Embassy Headlines, Issue 72

Cannabis experts predict that 14 more states will legalize marijuana for recreational adult use in the next five years, creating a potential $10.2 billion Cannabis market by 2018.

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 72

Australia and New Zealand do not allow non-drug hemp seed as a food. We want Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Forum to follow it’s own Government advice (via Food Standards) to support Australian & NZ people to have access to hemp as a healthy plant based source of omega-3, 6, 9 and quality protein. 

11th Dangerous Consumptions Colloquium [University of Western Sydney]

The colloquium on 12-13 December 2013 will draw on social and critical theory for the presentation and discussion of research on myriad forms of contemporary consumption. This year’s event will feature presentations exploring alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs, gambling, sex, public health policy and popular culture from a social research perspective.

Hard to fight war on drugs when we are the ones fuelling it [SMH]

The hunt for the Mr Big behind the drug trade is over at last. We have found him. It is you. The urban, educated middle classes of the rich nations, who take drugs or don’t object to others taking them, fuel the enormous demand for marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

Peter Hitchens is wrong. There really is a War on Drugs. [Spectator]

It is reckoned that some 8.2% of 16-59 year olds in England and Wales took illegal drugs last year. Do Peter Hitchens and his allies really want to convict and lock-up millions of people? How many prisoners would be enough?

Economists Say Recreational Marijuana Could ‘Improve Public Health’ [Leaf Science]

Legalizing marijuana for recreational use could have a positive impact on public health, according to a pair of U.S. economists who have spent years studying the subject. The two economics professors, D. Mark Anderson of Montana State University and Daniel Rees of the University of Colorado, summarized their findings in a study soon to be published in The Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, concluding that “legalizing the recreational use of marijuana is likely to improve public health.”

Epidiolex™ : FDA approves studies of CBD [O’Shaugnessy’s Online]

In response to urgent need expressed by parents of children with intractable epilepsy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is allowing Investigational New Drug studies of purified CBD (cannabidiol) as an anti-seizure medication. The “new drug” is being provided to physician-investigators by GW Pharmaceuticals, which has named its CBD product “Epidiolex™.” 

Marijuana and Alcohol [New York Times]

Last Sunday, the New York Times published an editorial that compared marijuana and alcohol use, particularly the relative harms of the two substances and the influence people substituting marijuana for alcohol could have on road safety. 

Marijuana Market Poised To Grow Faster Than Smartphones [Huffington Post]

Legal marijuana is among the fastest-growing markets in the United States, and it’s growing at a rate poised to outpace the expansion of the global smartphone market, according to a new report obtained exclusively by The Huffington Post. Researchers surveyed hundreds of medical cannabis retailers, processors, dispensary owners and industry leaders over the course of six months this year, and estimated that more than $1.43 billion worth of legal marijuana will be sold in 2013. The report also predicts that figure to grow by 64 percent, to $2.34 billion next year. By comparison, recent figures show the smartphone market expanded by 46 percent from 2012 to 2013. “Cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries,” said Steve Berg, a former managing director of Wells Fargo Bank and editor of the report, the second edition of the State of Legal Marijuana Markets. “Domestically, we weren’t able to find any market that is growing as quickly.”

Cannabis Biotech Initiates Development Of Cannabis Infused Beverages [420 Magazine]

Florida – Puget Technologies announced its subsidiary, Cannabis Biotech, is initiating the development of a cannabis infused beverage line. The beverages will be developed using flavor profiles and active ingredients based on the company’s ongoing research. This effort is part of Cannabis Biotech’s investigation of alternative delivery systems for medical marijuana to appeal to the growing number of patients who desire the benefits of medical marijuana but do not want the harmful effects or stigma of smoking it. This is in response to the shift in thinking in the U.S. where 20 states and the District of Columbia have now enacted laws legalizing the use of medical marijuana.

Carl Pelini Resigns From Florida Atlantic After Marijuana Rumors Emerge [Rant Sports]

Pelini was in his second season as coach of Florida Atlantic, when it abruptly came to an end on Wednesday. Pelini and one of his assistants have resigned after rumors emerged of the two attending a social event where marijuana was present. A statement from Pelini was released, which simply read: “I apologize for exercising poor judgement”.

Marijuana ads stir the pot over drug safety, free speech [McClatchy DC]

In the latest twist, pro-pot billboards are emblazoned on city buses in Portland, Maine, aimed at winning votes for a Nov. 5 ballot measure that would make the city the first on the US East Coast to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

A Potted History of ‘High Times’ [The Nation]

Forty years later, High Times has much to celebrate. It has survived the untimely death of its founder, the graying of the counterculture and the dawn of the Internet age, and even some of the laws that created the need for a pro-pot magazine in the first place. It has weathered various government investigations and attacks; founded its annual Cannabis Cup competition in Amsterdam and, more recently, additional Cups in a number of US states, which rank among the biggest marijuana festivals in the world; and published a series of books on everything from cooking with weed to cannabis spirituality. Most importantly, its vision of a day when pot is accepted, even legal, is now proving to be much more than a pipe dream.

What Is It Going to Take for America to Turn into a Marijuana User’s Paradise? [AlterNet]

Imagine a country where any adult could use marijuana for medicine, reflection, or just because they enjoy getting high, without fear of harassment or prosecution by police and politicians. That vision is a long way from becoming reality in America, but the country has in recent years taken enormous strides toward more rational and sensible marijuana policy, with more progress still to come. 

Oakland Police Have Prioritized Drug Crimes Over Homicides  [East Bay Express]

Oakland is known as one of the most violent cities in the USA, in large part because of its high murder rate. And yet, over the past decade, the Oakland Police Department has not prioritized homicide investigations, and instead has focused on patrolling city streets. In 2012, OPD solved just 28 percent of the homicides in the city, and the department has come under intense criticism for its investigative shortcomings. Last year, the Alameda County Grand Jury noted that OPD’s crime lab had untested evidence in at least 330 homicide cases dating back several years. Moreover, a recent department report indicates that the grand jury underestimated OPD’s massive backlog — and that the problem has worsened.

Morocco Considers Legalizing Cannabis [AL Monitor]

Not long ago, the topic of cannabis stirred the suspicion of the political class. However, the arguments of the Moroccan Network for the Medical and Industrial Use of Cannabis (CMUMIK) ended up convincing many politicians and parties. The issue will even be studied in parliament.

Cannabis in Albania [Sensi Seeds]

For many years, the Albania has quietly outranked all other European countries bar the Netherlands in terms of cannabis production, while remaining relatively unknown in global terms. However, recent events in the small southern town of Lazarat have sparked a frenzy of media attention, and cemented Albania’s place on the cannabis world map.

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