The war on drugs has facilitated serious incursions into peoples lives, including workplace testing and the roadside saliva tests, despite the fact that no study has demonstrated a public health benefit from these measures. The Reefer Madness campaign is now seen as grotesque parody, but its consequences continue to affect the progress of humanity in its quest for a brighter and more optimistic future.
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.
The opinions and proposals within the information presented, in this and all previous issues of the headlines, are not necessarily the views shared by the Nimbin HEMP Embassy. Readers are advised to voice their opinions at the source of the article, comment on the HEMP Embassy and affiliated facebook pages, respond via email, phone, webcam or in person.
Make it medicine……give Australia “Dan’s Law”! [Lucy Haslam]
Mike Baird has given his full support to developing Tamworth as a major center for Medicinal Cannabis supply in Australia.This will be complimentary to the Compassionate Access Scheme currently in development. He understands the urgency of the situation and we now wait on the Federal Government who will table their own bill in Canberra next week. We continue to work along with Richard Di Natale and the cross party committee members who produced the Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill for the Nation, to ensure that the Government proposal adequately meets the needs of the sick. A slow process has been problematic and frustrating but rest assured we continue with determination to make Medicinal Cannabis a reality for Australia in 2016.
Premier Mike Baird was in Tamworth at the weekend to meet with longtime medicinal cannabis supporter Mrs Haslam, whose son Dan used cannabis while battling terminal cancer. Once they saw the benefits to Dan, Mrs Haslam and husband Lou began campaigning for medical marijuana to be legalised. Mrs Haslam said Mr Baird wanted to make Tamworth the centre of supply for medicinal cannabis. “This is something we have fought for,” she said. “There will probably be other sites, but the premier is very keen for Tamworth to be the major site – that’s the ultimate plan.”
GRIEVANCE DEBATE, Illicit Drugs [Melissa Parke MP]
The only group in society to benefit from the war on drugs is organised criminals. This war has caused great harm to individual drug users and their families; to public health through the spread of disease; and to the wider community through the property crime and violence that is created—quite understandably—when you turn drug users and addicts into criminals, massively increase the cost of drugs and ensure that they are only available through a hardened, greedy, ruthless criminal network. In fact, it is astounding that the metaphor of a war on drugs has survived at all, because any reasonable examination of our approach to illicit drugs shows a self-perpetuating system in which the law enforcement apparatus works to protect the black market conditions and deliver the often crushing oppression of drugs users that together sustain the illicit drug trade with all of its horrors. Perhaps in extreme circumstances one could make a case for laws that are, to some extent, unfairly punitive or discriminatory if they actually worked to achieve a greater good, but it is becoming clear that our drugs laws do not work.
Decision over hemp delayed [The Advocate]
A campaign to legalise low-THC hemp in the state as a food product has been ongoing for more than a decade. The state government announced measures in January last year to deregulate the industrial hemp industry in the state. However, it is yet to reach a decision with FSANZ to allow it to be grown.
1. Allow all persons with a medical conditions or symptoms, who may benefit, access to Australian made whole plant cannabis therapies. 2. Support Queensland farmers and the Queensland economy. 3. Provide immediate amnesty to all cannabis therapy users, their carers and cannabis therapists to facilitate discussion and research without fear of prosecution. 4. Consult with MCUA (Medical Cannabis Users Association of Australia Inc) regarding regulatory models and patient needs.
Former soldier used cannabis for heart condition [Gladstone Observer]
Queensland Magistrate Robert Walker said he did not regard the use of cannabis as self medication a mitigating circumstance. “To my mind using cannabis as self medication is a misguided notion,” he said. He fined Oakes $900, saying that he should follow the medical regime prescribed by doctors.
Pharmacofascism and the rise of the State [Dr.Katelaris]
For decades classified as an addictive substance with no medical use, Cannabis is now being applied effectively to relieve symptoms of serious diseases including epilepsy, neuropathic pain and cancer. The benefits in providing relief without side effects where all allopathic drugs have failed is very obvious to patients and their carers, so the question must be asked as to why this healing substance was demonised and banned for decades in the first place. Despite major legal reforms in many countries including Portugal, Uruguay, Israel and the US, Australia has made only modest progress towards reversing the harm and damage inflicted by the prohibition.
As a result of the widespread use of this technology drivers are testing positive for a range of illegal drugs including cannabis. However the use of cannabis, unlike alcohol, can be detected long after it’s consumed. In fact lawyers, addiction specialists and even magistrates, claim it can be detected weeks, months or years after it was consumed. It’s for this reason that there’s a push within the legal fraternity not to charge drivers who have cannabis in their system.
Sniffer dogs, drug testing under review [The Age]
The review, proposed by Sex Party MP Fiona Patten, will also consider the effectiveness of roadside drug testing and harm reduction strategies for illicit drug users.
Kimberley cops remove Facebook post bragging of ‘granny’ pot bust [Brisbane Times]
WA Police social media co-ordinator Adam Brower said it was not unusual for the police to pull down Facebook posts – especially marijuana-related posts. “We find that all the time, and especially when we make marijuana related posts on there, we get people coming with some pretty angry comments,” he said. “We encourage healthy debate on our social media accounts, and to some extent we want the public to tell us what they like and what they don’t like about the way we do things, but if it’s not really generating constructive comments then we’ll just take the post down.” Mr Brower explained that the WA Police didn’t have time to moderate their comments sections “to the nth degree”, so if comments started going in a certain direction it was usual for them to just pull down the whole post rather than individually remove particularly offensive comments.
In the study, 165 children aged 4 and below watched multiple moving dots on a computer screen and were asked to state the main direction in which they were moving. It is a measure of visual discrimination in the brain called global motion perception. Arijit Chakraborty of Auckland University likened the test to identifying a single moving car at busy intersection. He and his co-researchers founds the scores were markedly better in those whose mothers used cannabis in pregnancy than in offspring of those who didn’t use it in pregnancy. The more frequently the mothers smoked and the larger the quantities, the greater the benefit.
Hedge fund managers and venture capitalists mingled with medical cannabis dispensary owners, app developers and all manner of cannabis entrepreneur. Publicists and certified public accountants worked the rooms, looking for new business. The whiff of money was almost as strong as the whiff of cannabis, both of which intensified as the conference unfolded. The amounts of money are staggering. Troy Dayton of the ArcView Group, which has invested $57 million to date in cannabis businesses, expects industry revenue to leap from $2.7 billion in 2014 to perhaps $11 billion by 2019.
Marijuana eyed as safer substitute to reduce prescription narcotic addictions, overdoses [National Post]
Dr. Hance Clarke, who co-authored Deslauriers’ case study, heads Ontario’s Transitional Pain Service, set up last year with provincial funding partly to help post-operative patients who become dependent on the medications. The Toronto General Hospital physician stressed that one case does not prove the effectiveness of marijuana to phase out narcotics. But Clarke and colleagues have begun an observational study involving numerous patients, and a more rigorous randomized controlled trial is eyed for the future. There is already some evidence that cannabis can treat certain types of pain, with the brain’s cannabinoid receptors known to be involved in pain modulation.
Surprise as scientists discover babies exposed to cannabis in the womb ‘have better vision by the age of 4 [Daily Mail]
The results showed exposure to cannabis improved global motion perception, a measure of processing within the brain’s dorsal visual pathway, which is responsible for motion processing and visual-motor control. In contrast, exposure to alcohol had a negative effect. Nicotine and methamphetamine had no effect on vision compared with the control group. This is the first time scientists have shown opposing effects of drug exposure on a child’s visual development.
Their conclusions suggest that health professionals could counteract the negative effects of drug use in pregnancy. But, they caution this is a preliminary result of a much more comprehensive study.
Trimmigrants flock to California to process marijuana [Press Democrat]
Using special tiny scissors sold in hardware stores throughout the North Coast, trimmers earn anywhere from $100 to $200 per pound of finished product, snipping out the unwanted leaves from the resin-rich cannabis buds, which contain most of the plant’s medicinal and intoxication values.
“If you are really, really fast, you can trim two pounds a day,” maybe more, said Eric, 30, of Guatemala, as he stood outside the Willits Safeway with his backpack, sleeping bag and Argentinian traveling companion, Sol.
Legalization has been good news for the state’s budget, too. In the last fiscal year, Colorado collected $70 million in tax revenue. In fact, the state collected more than was legal, due to a cap on state tax collection, and considered returning some of the revenue to citizens. However, voters approved a ballot initiative on Nov. 3 to allow the government to keep the extra funds.
No current system exists to track what the hemp is being grown for, but in Colorado at least, the harvest was “primarily” for the non-psychoactive chemical compound cannabidiol (CBD), according to Sean Murphy, publisher of the Hemp Business Journal.
“That’s the real story — the CBD market,” he said. Consumer sales of CBD-infused products, typically for pain relief or anti-inflammatory medicines, are projected to reach $85 million in 2015.
With legal marijuana on Canada’s horizon, a look at how Washington has dealt with pot being kosher [National Post]
Since the law has been in effect, arrests for possession have predictably plummeted. In 2013, before marijuana was decriminalized or legalized, D.C. police arrested 1,215 people for pot possession. So far this year, all D.C.-based police forces — including those of federal agencies — have arrested only seven people for marijuana possession, according to statistics from D.C. police.
NYPD Marijuana Arrests Down 40% This Year After Mayor Bill De Blasio Ordered More Tickets, Less Incarceration [IB Times]
These new tactics in New York come at a time when more and more states are pushing to legalize marijuana within their borders. Four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — plus Washington, D.C., have passed referenda legalizing recreational use marijuana.
For a long time, medicinal marijuana users shied away from paying with a check or a credit card— or leaving any sort of paper trail. It could be used as evidence against them. “I would offer a receipt and no one would ever take it,” says Nick Smilgys, head of operations and cofounder of Flow Kana. “Now they’re like, ‘Where’s the receipt?'” In the future, we’ll see the industry catch up to consumer technology. IPads and tablets will be scattered throughout dispensaries so customers can read up on a strain’s strength and intended effect.
The documentary that finally clears the smoke around the failed international prohibition of cannabis. The film details how New Zealand got rolled up in the US-led Drug War along with 183 other countries. Over the past 100 years the US has forced its fatally flawed model of drug prohibition on almost every country on earth. Four decades since Richard Nixon declared the War On Drugs, 22 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana. Only one country in the world arrests a higher proportion of its population for cannabis: New Zealand. While cannabis has now been legalised in multiple American states, the New Zealand govt remains firmly locked into the international Drug War matrix. Druglawed shows why it is essential to break out and how to do it.
DRUGLAWED DOCUMENTARY – SYDNEY SPORE PREMIERE SCREENING
4 December at 18:00 Ritchie Theatre UNSW, Sydney.