Embassy Headlines, Issue 71

Cannabis is a reluctant ‘Drug War’ veteran that has spawned international trade, launched satellite industries and provided support for other conflicts. Cannabis is a resource commodity that’s best used for peaceful purposes, but will prevail under any circumstance.

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 71

Schapelle Corby ready to be granted parole, mum says [Adelaide Advertiser]

SCHAPELLE Corby’s mum believes her daughter could be freed from prison any day now, but fears she will continue to be plagued by her frail mental condition after leaving Kerobokan. Roseleigh Rose said Corby would leave the notorious jail a “very different woman” after spending nine years there for drug trafficking. Ms Rose said her daughter was nervous and happy about the prospect of being granted parole, which would mean she would be able to live in her sister’s home in Kuta in Bali’s tourist district. She would have to remain in Bali until her sentence ends in 2017.

Elderly Perth couple unwittingly used as drug mules after winning holiday to Canada [ABC]

Australian Federal Police have uncovered a scam in which a Perth couple were unknowingly used as drug mules. Police say the couple, aged 64 and 72, travelled to Canada after being told they had won a free holiday, including seven nights’ accommodation and new luggage.

Bus driver’s ban for growing marijuana upheld [Brisbane Times]

A Sunshine Coast bus driver banned after he used marijuana as pain relief has failed to win back his driving authority, despite a tribunal finding that his “victimless” actions put nobody at risk.

No criminal charges over synthetic drug death [Newcastle Herald]

Coroner Mary Jerram on Tuesday didn’t seek criminal charges over Mr Punch’s death, but noted the NSW government has since banned a range of synthetic drugs.

Current list of Interim product approvals – October 2013 [Legal Highs NZ]

The ministry of Health have updated their website with a list of Psychoactive Substances and Products Approved for sale. This is a list of Interim Product Approvals (and refusals) as of 25th October 2013, please continue reading for the full list.

Few Problems With Cannabis for California [New York Times]

In the heart of Northern California’s marijuana growing region, the sheriff’s office is inundated each fall with complaints about the stench of marijuana plots or the latest expropriation of public land by growers. Its tranquil communities have been altered by the emergence of a wealthy class of marijuana entrepreneurs, while nearly 500 miles away in Los Angeles, officials have struggled to regulate an explosion of medical marijuana shops. 

Science for stoners: What is marijuana “abuse?” [Salon]

Even as medical applications are recognized and Colorado and Washington roll out regulations for recreational use, the definition of “abuse” is still subject to debate. Until only a few years ago, any marijuana use was drug abuse. Refraining from pot was good. Using it was bad. Then, as medical marijuana gained recognition, users of marijuana ended up split into medical and recreational users, the worthy and the wayward, the legal and the criminal.

Gallup poll: 58% of Americans support legal weed [Boing Boing]

The illegality of marijuana has enriched, empowered, and corrupted prison systems, police departments, local and national governments, militaries, liquor manufacturers, and intelligence agencies (not to mention criminal organizations). It has also branded hundreds of thousands of people (mostly minorities) as criminals, ruining their lives and the lives of their families. Despite a century-long propaganda campaign defending the destructive war on drugs, a recent Gallup poll shows that 58% of Americans favor legalizing it.

Is there really a majority in favor of marijuana legalization? [Guardian]

Gallup’s just-released poll showing a majority of Americans support the drug’s legalization isn’t quite true – at least not yet.

Google Earth helps cops nab suspected marijuana grower [CNet]

Oregon police have gotten savvy to some satellite surveillance technology: Google Earth. The authorities in the southern corner of that state used Google Earth to nab a man suspected of growing more than his fair share of medical marijuana, according to the Grants Pass Daily Courier. Apparently, the police caught word that Curtis W. Croft had been bragging about the prodigious weed crops he had been cultivating on his property. Checking out Google Earth, the police saw what looked to be satellite images of rows and rows of plants. 

Western marijuana finds export market in Asia, reversing years of East to West trade [Fox News]

For the young Vietnamese dope smokers rolling up outside a smart Hanoi cafe, local cannabis is just not good enough. As with their Adidas caps, IPhones and Sanskrit tattoos, so with their choice of bud: only foreign will do. Potent marijuana grown indoors in Canada and the United States is easy to buy in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, say regular smokers, and sells for up to 10 times the price of locally grown weed. That’s perhaps surprising given that marijuana is easy to cultivate regionally, and bringing drugs across continents is expensive and risky.

Many create side ventures linked to medicinal marijuana [My Desert]

Laboratories that specialize in pot testing. Security companies that only guard dispensaries. Chefs that just make edibles for medical marijuana patients. Businesses that cater to cannabis are starting to flourish. “There’s all kinds of companies out there,” said Lanny Swerdlow, a medical marijuana patient and advocate from Whitewater. “When you go to a collective, there’s pill bottles, pipes … If there’s a market, someone takes advantage of it.”

New Cannabis Drug Approved For Trials In Children With Epilepsy [Leaf Science]

A new cannabis-based drug made by GW Pharmaceuticals has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for two separate trials involving children with epilepsy.The drug is made from purified cannabidiol (CBD) – a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana – and is being marketed under the name Epidiolex, reports O’Shaughnessy’s.

D.C. mayor backs decriminalizing marijuana, replacing criminal charges with civil fines [Washington Post]

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) on Wednesday offered his first unequivocal support for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, adding momentum to a legislative proposal that has the support of a supermajority on the D.C. Council and could make the District one of the nation’s most lenient jurisdictions on marijuana possession.

Cops Lead Drug War Victims on Journey for Peace [Indiegogo]

Between August 12 and September 12, 2012, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of law enforcement officials who, after seeing firsthand the harms of the war on drugs, now advocate for its end, accompanied Javier Sicilia’s Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity from the Mexican border, through 27 U.S. cities, to Washington D.C. We have the film. We have the story. You have the funds to help us edit, translate, score and finish a documentary that will draw attention to the grief caused by the war on drugs around the world.

“Think cannabis is harmless?” No. Does anyone? But what about propagating drug hysteria? Is that harmless? [Drug Science UK]

A week ago, the Daily Mail published a story entitled “Think cannabis is harmless? It drove this grammar school boy insane – then killed him”. This is not the first time that the Mail and other newspapers have used personal tragedies to generate panic about cannabis, particularly related to psychosis, and particularly aimed at concerned parents. In the past, the ISCD and other voices who challenge drug misinformation have hesitated from getting involved, as it seems rather distasteful to engage in a debate about evidence over the body of a young man. However, this has allowed the Mail and others to go unchallenged in their willingness to exploit their readers, grieving families and the deceased themselves. They sell wild speculation and morbid sensationalism dressed up as a heroic crusade against enemies in our midst. The headline alone takes aim at two insidious foes for readers to fear and hate; the army of straw men who think that cannabis is harmless, and the drug itself, which becomes personified as a killer.

Uruguay to sell legal marijuana for $1 a gram [Guardian]

President José Mujica presses on with plan to create government-run legal marijuana industry to combat criminals. The measure would make Uruguay the first country in the world to license and enforce rules for the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adult consumers.

Cannabis legalisation: Where do the parties stand? [The Journal Ireland]

Independent politician Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan is currently dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on a bill that will propose the legalisation of cannabis in Ireland.

Supply and demand: the changing nature of the War on Drugs [The Conversation]

What can be observed in the global drug trade is the “balloon effect”, suggesting that the decline in production and consumption in one region causes it to bulge somewhere else. It is also known better as the efecto cucaracha, or cockroach effect. You can chase the pests out of one corner of your house, but they have an irritating habit of popping up somewhere else. As Ronaldo Laranjerira, a Brazilian drug researcher, told local media: “drugs follow money”.

Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council

The Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assuring the sustainable and safe use of traditional plants, and enriching the communities who work with them.

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