Embassy Headlines, Issue 49

Pleasure comes in all flavours, shapes and sizes. Finding a pleasure that suits you can be a lot of fun or trouble. Stress, depression, hypertension and other common psychological conditions cause ‘Pleasure Deprivation’. The safest and most effective cure for PD is Cannabis. Diabetics and chronic pain sufferers could benefit too.

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 49

Time to get real on cannabis use

Medicinal use of cannabis should be permitted in Australia. In 2013, we should not still be merely discussing this possibility. A NSW parliamentary committee, chaired by Nationals upper house MP Sarah Mitchell, has unanimously recommended that medicinal cannabis be permitted for some people with certain terminal conditions.

Marijuana: The next diabetes drug?

Toking up may help marijuana users to stay slim and lower their risk of developing diabetes, according to the latest study, which suggests that cannabis compounds may help in controlling blood sugar.

Where have all the hippies gone?

In 1972, John Allen, then the Australian Union of Students cultural director, watched an ABC Four Corners program on dying country towns featuring Nimbin. He and fellow union office holder Graeme Dunstan (a Duntrooner who lay in front of the visiting US president Lyndon Johnson’s Sydney motorcade) were looking for a place to hold an alternative festival. Since 1966 there had been three such festivals staged at universities; Woodstock loomed large and rock festivals at Ourimbah and Sunbury were hits. ”There was tension between those who wanted music and those who wanted culture,” says Allen, an event management lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney. ”Many young people then were the children of people who had grown up in the country. There was a conscious move back to the land. Nimbin sort of naturally suggested itself.”

NZ Recreational drug control a world first

New Zealand once prided itself on being a “social laboratory” for advances in public welfare. Within a few months it will become a laboratory in every sense: for the approval of new recreational drugs. Other countries are taking a close interest in Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne’s proposed licensing system for synthetic psychoactive substances, as Mr Dunne found when he addressed a United Nations Drug Convention in Vienna recently. 

US: In Denver, can a business light up?

From January next year an amendment to Article 18 of the Colorado state constitution will make it legal for anyone aged 21 or over to possess up to an ounce (28 grams) of the drug for recreational purposes. The amendment represents a potential $50 billion business opportunity. Both in Colorado and Washington state, whose citizens voted for a similar reform last November, thousands of entrepreneurs are lining up to take advantage of the new legal landscape. As soon as the details have been worked out, all manner of cannabis-infused products – from butterscotch sweets to soft drinks – are expected to go on sale. Shoppers will be able to buy pre-rolled joints packed with strains of super-strong cannabis produced by “master growers” or, if they’d prefer not to smoke, a range of other ingenious delivery mechanisms, from odourless vaporisers to tinctures administered under the tongue.

US Congressmen Help Launch Drug War Exit Strategy Guide

On Thursday, the Drug Policy Alliance will release  An Exit Strategy for the Failed War on Drugs. This comprehensive report contains 75 broad and incremental recommendations for legislative reforms related to civil rights, deficit reduction, law enforcement, foreign policy, sentencing and re-entry, effective drug treatment, public health, and drug prevention education. The guide will be released at  a forum on the Hill cosponsored by Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), both of whom fought for major drug policy reform at the local level before running for Congress and winning. This new generation of legislators has demonstrated that support for drug policy reform is no detriment to electoral success – and in fact that it can be a key asset.

US: Michigan Supreme Court Protects Medical Marijuana Patients

In a crucial win for patients in Michigan, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the state’s zero tolerance driving under the influence law does not apply to medical marijuana patients when it is based on the mere presence of THC in a patient’s blood stream. Because THC can remain in a person’s system for days after it is consumed, the only other result would have meant that thousands of medical marijuana patients would be driving illegally simply for having used their medicine hours or days earlier.

Bolivia breaks the mold in ‘war on drugs’

Instead of ruining farmers’ livelihoods by eradicating their coca plots, Bolivia is applying “social control.” It’s led to a drop in the plant’s cultivation in a country the US blames for being a source of illegal drugs. “In this part of Cochabamba it’s mainly the coca leaf that supports families – there are other products, but they don’t have markets,” said Marcela Lopez Vazquez, a former coca union leader in Cochabamba who was on the front lines of the fight against coca eradication. “It’s a sacred leaf, and a natural resource in its natural state. For us it’s not a drug.”

Call for Irish national debate on decriminalising drugs

Community groups, health researchers, and academics are calling for a national debate on drug laws. It comes as Ireland prepares its position on drug prohibition ahead of a special session on the issue by the UN General Assembly in early 2016. The move for a debate on decriminalisation and legalisation is being led by Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign — an umbrella organisation of community groups, both in Dublin and beyond.

Thinking of buying weed again?

Instead of paying top dollar for a tiny bag of what could be growing in your backyard, you could donate your money to the HEMP Party Election Campaign and help end marijuana prohibition. A vote for HEMP is a vote to re-legalise and regulate Cannabis for personal, medical and industrial use in Australia. Donate all your money online. Visit the website at australianHEMPparty.com

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