Embassy Headlines, Issue 54

Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager, announced that he wants to create the equivalent of Starbucks in the newly legalized pot industry in Washington State. All this is happening at the same time that the Washington State Liquor Control Board is looking to finalize rules on the new, legal marijuana industry.

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 54

SA police to use unmanned drones to spy on criminals [Advertiser]

SOUTH Australian police will use sophisticated remote-controlled drones to spy on suspects as it takes the war on crime to new heights. “And, the UAVs have excellent capability for use in areas of rugged terrain, especially during searches for missing people or for illicit drug crops.”

Happy Herb Co founder wants herb lore not herb war [The Age]

Ray Thorpe has learnt a few things in his 20-year career as founder and franchiser of the Happy Herb Company. Among them is to no longer associate herbs with the word “high”. Thorpe, 65, has been dealing with legal recreational herbs since the early 1990s. The media, he says, has lumped herbal products incorrectly with synthetic drugs – filming some of his herbal products alongside reports on Kwan’s death.

Illicit substance use remains high in the Oceania region [United Nations]

In a new development in Australia, there has been a decrease in the use of “ecstasy” among police detainees. Only 5 per cent of police detainees in 2010 and 2011 reported using “ecstasy”, half the percentage who reported such use in 2009. Prior to 2012, an increasing interest in synthetic cannabis products was reported.43 In New Zealand, GHB/GBL is reported to be sold with methamphetamine “as a package to help users with the comedown effects of methamphetamine”.

225 held in record drug bust [The Australian]

AUSTRALIAN and US and agencies have worked together on the largest-ever bust of a global synthetic drugs ring, seizing thousands of kilos of illicit drugs and arresting 225 people in five countries.

Legal highs and lethal lows [ABC Radio National]

Sydney teen Henry Kwan became the public face of a new war on synthetic drugs when his death prompted state and federal bans on a range of compounds—known as ‘legal highs’. But what exactly are these substances and can a ban be effective? Sarah Dingle meets a former manufacturer, and tests one of the most popular legal highs—White Revolver.

Fake drug checkpoint is legal, experts say [Cleveland.com]

US police are not allowed to use checkpoints to search motorists and their vehicles for drugs. So, in Ohio, officers are trying the next-best thing — fake drug checkpoints.

Weed Issue: Special Coverage of Marijuana in America [Rolling Stone]

A new stoned age? A bumper issue from Rolling Stone dedicated to all things weed.

Guild Calls for Better Marijuana Policies [US National Lawyers Guild]

The US National Lawyers Guild, a public interest and human rights bar organization, released a report on June 25 highlighting the failures of marijuana prohibition and suggesting strategies for legalization initiatives.

Legalizing marijuana is hard. Regulating a pot industry is even harder [Washington Post]

It’s not every day that a former Microsoft executive holds a press conference to announce his new venture into the exciting and profitable world of drug dealing. But that’s exactly what happened earlier this month when Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager, announced that he wants to create the equivalent of Starbucks in the newly legalized pot industry in Washington state.

How Far Can Ethan Nadelmann Push America’s Drug Laws? [The Fix]

Nadelmann, 56, has been a drug policy reform activist for decades, from his teaching and research at Princeton in the ‘80s and early ‘90s to his founding in 1994 of the Lindesmith Center—a think tank funded by George Soros, which Nadelman merged with another group to form the Drug Policy Alliance in 2000. He’s widely considered the most influential advocate in this field, and his efforts bore their most spectacular fruit to-date last November, when Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana.

Support, Don’t Punish, on ‘World Drug Day’ [Huffington Post UK]

As the UN celebrated the rather insidious International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a day that has in the past been malevolently marked by executions, a counter voice resonated across the globe thanks to the Support Don’t Punish campaign. This simple premise of offering support and compassion towards those that may suffer at the clutches of addiction is a message that global opinion seems increasingly empathetic towards.

A safer high? A night with the illegal drug checkers [BBC]

Like it or not, drugs are a common feature of the UK festival scene, with over £100,000-worth seized in 2012 alone. But could a service that allows users to test the purity of their drugs before consumption help make them safer?

UK legal high market is EU’s largest, UN report says [BBC]

The UK has the largest market for so-called “legal highs” in the European Union, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). A total of 670,000 Britons aged 15-24 have experimented with the substances at least once, it says in its 2013 World Drug Report. It says there has been an alarming increase worldwide in new psychoactive substances, known as NPS. 

Caribbean countries following US lead on cannabis reform, for better or worse 

[Toke of the Town] In an attempt to capitalize on a rise in support for marijuana decriminalization, organizations like the Ganja Law Reform Coalition and the Rastafari Millennium Council are making a push to convince the Jamaican government to end 100 years of prohibition on the marijuana plant. 

Possession of small amounts of drugs decriminalized [Cuenca High Life]

Ecuador has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana and four other drugs. The move, which was expected, came last week when the National Council of Control of Narcotic and Psychotropic Drugs (CONSEP) published a table of drug possession limits. The limit for marijuana possession was set at 10 grams.

Illegal online drug bazaar begins massive advertising push [The Verge]

In the world of illicit virtual marketplaces, there is one clear leader: Silk Road, which has been in business since February of 2011. However, a few competitors have recently sprung up. The most visible is Atlantis, which has completely discarded the paranoia and caution that usually accompanies the online drug-dealing industry. Today, the site announced it is planning a “big social media campaign,” which kicked off with a video ad done in the style of a cutesy Silicon Valley startup.

The subversive world of online drug dealing presents its own problems [Guardian]

A nameless admin at Atlantis, a website selling everything from magic mushrooms to marijuana to crack cocaine, posted an advert on YouTube last week. The video was swiftly taken down, but not before about 40,000 people had seen it, copied down the strange URL and gone off to investigate. It’s part of a bold new marketing campaign to allow people to easily buy illegal drugs, wherever they are in the world. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is debatable.

“How to Make Money Selling Drugs”: The war America keeps on losing [Salon]

Despite its slick packaging and overtly facetious premise, director Matthew Cooke and producer Adrian Grenier’s faux-educational documentary “How to Make Money Selling Drugs” packs a wallop. While imparting lessons about the economic realities of the drug trade – a thriving, booming and ever-diversifying realm of entrepreneurial capitalism, in spite of the massively expensive attempt to shut it down – Cooke’s film reminds us that America’s destructive global misadventures of the last 20 years have a corollary that’s every bit as bad right here at home.

HEMP Party Events

Facebook is host to a long list of HEMP Party events in the lead up to the Federal Election. HEMP is on target to field two Senate candidates in all six States of Australia.


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