Mexico changes tune on Cannabis
Breaking the curse of prohibition’s violence and corruption can only be good for Mexico. Redirecting the flow of cash through a regulated market will erode the profits of drug cartels who operate on both sides of the border. Supplying the US domestic market has profound consequences for most of Central and South America. Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico are weighing up their options for a drug war capitulation.
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.
Tweed lawyer slams police for roadside drug testing [Tweed Daily]
Mr Edwards said the penalties of a driver disqualification and recorded conviction were “too harsh” for a first offence, with positive readings possible through passive inhalation in the case of cannabis. ” All you need is the mere presence of the drug and you have all the consequences, even though you don’t have to be under the influence and your driving may not be affected,” Mr Edwards said. ” In Tweed, losing your licence is like cutting off your legs.” Mr Edwards said three of his clients were currently appealing their convictions and he predicted the number of challengers of the test to rise. He said the number of offenders at Tweed Local Court had “tripled” compared to last year.
Ironically, while Hemp Foods Australia’s products are sold all over the world, it’s against the law to eat them in Australia and New Zealand. “That’s the strangest part of the story,” Benhaim says. “I have been working with industrial hemp for 22 years all over the world but in Australia and New Zealand you cannot buy these products as a food; only for external use.” This condition is under review and he is hopeful hemp products will be approved as a food by early next year. “We already have a number of manufacturers, gyms and juice bars that want to use our products,” he says. “We want to be able to support these industries and also support more local Australian farmers.”
Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the NSW trials would do nothing to reduce the pressure on regular cannabis users. ‘It’s nothing to do with the real issue. There are thousands of people of people who use cannabis as a medicine and they will still be targeted by police,’ he said. Mr Balderstone said many parents with children suffering from epilepsy would be hesitant to take part in trials because they would not want their children subjected to a placebo. ‘Every seizure can result in brain damage,’ he said. He said the fear that medical cannabis would be handed over to Big Pharma had been been realised.
Eatons Hill mum Michelle Whitelaw calls for Queensland medicinal cannabis trial to be more comprehensive [couriermail]
Health Minister Cameron Dick could not confirm if THCa would be included. Mr Dick said the $3 million trial would assess the value of cannabis products provided by GW Pharmaceuticals in treating children with severe drug- resistant epilepsy. Michelle Whitelaw started giving son Jai, 11, cannabis oil with the THCa component last December. She said this reduced his epileptic seizures from 500 a day to just three in 100 days. Jai has since learnt to ride a bike and can go to school.
A MAN facing criminal charges for supplying medicinal cannabis to chronically ill Victorians, including children with epilepsy, has vowed to continue to assist people until it is legal to do so. Matthew Pallett, 54, and wife Elizabeth have been charged with possessing, supplying and trafficking a drug of dependence and will face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on December 2. The couple face up to 15 years’ jail for allegedly helping up to 100 chronically ill patients obtain cannabis for pain relief.
Full response from TGA [theconversation]
When asked for a source to support her assertion, a spokesman for Nash sent a response from a TGA official that said: The Special Access Scheme (SAS) can be used for the importation of a cannabinoid product for an individual and this is not restricted to Sativex. A medical practitioner can apply through SAS Category B for a cannabinoid product and must provide information on the patient, clinical justification for treating the patient with an unapproved medicine and information on the cannabinoid product.
Why can’t we import Medicinal Cannabis Oil now? Katie Noonan Fiona Nash & Joel Fitzgibbon respond #QandA https://youtu.be/NNwyW6SJE1A
Let’s Do Cannabis Better [HEMP]
Who really believes these politicians when they sincerely declare what they’re doing to allow the use of Cannabis for medical purposes? Who believed NSW Premier Bob Carr in the early 2000’s when he said,”It’s a Government’s duty to ensure medical Cannabis etc etc”? Or the more recent NSW and ACT Medical Cannabis Inquiries and their cross party committees who unanimously concurred medical Cannabis should be allowed? Or the Greens inspired Regulator of Medical Cannabis Bill which all agreed was a half hearted plan with no chance of ever getting up? Of course nothing came of the Inquiries and promises, the same situation has been repeated in other Sates and Territories. Now we have the Liberal led Federal Government overriding all with a call that they’ll grow the Cannabis for medical research. The details of the latest announcement were definitely lost in the rush to print and when they emerged a few days later there’s been nothing but a whimper.
The country, dispirited by the ceaseless campaign against traffickers, remains engulfed in violence. “It’s the drama behind all of our efforts,” said Juan Francisco Torres Landa, a corporate lawyer who was one of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case. The marijuana case has ignited a debate about the effectiveness of imprisoning drug users in a country with some of the most conservative drug laws in Latin America. But across the region, a growing number of voices are questioning Washington’s strategy in thedrug war. With little to show for tough-on-crime policies, the balance appears to be slowly shifting toward other approaches. Uruguay enacted a law in 2013 to legalize marijuana, though the creation of a legal marijuana industry in the small country has unfolded slowly. Chile gathered its first harvest of medical marijuana this year. In Brazil, the Supreme Court recently debated the decriminalization of marijuana, cocaine and other drugs. And Bolivia allows traditional uses of coca, the plant used to make cocaine. Many leaders in Latin America have called for a shift in policy, including President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia.
Mexico’s Supreme Court Declares Individuals Have the Right to Consume and Cultivate Marijuana [DPA]
The economic case for decriminalising drugs [Independent]
The UN wants its members to decriminalise drugs, and Sir Richard Branson thinks that is just great. Well, it is not quite like that; as so often, the story is more nuanced than the headline. The paper Sir Richard leaked, which urges “decriminalising drug use and possession for personal consumption”, was drawn up for a conference in Kuala Lumpur on harm reduction by Dr Monica Beg, an official at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. It has since been withdrawn and, as you can gather from the outcry, it is certainly a “third-rail issue” – you touch it at your peril.
In December 2013, Uruguay approved a law that lets the state grant licenses to grow and harvest marijuana that will be sold to registered users through pharmacies. Under the law, Uruguayan citizens and residents can buy up to 40 grams (1.4 ounces) of weed a month from the pharmacies, grow it themselves at home, or join cannabis clubs where members jointly tend to the plants.
Uruguay’s radical cannabis plans [BBC]
As the case for drug prohibition has fallen apart, its defenders have had to come up with ever more imaginative ways to justify it. When it comes to cannabis, that now includes bending the laws of science to their will. The government created a bit of a problem for itself when it allowed GW Pharmaceuticals to grow cannabis under license in order to produce Sativex – a cannabis tincture used to treat spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients. This was odd, because under the scheduling system for drugs enshrined in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 cannabis is classified as schedule one, meaning it has no therapeutic value. Before Sativex came along it was easy enough, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary, for the government to defend cannabis’ scheduling. There was no legal cannabis medicine in the UK, so therefore cannabis wasn’t a medicine. But as soon as this new drug was licensed, they had a problem.
“I know the Liberals have said they are going to legalize it for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Whatever the law of the land is, the police department will roll with it.” He also pointed out that police need to be sensitive to what communities want. “In all the surveys that we’ve seen in recent years, the vast majority of people support some sort of legalization or regulation on marijuana — decriminalization — however that may look,” said Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer.
New Research Shows Marijuana Heals Broken Bones and Prevents Rejection of Transplanted Organs [countercurrentnews]
The medical uses of cannabis and its derivatives are continuing to be discovered at an astonishing rate. This is despite the fact that U.S. government clings to an absurd, baseless classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug, which severely limits research and scientific advancement. We can add bone fractures and organ transplants to the diverse list of conditions that medicinal cannabis can treat. A study performed by Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University researchers finds that the non-psychotropic component cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) helps heal bone fractures. They administered the compound to rats with mid-femoral fractures and found that it “markedly enhanced the healing process of the femora after just eight weeks.”
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders introduced legislation on Wednesday that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana, removing the drug from the federal government’s list of the “most dangerous” substances – a move that distinguishes the Democratic presidential hopeful from the other candidates in the race. Under Sanders’ plan, marijuana would not automatically become legal. Rather, states would have the right to decide whether or not they want to legalize the drug – without fear of federal impediment. In effect, states would inherit the power to regulate marijuana in the same way state and local laws now govern the sale of alcohol and tobacco.