First licence granted for commercially grown medicinal cannabis in Australia [Cannabis Club Australia]

Access to medicinal cannabis has taken another major step forward today with first licence being granted for an Australian company to grow and harvest medicinal cannabis. This major development will lead to improved access to domestically produced medicinal cannabis products for Australian patients. The Department of Health’s Office of Drug Control has issued the licence under the medicinal cannabis provisions of the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 to Cannoperations Pty Ltd – a wholly owned subsidiary of the Australian company Cann Group Limited. This heralds the beginning of Australian domestic supply of medicinal cannabis products.

Australia grants first cannabis farm licence [MedicalXpress]

Australia’s first medical marijuana farm received its growers’ licence Wednesday, opening up domestic production of the drug for people seeking relief from serious illnesses.

Feeling good about medical cannabis investments [The Sydney Morning Herald]

It could have once been a stretch of the imagination of Queensland Bauxite shareholders to think that they could be treated to crop updates from the Northern NSW hippie paradise of Nimbin. But the veteran gold fossicker and Queensland Bauxite executive chairman Pnina “Diamond Rose” Feldman has taken to a business founded by a former Nimbin café owner.

Medicinal cannabis access made easier for approved patients [Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers]

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced on 22 February 2017 that the Federal Government would move to facilitate faster access to medicinal cannabis for patients with the pre-existing Special Access Scheme or Authorised Prescriber Scheme approvals. Under the new import scheme, the Office of Drug Control will authorise controlled importation of medicinal cannabis products by approved companies (called “sponsors”) from approved international sources for interim supply in Australia, until domestic production meets local needs.

Violation! Government, Cannabis And The Abuse Of Australia’s Most Vulnerable [Australian Medical Cannabis Signpost]

You don’t get much more vulnerable than a hospitalised, terminally ill mother with cancer who’s been given a fortnight to live. But you’d expect, wouldn’t you, someone like that to be be provided with every conceivable comfort, every amenity, every available medication to make their final days as bearable as they could possibly be. That is unless you work for the Government’s medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration which has just stopped such a person from obtaining medicinal weed on prescription – a dying wish, to help with the pain from her illness and accompanying nausea and vomiting. Few are more law-abiding and respectable than Sydney-based Mrs Lynda Lawrie who, until her diagnosis with breast cancer three years ago, spent the better part of her career – 26 years of it – working for NSW Police.

An Australian nationwide survey on medicinal cannabis use for epilepsy: History of antiepileptic drug treatment predicts medicinal cannabis use [PubMed]

Epilepsy Action Australia conducted an Australian nationwide online survey seeking opinions on and experiences with the use of cannabis-based products for the treatment of epilepsy. Of those with a history of cannabis product use, 90% of adults and 71% of parents reported success in reducing seizure frequency after commencing cannabis products. The main reasons for medicinal cannabis use were to manage treatment-resistant epilepsy and to obtain a more favorable side-effect profile compared to standard antiepileptic drugs. This survey provides insight into the use of cannabis products for epilepsy, in particular some of the likely factors influencing use, as well as novel insights into the experiences of and attitudes towards medicinal cannabis in people with epilepsy in the Australian community. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled “Cannabinoids and Epilepsy”.

December 2016 Newsletter [Queensland Council for Civil Liberties]

The latest QCCL newsletter has a solid report by John Ransley about medicinal Cannabis. Queensland Government invited QCCL to comment on its draft Bill. John writes: “The Queensland legislation was based almost wholly on a draft Bill prepared by the Queensland Department of Health. Michael Cope and I made separate submissions to Qld Health. We complained about the overly bureaucratic and complex construction of the Bill…”

Cannabis prohibition discriminates ‘against elderly’ [Radio NZ]

A Parliamentary select committee is considering a petition from a group of Northland retirees who want cannabis legalised so they can grow it in their gardens. The spokesperson for the group, Beverley Aldridge, said none of them currently take or grow the drug, but they do want to as they’ve seen their loved ones dying in extreme pain.

Virginia Republican introduces bill to end federal marijuana prohibition [The Washington Post]

A freshman Republican representative from Virginia introduced legislation this week that would end the federal prohibition on marijuana use and allow states to fully set their own course on marijuana policy. The bill seeks to remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and resolve the existing conflict between federal and state laws over medical or recreational use of the drug. It would not legalize the sale and use of marijuana in all 50 states — it would simply allow states to make their own decisions on marijuana policy without the threat of federal interference.

Shimadzu announces release of new Cannabis Analyzer for Potency at Pittcon 2017 [News Medical]

Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (SSI) announces the release of its new Cannabis Analyzer for Potency. This high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC) is the first-ever instrument designed specifically for quantitative determination of cannabinoid content. With the Cannabis Analyzer for Potency, operators are now able to produce accurate results with ease, regardless of cannabis testing knowledge or chromatography experience.

Ten Things I Learned in Canada Last Week [volteface]

Volteface recently visited Toronto and Ottawa to learn more about the Canadian government’s plans to legalise cannabis. Here are the thoughts of our Director Steve Moore.

Make drugs dull: legalising cannabis the Canadian way [The Spectator]

Cannabis use among young people in Canada is the highest in the world. Almost a quarter of all teenagers are regularly getting high, and while most grow up and grow out of it, some develop mental health problems and many more screw up at school. So Bill’s advice to Trudeau was to make the top priority ‘keeping cannabis out of the hands of children’. After the election, he wrote the new government’s policy paper setting out a path ‘Toward the Legalisation, Regulation and Restriction of Access to Marijuana’.

Amid contamination concerns, cannabis shops take on testing [The Globe and Mail]

Illegal marijuana dispensaries in British Columbia and Ontario say they are developing a system of testing standards amid concerns about contaminants in cannabis – both at unauthorized storefronts and in the federally regulated system. The proposal from the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, whose 25 members represent a fraction of the hundreds of illegal dispensaries operating across the country, to set up a testing system by May comes ahead of federal legislation to legalize the drug. The Liberal government has not said where recreational marijuana will be sold, but dispensaries have lobbied to be included in the new system.

Germany expects cannabis-growing program to be going in 2019 [MedicalXpress]

German authorities say they expect to have a cannabis-growing program up and running in 2019 after the country approved legislation allowing some patients to get the drug as a prescription medication.

Israel decriminalises marijuana to emphasise ‘treatment instead of criminal enforcement’ [Independent]

Marijuana has been decriminalised in Israel which hopes to emphasise “treatment instead of criminal enforcement”. The government’s cabinet amended the law so that those caught using cannabis in public will not be prosecuted until their fourth offence. It signals a major change in approach for a country that is seen as a world leader in marijuana medical use research.

Cannabis and prescription painkillers flooding Gaza Strip, Hamas warns [Independent]

‘They think Tramadol will change the reality and will make them feel at peace. They want to lose awareness and any feeling of reality’, says a psychiatrist who works with people in the occupied territory.

Warnings over ‘fast and loose’ medicinal cannabis supply [The Irish Times]

Families seeking to treat their sick children with medicinal cannabis are being subjected to ripoffs and misleading information, the mother of the first child to be legally allowed to use the treatment has warned.

Regulator backs limited access to medicinal cannabis [RTE]

The Health Products Regulatory Authority [in Ireland] has recommended access to medicinal cannabis under a monitored, five-year programme, confined to a number of specific illnesses.

Mother walks 260km in medicinal cannabis plea for ill daughter [Independent]

A mother who walked from Cork to Dublin to highlight her daughter’s need for medicinal cannabis said it was the “most challenging thing” she has ever done.

Which Teenagers are the Most Likely to Smoke Cigarettes, Drink Alcohol and Smoke Cannabis? [volteface]

Our study, published in the BMJ Open, analysed the data from a representative sample of over 6000 English school pupils followed from the age of 14-20 as part of the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England. Our findings that adolescents with high academic ability are less likely to smoke but more likely to drink alcohol regularly and use cannabis are broadly consistent with the evidence base on adults, but the reasons behind these associations are not fully understood.

Consumption of alcohol and marijuana associated with lower GPA in college [MedicalXpress]

College students who consume medium-to-high levels of alcohol and marijuana have a consistently lower GPA, according to a study published March 8, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Shashwath Meda from Hartford Hospital/Institute of Living, USA, and colleagues.

A Primer About Cannabidiol And The Benefits Of CBD [Huffington Post]

Many cannabinoids have therapeutic value and CBD is no exception. It is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid, meaning it does not contribute to the euphoria associated with certain strains of cannabis. It is, however, psychoactive, because it crosses the blood-brain barrier. Unlike THC, CBD can be administered at relatively high doses without undesired psychological side effects.

New medical cannabis chewing gum set for launch [Digital Journal]

A new cannabis chewing gum is in development by the biotechnology company AXIM Biotechnologies. The new product will be branded CanChew Plus and it is an advancement on gum already on the market.

Rectal Medical Marijuana Is Effective, Safer Than Smoking, But Weed Suppository Won’t Be Widely Available [Medical Daily]

Rectal marijuana? Weed suppositories? Smoking might be the most common way to get high, but apparently it’s not the best —at least for medicinal purposes. As Vice puts it, “…taking it up the butt is actually much more effective than smoking it.” Talk of rectal marijuana hit the news cycle following a story in the National Post about Canadian healthcare professionals seeking safer ways to toke up. Canadian healthcare professionals seeking safer ways to toke up.

Is Cannabidiol a useful drug for treating addictions? [British Association for Psychopharmacology]

Anecdotal evidence suggests that people are using Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis, to help them quit smoking cigarettes as well as other drugs. At the same time, emerging research suggests that CBD indeed might be a novel treatment to treat addictions. However, the research itself is sparse and we do not have enough information from clinical trials to judge CBD as an effective medicine for treating addictions.

Making Cannabis Safer [volteface]

Whilst most cannabis users experience little or no harmful effects, there are certain risks including developing a dependency, memory impairment and psychosis. And with global numbers of people using cannabis on the rise and potency increasing, there is a growing number of people experiencing these problems.

Everything You Need To Know About Pill Testing Explained With “Simpsons” Quotes [BuzzFeed]

“Won’t somebody please think of the children!”

Oxford University Student Union introduces ‘smart drug’ workshops for students [The Telegraph]

Oxford University Student Union has started to run workshops to raise awareness about so-called ‘smart drugs’, otherwise known as ‘study drugs.’ The workshops are intended to act as a safe space in which students can freely discuss drug use in a protected environment. The first of these took place last month at Exeter College, with students from a number of other colleges in attendance.

Synthetic drugs to be banned in Victoria as Government closes ‘legal high’ loophole [ABC]

Synthetic drugs such as “herbal highs” and “party pills” will be banned in Victoria, as the State Government moves to close a legal loophole.

Assaults rise outside Sydney lockout laws zone, but overall figures still down [The Guardian]

Assaults in areas just outside Sydney’s alcohol lockout zones have increased since the laws were introduced, but the rise has been outweighed by a larger decline in assaults inside the inner-city zone. A study by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (Bocsar) has found an increase of between 11.8% and 16.7% in spillover suburbs such as Newtown, Bondi and Double Bay, and at the Star casino, which is outside the lockout zone.

Why We Need to Destroy the Concept of What a Drug User Looks Like [Vice]

We need to support each person who use drugs regardless of how they look; their socioeconomic status; their age; their race; if they live in the suburbs, in a small town, in a city. We need to address access to treatment, increase harm reduction initiatives, consider the causes of addiction (such as trauma and mental health issues), and break down the widespread discrimination against drug users rampant in our society. Let’s start by destroying the concept of what someone who consumes drugs looks like because just as every human being is unique and different from one another, so is drug use and the impact it has on our lives.

If you love festivals, come and help make a difference [Unharm!]

It’s a huge pleasure to announce the launch of this new campaign platform, Festival Friends. Festival Friends promotes safety and activism in a way that connects with the hedonism of the party experience. Check out the website here www.festival-friends.org

How Community Mycoremediation Projects Can Clean Up Oil Spills Around the Planet [Paste]

The fact that mushrooms, through a process called mycoremediation, can break down the hyrdocarbons in petroleum (and a wide range of other pollutants) and turn them back into inert matter was discovered years ago and has been widely promoted by mycologist-turned-environmental guru Paul Stamets as part of his excellent TED Talks manifesto on how mushrooms can save the world. But while now every environmental site or blog worth its Himalayan sea salt has run articles on mycoremediation, there are very few cases of it actually being employed successfully beyond the petri dish.

“We drank Soma, we became immortal…” [Science First Hand]

For over a hundred years now, scientists have been discussing what plant was used to prepare Soma (Haoma), a sacred drink of the ancient Indians and Iranians, which “inspired poets and seers, made warriors fearless.” The hypotheses were plenty: from ephedra, cannabis, and opium poppy to blue water lily (Nymphaea caerulea) and fly agaric (Amanita muscaria). The answer was found in a grave of a noble woman buried in an elite burial ground of the Xiongnu, the famous nomads of Central Asia.

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.

2017 UIC Medicinal Cannabis Symposium [United in Compassion]

SAVE THE DATE – 23, 24, 25 JUNE 2017 • MELBOURNE, VICTORIA – Help UIC put the focus back on Australian patients. Over three days you will hear from the world’s most informed speakers on the medical uses, current research, and science behind Medicinal Cannabis. The program will be suited to medical professionals, policy makers and the general public including patients and carers. Program details to be released shortly.

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

Tickets Now on Sale!

We’re delighted that after more than a year of planning, persuading and wooing a world-leading line up of speakers, early bird tickets to EGA’s 2017 (outdoor) Psychedelic Symposium are now on sale!.

EGA’s 2017 Psychedelic Symposium will be a botanical, academic and lifestyle conference – with a pinch of psychedelic energy.  The program will span three days and three nights, featuring more than 50 lectures from diverse fields covering the botanical, academic, and philosophical, to arts and drug law reform. Accompanying the main program will be workshops, panel discussions, a marketplace, and much more.

Purchase EGA Psychedelic Symposium Tickets now by clicking this link