Rich Lister Barry Lambert may run for Senate to push for cannabis legalisation [Financial Review]

Millionaire investor and philanthropist Barry Lambert plans to step away from all of his business commitments and may make a run for the Senate, as he ramps up his fight for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Australia.

“A life of its own, the truth about medical marijuana” on SBS Sunday night [United in Compassion]

Dan’s Story to be shown for the first time on Australian TV on SBS this Sunday Night (9th April). They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this is certainly true of the incredible documentary made about our battle to legalise medicinal Cannabis for some of Australia’s sickest. Here is the trailer which should be viewed knowing that the Dell family who feature at the beginning of the trailer have already relocated to Canada to be able to care for their little daughter Abbey who has intractable epilepsy. Australian policy is continuing to fail genuinely sick people who are already battling harder than seems fair. Please watch the documentary and continue to fight for the rights of patients to access medical cannabis which for many is a medical necessity.

Nimbin Hemp Embassy Medican Workshop Easter Saturday 15 April [Hemp Embassy]

Nimbin’s HEMP Embassy is holding another of their popular MEDICAN Workshops on Easter Saturday which includes a talk this time on a recent tour of North American Cannabis dispensaries. “We were given tickets to fly to Vancouver to judge a Cannabis Cup and used the opportunity to visit dozens of legal Cannabis dispensaries in both Canada and America,” said President Michael Balderstone, who said the ‘weed tour’ with his friend Miss Guidance was quite eye opening for them. “We just wish we’d had a hand full of politicians with us to see the employment and tax benefits and how it was all just no big deal for the public. Suits were lined up at Dispensaries after work buying ready rolled joints like you would a bottle of wine. Interestingly drug driving was simply not an issue.”

Dr Deborah Walden is the guest speaker. A Queensland GP who healed her own cancer and is now at the end of her Herbalism degree after the Doctors Club banished her for openly supporting medical cannabis. Local Solicitor Steve Bolt will be talking again on medical cannabis legal advice, Zane Archer on healing with Cannabis, nutrition and therapy combined, Andrew Kavasilas on the latest from the government on their provision of the real deal and his venture into corporate medical Cannabis, and Dolph Cooke of Biochar Industries will talk about his vision for a Community Cannabis University.

This MEDICAN Workshop is at Nimbin’s Bush Theatre beside Mulgum Creek which has brilliantly managed to survive the flood and be open again so quickly. It’s a top venue and food from the on site Phoenix Rising Cafe is the same. Everyone is welcome as are donations. From 11am – 4.20pm Saturday April 15 Easter Saturday.

Dunne decides against register for medical cannabis users, says police not targeting them [NZ Herald]

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne says he has changed his mind about a formal policy to protect terminally ill cannabis users from being bothered by police. He said today he was satisfied with the Police Commissioner’s assurance to him that police took a compassionate approach in such cases, and greater precautions were not needed. Pro-medical marijuana campaigners appeared before a Parliamentary committee today to speak about their petition to allow GPs to prescribe medical cannabis without needing Government approval. They complained that police were coming down hard on severely ill patients who depended on various forms of cannabis for pain relief.

Do Not Delay: Implement Marijuana Legalization in California [Drug Policy Alliance]

On time and intact implementation of California’s Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, is critical to realizing the benefits of legalization and reducing the harms from decades of prohibition that have resulted in the mass incarceration and criminalization of low-income people of color, and utterly failed to protect public health and public safety.

Feinstein, Grassley Introduce Bill to Combat Candy and Fruit Flavored Drugs Marketed to Children [Senator Dianne Feinstein]

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today re-introduced the Protecting Kids from Candy-Flavored Drugs Act to increase the criminal penalties for marketing candy-flavored drugs to appeal to children.  Law enforcement reports that drug dealers frequently combine drugs with chocolate or fruit flavors or package the drugs to look like candy or soda to attract youth.  For example, there are reports of candy bracelets containing ecstasy; gummy bears laced with Xanax; and candy laced with THC.

The War on Drugs Has a New General [The Huffington Post]

One of my goals in making the documentary film Incarcerating US was to show how the drug war and changes in sentencing policy have caused a drastic increase in both the prison population and the average length of sentences. In order to capture the frenzy surrounding crime and drugs in the 1980s, I included several hysterical statements by politicians positioning themselves as ‘tough on crime’. The new attorney general’s speech, with its disregard of history, data, and compassion, fits squarely with the strong-arm bombast of that era, providing a clear reminder that the War on Drugs is far from over.

Fixing Legal Weed [Vice News]

Two Oregon lawmakers plan to introduce an ambitious marijuana law reform package in Congress Thursday, proposing a raft changes that could wipe away thousands of pot-related criminal convictions and make life much easier for everyone involved in the legal weed business. Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, both Democrats from a state that has legalized recreational marijuana, dubbed their joint proposal the “Path to Marijuana Reform,” and it reads like a wish list for drug policy geeks.

John Oliver on marijuana legalization: ‘This is genuinely worth worrying about’ [The Guardian]

The late-night comic dissected the issue of federal obstacles to marijuana use, despite state legalizations, and criticized the war on drugs as ‘futile’.

Tax Attacks [volteface]

For many cannabis industry insiders the big fear isn’t comrades Trump and Sessions, but the tax man. More specifically, section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code. This obscure little passage was added to the tax code during the Reagan administration, after a 1981 court case in which a convicted cocaine trafficker asserted his right to make the same tax deductions as every other businessman in the country. He won, and in order to make sure a precedent wasn’t set, the Senate Finance Committee introduced 280E – which stripped ‘drug trafficking organisations’ of their right to make deductions on everything from insurance, to rent, to wages.

Big Pharma’s anti-marijuana stance aims to squash the competition, activists say [The Guardian]

As marijuana legalization swept the US in November, Arizona was alone in its rejection of legal weed. There, a pharmaceutical company called Insys was a major backer of the successful campaign to stop the state’s recreational cannabis measure, publicly arguing that pot businesses would be bad for public health and endanger children. But to marijuana activists, the motive of Insys was clear – to squash the competition. Confirming those suspicions, Insys has now received approval from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to develop its own synthetic marijuana, the latest case of Big Pharma battling small cannabis growers.

Kansas City Votes To Eliminate Jail Time For Marijuana Possession [The Huffington Post]

Voters in Kansas City voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to eliminate the possibility of jail time for people caught with small amounts of marijuana or related paraphernalia. With nearly 75 percent of voters in favor of the initiative, the most populous city in Missouri strongly supported relaxing existing law. Currently, possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana can result in up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine. Under the new measure, people caught with small amounts of marijuana will instead have to pay a $25 fine and associated court fees. Although this would remove criminal penalties, defendants can still end up with drug charges on their records. Marijuana advocates who helped gather signatures to get the initiative on the ballot hailed the vote as a victory. 

Marijuana Around The World: Argentina To Legalize Cannabis Oil For Medical Treatment [International Business Times]

Lawmakers in Argentina this week unanimously voted to approve a bill that would legalize the use of cannabis oil for medical purposes and create opportunities for further research into its benefits in the country. After a Wednesday Senate vote followed by applause and tears from activists, the legislation was set to advance to the desk of President Mauricio Macri to be signed into law, Reuters reported. “This is a dream fulfilled, an immense happiness because it will bring solace to patients,” Maria Laura Alasi, a mother to an epileptic daughter, told Agence France Presse.

In Switzerland, Low THC Cannabis Is Big Money [Cannabis Now]

Neutrality has its benefits. For Switzerland, it meant staying out of wars and staying off of Risk boards. It also means a booming legal marijuana trade — but not like the cafe culture in Amsterdam, and nothing like dab culture in Colorado or California. In the mean, clean streets of Bern, customers are loading up on tens of millions of dollars’ worth of low-THC cannabis, according to Reuters. What we’d call hemp — or worse — is proving exceedingly popular, and is turning into big business.

Israel’s medical marijuana pioneers look to cash in on $20bn market [The Guardian]

Already, the “green rush” has seen about 500 companies apply to exploit cannabis products since February, when the Israeli government gave the green light to proceed with legislation that would allow its cultivation, manufacture and export. It is a move that has seen the US and others invest almost $100m in the last year into Israel’s nascent medical marijuana startups, as new territories, including individual US states such as California, open up to both medical use of the drug and its decriminalisation.

A ‘Catch-22’ of medical marijuana and organ transplants [CNN]

Garry Godfrey found out in 2010 that he was removed from an organ transplant waiting list in Maine due to a health risk associated with his use of medical marijuana, CNN affiliate WGME reported. Now Godfrey is speaking out in support of a bill in Maine that would prohibit hospitals from determining a patient’s suitability for transplantation solely on the basis of medical marijuana use (PDF).

Natural chemical helps brain adapt to stress [Science Daily]

A natural signaling molecule that activates cannabinoid receptors in the brain plays a critical role in stress-resilience — the ability to adapt to repeated and acute exposures to traumatic stress.

The Human Body Is Designed To Utilize Cannabis Compounds [Linkedin]

Studies have shown that cannabinoids help to inhibit tumor growth by causing cell death, blocking cell growth, and the development of blood vessels needed by tumors to grow larger. Studies have gone on to show that cannabinoids can kill cancer cells while protecting normal cells.

Treatment of Insomnia: Cannabis Reconsidered [Psychology Today]

Work on the therapeutic uses of cannabis is one aspect of the “psychedelic renaissance” (Sessa, 2012) that has been taking place globally for many years but especially since 2010. We live in a society, and at a time, in which many people are suffering the effects of trauma and the stress of vast economic, scientific, ecological, and technological changes. Poor sleep is a common effect of stress and trauma. Conventional psychiatric and psychological treatments often don’t seem adequate to the challenges we are facing. They tend to manage, rather than cure disorders, and reduce rather than eliminate suffering. Standard psychological treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy of depression  may be less effective than in the past and truly new psychiatric medications are not coming on line as quickly as they had been in past decades. For these reasons, courageous researchers (Sewell, et al., 2006). around the world have started to again investigate the use of this stigmatized class of drugs as possible treatments or even cures for the psychological suffering so many experience in the present.

What Is Bhang? A History Lesson and a Recipe [Leafly]

If one were to look for proof of how long cannabis has existed and influenced culture, one of the oldest cannabis traditions dates as far back as 2000 B.C. and is still in use today. “Bhang,” as it is colloquially referred to, is an edible cannabis drink that is often used during traditional Hindu festivals such as Holi, Janmashtami, and Shrivratri.

U.S. Appetite for Mexico’s Drugs Fuels Illegal Immigration [The New York Times]

President Trump has talked frequently about “bad hombres” streaming in from Mexico. But it is the flow of money going from north to south — a product of Americans’ voracious appetite for illicit drugs — that officials say is an equal part of the problem.

Thousands dead: the Philippine president, the death squad allegations and a brutal drugs war [The Guardian]

Now in a safe house, a former police officer fears for his life after allegedly exposing Rodrigo Duterte’s role in extrajudicial killings when mayor of Davao.

When a drug epidemic’s victims are white [Vox]

Consider the opioid epidemic, which contributed to the record 52,000 drug overdose deaths reported in 2015. Because the crisis has disproportionately affected white Americans, white lawmakers — who make up a disproportionate amount of all levels of government — are more likely to come into contact with people afflicted by the opioid epidemic than, say, the disproportionately black drug users who suffered during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and ’90s. And that means a lawmaker is perhaps more likely to have the kind of interaction that might lead them to support more compassionate drug policies — in the current crisis than the ones of old. Is it any wonder, then, that the crack epidemic led to a “tough on crime” crackdown focused on harsher prison sentences and police tactics, while the current opioid crisis has led more to calls for legislation, including a measure Congress passed last year, that boosted spending on drug treatment to get people with substance use disorders help?

Underground labs in China are devising potent new opiates faster than authorities can respond [Science]

Enforcement is tough. Chinese labs producing the synthetic opiates play hide-and-seek with authorities. On their websites, they list fake addresses in derelict shopping centers or shuttered factories, and use third-party sales agents to conduct transactions that are hard to trace. The drugs themselves are easy to find with a Google search and to buy with a few mouse clicks. A recent check found more than a dozen Chinese sites advertising fentanyl, carfentanil, and other derivatives, often labeled as “research chemicals,” for sale through direct mail shipments to the United States. On one website, carfentanil goes for $361 for 50 grams: tens of thousands of lethal doses. The cat-and-mouse game extends to chemistry, as the makers tinker with fentanyl itself. Minor modifications like adding an oxygen atom or shifting a methyl group can be enough to create whole new entities that are no longer on the list of sanctioned compounds. Carfentanil itself was, until recently, unregulated in China.

Inaccuracy and Stigma in Coverage of Australia’s so-called “Ice Epidemic” [Talking Drugs]

Australian media outlets are portraying problematic ice use as an “epidemic”, but such excessive coverage of the most extreme consequences of use may be inaccurate and dangerous.

Opium, Empire, and India (Part I) [Points Blog]

For many years before the British incursion in the Indian subcontinent, the “hubble-bubble” (tobacco smoking) along with opium had served as a favourite pastime of the aristocracy and the commoners alike.

Analysis of Drug Trafficking Ledgers [DEA Microgram Journal]

Drug trafficking operations commonly document their activities in ledgers. The complexity of these ledgers is usually intended to help secrete the recorded information, making their interpretation challenging. The FBI’s Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit recently conduced a study of ledgers from 165 drug cases that spanned 15 years.

Survey on Medicinal Cannabis [The Australian Medicinal Cannabis Observatory]

This survey will ask you questions about your attitudes to, and use of, medicinal cannabis. You can also choose to have further input into the project at the end of the survey. The survey has 40 questions and should take approximately 15-30 minutes to complete.

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.

The 1st Australian Medicinal Cannabis Course [Australian Medical Cannabis Observatory]

A 1 Day Course on 22 June to be offered as a Workshop on behalf of The UIC Medicinal Cannabis Symposium 2017 – Australia’s first medicinal cannabis course, designed for health care practitioners, by health care practitioners.

2017 UIC Medicinal Cannabis Symposium [United in Compassion]

SAVE THE DATE – 23, 24, 25 JUNE 2017 • MELBOURNE, VICTORIA

Program is shaping up with confirmed speakers including Dr Jeffrey Hergenrather, Dr Michelle Sexton, Dr Dedi Meire, Dr Bareket Schiff Keren, Dr Greg Gerdman and more to come. This really is a not to be missed program The program will cover how clinicians can develop a Cannabis treatment plan, clinical applications and other considerations, application in Palliative care and rehabilitation, The ECS, Debunking myths, PTSD, Cancer, Epilepsy and also will tackle the complex social and ethical issues relating to poor patient access. We will also provide opportunity around the establishment of an Australian Chapter of Cannabis Clinicians and an Australian Cannabis Industry Association. We are also seeking additional sponsorship to fund running Australia’s first medicinal Cannabis course developed for health care practitioners by health care practitioners. Please contact lucy.haslam@uic.org.au if you can assist.

Tickets on sale now through
https://www.trybooking.com/OUVD or
https://www.trybooking.com/260133 or
www.uic.org.au

Tickets also on sale for the UIC 2017 Medicinal Cannabis Symposium Gala Dinner which will be a great networking opportunity and major fundraiser for UIC.

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

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.