Embassy Headlines, Issue 98

The ‘Drug War’ has many casualties and children are among them. The word ‘infantry’ is now redefined in the battle for medical marijuana with our suffering youth on the front-line. Cannabis prohibition is a serious crime against humanity.

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-98 

Drug plea over children’s health fears [Channel 7]

A marijuana grower who has dedicated his life to helping critically ill children has been arrested and is facing jail-time.


MardiGrass 22 Wrapped [Nimbin HEMP]

Nimbin’s 22nd annual Cannabis law reform rally and gathering hosted by the HEMP Embassy was layered with good vibes. There were a lot of happy faces in the protest action, laughter and music. There was also serious discussion and learning, and fortunately few arrests or Police dramas in the village. Which is pretty humorous in itself considering its a gathering of thousands of criminals. Just exactly where is the crime? The Police were generally praised for sensibly standing back except for the burly undercovers (hardly) who did their best to ruin Johnny Ganja’s honeymoon. They were a sour note like the drug testing just outside town of drivers with the tacky lick-sticks which are clearly unreliable but open the door to test your blood. Close to a hundred people were busted for ‘drug driving’ which doesn’t mean they were impaired at all. We all know Cannabis stays in your blood for a month or more, unlike all other drugs. It’s just more persecution of Cannabis users based on utter nonsense. 

The powerful and passionate speech from Kerrianne enthralled the crowd with a message about the new ‘Dreamtime’. 


MardiGrass pulls them in [Echo Net Daily]

Thousands of people from the region and around the globe again made the annual pilgrimage to the Nimbin MardiGrass at the weekend. Now in its 22nd year, the MardiGrass festival and cannabis law-reform rally is the one day of the year where cannabis lovers come together in solidarity to celebrate a much maligned illegal herb, despite a continued police operation targeting festival goers with drug swab tests for drivers and sniffer dogs


Jason Woodforth speaks about medical marijuana at Nimbin Mardi Grass [Courier Mail]

A Newman Government MP has addressed thousands of stoners and supporters at the annual pro-cannabis Mardis Grass rally in Nimbin. Nudgee MP Jason Woodforth joined the crowd at the three-day ­festival which included “Joint Rolling Heats”, a workshop titled “Make Your Own Hash” and a “Smoke In”. Mr Woodforth spoke to the crowd about the medical benefits of marijuana and listened to the pro-recreational smoking arguments.


Drug policies have created more harm than good, says former AFP commissioner [ABC]

Former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Palmer joins News Breakfast to discuss the “demonstrable” failure of our current approach to drugs and drug addiction.


PUP Senator Wang invites HEMP to the table [HEMP Party]

Dear Senator-elect Dio Wang, thank you for your letter inviting the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party to the Palmer United Party (PUP) Quarterly meetings. We appreciate being given the opportunity to formally present the issues that we stand for to a federal parliamentary party. No other party has ever extended any such invitation to me personally since we were established in 1999.


E-cigarettes’ case goes up in smoke following landmark ruling in WA court [SMH]

NSW tobacco laws could be amended to specifically outlaw electronic cigarettes after a landmark legal test case in WA led to the criminal prosecution of an online stockist. ”E-cigarettes”, or vaporisers, are battery-powered devices that simulate the effects of smoking by heating a nicotine liquid into vapour, which the user then inhales and exhales. It has always been illegal to sell e-cigarette liquids that contain nicotine under Australian law but in a big development last week, the Supreme Court of Western Australia effectively banned e-cigarettes outright in the state, prosecuting a company, called HeavenlyVapours, which had been selling the dispensers and nicotine-free ”e-juice” through a website. The ruling means that anyone over 18 in WA can legally smoke a cigarette containing multiple chemicals and carcinogens, but cannot buy the electronic version which many claim has assisted thousands of smokers to quit worldwide.


E-cigarettes and the law in Australia [Aussie E-cigarette Reviews]

E-cigarettes were introduced in the market down under around late 2007. Most users are thrilled to be inhaling a nicotine rich mists without passing on second hand smoke or being exposed to the toxic chemicals in regular tobacco. However not everyone is happy that manufacturers tout e-cigs as a safer alternative to smoking when they still contains nicotine. And so the story begins ………Nicotine in electronic cigarettes is watered down by a sugar-based solvent. Some countries such as the United Kingdom provided exemption to e-cigarettes. Regulation for e-cigarettes is not as lenient down under. Fair go? It’s officially a “No go.” on e-cigarettes.According to a statement issued on May 2011 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), a division under Australia’s Department of Health and Ageing, e-cigarettes have not been endorsed as a fitting adjunct when kicking the habit. The agency stated that e-cigarette manufacturers have to address safety issues that make them potentially hazardous to their users. One particular concern is how some bodgy or inferior e-cigarettes deliver nicotine. There have been studies that have shown the potential for leaking which poses a danger to the user and to those around them. Reliable delivery at constant dose of the amount of nicotine being inhaled is another matter that makes the TGA wary of recommending them to citizens.


National drug arrests and seizures 2012-13 and illicit drug concealments [Australian Crime Commission]

Released in April 2014 to complement the launch of the Illicit Drug Data Report 2012–13, the national drug arrests and seizures infographic highlights the national drug arrests and seizures for the period 2012-13. The ‘Everyday items or illicit drug concealments?’ infographic shows the types of every day items used by serious and organised criminals to conceal illicit drugs and move them into and around Australia, including through the use of clothing, toys and household items.


Drug laws now in disarray [New Zealand Herald]

It’s possible our politicians haven’t a clue what they’re doing with drug policy. It’s easy to see why. Drugs are outside their experience, highly emotive and dangerous politics. Politicians as far apart as Nandor Tanczos and Don Brash have come unstuck attempting a rational discussion. These two politicians constitute a grim warning across the political spectrum. The result is drug law that is incoherent and now in disarray. Within a year we have gone from prohibition to laissez faire to a regulated market and now back to prohibition. Nine months ago all political parties bar Act were hailing the new regulated market as world-leading and a new era in harm minimisation. All those same parties have now run a mile. The long and considered process that included a weighty Law Commission report has been abandoned in favour of legislation to be passed under urgency as soon as Parliament resumes.


Obama Administration Puts in an Order for 1,430 Pounds of Marijuana [The Blaze]

The Obama Administration needs hundreds and hundreds of pounds of marijuana this year, more than 30 times the amount of pot it originally ordered for 2014. But don’t get any funny ideas. The pot is medicinal, and it’s needed for research purposes. The Drug Enforcement Administration put out a rule on Monday that adjusts the annual production quota of medical marijuana for the U.S. government. That pot, produced by the University of Mississippi, is used by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse to conduct research on medical marijuana. The NIDA’s research is in demand as states around the country consider legalizing medical marijuana, and as pressure is growing on the federal government to decriminalize it. And that demand means the federal government needs a lot more pot than it thought it needed. The DEA had originally set out a production quota of 21 kilograms of pot for 2014. But the new regulation bumped that quota up to 650 kilograms, or about 1,430 pounds.


Disabled veteran who called 911 on himself for growing weed appears in court [WFLA]

A disabled Union County veteran who called 911 on himself for possessing marijuana made his court appearance Monday morning in Monroe. Similar to the last time Robert Dorr appeared in court the disabled veteran was not alone. About a dozen veterans and supporters who are also fighting for North Carolina to legalize medical marijuana rallied on Dorr’s behalf.  Dorr admitted he was growing medical marijuana to help treat his PTSD in January. If the case does get dropped he said will keep fighting for the legalization of marijuana even if it means calling the police on himself again.


First Ever Marijuana Superstore [HighTimes]

According to a report in Vail Daily, a Denver-based developer has submitted a proposal for a $5 million marijuana mega-complex to be built in Eagle. The facility, which will operate under the name Rocky Mountain Pure Retail Marijuana, would consist of a 6,000-square foot retail storefront that would operate self-sufficiently with the use of a 22,500-square-foot indoor cannabis farm. In addition, the super complex would also include a 45,000-square-foot green house facility, a 3,600-square-foot extraction lab, a 3,750-square-foot “prohibition museum,” and another 12,000-square-feet of “other commercial space.”


The Latest Fearmongering Anti-Pot Propaganda, Heart Attack Edition [AlterNet]

Media fearmongering on marijuana is a decades-old tradition. Look closely at the arguments, read the texts of the studies and science they’re based on, and the truth of the situation is often that a fraction of the danger is posed to public health, if at all. Paul Armentano, one of America’s leading experts on the properties and science of cannabis dissects the latest unfounded hype about heart-risks posed by cannabis consumption.


The unexpected truth about drugs [Drug Science]

Our job at DrugScience is bringing you the scientific truth about drugs. But the scientific truth isn’t a completed body of knowledge like a bible. When scientists talk about ‘facts’ or ‘truths’ they mean the consensus supported by the evidence. Some of these facts are pretty rock solid; we’re not going to find out next week that the melting point of heroin has changed;- , whereas some of our theories will continue to change and evolve as the evidence is collected and reviewed. This uncertainty and incompleteness is a strength of the scientific method,  not a weakness, in comparison to the false certainties about drugs offered by certain ideologies. The truth about drugs? The truth is – we know a huge amount, yet in some areas, we’re only scraping the surface. I’ve worked in the field for decades and there have been some incredible discoveries but we are frustratingly far from knowing everything we can and should about recreational drug use as well as how those drugs might be used medically. The truth about the effects drugs have is that they can work in completely unexpected ways – I carried out a study looking at how magic mushrooms work in the brain and it turns out thathallucinations happen when brain activity dampens down rather than lighting up as we were expecting. This had significance for how the active ingredient in magic mushrooms might be used to help people with depression. 


Tory think-tank pushes for easing of cannabis laws to be cornerstone of party’s election manifesto [The Independent]

David Cameron is today urged by Tory modernisers to abandon Britain’s 40-year “futile” war against drugs and make partial legalisation a key pledge in next year’s general election manifesto. The provocative plan is contained among a series of policy proposals put forward by the influential Conservative think-tank Bright Blue, a group which is backed by senior ministers including Theresa May, Francis Maude, and the former minister Andrew Mitchell. It suggests that drug reform would appeal to young and ethnic-minority voters, who are crucial to the party’s long-term survival, while saving millions of pounds of public money.


THE CANNABIS REPUBLIC OF URUGUAY [Vice]

VICE correspondent Krishna Andavolu heads over to Uruguay to check out how the country is adjusting to a legally regulated marijuana market. Part 2.


Cannabis for kids: Israel pioneers pediatric pot [CNBC]

Twenty years ago, Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam was the first to discover that giving cannabis oil to kids with cancer resulted in easing their physical and emotional pain. Israel now allows children and adults to consume cannabis in medical institutions; including in government-run hospitals and nursing homes. CNBC’s Dina Gusovsky takes us back to where it all started and shows how the past could shape the future when it comes to medical marijuana in the U.S.

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