Embassy Headlines, Issue 74

Criminal suffering to continue in NSW for the people who do/could benefit from the use of Cannabis for medical purposes. Condemning the sick and needy to endure more pain and suffering, displays ignorance and a distinct lack of compassion from the O’Farrell Government.

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 74 

NSW rejects medicinal cannabis [Sky News]

Terminally ill patients in NSW will not be granted a legal exemption to use cannabis to ease pain, with the state government rejecting the proposal. Last November the NSW government established a parliamentary inquiry into the use of cannabis for medical purposes. The bipartisan committee recommended AIDS and terminally ill patients be allowed to possess and use up to 15 grams of dry cannabis The committee also recommended a register of authorised cannabis patients to protect medicinal users against prosecution. However the NSW government has knocked back the proposal.

NSW government has its ‘head in the sand’ over rejection of medical marijuana, say critics [SMH]

The Greens have also accused the government of giving in to “cannabis hysteria” for rejecting the report, which recommended some people with terminal illnesses should be exempted from drug laws criminalising cannabis and a register of approved users set up. University of Sydney Emeritus Professor of Anesthesia Laurence Mather said it was “complete nonsense” that the medical evidence supporting medicinal cannabis was too limited, or its potency and safety could not be guaranteed. “Since the 1990s, the scientific evidence that cannabis works for some conditions has become overwhelming,” he said. “Since 2001, the Dutch government has been growing and exporting medicinal grade cannabis with closely regulated composition”.

One in eight deaths of young Australians attributable to alcohol: National Council on Drugs report [ABC]

One in eight deaths of Australians aged under 25 is now related to alcohol consumption, a report has revealed. The Australian National Council on Drugs report (ANCD) also found 60 per cent of all police call outs – up to 90 per cent at night – are alcohol-related.

Schoolies downing drugs to avoid being arrested by Queensland police [Courier Mail]

Schoolies fearing they will be caught red-handed with illicit drugs are taking all their stash at once to avoid police detection. An ambulance source said she treated one teen who hyperventilated from shock after consuming 18 ecstasy tablets before hitting celebrations in Cavill Mall.

Queensland party crackdown out of control [ABC]

Every government has a reform program of some description. The reform program of Campbell Newman’s Queensland government is to expand, to a ludicrous and dangerous extent, the powers of the police.

Oregon Seeks to Avoid Washington’s Marijuana Legalization Mistakes [AlterNet]

Colorado and Washington State made history in 2012 by legalizing the personal possession of marijuana and establishing recreational marijuana markets. Both US states also allow for medical marijuana, but the effect legalization has had on medical marijuana patients in those states is vastly different. As Oregon seeks to legalize marijuana in 2014, it benefits from the successes in Colorado and fights to avoid the mistakes made in Washington. 

Can Smoking Pot Be Considered a Form of Free Speech? [AlterNet]

“They’re taking the full weight of the law against us, ostensibly for that single joint,” said Goldstein, standing on the federal park space that lies in the shadow of Independence Hall. It’s here, at the site where the country’s founding fathers signed the U.S. Constitution that gives all Americans the right to free speech, where he’s been leading monthly “Smoke Down Prohibition” protests in his role as co-chair of the Philadelphia NORML chapter. 

Nose ‘telescopes’ to sniff out cannabis smell being used by police [Daily Mirror]

Police are using ‘nose telescopes’ to map the smell of cannabis across the US city of Denver. Colorado has legalised the drug, but a new law means they can charge people with an environmental offence if their smoking causes an unreasonable smell. Unlawful stinkiness carries a fine of up to $2000 (about £1247).

The War On Drugs Hits A New Low With The Police Probe Of David Eckert’s Guts [Forbes]

How is it possible that a motorist pulled over for a rolling stop could end up being forcibly subjected to two X-rays, two digital probes of his anus, three enemas, and a colonoscopy, none of which discovered the slightest trace of the drugs that police claim to have thought he was hiding inside himself? The answer says a lot about the outrageous indignities we have come to tolerate in the name of the war on drugs, which has undermined our civil liberties to the point that what happened to David Eckert after he was stopped in Deming, New Mexico, seemed perfectly justified to the cops who detained him, the prosecutor who approved their application for a search warrant, the judge who granted it, and the doctors who helped execute it. Even in retrospect, Deming Police Chief Brandon Gigante insists that “we follow the law in every aspect.” The really horrifying thing about Eckert’s ordeal is that the courts might agree with Gigante.

A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses [American Civil Liberties Union]

The ACLU recently released a report called “A Living Death: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses,” including stories of people who have been sentenced to serve life sentences without parole for non-violent marijuana offenses. States are able to pursue a sentence of life without parole if a person has multiple offenses on his or her record, even if those are also nonviolent. As a result, nonviolent, productive members of society are locked away for their entire lives for being associated with a substance that is safer than alcohol.

A Fifty Five Year Prison Sentence For $350 Worth Of Marijuana? [Weed Blog]

The story of Weldon Angelos is one that every marijuana reform supporter should know. Weldon Angelos is currently serving a 55 year prison sentence in the US for selling $350 worth of marijuana while having guns in his home in 2004. A lot of people don’t know that possessing a firearm while selling marijuana results in huge federal penalties.

Why Does My Joint Burn Unevenly? [Get Holistic Health]

If you have trouble with your joints burning unevenly, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, this is one of the most common problems for novice and experienced smokers alike. You can minimize this, but it’s always going to be an issue, as you will be rolling joints manually and that always means that there will be some variability in how they turn out.

Halfassing Your Way to Health: The Coming Era of Standardization [UK NORML]

Right now there are a number of people and organizations who are pushing forms of cannabis medicine.  Some are legit, some are complete nonsense.  Some of them are outright dangerous, and put sick people who are desperate to get better at serious risk. This is going to change in the foreseeable future, because we are seeing legalization around the globe.  Legalization is going to mean standardization, and we should think about what that will look like.

Families migrating to Colorado for a medical marijuana miracle [Salt Lake Tribune]

The Koozers are part of a migration of families uprooting their lives and moving to Colorado, where the medicinal use of marijuana is permitted. More than medical tourists, they are medical refugees, forced to flee states where cannabis is off limits.

Lady Gaga Says She’s Addicted To Marijuana: Is It Possible? [Huffington Post]

Lady Gaga has revealed details of her marijuana addiction, explaining that at one point, she was smoking 15 to 20 marijuana cigarettes a day, according to news reports. “I have been addicted to it and it’s ultimately related to anxiety coping and it’s a form of self-medication,” Gaga said on the Z100 Morning Show, as reported by People magazine. Gaga broke her hip earlier this year, causing her to cancel part of her Born This Way tour.

The Effect of Cannabis on Pregnant Women & Newborns [Altering Perspectives]

Pregnant women in Jamaica use marijuana regularly to relieve nausea, as well as to relieve stress and depression, often in the form of a tea or tonic.

Medical Marijuana Can be a Much-Needed Miracle for Vets With PTSD [AlterNet]

Since he started using marijuana, Whiter has been able to stop taking all of his prescription medications. No more sleepless nights, no more flashbacks, no more isolation in his home – in fact, Whiter is now the co-director of Philadelphia NORML and the founder of Pennsylvania Veterans for Medical Marijuana. He has been a featured speaker at numerous public events and rallies, unimaginable during the time he suffered from crippling social anxiety due to his PTSD.

David Nutt’s new drug mimics alcohol … minus the health risks and hangovers [Mother Nature Network]

Although David Nutt — the British psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist specializing in the research of drugs — has seen his fair share of controversy, he appears to be a genius. With his team at Imperial College London, he is pioneering what is being hailed as a serious revolution in health: a drug that offers the positive effects of being drunk, but without the health risk, or the hangover.

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