Low THC hemp seed gains approved food status [Queensland Country Life]

LOW-THC hemp seed products have been approved as a food by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ). Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has prepared and assessed a proposal to develop a food regulatory measure to permit the sale of food derived from the seeds of low delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol varieties of Cannabis sativa.

What we can learn from US weed legalisation [The Northern Star]

The Nimbin Pot Shop has posters of MardiGrass on the walls and is a clean sterile environment where people can buy their weed legally. But this dispensary is not in Nimbin, but rather Seattle, Washington, where the owners were so taken with the Northern Rivers town that they decided to name their store after it. The discovery was made by Michael Balderstone who was on a three-week trip looking into the changing landscape of marijuana in America. Mr Balderstone said that Nimbin was well known and there was lots of interest in the small Australian town, particularly as a result of the MardiGrass Festival. “Nimbin has a big reputation in global cannabis culture,” he said.

MC In Australia: The Black Hole [Australian Medical Cannabis Signpost]

A key Ministerial advisor on medical cannabis – one of the world’s most prominent anti-weed thought leaders – has said the public are likely to be ‘disappointed’ at the ‘limited indications’ for which the drug can be used and should ‘have more realistic expectations about what it might deliver.’ In an interview given to ABC Radio’s Health Report programme on 13th March, Professor Wayne Hall of Queensland University said he feels Federal and State Governments were ‘very sensibly’ seeking to approve nothing but ‘medicinal preparations – either drugs like THC or CBD, or standardised cannabis extracts‘ (i.e. pharmaceutical products) but only ‘if they prove to be effective in clinical trials’. Such remarks are the diametric opposite of what patients, advocacy groups and the general public believe and have said they want – and what the Government implied they would get. If such a ‘vision’ represents the end point in Australia’s medical cannabis journey it’s the death of a dream for its legalisation for such a purpose.

Medicinal cannabis: MP pushes to make medicinal cannabis cheaper through PBS listing [Brisbane Times]

Health Minister Cameron Dick is calling for medicinal cannabis to be subsidised on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. It comes as a parliamentary committee examines a bill which aims to make access to the drug cheaper and more available for sick Queenslanders.

Former top cops want ‘white market’ in illicit drugs, decriminalisation, more injecting rooms [ABC]

A new report into drug-related deaths has proposed the decriminalisation of drug use in Australia. The Australia21 report has the backing of former police commissioners and assistant commissioners, two former heads of Corrective Services, a former Supreme Court Judge and a former Director of Public Prosecutions. It is the group’s third report in five years on the issue. The report’s recommendations include:

  • Decriminalising drug use and consideration of eliminating all penalties
  • More “Drug consumptions rooms” — Australia has only one medically supervised centre in Kings Cross
  • Consideration of a regulated “white market” for drugs in a bid to counter “the black market”
  • Improving health and social services to drug users, particularly in rural areas
  • More funding for harm minimisation strategies

Decriminalisation of illicit drugs, cannabis backed by Former Premier Jeff Kennett [International Business Times]

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett has launched a report endorsing decriminalisation of illicit drugs, including cannabis. With his stance, Kennett said he has “come a long way” on drug policy.

Move illicit drugs to ‘white’ economy: report [AJP]

Pharmacists could have a greater role in harm minimisation under the recommendations of a new report.

Reducing drug harm through decriminalisation and regulation makes good sense [The Age]

The case for a fundamental change in Australia’s drug strategy has been rendered even more compelling by the release of a report by some of the nation’s most well-informed people about a policy failure that continues to cause countless unnecessary deaths. The Age has long argued drug policy should primarily be part of the health system, rather than the criminal justice system, and the focus should be harm minimisation rather than prohibition.

Overdose deaths and the failure of ‘tough on drugs’ [Croakey]

With independent public policy thinktank Australia21 publishing a landmark report Monday calling for a complete overhaul in the nation’s approach to illicit drugs, Professor Dan Lubman and Christian Smyth argue that the current system is broken. Australia’s record on drug-related overdose deaths makes for uncomfortable reading – 88.1 per million of population, compared to 44.6 per million in the UK, 10.2 per million in the Netherlands and 3 per million in Portugal. There has also been a 61% increase in the number of accidental overdose deaths from 2004 to 2014. Australians aged 40-49 are the most likely to die, with prescription medication being responsible for more overdoses (69%) than illicit drugs. Indeed, over the period 2008-2014, there has been an 87% increase in prescription opioid deaths. So when we think of drug overdoses, we have to move away from the stereotype of the inner-city, alleyway heroin user, maybe destitute and probably young, and we have to wake up to the fact that in Victoria, overdose deaths now exceed the number of road deaths.

Facebook post lands Nimbin man in court for pot [Echo Netdaily]

Police have seized cannabis with an estimated street value of $700,000 after a Nimbin man posted a video of his alleged crop on Facebook.

Funding to help sporting groups tackle illegal drugs [Greg Hunt, Minister for Health]

More than a thousand community sport clubs across the country are being encouraged to take part in a Turnbull Government program to reduce the impact of illegal drugs on Australian communities. As part of the Turnbull Government’s National Ice Action Strategy, the Good Sports program is being expanded with an additional $4.6 million in funding to include a new education module on tackling illegal drugs. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation will implement the program over the next three years and around 1,200 community sporting clubs will be provided with information, tools and support should they find or suspect that illegal drugs are in their club.

Australia’s King of Cannabis Nevil Schoenmakers [News]

He spent years on the run from the FBI, but Nevil Schoenmakers’ marijuana expertise is now being celebrated, after his appointment to a drug-company board sent the company’s stock skyrocketing. The 62-year-old has been named as a strategic adviser to the board of Singaporean biotech Stemcell United, an announcement that sent the company’s share price skyrocketing. So why is Mr Schoenmakers such a valuable addition? To put it simply, his buds are revered as the best on the planet.

Zelda Therapeutics trade higher on medical cannabis focus [Proactive Investors]

Zelda Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD) shares have continued their strong run in 2017 trading up over 85% year to date to $0.074. This also means that the medical cannabis company’s share price has nearly tripled since listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in November, 2016 at $0.025. Zelda is an Australian-based bio-pharmaceutical company that has secured exclusive, global access to an extensive set of human data related to medicinal cannabis.

Are Pot Stocks the Next Big Thing [The Bull]

The flood of companies charging into marijuana-related businesses began in 2009, swelling to the point respected financial organization Bloomberg created a “weed index”, with other indices of marijuana stocks adding to the mix. The first such index appeared in 2015 and of the more than 200 medical marijuana stocks trading at the time only 23 were included in the index due to the standards (minimum trading volumes; market cap; and stock price) designed to minimise inclusion of the highest risk stocks in a high-risk sector. The following graph from Bloomberg runs through mid- April of 2015. Proponents of legalised marijuana as the “next big thing” would point to the hefty rise in the index since 2012 while advocates of marijuana stocks as punter’s delights would point to the extreme volatility and the steep declines since peaking in mid-2014.

Australian Lawmaker Rips Medical Cannabis Law: ‘Reality Doesn’t Match the Rhetoric’ [Leafly]

More than a year after the Australian government legalized medical cannabis, patients in South Australia are still waiting for a scheme to effectively access medicine. One lawmaker, Greens MP Tammy Franks, has criticized the government’s handling of the access issue as “offensive” and “a joke”—and she’s now leading the charge for reform. Franks, one of two Greens members in South Australia’s Legislative Council, has been involved in the campaign for access to medical cannabis for the past three years. For the past two, she’s been conducting forums for other members of Parliament and their staff in order to educate them about medical cannabis. Earlier this month, she held a special forum on the extreme difficulties South Australian patients face trying to access medical cannabis.

Testing the waters [Vice News]

House Speaker Paul Ryan proudly unveiled new legislation Sunday that would allow states to require unemployed Americans seeking welfare cash assistance to first pass a drug test. The White House says President Donald Trump will sign it into law.

Marijuana raids are more deadly than the drug itself [The New York Times]

As policing has militarized to fight a faltering war on drugs, few tactics have proved as dangerous as the use of forcible-entry raids to serve narcotics search warrants, which regularly introduce staggering levels of violence into missions that might be accomplished through patient stakeouts or simple knocks at the door.

Vietnamese gangs use teenagers as slaves in UK ‘cannabis farms’ [Asian Correspondent]

Vietnamese gangs, who have long controlled the UK’s market in cannabis production, are using teenage slaves from Vietnam to tend their illegal crops. Human rights and anti-trafficking organisations are calling on authorities to tackle these illegal operations and crack down on drug gangs believed to be committing human rights abuses and profiting from slave labour.

How innocent scientist accidentally unleashed plague of super-strength synthetic cannabis [Mirror]

John Huffman was studying how cannabis affects the human brain when he created a synthetic version which mimicked the drug but his research was used by drug dealers to create the notorious Spice drug.

How To Campaign For Cannabis Law Reform Under A Theresa May Government [Cannabis Law Reform]

So what can we do and what are we doing to advance our cause in these dark days?  Theresa May always has been secretive, inaccessible, unresponsive and entirely disinterested in any opinion except her own.  How can we possibly make any progress with a PM who has already shown she is prepared to cover up or falsify evidence and defines herself by her belief in a supernatural power?

Cannabis legislation in Europe: an overview [European Monitoring Centre for Drugs & Drug Addiction]

At a time of increased debate on the laws controlling the use of cannabis in the European Union, this report answers some of the questions most often asked about cannabis legislation. Using a question and answer format, basic definitions and the obligations of countries under international law are set out in a section on ‘What is cannabis and what are countries’ obligations to control it?‘ Two following sections examine the links and disparities between the content of the laws and their guidelines on the one hand and the actual implementation of the laws on the other. The final question and answer section considers whether changes in law have affected cannabis use and how much public support for legal change exists, as it looks at the future direction of cannabis legislation in Europe.

Why South Africa should follow Portugal and decriminalise drug use [The Conversation]

The war on drugs in South Africa, as in the US, has in no way reduced the supply or the demand of drugs. And without a doubt it’s led to an increase in the harms associated with drugs as users once incarcerated and left with a criminal record become increasingly marginalised.

Experts: Cannabis Could Help Cure Alzheimer’s If Lawmakers Would Chill Out [Forbes]

According to brain experts, cannabis has shown considerable promise for treating the cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s, but federal regulators keep blocking their path toward a cure.

Your 6 big questions about medicinal cannabis in Ireland… answered [The Journal]

A campaigning mother has helped to propel the debate around medicinal cannabis to the top of the national agenda.

The Danger of Singapore’s “Harm Prevention” Approach to Drugs [Talking Drugs]

Singapore has some of the harshest drug policies in the world, and continues to enforce mandatory death sentences for individuals who have committed any one of a range of drug-related offences. Singaporean authorities claim that the implementation of such draconian measures has been successful at reducing drug offences in the country, and have shown no intention of bowing to pressure to change from the United Nations, civil society, or foreign governments.

Reigning Researcher [Culture]

The father of THC, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, talks about his groundbreaking research in studying cannabis in Israel.

Brief interview by doctor may cut cannabis use in some youth [MedicalXpress]

Catherine Laporte, M.D., Ph.D., from the University Clermont in France, and colleagues conducted a cluster randomized trial involving 77 general practitioners in France to test the efficacy of a brief intervention among cannabis users aged 15 to 25 years. The intervention comprised an interview designed according to the feedback, responsibility, advice, menu, empathy, self-efficacy model, while the control condition was routine care. Two hundred sixty-one young cannabis users were screened and followed.

E-cigarettes exploding in popularity: New data [Journalist’s Resource]

The number of American adults who smoke cigarettes has fallen sharply, from 42.4 percent in 1965 to 15.1 percent in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Naturally, cigarette sales also declined over the same period. But new research in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine shows that the fall in sales of traditional cigarettes slowed in 2015, while sales of e-cigarettes — which also pose health hazards — are skyrocketing.

Opinion: Can we hurry up and legalise all drugs already? [Dopamine]

Earlier this week, a secret government report – which found bikie laws were completely useless – was exposed by News Corp. Yesterday, a bunch of prominent ex-politicians and senior police denounced the war on drugs. And meanwhile, it feels like there is a drug-related festival death making headlines every other week. The simple solution? Legalise and regulate drugs.

So, A Priest, A Rabbi And A Gay Black Atheist Sit Down To Smoke Weed… No Joke [New Matilda]

It’s Friday. So, you know, chill. This video was sent to us by New Matilda occasional correspondent Clair Connelly. If this isn’t the coolest Rabbi in the known universe (he steals the show a bit), then we’d like to know who is. It’s also a brilliant concept. Enjoy.

NSW Police Minister fined for using phone in car, says he didn’t know it was illegal [ABC]

New South Wales Police Minister Troy Grant says he has learnt his lesson after being fined and losing four demerit points for holding a mobile phone while behind the wheel.

Nimbin Medican Workshop 15 April [Hemp Embassy]

Nimbin Medican Workshop at the Bush Theatre Easter Saturday April 15  11am –4.20pm ~ Speakers include Dr Deb Waldron on healing with medical cannabis, lawyer Steve Bolt on legal advice, Radic Al on making the medicine, Zane Archer on healing with nutrition and therapy as well as cannabis, Andrew Kavasilas on the latest from the government on regulating supply (don’t hold your breath), Michael Balderstone on his recent tour of North American legal cannabis dispensaries, and more to come. Top venue and top food from Phoenix Rising Cafe beside Mulgum creek on the northern edge of the village. Enquiries call the HEMP Embassy 66891842

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.