Embassy Headlines, Issue 89

The top brass open up about their fears of ending the drug war. The Military Industrial Complex is big business and they want to keep it as a tool for political instability around the world. 

Bounty hunted asset seizures and weapon dealers fund the drug war. Convicts work for prison wages in a modern form of slavery.

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.


Need to be leaders in hemp revolution [Narromine News]

The daily news cycle is looking at the losses in Australian manufacturing jobs, just another major reason why hemp has to be sold as an industry where many business models can potentially be set up, utilising Australia labour and remain cost effective. Hemp could be the breeding ground to recoup the nation’s manufacturing jobs base.

Alaska could become third state to legalize marijuana [RT]

Alaska Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell announced Wednesday that he had formally certified a petition campaign after more than 36,000 state residents signed the document asking for a vote to legalize the sale and use of marijuana. Reuters reports that approval of the initiative would allow adults 21-years-old and over to have up to one ounce of cannabis for their own private use and also to grow no more than six marijuana plants on their property. 

U.S. General Complains That Marijuana Legalization Makes Latin American Officials Less Eager To Join The War On Drugs [Forbes]

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, Gen. John F. Kelly, who is in charge of the U.S. Southern Command, complained that marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington has made it harder to enlist Latin American countries in the war on drugs. It is the height of arrogance for the U.S. government to demand that Colombians, Bolivians, and Peruvians help enforce its arbitrary pharmacological decrees, especially when that effort is not only futile but demonstrably harmful. So it is not hard to see why the officials with whom Kelly deals might react in the way he describes to signs that Americans are having second thoughts about this crazy chemophobic crusade. But recommitting to the never-ending, always-failing “drug fight” is not the only way to avoid charges of hypocrisy. If the experiments in Colorado andWashington lead to a broader re-examination of the war on drugs, I would count that as a benefit, not a cost.

Citing Joke, Police Chief Testifies That Pot Killed 37 People on the First Day of Legalization in Colorado [Reason]

Testifying against marijuana legalization before the Maryland legislature today, Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop warned of the potentially lethal consequences. “The first day of legalization, that’s when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana,” Pristoop told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. What Pristoop actually remembered was a joke story at The Daily Currant.

Medical marijuana ad released [Nine MSN]

The first-ever medical marijuana commercial has aired on US television, likening buying the drug to sushi.

Medical Marijuana Research Is Being Blocked, Scientists Say [Leaf Science]

Researchers who want to study medical marijuana as a treatment for PTSD say the U.S. government is making it very hard to do so. The non-profit Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is trying to obtain a supply of cannabis for the first FDA-approved clinical trial of medical marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder. Many who suffer from PTSD have reported benefits from cannabis use, and evidence from animal studies provides further support.

The Surprising Solution for Growing Sustainable Marijuana [AlterNet]

The Emerald Grower’s Association is a Northern California collective that advances policies for a sustainable cannabis industry. Its chairperson, Kristin Nevedal, explained to Truthout over the phone that her organization stands opposed to the kind of “industrial agricultural” model of marijuana production, and hopes California will eventually implement a regulatory model that allows for an abundance of small-time producers, distributors and retailers who keep the wealth generated from the crop mostly local. “We want cannabis cultivation to return to the agricultural model,” Nevedal told Truthout. “Marijuana is the number one cash crop in California, primarily produced by small [and] medium farmers… [and most of them] are responsible for supporting their home region’s economy. They put money in fire departments, schools and the economic system by keeping their work and money local.”In addition to advancing communitarian pot laws, the Emerald Grower’s Association also lobbies for environmentally conscious growing; namely, by advocating for sun-grown weed. With California’s vast geographic expanse and varied climate, there are plenty of places to grow pot outside—but in the two states where recreational weed legal, growers have been mostly forced indoors by weather and spatial considerations. That usually means cultivating marijuana using the most environmentally damaging means.

Detroit area pot ‘pioneers’ find room for growth near Canada [Detroit News]

Starting April 1, Canadian law will allow the commercial production and sale of medical marijuana, and one Metro Detroit company hopes to cash in on the new market. Creative Edge Nutrition Inc., based in Madison Heights, has purchased more than 10 acres near Windsor, and plans to build a 27,000-square-foot indoor pot farm to grow 1.3 million pounds of marijuana annually to sell in Canada, Israel and other countries that allow it. The company’s Canadian-based subsidiary, CEN Biotech, recently broke ground on the Lakeshore facility, and is awaiting government approval to grow, sell and import/export marijuana a few months after the building’s completion, expected in two to three months.

For pot to go mainstream, “stoner” image will require a makeover [Releaf]

But the public’s curiosity alone may not be enough to recast the marketing image of pot consumers as connoisseurs rather than loopy stoners who can’t be trusted to imbibe with the same moderation that most drinkers exhibit, advertising pros say.

Marijuana Wars [Al Jazeera]

This is a two-part exploration of attitudes towards legalisation in the US, and Latin America’s efforts to combat drug violence.

Colo. Marijuana Businesses Embrace New Drug at Center of DEA Crackdown in Calif [Yahoo News]

While Drug Enforcement Administration agents in California are cracking down on the popular new drug known as “wax,” people in Colorado are rushing to embrace it. Wax, the ultimate distillation of marijuana, is so potent that it is said a single hit will keep a person high for more than a day.

Feds lose first round of medical marijuana class action lawsuit [Global News Canada]

The plaintiffs involved will be allowed to remain anonymous, something they wish Health Canada would have respected in the first place. They launched their case last year after the department mailed out 40,000 letters to medical marijuana users across the country letters that revealed their names. 

Brazilian Senate will discuss the legalization of Cannabis [Beckley Foundation]

The proposition of a law project to legalize and regulate the recreational, medicinal and industrial use of Cannabis was presented at the Brazilian Senate on Monday (17/02/2014) and will be coordinated by Senator Cristovam Buarque. Senator Buarque affirmed in his speech at the Senate that this is a very important discussion and should be made with full participation of the society. He wants to analyse the risks involved, potential medicinal advantages and the impact of legalization in reducing the violence.

For Mexico, legalization is freedom [Globe and Mail]

Legalization of not just marijuana, but all drugs, is the right thing to do. Each person should be free to decide what’s best for himself or herself. We are all created equal and free. If we are created in such freedom, then we must be given the very freedom to decide our own behaviour and to act responsibly, as long as we do not detrimentally affect the rights of others. Prohibition does not work, and this was proven even at the most sacrosanct moment: in the Garden of Eden. God prohibited Adam and Eve from eating the apple, and yet they ate the apple and created sin. How would history have changed if in this narrative, Adam and Eve were given the freedom of choice based upon the foundation of education – this apple is poisonous, this apple has worms in it, this apple is not good for your health? I believe they would not have eaten the apple.

A lethal ignorance: We could make drugs safer. We choose not to [Independent UK]

The truth is, one simple step might have considerably reduced the chances of death: the provision of drug-testing facilities at clubs, so that researchers can find out which varieties of pill are not what they are said to be, and let people know. This sort of scheme could be instituted this week without any legal difficulty. It is, of course, impossible to test every pill: you’d do well to operate in one or two big clubs in a particular city. But proper testing reshapes the market. It gives people the knowledge they need to make better decisions. Every headline on the Tomlinson story features the word “ecstasy”. But it wasn’t ecstasy that killed her. It was ignorance. If she had taken ecstasy, she would have been fine. Such testing regimes run in Austria and the Netherlands. And to those involved, Britain’s resistance to a protocol with real evidence behind it seems perverse. “If we are not there, there is no information,” argues Rainer Schmid, a toxicologist and founder of Vienna’s “checkit!” project. “In Britain, it is a cynical approach, if you ask me. You know what is happening, and you say, no, we don’t want to solve it.”

Industrial Hemp “Eats” Radiation – Is This Why the Gov’t Gave it a Pass? [Mind Unleashed]

It is safe to say that industrialized hemp should have been legalized years ago. With THC levels so low, you would have to smoke more of it than Snoop Dogg to get ‘high’ – and that’s a lot of Cannabis, it is ridiculous that it was classified as a drug at all. It has numerous uses and could replace many crops that require heavy irrigation and pesticides, like cotton, for example. Here’s the most interesting fact though – hemp plants ‘eat’ radiation. Dr. Ilya Raskin of Rutgers University’s Biotechnology Center for Agriculture and the Environment, who was a member of the original task force sent by the IAEA to examine food safety at the Chernobyl site figured out that through phytoremediation utilizing hemp, among other plants, the soil, and thus the food supply could be saved from toxicity.

The Female : Cannabis Relationship [Ladybud]

Women have long kept their health lore confined to their close female communities.  Until the late 19th century, birthing was the domain of women and they carried this, as well as other women’s health knowledge, forward.  Natural birth control (often herbs) had to keep secret.  There is lore that women once segregated themselves at the time of menses, and there in seclusion they found comfort from and companionship with other women. Before scopolamine and epidurals, ibuprofen andanti-depressants, women likely used Cannabis and many other botanical medicines for pain in labor as well as for a host of other female issues. There are written records dating back to 3000 BCE indicating the use of Cannabis for treating female health issues such as migraine, nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, augmenting labor, hemorrhage, heavy menses, uterine pain and contractions, “sore breasts,” to enhance milk flow, gonorrhea, urinary tract infections, easing painful menstrual cramps, assisting in long labors and for “melancholia” (what we know as PMS?).

Medical Marijuana for Dogs: A Scientific Review [Vet Guru]

The therapeutic virtues of cannabinoids present in the plants of the cannabis genus have been extensively described for a wide range of medical indications in human beings. Recent research suggests that the endocannabinoid system may also play an important analgesic role in managing pain in animal patients as well. Given the rather limited pain control options available to the veterinary practitioner cannabis may offer an effective and safe alternative or adjunctive treatment for post-operative or intractable pain control as well as for palliative care. In addition, it may prove to be a safer anti-inflammatory and anti-emetic agent as well.

New Zealand Drug Regulation Leaves Australia For Dead [Sex Party]

New Zealand’s new drug laws are already showing a marked reduction in harm across the country according to one NZ MP. Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson, Iain Lees-Galloway, told Channel 10’s The Project on Wednesday night, that, “The reports from the emergency departments are that fewer young people are experiencing harmful effects and that’s because our legislation has allowed us to get the harmful stuff off the shelves.” New Zealand’s Psychoactive Substances Act passed with an overwhelming majority last year (119 of 120 MPs supporting it) and there are now 170 places in NZ where adults can buy 41 tested strains of “legal high”, mimicking the effects of marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. Meanwhile, Australian politicians in all states have taken the opposite approach to these new and emerging substances by introducing more and more punitive laws to prop up the prohibition model of regulating drugs.

Campaigning begins in WA after Senate re-election date announced [ABC]

Campaigning in Western Australia has already begun after the state’s Governor announced the date for a Senate re-election. Candidates outlined their campaign platforms within hours of the announcement. West Australians will go back to the polls on Saturday, April 5, to re-elect six Senate positions.

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