When The Government Legalised Medicinal Cannabis Things Only Got Harder For The Seriously Ill [BuzzFeed]

On February 15, about a year after medicinal cannabis was declared “legal” in Australia, current health minister Greg Hunt announced the formation of the Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis. Hunt said he will work with the council to make medicinal cannabis more accessible. Meanwhile, the Greens party has put a motion to disallow the amendments made by Ley, and is asking the public to urge crossbenchers to support the regulation.

Greens Stand Up For Patient Access Rights [Medical Cannabis Advisory Group Qld]

Great news! Greens Senator Richard Di Natale has stood up for the doctor-patient relationship and for the rights of patients with life threatening conditions to be afforded immediate access to cannabis. Senator Di Natale registered a motion to disallow the Government’s unjust amendments to the Therapeutic Goods Regulation.

Lucy Haslam on medicinal cannabis in Australia: “I would definitely give the Federal Government a huge fail” [Northern Daily Leader]

On the first anniversary of Australian medicinal Cannabis legislation which was supposed to be the “missing link” for Australian patients (according to the previous Health Minister Sussan Ley), I want to shout from the rooftops that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, although it pains me to say it, it is coming very close to being an outright lie.

Interim Measures on Cannabis for medical purposes in Australia [HEMP Party Australia]

Options for the development of Interim Measures in relation to the use of Cannabis for medical purposes in Australia.

Medicinal cannabis supply given boost after Greg Hunt fast-tracks importation [The Guardian]

Medicinal marijuana will be more widely available in Australia within eight weeks, after the health minister fast-tracked importation of cannabis by approved providers. The health minister, Greg Hunt, announced on Wednesday that the government will authorise importation by international providers for an interim supply in Australia, until domestic production meets local needs. Medicinal cannabis is legal in Australia but doctors must import approved products because there is no domestic supply available, causing difficulties for patients and families seeking treatment. On Friday the Office of Drug Control issued its first cannabis licence, allowing Australian company Cannoperations to legally cultivate and conduct research on medicinal cannabis. Hunt said that provider would take about a year to add to supply.

Carers Are Happy With Medical Cannabis Deal, But Want More Federal Assurance [The Huffington Post]

“Cautiously optimistic” is how carers are responding to health minister Greg Hunt’s announcement that internationally supplied medical cannabis will be made more widely available to people suffering chronic illnesses.

Growing pains as medicinal cannabis enters the legal realm [ABC]

Medicinal cannabis is gaining attention and credibility around the world, with growing evidence that it can offer benefits for those suffering from conditions such as uncontrollable epilepsy, cancer and pain management. Laws have been passed in some states to enable some patients legal access to cannabis medicine. Last year the Federal government also passed laws to allow certain people to cultivate and manufacture cannabis-based drugs. But the new regime is facing criticism from some doctors and patient advocates.

Medicinal marijuana importation approved by Federal Government to boost supplies [ABC]

“Last year, the law was put in place which made medicinal cannabis available. Now however I want to … deal immediately with the question of supply.”

Australia Loosens Cannabis Import Rules to Speed Patient Access [Leafly]

Australian medical cannabis patients and advocates notched a big win this week as the federal government loosened strings on the country’s cannabis-importation laws. The changes will allow overseas suppliers of medicinal cannabis to import into Australia in bulk, store a surplus, and ship directly to patients as doctors prescribe.

Medical marijuana legal in Australia: What it means for you [News]

“It has to be safe and we want to make sure this medicinal cannabis is available but on the same basis as any of the serious drugs and medicines that can only be dealt with through prescription and through a very rigorous medical process.” Here’s what it all means for you.

Cops Will Still Prosecute Drivers Who Take Medicinal Cannabis [BuzzFeed]

But easier access to medicinal cannabis has raised questions regarding mobile drug testing (MDT). The NSW state government ramped up random drug testing in December 2015 and plans to conduct about 100,000 tests this year. Critics of the test said the policy of testing for traces of THC (the psychoactive component in cannabis) rather than general impairment was unfair. A NSW Police spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the presence of cannabis – if driving – remained an offence. NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, a vocal opponent of MDTs, told BuzzFeed News the NSW Police refused to engage on the topic of medicinal cannabis legislation.

Medicinal cannabis market offers new opportunities for agriculture [ABC]

Twenty-five companies have applied for licences to grow and manufacture medicinal cannabis in Australia. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced today medical marijuana could be easier to import to Australia, if requested through a doctor, by fast-tracking importation while local supplies expand.

NSW Opposition to push for legal medical cannabis [Tuckerman Times]

The state opposition government in Australia’s New South Wales on Tuesday said it will push for medical cannabis to be legal for patients suffering from terminal and other long term illnesses. The legislation would allow those who are afflicted with diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV, to have on their person 15 grams of the currently illicit substance, for their own personal use in treating their condition.

Victoria Just Harvested the Country’s First Medicinal Marijuana Crop [Vice]

In another milestone for the medicinal marijuana movement, Australia’s first state-grown cannabis crop has been successfully harvested. The Victorian government announced this morning that its mature cannabis plants are now being tested and formulated prior to being used as treatment for their intended trial patient group—a cohort of children suffering from severe epilepsy.

Australia’s First Medical Marijuana Crop Harvested from Secret Government Site [Merry Jane]

Early on Tuesday, the Andrews Government announced that they had successfully harvested Australia’s first-ever medical cannabis crop.  Sowed in a secret government grow facility back in April 2016, this marijuana plant is being tested and prepped for the country’s first patients. This particular plant will be reserved for children suffering from severe epilepsy, and will be available for treatment starting this year. The Office of Drug Control in Canberra has also allotted the first Federal Government license for cannabis cultivation and research to the Melbourne medical marijuana company Cann Group. Their early entrance into Australia’s newfound medical marijuana program will put the firm in prime position to pioneer the budding market.

Cannabis oil producer speaks out: ‘I just help people’ [ABC]

Mark Rayner is part of the thriving nationwide medicinal cannabis underground which is flouting the law, daring police to lay charges. Just one month after police raided the house of South Australian cannabis oil producer Jenny Hallam, Mr Rayner is another oil producer who has defied the threat of criminal charges and gone public with his operation.

Cannabis Council Con: Gov Seeks Inexpert Advice [AMC Signpost]

It must count as one of the most dazzling examples of Doublethink since George Orwell sat down and wrote the clocks were striking thirteen. While claiming it believes access to medical cannabis is of ‘vital importance to many Australians’ the Federal Government has appointed what appear to be some of the most inexpert ‘experts’ on the matter to ‘advise’ on its programme for weed.

Options and Expectations for Cannabis-based products [Scoop NZ]

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has written to medical and pharmaceutical organisations clarifying the range of appropriately manufactured cannabis-based products that could be prescribed in New Zealand: either Pharmaceutical Grade or Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Certified. And telling them to have an “open mind” about prescribing cannabis products for patients. “Unfortunately, Sativex, the one pharmaceutical-grade product that is available in New Zealand continues to be extortionately priced as big pharma continues to ignore the building resentment, both local and global, to the attitude these companies take to the sick and vulnerable,” says Dutton.

Cannabis cows enjoy a ‘high tea’ in Waikato [NZ Herald]

The photo has attracted almost 1000 comments with one person captioning it “The secret ingredient behind New Zealand’s booming dairy industry.”

Just how mainstream is marijuana? There’s now a “Congressional Cannabis Caucus.” [The Washington Post]

Time to dispel any doubts you may still have that marijuana reform is truly a mainstream political issue. This week, a bipartisan group of U.S. representatives formed the first-ever “Congressional Cannabis Caucus” to work on legislation related to marijuana legalization and regulation. Not coincidentally, all four representatives hail from states where recreational marijuana use is legal.

When Retirement Comes With a Daily Dose of Cannabis [The New York Times]

The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, is taking the unusual step of helping its residents use medical marijuana under a new program to treat various illnesses with an alternative to prescription drugs. While the staff will not store or administer pot, residents are allowed to buy it from a dispensary, keep it in locked boxes in their rooms and take it on their own. From retirement communities to nursing homes, older Americans are increasingly turning to marijuana for relief from aches and pains. Many have embraced it as an alternative to powerful drugs like morphine, saying that marijuana is less addictive, with fewer side effects.

Can Marijuana Ease The Opioid Epidemic? [The Huffington Post]

In the midst of an opioid crisis, some medical practitioners and researchers believe that greater use of marijuana for pain relief could result in fewer people using the highly addictive prescription painkillers that led to the epidemic. A 2016 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that states with medical marijuana laws had 25 percent fewer opioid overdose deaths than states that do not have medical marijuana laws. And another study published in Health Affairs last year found that prescriptions for opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet paid for by Medicare dropped substantially in states that adopted medical marijuana laws.

Six Medical Marijuana Entrepreneurs Share Their Latest Innovations [Forbes]

Yes, more than half the population of the United States live in a place where they can legally use cannabis for medical purposes. The industry is developing rapidly, refining its growing and processing technologies, creating new products and building expertise among employees. And as regulation increases (product testing, child-safe containers, accurate labeling, etc.) the supply of cannabis has become safer.  Dispensaries are moving beyond the random supplier who shows up with the big baggie at the back door to tax-paying product-testing sources of cannabis. Medical marijuana research is hamstrung by federal regulations of course, and many worry that new Attorney General Jeff Sessions will come down hard on the legal marijuana industry. Despite the risks, these entrepreneurs are investing time and resources to advance their products and their businesses. Here, six from around the country, share what they are working on.

Meet Cannabrand: The first ever Marijuana marketing brand [Independent]

Cannabis has long been associated with hippies and students. But as marijuana is gradually legalised across the US and other parts of the world, growers and sellers are looking to change its image and attract new clients. Enter Olivia Mannix, the founder and CEO of Cannabrand: what is believed to be the first marketing agency dedicated to cannabis. “I’ve been living in Colorado for ten years and I went to college in Boulder, Colorado, which is a quintessential cannabis town,” she tells The Independent.  And her stance on the drug is clear: “Cannabis is not just a drug; it’s a medicine. I think it’s something that needs to really be communicated.”

High fines: UK pro-cannabis party must pay £23k over late accounts [The Guardian]

The Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol political party has been fined for repeatedly filing its accounts late. The party must pay a total of £23,000 for what the Electoral Commission said were “numerous failures” to comply with rules on reporting political finances.

Cannabis Legalisation [acast]

As more countries and jurisdictions are relaxing their laws around cannabis, what are the choices in cannabis legislation, is it just prohibition or legalisation? Could some types of cannabis actually reduce psychosis? Will legalisation effect potency? And if cannabis is legalised, will everyone start using it?

Clever teenagers twice as likely to smoke cannabis due to their curious minds, study finds [The Telegraph]

Clever children are twice as likely to smoke cannabis as teenagers due to their curious minds, a landmark study has found. Students who are high academic achievers at age 11 are also more likely to drink alcohol as teenagers, according to a nine year study by University College London (UCL). Experts examined data for more than 6,059 young people from 838 state and 52 public schools across England. They found that bright children are less likely to smoke cigarettes as teenagers but more likely to smoke cannabis.

Dutch MPs vote in favour of regulated cannabis cultivation [The Telegraph]

Dutch lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favor of tolerating the cultivation of cannabis, a move that could bring to an end a key paradox of the relaxed Dutch policy on marijuana and hashish. Buying small amounts of pot at so-called coffee shops has long been tolerated in the Netherlands, but cultivating and selling the drug to the coffee shops themselves has remained illegal. That hasn’t stopped coffee shops flourishing since liberalisation of drug laws in the Seventies, and becoming a major tourist draw card, particularly in Amsterdam, where tourists often visit the cafes to light up a joint.

Trend for ‘home grown’ cannabis in Austria [The Local]

When it comes to drugs, Austrians are increasingly turning to cannabis and buying from ‘home growers’ based in Austria, according to a leading public prosecutor in Wiener Neustadt. “People are not buying so many hard drugs, but are increasingly buying cannabis. What’s interesting is that fewer drugs are being imported and the cannabis is frequently grown in the country,” public prosecutor Barbara Haider told the Kurier newspaper.

Australia emerges as a leader in the global darknet drugs trade [Huffington Post]

Australia is a leading country in the darknet drugs trade, with more online drug vendors per capita than any other nation except the Netherlands, according to research presented at this week’s Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association Conference.

Opinion: Ban will rob smokers of a chance to quit [Newcastle Herald]

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) recent interim decision to effectively ban nicotine-containing e-cigarettes is a harsh blow to smokers. Australian smokers will be denied access to life-saving technology estimated to have helped millions of smokers to quit overseas.

4 Things Reporters Get Terribly Wrong About ‘New’ Drugs [Huffington Post]

In recent years, there has been increasing media attention on drugs known as “K2”, “bath salts”, fentanyl, “molly”, and others. Unfortunately, much of the coverage – even by some of the most well-meaning journalists – contains misinformation and inaccurate or misleading terminology. This all serves to perpetuate unfounded myths and unhelpful hysteria about these substances.

China carfentanil ban a ‘game-changer’ for opioid epidemic [MedicalXpress]

So deadly it’s considered a terrorist threat, carfentanil has been legal in China— until now. Beijing is banning carfentanil and three similar drugs as of March 1, China’s Ministry of Public Security said Thursday, closing a major regulatory loophole in the fight to end America’s opioid epidemic.

What Historians Wish People Knew About Drugs, Part III [Points Blog]

At the 2017 American Historical Association in Denver, several historians with relevant research interests participated in a roundtable discussion, “What Historians Wish People Knew about Licit and Illicit Drugs.” Keeping with the spirit of the title, Points is delighted to publish some of the panelists’ opening remarks in a temporary new series over the coming weeks. Part III is brought to you by William Rorabaugh, Dio Richardson Professor of History at the University of Washington.

The Very Drugged Nazis [The New York Review of Books]

At the core of Ohler’s book lie the fundamental paradox and shameless hypocrisy of Nazism. Its ideology demanded purity of body, blood, and mind. Adolf Hitler was portrayed as a vegetarian teetotaler who would allow nothing to corrupt him. Drugs were depicted as part of a Jewish plot to poison and weaken the nation—Jews were said to “play a supreme part” in the international drug trade—and yet nobody became more dependent on cocktails of drugs than Hitler, and no armed forces did more to enhance their troops’ performance than the Wehrmacht did by using a version of methamphetamine.

Great news – our Inquiry submission got accepted [Unharm!]

In 2016 Unharm was invited to make a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement’s Inquiry into crystal methamphetamine. The submission was accepted by the Committee and in accordance with Inquiry protocol can now be published. What was really exciting about this submission was that Unharm supporters contributed honest stories about their own experience of ice use, to help politicians see beyond the stigma and lies Other part of the submission took a more traditional approach to research and policy analysis. These sections lay into the failures of supply control, the lack of accountability for drug policy, and the fact that arresting drug users is getting in the way of real solutions. Check it out on the Unharm website now, or download a copy right here.

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.