AUSTRALIA & NZ

Medicinal cannabis advocates argue against new laws which stop users from driving [The Advertiser]

Users of medicinal cannabis will not be allowed to drive with the drug in their system under new laws which have passed State Parliament. MPs have been debating laws proposed by the State Government to strengthen drug driving penalties but were divided on whether to allow people using medical marijuana to get behind the wheel. Dignity MP Kelly Vincent had proposed allowing users to seek a doctor’s approval to drive, and use that to defend any drug-driving charges if they were tested by police and brought before a court.

“They’ve failed Jeremy’ – Man rejected for Tas medicinal cannabis scheme [Tasmania Talks]

Medicinal cannabis is the only way that Lyn Cleaver can control her son Jeremy’s extreme seizures, but he has been rejected from Tasmania’s Controlled Access Scheme. A panel of experts suggested alternate drugs that Jeremy should try before resorting to cannabis. However Ms Cleaver says that if these medicines were safe and effective, they would never have had to look to medicinal cannabis for treatment in the first place.

Mum frustrated at prescription denial and says family has no option but to keep breaking the law [The Mercury]

Mrs Cleaver said the expert panel had decided her 26-year-old son needed to try other pharmaceutical anticonvulsant before the application for medicinal cannabis could be reassessed. Lyn Cleaver said her son was allergic to one of those drugs. The other has listed common side effects including loss of co-ordination, agitation, trouble walking and loss of appetite, she said. Jeremy weighs just 50kg and Mrs Cleaver said she was not prepared to put him through more hardship to appease regulators.

Refusing a drug test can cost you, Nimbin woman discovers [The Northern Star]

A Nimbin woman has copped a hefty penalty for defiantly refusing a roadside drug test, after telling police she took cannabis daily because it was her “medicine”.

Two New Import Deals Hurry Medical Cannabis Into Australia [Leafly]

It’s been almost two years since Australia legalized medical cannabis, but for many patients, access to critical, cannabis-based medicine is still impossible. Restrictive licensing and scheduling schemes, confusing overlap of state and federal regulations, and a lack of training within the medical community have combined to keep the system stagnating. One of the most important pieces of the puzzle, however, may be finally falling into place: distribution. This month, two Australian companies announced deals to distribute cannabis-based medicines in the country.

Australia’s largest hemp & cannabis event heads to Melbourne [Hydroponics]

2-3 December, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre: The Hemp Health & Innovation (HHI) Expo & Symposium is everything hemp and cannabis. With a bigger venue and hemp foods officially legal for sale and consumption in Australia from Nov 12, HHI Melbourne will be Australia’s first large scale opportunity to sample, purchase and taste hemp foods.

Hemp bread heads to market in Benalla [The Weekly times]

Benalla baker Andrew Bertalli will be up early on Sunday to bake his first batch of hemp bread, 17 years after he began lobbying for hemp foodstuffs to be legalised.

NORTH AMERICA

The DEA approves synthetic marijuana as medicine while the real thing remains illegal [Herb]

The announcement was made by the DEA the day before Thanksgiving, slipping past the radar of the regular news cycle. Dronabinol also was known as Syndros, a spray developed by pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics has been granted Schedule II classification, which recognizes its medicinal potential and allows for it to become a federally regulated prescription drug. Organic THC, on the other hand, remains under Schedule I, implying that it is potentially dangerous and has no medicinal value. To avoid any confusion between this ‘new’ medicine and organic THC, the DEA quickly shot down any notion of wider rescheduling in its announcement.

25 People Shaping the Future in Tech, Science, Medicine, Activism and More [Rolling Stone]

When it comes to marijuana, the primary obstacle preventing widespread medical breakthroughs is a lack of clinical trials. Researchers are only allowed to use marijuana grown by a single farm at the University of Mississippi – the pot is significantly less potent and sometimes arrives at laboratories covered in mold. The approval process for new research requires sign-off from two federal agencies, and often takes years. Enter Sue Sisley, an Arizona physician who has made it her mission to establish the benefits of cannabis while simultaneously drawing attention to the bureaucratic stranglehold hindering research. Her advocacy work helped roll back a number of onerous pot research requirements. This year, even as the DEA began accepting applications for additional growers to compete with Mississippi, Sisley exposed the “sub-optimal study drug” on a PBS NewsHour segment. “The U.S. government has systematically impeded this work for years,” she says. “We were forced to become activists. We really just wanted to do the science.”

80 Years Ago This Week, Marijuana Prohibition Began With These Arrests [Leafly]

This week marks the 80th anniversary of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which went into effect on October 1, 1937. To mark four decades of cannabis prohibition, Leafly is reposting Dan Glick’s feature on Moses Baca and Samuel Caldwell, the first two Americans arrested in the federal government’s eight-decade war on cannabis. Dan’s article was originally published by Leafly in December, 2016.

LA used to be fun – dope has just made it dull [The Spectator]

Indeed, in its push for legalised dope-smoking in California, the Marijuana Policy Project crowed that dope doesn’t come with the ‘calories or serious health problems’ associated with beer, and is ‘less toxic, so it doesn’t cause hangovers’. Amazingly, cannabis is now pushed almost entirely on the basis that it’s healthy. It’s the quinoa of drugs. At least the 1960s cats used hash to get wrecked; today’s dopeheads are the kind of people who shop only at Whole Foods and probably frown over those photos of drunk girls in miniskirts.

San Francisco pushes forward with legal marijuana sales [MedicalXpress]

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors late Tuesday adopted regulations favored by marijuana advocates, rejecting attempts to mandate a larger barrier between schools and pot shops as well as provisions allowing neighborhoods to limit the number of dispensaries or ban them outright. The rules also could help residents—largely African-Americans and Latinos—who have been disproportionately affected by marijuana-related arrests and convictions.

New Virginia Governor Pledges Marijuana Decriminalization [Marijuana Moment]

Virginia voters gave Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam a promotion on Tuesday, electing him to serve as the state’s next governor. Northam, a Democrat, made marijuana decriminalization a centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign, often describing the issue in racial justice terms. He also spoke about the medical benefits of cannabis.

A $3 billion marijuana merger could soon shake up the entire industry [Business Insider]

What will the combination of Aurora Cannabis and CanniMed Therapeutics look like? The resulting company will have over 40,000 active registered medical cannabis patients in Canada. The deal would also plug CanniMed’s customers into Aurora’s e-commerce platform, which allows Canadian patients to purchase medical cannabis online.

A Company in Canada Is Selling Illegal Marijuana Advent Calendars [Science Alert]

A company selling medical marijuana in Canada has made quite a splash after releasing a novelty Advent calendar filled with cannabis goods.

Canada one step closer to legalising marijuana after legislation moves to Senate [Independent]

Canada is a step closer to legalising marijuana after the country’s House of Commons approved new legislation on the drug.

Manitoba wants private stores to sell its recreational cannabis [Vice]

Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government announced on Tuesday it plans to allow private storefronts to sell recreational cannabis by the time it becomes legal next year. Premier Brian Pallister boasted his province’s “hybrid model” for legal pot that gives the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation control over obtaining the product that will be sold in private stores. 

UK & EUROPE

Why is UK’s street cannabis so THC heavy? [Voice of London]

Research may have just found one more reason for the legalisation of cannabis. Neil Woods explains the dangers of UK’s street cannabis and why high levels of THC are – not only the reason for some consumers’ mental health problems, but – a result of the drug’s illegality.

The Politician Behind Lithuania’s Push to Legalize Medical Cannabis [Marijuana]

After a nearly unanimous vote in Parliament Tuesday to consider a change in the country’s drug policy, Lithuania looks poised to usher in medical marijuana. This potential lifeline for patients is headed for debate on Dec. 12, and if the latest show of support is any indication, the shift in attitude could lead to a new era of medicine for the country.

Dutch municipalities rushing to join regulated cannabis experiment [Netherlands Times]

A total of 25 municipalities have signed up so far to take part in the Rutte III government’s experiment with regulated cannabis cultivation, NOS reports. The government wants to start the experiment next year by letting eight to ten municipalities regulate the marijuana cultivation for their regions.

Medicinal cannabis made legal in Poland [the Pharmaceutical Journal]

The new regulations mean that Polish pharmacies will be allowed to manufacture medicines taken from imported cannabis plants, as long as they have been authorised by the country’s Office for the Registration of Medical Products.

The Swiss cannabis farm aiming to supply ‘legal weed’ across Europe [The Guardian]

With its low-THC and high-CBD products already on sale in Switzerland and France – and soon the UK – Swiss business CBD420 are keen to see clearer regulation around the supply of cannabis.

Medicinal cannabis: Health Minister signs licence for Ava Barry [BBC]

The Irish minister for health has signed a licence for a seven-year old from County Cork to access medicinal cannabis.

What Can I Do If My Neighbours Are Smoking Cannabis? [Waterford Whispers News]

Neighbours smoking cannabis in their own home is one of the country’s biggest problems right now and causes a range of social issues, including homelessness, poor quality health care, low minimum wage, the housing crisis and encourages corruption in State-run entities. So what action can you take?

Netherlands coffee shop case highlights ‘paradox’ of cannabis laws [the Guardian]

At its peak, 200kg of cannabis was regularly stored at the Checkpoint cafe, even though the law says licensed shops are only meant to keep 500g on site. With 3,000 customers a day, a restaurant, ample parking and turnover of €26m (£23m) a year, Checkpoint cafe, the largest cannabis-selling coffee shop in the Netherlands, was a fabulous commercial success. That was until it was closed down in 2009 for testing to the limits what the Dutch describe as their gedoogbeleid (tolerance policy), under which prosecutors turn a blind eye to the breaking of certain laws, including in the business of selling cannabis.

 

WORLD

Police tell one story of what happened in Barangay 19. Security cameras tell another [Reuters]

Chilling surveillance footage of a drug-war operation in Manila raises fresh doubts about police actions in President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal anti-narcotics campaign. Reuters obtained the footage, which shows the deadly operation from start to finish.

GDS: the world’s biggest drug survey [Global Drug Survey]

Each year, GDS consults more than 100,000 people around the world on the way they use drugs. We do this to get to the heart of how, where, when, why and what drugs are being taken. By discussing the findings we aim to make drug use safer, regardless of the legal status of the drug. Share your story with us and help change the conversation. Because your experience matters.

 

MEDICAL

As access to legal marijuana increases, Kaiser Permanente researchers explore patient use [EurekAlert!]

About 1 in 7 adult primary care patients visiting medical offices reported having used marijuana at least once in the past year, according to a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente researchers since Washington state legalized nonmedical cannabis use in 2014.

Why cannabis oil is better than prescription painkillers [Metro]

With vast numbers of people taking addictive and hazardous prescription painkillers, more investment needs to be made into natural, cannabis-derived alternatives like CBD.

Synthetic cannabis-like drug found to be safe and effective in treating sleep apnea [News Medical]

A synthetic cannabis-like drug in a pill was safe and effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea in the first large multi-site study of a drug for apnea funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study was conducted at Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

 

EXTRAS

MGC signs deal with e-cigarette maker [SBS]

MGC Pharma will supply its cannabidiol extract to an electronic cigarettes maker, a deal forecast to drive $US1 million ($A1.4 million) in annual sales.

 

OTHER DRUGS

Drug Checking – How People Use It And What Do They Learn [volteface]

From state of the art technologies to home testing kits, it has been a long time since anything else has had such an impact on the way people use drugs and accessed information on what they’re taking. Drug checking may not be a ‘silver bullet’, since not all drug harms are caused by content and purity, but it has done wonders in opening honest conversations about keeping people safe among otherwise disparate groups such as law enforcement, harm reduction and club and festival promoters.

After marijuana, are magic mushrooms next to be decriminalised in California? [The Guardian]

Mayoral candidate near San Francisco seeks signatures to put decriminalisation on statewide ballot next year, saying drug could offer healing at time of crisis.

What goes on inside a medically supervised injection facility? [The Conversation]

The Victorian government recently announced a medically-supervised injecting centre for North Richmond, an inner-city area plagued by drug overdoses. While some may argue the establishment of such facilities normalises drug use, the centres offer an essential service to keep people who use drugs and the community safe.

Victorian Greens push for pill testing at major Victorian events with private members bill [News]

The Greens have moved to legalise pill testing at major Victorian events with proposed laws put before state parliament today. The bill would see users who have their drugs tested, as well as those testing them, exempt from criminal charges.

Mind menders: how psychedelic drugs rebuild broken brains [New Scientist]

The healing powers of illegal drugs like MDMA and psilocybin are finally living up to the hype – and they are already transforming our view of mental illness.

 

EVENTS

Final EGA Program Announcement & More [Entheogenesis Australis]

Entheogenesis Australis 2017 Outdoor Psychedelic Symposium, 8th – 10th of December, Eildon Victoria: It’s been 6 years since Entheogenesis Australis last convened under the stars and amongst the trees at our unique outdoor gathering, and in just 1 month we will gather again for the 2017 Psychedelic Symposium. EGA’s 2017 Psychedelic Symposium is now 85% sold out, and with ticket prices increasing in just over a week’s time, if you haven’t already, now is the time to purchase your ticket. Bringing together 40 of the world’s brightest psychedelic minds: Have you struggled to identify the mechanisms to enable therapeutic transformation? Are you interested in hacking your own consciousness – exploring technological, contemplative and psychedelic tools? Or are you yearning to come out of the psychedelic closet but fear professional or social repercussions? These are just some of the invigorating, lively and sometimes challenging discussions that EGA will be inviting all attendees to participate in. Buy your ticket now – www.entheogenesis.org/tickets

Nimbin Hemp Inc AGM 2017 [Hemp Embassy]

All members are invited to attend the Nimbin Hemp Embassy’s annual general meeting at 11am on Saturday 16 December 2017 at the Town Hall, 45 Cullen Street, Nimbin. Nominations for an elected position on the executive committee must be received by the president at least one week before the meeting. Voting for Office Bearers will be by open ordinary ballot by those present at the meeting only.

MardiGrass Organizing Body AGM 2017 [Hemp Embassy]

All members are invited to attend MardiGrass’s annual general meeting at midday on Saturday 16 December 2017 at the Town Hall, 45 Cullen Street, Nimbin. Nominations for an elected position on the executive committee must be received by the secretary at least one week before the meeting. Voting for Office Bearers will be by open ordinary ballot by those present at the meeting only.

HEMP Party AGM 2017 [Hemp Embassy]

All members are invited to attend the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP Party) annual general meeting at 2pm on Saturday 16 December 2017 at the Town Hall, 45 Cullen Street, Nimbin. Nominations must be received by the secretary at least one week before the meeting. A short bio and CV will help determine the suitability of nominees for an elected position on the executive committee. Voting for Office Bearers will be by open ordinary ballot by those present at the meeting only.

Toad Retreat Jan 2018 [Aya Awakenings]

If you’re interested I will be co-facilitating a special medicine retreat in Tulum, Mexico this January, 2018. This is your private invitation to come on a life changing journey to Mexico, where you will awaken your mind, body and soul with meditation, yoga, ceremony and medicine from the Bufo Alvarius toad, the entheogen 5-MeO-DMT. Through the shamanic cultivation of ancient energetic modalities and modern technology, we will help you awaken your full potential to create a profound paradigm shift.

Nimbin Medican Workshop 20-21 January 2018 [Hemp Embassy]

The next Nimbin medican workshop is over the January weekend 20/21 2018 when medicine makers from California will be demonstrating and speaking about different extraction methods, and how it all works over there, where they have enjoyed legal medical cannabis for over twenty years.

Nimbin Medican Workshops on YouTube [Hemp Embassy]

Thanks to Disco Sista for documenting the many medican workshops that the Embassy has hosted in Nimbin over the past 3 years. If you’ve missed these amazing gatherings, then you can still watch the speakers online.

Click on this link to head to Disco Sista’s Nimbin Medican YouTube Channel.