AUSTRALIA & NZ
The Australian government has said it aspires to be the world’s leading exporter of medicinal cannabis. The nation plans to change its regulations to join Canada and the Netherlands in selling products beyond a domestic market. Uruguay and Israel have announced similar plans. Health Minister Greg Hunt said the move would also help local patients. Australia legalised the use of medicinal cannabis in 2016. Using the drug for recreation remains illegal. “Our goal is very clear: to give Australian farmers and manufacturers the best shot at being the world’s number one exporter of medicinal cannabis,” Mr Hunt said. Changing national regulations will require parliamentary approval. That could happen as soon as February with support from the Labor opposition.
Medicinal cannabis: Ministry of Health advised against decriminalisation for those in chronic pain [NZ Herald]
The Ministry of Health advised against decriminalising medicinal cannabis for those in chronic pain, saying it would lead to major issues over its legal definition. The advice is contained in a regulatory impact statement, released at the end of last year, on the Government’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill. The bill would mean a terminally ill person could use illicit cannabis without being prosecuted while a comprehensive prescribing scheme is developed. That olive branch, however, was not extended to those in chronic pain, which has prompted many advocates to say the bill does not go far enough. The impact statement said decriminalising for those in chronic pain would be problematic.
Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill [New Zealand Parliament]
This Bill amends the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. The Bill will introduce an exception and a statutory defence for terminally ill people to possess and use illicit cannabis and to possess a cannabis utensil; provide a regulation-making power to enable the setting of standards that products manufactured, imported, and supplied under licence must meet; and amend Schedule 2 of the Act so that cannabidiol (CBD) and CBD products are no longer classed as controlled drugs.
Cannabis should not be tested: opiates the road killer [Echo Netdaily]
If road safety is the aim of the testing, why is Australia one of the only countries targeting cannabis users where no levels of impairment are measured? It seems discriminatory and pointless, especially in an age where society is maturing and decriminalising cannabis use for medicinal and recreational use. We know the war on drugs is costly and useless, as record illegal-drug seizures attest, and many, including former ice addicts, say if cannabis was decriminalised, ‘ice’ would no longer be the huge problem it is now. But some politicians, police, health bureaucrats and ’big pharma’ (the pharmaceutical industry) are hell-bent on keeping cannabis users (around two million in Australia according to some sources) on the wrong side of the law. This is patently an unfair political testing regime and should be changed, removing cannabis until such a time as proper impairment levels can be measured.
The legalisation of marijuana just got a lot more interesting: former boxer Mike Tyson is planning to open a resort dedicated to the plant in California City. The former heavyweight champion will cash in on the legalisation of the drug with a 40-acre plot of land, where he wants to grow cannabis and put money behind research into the medical effects of it. Tyson’s name, of course, will brand the resort nestled in Southern California: it will be known as ‘Tyson Ranch’.
The state that is the world’s sixth biggest economy will legalise cannabis on New Year’s Day – and expects a boom time for jobs and investment.
Californians can now buy marijuana for recreational use [New Scientist]
On 1 January, California became the sixth US state to make marijuana legally available for recreational use. Because the state is the nation’s most populous, the move could hasten cannabis’s legalisation across the US. California banned cannabis in 1913, but penalties for using the drug have eased since the 1970s. In 1996, it was the first state to legalise marijuana for medicinal purposes. Since 2016, it has been legal to grow, possess and use small amounts of the drug. The state already has a booming marijuana industry, producing as much as seven times more cannabis than is consumed there. Much of this is sold illegally in other states.
The Golden State’s new pot laws are almost comically progressive [The Economist]
Some cities plan to give people with marijuana convictions priority when setting up legal pot shops.
Pot Legalization Is Transforming California’s Criminal Justice Landscape. Here’s How. [Mother Jones]
With legal sales on the horizon, you might also be wondering: What happens to the people already in jail on marijuana charges? And how will pot be policed? And will that old conviction still be on my record? In fact, the punishment schemes changed in November 2016, at which time people serving sentences for or previously convicted of a cannabis-related offense could start applying to have their sentences reduced or convictions “redesignated.” More than 4,500 people have already done so, and the legal changes could have a profound impact on hundreds of thousands of lives down the road.
California’s legal pot economy was supposed to operate under the umbrella of a vast computerized system to track marijuana from seed to storefronts, ensuring that plants are followed throughout the supply chain and don’t drift into the black market. But recreational cannabis sales began this week without the computer system in use for pot businesses. Instead, they are being asked to document sales and transfers of pot manually, using paper invoices or shipping manifests. That raises the potential that an unknown amount of weed will continue slipping into the illicit market, as it has for years. For the moment, “you are looking at pieces of paper and self-reporting. A lot of these regulations are not being enforced right now,” said Jerred Kiloh, a Los Angeles dispensary owner who heads the United Cannabis Business Association, an industry group.
Elderly Couple Caught With Huge Marijuana Stash, Says It Was For Gifting [International Business Times]
York County Sheriff’s Department, Nebraska, said the couple, when asked about the possession of marijuana, revealed they planned to give it away as Christmas gifts. Lt. Paul Vrbka of the sheriff’s department told York-News-Times, a local news website of the county, the traffic stop was initiated after police saw a Toyota Tacoma driving over the center line and the driver failing to signal.
Here’s where you can legally smoke weed in 2018 [Independent]
The United States is gradually becoming the land of the red, white, and green. Starting January 1, it will be legal to smoke marijuana for medical use in 29 states, and Americans will be able to toke up without a doctor’s letter in nine states. Support for the drug reached new highs in 2017. A Gallup poll showed that 64% of Americans favor legalization, and even a majority of Republicans back it. The booming industry was expected to post nearly $10 billion in sales in 2017. Here’s a summary of where Americans can legally light up in 2018.
The number of pregnant women using marijuana has risen in California since the state relaxed its drug laws, a new study has found. The increase was especially sharp among young women, rising from 12.5 percent to nearly 22 percent for mothers to be under the age of 24, in the years between 2009 and 2016. Overall there was a rise from around 4 percent to around 7 percent, researchers from healthcare consortium, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, found. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Dr. Robert DuPont practically invented the term ‘gateway drug’ in the 1980s. Now he’s back with radical ideas on how to fight the war on drugs. A adviser on marijuana policy to Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to see doctors make drug testing a routine part of primary-care medicine and force some users into treatment against their will, he told The Daily Beast.
The CEO and owner of a cannabis testing business in Eugene is stepping down after being accused of taking part in neo-Nazi activities. The Oregonian reports the group Eugene Antifa claims Bethany Sherman of OG Analytical has ties to white power groups. They claim she has supplied food for their gatherings and supported them. In a statement to the newspaper, Sherman denied being a neo-Nazi and said her only crime is a thought crime. “If you have ‘white pride’ it automatically makes you a Nazi, and you are ostracized, attacked and lynched by your community,” Sherman said. “I admit, I am proud that I am white, and I’m not ashamed of my heritage.” Sherman said she has withdrawn all communication she had with an online community, but denies that it was a neo-Nazi organization. She said she is resigning from OG Analytical and putting the company up for sale.
UK & EUROPE
Grandmother sprinkles cannabis on cheese on toast to battle Multiple Sclerosis [International Business Times]
Sue Cox from Cwmbran obtains the drug illegally because it works better for her than the pills she’s prescribed.
Drug dealers posting huge consignments of cannabis around the UK to evade checks, police warn [Independent]
Drug dealers are increasingly using the post to send large consignments of cannabis around the UK in efforts to evade checks at ports, police have warned. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Border Force officials have recently intercepted several packages, including a parcel containing herbal cannabis worth £60,000 destined for an address in Belfast.
Former nurse Lara Smith tells Victoria Derbyshire why she takes cannabis-based medicine.
Clive Bull interviews Peter Reynolds of Cannabis Law Reform UK [CLEAR] on the day that California legalises the recreational use of cannabis.
Cannabis has long been shrouded in misinformation and stoner stereotypes. But with California now the world’s largest legal market, and others likely to follow suit, it’s time to start talking like adults. No one knows how mass-market weed will change how we live and relate to each other. It’s safe to guess it will alter daily life as irrevocably and intimately as landmark products like cars, smartphones and reliable birth control. Society has embarked on these kinds of mass experiments before. More than a decade into the social media age we’re only beginning to appreciate the implications for our brains and for our world.
At least 30 companies want to get into the legal mass production of cannabis in the Netherlands, according to the mayor of the southern city of Breda, whose council is among two dozen vying to take part in government-backed trials designed to cut criminals out of supplying cannabis-selling coffee shops. Dutch coffee shops are allowed to sell small amounts of the drug to over-18s, yet production is illegal, leaving an opportunity for gangs also involved in harder drugs to prosper.
Interactive Map: Global Drug Policy Developments of 2017 [Talking Drugs]
2017 has seen a worsening opioid deaths crisis in North America, egregious brutality against people who use drugs in the Philippines, and the maintaining – or intensification – of prohibitionist drug policies in a number of countries. However, there have also been a range of progressive steps regarding harm reduction, cannabis reform, and more – all around the world. Take a look at the map below to see some of the developments that have taken place over the past year. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.
US tobacco control policies to reduce cigarette use have been effective, but their impact has been relatively slow. This study considers a strategy of switching cigarette smokers to e-cigarette use (‘vaping’) in the USA to accelerate tobacco control progress.
A new study has unexpectedly shown an ingredient in cannabis could be useful for treating psychosis [Independent]
A key problem in caring for patients with psychosis is that they are often reluctant to take antipsychotic drugs because of concerns about side effects – but cannabis-based treatments could change this.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that medical marijuana has “no public health risks” and should be fully legalized for patients. WHO have concluded that cannabis is NOT addictive and can be a useful aid to diseases and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, epilepsy and many more. Specifically, the WHO state that cannabidiol (CBD)—which has been proven to not have intoxicating effects—should “not be a scheduled drug.”
An impending ban on over-the-counter codeine products has sparked an increase in consumer complaints and fears patients are stockpiling it. The Therapeutic Goods Administration has decided to follow the lead of the United States and many European nations and require a prescription for codeine products. The changes sparked objections in the Coalition party room in October but is set to apply from 1 February. The Consumer Health Forum supports the change to tackle dependence on opioids and the risk of overdose. But the forum’s policy manager, Jo Root, said it had received anecdotal reports that people were stockpiling codeine products such as Nurofen Plus ahead of the ban.
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.
Hemp Farming: Growing Renewable Economies OPEN EDUCATION DAY [Industrial Medical Food [IMF]
When: Friday 2nd February
11 am to 4pm.
Where: 87/89 Cecil St Nimbin
Why: To educate and promote Hemp farming for:
Industrial: Building products, super strong plastics 3D printing.
Medical: Treating cancer, epilepsy, pain relief, etc etc etc !
Food: Twice the protein of meat. Omega 3, 6 & 9. Super Food!
Products made from Mining & Fossil Fuels can be made From HEMP grown by family Farmers
Cost $20 includes Hemp Tea and delicious legal Hemp Foods.
For further information contact Wadzy / Ph: 0407 895 569.
E: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.virginhempfarms.com
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.