Embassy Headlines, Issue 63

If you are black and going about your day in England and Wales then you are 6.3 times more likely to be stopped and searched by police, in some areas, such as Dorset, being black makes you 17 times more likely to be stopped.

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 63

Where does all the money go? [HEMP Party]

Are you paying too much for what could be growing in your back yard for free? Prohibition fails to consider your health; fails to recognise medical use; fails to prevent illegal trade; fails to observe civil liberties. Vote 1 HEMP above the line on the Senate ballot paper in your State. 

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HEMP Party on facebook.


Cannabis Or A Stable Population? [New Matilda]

What’s in a party name? We ask the Australian Hemp Party and the Stable Population Party about their policies and preferences as part of our series on the minor parties. New Matilda’s series on the minor parties vying for upper house votes continues. Today, read how the Australian Hemp Party and the Stable Population Party characterise their approaches.


Surfer stripped of 2011 World Masters gold medal after testing positive to cannabis [Gold Coast Bulletin]

Gold Coast surfer Mark Richardson has been stripped of his 2011 World Masters Championship gold medal more than two years later for testing positive to cannabis. Yesterday, the surfer accepted he had broken the rules, but felt he had been persecuted by the governing body. “I don’t feel that I’ve done anything wrong because it was not performance-enhancing. I got no benefit from it. I feel like I’m being persecuted for nothing.”


One-Man Cannabis Van Raises Queries of Legality [Cannabis Culture]

Lawyer Debra Sands intends to take Mr Bower’s case to the Supreme Court. “We want to challenge whether people like Tony can provide this product and why NSW Health won’t test it … Tony is pushing the envelope.”


Shroom to grow: Australia’s missing psychedelic science [The Conversation]

Western research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics commenced in the middle of the 20th century, but quickly became conflated with the counter-cultural movement in the United States, Europe and Australasia. A moral panic ensued, leading to the prohibition of psychedelics and cessation of research. But psychedelic science is now re-emerging as a mature and credible discipline.


This psychoactive drugs trip isn’t working [The Conversation]

Recreational drug use has been with us forever, and so have the challenges that this use brings to medicine and society. But the nature of the modern drug scene has changed to such an extent that the health systems of the developed world face catastrophe if we fail to respond.


Australian Government calls for input on regulation of caffeinated energy drinks amid health concerns [ABC]

The Department of Health is releasing a discussion paper on the regulation and availability of caffeinated energy drinks amid growing concern from health groups about adverse medical affects. Caffeine overdoses have been associated with various health conditions and even linked to the death of a woman in New Zealand.


Drug Agents Use Vast Phone Trove, Eclipsing N.S.A.’s [NY Times]

For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans’ phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency’s hotly disputed collection of phone call logs.


Should Synthetic Marijuana Be Banned In States Where Real Pot Is Now Legal? [Huffington Post]

Although synthetic marijuana does provide users with a high, it is far and away from the kind of high that natural marijuana users experience and one that can lead to seizures, hallucinations and convulsions, according to a Los Angeles Times report from 2011. John W. Huffman, one of the scientists behind the creation of some synthetic strains of marijuana told The L.A. Times that the synthetics were “never intended for human consumption” and that “anybody who uses them is playing Russian roulette… they have profound psychological effects.”


Feds Shouldn’t ‘Waste Time’ on State Marijuana Laws [The Atlantic]

But last week’s announcement is not nearly as big a deal as it could have been had the Obama Administration answered the many vital legal and political questions that still remain about marijuana’s quickening march toward respectability. All we know today that we didn’t know a week from today is that there will be no immediate litigation — that the Obama Administration is content, at least for now, to allow Colorado and Washington to come up with a way to safety regulate pot like alcohol and tobacco. Unfortunately, the feds didn’t even try to resolve the pot debate. They just agreed to let it unfold a little longer.


Police Groups Furiously Protest Eric Holder’s Marijuana Policy Announcement [Huffington Post]

A broad coalition of law enforcement officers who have spent the past three decades waging an increasingly militarized drug war that has failed to reduce drug use doesn’t want to give up the fight. Organizations that include sheriffs, narcotics officers and big-city police chiefs slammed Attorney General Eric Holder in a joint letter Friday, expressing “extreme disappointment” at his announcement that the Department of Justice would allow Colorado and Washington to implement state laws that legalized recreational marijuana for adults.


Marijuana Stores Can Open in Colorado and Washington [US News]

The US Department of Justice announced Thursday it will not block recreational marijuana stores from opening next year in Colorado and Washington state.  The Justice Department said in a release it will allow the stores to open, but that it expects state regulations to be “tough in practice, not just on paper, and include strong, state-based enforcement efforts, backed by adequate funding.”


Is the whole problem really the blacks? [NORML UK]

If you are black and going about your day in England and Wales then you are 6.3 times more likely to be stopped and searched by police, a new report from Release and LSE revealed this week. Guns and knives are the focus of only a fraction of these searches: most are for low level drug offences, above all cannabis. And despite government figures suggesting that use of the herb is significantly lower among black people than among whites, in some areas, such as Dorset, being black makes you 17 times more likely to be stopped. Get caught in possession of cannabis in London, and for blacks the likelihood of then being charged multiplies 5 times. In the US, the arrest ratio of blacks to whites is just three to one. For England and Wales it averages at six.


Why the drug busts don’t work [Herald Scotland]

IT’S the police version of shock and awe – high-profile, early-morning raids on the homes of suspected drug dealers, attracting headlines and terrorising the criminal community. A new study of what drug users think of Scottish drug laws suggests such police tactics have little impact – especially when it comes to the market in hard drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine. While raids are often an unpleasant surprise for targets, particularly if young children or elderly relatives are present, users say any effect is short-lived. For some, it is just days, or even hours, before local drugs markets are rebuilt and fully functioning again.


Proposal for a New Argentinian Drug Law [Beckley Foundation]

One of those propositions is the decriminalisation of personal use, possession and cultivation of drug. Forbidding personal consumption is unconstitutional because is in contrast to the 19th article of the Constitution that establish that nobody has to be arrested or sanctioned for personal possession. At the same way personal cultivation is not considered illicit, and it can be a good initiative to stop the illegal drug market. 


‘Mexico’s war on drugs is one big lie’ [The Guardian]

Anabel Hernández, journalist and author, accuses the Mexican state of complicity with the cartels, and says the ‘war on drugs’ is a sham. She’s had headless animals left at her door and her family have been threatened by gunmen. Now her courageous bestseller is to be published in the UK.


There Is So Much Cool Science Happening In The Marijuana Industry These Days [Seattle Pi]

Not only are companies developing ways to consume cannabis besides smoke inhalation, but also laboratories are forming an essential element of the production cycle by ascertaining the exact quality of what’s going for sale. 


How the Internet powered a DIY drug revolution [Daily Dot]

Drug marketplaces have undergone a renaissance in recent years thanks to the anonymizing power of Tor software, which lets buyers and sellers connect on an encrypted region of the Internet known as the Dark Web. But Strike was neither the first nor the last of his kind. The history of the Internet’s complicated relationship with drugs began more than 15 years earlier, in the buzzing forums of the World Wide Web’s enduring ancestor.


Should Your Aging Parent Try Medical Marijuana? [Forbes]

It started  with chronic insomnia. Alice, my 91 year old mother in law is generally willing to try new things, especially if she has hope that it will help with a problem.  She was tired of sleeping pills and the side effect of grogginess. Her family talked her into trying out medical marijuana for her long standing insomnia.  In California, it’s legal to use marijuana if you have  approval and a recommendation from a physician.


Mormon mom wants medical marijuana for her sick son [Salt Lake Tribune]

Jennifer May has tried 25 treatments in 10 years, a mix of prescribed diets and drugs, to quiet the lightning in her son’s brain. Only two eased Stockton May’s seizures. But their toxic side effects ravaged his bones and immune system, and the relief was temporary. His rare and intractable form of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, “always found a way around the treatment,” said his mom, a self-described conservative and devout Mormon who is now pursuing what for her was once unthinkable: medical marijuana. Use of marijuana is outlawed in Utah. But mounting evidence of its medicinal benefits — from controlling cancer pain and nausea to reducing seizures — has pushed 18 states to legalize it for medical use.


 end-prohibition

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