NSW Labor push for medical cannabis decriminalisation [The Australian]

NSW Labor will push for the decriminalisation of cannabis for medical purposes in a move Opposition Leader Luke Foley says will return dignity to the terminally ill. The push, which would decriminalise the possession of up to 15 grams for treatment of chronic and serious medical conditions, follows the unanimous findings of a parliamentary inquiry into the medical use of cannabis.

Medicinal cannabis: Father of 5yo Katelyn Lambert gave daughter drug out of necessity, court told [ABC]

Mr Lambert admitted that he had acted illegally in cultivating cannabis, but argued it was out of necessity to help treat his daughter who suffered from seizures, which traditional medicines could only supress.

Why is it still so hard for patients in need to get medicinal cannabis? [The Conversation]

There are a number of factors slowing down the availability of lawful medicinal cannabis in Australia. With a multitude of natural chemical constituents, some of which are psychoactive – meaning mood, thinking and perception may be altered, perhaps pleasurably – cannabis is more complicated than most other pharmaceutical products. Cannabis can be used by way of a number of botanical products as well as partially purified or synthetic pharmaceutical preparations.

The Poster Children For Medical Cannabis Can’t Access Medical Cannabis [BuzzFeed]

It’s been two years since the battle for medicinal cannabis legalisation really kicked off in Australia, and many patients are still exactly where they started. In October 2015 the then premier of NSW Mike Baird published a lengthy note on his Facebook page about an encounter he’d had with a young boy named Tyler Oldenburg. Tyler has up to 40 seizures a day and his mother, Nicole, thinks medicinal cannabis will help. Baird said he was proud that NSW was “leading the nation” in researching the controversial drug. Almost 18 months later Tyler and his parents, Mathew and Nicole, were among the medicinal cannabis activists and patients gathered at the Sydney’s Ethics Centre on Wednesday as part of the The Greenlight campaign to improve access to medicinal cannabis.

Australian company granted first licence to commercially grow medicinal cannabis [International Business Times]

The first licence to grow and harvest medicinal cannabis has been granted to an Australian company. With this, patients will be able to have easier access to domestically produced medicinal cannabis. The Office of Drug Control (ODC) of the Australian Department of Health granted the licence to Cannoperations Pty Ltd in Victoria earlier this month. The company had to undergo an on-site security assessment. Initially, the products will only be available in Victoria’s medicinal market. Processing of licences for other states and territories in Australia is currently underway.

Australian Regulator Grants First Commercial Cannabis License [Leafly]

Cannoperations, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cann Group Ltd., has become the first company to be granted a license to produce and cultivate medical cannabis for manufacture in Australia. The Office of Drug Control, the country’s medical cannabis regulator, made the announcement on March 8, just weeks after the office granted Cann Group a license to grow cannabis for medical research purposes. While licenses have been issued to state governments, these are the first granted to a commercial entity. Cann Group has not announced whether it has also applied for a manufacturing license or whether the company will provide cannabis to other manufacturers.

MGC Pharmaceuticals bags $10M for medical cannabis growth [Proactive Investors Australia]

MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX:MXC) has closed an oversubscribed share placement after receiving commitments to raise $10 million via the issue of shares at $0.065 each. MGC will use the funds to fast-track its growth objectives, including the research and development of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis based products. In addition, the funds will be used to expand sales of the company’s cosmetics and dermatological product ranges. MGC is also aggressively assessing acquisition opportunities in the Australian and international medicinal cannabis sector. In January, MGC received approval in Europe for its cannabidiol based dermatological products for the relief of acne, psoriasis and seborrhoea skin conditions.

Here’s how much $5,000 invested on Monday in marijuana stock Stemcell Utd Ltd would be worth today [The Motley Fool]

It’s the company that’s gone gangbusters on the coronation of the “Cannabis King” as it’s official adviser and it’s likely to have made some lucky investors rather rich. Earlier in March the Stemcell Utd Ltd (ASX: SCU) share price was trading at around 1.3 cents per share, but closed today at 37 cents per share on traders’ excitement over little more than its fast-rising share price.

Queensland Bauxite confident about medical cannabis investment [Finance News Network]

Bauxite exploration and development company, Queensland Bauxite (ASX:QBL) has a 55% stake in Medical Cannabis Ltd – which it describes as an Australian leader in the hemp and Cannabis industries. Queensland Bauxite announced that last Friday, the NSW government allowed the Medical Cannabis company to grow indoors a selection of plant varieties at a private location in NSW – in addition to a licence to cultivate and supply low-THC cannabis for commercial production. Queensland Bauxite also says it believes Medical Cannabis is the only company with current ASX exposure that has achieved such licences and approvals in Australia – hence giving its investment company a first mover advantage within the current legal framework.

King of cannabis Nevil Schoenmakers stages a quiet comeback [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Schoenmakers, who set up one of the world’s largest cannabis seed distribution businesses from Holland and used it as a base to send seeds to American customers through the post, has joined Australian medicinal cannabis company AusCann, headed by former Liberal MP Mal Washer and businessmen Troy Langman and Harry Karelis. Following failed attempts to establish cannabis growing operations in Tasmania and Norfolk Island, AusCann (formerly known as Tasman Health Cannabinoids, or TasCann) is positioning itself to become a licensed provider of cannabis products to Australian and overseas markets, including Canada, as soon as the laws allow it to operate, with Schoenmakers their secret weapon.

Cannabis use in people with epilepsy revealed: Australian survey [EurekAlert!]

People with epilepsy resort to cannabis products when antiepileptic drug side-effects are intolerable and epilepsy uncontrolled. The first Australian nationwide survey on the experiences and opinions of medicinal cannabis use in people with epilepsy has revealed that 14 per cent of people with epilepsy have used cannabis products as a way to manage seizures. The study showed that of those with a history of cannabis product use, 90 per cent of adults and 71 per cent of parents of children with epilepsy reported success in managing seizures after commencing using cannabis products.

Epilepsy patients turning to medicinal cannabis, survey shows [The Guardian]

Published in the journal Epilepsy & Behaviour, the Epilepsy Action Australia study, in partnership with the Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney, surveyed 976 respondents to examine cannabis use in people with epilepsy, reasons for use and any perceived benefits self-reported by consumers.

Scientists complain that the marijuana they get from the US government for medical research is moldy and weak [Quartz]

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) contracts with the University of Mississippi, which runs the only legal cannabis farm in the country—at least from the federal government’s perspective—on 12 acres. There, weed is cultivated for scientific research. But it is very poor quality, according to some scientists, who say this makes demystifying therapeutic cannabis even more difficult.

Jeff Sessions: ‘Medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much’ [The Washington Post]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly condemned the recreational use of marijuana. On Wednesday he went a step further, casting doubt on medical marijuana use. Sessions also cast doubt, as he has before, on the use of marijuana to curb opioid addiction. Studies have shown that medical marijuana laws and access to medical marijuana dispensaries are associated with fewer opioid deaths and less prescription painkiller abuse.

Jeff Sessions: Using Marijuana Is “Only Slightly Less Awful” Than Heroin [Reason]

Jeff Sessions continues to insist that the only America he wants to live in is one where no one is legally permitted to use substances he doesn’t like.

Beer Industry Could Lose $2 Billion From Legal Marijuana [Forbes]

Beer sales could take a huge hit if more states legalize recreational marijuana. A new report from Cannabiz Consumer Group (C2G) predicts that the beer industry could lose more than $2 billion in retail sales due to legal marijuana. The company reported that 27% of beer drinkers said they have already substituted cannabis for beer or would make that switch if marijuana was legal in their state. Wine and spirits sales could see a drop in sales. C2G noted that some believe the substitution would be short-lived since the novelty of legalized marijuana would wear off. That said, they said that the cannabis consumer is an invested and educated shopper.

Medical marijuana business in New York is a bust so far [The Buffalo News]

The state health commissioner last year declared New York’s medical marijuana program a success. But the five companies that the state selected in 2015 to get marijuana into the hands of people suffering from debilitating and sometimes terminal diseases such as cancer,  AIDS and multiple sclerosis tell a different story. “Our company is not close to break-even yet,’’ said Ari Hoffnung, president of Vireo Health of New York, which has a marijuana-growing facility in Fulton County and dispenses its products in two downstate and two upstate locations. “And based on my understanding, no one has made a dime here in New York.’’ If other states were a guide, New York should be preparing for at least 200,000 patients enrolled in the program, the industry estimates. But since medical marijuana went on the market in New York State a little over a year ago, just over 14,000 patients have enrolled to buy the drug at one of the 20 dispensaries scattered around the state. Only half of those are regular customers. Many stopped taking the drug because of high costs, distances they must travel to get it or because they died, industry executives say. “There are two things the program is lacking: physicians and patients,’’ said Sen. Diane Savino, author of the bill that opened up medical marijuana treatment in New York State.

Can this man successfully treat opioid addiction with marijuana? [The Guardian]

A controversial new treatment facility in Los Angeles wants to find out if cannabis can help keep opioids from claiming more lives to addiction. Joe Schrank is the founder of High Sobriety, a first-of-its-kind rehab center that integrates cannabis in addiction recovery.

Marijuana could hold the key to treating Alzheimer’s but drug laws stand in the way, say scientists [Independent]

Chemicals found in cannabis could be used to help treat dementia, early studies have shown – but further research into the findings is being stymied by restrictive drug laws, scientists say. Cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can aid the removal of dangerous dementia proteins from brain cells, according to researchers at the Salk Institute, a renowned biomedical research facility in California.

Vote TODAY: Senate rushing to escalate the drug war [Drug Policy Alliance]

As soon as this afternoon, the U.S. Senate could vote on a bill that would escalate the drug war by expanding the ability of states to drug test people who file for unemployment insurance. If it passes, it will go to President Trump to be signed into law. The vast majority of people who receive unemployment insurance and other public assistance do not use drugs. But more importantly, drug testing programs have been proven again and again to accomplish nothing. They often have faulty results and waste millions of tax dollars.

Cannabis Culture Dispensaries Owned By Emerys Tied To Organized Crime: Police [Huffington Post]

Police in Toronto are accusing Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensaries of being part of a “large franchise operation of alleged high-level drug traffickers.” Prominent marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery — who own the Cannabis Culture brand — were granted bail Friday after their arrest on Wednesday. Marc Emery faces 15 charges, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime, while Jodie Emery faces five similar counts. Officers seized $250,000 in cash in several currencies, 65 kilograms of marijuana and 2.4 kilograms of cannabis extract and other drug paraphernalia after searching seven Cannabis Culture stores and several homes on Thursday, police said.

Is Smoking Weed Effectively Legal Now? [SoundCloud]

Some police forces have stopped prosecuting people for possessing small amounts of cannabis, instead diverting them into government programmes if they’re caught. Does that mean weed is basically legal now? We hear from the police, weed smokers and people who’ve got caught to find out the legal status of weed in the UK.

Bad Behaviour On Both Sides Of The Cannabis Debate [Cannabis Law Reform]

Cannabis evangelists, with their conspiracy theories and religious ‘belief’ that cannabis is totally harmless and cures everything, are every bit as delusional as those who subscribe to ‘reefer madness’.

Sir Patrick Stewart reveals he uses marijuana every day to help deal with debilitating arthritis symptoms [Daily Mail]

Patrick Stewart has revealed that he uses medical marijuana daily to help him deal with the symptoms of his arthritis.  The veteran actor, 76, made the admission as he threw his support behind a UK-first research initiative by Oxford University which aims to explore the benefits of cannabis-based medicines. In a powerful statement, the X Men star explained that he uses an ointment, spray and edible marijuana medicine to help him with his condition.

Oxford University to launch study on medical benefits of marijuana [The Telegraph]

Researchers at Oxford University are to undertake a £10 million study on the medical benefits of marijuana in treating pain, cancer and inflammatory diseases. It follows calls from some MPs for a law to allow medical use of cannabis, with polls suggesting  58 per cent of people would back such a move.

How British Weed Growers Are Avoiding Prosecution [Vice]

In the UK, growing weed is usually a pretty clandestine procedure. It has to be, really, considering it’s still very much illegal and can see you handed anything from a community service sentence to a decade in prison. Good news for green-fingered smokers, then, that the United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs (UKCSC) have recently launched a system that, in theory, would help you battle a court case if your grow was busted.

People are giving their pets cannabis to cure their illnesses [Metro]

Sick animals are being fed cannabis-based extracts, ointments and edibles to treat everything from arthritis to anxiety.

Expert says stop criminalising possession of cannabis [Liverpool Echo]

A Liverpool professor has called for the possession of cannabis to be de-criminalised. Harry Sumnall, an expert in substance use at Liverpool John Moores’ University, also said the drug could be helpful for people with a range of health problems.

On Young Women and Skunk [volteface]

Yesterday morning, The Times released a piece entitled ‘Middle-class, female, and smokes skunk‘, which attempts the commendable task of highlighting problematic cannabis use by a group — young women and girls — which is often overlooked in discussions about cannabis. Use of cannabis by women is underreported in the UK, but medical professionals have seen a recent increase in female skunk users coming forward to talk about their experiences.

Neurologists to draw up guide for safe use of medicinal cannabis [Irish Times]

Irish neurologists are to draw up guidelines on the safe use of medicinal cannabis for patients with epilepsy. An expert group made up of consultant neurologists is to begin drawing up the guidelines shortly in order to provide clarity for doctors and patients on the issue, according to the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland.

Rodrigo Duterte relaunches Philippine drug war despite calls for investigation [The Conversation]

On March 6, the Philippine government lifted its suspension on police anti-drug operations. The suspension had been imposed in January following revelations that anti-drug police had kidnapped and killed a South Korean businessman. Philippine National Police Director-General Ronald dela Rosa has christened this new phase of the drug war Project Double Barrel Alpha, Reloaded, and has said it will be “less bloody, if not bloodless” than that of the previous eight months. That bloodshed is unquestionable: police and “unidentified gunmen” have killed more than 7,000 suspected drug users and drug dealers since July 2016.

Spain: Busted Drug Ring Planned to Sell Bear-Shaped Cannabis Gummies [Organized Crime & Corruption Reporting Project]

Police in Spain have arrested 27 people suspected of growing cannabis, turning it into oil and planning to produce bear-shaped gummies. Over the course of operation SKUNK, the Civil Guard of Torrevieja — a city in Spain’s southeastern Alicante province — seized 1,122 marijuana plants, 14 kilos of marijuana, 1.5 kilos of hashish, more than a quarter of a liter of cannabis oil. Torrevieja authorities launched the investigation after detecting a rapid increase in cannabis clubs in the city where anyone could purchase marijuana or hashish, and thus ignoring regulations covering such businesses, police said.

The Implementation of Medical Ganja in Jamaica [volteface]

Farmers in Jamaica are struggling to engage with the nation’s new medical marijuana (or ‘ganja’) scheme, according to a new study. The findings of the study, conducted by a student at Writtle University College, have been published in the International Journal of Drug Policy. Study author Simon Jones reveals that, out of the over 180,000 registered farmers growing traditional crops in Jamaica, only 25 applications for ganja cultivation have been made. High licensing fees and other financial and infrastructural burdens have been cited as the main impediments to farmers.

Is Cannabidiol a Useful Drug for Treating Addictions? [volteface]

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.

Bolivia sees coca as a way to perk up its economy – but all everyone else sees is cocaine [The Guardian]

Farmers can now grow more of the ‘star product’, but officials underestimated international resistance because coca is so widely accepted as harmless in Bolivia.

Drug and alcohol problems linked to increased veteran suicide risk, especially in women [MedicalXpress]

The risk of suicide differs depending on the type of substance the veteran has problems with, according to the study. The highest suicide risks are among those who misuse prescription sedative medicines, such as tranquilizers. Women veterans who misuse opioid drugs also have an especially high risk of suicide, the study finds.

Lawyers See Dollar Signs in Exploding Vapes [Vice]

Exploding e-cigs have become rich targets for personal-injury attorneys looking to cash in big on settlements. Dozens of law firms now have web pages dedicated to exploding vape pen accidents. (Google “exploding vape,” and the first result is an ad from NYC injury attorneys Cellino and Barnes.) It’s easy to understand why. The FDA has identified 134 incidents of e-cig batteries overheating, catching on fire, or exploding in the US between 2009 and January 2016, enough to prompt them to host a public workshop to “gather information and stimulate discussion” this April in Maryland.

E-cigarettes a gateway to smoking? Not likely [Science Daily]

Major national studies provide little evidence that e-cigarette users move to smoking cigarettes as a result, researchers write.

Synthetic Marijuana May Make You More Violent, Study Says [International Business Times]

Teens using synthetic marijuana were more likely to use other illicit drugs and alcohol and have higher risks of displaying violent behavior, according to a new study released in the journal Pediatrics Monday. The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found young people who use synthetic marijuana were more likely to have high-risk sex.

Swedish men on target to be first to completely stub out smoking [New Scientist]

Sweden is lighting the way to a cigarette-free world. The Swedish government has released data showing that the proportion of men aged between 30 and 44 smoking fell to just 5 per cent in 2016. Part of the reason for this success is that since the 1970s, many Swedes have been switching their cigarettes for snus – teabag-like pouches of pasteurised and purified tobacco, which slowly release nicotine when tucked under the lip or in the cheek.

The Psychedelic Miracle [RollingStone]

Some doctors are risking everything to unleash the healing power of MDMA, ayahuasca and other hallucinogens.

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.

Hemp, Health & Innovation Expo & SYMPOSIUM 2017 [HHI]

The Hemp, Health & Innovation Expo & Medicinal Cannabis Conference 2017 is taking place in Sydney 27th and 28th May 2017 at Rosehill Gardens.

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!
EGA 2017 Psychedelic Symposium

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.