Embassy Headlines, Issue 97

Nimbin’s annual Protestival is all about “Colorado Dreaming” this year. Our patience is wearing thin. Join us for the first weekend in May to imagine peace and prosperity and a Fair Go, rather than persecution of a much loved plant and its protectors!

There is a whiff of change in the air, as Cannabis lovers from all around the world and Australia converge on Nimbin village for a weekend to celebrate all things Cannabis.

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.


2014 Nimbin MardiGrass

2014 Nimbin MardiGrass MAY 3 & 4. Cannabis law reform rally and gathering. www.NimbinMardiGrass.com

FULL PROGRAM: http://www.nimbinmardigrass.com/2014/program14.html

ALL WEEKEND PASS AND CAMPSITE $100 per person. http://www.nimbinmardigrass.com/hempshop/MardiGrass.html

MardiGrass 2014 and the Australian Struggle for a Fair Go [HEMP]

Nimbin’s annual Protestival is all about “Colorado Dreaming” this year. Our patience is wearing thin. Join us for the first weekend in May to imagine peace and prosperity and a Fair Go, rather than persecution of a much loved plant and its protectors! There is a whiff of change in the air, as Cannabis lovers from all around the world and Australia converge on Nimbin village for a weekend to celebrate all things Cannabis.

Report shows Australia’s drug trade is at an all-time high, big increase in ice and steroid arrests [ABC]

The commission’s Illicit Drug Date report says law enforcement officials seized $2.7 billion worth of illicit drugs last financial year. A record 100,000 arrests were made, and there were 80,000 seizures of illicit drugs. More than 19 tonnes of drugs were seized by police and border patrol agents. While 2012-13 was a record year that saw increases in almost every drug market, the number of drug labs found nationwide decreased.

Assessing the costs and benefits of legalising cannabis [The Conversation]

About one-quarter of Australians support the legalisation of cannabis. And advocates often point to the potential of raising tax revenue from sales as part of their argument. But there has been limited analysis of the economic costs and benefits of legalisation – until now. A study we published today in the journal PLOS ONE compared the status quo with legalisation. We found that when using the standard cost-benefit framework which excludes government revenue, neither policy delivered substantially more economic benefits. But when government revenue is included, legalising appears to trump the status quo.

Should medical marijuana be legalised? [Triple J Hack]

Hack takes you inside the stories of two young guys – one has cancer, the other a rare form of epilepsy. Both are illegally using marijuana to do what other drugs haven’t been able to. The medical and political communities are divided over the question: should medical marijuana be legalised?

Legal highs to be banned [Stuff NZ]

All synthetic drugs will be pulled off the shelves within two weeks, until individual testing has proven each brand is “low-risk”, the Government has announced. Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne told Fairfax Media, “while there has been a substantial reduction in the number of these products available and the number of outlets from which they can be sold, reports of severe adverse reactions continue to be received by the National Poisons Centre and Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring. It has been impossible to attribute these adverse effects to any particular products and in the absence of that ministers accepted my recommendation at cabinet last Tuesday to end the transitional period, taking all products with interim approval off the market.” The legislation would see the remaining 41 products removed from shelves until testing had confirmed they carried a low level of risk. Dunne has said he expected the new laws to be passed within the week, and for stock to be pulled off shelves almost immediately.

What Ever Happened to ‘Just Say No’? [Atlantic Monthly]

Why have many parents stopped protesting pot? One likely answer is they have less incentive to protest: Fewer high-school kids smoke regularly. In 1978, nearly two in five high-school seniors (37.1 percent) said they had used marijuana in the previous 30 days, according to the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future survey. Last year, barely more than one in five (22.7) said they had. This figure has changed little since the mid-’90s. Another likely answer for the decline of the parents movement is the success of medical marijuana. Talk with anti-pot leaders, and to a person they say the advent of medical pot in the mid-’90s reoriented the debate. Sue Rusche, co-founder of National Families in Action, said the tide turned after “three billionaires stepped forward—George Soros, Peter Lewis, and John Sperling—and funded so-called medical marijuana.” Like Lowe and Cohen, Rusche suggested that medical marijuana changed the national conversation over weed from a behavioral issue involving teenagers to a quality-of-life one involving mostly adults.

Rush begins for legal marijuana money [Sun Sentinel]

If medical marijuana becomes legal in Florida, someone is going to make money from it. Already, a crowd of would-be investors and entrepreneurs are forming on the ground floor. Since last summer, more than 60 businesses have incorporated in Florida with names suggesting the founders intend to get into the medical marijuana business, and the vast majority filed incorporation papers just in the past two months. The companies appear to be lining up to offer everything from plant cultivation to equipment supply, medical treatment to legal advice, research and development to retail dispensing, and financial consulting to security.

Recent Quinnipiac Poll Shows Coloradans Still “Feel Good” About Legalizing Marijuana[MPP Blog]

On April 28, 2014, Quinnipiac University released poll data showing that Coloradans still “feel good” about legalizing marijuana. With a 14 percent margin (52-38 percent), voters believe marijuana legalization has been beneficial for the state, and, when asked about whether legalization “eroded the moral fiber” of people in Colorado, voters resounding replied with 67 percent disagreeing and only 30 percent agreeing. “Colorado voters are generally good to go on grass, across the spectrum, from personal freedom to its taxpayer benefits to its positive impact on the criminal justice system,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.

Pot-smoking parents explain the rules of getting high at home around the kids[Guardian]

Smoking pot is becoming less and less taboo in America as states legalize marijuana one by one – but what about smoking potonce you have kids? Whether using marijuana has a positive or negative effect on parenting has been a source of much debate this year. So, to mark 4/20 – the so-called “Holy Day of Pot” – we asked parents to tell us about how they handle marijuana in the home. Nearly 200 people responded and shared their thoughts about whether weed can make you a better parent, when and where it’s OK to “partake” and how they talk about drugs with their kids.

Why Governments will legalise cannabis in the future? [Herald Scotland]

It’s no different in Australia – marijuana is still illegal here though as ever, the people who tend to get clobbered are the poor, dispossessed and desperate. Huckling such folk represents a veritable tap-in for the police who rarely bother the middle class professionals, loads of who don’t mind a wee toke now and again. I remember attending court in the town of Byron Bay in New South Wales as a probation officer when one of my ‘clients’ – Travis – was up on a charge of possession. ‘Funny, when you think about it’, Travis’s louche legal aid lawyer drawled, ‘I smoke pot, the prosecutor smokes pot, the judge smokes pot and so does the policeman who made the arrest. You probably do yourself. And yet, it’s only poor old Travis who gets pinched.’ Funny all right. Travis could barely keep the smile from his face as they led him away, a three month jail sentence worked up his rear. My probation patch included Nimbin, a tiny town in an idyllic rainforest setting which is known internationally as Australia’s Marijuana Capital. It’s literally impossible to walk down the main street in Nimbin – actually there only is one street – without someone offering to sell you some weed.

Study of Pot Smokers’ Brains Shows That MRIs Cause Bad Science Reporting [Reason]

This week a study of cannabis consumers published by The Journal of Neuroscience provided powerful evidence that MRI scans cause shoddy science reporting. Researchers at Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital used MRIs to compare the brains of 20 young adults who reported smoking pot at least once a week and 20 controls who had used marijuana no more than five times in their lives and had not consumed it at all in the previous year. The pot smokers had higher gray-matter densities in the left nucleus accumbens, and there were “significant shape differences” between subjects and controls in that area and in the right amygdala. The differences were more pronounced in subjects who reported smoking marijuana more frequently. “Because this is a cross-sectional study,” the authors noted, “causation cannot be determined.” In other words, it is not clear whether the brain differences were caused by marijuana. It also is not clear how long the differences last or whether they have any functional significance. Those nuances generally were lost in press coverage of the study, which presented the MRI scans as evidence that smoking pot causes brain damage. News outlets claimed the study found that “marijuana re-shapes brains of users” (NBC News), that “even casually smoking marijuana can change your brain” (The Washington Post), that “casual pot use impacts brains of young adults” (The Oregonian), that “recreational pot use” is “harmful to young people’s brains” (Time), that “casual marijuana use” is “bad for young adults” (The Times of India), and that “even ‘casual’ marijuana use can knacker bits of your brain” (Gizmodo UK). A Medical News Today headline quoted the researchers as saying “casual marijuana use changes the brain,” although that statement does not appear in the article under the headline, in the study itself, or in press releases about the study issued by Northwestern UniversityMassachusetts General, and the Society for Neuroscience, which publishes The Journal of Neuroscience. Similarly, an MSN NZ headline had the study claiming that “cannabis use ‘alters brain regions,'” another phrase that is absent from the study and the press releases.

Cannabis Extract Medicine Begins To Take Hold Worldwide [Medical Jane]

Recent news surrounding the use of cannabis extracts for cancer and other diseases has largely been concentrated in the United States, where thousands of families are beginning to use high-cannabidiol oil for various forms of epilepsy. However, use of marijuana as a medicine is not limited to America or epilepsy, and throughout the world, people are beginning to use cannabis-derived medicine for epileptic and other conditions.

Scotland Community Shows The World Why All Homes Should Be Made Out of Hemp[Hemp for Future]

Many people are becoming aware of ways to live that are more harmonious with the planet.  It seems that we are transitioning to a very ancient understanding of how to operate here on Earth, with a very advanced ‘know how’ of technologies and methods to begin making that transition. New ways of living are coming to light and although you may not hear about them often, communities all over the world are starting to implement them. A new sustainable housing project in the Northwest of Scotland will use industrial hemp as the main building material. It’s made of a prefabricated wall system called Hembuild, which is a mixture of the plant’s woody core and a lime-based binder. Another popular name for this is Hempcrete. This is something all of our homes should be made of. An English housing company that specializes in hemp-based construction called ‘Hemcrete Projects,’ supplied the system. Two prototype houses have already been completed in the township of Achabeag.

Radio: Hollywood Hemptress Hour

I used to be asleep and now I am awakening to a new awareness. I believe that we as a planet and humanity are experiencing a huge paradigm shift. Within the chaos I believe we will find more love, and one day the world will become the creation of our own heaven.I work primarily as a stand-up comedian, but I strive to be like John Lennon and Yoko Ono “Art Activists”.

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