Embassy Headlines, Issue 69

Washed hemp seed contains no THC at all. The tiny amounts of THC contained in industrial hemp are in the glands of the plant itself. Sometimes, in the manufacturing process, some THC and CBD containing resin sticks to the seed, resulting in traces of THC in the oil that is produced. The concentration of these cannabinoids in the oil is infinitesimal. No one can get high from using hemp seed oil.

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 69

New Zealand’s bold experiment with regulating recreational drugs [Yahoo News]

One country is trying a new approach. For the first time in history, New Zealand has created a regulatory body to oversee recreational drugs. Passed by parliament this summer on a vote of 119 to 1, the legislation has already granted interim approval to over 50 products with names like “Dr. Feelgood,” “4:20,” and “Everest Tibetan Toot.” The world should closely watch what happens next. If implemented carefully, New Zealand’s new laws offer the first genuinely scientific and public health-oriented approach to dealing with the negative aspects of humanity’s eternal quest for consciousness alteration. Anthropology tells us that getting high is universal — no culture, no matter how remote, lacks chemical experimentation.

Industrial hemp spoils the marijuana party [ABC]

Phil Warner, from EcoFibre Industries, says marijuana contains the psychoactive chemical THC but hemp doesn’t, and that makes his industrial hemp research unpopular. He says drug growers are concerned that the pollen from the hemp will contaminate their high THC crops, reducing their virility.

Hemp-seed muesli led to ACT drug-driving charge: Laws under fire [Canberra Times]

The ACT’s new drug-driving laws have come under fire after a senior public servant who ate a breakfast muesli containing hemp seeds was dragged through a nine-month court battle. The 2011 laws raised immediate concerns from lawyers and civil libertarians for their zero-tolerance approach, which criminalises even the smallest trace of drugs found in a driver’s system.

Synthetic drugs banned under broad new NSW legislation [The Guardian]

However, concerns have been raised that the broad nature of the new laws will theoretically criminalise a number of plants, such as cacti and acacias, which contain properties that could be made into mind-altering drugs. This includes the golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha), Australia’s floral emblem.

The road’s closed for these drugs [The Age]

The FBI documents revealed that Australians were the third-most prolific users of Silk Road (and that is not a per capita number) behind USA and UK. This was obvious to anyone who visited the Silk Road forums, where Australian members and related topics were disproportionately represented. The reason is simple – recreational drugs in Australia are expensive. People were able to save 75 per cent or more by buying from overseas vendors and having the drugs delivered directly to their door, using Australia Post employees as unwitting mules.

Charges plea after drugs death [Newcastle Herald]

A coroner has been urged to contemplate criminal charges against an adult shop manager and professional misconduct against an experienced lawyer, who both allowed illegal synthetic drugs to be sold as legal highs.

Denver floats new rules that could make even the odor of pot a crime [Denver Post]

Even the smell of marijuana wafting from your backyard could be illegal if Denver City Council in Colorado USA passes a new ordinance. Denver officials, responding to fears that public pot consumption could become an ever-present problem in the Mile High City, will propose a set of new rules for open consumption and possession of marijuana. The ordinance, being introduced at a committee meeting Monday in advance of the legalization of retail pot sales in January, would specifically ban marijuana from parks and the 16th Street Mall. It also would prohibit smoking on private property if it is visible to the public, such as on a front porch or in a car, or if the odor of pot could be detected from a neighboring property

Ethan Nadelmann’s Visionary Speech on How Society Should Deal with Drug Use [Nantucket Project]

One of the most influential and effective voices in the drug reform movement, Ethan Nadelmann (Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance) presents Distorted Incentives: The Failure of the War on Drugs and a New Way Forward at The Nantucket Project 2013.

Colorado farmer harvests first U.S. commercial hemp crop in 56 years [Denver Post]

Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin made history last weekend by harvesting the nation’s first commercial hemp crop in 56 years. Hemp advocates said Loflin’s harvest is a landmark event that could one day lead to larger-scale domestic farming of hemp for industrial uses such as food additives, cosmetics and building materials.

The War on Drugs Is Over. Drugs Won. [Esquire]

There’s a question about demand that the research from BMJ Open poses. Why is there so much of it? No drug dealer ever worries about demand. Ever. The hunger for illegal drugs in America is assumed to be limitless. Why? One answer is that drugs feed a human despair that is equally limitless. And there is plenty of despair, no doubt. But the question becomes more complicated when you consider how many people are drugging themselves legally. In 2010 the CDC found that 48 percent of Americans used prescription drugs, 31 percent were taking two or more, and 11 percent were taking five or more. Two of the most common prescription drugs were stimulants, for adolescents, and anti-depressants, for middle-aged Americans.

How American Paranoia About Islamic Terrorism Parallels the War on Drugs [Alternet]

Today, marijuana remains mostly illegal in the United States, whereas alcohol is slightly regulated; in Iran, it’s the opposite. America’s nineteenth-century war on opium targeted Chinese laborers who threatened to take railroad jobs from white men; its twentieth-century war on marijuana began with fears of Mexican farm laborers taking jobs from white men; and the movement toward Prohibition was motivated in part by prejudice against Irish immigrants and in part by America’s entry into World War I and its throbbing with anti-German hatred. The hysteria in the 1960s over marijuana and LSD had as much to do with antiwar movements and their members’ supposed use of those drugs. The 1980s War on Drugs was a war on black people, which explains why, even when more white people used illegal drugs, more black people did time for it. That’s part of the humor in George H.W. Bush, who would go on to become the first U.S. president to hold up a bag of crack on national television, telling the country during his 1988 campaign, “We are not going to be divided by class.”

An Open Letter to Stephen Colbert* [Seattle Police Department]

It has come to our attention that the Seattle Police Department was featured in a segment on your news program about marijuana enforcement in our great state, following the passage of Initiative 502. Unfortunately, this segment was rife with errors—understandable given that your program airs during a late evening hour, typically the domain of infomercial watchers, graffiti vandals and car prowlers.

[*The Colbert Report is an American satirical late night television program that airs Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central. It stars political humorist Stephen Colbert, a former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.]

Study shows non-hallucinogenic cannabinoids are effective anti-cancer drugs [Alpha Galileo Foundation]

New research in the UK has shown that the non-hallucinogenic components of cannabis could act as effective anti-cancer agents. The anti-cancer properties of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary hallucinogenic component of cannabis, has been recognised for many years, but research into similar cannabis-derived compounds, known as cannabinoids, has been limited. The study was carried out by a team at St George’s, University of London. It has been published in the journal Anticancer Research.

Put That In Your Pipe [Clear UK]

Cannabis and some “club drugs” could be legalised in a Home Office shake-up of drugs policy proposed by Liberal Democrat ministers. In a move that threatens a clash with Theresa May, the home secretary, the Lib Dem ministers want a dramatic relaxation of the law after concluding that the government is losing the war on illegal substances. A review ordered by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, and due to be published before Christmas, is expected to suggest Britain could benefit from emulating two American states where the use of recreational cannabis is legal.

New UK minister clarifies drugs stance after cannabis comments resurface [The Guardian]

Norman Baker, the new drugs minister, has previously said cannabis is “no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco”, a sign that he could bring a more liberal approach to his role at the Home Office.

Yes, of course the War on Drugs exists (but it shouldn’t) [Spectator]

There is something contemptible about Nick Clegg’s latest piece of handwringing. The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister – a position that, at least notionally, carries some clout – complains that he’d very much like to do something about Britain’s antiquated drug laws but, well, he can’t because it’s hard and, besides, the Tories are such rotters.

Marijuana Finally Decriminalized In Jamaica [MJ News Network]

The motion to decriminalize marijuana was passed on Tuesday, after being brought to the House of Representatives. The motion brought by Raymond Pryce, Member of Parliament for North East St. Elizabeth, asked  for the removal of criminal sanctions with proper monitoring and regulations.

Venezuela to Shoot Down Drug Planes [Stop the Drug War]

“Let drug traffickers know that starting today any plane that enters Venezuela (to smuggle drugs) will be forced to land in peace, or else it will by shot down by our Sukhoi, our F-16s and the entire Venezuelan Air Force,” Maduro said in a speech last Wednesday. “I will begin applying this law immediately in coordination with our armed forces,” he added.

Sheep Revolt When Police Uproot Marijuana Plants Where Flock Grazed [Italy Magazine]

Italian sheep “rebelled” when police swooped on a patch of land where the flock grazed on more than just green grass: the land was also used to cultivate marijuana plants. The sheep’s owner had set up an illegal marijuana plantation on his land in Coppito, L’Aquila. The sheep lived and grazed where he grew his marijuana plants, and became accustomed to munching on them.

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