Embassy Headlines, Issue 83

Cannabis is not physically addictive. Cannabis does cause psychological dependence similar to shopping, gambling, sex and facebook. Cannabis stimulates the reward system of your brain similar to a bargain, a win, an orgasm or uploading a photo.

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-83

Indonesian tensions could derail Schapelle Corby’s parole bid [ABC]

Convicted Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby appears to be edging closer to freedom from her Bali jail cell, but Indonesian expert Damien Kingsbury says her battle for parole is not over yet. As Indonesia enters an election year and bilateral spats over asylum seekers and spying put Australia’s relationship with the country under strain, Corby’s bid for early release could be derailed


Cannabis can be a safe medicine [Bendigo Advertiser]

The evidence that cannabis is effective and safe for some conditions is now compelling. Cannabis is not used medically in Australia today because politicians worry it would undermine their case for the continuing prohibition of recreational cannabis. Yet we use many other drugs medically (e.g. morphine, amphetamine, cocaine and ketamine) despite their recreational use being banned. So why not cannabis?  


Unions welcome ban on urine drugs test [Nine MSN]

Unions have welcomed a decision to scrap urine drug tests at a NSW electricity company, saying workers shouldn’t be punished for drug use in their private time.


Smoking ban in Northern Territory jails burns culture of smuggling heavy illicit drugs[ABC]

“From our point of view, if a prisoner is concentrating on smuggling in tobacco other than ice or marijuana, that has got to be a good thing.”


Harry Reid Backs Medical Marijuana [Huffington Post]

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) came out in favor of medical marijuana Thursday in a Las Vegas Sun interview, becoming one of the highest elected officials in the U.S. government to give his support.


President Obama: Marijuana Less Dangerous Than Alcohol [The New Yorker]

In a profile published online over the weekend in New Yorker magazine, President Barack Obama continued his softening towards marijuana legalization. In the interview, the president alluded to his own youthful marijuana consumption and clarified that, while he doesn’t believe it to be a healthy pastime and has discouraged his daughters from its use, it is a less dangerous substance than alcohol. President Obama also stated that current moves towards legalization are important experiments that can help end discriminatory arrest practices.


Actor Bill Murray’s Views On Marijuana [Weed Blog]

“People are realizing that the war on drugs is a failure, that the amount of money spent, you could have bought all the drugs with that much money rather than create this army of people and incarcerated people. I think the terror of marijuana was probably overstated. I don’t think people are really concerned about it the way they once were. Now that we have crack and crystal and whatnot, people don’t even think about marijuana anymore, it’s like someone watching too many videogames in comparison.”


Illinois Pharmacists Want In On The Medical Marijuana Dispensing Game [Huffington Post]

With medical marijuana finally legal in Illinois and officials still wrangling the details of the highly-restrictive law, pharmacists have thrown their hat into the ring of potential pot peddlers. “It makes perfect sense,” pharmacist Joseph Friedman, who wants to open his own medical marijuana dispensary, told the Tribune. “After all, pharmacists are the drug experts.” The problem faced by Friedman and other pharmacists is that, as Capitol Fax notes, their federal licenses prohibit them from dispensing the marijuana, even if it’s for medical purposes.


UK drug company raises $90m for cannabis-derived epilepsy treatment [Epilepsy Research UK]

A British drug company that makes medicines derived from cannabis has managed to raise nearly $90 million (£55 million) from US investors as it works on a new treatment for childhood epilepsy. According to the Financial Times, GW Pharmaceuticals is based in Wiltshire and grows the drug at a secret laboratory in a location the Home Office has asked it not to disclose. It procured the funding through an oversubscribed Nasdaq share offering in which 2.44 million shares were issued at $36 each.


Uruguay: Foreign firms want to study the therapeutic potential of cannabis in the country [Cannabinoid Medicines]

Foreign firms want to open laboratories in Uruguay to study the potential uses of medicinal cannabis now that the drug has been legalized in the South American country. Uruguay’s Congress recently approved creation of the world’s first national marketplace for legal cannabis.


The Marijuana Legalization Tidal Wave is Coming — See This Map [Policy Mic]

One might not expect a website called weedblog.eu to be particularly profound. However, in addition to posts about “the best weed you ever smoked” and “the latest cannabis discoveries that governments don’t want you to know,” the site recently posted a map that elegantly displays an ongoing, historic, and unprecedented sea change: the world’s evolving consensus about the prohibition of marijuana.


Governor pressured to change stance on marijuana legalization [WMUR New Hampshire]

One day after the USA’s state of New Hampshire’s House voted to legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, Gov. Maggie Hassan’s office has been hearing from people for and against the measure. Hassan has said she would veto the bill if it makes it to her desk, but the bill might not make it past the Senate in the first place.


Dude, where’s my pardon?: Colorado’s marijuana law raises serious legal conundrums [Salon]

Now that you can buy, sell and smoke pot under Colorado law, there are a few questions that remain to be answered, about basic concepts of liberty and fairness. First, what shall become of the Americans who are serving prison time for what is now a legal thing to do, legal in the same jurisdiction in which they were prosecuted for it? It’s hard to swallow the idea that one American must spend a life, or a year, or even a day in prison for activity that another person is out freely enjoying. The federal government has boldly stated a plan for selective prosecution: Coloradans won’t be targeted for prosecution, but neighboring Nebraskans will be. Second, how can we tolerate the amorphous residuum of authority now held by federal prosecutors in Colorado?


High Hopes for Cannabis Careers in the Wild West [AOL Jobs]

Seattle-based recruiter Carolyn Jones has spent her career placing project managers, software professionals and sales executives at major Pacific Northwest employers. These days, Carolyn and her business partner William Smith (not their real names) are planning the launch of the first staffing and employment agency to service the newly legal recreational marijuana industry in Washington State.


Don’t Believe The (Marijuana) Hype [The Fix]

Everyone thinks they know something about drugs—whether from personal experience or from 8th grade prevention classes or simply because the media presents so many stories about them. Unfortunately, most of what people think they know is inaccurate, and comes from years of government war-on-drugs propaganda, with little understanding of its medical and historical context.


Zeoform: A New Plastic That Turns Hemp Into Almost Anything [Leaf Science]

What if plastic could be made without using fossil fuels and toxic chemicals? An Australian company has done just that, with a new type of plastic that can turn hemp fiber into pretty much anything.


Excellent Lecture and Panel Discussion on the Madness of Prohibition [Chycho]

The following lecture by Sanho Tree and panel discussion with Dr. Dominic Corva and Dr. Sunil Aggarwal predates the legalization of cannabis in Washington State and Colorado and Uruguay becoming the first country in the world to legalize the production and sale of cannabis, but it is well worth the watch and covers many of the devastating aspects of America’s War on Drugs. It includes an excellent summary of Plan Colombia, Mexico’s militarization of the war on drugs, benefits of certain ‘drugs’, and much more. The lecture ends at about the 40-minute mark with 20 minutes dedicated to comments by the other Panelists. 


CONFIRMED: The DEA Struck A Deal With Mexico’s Most Notorious Drug Cartel[Business Insider Australia]

An investigation by El Universal has found that between 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an agreement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organisation to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs in exchange for information on rival cartels.


Kazakhstan Wants to Attract Big Pharma to Its ‘Cannabis Klondike’ [Foreign Policy]

Despite a heavy-handed campaign against drug trafficking and related crime in the country, one Kazakh lawmaker thinks it’s time to cash in on some 140,000 stubborn hectares of wild cannabis that can be found around Kazakhstan. Darigha Nazarbaeva, the eldest daughter of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, proposed Monday that the country lease some of its treasured cannabis fields to international pharmaceutical companies. 


Italian city of Turin votes in favor of legalizing cannabis [RT]

The city council of Italian city of Turin has approved a motion in favor of legalizing cannabis on Tuesday, becoming the first major city in the country to make the proposal to allow marijuana to be prescribed for medical reasons.


CNN reporter Randi Kaye goes on air after spending day with marijuana smokers in Colorado [Herald Sun]

CNN reporter Randi Kaye took to the streets of Colorado to find out first hand how the state was coping with legal marijuana sales which came into effect on January 1. Only it seems she might have spent a little too much time with a couple smoking joints the “size of cannons” before going live on air.


Getting High With Six Famous Folks [The Fix]

When it came to drugs, I was really puritanical. I didn’t even use any legal drugs. I never took aspirins or sleeping pills or speed. I never smoked cigarettes, and I never drank coffee or liquor. I had no socially acceptable vices. But then In the process of editing my satirical magazine, The Realist, (1958-2001), I was influenced by its writers and readers alike, including these countercultural icons who I was fortunate enough to have as my psychedelic tripping partners. 


HRI seeks a Researcher for the Global State of Harm Reduction 2014 [Harm Reduction International]

HRI is seeking a Research Analyst to play a leading role in the research and drafting of the 2014 Global State report. Reporting to HRI’s Senior Analyst who coordinates the project, the successful candidate will work to help ensure the delivery of next Global State in December 2014.

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