Source: The Sunday Telegraph
Author: Lollie Barr
WHILE it's often perceived as the most harmless of all illegal drugs, long-term cannabis use can be a very hard habit to break. For a while, British pop star George Michael was happy to sing the virtues of smoking pot, saying it kept him “sane and happy”.
However, recently Michael has changed his tune and admitted he has been struggling to cut down on his marijuana use, saying it has become “a problem”. Speaking on a BBC Radio 4 program, he said, “I would like to take less, no question. To that degree, it’s a problem.”
Author: Tyron Butson
DRUG Squad detectives swooped on a massive cannabis crop after an anonymous tip led them to a remote Cape York plantation patrolled by an armed guard. The crop, growing about three hours’ drive south of Bamaga and described as "very isolated" by police, had almost 1000 cannabis plants growing and the potential to field thousands more.
A tip-off from a local who had wandered by and saw an armed minder led to the raid late Thursday afternoon by Drug Squad detectives, Bamaga police and officers from Thursday Island CIB.
A Bamaga man and a Townsville man, 63, were charged with major production of cannabis and various firearms offences after police raided the isolated plantation. One of the men was armed with a shotgun. Police have alleged the pair, along with at least two other associates, had grown the crop and were planning on cultivating thousands more plants.
An Australian motorist identified as the first in the world to return a positive roadside drug test will now be paid compensation by police who've admitted making a mistake. Ballarat courier John De Jong was pulled over by police for a roadside drug test in 2004 - the fourth driver to be tested using the new technology.
A large media contingent had assembled for the event - they were told Mr De Jong had tested positive for cannabis and amphetamines - his case broadcast around the world. But the result was wrong - a further laboratory test confirming the technical error - Mr De Jong sueing Victorian police for defamation.
Source: The Age
Author: Farrah Tomazin and Bridie Smith
ILLICIT drug use by Australian schoolchildren is more common among those with the most pocket money, according to new research.
But a year-long study into whether schools should test for drugs found that alcohol was a far more widespread problem among teenagers than illicit substances such as cannabis, ecstasy and methamphetamine.
The finding comes on the eve of today's COAG summit, at which Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and state and territory leaders will discuss strategies to tackle teenage binge drinking.
Source: The Daily Telegraph
Author: Brad Watts
ONE in eight Australians are testing positive to drugs at work - a rate that has more than doubled over the past decade. More than 5 per cent of employees are also abusing illicit drugs in high-risk jobs, according to new statistics obtained by The Daily Telegraph.
The number of positive tests is expected soar up to a quarter of employees in some industries, drug experts also warned yesterday, with cannabis abuse accounting for more than 90 per cent of positive results.
This trend has also prompted Australia's largest drug testing organisation Medvet laboratories - which conducts 100,000 alcohol and drug tests a year - to demand the federal and state governments legislate for compulsory drug testing with urine samples in high-risk industries, which has been scoffed at by unions.
Source: The Sunday Mail (QLD)
Author: Glenn Milne
THE powerful Maritime Union of Australia is beginning to flex its industrial muscle after a successful meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at The Lodge in Canberra.A leaked confidential union strategy document reveals the MUA believes it has "strong support" from Mr Rudd and is planning to push new industrial arrangements.
The union wants a return to "pattern bargaining", a technique to negotiate increased wages and conditions. Opponents say it would increase inflation and interest rates.
The document also reveals plans to pressure the Government into reversing laws that "penalise" workers with a recreational cannabis habit. Union national secretary Paddy Crumlin met Mr Rudd on Australia Day when, according to the document, the PM agreed to give the MUA access to government-collected personal security information on so-called "scabs" crewing non-union ships.
Author: Jonathan Standing
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man has found himself in trouble after calling police to report that his house had been broken into and some of his cannabis plants stolen.
The 35-year-old man from the southern city of Adelaide called police in the early hours of Tuesday after being woken by intruders who smashed a window and made off with portions of the plants.
Police were unable to locate the burglars but after searching the house, found six cannabis plants in the bedrooms. The man was arrested and charged with drug offences, South Australian state police said in a statement.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - Two men have been charged following drugs seized by police at Griffith yesterday afternoon. About 4.40pm, officers from the Griffith Target Action Group noticed a motorcyclist allegedly travelling erratically along Clifton Boulevard.
Officers followed the vehicle to a nearby property where they conducted inquiries. About 7.15pm, police executed a search warrant in a shed on the property, locating and seizing several canisters and bottles of cannabis seed, along with a large quantity of hydroponic equipment. Police also located a hydroponics setup of 25 cannabis plants, including seedlings and mature plants.
Source: Geelong Advertiser
THE best of intentions can go awry, the South Australian Government is learning as its police force turns up the heat on its decriminalised marijuana laws. The stand-off, driven by a Family First MP as well, could set the pace for reforms around the country, although not necessarily for the most appropriate reasons.
Marijuana, as researchers are learning, is linked to all manner of health problems. It's not these, however, that have the SA police concerned. rather, it's drug operators misusing laws that allow up to five plants to be grown for personal use.
Author: Paul Armentano
Headlines suggested a study proved pot is a greater cancer risk than tobacco -- but the media didn't even wait for the report to be released.
On Tuesday, January 29 -- three days prior to the publication of a forthcoming study assessing marijuana use and cancer -- Reuters News Wire published a story under the headline: "Cannabis Bigger Cancer Risk Than Cigarettes." Mainstream media outlets across the globe immediately followed suit. "Smoking One Joint is Equivalent to 20 Cigarettes, Study Says," Fox News declared, while Australia's ABC broadcast network pronounced, "Experts Warn of Cannabis Cancer 'Epidemic.'"
If those headlines weren't attention-grabbing enough, one only had to scan the stories' inflammatory copy -- much of which was lifted directly from press statements provided by the study's lead author in advance of its publication.
Source: NSW Police Force
Police have seized cannabis worth about $650,000 after a search of a property near Narrabri, in the state’s north-west, at the weekend. The seizure followed a tip-off from a member of the public who recognised a light plane linked to last week’s $77million drug seizure in remote Western Australia.
Police from Barwon Local Area Command were advised the plane, shown in news coverage of the multi-million dollar bust, had previously been based at Narrabri airport.
Source: United Press International
Australian researchers said lithium, commonly used for bipolar disorder, can help pot smokers kick the habit without withdrawal symptoms.
A research team from Corella Drug Treatment Services and the University of New South Wales prescribed 500 milligrams of lithium twice a day for seven days to 20 people who were longtime, habitual cannabis users, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Thursday.
Source: The Australian
MORE than 2600 street deals of cannabis, hidden inside bags of potting mix, have been seized by police. Police yesterday raided a series of premises across Adelaide and in areas south of the city in their ongoing investigation of the trafficking of cannabis grown in South Australia for the Sydney market.
Drug Investigation Branch boss Detective Chief Inspector Peter Giles said 8kg of cannabis was found when police went to a trucking company in the city's western suburbs.
Source: The Age
A move from petrol sniffing and alcohol to smoking cannabis is creating a whole new set of problems in remote Aboriginal communities, a new study shows.
The growing use of marijuana has also extended beyond youth to adults, says the report in the Australian Journal of Rural Health, using research from one Arnhem Land community in the Northern Territory.
Source: The Advertiser
Author: Sam Riches
ALMOST two years after the first Passive Alert Drug Dogs were trained, state legislation was finally introduced today to allow them on the beat.
The Advertiser revealed the labradors were intended as general detection dogs policing patrons on the streets, inside nightclubs, licensed premises, entertainment venues, public transport and sporting grounds.
Source: The Age
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he is not without sin but he has never smoked marijuana. Mr Rudd has a squeaky clean public image, tarnished only by his boozy visit to a New York strip club in 2003, for which he has expressed regret.
On Tuesday, he was asked if he had smoked marijuana, after Treasurer Wayne Swan and Queensland Labor Premier Anna Bligh admitted to having smoked cannabis.