Pro-cannabis campaign flies high in Canberra [The Northern Star]

A blow-up phial of medicinal cannabis stood tall in the nation’s capital today as marijuana advocates from around Australia and the North Coast campaigned for the legal use of the controversial drug. Nimbin Hemp Embassy president, Michael Balderstone estimated 20 people from the Nimbin area were among the 200 protesters crowded in front of Parliament House in Canberra, who called for the legalisation of cannabis. Green balloons flew high as protesters held signs which promoted home grown cannabis and others accused politicians, who support prohibition, as supporters of organised crime.

Medicinal cannabis supply runs out after police raids [triple j Hack]

Ben Oakley has been using medicinal cannabis to soothe his chronic muscle spasms, but his supply has run out since a key producer was raided by police.

Afghanistan veteran pushes for medicinal cannabis to be recognised as treatment for PTSD [Quest News]

An Afghanistan veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) wants medicinal cannabis to be recognised as an effective and legal treatment for his condition.

Medicinal cannabis round table [Murray Valley Standard]

Patients suffering from chronic pain are one step closer to accessing medicinal cannabis in South Australia. The state government hosted key stakeholders at a round table on January 30 to discuss the potential for the establishment of industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis industries in the state. Murray Bridge man Matthew Rowland attended the round table as a representative for the Cannabis Council of South Australia. He said the round table mainly discussed where cannabis would be stored locally, whether with the doctor, the pharmacy or the patient themselves. “A doctor can now prescribe cannabis and seek approval for supply through the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” he said. “They can then seek supply from overseas as there is no one here who is an approved manufacturer or provider yet.” Given the right framework, Mr Rowland believed legalising marijuana all together could be successful.

Access to medicinal marijuana must go through Ministry of Health [TVNZ]

Peter Dunne has delegated decision-making for the prescribing of all cannabis-based products to the Ministry of Health, including those that are not pharmaceutical grade. The Associate Health Minister had been expected to cut red tape allowing patients to be prescribed cannabis-based drugs by a specialist, not the ministry. The Minister says he will write to the New Zealand Medical Association and the Pharmacy Society of New Zealand outlining his decision and “expectation that medical professionals consider the prescribing of cannabis-based products with an open mind.”

Ministry of Health to Decide on Cannabis-based Products [New Zealand Government]

Following his decision on 1 December last year to remove the requirement for Ministry of Health approval to prescribe Sativex for Multiple Sclerosis, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has today delegated decision-making for the prescribing of all cannabis-based products to the Ministry of Health. “Last week I wrote to the Director-General of Health, advising him that as of 8 February 2017, applications from specialists to the Ministry to prescribe non-pharmaceutical cannabis-based products will no longer need Ministerial approval,” says Mr Dunne.

Loosening of cannabis-based products not good enough, campaigners say [Stuff NZ]

The Government’s loosening of the tight restrictions around cannabis-based products does not go far enough, medical marijuana campaigners say. Nelson lawyer Sue Grey said it was “definitely a big step forward”, but it was disappointing patients still needed a bureaucrat to “second-guess” what a doctor and their patient might believe is the best medicine for them. “It’s certainly opening up a path for patients to get better access,” she said.

Senate Votes to Confirm Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General [Drug Policy Alliance]

Sessions has over a very long career consistently taken hardline positions in favor of mass incarceration instead of emphasizing treatment and recovery. As Attorney General of Alabama Sessions supported legislation that would have given mandatory death sentences to repeat drug sellers, including people who sold marijuana. He has criticized former Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempts to reduce the prison population, like when Holder encouraged U.S. Attorneys to use mandatory minimums only for high-level drug traffickers.

Burgeoning Marijuana Market Prompts Concerns about Crop’s Environmental Impact [Scientific American]

Outdoor cannabis cultivation in northern California has damaged forestlands and their inhabitants. Will legalization of recreational marijuana make things worse or better?

How Cannabis Ecommerce Challenges Are Driving Web Innovation [Entrepreneur]

Innovation clicks in anytime commerce is challenged, and the same imagination that created ecommerce is chasing solutions [to target the cannabis market] in technology: Apps are competing for user attention. Some help customers locate dispensaries and stores nearby. Others display menus at your preferred vendors. Still, others connect B2B suppliers to accelerate or improve the supply chain.

Politics, Marijuana, & God: Extracurricular Activities of Professional Athletes [PRRI]

American attitudes about marijuana use among athletes are lax. A majority (54%) of the public believe professional athletes should not be prohibited from using marijuana if they live in a state where it is legal. More than four in ten (43%) Americans disagree and oppose its use among professional athletes.

How Drugs Will Get Under, Over, and Around Trump’s Wall [Vice]

But a wall, no matter how big and beautiful a symbol it may be, can’t do much to stop the flow of drugs into the US. In the grand scheme of things, a wall acts as little more than a literal speed bump that can be driven over by a literal car, according to Sanho Tree, director of the Drug Policy Project at the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies. In a recent interview, Tree—whose organization opposes the war on drugs—told me about all the ways highly motivated and well-funded cartel engineers can build infrastructure that will stymie Trump’s anti-drug ambitions.

Colorado Reports Decreased Child Marijuana Exposures, No Increased Use [Weed News]

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment has released “Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado: 2016“, a 188-page report that once again delivers bad news to the prohibitionists who frighten parents with predictions of legalization leading to a nation of stoned teenagers. Of course legalization isn’t increasing teen use, because teens have never had a problem getting their hands on marijuana before legalization. How was it supposed to get any easier after marijuana sales are placed in adults-only stores than check IDs?

Teens turn to marijuana to self-medicate for stress, anxiety: report [Global News]

The teen years are a high-stress, often anxiety riddled time, and research shows that young Canadians admit to turning to marijuana to cope.

No pesticide testing done for medical marijuana, Health Canada says [The Globe and Mail]

Health Canada, which is facing a growing controversy over tainted medical marijuana, cannot say with certainty how widespread the use of banned pesticides is within the industry. Instead, the regulator has been leaving it up to the growers to police themselves on the use of potentially harmful chemicals.

Grieving aristocrat calls for legal cannabis and a ‘war on skunk’ after losing second son [The Telegraph]

A grieving aristocrat has called for the decriminalisation of cannabis following the loss of his second son, who committed suicide after becoming addicted to a potent form of the drug. Lord Monson is demanding a “war on skunk”, but believes users will be safer if less dangerous varieties of cannabis are made legal. Lord Monson said decriminalising certain forms of cannabis would enable users to understand their ingredients so as to make sure they would not cause psychosis, as is often the case with skunk. “That is no different from our approach to alcohol,” he said. “No one needs to drink moonshine whisky which makes them blind, they can buy legal whiskey. Once someone has become psychotic on skunk, they often never come back. It is the most shocking time.”

Why Britain needs a legal cannabis market [The Spectator]

Teenagers and young adults are the group with the easiest access to cannabis. They are also the most likely to use it and are at greatest risk of harming their developing brains by doing so. Dealers have no qualms about selling to young people, and producers have strong incentives to maximise the potency of their product. Unsurprisingly, they also have little concern for the long-term health of their customers. As a result, the market has been flooded with homogenous high-potency cannabis or ‘skunk’.

We Need To Talk About Cannabis [volteface]

Cannabis is by a long way the most used illegal substance in the UK and young people are quite at home with that concept. The majority find it easier to purchase than alcohol due to the effective policing of underage sales, so it’s no surprise that many choose a ten pound bag of weed over a ten pack of Stella on any given day. There’s no mystery to the reasons why, too; young people’s needs are no different to their teachers, social workers or parents. They smoke it to relax, forget the day, celebrate, laugh and ultimately alter their state.

Legally regulating cannabis market could help those at high risk, say experts [University of York]

A legally regulated cannabis market would result in more effective strategies aimed at helping drug users to access the right support and guidance, say researchers at the University of York.

Legoland theme park finds cannabis in derelict cottage [BBC]

A cannabis farm has been discovered inside a derelict cottage on land owned by Legoland Windsor theme park.

Scottish Government urged to introduce new drug-driving measures as new research reveals one in five driver fatalities [The Herald]

New figures reveal the same number of drivers have died on our roads after taking cannabis as those who died after drinking. The new analysis, based on toxicology reports from driver and motorcyclists killed in road accidents across Scotland over three years, found one in five cases tested positive for alcohol consumption. The same number tested positive for cannabis – with one in five fatalities linked to the drug.

Cyprus Set to Provide Cannabis Oil to Cancer Patients [Talking Drugs]

Cyprus’ health minister has announced that cannabis oil will be provided to people suffering from advanced stages of cancer. The programme, the first of its kind in Cyprus, will require cancer patients to apply directly to the country’s health ministry if they seek to access cannabis oil. If an individual’s application is approved, they will be provided with free cannabis oil by the ministry.

President Duterte repeating my mistakes in war on drugs, ex-Colombian president Cesar Gaviria says [International Business Times]

Pushing more soldiers and police to combat drug abusers could backfire and worsen the law and order situation in the Philippines, former Colombian president César Gaviria warned Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte. In an opinion piece published in the New York Times on Tuesday (7 February), Gaviria – who led Colombia between 1990 and 1994 – wrote that Duterte was repeating his mistakes of using excessive force to deal with a social issue.

How can marijuana policy protect the adolescent brain? [EurekAlert!]

As more states begin to legalize the use of marijuana, more young people may start to believe that it’s safe to experiment with the drug. However, those under 25 are more vulnerable to the effects of drugs than are older adults. New legislation on legal marijuana use should include consideration of age limits and other guidelines for safe use, according to the authors of an article published today in Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, a Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS) journal published in partnership with SAGE Publishing.

So-called ‘synthetic marijuana’ linked to serious health problems [MedicalXpress]

Synthetic marijuana compounds are marketed as safe, legal alternatives to marijuana that cannot be detected by standard drug testing, but these substances differ chemically from marijuana; are linked to dangerous side effects, including seizures, psychosis, dependence, and death; and are not safe substitutes, say University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) scientists in a Review published February 2 in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences.

Can Medical Marijuana Curb Opioid Epidemic? [Medical Daily]

Medical marijuana could help those struggling with addiction to heroin and other opioids to turn their lives around, says Yasmin Hurd of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in a new review published in Trends in Neurosciences. Prior research has found that cannabinoids could reduce cravings and ease opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Stereotypes shackle recovering drug users [MedicalXpress]

Negative stereotypes about injecting drug-users may be hampering their recovery. A study led by University of Queensland School of Psychology researcher Dr Courtney von Hippel found that recovering drug addicts who believe they are the target of stereotypes find it harder to function within society. “People with a history of drug abuse are often regarded as irresponsible, unreliable and less trustworthy,” Dr von Hippel said. “This societal disapproval can result in feelings of ‘stereotype threat‘, or the belief that they’re the target of demeaning stereotypes. Stereotype threat can have a detrimental effect on performance, with the ironic consequence that targets of stereotypes can confirm the very stereotype they are trying to deny. People need only be concerned that others are stereotyping them for the stereotype to bring about its own reality.”

Leaked Police Memo Reveals What Was in Melbourne’s Deadly Batch of MDMA [Vice]

Back in January, a bad batch of MDMA killed three people in Melbourne and landed 20 others in hospital. It was the deadliest night for the city’s club scene in recent memory. In the weeks since, authorities have failed to explain what actually happened, and why so many people were badly affected. Now it appears Victoria Police did test the drugs that caused the deaths, but neglected to make public their potentially lifesaving findings.

Open Education Day: Hemp Farming for Renewable Economies [Health Farms International]

When: Friday 17th February 10 am to 4pm.

Where: Cecil St Nimbin – Follow Balloons.

Why: To educate and promote Industrial, Medical and Food products grown from HEMP and other useful plants. If it’s mined and made from Fossil Fuels it can be grown by Farmers and made from HEMP! For further information contact Wadzy Ph: 0407 895 569. E: wadzywell@gmail.com

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH Cannabis March WA [WA Cannabis Awareness Network]

March from Supreme Court Gardens to Parliament House ~ Thursday 16th February 10 am

Nimbin Medican Workshop 15 April [Hemp Embassy]

The Nimbin Hall is booked out so the next Nimbin Medican Workshop will be held at the old butter factory now Nimbin’s Bush Theatre alongside the Phoenix Rising Cafe and Bringabong, just north of the village and over the river, on April 15 Easter Saturday. From 11 am until 4.20 pm. We hope to promote the event on the coast and maybe get some visitors from down south who are in the area for Easter and the Bluesfest.