HEMP Embassy Headlines 181


Driven To Drink

Under prohibition, young people’s introduction to Cannabis today is most likely with ‘weed’ grown in chemicals by organised crime, mixed with tobacco and smoked in a state of fear. So no wonder their first experience of “imagination fuel” can be problematic for some.

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.

Richard Branson calls on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to decriminalise drugs [smh]

Billionaire Richard Branson has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to decriminalise drugs in Australia. Fairfax Media can reveal that Sir Richard, owner of the Virgin empire and a commissioner for the Global Commission on Drug Policy, issued the challenge to Mr Turnbull in a personal submission to the federal government’s National Ice Taskforce.

Letter to our Prime Minister who inhaled: Malcolm Turnbull [HEMP]

This new saliva testing of drivers has had a huge impact on Cannabis users. Every time we drive now we risk losing our licence. It’s nothing to do with impaired driving. A joint one evening means you are susceptible to a positive reading days later. Of course people change their drug habits. Virtually all the other illegal drugs are out of your system the next day and the roadside tests are only for pot, amphetamines and mdma. Nothing produced by Big Pharma is tested.

Tasmania nabs NSW medical marijuana growing rights [apn]

TASMANIA’S success as the world’s biggest legal poppy producer has earned it the right to grow marijuana for medical trials in New South Wales. NSW Premier Mike Baird and Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman have signed a memorandum of understanding sketching out the states’ involvement in the trials and research.

Pot Is More Accessible Than Ever – And Guess What? Teen Use Is Going Down [alternet]

If legalization in the states has had any effect on teen pot use rates, the MTF figures make clear it hasn’t shown up yet. Teen pot use stabilized before legalization and hasn’t increased since.

Recent Study Finds Marijuana Is Much Safer Than Alcohol Or Tobacco [activistpost]

With the battle for the legalization of marijuana being considered one of the more prevalent issues in today’s society, it is upon scientists and researchers to now look deeper into the chemical makeup of marijuana and indicate whether smoking marijuana yields less dangerous side effects than consuming alcohol.

Cannabis users to be given on-the-spot warnings to free up police time [heraldscotland]

The new recorded police warnings scheme, formally to be introduced on January 11, replaces a series of adult police warnings used in different ways across the the old eight legacy police forces.

Palm Beach County Commissioners have voted to decriminalize marijuana [wptv]

This ordinance doesn’t legalize marijuana – it just reduces the penalties for those caught with it. It gives law enforcement an alternative – rather than make an arrest, now they can give a $100 fine. Instead of paying the fine, the offender can choose to do 10 hours of community service.

How Marijuana Became Illegal: Corporate Greed, Corruption, And Racism [greenrushdaily]

Anslinger whipped up all sorts of horror stories about cannabis-addled murderers and marijuana-crazed rapists, used Hearst’s control over the media to disseminate them, and sparked an entire culture war against anything deriving from the cannabis plant.

Top White House Drug Official: War on Drugs is a Failure [attn]

The nation’s top drug official went on CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday night and proclaimed the old War on Drugs a failure. Michael Botticelli, who serves as the director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, also said he wants to reform and refocus U.S. drug policy.
When asked by “60 Minutes” host Scott Pelley if the costly drug war that has been in place for more than 40 years had been wrong, Botticelli had blunt words for what he called the “failed policies and failed practices” of the past, noting that those policies were largely responsible for the nation’s mass incarceration epidemic.

What Colorado’s Governor Wants America to Know About Legalizing Weed [yahoo]

Just over one year ago, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was openly opposed to marijuana legalization. “After the election, if I could’ve had a magic wand, and I could’ve waved it and reversed the outcome of the election, I would’ve done it,” he said. “Now if I had that same magic wand, I’m not sure I’d wave it.”
Governor Hickenlooper – Colorado

Organic Pot Farmer Predicts Top Five New Business Opportunities In The Marijuana Industry [forbes]

Anthony Franciosi now 26, has grown from 14-year-old pot smoker to professional cannabis farmer and outspoken advocate for organic crops and sustainable production practices. The 7000 sq. ft marijuana grow space he is creating outside of Steamboat Springs Colorado aims to use the latest technology in lighting, water use and waste management to minimize resource use while growing organic cannabis.

Mexico issues first marijuana permit [sky]

But the four SMART members – two lawyers, an accountant and a social activist – are allowed to “sow, grow, harvest, prepare, possess, transport and consume marijuana for recreational uses,” Cofepris said. They are not permitted, however, to sell it to other people or use marijuana in front of children, pregnant women “or people who do not give their consent.”

International cannabis research institute opens in Prague [praguepost]

The institute founders say the non-standardized and “unscientific” attitudes together with the fears of abuse of cannabis are among the reasons of why cannabis is not yet accessible to all patients who need it.
Cannabis treatment has been legalized in the Czech Republic, but pharmacies only sell imported cannabis that is too expensive for most patients and most doctors hesitate about prescribing it.

Japan’s First Lady Touts Revival of Hemp Culture [wsj]

In an interview with Spa!, Ms. Abe was quoted as saying that she had become interested in hemp cultivation and considered applying for a permit to grow the plant after studying its history. “Hemp is a plant of which all of its parts can be used effectively,” Ms. Abe is quoted as saying. “While it is not yet permitted in Japan, I think it can be put into great practical use for medical purposes as well.”

Make cannabis consumption legal; ban is turning people alcoholic: BJD chief whip Tathagata Satpathy [indianexpress]

Satpathy called for the Legalisation of Cannabis Consumption. In the villages of my constituency, old people, venerable people used to smoke marijuana… natural marijuana. Today, by imposing a ban on natural substances, which people have been using for ages, from the time of Lord Shiva, we have actually forced a lot of these people to move on to alcohol.

Escaping Syria To Harvest Hashish In Lebanon [npr]

The crop was always at risk of getting burned in police raids. Now cannabis has come back with a vengeance since the start of the Syrian war, flourishing much as it did in the years of Lebanon’s civil war, which ended in the early 1990s. “This year, the whole Bekaa Valley was full of hashish,” Ali says, grinning. “Not just one area.” On a good day, Ali says he can make $10,000 selling his product to clients from Lebanon, Egypt and elsewhere.

‘Completely sober’ drivers who smoked cannabis in last week could be prosecuted under new laws [breakingnews]

Penalties for failing a drug test “will be in line with where we are now for alcohol testing”, with maximum penalties of a €5,000 fine and/or six months in prison, as well as disqualifications from driving.

Cannabis ‘Can Reduce Tumour Growth’, Expert Says [yahoo]

Guillermo Velasco of the Complutense University of Madrid says there is evidence that cannabinoids – chemicals in cannabis – actually reduced tumour growth in animals. But he says that there is little interest from pharmaceutical companies.

More Than 75% Of High School Heroin Users Started With Prescription Opioids [forbes]

With heroin-related overdoses rapidly increasing in the United States, many in the country are working to understand why users turn to the highly addictive drug so quickly in the first place. Taking a look at high school students, one group of researchers examined the potential relationship between prescription painkiller and heroin use.

Courts are forcing marijuana users to get drug treatment they probably don’t need [washingtonpost]

Overall, fewer than 1 in 5 marijuana treatment seekers checked themselves in voluntarily. That too is a lower share than for any other drug. “Many cannabis consumers are being forced by cops, courts and corrections officers to undergo drug treatment that they themselves don’t feel they actually need,” wrote legalization advocate Tom Angell.

Rick Steves recommends growing your own pot to keep out ‘Big Marijuana’ [sfgate]

Travel author and television host Rick Steves recently appeared on Washington state’s KUOW public radio to discuss his support for a new proposal to allow personal cannabis grow operations in his home state. “I don’t want marijuana to go the route of tobacco and have Joe Camel and Big Tobacco and Big Marijuana” dominate the industry, Steves told KUOW’s Jeannie Yandel. “If there’s money to be made, it’s going to attract big corporate interests and they’re going to have the clout. I like the idea of having home grow because it gives people an option to having to buy something from a giant organization. They can just have a few plants on the window sill, and it’s not a big deal.”

Colarado’s tourism on a high after cannabis legalisation; right recipe for boosting tourism in Canada and elsewhere [ibtimes]

Advocates are pointing to the gains made in the tourism sector by Colorado as a case study for all countries thinking of liberalizing cannabis laws. These Colarado results are important for Canada as it is getting ready to legalise marijuana nationwide.


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