Embassy Headlines, Issue 6

The Nimbin HEMP Embassy is always trying to get the good news out there. Michael Balderstone is going to provide his pick of news stories relating to the War on Drugs and Cannabis law reform issues, every week with the HEMP Embassy Headlines.


6 Ways the Criminalization of Marijuana Defies All Reason and Logic


While all aspects of the Prohibition War are tragic and absurd, here are six ways that the criminalization of marijuana defies all reason and logic.

1. Pot smokers punished more than molesters?

2. The separation of church and weed. 

3. A patient on one of side of the border and a criminal on the other. 

4. Fine line between legal gardening and a felony. 

5. Feds denying that marijuana is medicine at all costs.

6. The Drug Enforcement Administration forbids cultivation of a non-drug. 

Get High for Free


If pot were truly legal, joints would cost only a few cents. There’s been relatively little analysis of what a legal marijuana industry might look like. One key but little-appreciated fact is that, according to persuasive research by Jonathan Caulkins, Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman in their new book Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs To Know, is that legal pot would be amazingly cheap. In fact, midgrade stuff would be so cheap that it might make sense for businesses to give it away like ketchup packets or bar nuts. Conventional thinking about pot pricing is often dominated by people’s experience buying weed in legal or quasi-legal settings such as a Dutch “coffee shop” or a California medical marijuana dispensary. But this is badly misleading. Neither California nor the Netherlands permit growing or wholesale distribution of marijuana as a legal matter. If pot were fully legal, its growth, distribution, and marketing would work entirely differently.

Testing times: Injecting reality into the war on doping



The London Olympics will see the greatest effort yet to stamp out the curse of chemical cheating. But with rising costs, some question whether sport can keep up the fight – so is it time to redefine what is meant by doping and performance enhancement?

We Can’t End AIDS Until We End the Drug War



The International AIDS Conference will be held in the U. S. for the first time in 22 years this July 22-27, in Washington DC. Activists, public health professionals, and distinguished world leaders are mobilizing in Washington with a clear message: the criminalization of people who use drugs — and especially backward government policies that restrict syringe access — are driving the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Cannabis, cannabinoids and cancer – the evidence so far


We thought we’d take a look at the common questions raised about the evidence and research into cannabis, cannabinoids (the active chemicals found in the plant and elsewhere) and cancer, and address some of the wider issues that crop up in this debate. We’ve broken it down under a number of headings:

NZ: Kronic for sale again in 2014 – a Dunne deal


Kronic-style drugs are expected back on the shelves under the new legal high law being crafted by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne. Experts say the law will create one of the world’s first open and regulated recreational drug markets with synthetic cannabis making a return. The first legal highs will be offered for sale in 2014, based on estimates in papers released by health officials.

USA: My Father, Drug Icon


I am the middle child of a counter-culture drug icon. The Mayor of Marijuana. The Pope of Dope. My dad is Tommy Chong. Growing up, I felt like it was my responsibility to be as normal as possible to prove everyone wrong about my dad and Hollywood and all the trappings of being the “daughter of” a famous person. I really cared what other people thought of my family and me (truthfully, I still do and fight it every day). I thought if I was good and followed the rules, then I would be rewarded and my parents’ would be redeemed for living outside the norm—for doing things like naming me Precious.

South America Sees Drug Path to Legalization


Uruguay’s famously rebellious president first called for “regulated and controlled legalization of marijuana” in a security plan unveiled last month. And now all anyone here can talk about are the potential impacts of a formal market for what Ronald Reagan once described as “probably the most dangerous drug in America.” “It’s a profound change in approach,” said Sebastián Sabini, one of the lawmakers working on the contentious proposal unveiled by President José Mujica on June 20. “We want to separate the market: users from traffickers, marijuana from other drugs like heroin.” Across Latin America, leaders appalled by the spread of drug-related violence are mulling policies that would have once been inconceivable. Decriminalizing everything from heroin and cocaine to marijuana? The Brazilian and Argentine legislatures think that could be the best way to allow the police to focus on traffickers instead of addicts. Legalizing and regulating not just drug use, but also drug transport — perhaps with large customs fees for bulk shipments? President Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala, a no-nonsense former army general, has called for discussion of such an approach, even as leaders in Colombia, Mexico, Belize and other countries also demand a broader debate on relaxing punitive drug laws.

Europe Field-Tests the Drug Policy Spectrum


One hundred years after the first international drug control treaty was signed the failure of the “war on drugs” is indisputable. In Europe two distinct trends are emerging around how countries are choosing to tackle drug policy; a punitive, criminalization approach–which is failing dramatically and expensively–or one based on scientific evidence and harm reduction–which is bearing fruits.

USA: Online Petition – Stop the War on Cannabis Patients


Anyone around the world may sign this petition. Melinda Haag and other U.S. Attorneys are waging war against California’s medical cannabis patients. Now she’s threatening to shut down Harborside Health Center. Haag has closed over 15 dispensaries this year in Marin, San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland, depriving tens of thousands of patients of their medicine. Her war against cannabis patients displays blatant disrespect for California law and the Obama administration’s policy to respect State law.  As recently as June, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Federal government would, “limit our enforcement efforts to those individuals, organizations that are acting out of conformity with state law.”

USA: Weed Not Greed Tour to Democratic National Convention


Now is the time to let your voice be heard on the subject of Marijuana legalization. The Weed Not Greed Tour will be making its way across the country and will visit 21 cities in 33 days. They plan to be departing from the Seattle Hempfest and will be present at the Democratic National Convention with their final destination being Washington, DC on September 11th. Their aim is to let the “People’s Voices” be heard that “we want Marijuana made legal!”  They will be spreading the word about Cannabis, so that people will understand aboutMarijuana and not view it as just another illegal drug. It will be the voice for the people who cannot or will not advocate themselves.

USA: The Heretic


For decades, the U.S. government banned medical studies of the effects of LSD. But for one longtime, elite researcher, the promise of mind-blowing revelations was just too tempting. When James Fadiman sat down to write his book, he had at first been attempting to write a memoir; after an early draft, he decided he was doing too much navel-gazing and shifted his style and content to create The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, which reads a good deal like a how-to-manual. Still, he didn’t entirely suppress his initial urge to tell portions of his own tale, and why should he? Even as he conducted government-sanctioned research, he was cavorting with mystics, poets, outlaws, and a pistol-packing man who transnationally distributed LSD, regularly communicated with U.S. intelligence agencies, and pioneered procedures for psychedelic sessions that highly regarded medical facilities still use today.

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