Source: ABC News
A new Australian research centre has been launched to provide accurate information about the dangers of cannabis. The Federal Government is spending $14 million on the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre, based at the University of New South Wales.
The latest figures show young Australians are more likely to have tried marijuana than cigarettes, although the numbers are falling. Health Minister Nicola Roxon says cannabis is still the most widely-used illicit drug.
Source: The Advertiser
Author: Katie Bradford and Tory Shepherd
AUSTRALIANS are smoking fewer cigarettes and less cannabis but using more cocaine, a report shows. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare survey found that from 2004 to 2007, the proportion of people aged 14 and more who smoked daily fell from 17.4 to 16.6 per cent.
Recent cannabis use dropped from just more than 11 per cent to just more than 9 per cent. The 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey: first results report also found methamphetamine (or "ice") use had declined, in contrast with popular perceptions it was increasing.
Source: The Manly Daily
Author: Rebecca Woolley
THEY were close childhood friends and sporting celebrities, rich, successful and living the high life on the northern beaches. But as legal proceedings unfold, friendships are turning sour with former Warringah rugby union club skipper Mark Catchpole being the first to rat on his mate, Olympic swimmer Scott Miller.
The son of Wallabies great Ken Catchpole, ``Catchy'' this week distanced himself from Mr Miller and a pill press that police allege belonged to the butterfly swimmer who won silver and bronze medals at the Atlanta Olympics.
Barrister William Barber said his client was helping a mate by agreeing to move the Manesty brand pill press from one storage unit to another at Kennards Brookvale. ``It was Scott Miller's pill press, not Mark Catchpole's,'' Mr Barber told Central Local Court. While it is unclear how they first met, the pair have been friends for two decades, have shared business interests and Miller was a guest at Mr Catchpole's 40th birthday.
Source: The Northern Rivers Echo
Author: Rudi Maxwell
Dr Alex Wodak believes the reason cannabis is a big issue in Australia is because it is in such high demand, with more than two million people consuming it. “In 1997, $5 billion was spent by people buying cannabis, twice as much spent by wine consumers, and because it’s illicit, it’s not taxed,” Dr Wodak said.
“If we can tax and regulate cannabis, then we could have health warnings like we do on tobacco, like ‘smoking might cause schizophrenia’; advertise help lines, so if people want to stop or cut down they can ring this number; restrict the age of sale, like alcohol, and not sell to pregnant women. We could use some of the income from taxes to pay for better prevention and treatment programs.”
Dr Wodak has been the director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney since 1982. He is the president of both the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and the International Harm Reduction Association and has published more than 200 scientific papers. He will speak at the Nimbin Town Hall at 1pm on Saturday, May 3, as part of the debate about marijuana prohibition during MardiGrass.
Source: Middle East Times
Author: James Emery
Heroin, morphine base, opium, and hashish are carried out of Afghanistan along traditional and newly developed smuggling routes that cross its porous borders. Some is hidden under truckloads of produce, while small quantities are concealed in luggage, on the body, or in the stomach of international air passengers who traveled to the country for the sole purpose of bringing out a few grams, or a few kilos, of heroin.
The bulk of the drugs is simply transported out along unchecked smuggling routes by caravans of trucks. Some of the heroin moves through Pakistan to the ocean to be loaded onto boats for delivery to the Gulf states and other regions.
Source: The Herald Sun
Author: Ben Packham and Carly Crawford
THE use of dangerous, addictive drugs should be decriminalised, a medical expert says. Prison doctor Wendell Rosevear wants Australian-made heroin to be given to addicts in government-sanctioned doses by 2020. In an idea slammed by family groups, he used Kevin Rudd's 2020 Summit to call for all drugs to be legalised.
The Queensland GP said keeping drugs illegal simply handed money to terrorists and criminals. "I think it would be better to actually sell the opium that we grow in Tasmania and undercut the profits (of illegal drugs)," he said. "Now, the profit margin is about 3000 per cent, from the farms to the street."
April 20 has been designated as global cannabis appreciation day. It is a day to let the world know that this beautiful plant genus is part of our society and one of the most important bounties of nature. As our civilization evolves, it is becoming essential for us to celebrate this day and share the wealth and knowledge that comes from harvesting and consuming what we have so generously been provided with.
Unfortunately however, as the Western World develops it is becoming more bipolar. While many countries upon analyzing the evidence for ending prohibition begin to lax their laws for possession, the governments of Canada and the United States are intensifying their war against cannabis.
Source: The Northern Rivers Echo
Author: Luis Feliu
The age of hemp is here – or at least returning to its rightful place as one of the most useful plants known to man. But it’s not the much-maligned, recreational variety of hemp or cannabis which Nimbin is world famous for, but the high-fibre industrial hemp (low in the psycho-active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC) which many farmers in NSW have been waiting years to be allowed to grow.
That time has now come, with the state government last week announcing it would introduce a new licensing scheme for the commercial growing of hemp, bringing NSW into line with other Australian states now developing an industrial hemp industry.
The fast-growing and durable hemp had, until the 1930s, been used for thousands of years for rope-making, paper production including bank notes, food, building materials, sail cloth and myriad other uses. It is very environmentally friendly as hemp crops do not require herbicides or pesticides.
Source: ABC Northern Territory
A truck driver has been arrested on the Northern Territory / South Australia border allegedly carrying almost seven kilograms of cannabis in his road train. Police say the 57-year-old was arrested on the Stuart Highway during a random drug screening operation.
Police say the cannabis was most likely bound for remote communities in the Alice Springs area. The drug haul is estimated to have a street value of about $170,000.
Source: The Penrith Press
DETECTIVE Senior Constable Terry Frost doesn't rely on drugs to feel good but he definitely gets a high from making sure others don't either. A police officer of 18 years' experience, Detective Frost cut his teeth on the mean streets of Mt Druitt before transferring to Penrith Local Area Command in 2004 to take up a position in the esteemed covert drug unit.
Liaising with the South Australian Police Force late last year, Detective Frost led a six-week operation that resulted in the seizure of some 25kgs of cannabis.
Source: The Advertiser
Author: Tory Shepherd
THE Rann Government's ban on bongs will not stop drug use and could have dangerous flow-on effects on the health of pot smokers, according to users and experts. The State Government last night passed tough new laws so anyone selling cannabis bongs or drug implements will face fines of up to $50,000 or two years in jail.
The laws cover the sale of implements such as hookahs, bongs, cocaine kits and pipes used to smoke deadly crystal methamphetamine, otherwise known as ice.
One local drug expert, pharmacology associate professor Rodney Irvine, said users will seek other ways to inhale smoke and that could be more dangerous.
Source: The Canberra Times
Author: David Curry
The ACT Government says it will introduce random roadside drug testing in August, in line with all other Australian jurisdictions. The Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, John Hargreaves, said the Government would not be seeking to punish drug users for their addiction.
"As a Minister, I will do whatever I can to improve road safety but I am not going to be involved in punishing ACT drug users for their addiction. The Government's attitude is clear in relation to that we have adopted a harm minimisation approach to drug users and will stick to that."
Author: Michael Heath
Sydney police seized at least A$3 million ($2.8 million) in cash, some in bundles stashed in a house wall, in raids to find firearms and drugs in the southwest of Australia's biggest city. Seven homes were searched after a 15-month investigation, New South Wales state police said in a statement today. Police also seized three rifles and a pistol fitted with a silencer, as well as ammunition.
"It is estimated more than A$2 million was located at a Bringelly house and in excess of A$1 million was seized from a home in Mount Pritchard," Assistant Commissioner David Hudson said. "Officers were forced to break into wall cavities inside a home to locate the hidden cash."
Source: The Advertiser (SA)
Author: Bernard Humphreys
THE NSW Government has opened the door to an unlikely saviour for the River Murray - legal cannabis crops. Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald has given the go-ahead for the commercial production of hemp crops, which would be a potential agricultural alternative to water-guzzling cotton plantations on the Darling River system.
Darling River cotton is a hugely controversial crop and is widely criticised for taking huge amounts of water from a small river that feeds the River Murray upstream of South Australia. NSW Cotton crops are concentrated around the Darling near centres including Bourke and Menindee, the latter the site of the Menindee Lakes storage system.
Author: Jessica Campanaro
Farmers in New South Wales could soon be given the green light to grow hemp. The state's first legal hemp crop has been approved by police and will contain only small amounts of the chemical in marijuana. The backflip goes against the government’s decade long stance to introduce new laws allowing farmers to grow hemp for its oil and fibres.
Source: NSW Police Force
A man and woman will appear in court today in relation to the alleged on-going supply of prohibited drugs. Strike Force Kilpatrick was established in January, consisting of police from the Redfern Region Enforcement Squad, to investigate drug supply within the Redfern, City Central and Surry Hill Local Area Commands.
About 6:30am yesterday, after extensive inquiries by the strike force, a 41-year-old woman was arrested at Pitt Street, Redfern. She was taken to Redfern Police Station and questioned by police. About 12:30pm police executed a search warrant on a residence in Chalmers Street. Police discovered three separate cannabis hydroponic systems and seized 22 cannabis plants of up to 1.6 metres in height, nine grams of heroin and over $65000 in cash.
The South Australian Government plans to create a tougher law for people caught growing hydroponic cannabis. There are also plans to strengthen the way the law views amphetamines and ecstasy. Under the proposed legislation the Government hopes to create a new crime known as 'cultivating cannabis hydroponically'.
Source: GoldCoast.com.au (news.com.au)
Author: Andrew MacDonals
POLICE have arrested eight people and seized about 4kg of cannabis in raids in the town known as the marijuana capital of Australia. More than 50 officers from the Richmond, Coffs-Clarence and Tweed-Byron commands, as well the dog squad and the riot and public order squad from Sydney, descended on Nimbin yesterday morning with search warrants.
Sources in the town said heavily armed officers raided two local landmarks, The Hemp Embassy and the Nimbin Museum, searching and arresting several people. Cannabis, smoking implements, cash and hundreds of cookies allegedly containing marijuana were seized.
Source: Nimbin Hemp Embassy
Author: Nimbin Hemp Embassy
Michael Balderstone, President of the Nimbin Hemp Embassy, was sitting in the backyard of the Museum. “I thought it was the musicians arriving for our “Fossil Fools’ Day Event”, but the van door slid open and police poured out in riot gear screaming like on American TV – ‘NOBODY MOVE – IT’S A CRIME SCENE’ etc etc……”
Possibly seventy police spent the day in Nimbin trying to make a difference in our village. But they can’t be here every day, and hippies are never going to stop smoking pot, so when do we start talking and creating real solutions?
If only government employees could speak their mind. Many of them know what we all know - drug use is a health issue and I have no doubt many of the police in Nimbin today quietly questioned the morality of their operation and how worthwhile it was. They know the difference between a pot smoker and a real criminal, and they know pot is the least harmful of all the illegal substances. They also know pot is the easy bust and the harder they target cannabis in Nimbin the more people will use easily hidden powders and pills and drink a lot more alcohol.
In California today there are about four hundred vending machines which spit out a bag of pot if you put in a fifty dollar note! And this, in the country which started the war on drugs. Hopefully Kevin Rudd’s closer look at youth binge drinking might lead him to some understanding of all youth drug use. Why are they so reckless? Why is disrespect for authority a growth industry? Why don’t the police lobby for more leeway with cannabis users as has happened in the UK?
Making the hippies’ favourite medicine illegal has created widespread generational disrespect for the laws and lawmakers, not only in our community but throughout the land. Unfortunately the police are the meat in the sandwich, ‘just doing their job’. The most distasteful part of today is that police co-ordinated their raid with Lismore City Council departments….the crudest way possible for the LCC to communicate with this community. Clearly they are keen to make us as ‘normal’ as possible, which will sterilise the thriving tourism industry here and kill the Aquarian spirit which has brought so much colour to the north coast.
Ironically today our planned event was to ask LCC to let us be nothing like normal, because ‘normal’ has nearly killed the planet, as our press release said. It also appears they want the Museum closed, if not the Hemp Embassy and it’s incorrect of Commander Lyons to say he has the community’s support for his operations. The majority of this community is sick to death of the consequences of cannabis being illegal and he needs to lobby Sydney for us to trial something different instead of just getting more and more police. His job, above all, as I understand it, is to keep the peace.
Our annual MardiGrass and Cannabis Law Reform rally, on the first weekend in May will show him how much support for change there is in the community. Many people in the large crowd witnessing the police today were galvanised for the coming rally. Many other people in the crowd were asking “Where are you when the pub shuts” or “Where are you on Friday night”?
We all know these days that respect is the critical ingredient. When cannabis users are respected for their choice of medicine, the laws and lawmakers may start to be respected again.
Source: Amarillo.com (USA)
Author: Suzanne Wills
The Amarillo jury that acquitted Tim Stevens of possession of marijuana is to be commended for its compassion and fiscal responsibility. Prosecuting peaceful, harmless patients is an absurd waste of public resources.
The controversy over medical use of cannabis is really a controversy over whether this very easy to grow herb should be allowed to compete with pharmaceutical products for pennies on the dollar.