Embassy Headlines, Issue 44

Mullaway locked away for helping the sick and needy. How many people feel safer knowing that Tony Bower is behind bars? Inadvertently, the Magistrate has attracted more support for Mullaways Medical Cannabis by making Tony a martyr.

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 44

NSW: Medicine man jailed

Campaigners for the use of medicinal cannabis are outraged over a one year jail sentence given to a prominent north coast grower of the herb when he appeared in Kempsey Court yesterday. Supporters of Tony Bower, 56, who is being held in custody despite lodging an appeal against the sentence, which carries a nine month non-parole period, say they will continue his work dispensing medicinal cannabis to cancer sufferers and others with terminal or debilitating illnesses. Mr Bower was charged after a police raid on his Mullaway property last year, which netted around 200 hemp plants that he had earmarked for production of medical tincture to distribute, free, to sufferers.


 Neo-liberalism and illicit drug liberalization: a natural alliance?

Over the past year there has been vocal calls for illicit drug law reform from a number of sources including the Australia 21 think tank, the Yarra City Council and the Australian Medical Association. The latter two organisations have recommended a trial of supervised injecting facilities in Victoria, but to date both the State Coalition Government and the Opposition Labor Party have rejected their proposals. This bi-partisan consensus in favour of retaining the existing (mainly prohibitionist) approach to illicit drug use arguably typifies the absence of a serious drug policy debate in Australia.


Study of daily users shows marijuana pills trump smoked marijuana for pain relief

Taking a marijuana pill is more effective at relieving pain than smoking the drug, a new US study of daily marijuana smokers has shown, but the authors warn the findings may not translate to non-regular users. Medical marijuana is already allowed in at least 18 US states and in Canada but remains illegal in Australia. The new study, conducted by the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University and published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, involved 15 males and 15 females who smoked marijuana every day.


High on Health: CBD in the Food Supply

The US government may not admit the medical efficacy of cannabis, but the global pharmaceutical industry has been researching it for many years. Some 350 scientists from drug-company labs including Merck, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, and Allergan (maker of Botox and silicone breast implants) regularly attend meetings of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. They are all trying to develop synthetic drugs that confer some of the health benefits of cannabis without the psychoactivity. “It’s a foregone conclusion,” says Julie London, M.D.,”that the next decade will see a new generation of Big Pharma medications based on cannabis.”  


Happy 420!

April is indeed one of the most exciting months of the year. On April 19 we have the pleasure of celebrating Bicycle Day, and on April 20 we follow it up with 420. April 20 has been designated as global cannabis appreciation day. It is a day to let the world know that this beautiful plant genus is part of our society and one of the most important bounties of nature. As our civilization expands and evolves, it has become essential for us to recognize and celebrate this day and share the wealth and knowledge that comes from harvesting and consuming what we have so generously been provided. 


Police Confiscate $5,000 Joint At Santa Cruz 4/20 Festivities

Watch as a killjoy cop puts a damper on the celebration of 4/20 on the campus of UC Santa Cruz USA, where a member of the student body attempted to smoke a the world’s largest joint, packed with 2.5 pounds of weed. No word on what the police force will do with the it, or whether there is any possibility of its retrieval. (The best part may be the doobie’s owner screaming at the officer, calling him a liar and threatening that he can’t wait to sue him in court.)


The Same Compounds Behind Marijuana’s Distinctive Stinky Smells Give Clues About the Kinds of High You’ll Experience

David Watson, the master crafter of the foundational hybrid Skunk #1, was among the first to emphasize the importance of aromatic terpenes for their modifying impact on THC. Terpenes, or terpenoids, are the compounds in cannabis that give the plant its unique smell. THC and the other cannabinoids have no odor, so marijuana’s compelling fragrance depends on which terpenes predominate. It’s the combination of terpenoids and THC that endows each strain with a specific psychoactive flavor.


The real driver behind most drug use is pleasure, not dependence

Harm minimisation, harm reduction, drug-related harm, drug overdose, addiction: these are the dominant narratives that are used when we talk about drugs. As doctors we diagnose those seeking treatment for many drug-use problems as having an illness. And government policies are driven by the drug use consequences of the minority of users who develop drug dependence. Don’t get us wrong: drugs – legal, illegal and prescribed – can ruin lives. Governments must provide treatment services and information. But the discourse almost always fails to explicitly and openly discuss drug-related harms in the context of the real driver behind most drug use, which is not dependence, but drug-related pleasure.


National Disgrace

Sociologist Harry Levine explains the terrible mechanics propelling apartheid-style law enforcement in America: “Police arrest mostly young and low-income men for marijuana possession, disproportionately blacks and Latinos. In the last 15 years, police and sheriff ’s departments in every major U.S. city and county have made over 10 million of these possession arrests. Most people arrested were not smoking. They were carrying tiny amounts.”


USA: The Year In Pot – Marijuana’s Legislative Victories

The past year has seen a tidal shift in the politics of marijuana, from Washington and Colorado’s initiatives to tax and regulate pot like alcohol to polls showing record-breaking support for its legalization. Here is a list of some of the most 420-friendly news of the year.


The Pot Business Suffers Growing Pains

Across the country, the business of growing pot is fast becoming mainstream. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have approved the use and production of marijuana for medicinal use, including two states, Colorado and Washington, that also allow recreational use. That has spurred on a cottage industry of professional growers, with an estimated 2,000 to 4,000 businesses now producing the plant for legal purposes. Total sales: $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion last year, according to Medical Marijuana Business Daily, an industry publication.


Canada: Majority Supports Study to Evaluate Taxation and Regulation of Marijuana

A new Angus Reid poll released today shows that British Columbians overwhelmingly support the province undertaking a pilot study to evaluate the taxation and regulation of adult cannabis use. The survey, conducted between April 8 and 9, found that 73 per cent of British Columbians support a B.C. research trial conducted by local experts and health scientists to evaluate whether the taxation and strict regulation of adult marijuana use could reduce profits to organized crime and better prevent youth access to the drug.


Strong Opposition to the Possible End of Dutch Coffee Shops

Cannabis Culture Award winner 2013 and former Dutch European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein appeals for a different approach towards cannabis in the Netherlands. The Dutch nation has long been known for its liberal approach towards soft drugs. However, this situation has recently reversed. While countries such as Spain, Germany and the United States of America are increasingly focusing on the benefits offered by medicinal cannabis and hemp, the Netherlands – until now, leading by example – is currently turning its back on progress. Thankfully, many people and politicians have risen to protest against these plans. Bolkestein’s acceptance of the 2013 Cannabis Culture Award is particularly noteworthy. His fellow liberal party member and current minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten is currently aiming to reschedule cannabis products containing more than 15% THC into the same category as hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin. This would not only outlaw 70% to 80% of all cannabis sold in Dutch coffee shops but also send the market straight back into the hands of criminals, the very thing the original tolerance policy was created to avoid. Bolkestein will be honoured with the Awards for his plea for regulation of cannabis trade on April 23rd 2013, by Dries van Agt, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and founder of the Dutch Tolerance Policy. Bolkestein presents his liberal vision regarding cannabis and hemp in a highly anticipated acceptance speech.


Puerto Rico Senator Introduces Bill to Make Marijuana Legal for Adults

The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has entered debate over marijuana. Sen. Miguel Pereira filed a bill last week that would permit adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, arguing that 80 percent of inmates are serving time for non-violent crimes and that possession cases cost the government money.


The 2013 Program

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There is a new venue this year for MardiGrass, behind the HEMP Embassy and Town Hall, right in the middle of the village.

There is a natural amphitheatre around a stage and plenty of space for the HEMP Olympix. Sunday’s Twenty First Annual Cannabis Law Reform Rally is now planned to march from the Western Car Park. LET MY PEOPLE GROW. Cannabis law reform rally and gathering May 4th & 5th, 2013. www.NimbinMardiGrass.com


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