Australia is due for an upgrade
The current operating system is based on a 20th century neurosis and is incompatible with modern logic. Since inception, Prohibition 101 has failed to serve justice and has imposed restrictions under a social class format.
Install an open source operating system that is future proof and has many applications for human rights and relative harm. Check your system requirements and please save a copy of your old files before the changeover. Or you can just hold down control and alternate, then press delete.
The HEMP 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.
Abolish ‘deemed supply’! [Unharm!]
The presumption of innocence is a fundamental principle of Australia’s legal system. This means it’s up to the prosecutor to prove that the accused is guilty. When it comes to drug offences, principles are put aside. In most Australian jurisdictions, we’ve got ‘deemed supply’ laws. That means you can be charged with a drug supply offence based solely on the amount of drugs found in your possession. If you want to challenge the charge, you have to prove you weren’t going to supply the drugs to someone else. It’s an approach that should be abolished, according to a recent paper published in the journal Current Issues in Criminal Justice. So far, the only state to take this step is Queensland, which abolished deemed supply in 1986. This call to abolish deemed supply laws is a solid blow the respectability of drug detection dogs operations. These are allegedly targeted at detecting supply offences. They have never been good at doing that, and now it’s also clear that the deemed supply charges that they rely on are unjust.
Time’s up Tony Wood [Unharm!]
Watching the show I was reminded again that it’s a tragedy that Tony and Angela Wood’s daughter died. For what they experienced I am, as a parent, sympathetic in a way that’s difficult to express in words. When Tony tells Anna’s story, it reminds us of what is at stake: the lives of people we love. But Tony has used Anna’s story to create his own very different but also tragic story. It’s a story of good intentions, but not virtue. Since his daughter died, he’s campaigned for zero-tolerance and for ‘real’ war on drugs. In his grief and in the tragedy of his story, he has become influential and untouchable. He has opposed harm minimisation, claiming it is some kind of conspiracy whose real purpose is to promote drug use. For Tony, the only message is abstinence.
US start-up plans to deliver marijuana to customers by drone [Evening Standard]
A US start-up is awaiting the regulatory green light to deliver marijuana direct to smokers doors via drones. Trees Delivery, which hopes to get the go ahead to start its service in California, will allow its customers to place orders through their phone or computer, pay with virtual currency Bitcoin and receive their goods almost instantly. San Francisco-based Trees offers three ‘boxes’: the bud box, which includes exotic and hard to find strains, the extract box, which contains hash, and a beginner box. The boxes also contain accessories such as paper and filter tips, grinders, lighters and rolling papers. The catch? Smokers must have a medical license to order marijuana under the law. Trees is awaiting approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration to fly its drones.
Oregon residents will be able to buy marijuana for recreational use starting in October, about a year earlier than originally expected, under a new law backers hope will help curb the black market, state officials said on Wednesday. The law, signedMonday by Democratic Governor Kate Brown, will effectively let adults visit existing medical-use marijuana dispensaries in the state to buy certain strains just to get stoned. Possessing and growing pot became legal in July after voter approval in a November referendum, and the state expects to start accepting applications in January for recreational pot retail stores likely to open by the fall. “The bill … passed with significant bipartisan support in both chambers after a great deal of work by an implementation working group,” said Brown’s spokeswoman Kristen Grainger. In November, Oregon and Alaska sanctioned the use of marijuana for recreational purposes in state-regulated schemes that will usher in retail pot shops similar to those already operating in Washington state and Colorado.
First Medical Dispensary Opens in Nevada [Marijuana Policy Project]
On Friday, Silver State Relief became the first medical dispensary to open in Nevada. In the year 2000, voters overwhelmingly supported an initiative that made Nevada one of the earliest states to adopt a medical marijuana law. It took another 12 years for the legislature to create a law allowing regulated businesses to provide safe access to medical cannabis. A little over two years from the date the bill was signed into law, that system is finally rolling out. Nevada’s medical marijuana program now serves over 9,300 patients across the state, and the opening of Nevada’s first regulated business represents an important milestone in the state’s system. For many patients, it has been a long two years. The agency created and then adopted rules, businesses applied to operate in a lengthy approval process, and legal battles followed in some parts of the state. Recently, the state continued rolling out the program by adopting testing standards to ensure medical marijuana is safe for consumption.
New York State Awards 5 Medical Marijuana Licenses [New York Times]
Mirroring a national trend toward an acceptance of marijuana, the New York State Health Department on Friday named the five organizations that will be allowed to grow and sell the drug for medical use in the state, including in New York City. The organizations will be registered with the state, and each plans to open four dispensaries statewide. They are required to be doing business within six months, meaning medical marijuana could be on sale in New York by the end of the year. The marijuana outlets were authorized by the Compassionate Care Act signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, in July 2014, and the decision on the registrations was issued after what the Health Department called a “rigorous and comprehensive” review of prospective purveyors of the drug, and amid criticism that state regulations for such businesses are too restrictive. Mr. Cuomo declined to comment on the Health Department’s decision, deferring to the health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, who called the announcement “a major milestone” in the state’s medical marijuanaprogram. The winning companies now face the challenges of cultivating the marijuana — the state says all of the drug must be manufactured in-state — while building retail operations. Given the large pool of potential customers, several dispensaries are planned for New York City, including in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens.
Two marijuana advocacy groups on Wednesday are set to submit proposed ballot initiatives that would allow Massachusetts voters to decide whether to legalize recreational pot smoking in the state. The initiatives could become part of a wave of similar measures put before voters in a half-dozen U.S. states in 2016 as pro-marijuana groups follow a strategy that has already legalized the drug in four states plus the District of Columbia. The proposals from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and the Bay State Repeal say legalizing the drug in Massachusetts would bow to the reality that marijuana use is widespread in the United States. They say legalization would make it easier to regulate its sale and prevent people under 21 years of age from obtaining it. “The primary objective of this initiative is to actually start controlling marijuana in Massachusetts,” said Will Luzier, director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is backed by the cannabis-industry-supported Marijuana Policy Project. “Marijuana should be produced and sold by legitimate, taxpaying businesses, not gangs and cartels.” The initiatives will be reviewed by the state attorney general’s office and, if deemed constitutional, backers will then need to collect signatures from more than 64,000 voters who approve the ballot measure.
The World Famous Cannabis Café held a packed house Friday at their reopening in a small storefront on S.E. Foster Road in Portland. The marijuana social club, which closed last year after serving medical marijuana patients in a basement club on Southeast 82nd Avenue, reopened to a large and steady crowd of marijuana consumers, who each paid $10 at the door and brought their own supply of flower, shatter and other cannabis products. There was a large bong made of ice, which several patrons inserted their bowls into and consumed from. Smoke and live music filled the air. “It makes me very happy that people returned home,” said owner Madeline Martinez. “It’s exceeded my expectations for sure,” she said. The club, which is open to anyone 21 and older, is legal under Oregon’s new marijuana law, according to Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner of Measure 91. “I feel like I fulfilled my commitment to the community,” Martinez said.
This wave of “ganjapreneurs” has turned marijuana into a $700m business in Colorado, and that doesn’t account for the massive eruption of secondary businesses that have developed to supplement dispensaries. For every staple of modern society, Colorado also offers a pot-infused sibling. Tourists at the airport can take a Super Shuttle, or they can grab a 420 Airport Pickup shuttle to go directly to a dispensary before heading to their hotels. Want to take a tour of Denver, but one that doesn’t force you choose between seeing the sights and enjoying some green? Book a 420 Tour. Tired of boring old summer camps? Sign up for CannaCamp instead. And while you’re at it, let the squares stay at traditionalbed and breakfasts while you relax at a Bud and Breakfast, sipping a homemade canna-banana smoothie to get your energy up for a High Urban Hike before relaxing for the evening at a members-only pot cafe. Wake up early for a day of classes, from cannabis-friendly yoga to Puff, Pass & Paint to a pot cooking class, followed by a Medicated Massage featuring cannabis-based creams and analgesics.
Luxury Cannabis Tourism: Here’s Your Guide [The Street]
With recreational marijuana legal in four naturally beautiful U.S. states – Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska — it didn’t take long for travel businesses to take notice, and give birth to cannabis tourism. In Colorado alone, there are numerous examples of this growing industry, which caters to the marijuana-seeking traveler. The state has witnessed the creation of everything from luxury limousine companies developed to chauffer people around while they enjoy smoking, to bed and breakfasts that cater to the weed smoking crowd and tour operators offering cannabis themed itineraries that include 4-star hotel stays, trips to farms, cooking classes, art museum outings and massages with THC-infused oils. Business is already booming for entrepreneurs like Greg Drinkwater, who created TravelTHC. He is just one example of those seizing upon the early days of a newly emerging industry, a time ripe for anyone with an idea, a vision or a plan. “We are inundated with requests for properties right now” says 35-year-old Drinkwater. “There are a lot of people who are normal, everyday, hardworking people who just want marijuana to be part of how they relax.”
Colorado and Washington still have a ways to go before pot tourism can flourish. Jeremy Bamford, who started the Colorado Pot Guide website in 2013, directs thousands of daily readers to 420 tours and “Bud & Breakfasts,” but official barriers remain. City and state tourism boards still shy away from promoting weed as an attraction, marijuana lounges are still against the law, and hotels tend to give a pretty firm reiteration of their no-smoking policies when you ask about, say, using a marijuana vaporizer in your room, or smoking a joint on your balcony. (Though a few have vague advertisements on Bamford’s site that provide neither their names nor their addresses.)
A drone dropped a package of drugs into a prison yard while inmates were outside, sparking a fight, prison officials have said. The package was dropped 29 July at the Mansfield correctional institution in Ohio. It contained seven grams (almost a quarter of an ounce) of heroin, 57 grams (more than two ounces) of marijuana, and 140 grams (more than five ounces) of tobacco, JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the department of rehabilitation and correction, told theMansfield News Journal. Smith said there had been other instances of drones breaching security and the agency was taking steps to increase awareness and improve drone detection. According to the department, video footage showed the drone over recreation yards immediately before a fight began. An investigation determined the drone dropped a package intended for an inmate on the north recreation yard, and it was thrown over a fence to the south recreation yard.
Thanks to a young economics student, it looks like parliament is going to be debating the legalisation of cannabis in the UK before the end of the year. An online petition started by James Owen, a 25-year-old on his final year at Aberystwyth University, urging MPs to make the “production, sale and use of cannabis legal” picked up way over the 100,000 signatures (183,868 at the time of writing) it needed for MPs to consider debating the issue. Politicians will be cursing pesky James Owen, because they notoriously hate having to talk about drugs. Taking a more lenient approach towards narcotics is not a vote winner, and discussion around the topic is a minefield in which anyone who dares suggest anything other than the status quo is usually shot down in flames by the media, the opposition and their own party. Whatever they may think privately, breaching the unofficial parliamentary law of omerta on the thorny issue of drugs is a gamble few politicians (with anything to lose) are willing to take. And anyway, why bother devoting valuable parliamentary time on a little issue linked to nearly 3,000 deaths a year, huge swathes of taxpayers’ money, physical addiction, mental health and incarceration when you can instead resurrect the debate about man’s inalienable right to chase and kill foxes for sport, and then spend hours arguing about that?
The Cannabis Petition. A Wake Up Call For MPs Who Have Ignored Both Electorate And Evidence[Cannabis Law Reform UK]
Nearly 200,000 people have signed a petition to legalise cannabis. It’s not just a simple click of a mouse button, it requires email verification. It is an enormous event. It is only the tip of the iceberg of the millions in the UK that want to see our archaic and harmful laws on cannabis changed.
Drug possession offences should not be used to assess police performance, research suggests[Telegraph UK]
Drug possession should be removed from police performance measures, research claims. This would allow officers to concentrate on crimes that “cause most harm” rather than targeting low-level possession of cannabis, according to the study. Controversy over police approaches to cannabis possession erupted recently after some crime commissioners suggested that personal users will no longer be actively pursued by their forces. Dr Michael Shiner, of the London School of Economics (LSE), analysed official crime statistics in relation to the reclassification of cannabis. The drug was downgraded from Class B to C in 2004 but the change was reversed in 2009. In a paper published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, Dr Shiner found that the initial relaxation led to an intensification of efforts targeting minor possession after officers were given powers to issue on-the-spot warnings and penalties rather than taking suspects to a police station for processing. This resulted in a sharp increase in the number of people given sanctions for minor possession offences, according to the research.
Cannabis As Palliative Care [Cannabis Law Reform UK]
Physicians sometimes use the term palliative care in a sense meaning palliative therapies without curative intent, when no cure can be expected. Cannabis fits this description for a great number of people. It cheers them up, contextualises the pain and allows the person to “put their problems in a box” and get on with life. This doesn’t mean people like George get hammered and forget the world, but it is the psychoactive effects – the “drug high” if you like – that bring this relief. In other words, George very much benefits from the supposed “unwanted side effects” of cannabis, this is recreational drug use in a medicinal context.
Taking cannabis in your teens is ‘NOT linked to depression, lung cancer or asthma in later life’, study reveals [Daily Mail UK]
Using marijuana as a teenager does not appear to be linked to health problems such as depression, psychotic symptoms or asthma later in life, a study has revealed. Researchers found no difference in the mental or physical health of adults who had smoked cannabis as a teenager, and those who had not. ‘What we found was a little surprising,’ said lead researcher Dr Jordan Bechtold, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. ‘There were no differences in any of the mental or physical health outcomes that we measured regardless of the amount or frequency of marijuana used during adolescence.’
For years, colorful and sexually-charged images have dominated the branding and marketing of the marijuana industry. Product packaging has largely consisted of cellophane bags and pop-top containers emblazoned with homemade labels. Recent waves of legalization and expansion of the market have increased demand for professional, modern design and packaging for marijuana brands.
NEXT MEDICAN WORKSHOP in Nimbin Town Hall Saturday August 29th from 11 am – 4.20 pm
Speakers include Dr Andrew Katelaris on the latest Medical Cannabis thinking; CBD Luke and friends; Andrew Kavasilas on his recent trip to Canada; Chris Harris on Cannabis as an adaptogen; Radic Al and other MC users.