Embassy Headlines, Issue 55

Marijuana retail shops will begin opening in Colorado in January. Residents age 21 and over will be able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from a licensed and regulated store.

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 55

High alert for synthetic drugs [beat up by The Australian]

[Ed] The magazine headline for this article reads “Why synthetic drugs are every parent’s nightmare”. This type of journalism uses a family’s personal tragedy as a lurid beat up. Amongst the fear mongering and old time moralizing, the writer unwittingly includes rare moments of reality:

“One of Australia’s most senior drug detectives, the NSW Drug Squad chief Detective Superintendent Nick Bingham, says police have no real handle on the size of the synthetic market – up until this point it’s been largely legal and has not been assigned resources – but he estimates it is still only a fraction of the traditional illicit market, where marijuana is the number one drug, followed by speed and ice, ecstasy, heroin and the abuse of prescription medications.”

American flag made of industrial hemp flag to fly over US Capitol on Independence Day [Washington Post]

An American flag made of industrial hemp will fly over the U.S. Capitol on Independence Day. Historians say the first American flags were made of hemp, which was raised by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Field-grown pot allowed in proposed regulations [Seattle Times]

In a change of course, expansive outdoor pot-growing would be allowed under proposed rules for Washington state-regulated recreational marijuana. Other changes include shortening the hours of operation for retail pot stores to 16 hours a day, adding childproof packaging for some products and dropping a label for all pot products that showed a silhouette of Washington state with a pot leaf in its center. 

Retail marijuana rules [Denver Westword]

The Colorado Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division released initial regulations for the state’s impending legal marijuana industry on Monday, bringing the implementation of Amendment 64 one step closer to completion.The new rules cover the licensing and application process; production and sales models; and security and labeling requirements. It is important to note that these are emergency rules that were created in accordance with the timeline established by Amendment 64. The Department of Revenue will now carry out a lengthier process to develop a final set of rules. Marijuana retail shops will be able to begin opening in Colorado on January 1, 2014. Colorado residents age 21 and over will be able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from a licensed and regulated store; non-residents will be able to buy up to a quarter of an ounce at a time.

Is “Dabbing” the Crack of Pot? [The Fix]

Butane hash oil (BHO)—also known as dabs, honey oil, wax, oil, shatter, or budder—is a potent marijuana concentrate that can exceed 80% THC content. Growing in popularity in recent years, BHO is hailed by some as “the future of cannabis” while others fear it could harm the image of the legalization movement. “It is very, very potent,”Nick, 21, a Physics and Applied Math double-major and avid pot smoker from New York, tells The Fix. “It’s like the first time you smoked. Every single time.”

Long-term cannabis use may blunt the brain’s motivation system [Imperial College]

Long-term cannabis users tend to produce less dopamine, a chemical in the brain linked to motivation, a study has found. Researchers found that dopamine levels in a part of the brain called the striatum were lower in people who smoke more cannabis and those who began taking the drug at a younger age. They suggest this finding could explain why some cannabis users appear to lack motivation to work or pursue their normal interests. The study, by scientists at Imperial College London, UCL and King’s College London, was funded by the Medical Research Council and published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Higher Education Potential Indicator of Marijuana Use [MPP Blog]

A study looking at survey data pooled in 2010/11 comes from Northern Ireland and reveals that marijuana use rates tend to be greater for those engaged in higher education, and are also consistently lower in groups that left education before age 15. As it turns out, the group most frequently using marijuana in their lifetime is a composite of professionals and managers, whereas marijuana useage is lowest among semi-skilled and unskilled laborers. This information is also consistent with data gathered in the United States.

Study finds that 25% of adults have used cannabis [Irish Examiner]

A study of the use of the illegal drug on the island of Ireland found it had increased from 22% in 2007 to 25% in 2011. Professor Catherine Comiskey, chair of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol, which carried out the drug prevalence survey, said cannabis continues to be the most commonly used illegal drug in the country.

No single drug responsible for deaths [Irish Times]

The PSNI has said no single killer drug was responsible for the deaths of eight people in Belfast and Coleraine over the last four weeks. Forensics tests on the remains of the eight people, aged mainly in their 20s and 30s, are still to be completed, but the officer leading the investigation said the fatalities were not being treated as murder. Det Chief Supt Roy McComb said there was no common factor associating the people who died and no single cause: “There is no consistent individual drug that we are finding linking any of these deaths, no single bad pill out there killing people,” he said. “There is a sense that these eight people have died because of one bad batch, I want to dispel that myth.”

Former Mexican president Fox urges marijuana legalization [Reuters]

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox took his crusade to legalize marijuana to San Francisco on Monday, joining pot advocates to urge the United States and his own country to decriminalize the sale and recreational use of cannabis.

Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution That’s Changing How the World Gets High by Mike Power – review [Guardian]

Every day we hear about what the internet has done to books, music and newspapers. But there’s one massive retail industry that has also been radically transformed by the web but which has gone almost completely under the radar: drugs.


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