Embassy HEADLINES Issue 259
Embassy HEADLINES Issue 259

Embassy HEADLINES Issue 259

Next Nimbin Medican Workshop 5 August 2017 [Hemp Embassy]

Next Medican Workshop Saturday August 5 at the Bush Theatre in Nimbin. 11 am – 4.20pm. Speakers include Carol Ireland (CEO Epilepsy Australia); a panel of parents treating children with epilepsy; Dr Deb Waldren on healing with Cannabis; Michael Stoopman and CBD Luke; Weeded Warriors; Toney Fitzgerald; Zane Archer on nutrition; Andrew Kavasilas on the government’s dilemma; MC Michael Balderstone. Free entry. If you wish to talk and share your experience please contact the HEMP Embassy….ph 0266891842 email head@hempembassy.net

Police Arrest Patient For Possessing Medicinal Cannabis: An Interview with MCUA’s Deb Lynch [Sydney Criminal Lawyers]

On June 19, Queensland police arrested Deb Lynch, secretary of the Medicinal Cannabis Users Association of Australia (MCUA), on charges of possessing a dangerous drug. Several officers were at her Cornubia residence on a different matter, when they noticed her cannabis medicine. Ms Lynch suffers from multiple conditions, including Scleroderma and post-traumatic stress disorder. And she’s also suffered cancer. Regular pharmaceutical medicines don’t work for Ms Lynch. So she’s been taking medicinal cannabis products for decades now, as they do make a difference. Unfortunately for Deb, she now has to front up to court, all because she wanted to ease the pain. But she’s not the only one, as there’s a long list of people who’ve recently been arrested by authorities for either possessing their own medicine, or providing it to others, who are in need of help.

Medical Cannabis Mirage [BayFM 99.9]

After a seven-month campaign, the Medical Cannabis Advisory Group celebrated a victory for medical cannabis users when the Senate blocked the Turnbull government’s changes to Therapeutic Goods Administration regulations, which would have excluded cannabis as a medicine for the terminally-ill. Dr John Jiggens spoke with Grace Sands from the Medical Cannabis Advisory Group about the most recent fight between the medical cannabis community and the Turnbull government.

Should there be a marijuana farm on the Fraser Coast? [Fraser Coast Chronicle]

Is the Fraser Coast the ideal place for a medicinal marijuana farm? Jannean Dean thinks so. The long-term local and aspiring politician believes our climate and job shortages make the region ripe for the new-age industry. Despite medicinal marijuana being legalised in Queensland, only three people in the state have asked for a prescription since 2015. Producing the drug with permission is legal too – after the Federal Government changed laws last year – but an Australian manufacturer is yet to be established. “We have a fantastic climate for it; it uses a third of water that cane sugar does,” Ms Dean said. Ms Dean has campaigned for the medical type of marijuana, currently produced in labs, to be grown here since 2014. She says she is driven by seeing chronically ill patients suffering in pain.

Nimbin MardiGrass, cannabis law reform and political malaise [Independent Australia]

As I see it, central to this debate are notions of individual choice and minimisation of harm. (They are also the kinds of things politicians should be interested in. If they’re not, I’d suggest they need a change of career.)

NSW Police Given Power to Kill with Impunity [Sydney Criminal Lawyers]

The Berejiklian government has continued on in the Coalition’s tradition over recent years of enacting laws that increase police powers, whilst whittling away at civil liberties, all in the name of a perceived terrorist threat. On June 21, the Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Police Powers and Parole) Bill 2017 was rushed through state parliament with bipartisan support. The bill grants NSW police the power to shoot-to-kill without fear of prosecution, as well as placing further restrictions on parole.

Healthy Drug Law Parliamentary Symposium [New Zealand Government]

NZ’s assistant minister of health was the only male scheduled speaker at this 2-day symposium. He spoke highly of the Portuguese model.

How much could New Zealand earn from taxing legal cannabis? [Stuff]

A regulated market in cannabis would net $70 million in new tax revenue, independent analysis carried out for Stuff reveals. The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research modelling shows a 25 per cent excise tax on legal marijuana would raise $40m, on top of an extra $30m from GST. The figures are well short of an earlier estimate by Treasury, which put the potential tax take at $150m per year.

Where do NZ political parties stand on cannabis law reform? [Stuff]

Political parties don’t always make it easy to work out where they stand on cannabis law. Medicinal cannabis regulation and recreational use should be considered separately, but they’re often talked about in the same breath. Some parties have an official line, others don’t. The parties with pro-reform attitudes are Labour, UnitedFuture, the Greens, ACT, the Maori Party, NZ First and – not in Parliament but vocal on this issue – The Opportunities Party and the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.

Dying Kiwis become criminals as they turn to medicinal cannabis [Stuff]

An increasing number of Kiwis are turning to medicinal cannabis at the ends of their lives as they suffer from the effects of terminal illnesses such as cancer. They are the everyday successors to Helen Kelly – people prepared to break the law to avoid dying a slow and painful death. What they’re doing is illegal, but they insist the drug helps relieve their symptoms, and say they have nothing to lose.

Nevada celebrates newly legalised marijuana with fireworks, weed-themed weddings and long queues [Independent]

Hundreds of people waited for hours in long queues on the first day recreational marijuana went on sale in the US state of Nevada.  Tourists joined locals to mark the event as Nevada became the fifth state with stores selling cannabis to the public.  Veteran consumers, first-time buyers, twenty-something and retirees were among those who defied hot temperatures to get to the stores on the first of the new law.

Nevada becomes fifth US state to allow cannabis sales for recreational purposes [Independent]

Nevada has become the fifth state in the US with stores selling marijuana for recreational purposes. People aged 21 and above can now buy up to an ounce of the drug at a time and use it in their homes if they have a valid ID in the western state, which is famed for the hotels and casinos in its largest city Las Vegas.  The millions of tourists who visit Nevada cities every year are expected to make nearly two of every three purchases from retailers, who began selling pot early on Saturday morning.

The Business of Pot: There Are More Legal Marijuana Workers Than There Are Dental Hygienists [Newsweek]

If you’re an American living in a legal weed state, more than likely you’d have a better chance of finding someone to recommend, grow and sell you an eighth of Granddaddy Purple Kush before you found the perfect dental hygienist to clean your teeth. That’s because the legal marijuana industry, whether operating in states with recreational or medical-only laws, might actually employ more people than there are dental hygienists, according to MJ Biz Daily’s annual Marijuana Business Factbook report.

Pot with patents could plant the seeds of future lawsuits [The Conversation]

This burgeoning industry has also witnessed the issuance of dozens of patents related to cannabinoids and various strains of cannabis, including ones on marijuana-laced lozenges, plant-breeding techniques and methods for making pot-spiked beverages. Some of these products contain a significant amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that makes people high. As a professor who researches and teaches in the area of patent law, I have been monitoring how private companies are quietly securing these patents on cannabis-based products and methods of production, even though marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug. An even richer irony is that the government itself has patented a method of “administering a therapeutically effective amount of a cannabinoids.”

In Seattle US old-timers rediscover the high life on cannabis tours [The Guardian]

Forget bingo, tea dances and seaside trips. Residents from a chain of Seattle retirement homes are going on Pot for Beginners tours to learn about – and buy – cannabis in the city, where it’s now legal. Connie Schick said her son roared with laughter when he heard she was joining a field trip to a cannabis-growing operation, an extraction plant and shop. The 79-year-old, who smoked the odd joint in the 70s, wanted to know how legalisation has changed the way the drug is used and produced. Schick was one of eight women, from their late 60s to mid-80s, who descended from a minibus emblazoned with the name of their assisted living centre, El Dorado West, outside Vela cannabis store last Tuesday.

Marijuana age limit should be low – not high [The Conversation]

Lowering the legal age for marijuana use will help to improve prevention, safety and education for young people.

Tax low to get high: governments should keep weed taxes down [The Conversation]

With the introduction of draft legislation in Canada to legalize marijuana by July 2018, the Liberal government is moving forward on its election promise. But as lawmakers polish the legislation to promote the best policy outcomes, they face a key challenge — they must ensure that any new tax measures encourage marijuana producers, distributors and sellers to become tax-compliant.

50 years after the Summer of Love, why is cannabis still illegal in the UK? [New Statesman]

You always expect the sun to come out for hippies, as though they have their own Californian microclimate. But in Britain, the summer of 1967 started late and ended up rather rainy. Even though the weather didn’t live up to the look, this was the first Summer of Love. This is when pot became political, and it left a legacy of drug use that we still haven’t come to terms with.

United Nations and World Health Organization Call for Drug Decriminalization [Drug Policy Alliance]

In a joint statement, the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) expressed their support for countries in the review and repeal of laws that criminalize drug use and possession of drugs for personal use. This joint statement, which addresses discrimination in health care settings, comes in light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to “ensure that no one is left behind”.

American Media Silent After UN Just Called for Decriminalizing Drug Use Worldwide [The Free Thought]

A little-noticed public statement issued by the United Nations last week contains a dramatic shift in thinking on the issue of “illicit” substance use. After recommitting to the failed idea of prohibition just last year, the UN is now calling for the worldwide decriminalization of drug use and possession. The statement, put out by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the U.S. is in the midst of a nonsensical debate over health care, calls for “ending discrimination in health care settings.” The WHO calls on states to end discrimination against “marginalized and stigmatized populations” in a variety of ways, and includes a blunt and rather shocking statement on the drug war. This is an admission that the problem of drug abuse is a public health issue, not a criminal justice issue. Locking people in cages for the victimless behavior of ingesting substances arbitrarily deemed illegal by the State does nothing to reduce drug use or supply, as evidenced by the utter failure of the War on Drugs.

Catalonia Legalises Cannabis Cultivation and Distribution [volteface]

The Parliament of Catalonia has approved the creation of a legal framework for regulating the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of cannabis. On June 28, members of the Catalonia Parliament voted to approve the creation of a regulated framework for cannabis social clubs (CSCs) across the autonomous Spanish region, with 118 legislators supporting the measure, and only eight opposing it. CSCs are collectives in which cannabis is cultivated and distributed – not sold – among members who pay for the costs of running and maintaining the club. Selling cannabis remains illegal.

Greece legalises marijuana for medical purposes [Independent]

Greece has become the latest European country to legalise marijuana for medical purposes. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said last week that doctors will soon be able to prescribe the drug for a variety of medical conditions.

Initiative for the establishment and coordination of the “Greek Observatory for the Medical Use of Cannabis” [Diogenis]

In view of the on-going progress in the field of the medical use of cannabis at international level, as well as the current developments in our country, NGO Diogenis within a network of collaborating civil society organizations – with years of experience, knowledge and activity in this specific area of interest – is undertaking the initiative to set up and coordinate the establishment of the “Greek Observatory for the Medical Use of Cannabis”.

Blow for cannabis cafes as numbers continue to decline [Dutch News]

The number of ‘coffeeshops’ in the Netherlands is continuing to fall but the closure rate has slowed, new official figures show. Amsterdam had one coffeeshop for every 4,907 residents, a far higher concentration than any of the other 102 municipalities which license cannabis cafes. At the other end of the spectrum Zoetermeer has a single coffeeshop for a population of 125,000. Owners said the closures were partly due to the city council imposing stricter criteria, including a rule that coffeeshops cannot be located within 250 metres of a school.

The brutal war on drugs in the Philippines – in pictures [The Guardian]

A year on from the inauguration of President Rodrigo Duterte, his ‘war on drugs’ has claimed the lives of more than 7,000 Filipinos, according to Human Rights Watch. Duterte won last year’s election with promises to rid the country of drugs and crime, kill every drug dealer and user and to feed their corpses to the fish in Manila Bay. But despite the death toll, which includes more than 2,500 killings by police and 3,600 by vigilantes, many Filipinos gloss over the murders, and Duterte’s poll ratings remain high.

Some Marijuana-Derived Treatments Aim To Soothe Skittish Pets [NPR]

Celebrations that include loud fireworks often terrify dogs. Though there’s not yet much science to confirm it, some veterinarians and pet owners say CBD, an extract of hemp or marijuana, can ease a pet’s fear.

Some psychiatrists think cannabis can be considered a psychedelic drug like shrooms — here’s why [Business Insider Australia]

Marijuana isn’t typically thought of as a psychedelic — a drug that produces hallucinations or an apparent expansion of consciousness. But according to Julie Holland, a psychiatrist with a private practice in New York, some of cannabis’ effects are psychedelic in nature. At a recent conference in London on the science of psychedelics, Holland said that using marijuana may be linked with a phenomenon some psychiatrists refer to as “dehabituation” — the process of looking at something with fresh eyes. “That can be very helpful in psychiatry,” she said.

What’s the difference between decriminalising and legalising cannabis? [Stuff]

The cannabis debate: It’s not as simple as ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’. So what’s the difference between depenalisation, decriminalisation and legalisation?

Cannabis, Mood, and Depression [Project CBD]

Linda A. Parker explains the mood enhancing and anti-depressant qualities of CBD and THC.

Science Just Confirmed Regular Weed Use May Improve Your Eyesight [Herb]

Up until the past several years, the most well-known medical benefit of pot was its successful treatment of glaucoma, the degenerative disease of the optic nerve that transports visual data to the brain. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a long-term study, spanning more than 30 years has revealed that cannabis may be a factor in improving eyesight over time.

New Haight center celebrates poster art [San Francisco Chronicle]

At 12,000 square feet on two levels, the center has a print shop with supply lockers for the artists and a museum and retail store for the public. A warren of galleries will display 90 posters from the breakthrough years of 1965-67 in the opening exhibit. All of the Big Five who made San Francisco the center of the genre will be represented: Mouse, Alton Kelly, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffin and Wes Wilson.

The Dark Web Has Made Sales of Recreational Drugs Safer [Newsweek]

Dark-web drug transactions increased 50 percent between 2013—the year the FBI shut down the Silk Road—and January 2016, according to a new report from the United Nations. The Silk Road may be dead, but the dark web drug economy is very much alive. The big takeaway from the U.N. report is that the drug war continues to be a massive failure, and even though the dark web has made drug buying safer —and even drug use safer—it is still inferior to a regulated market with clear product data.

Inside the darknet: where Australians buy and sell illegal goods [The Guardian]

And then of course there are the drugs. In fact, in Australia it’s mostly drugs. You can buy anything from meth to MDMA, mushrooms to cocaine.

Australian demand fuels record drug seizures [News]

Australia’s enormous demand for illicit drugs has resulted in a record number of seizures and arrests with 10 tonnes of supply intercepted in the past 18 months. The 2015/16 illicit drug data report shows the number of seizures has jumped 85 per cent over the decade from 62,000 in 2006/07 to a record 115,000 in 2015/16.

The Australian Parliament Is Holding An Inquiry Into Vaping NOW. Take Action & Make Your Voice Heard! [Legalise Vaping]

In the US, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and in the EU, vapourisers are helping millions of people to stop smoking and improve their health. But in Australia, these life saving devices are banned from sale. This is unacceptable – and is putting hundreds of thousands of lives at risk. Make a submission & tell your politician to legalise vaping now!

Victoria Police May Get the Power to Search Without a Reason [Sydney Criminal Lawyers]

Victoria police are pushing the Andrews government to expand police search powers at music festivals, so that officers are able to search patrons for drugs without having a reasonable suspicion to do so. Police claim the powers are necessary to counter the spate of drug-related deaths across the state in recent months.

The Absinthe Drinker

Arthur Symons was a British poet and critic. In his early works he was strongly influenced by French poets such as Verlaine and Rimbaud which is very evident in his poem The Absinthe Drinker, part of his book Silhouettes, published in 1892.

The Absinthe Drinker

Gently I wave the visible world away.
Far off, I hear a roar, afar yet near,
Far off and strange, a voice is in my ear,
And is the voice my own? the words I say
Fall strangely, like a dream, across the day;
And the dim sunshine is a dream. How clear,
New as the world to lovers’ eyes, appear
The men and women passing on their way!

The world is very fair. The hours are all
Linked in a dance of mere forgetfulness.
I am at peace with God and man. O glide,
Sands of the hour-glass that I count not, fall
Serenely: scarce I feel your soft caress.
Rocked on this dreamy and indifferent tide.

The brain on DMT: mapping the psychedelic drug’s effects [Wired]

The researchers have already given 12 volunteers DMT in a pilot EEG study. In a matter of weeks, they will begin the first ever fMRI scan of DMT’s effect on the brain, in research that is expected to continue for at least six months. The primary goal is to map brain activity during the experience. But Carhart-Harris and Timmermann hope they will be able to draw some conclusions from the research – one of which will rationalise psychedelic encounters with entities.

Entheogenesis Australis 2017 Outdoor Psychedelic Symposium 8th – 10th of December [EGA]

EGA’s 2017 Psychedelic Symposium will be a botanical, academic and lifestyle conference – with a pinch of psychedelic energy.  The program will span three days and three nights, featuring more than 50 lectures from diverse fields covering the botanical, academic, and philosophical, to arts and drug law reform. Accompanying the main program will be workshops, panel discussions, a marketplace, and much more!!

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