Embassy Headlines, Issue 70

Protecting health and welfare can be considered the core principles of the drugs conventions. Judgemental values on drugs and those who produce, trade and consume them, along with punitive and war-like responses have ultimately defined too much of the outcome. In practice the drug control system has resulted in human rights abuses across the globe.

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 70

Why everyone, particularly parents, should be questioning the use of drug detection dogs [Doing Drugs Blog]

The NSW Ombudsman found that the dogs were wrong 73% of the time, i.e., there were no drugs found on the person when they were searched. In 2010 there were 15,779 searches conducted in NSW after dogs had ‘detected’ drugs, of those less than a third (5,087) were found to be actually carrying drugs on their person. That means more than two thirds of those people who were put through this process were completely innocent. I’m sure it sounds fine to some, but if you were one of those innocent people I’m sure your attitude would change.


The New American Center: Why our nation isn’t as divided as we think [NBC]

On Tuesday, NBC and Esquire announced the results of a poll conducted by both Public Opinion Strategies and Benenson Strategy Group. The poll asked American voters a series of questions about social, economic, and political issues, and the results indicate a “new American center.” According to the poll, 51% of Americans fall into the new center: 28% of them are Republican, 36% are Democrat, and 36% Independent. The American center is also in favor of marijuana policy reform, with 52% supporting the legalization of marijuana and 34% strongly supporting the movement. You can see a breakdown of the various views of the American center here or view the full results of the poll here.


Big money clamoring for a piece of Nevada’s medical marijuana pie [Las Vegas Sun]

They’ve got a lot of money and a big plan to peddle marijuana throughout Clark County, but they’re not a drug cartel pushing pot on the streets. They’re high-profile lawyers, consultants and investors, and their clientele appears to be mostly middle-aged patients suffering from severe pain. Nevada’s Legislature legalized medical marijuana dispensariesearlier this year, and now monied interests are lining up to cash in on the blossoming bud business.


Has U.S. gone further than Netherlands over marijuana? [CNN World]

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee recently, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole summarized the administration’s new approach to marijuana policy released in a recent U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) memorandum. The announcement was monumental. In addition to laying out the marijuana enforcement priorities for federal prosecutors, the memo suggests the DOJ will tolerate potentially large, for-profit marijuana companies in states with strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems. This means Colorado and Washington will be the first jurisdictions in the modern era to remove the prohibition on commercial marijuana production and distribution for nonmedical purposes and start regulating and taxing it. Not even the Netherlands goes that far.


Pot Goes Legit [Reason]

“We need to maintain the edifice of what continues to work in Colorado,” said Arbelaez, who co-owns two medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver and serves on the board of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group. Among other things, he said, that means retaining a rule that requires pot retailers to grow at least 70 percent of what they sell while selling no more than 30 percent of what they grow to other outlets. Arbelaez argued that the 70/30 rule, designed to prevent recreational consumers from obtaining medical marijuana, would help stop diversion of recreational marijuana to minors or to other states and thereby discourage federal interference.


State pot officials can exhale; rules OK’d after long process [Seattle Times]

With little fanfare in a drab conference room, the state Liquor Control Board adopted rules for a legal marijuana system after 10 months of research, revisions, wrangling with the federal government and wrestling with who-would’ve-imagined questions. In a unanimous vote Wednesday, state officials charted the course for an experiment that seeks to undercut illegal dealers and launched the next leg of the journey: licensing a recreational-pot industry serving customers with 334 retail stores.


9 Times The Media Got It Woefully Wrong About Drugs [BuzzFeed]

A century of scare stories and distortions. 


DIY Hash Oil Is a Risky Trend Causing Explosions [AlterNet]

Hash oil—a.k.a. red oil, black oil, Indian oil, honey oil, Afghani and cherry leb—is a sticky, brown and carroty colored goo extracted from cannabis as a resin. Because it is a condensed extract of the plant’s oils, it is higher in potency than regular marijuana and its psychoactive effects tend to last longer. But making it is a delicate process that involves an extractor device and some highly flammable butane gas.


Police ‘left cannabis in hire van’ [BBC]

Police are investigating claims that officers hired a van – then returned it with bags of cannabis in the back.


Police warning after drug traffickers’ cyber-attack [BBC]

The head of Europe’s crime fighting agency has warned of the growing risk of organised crime groups using cyber-attacks to allow them to traffic drugs.


Britain’s Booming Cannabis Industry [UK Cannabis Social Clubs]

In an ITV documentary aired last night director Connor Woodman interviewed a man who was more than happy to admit to the horrific nature of his job – to go around and steal cannabis grows and beat and torture the growers or homeowner to find out if there is another grow they can steal.


Medical marijuana spinoff firms look to cash in on new rules [CBC]

A range of spinoff companies, many of them located in the United States, are angling to cash in on the Canadian medical marijuana market as the federal government brings in new rules for the industry. Producers of homegrown marijuana will be abolished under the new system and replaced with industrial facilities overseen by the RCMP and federal health inspectors. Health Canada has said there’s no limit on the number of producers that will be certified under the new regime, and that the price of the drug will be determined by the market.


Research shows marijuana can be effectively used to treat multiple sclerosis [Natural News]

Israeli researchers have once again confirmed the healing potential of marijuana (cannabis), a natural, medicinal plant loaded with dozens of disease-fighting cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds. A recent announcement by American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU) explains the findings of a new study published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology (JNP), which demonstrates the ability of marijuana to fight multiple sclerosis (MS) without triggering harmful side effects.


Human Rights and drug policy [Latin America]

The Transnational Institute (TNI) has always believed in the need to find global answers to global problems, been a strong defender of multilateralism and an advocate of a well-functioning United Nations which stands as the guarantor of universal human rights. On the drugs question, our position is straightforward: drug control should respect human rights.


Mexico starting to talk about Marijuana Legalization [Marijuana Doctors]

In Mexico the battle for marijuana legalization is still very young despite the fact that Mexico is the #1 supplier of cannabis worldwide. Mexicans tend to be much more “conservative” than Americans are and I use the term loosely. I would much rather say, and this is true for all countries, Mexico would “like to be perceived as more conservative” than Americans but for anyone that actually walked the streets of Mexico you know that while traditions may rule idealistically, they are very liberal at heart and practice.

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