Embassy Headlines, Issue 39

Brace yourself for more intriguing revelations from ‘respectable citizens’ who use illegal drugs. You will need a stiff drink and a few fags to realise the hypocrisy and prejudice that our drug laws are based on.

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.

Embassy Headlines 39

Transcript, Hearing 18/03/2013 #2, Use of cannabis for medical purposes

The NSW inquiry into medical cannabis’s second day of hearings 18 March. Transcript now online.

Mick Palmer: After 33 years, I can no longer ignore the evidence on drugs

As a 33-year police practitioner who was commissioner of the Australian Federal Police during the ”tough on drugs” period, I fully understand the concerns of those who argue there is no reason to reconsider drug policy and I shared many of them until recent years. My police experience, in both the state/territory and federal jurisdictions, together with some 15 months practising at the private bar as a defence barrister and several years experience in the drug and alcohol fields, has convinced me that I was wrong.

The respectable drug-taker

“I’m reasonably healthy, I look after myself a lot of the time, I’m probably not what a lot of people who are anti-drug have as their stereotype of a drug user,” he says. But Simon is a pretty good example of the type of drug user identified by the Global Drug Survey, conducted this year in Australia in partnership with Fairfax Media.

Wasted Lives: Meet Andrew, an educated, white collar professional – and regular drug user

Based on a recent survey by the Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research Centre, Brisbane’s typical ecstasy user is a heterosexual male with tertiary or trade qualifications who is employed full time. Illicit drugs are widely viewed with fear and loathing. The stereotypes are perpetuated by the headline-grabbing horrors of diseased, drug-addled addicts roaming the streets. However, the reality is that most people taking illicit drugs do so recreationally and without severe consequences, albeit the inherent risk.

Rastafarians tell court drugs for religious use

A woman has told a Western Australian court she grew around 100 cannabis plants for the personal use of herself and her partner, who smoke 10 to 12 joints a day because they view the drug as a “sacrament from God”.

Fined man defiant on marijuana use for medical purposes

A MAN has said he will keep using marijuana for medicinal purposes despite being fined in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court. Gary Mervyn Howearth pleaded guilty to possessing a small amount of cannabis and some drug utensils at his home in Toogoom on February 24, but was defiant in his defence to using the drug. Howearth said he suffered from epilepsy, and cannabis was the best way he had found to lessen the frequency and severity of the seizures that came with the disease.

Researcher adds voice to a growing call for legalisation

A LEADING researcher is calling for a “sensible debate” in the community on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Charles Sturt University senior lecturer in medicinal chemistry, Doctor Philip Kerr, said there was evidence the drugs could work in certain cases to alleviate pain. Dr Kerr’s call comes as the Australian Medical Association, the Cancer Council NSW and the Australian Drug Foundation add their voices to legalise the drug in a submissions to a NSW upper house inquiry into the issue. 

Illawarra group lobbies for medical cannabis

A volunteer organisation representing Illawarra residents living with cancer wants cannabis approved for medicinal use to help people suffering chronic pain. Cancer survivor Sally Crossing told a NSW parliamentary committee hearing this week it “seemed self-evident” that cannabis relieved pain for many sufferers. “Enabling the medical use of cannabis is commonsense and kindness,” said Ms Crossing, who is deputy chair of the voluntary advocacy group Cancer Voices NSW.

Pot and the “Big C”

“The scientific studies are consistent in showing that there are constituents in cannabis that have anti-cancer activities,” says NORML deputy director Paul Armentano, who has given court testimony, written and lectured on medical marijuana. “We see that cannabinoids can act as selective anticancer agents in that they target malignant cancer cells and they cause these cells to turn on themselves and trigger cell suicide. They do not trigger suicide in healthy cells.”

The Science of Marijuana

Montana PBS’s new documentary, Clearing the Smoke, reveals how cannabis acts on the brain and in the body to treat nausea, pain, epilepsy and potentially even cancer.

New Study: Vaporized Marijuana is a Safe and Effective Pain Treatment

When we talk about the medicinal benefits of marijuana, those who disapprove of its use tend to roll their eyes. But the fact is, this powerful plant has numerous potential applications in healthcare and pain management in particular. A new study has once again demonstrated that the vilified plant can safely and effectively treat general pain along with the painful symptoms of neuropathy.

The New NORML: Looking Back at 40-Year Crusade to End Marijuana Prohibition

My position is that as long as any government can arbitrarily decide which drugs are legal and which are illegal, then anyone behind bars for a nonviolent drug offense is a political prisoner.

‘The War On Drugs Is An Abject Failure’

“It’s disappointing,” California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and the former San Francisco mayor said of the Obama administration’s renewed crackdown on California’s medical cannabis operations. “The fact that we’re having raids, the likes of which wouldn’t have even happened in the Bush administration, has been frustrating.” Citing the myriad politicians who have recently publicly declared their support for gay marriage, Newsom suggested it was time for leaders to “come out of the closet” on marijuana, too.

Henry Ford’s Hemp Plastic Car is 10X Stronger

According to Popular Mechanics, Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the CAR ITSELF WAS CONSTRUCTED FROM HEMP! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, ‘grown from the soil,’ had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel.

Colorado marijuana task force issues 58 recommendations on how pot should be grown, sold and taxed

The Amendment 64 Task Force, comprised of government regulators, pot advocates and law enforcement officials, was appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to make recommendations on how to implement the state constitutional amendment passed by voters last fall that legalized recreational pot use by adults, age 21 and older. Now the task force’s 165-page report goes to the governor and state legislature, which will craft laws on the regulation of weed. The task force agreed there needs to be a special marijuana sales tax, but left it up to the legislature to set the taxation rate.

Download this bong: 3D printer templates for getting your buzz on

3D printers are gaining in popularity, with uses spanning the spectrum from moon bases to firearms, but there’s another area where the ability to construct complex shapes is beginning to provide benefits: getting high.

Czechs look to Israel for medical marijuana

A recent meeting at the Czech Embassy in Tel Aviv explored the possibility of Israeli growers providing medical marijuana to the European country in what could be the first step toward a lucrative export industry.

The War on Drugs in Mexico: Is There an Alternative?

The HCLU’s video advocacy team travelled to Mexico in 2010 to film about the negative consequences of the war on drugs campaign launched by President Felipe Calderon in 2006. When we first entered the country, the number of people killed in the war was approaching 40,000. Today, the death toll is approximately 60,000. With the help of a like-minded local NGO, Espolea, we interviewed several politicians, professionals and activists, to find out why so many people had to die: Were they the necessary costs of an unescapable but winnable war, as many decision-makers claim, or the victims of a failed policy? Please watch and share our video to find out the answers!

Copenhagen looking to import cannabis from the US

According to prepared documents from the Copenhagen council, the city is proposing a three-year trial, arguing that “the legal sale of cannabis will result in decreased gang criminality, more prevention and a better life for average cannabis users”. An intriguing element of the plan calls for the possible import of cannabis from the US states of Colorado and Washington, where voters in November legalised its recreational use.

Ever More Deaths From Cannabis in the Netherlands

These deaths are actually caused by the fatal shootings and drive-by attacks by people who’ve had disagreements with their victims over the distribution or disappearance of a shared illegal cannabis grow-op. Just to be clear: No-one has ever died from the use of cannabis.

Nepal police crack down on festival cannabis smokers

Nepalese police said Sunday they have arrested more than 60 pilgrims for smoking cannabis and disturbing the peace at a major religious festival. Cannabis is illegal in Nepal, but under an ancient legal loophole authorities allow holy men — known as sadhus — to smoke it during an annual, often wild, celebration in honour of Hindu god Shiva. Thousands of pilgrims travel to the sprawling Pashupatinath temple complex in Kathmandu every year from all over Nepal and India to mark the occasion, which is known as Shivaratri.


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