Embassy Headlines, Issue 94

Prisons are for drug traffickers, kidnappers, killers and thieves, but not for those who smoke marijuana. Prisons in Mexico unfortunately, are full of marijuana smokers who will leave with a higher probability of becoming criminals than when they went in.

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.


I Give A Buck campaign to help Tara’s recovery [Bendigo Advertiser]

I Give a Buck has been working with Tara’s family since 2011 to raise money for essential equipment and services including vehicle modifications, a new bed, gravity chair and swimming lessons. The charity has now launched an appeal to raise $1064 to provide Tara’s family with a specialised car seat and one-on-one swimming lessons to build up strength in her legs. The I Give a Buck Foundation asks for only $1 – a buck – from as many people as possible, believing a little from many can change a child’s life. “While the medical cannabis has done miracles it is an ongoing thing,” Ms O’Connell said. “If we didn’t have the therapies we don’t know where she’d be and twice-a-week swimming lessons are really financially out of our capabilities.” Ms O’Connell is encouraging people to dig deep for the campaign.

Marijuana is just good medicine [Australian Financial Review]

There are many reasons why marijuana should be legal, especially for medical reasons. It is unconscionable to deny people an effective, safe solution for chronic pain, for example. There is no doubt it helps some conditions when nothing else works. It would also be cheaper than most current therapeutics. The cultivation of cannabis on a commercial scale, along with the preparation and dispensing of medical marijuana, has the potential to generate significant employment. The largest cannabis dispensary in Oakland, California has over 104,000 customers and 120 staff. Legal availability would deprive organised crime, including some bikie gangs, of a major source of income and relieve police of the cost of finding and destroying illicit crops. Of the $1.5 billion spent annually on drug law enforcement, 70 per cent is attributable to marijuana. State and federal budgets would benefit from reassigning police to catching criminals who harm and defraud other people, and many otherwise innocent people would be spared a conviction.

Cannabis and My Kid: Making Our Own THCA Medicine for Pediatric Epilepsy [Ladybud]

Over the next several months I read, researched, and contacted other moms who were using cannabis oil for their kids. I spoke with dispensaries, caregiver growers, marijuana advocacy groups and specialists in making the oils. I learned that the strain of cannabis that was helping the kids in Colorado, one high in CBD (cannabidiol) and low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) was not available in our state of Maine. To get it, I’d first have to find it, or one similar, in a nearby state and bring it back to be grown, thereby breaking the law. Otherwise, I’d have to uproot my family and move to Colorado, or order it online and risk getting one processed with pesticides or mold, risk a breakdown in supply, risk not knowing its exact contents, its consistency or its handling, all risks I was unwilling to take. Instead, I began conversations with a Sacramento man about how to make an oil using a strain of cannabis readily available in Maine, one high in THC. There is evidence that cannabis oils high in the raw, acidic, non-psychoactive form of THC, called THCa, are helping children with epilepsy in Australia and in the States. Since, with each passing day Calvin was outgrowing his AED doses, and since I wanted to avoid subjecting him to another, I felt compelled to start him on a cannabis oil, ASAP. Until the high CBD strains, which at some point during my research had been anonymously brought into Maine, would be ready to flower abundantly enough to afford a consistent supply for making oils, I’d have to make a THCa oil myself; no dispensaries were making it.

Trinity Grammar School expels students after allegations of drug ‘incident’[SMH]

As many as eight students have been expelled from one of Sydney’s most exclusive boys schools, Trinity Grammar, after a drug-related incident in November last year. Fairfax Media understands the year 8 students were asked to leave the school after an incident involving cannabis on school grounds. One parent said the incident occurred during the school’s annual fund-raiser, Trinity Family Fiesta, which was held at the school on November 30. NSW Police were notified but no charges were laid and the school was left to conduct its own investigation. ”The matter was reported to police and a record made, however, there was insufficient evidence to warrant a continuing investigation,” A NSW Police spokesman said. ”There were no formal statements made.”

The Decline Of The War On Drugs, In One Map [Business Insider Australia]

A map from Pew Research Center shows how states have overwhelmingly been easing drug laws over the past few years, even in traditionally conservative areas. Easing drug laws includes lowering penalties for drug possession charges, shortening mandatory minimums, and providing alternatives to the traditional criminal justice system such as drug courts. Many states were forced to cut their budgets after the economic collapse in 2008, so legislators eased drug laws in part to cut prison costs. And lately, reforming drug policy has been a bipartisan effort. Attitudes of Americans have also shifted in recent years — in a Pew study, 67% of people said government should focus more on treating people who use illegal drugs, and only 26% said prosecution should be the focus. This differs drastically from 25 years ago, when Americans thought law enforcement should be tough on drug offenders and 73% of Americans favoured a mandatory death penalty for “major drug traffickers.

Pot Tourism: How to Buy Marijuana in Colorado [Fodor’s Travel]

The lines to get into the recreational dispensaries have shortened, but still not completely disappeared, and all of the Mile High City jokes have been made. Even Stephen Colbert has addressed the topic at length on The Colbert Report. But the question remains: What does Colorado’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana mean for tourists? Here are eight tips for out-of-towners to keep in mind.

Pot Cookie Grew Tiny Arms And Pushed College Student Off Balcony[Disinformation]

I’m assuming that’s what happened. Why else would the media “blame” a marijuana edible in the falling death of a college student?

Eric Holder Would Be ‘Glad To Work With Congress’ To Reschedule Marijuana [Huffington Post]

The Obama administration would be willing to work with Congress if lawmakers want to take marijuana off the list of what the federal government considers the most dangerous drugs, Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday. “We’d be more than glad to work with Congress if there is a desire to look at and reexamine how the drug is scheduled, as I said there is a great degree of expertise that exists in Congress,” Holder said during a House Appropriations Committee hearing. “It is something that ultimately Congress would have to change, and I think that our administration would be glad to work with Congress if such a proposal were made.” Several members of Congress have called on the administration to downgrade cannabis on its own without waiting for congressional action. Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, the attorney general has the authority to “remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule.” Holder didn’t indicate Friday that he would be willing to do that unilaterally.

Half of the United States Has Now Passed Some Form of Medical Cannabis Legalization [Joint Blog]

In 2014 numerous states have joined the movement to legalize at least some form of medical cannabis. In Utah, the governor recently signed a measure legalizing low-THC cannabis oil. In Kentucky, the state’s legislature hasvoted unanimously to legalize cannabidiol (a compound found in cannabis); the measure is expected to be signed by the governor. In Mississippi, the state’s House and Senate has voted to also legalize cannabis oil that’s low in THC for medical purposes. The measure awaits response from the governor. In Maryland, the state’s full legislature has voted to legalize medical cannabis, including dispensaries and cultivation centers. Alabama’s Legislature has approved a measure which establishes a million dollar study on medical cannabis oil, allowing the University of Alabama to produce and distribute it to those with seizure disorders. Although these measures don’t go far enough – the whole cannabis plant should be legalized for example, and not just cannabis oil – they’re clearly a step in the right direction. The approval of these proposals is also numerous states admitting that cannabis has medical value, demonstrating that it doesn’t fit the legal description of a Schedule 1 controlled substance. 

Connecticut: Six Dispensary Sites Approved For Medical Marijuana Sales[HEMP News]

Connecticut on Thursday awarded licenses for six medical marijuana dispensaries, chosen from 27 applications, and said that the dispensaries will be up and running by summer. The state licensed dispensaries in Branford, Bridgeport, Bristol, Hartford, Montville and South Windsor, reports William Weir at the Hartford Courant. Two of the dispensary owners on Thursday said that their opening dates will depend mainly upon when Connecticut’s four licensed medicinal cannabis growers will have marijuana ready for sale.

Majority of Law Enforcement Officers Support Marijuana Policy Reform[AlterNet]

Though not conducted with the methodological rigor of the  Pew poll that came out yesterday showing 54% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana and two-thirds believe drug policy should focus on treatment rather than prosecuting drug users,  Law Officer magazine has provided LEAP a poll of its own showing an even more surprising finding: a majority of law enforcement officers also support marijuana policy reform. 

Legalize Medical Marijuana, Doctors Say in Survey [WebMD]

A majority of doctors say that medical marijuana should be legalized nationally and that it can deliver real benefits to patients, a new survey by WebMD/Medscape finds. WebMD’s web site for health professionals surveyed 1,544 doctors as more than 10 states consider bills to legalize medical marijuana. It is already legal in 21 states and Washington, DC. The survey found solid support for those legalization efforts, with most doctors saying medical marijuana should be legal in their states. They agreed that medical marijuana should be an option for patients. The survey included doctors from more than 12 specialties and 48 states.

Big Money Investors Descend Upon Cannabis Company Pitch Network in Boston [Main Street]

Adam Guild paid $5,000 to attend the Arc View Group Investor Network in Boston this week. The entrepreneur wants to coordinate a group of investors to create a mutual fund for the cannabis industry as well as potentially sell his company Herbalist.com to a larger investor.

Legislators Ask Why Mexicans Should Die Over A Drug The U.S. Is Legalizing [Huffington Post]

Two Mexican legislators say they’re sick of cramming their jails full of pot smokers. Few countries have suffered the consequences of the U.S.-led war on drugs more than Mexico. As the principal supplier of marijuana to the United States, as well as a major transit country for cocaine and other hard drugs, Mexico has seen organized crime flourish within its borders. According to some estimates, as many as 80,000 Mexicans have died since former President Felipe Calderón launched a frontal assault on the country’s drug cartels in 2006, and Mexico has seen its prison population nearly double since the 1990s, largely from prosecuting drug crimes. To change this, Sen. Mario Delgado and Mexico City Councilman Vidal Llerenas, both from the left-wing Revolutionary Democratic Party, have proposed complementary federal and local legislation to decriminalize weed in Mexico. “Why is it that Mexico has to keep filling up with dead bodies and addicts, when in the United States the drug is becoming legal?” Delgado said in an interview with The Huffington Post.

Dutch municipalities begin regulated cannabis growing [Sensi Seeds]

The local governments want to regulate cannabis production in order to solve the problems of the so-called ‘back door’ of the coffeeshops. In the Netherlands, the sale of small amounts of cannabis is tolerated, but the purchase of cannabis by coffeeshops is illegal; quite often the product is of poor quality too. Regulated production takes the wind out of the sails of criminal cannabis growers, makes it possible to verify the quality of the cannabis, and will generate extra tax income. A similar model is used in Uruguay and also (more or less) in the American state of Colorado. This state even declared that it learned from the mistakes of the Netherlands when deciding its cannabis policy.

Legalising cannabis: Uruguay’s president Jose Mujica asks world for support [Telegraph UK]

Under the radical new law, which comes into force next month, not only are citizens and private businesses allowed to grow, buy and sell cannabis, but the government will also enter into the marijuana business itself – cultivating and harvesting the crop, distributing and selling it from authorised outlets and taxing the profits. The legislation is much more sweeping that in the famously liberal Netherlands, where cultivation remains banned, or the new arrangements in the US states of Colorado and Washington, where there is no direct government involvement. Mr Mujica and his allies argue that the new policy offers a ground-breaking alternative to what they call the failures of the “war on drugs” championed by the US in Latin America, which has killed tens of thousands in producer and transit countries while comparatively little is done in the consumer nations of Europe and the US.

Caribbean countries consider loosening marijuana laws [Miami Herald]

Deep-green marijuana plants grow along roadsides, in front yards and on plantations hidden in the mountainous interior of this lush island — and the spliff bar is just a stone’s throw from the police station. Inside the camouflaged business, a group of men smoke $1.15 joints between sips of beer while inviting visitors, with a slight smile and raised chin, to take a hit. Steps away in a back room, two men share a joint as they stuff cured cannabis into tiny plastic bags. Here and across the Caribbean, marijuana is illegal, yet it is widely used, freely sold and openly puffed. It’s evidence of the shifting attitudes over pot. Now, for the first time, Caribbean leaders — much like a growing number of American and Latin American lawmakers — are considering loosening restrictions to control and capitalize on the popular crop.

5 Signs You’re Smoking Too Much Marijuana [High Times]

Here at HIGH TIMES, we love marijuana more than just about anybody, but it is possible to overdo anything, including marijuana. We’re not here to judge or scold, but if you find yourself in any of these scenarios, perhaps it is time to take a break and re-evaluate your recreational marijuana usage.

I have a new favorite bumper sticker [imgur]

Hope fully they’ll let the gay marijuana get married too.

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