Embassy Headlines, Issue 59

The heavy toll, costs and questionable results of military responses to illegal drugs have motivated marijuana legalisation initiatives in the US states of Colorado and Washington, and inspired many world leaders to re-think drug laws.

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 59

HEMP PARTY…the Joint is rolled, we just need a lighter! [HEMP]

Now that we are an Australia wide force we need to fund election bonds in all six states of Australia. Please consider putting your hand in your pocket, to pay the bond for one of our candidate teams, or if this is beyond your means, then please assist us to whatever degree you possibly can. Your donation to the HEMP Party is tax deductible. The HEMP team have invested many months of hard work on behalf of Cannabis law reform in Australia and we will engage the coming election in a professional, tenacious, and effective manner; IF WE CAN (Cannabis). We need $24,000 to post the bonds for our candidates. And while this is only a first hurdle – nothing else can happen unless and until we get this done

Uruguay poised to set up legal marijuana market [The Australian]

Uruguay has taken a first step to becoming the first country to create a legal, regulated, marijuana market. The South American nation’s lower house of Congress approved the proposal in a party line vote after more than 13 hours of passionate debate. The measure now goes to the Senate, where passage is expected to make Uruguay the first country in the world to license and enforce rules for the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adult consumers.

Be the guy who gets everyone high, PM [The Age]

You got yourself a $20 billion hole in your budget? Why not just give up, admit that the traditional forms of drug control haven’t worked, and let a different form have a go? Why not let market forces settle once and for all how much the cannabis business is actually worth and how much – ching ching ching – we could all make off it.

How to tackle Australia’s drug addiction: legalise and tax them [Guardian]

Australians enjoy the greatest amount of recreational drugs per capita in the world. Prohibition always fails: it’s time to get serious about how to handle the issue.

Suburban cannabis operation powered by a fair amount of skill [The Australian]

Police images supplied exclusively to News Ltd show the sophisticated set up of a multimillion-dollar hydroponic cannabis crop in the middle of Queensland suburbia.

Marijuana legalization in Washington D.C. [WJLA]

A discussion on the legalization on small amounts of marijuana in the District of Columbia should be discussed, Mayor Vincent Gray said Wednesday, despite his neutrality on the subject. Gray says that the discussion about legalizing some amount of marijuana should happen because so many young people end up with criminal records early on in life. He also recognizes that the use of pot among patients with chronic conditions is helping them deal with pain and the symptoms of their illnesses.

Gov. Pat Quinn will make medical marijuana legal in Illinois [Rockford Register Star]

Gov. Pat Quinn will sign a bill into law Thursday making Illinois the 20th state in the USA to allow residents with serious illnesses to use medical marijuana under a doctor’s recommendation.

The Growing Momentum for Drug Policy Reform [Huffington Post]

On Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31 July, I will be fortunate enough to participate in a two-day debate on drugs at the prestigious Chatham House in London. José Miguel Insulza, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of the American States (OAS) will present the reports that are the manifestation of the Latin American calls for considering alternatives to the status quo in drug control policies. The OAS reports represent the first time a high-level political institution has broken ranks with the global consensus on punitive drug control measures and put the need for a serious re-think on drugs on the agenda – including options for the wholesale decriminalisation for drug use and the legal regulation of cannabis.

Have the courage to give up the War on Drugs [London Evening Standard]

Next year the stupidest policy in human history will celebrate its centenary in pretty good shape. You can make a convincing case that the absurdly named War on Drugs was born in 1914, with the passing of the Harrison Narcotics Act in America. Restricting the sale and manufacture of substances such as cocaine, heroin and cannabis, this was the United States’ first federal drug policy. Of course, 1914 was also the year another Great War broke out. It’s a grim business comparing wars but needs must. The First World War, as it is also known, lasted four years and led to perhaps 37 million deaths. The War on Drugs has lasted a century but its casualties cannot be calculated. The wars are united in being unnecessary and divided in one crucial respect: the Great War is lamented as a terrible chapter in our history whereas the War on Drugs is with us today and continued daily by idiots seeking re-election. We ought to call it off. It cannot be won. It is costing billions each month, causing the self-immolation of whole nations, from Mexico to Afghanistan, making gangsters rich and funded by you and me. No internationally coordinated policy has ever brought as much harm and suffering.

Canada’s 100-year war on drugs [Winnipeg Free Press]

In the past six years, more than 400,000 arrests related to marijuana have been made by the police, an increase of 41 per cent.

Swashbuckling for Sativa Strains [VICE]

This Vice documentary focuses on Arjan Roskom of the famed Green House coffeeshops and his lead cultivator traveling to the deep jungles of Colombia to re-locate three famed sativa strains of cannabis historically cultivated in this region of South America. 

De Facto Marijuana Hash Truce In Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley [Weed Blog]

The Lebanese government will not attempt to eradicate marijuana fields blooming across the country’s Bekaa Valley, Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper reported Friday. Sources cited by the Star said it was because of the fragile security situation in the area near the border with Syria and because the government had been unable to live up to pledges to provide financial compensation to farmers whose crops were destroyed last year.

Moroccan Marijuana Fix Sought to Cultivate Exports [Bloomberg Business Week]

At least 800,000 Moroccans live off illegal marijuana cultivation, generating annual sales estimated at $10 billion, or 10 percent of the economy, according to the Moroccan Network for the Industrial and Medicinal use of Marijuana, a local charity.

Hope for autistic children might lie in medical marijuana [The Scientist]

Stanford University released a study that will most likely add more fuel to the already contentious debate over medical marijuana, especially regarding its possible use by kids. The study, released in April, shows that cannabinoids, which are found in cannabis, might help treat autism. In the human brain, endocannabinoid signaling affects memory formation, learning, and other processes, but forms of autism can block these signals. When cannabinoids were present in the brains of mice being studied, these signals were able to get through. While more research is needed, autism groups are hopeful about the possibilities of medical marijuana. As the Autism Daily Newscast put it, “Many children with autism are already given cocktails of drugs that may be even stronger than marijuana, with serious side effects and limited results.” 

Marihuana Weirdo Raid Remembrance Day [Dr John Jiggens]

Marihuana Weirdo Raid Remembrance Day, St Mary Magdalene’s Anglican Hall, 80 Boundary St Bardon, Brisbane, Qld. 2-5pm, Sunday 11 August.

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