAU’s Porter School of Environmental Studies, he is conducting his own research into the benefits of medical cannabis.

Bolivia scores coca leaf victory at UN

Bolivia says that it has been re-admitted to the UN’s anti-narcotics convention after persuading member states to recognise the right of its indigenous people to chew raw coca leaf, which is used in the making of cocaine. Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, had faced opposition from Washington in his campaign against the classification of coca as an illicit drug. “The coca leaf has accompanied indigenous peoples for 6,000 years,” said Dionisio Nunez, Bolivia’s deputy minister of coca and integrated development, on Friday. “Coca leaf was never used to hurt people. It was used as medicine.” The leaf was declared an illegal narcotic in the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, along with cocaine, heroin, opium and morphine and a host of chemical drugs.

Guatemala’s president: ‘My country bears the scars from the war on drugs’

In any war there are innocent victims. In the 40-year war on drugs, the central American state of Guatemala can lay claim to being just such an innocent casualty. It has been caught in the crossfire between the nations to the south (principally Peru, Colombia and Bolivia) that produce illegal narcotics and the country to the north (America) that has the largest appetite to consume them. Guatemala does little of either.

Chewing the khat with British-Somalis

 It is banned in the US, banned in the Netherlands, but the UK Government’s official drugs advisory body has rejected calls to ban khat, a herbal stimulant from east Africa.

UK: Exclusive Mirror poll reveals 75% say Government has lost the war on drugs

The charity Drugscope said: “If the only measure of success for the war against drugs is that drug use would be stamped out, then clearly this was never a realistic goal and this is reflected in the Mirror survey and similar surveys conducted by government.

Crisis on the Silk Road: If you can’t trust Britain’s biggest online drug dealer, who can you trust?

Over the weekend, Britain’s biggest seller of marijuana on the illegal but very successful online drug-dealing website Silk Road (SR, to those in the know) seems to have cut and run, disappearing from SR with a huge amount of his customer’s money.

Why People Who Hate Drugs Should Want to End the Drug War

Many people hate drugs. It is easy to see why. Most families have had a loved one with a problematic relationship to alcohol or other drugs. People who struggle with drug problems can cause incredible pain to themselves and their loved ones. Broken marriages, loss of jobs, incarceration and even dying from an overdose are all possible tragic consequences of serious drug problems. While it might be counterintuitive, people who hate drugs should be at the forefront of ending our nation’s failed drug war. The drug war makes all of the problems I mentioned above much worse. 

The war on pot is no safe bet

As recreational drugs go, marijuana is relatively benign. Unlike alcohol, it doesn’t stimulate violence or destroy livers. Unlike tobacco, it doesn’t cause lung cancer and heart disease. The worst you can say is that it produces intense, unreasoning panic. Not in users, but in critics.

Classic Songs About Drug Use, Drug Selling and the Drug War

Musicians are some of the most open and honest people when it comes to drug use in society. While there is still stigma and fear for most of us when it comes to talking about personal drug use, musicians share their experiences, both good and bad through their songs.

Ganja Yoga Combines Marijuana and Meditation

Following on the barefoot heels of hot yoga, circus yoga and hip hop yoga, cannabis-enhanced classes offer a way to cut through inhibitions.

Why I do what I do

Cannabis allows you to think in ways which you otherwise couldn’t. It allows you to understand on a deeper level. It is a mind expanding drug in the true sense. It has helped me to find myself, to know who I am and to be a better person. As for the facts rather than the fiction about cannabis… The medical benefits are enormous, I don’t need to explain that to any informed cannabis user, ‘enormous’ is an understatement.

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