Medicinal cannabis imported by Victorian government to treat ill children [The Age]

As little Gemma was settled for bedtime, she was given a dose of cannabis oil the Victorian government bought from Canada last week. That was on Friday when the five-year-old who has near constant seizures became one of the first of 29 seriously-ill children to receive the imported medicinal oil product in Victoria. The remaining families will be able to access the oil – fully taxpayer funded – by the end of this week. Premier Daniel Andrews said the government felt there were children who could not wait for the state’s own locally made product – grown at a secret location – to become available. Victoria’s clandestine crop was harvested last week and is in production at the moment but not expected to become available to families for months.

Tilray Exports Medical Cannabis to Australia [Pharmiweb]

Tilray, a GMP-certified global leader in medical cannabis research and production, today announced that it has successfully exported medical cannabis products to the state of Victoria in Australia.

Children as young as 12 to be treated with cannabis for anxiety and mental health issues in Australian trial [Mail Online]

Children as young as 12 who suffer with anxiety and mental health issues could be treated with medicinal cannabis, in an Australia-first trial. The trial is being lead by former Australian of the Year, psychiatrist Patrick McGorry, and implemented through Headspace centres, reported the Daily Telegraph.  Due to start in June, it will target young people aged 12-15 years who suffer with mental health issues.

Bill English claims about Kiwi jobseekers using drugs ‘not backed by data’ [Stuff NZ]

Prime Minister Bill English’s claim that young Kiwis cannot fill job vacancies due to drug use is not backed up by the Government’s own data, the NZ Drug Foundation says. On Monday, English said several business owners a week complained to him about their problems getting Kiwi workers to pass a drug test. “One of the hurdles these days is just passing a drug test. Under workplace safety you can’t have people on your premises under the influence of drugs and a lot of our younger people can’t pass that test.”

Should Northland become a haven for legally growing medicinal cannabis as a cash crop? [TV NZ]

Laws surrounding the use of marijuana for medical purposes have been softened and now there’s a push for us to grow our own instead of importing it, which activists say is expensive. Last week, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne released a list of approved medical cannabis products, most of which are sprays or pills.

Jeff Sessions claims legal marijuana causes violent crime despite lack of evidence [The Independent]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has claimed legal cannabis causes violent crime, despite a lack of evidence for his claim. Mr Sessions said the Justice Department will try to adopt “responsible policies” for enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws. He added that he believes violence surrounds the sale and use of the drug in the US.

Attorney General Sessions wants to know the science on marijuana and opioids. Here it is. [The Washington Post]

Speaking this morning before the National Association of Attorneys General, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed doubt that marijuana could help mitigate the opioid abuse epidemic. “I see a line in The Washington Post today that I remember from the ’80s,” Sessions said. “‘Marijuana is a cure for opiate abuse.’ Give me a break. This is the kind of argument that’s been made out there to just — almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even its benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove I’m wrong.”

Is marijuana stronger than it used to be? Here’s what the science says. [Tech.Mic]

It’s understandable that old hippies would say marijuana is stronger now, because in truth, stronger marijuana is more widely available. As some growers try to push the envelope without fear of police intervention, however, others are custom-engineering strains for all kinds of specific medical needs, and in some cases actually diminishing the amount of THC in their bud. Yet the overall trend, as with so much in American life, is toward bigger, badder, brawnier product, which means more THC-rich weed. Sure, it’s conceivable that someone was smoking 30% THC pot back at Woodstock, but it’s undoubtedly easier to get your hands on some now than it was in 1969. When we talk about marijuana being stronger today than it was a few decades ago, we’re really talking about how the drug went from being an illicit commodity to the cornerstone of a regulated — and very profitable — national business.

As Trump Said in the Campaign, Leave Pot to the States [The New York Times]

When Donald Trump was running for president, he had three things to say about marijuana policy: He was “in favor of medical marijuana 100 percent,” he was skeptical of legalizing it more broadly, and marijuana policy should basically be left to the states. Last Thursday White House spokesman Sean Spicer drew a clear distinction between medical and recreational marijuana. Medical use, he stressed, was not a concern, both because “the president understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing especially terminal diseases and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can bring to them” — and because the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, enacted by Congress in 2014, prohibits the Justice Department from going after medical marijuana in those states that legalized it. Recreational marijuana, by contrast, was “a very, very different subject” and hence “greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws could be anticipated.

States Gird For Marijuana War With Jeff Sessions [The Huffington Post]

Communities are steeling for a “states’ rights” battle over the cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana after the federal government’s warning about a crackdown last week. Now growers, users and even state officials are preparing for a fight. A major concern is revenue. The nonprofit Tax Foundation estimates that a mature legalized marijuana industry would generate up to $28 billion in tax revenue for federal, state and local governments. Colorado raked in $70 million in taxes in 2015, exceeding expectations. The legal marijuana industry in the U.S. could create more than 250,000 jobs by the year 2020, according to a New Frontier Data report. That’s more than the projected job gains in the manufacturing industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More Education, Less Indoctrination: the Improved US Approach to Drug Use [Talking Drugs]

The US government’s approach to drug education has come a long way since the days of “Just Say No”, but changes to the strategy are still needed to reduce the harms of drug use. Education represents a powerful force in determining cultural attitudes towards drug use. It is vital for the US to continue developing evidence-based programmes, rather than moralistic curriculums that stigmatise people who use drugs.

Who is using medical marijuana and how do they compare to recreational users? [Basis Online]

Compared to non-medical users, medical users were more likely to be disabled for work, had no or state-funded health insurance, were more likely to have had a stroke or anxiety disorder, less likely to use prescription pain relievers or stimulants non-medically, and less likely to be heavy alcohol users. Medical marijuana users were more likely to use marijuana daily and less likely to initiate marijuana use at a younger age.

The World’s First ‘Cannabis Gym’ Is Opening in San Francisco [People]

Marijuana and fitness are generally not associated with one another — but gym owner Jim McAlpine is hoping to change that. McAlpine will be opening the world’s first “cannabis gym” in San Francisco in May. In addition to being a traditional gym and wellness center, Power Plant Fitness will allow members to consume cannabis at the gym before or after their workouts.

Is Colorado’s homeless surge tied to marijuana legalization? [The Guardian]

Annie Mae Noel has been on the streets since her Denver house, which had been in her family for more than a century, went into foreclosure in 2015. She also happens to smoke pot. “I use marijuana to treat my MS, it has nothing to do with me not having a home,” she said recently, standing outside the Denver Rescue Mission. But some in Denver, the unofficial legal marijuana capital of the US, are not so sure. Colorado has seen an uptick in homelessness of just over 8% since 2013, a year after the state backed legalization, fueling speculation over whether the looser rules have boosted the numbers of those on the city’s sidewalks and in its shelters.

Pediatricians Warn Against Pot Use: Not Your Dad’s Marijuana [NBC]

An influential doctors group is beefing up warnings about marijuana’s potential harms for teens amid increasingly lax laws and attitudes on pot use. The advice comes in a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, published Monday in Pediatrics. The group opposes medical and recreational marijuana use for kids. It says emphasizing that message is important because most states have legalized medical use for adults, and many have decriminalized or legalized adults’ recreational use.

Canadian researchers set to study cannabis oil [BBC]

A Canadian hospital in Toronto will be studying the effects cannabis oil in a new study – as many doctors are worried about prescribing it without scientific data on dosage and potential side effects.

Irish Pain Society backs use of medical cannabis [Irish Examiner]

A group representing medical specialists who treat patients with chronic pain disorders disagrees with the view of the Health Product Regulatory Authority, following its recommendation against the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain.

Calls for the use of medicinal cannabis to be decriminalised [Wales Online]

Plaid Cymru’s leader has called for the use of cannabis as a medicine to be decriminalised. Leanne Wood called on the Welsh Government to make the Class B drug available for people who have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other conditions.

NASEM Report Recommends Removing Barriers to Cannabis Research [National Institute of Drug Abuse]

Last month, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a major new report on the health effects of cannabis and its constituent compounds, based on a comprehensive assessment of research conducted since 1999. The National Academy of Medicine, formerly the Institute of Medicine (IOM), is a nonprofit organization of medical and health professionals whose reports provide independent research reviews and recommendations on pressing issues in the field. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids is its first report on the subject since 1999. The new report is based on reviews of research on both the cannabis plant itself and its constituents, but its conclusions are substantially similar to the 1999 report: While cannabis use, particularly smoked cannabis, poses some long-term health and safety risks, there is evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids can treat certain medical conditions, which include nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, spasticity from multiple sclerosis, and pain.

Given the choice, patients will reach for cannabis over prescribed opioids [EurekAlert!]

Chronic pain sufferers and those taking mental health meds would rather turn to cannabis instead of their prescribed opioid medication, according to new research by the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria. “This study is one of the first to track medical cannabis use under the new system of licensed producers, meaning that all participants had physician authorization to access cannabis in addition to their prescription medicines,” says UBC Assoc. Prof. Zach Walsh, co-author of the study.

Claim of link between intelligence and cannabis use in adolescence provides fresh headache for researchers [The Conversation]

Children with high and medium academic ability at age 11 are more likely to use cannabis in late adolescence compared to children with low academic ability, according to a new study published in BMJ Open. Previous research has found a clear link between academic ability and intelligence, so the evidence suggests that smarter kids are more likely to smoke cannabis than their less gifted peers. The big question is: why?

Don’t smoke it with tobacco: scientists suggest ways to make cannabis safer [The Guardian]

Researchers at King’s College London and UCL said it was now crucial for health officials to consider measures to reduce the harm from cannabis use. Many of the health risks that users face could be reduced by discouraging people from smoking it with tobacco, and using vapourisers instead. In regions that have legalised cannabis, health interventions could target the drug through caps that enforce a limit on the strength of cannabis, and higher taxation on the most potent varieties. Tinkering with the chemical composition of cannabis could also make the drug safer without altering the pleasurable effects users want, they add.

Recreational Cannabis — Minimizing the Health Risks from Legalization [The New England Journal of Medicine]

The cannabis-policy landscape is undergoing dramatic change. Although many jurisdictions have removed criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of cannabis and more than half of U.S. states allow physicians to recommend it to patients, legalizing the supply and possession of cannabis for nonmedical purposes is a very different public policy.

Depression Is Now The ‘Leading Cause Of Disability Worldwide’, WHO Reports [The Huffington Post]

Depression is now the leading cause of disability across the globe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed. More than 4% of the world’s population lives with depression – with young people, pregnant or post-partum women, and the elderly being most affected. According to the United Nations (UN), the mental illness costs more than $1 trillion a year globally. This is due to loss of productivity, ‘often as a result of sufferers being unable to function at work or cope with daily life’.

3 Surprising Things You Can Do With Cannabis Fan Leaves [Herb]

Almost every plant has leaves. So, what’s special about the ones on cannabis? Fan leaves may be the most under-recognized part of the herb. Filled with flavor, resin, and other phytonutrients, cannabis fan leaves can be put to use in a variety of ways. Here’s what fan leaves can tell you about your plant and three things to do with them.

MDMB-CHMICA to be placed under control across the EU [European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction]

Today, the EU reacted to serious concerns over the use of the synthetic cannabinoid MDMB-CHMICA by deciding to subject it to ‘control measures’ throughout the Union.

US airports given green light to serve takeaway booze – what could possibly go wrong? [The Telegraph]

While Europe tries to clamp down on sozzled air passengers, lawmakers in the US state of Missouri have approved a bill that would allow the state’s airports to sell takeaway booze to holidaymakers. Supporters claim the new legislation would encourage more business at airports and increase passenger satisfaction, especially for those in need of some Dutch courage before flying. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. If approved, it would allow holidaymakers to drink alcohol as they wander around the terminals. Passengers would even be allowed to quaff booze at the gate, though they would not be able to take drinks onto the aircraft with them.

Liberal hopeful and City of Perth councillor gives free wine to potential voters [The Age]

A City of Perth councillor hoping to leap into state politics is under fire for handing out free bottles of wine while doorknocking in her nominated seat of Mirrabooka. Lily Chen, a councillor at the embattled City of Perth since 2011, was accused by a local resident of leaving a bag with a bottle of wine labelled with her picture, contact details and campaign slogan with the woman’s 11-year-old autistic son.

How did the Daily Mail get it so wrong? The difference between sensationalist commentary and journalism [AOD Media Watch]

The inaccuracy starts even before the title. The link to the story http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4255270/Fake-MDMA-sweeps-Canberra.html is nonsense. It takes a very special gift to start being incorrect in a news story before even the first word of the title. There is no evidence that ‘fake MDMA’ is sweeping Canberra, either from the press release, or from any other data I am aware of.

Politicians need to hear from you [Unharm!]

Unharm has been invited to make a submission to a Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into drug law reform. You are invited to contribute to Unharm’s submission to the Inquiry. You don’t have to live in Victoria to take part.

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.

Nimbin MardiGrass 5-7 May 2017 [Hemp Embassy]

The Nimbin MardiGrass is an annual rally & celebration in the tiny village of Nimbin in northern NSW, Australia.  Beginning in 1993, MardiGrass is held to protest the drug laws, educate people on the various uses of cannabis (medicinal, industrial, recreational & spiritual) and to celebrate the culture that has grown here over the last 40 years.  Our mission is to bring about change with as much fun as possible.

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

This world-renowned conference will once be placing a mature discussion around psychedelic related compounds back on the agenda.  The outdoor symposium and program will span three days and nights from Friday 8th December, featuring more than 50 lectures and workshops, situated within a stunning Australian bushland setting just 2 hours from Melbourne, Australia.  The 2017 Psychedelic Symposium promises to be an incredible gathering, continuing EGA’s 15-year history of bringing together diverse experts and perspectives from across Australia and around the world, to discuss psychedelics and entheogenic plants – furthering this important field of study. EGA’s much-loved outdoor main conference space will return for 2017, supported by modern and professional indoor conference areas and adjoining facilities.