AUSTRALIA & NZ

Hemp Farming: Growing Renewable Economies OPEN EDUCATION DAY [Industrial Medical Food [IMF]

When: Friday 9th February 11 am to 4pm.
Where: 87/89 Cecil St Nimbin

Cost $20 includes Hemp Tea and delicious legal Hemp Foods

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

For further information contact Wadzy / Ph: 0407 895 569.
E: wadzywell@gmail.com / www.virginhempfarms.com

Annual police cannabis raids on again [Echo Netdaily]

As part of its annual cannabis eradication program, NSW police have once again sent their ‘cannabis cowboys’ into battle against the easiest of targets – the region’s outdoor cannabis growers.

Queensland set to expand cannabis trials [9 Now]

Queensland is set to expand their medical cannabis trials to children.

Why cannabis is a gateway drug in the right direction [NZ Herald]

So for those who argue that cannabis is a gateway drug, they’re right. It’s a gateway to finally treating people who use and misuse ALL drugs that are currently illegal with compassion. Because it is not just those who are terminally ill who need our compassion and understanding. How can we continue to be so cruel as to make criminals out of terminally ill patients, whose pain is alleviated by the consumption of a simple plant, that human beings have consumed for centuries? And how can we continue to treat all those who suffer addiction with such disdain, and continue to criminalise suffering?

‘Why do we have this hang-up?’ Doctor asks why cannabis still cannot be prescribed [TV NZ]

A GP has pointed out that he is able to prescribe very powerful, potentially-deadly opiates – but still cannot prescribe cannabis at his discretion.

 

NORTH AMERICA

Oregon is producing three times more marijuana than it can consume [Independent]

Oregon is producing three times more marijuana than it can consume with “formidable” amounts now ending up on the black market, officials have warned. US Attorney Billy Williams told law enforcement representatives from across the US on Friday that the state, where recreational cannabis use is legal, had a serious overproduction problem. Mr Williams said officials needed a “bottom-line answer” on how much excess marijuana was being produced and how much of it ends up on the black market.

Can a breath test smoke out stoned drivers? [The Guardian]

As more US states legalise marijuana use, the race is on to find a drug version of the roadside breathalyser. Accurately assessing recent marijuana use is surprisingly difficult. Saliva, urine and blood tests do not distinguish marijuana use in the past few hours from marijuana used yesterday or last week. THC is stored in body fat and can remain in saliva for several days and in blood and urine for weeks.

In most states in the US, including California, impairment needs to be shown to prosecute someone for driving under the influence of marijuana. Get pulled over on suspicion and field sobriety testing – think the walk-and-turn exercise and tracking a pointer with your gaze – will ensue, followed, if you fail, by a blood test at the station. Yet it can be hard to get a conviction, says Jonathan Feldman, the legislative advocate for the California Police Chiefs Association, because defence attorneys can successfully argue first that the sobriety testing isn’t objective and second that presence in blood isn’t a legitimate indicator of impairment. “Whether you agree or disagree with marijuana legalisation,” Lynn says. “We need to rapidly find technology that is going to provide objective data to get people off the road who shouldn’t be driving.”

Women Are Leading the Fight Against the War on Drugs [Vice]

Two of the most prominent groups devoted to reforming America’s drug laws are now run by women of color. Here’s what they’re accomplishing, and how they’re doing it.

New York Today: A Cultural History of Marijuana [The New York Times]

Will New York be the next state to legalize marijuana? Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2018 budget plan calls for a study of the pros and cons. If legal weed comes to New York City, it would finally achieve legitimacy in a place with a long, mixed record of tolerance and crackdowns. Here’s a quick spin through the cultural history of pot here.

B.C. to limit legal pot sales to stand-alone stores, set personal possession at 30 grams [Vancouver Sun]

The provincial government on Monday unveiled a set of retail rules for recreational cannabis that paves the way for a new network of stand-alone stores operated by the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch but leaves an opening for existing medical-pot dispensaries to legitimize. Anyone over the age of 19 will be able to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of marijuana for recreational use. It will be allowed anywhere people can legally smoke tobacco or use vaping products, though it will be illegal in vehicles and in places frequented by children, including beaches, parks and playgrounds.

Canadian universities, colleges expand course offerings for careers in marijuana industry [The Globe and Mail]

From growing the perfect crop to marketing within restrictive rules, Canadian colleges and universities are cultivating courses for those wanting to work in the booming marijuana industry. Kwantlen Polytechnic University started offering online courses in cannabis production, marketing and financing about three years ago after officials at the British Columbia school realized there was a need for training and education around medicinal marijuana, said David Purcell, the university’s director of emerging business. Demand is skyrocketing, prompting Kwantlen to offer the classes every four weeks instead of every eight to keep up with demand, he said.

Senate to have special hearing on marijuana legalization [CTV News]

The Canadian Senate is holding a special televised hearing to question the government’s lead team on the marijuana bill as the countdown to legalization hits the five-month mark. The meeting will be televised, which is rare for the Upper Chamber, where proceedings are typically only viewable in-person, or via an audio feed.

The Cannabis Act in the Senate [Parliament of Canada]

The Senate of Canada is currently debating Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act. Bill C-45 is a piece of government legislation that would legalize access to cannabis in Canada. The bill would also control and regulate how cannabis is grown, distributed and sold.
Bill C-45 was introduced in the Senate and given first reading on November 28, 2017. It was passed in the House of Commons on November 27, 2017. The bill is being debated at second reading in the Senate; visit this page for the latest updates on the bill’s progress.

UK & EUROPE

Cannabis ‘social’ club becomes first in UK to be backed by police [RT]

A cannabis club where people can smoke freely while watching TV or playing pool has been backed by police in the UK. Users at the Teesside Cannabis Club, the first of its kind, pay an annual £35-membership to get high in peace. The Middlesbrough club, set up by Michael Fisher four years ago, allows for guests to make use of the Class B drug without fear of getting a criminal record.

Illegal cannabis plantations becoming more advanced, better hidden [NL Times]

Drug criminals are getting better and better at hiding their illegal cannabis plantations, according to grid manager Stedin whose been working with the Dutch police on discovering such illegal farms. Last year around a thousand illegal cannabis farms were found in three major cities, 22 percent less than the year before. But Stedin is certain that the number of cannabis farms is on the rise in the regions of Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. In some cases the grid manager can locate a cannabis farm through the energy network. The company stressed the necessity of municipalities, police and grid managers to continue working intensively together in order to find and dismantle illegal cannabis plantations.

Legitimate crops to replace cannabis on Albania’s “marijuana mountain” [Intelli News]

Once Europe’s cannabis capital, the southern Albanian village of Lazarat is now one of 100 villages in the country selected by the government to have their infrastructure upgraded. The aim is to boost agribusiness in the villages by promoting local agricultural products. This should help to alleviate the poverty in Lazarat after large-scale cannabis cultivation was virtually wiped out there and across Albania.  At its peak, about half of Albania’s GDP was earned from the cultivation of cannabis. Much of the production was located around Lazarat, which produced 900 tonnes of cannabis annually worth €4.5bn until Tirana launched a major operation to wipe out cannabis cultivation at Lazarat in 2014.

International firms eyeing Malta’s medical cannabis laws – Muscat [Times of Malta]

International companies have already set their eyes on Malta as it prepares to approve legislation that would allow for the production of cannabis for medicinal use, the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said this morning. He said people who were breaking the law by buying such medicine online for their suffering relatives were also risking medicinal quality, and the new laws would ensure that the imported goods benefited from Good Manufacturing Practice standards. Meanwhile, international companies have expressed interest to not only import this treatment, but also start manufacturing it here and export it to other countries from Malta, Dr Muscat added.

How Greece is growing medical marijuana to tackle high unemployment [Independent]

Greece is taking advantage of its warm climate to cultivate pot and create more than 2,000 jobs.

Let’s Temper Hope For Paul Flynn’s Medical Cannabis Bill With Some Reality [Cannabis Law Reform]

No one would like to see Paul Flynn’s ‘Elizabeth Brice’ bill  to re-legalise medical cannabis pass through Parliament more than me.  Yet it concerns me that expectations are being raised way beyond what is realistic. There is widespread misunderstanding about what the bill is and what are its chances of getting any further. The Legalisation of Cannabis (Medicinal Purposes) Bill 2017–19 is a Private Member’s Bill. Private Member’s Bills almost never become law.  Those that have the best of a very slim chance are proposed by one of about 20 MPs who win the right to put a bill forward a bill in the ballot that takes place at the beginning of each session.  This also decides the order of precedence for the 20 bills to be given parliamentary time.

Portugal MP Calls for Cannabis to be Legalised, Sold at Street Value, to “End Traffickers’ Business” [Talking Drugs]

Two Portuguese health experts, including a prominent MP, have called for the introduction of a strictly regulated cannabis trade in a bid to counter illegal trafficking, including a recommendation for pharmacies to sell the drug at street value.

It’s high time archaic cannabis prohibition went up in smoke [City A.M.]

The UK is falling behind. Our politicians are failing investors and businesses that are stopped from seizing the initiative in a growing global market. We know that Britain’s farmers could grow the product – around £66m worth of energy is stolen from the grid each year by illicit producers. Despite all the constraints on growing and selling the plant, even medically, there are nearly 30 companies worth $200m working in the field.

German police group calls for complete cannabis decriminalisation [Independent]

The consumption of cannabis should be decriminalised in Germany, according to a police officers organisation in the country.  The head of the BDK organisation or The Association of German Criminal Officers said that the group favours a “complete decriminalisation of cannabis consumers”.  Andre Schulz told German tabloid Bild that the current system prohibiting marijuana use stigmatises people and “allows criminal careers to start.”

Child slavery victim to plead to stay in UK with support of thousands [The Guardian]

Almost 120,000 sign petition to reverse ‘grotesque’ decision to deport Stephen, trafficked to the UK to farm cannabis aged 10.

The structured ambivalence of cannabis control in England & Wales [International Journal of Drug Policy]

The two reclassifications of cannabis in England & Wales in 2004 and 2009 have been subjected to a series of academic analyses which have largely been centred on either the relationship to evidence, or in terms of the implications and realities of policing and health under the changes. However, despite the wealth of attention on this area, there have been relatively few attempts to understand these policy movements through broader criminological theoretical frameworks.

WORLD

In Mexico, Is Legalized Pot Just A Pipe Dream? [National Public Radio]

At a conference in late January, Mexico’s top tourism official told reporters legalizing marijuana would help combat an epidemic of violence that has enveloped parts of the country. “It is absurd that we have not taken that step,” Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid said. He said cannabis legalization should start in Baja California Sur, a state with hot spots like Los Cabos, and Quintana Roo, where Cancún is located. Both regions saw spikes in violence last year. The comments ricocheted across the Mexican media. Not only were they unexpected, but they also came six months before a presidential election in which a major debate is how to proceed with a U.S.-backed drug war that has contributed to Mexico’s highest homicide rate on record.

Bill Nye Highlights Israel As The World Epicenter Of Medical Cannabis Research [No Camels]

Bill Nye, the American science educator known to almost every North American 90s kid from the show “Bill Nye the Science Guy” which ran from 1993 to 1998, has a new series and it features an ode to Israel’s groundbreaking medical marijuana research. The TV personality and scientist, who now hosts the Emmy-nominated Netflix series “Bill Nye Saves The World”, devoted the show’s second season debut to an in-depth look at cannabis, with a nod to Israel as the world leader in the field of research.

HEALTH

Cannabis Quality and Contamination Testing [News Medical]

Just as government agencies such as the FDA, USDA, and EPA require testing of food, medicine, and lotions we put in or on our body, cannabis should have those same requirements, as it is consumed. This is especially true for medical cannabis patients who may have an immunocompromised system. There are many contaminates cannabis consumers don’t want in their product; these include pesticides, residual solvents, heavy metals, mycotoxins and microbial pathogens.

Want Teens To Smoke Less Pot? Legalize It [Psychology Today]

The reality is that, to date, not one jurisdiction, either in the U.S. or elsewhere, has seen a marked increase in teen drug use following the relaxation of marijuana restrictions. Not one. Both Colorado and Washington, the pioneer states of marijuana legalization, have actually seen drops in teen marijuana use following legalization (link is external). The drop in Colorado (link is external) was particularly dramatic. Despite the wave of legalization, nationwide, teen drug use is at a 20-year low (link is external).

Study questions link between medical marijuana and fewer opioid deaths [MedicalXpress]

The association between medical marijuana and lower levels of opioid overdose deaths—identified previously in several studies—is more complex than previously described and appears to be changing as both medical marijuana laws and the opioid crisis evolve, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The report—the most-detailed examination of medical marijuana and opioid deaths conducted to date—found that legalizing medical marijuana was associated with lower levels of opioid deaths only in states that had provisions for dispensaries that made medical marijuana easily available to patients. Opioid death rates were not lower in states that just provided legal protections to patients and caregivers, allowing them to grow their own marijuana.

Cannabis and Your Lungs – What the Studies Say [Marijuana Break]

So what’s the deal – is smoking marijuana bad for your lungs or not? Depending on who you talk to, some people say that cannabis smoke is just as dangerous over the long term as cigarette smoke, but others of course, say that you can smoke 10 joints a day for 60 years, and never have a single issue. So who are we to believe?

Facebook Is Deleting Valuable Drug Harm Reduction Groups [Vice]

Last month, the Daily Mail ran a story about how easy it is to find and buy drugs on social media. Leading with the bombshell scoop that it’s possible to source weed on the internet, they then quoted a campaigner who accused Facebook, Instagram and Twitter of “aiding and abetting” the sale of drugs. The same day, Sesh Safety – a Facebook group offering real-time drugs harm reduction advice – was permanently deleted.

How to Pick a Cannabis Oil [Marijuana Doctors]

No two cannabis oils are alike. Depending on your medical condition, you may receive more benefits from one oil than another. So, how do you know if you’re picking the best cannabis oil for you?

INDUSTRY

There’s No Place Like Home, Especially if It’s Made of Hemp [The New York Times]

Still, in the United States special permits are needed to build with hemp, and the requirements can vary by county and state. The first modern hemp house was constructed in 2010, in North Carolina. There are now about 50 such homes in the country. But not much hemp is grown here; a little less than 10,000 acres so far, enough for about 5,000 single-family homes. Cultivated acreage in Canada is double that, and in China’s Yunnan province, 10,000 farmers grow it. Roughly 30 nations now produce hemp, including Spain, Austria, Russia and Australia.

Many Vegetable Growers Want To Transition to Marijuana [Fresh Toast]

With marijuana stocks providing investors with wicked returns, vegetable growers who already have much of the infrastructure in place to cultivate cannabis are getting involved with legal weed. There is speculation that this transition could eventually provide some exciting new opportunities for investors in the cannabis trade.

Global cannabis market poised for 1,000%-plus growth to $140B, report predicts [Marijuana Business Daily]

The legal global cannabis market is poised for growth of more than 1,000% over the next decade and could reach $140 billion dollars by 2027, according to a new analysis by European investment bank Bryan, Garnier & Co. “Not only is there already a sizeable black market to take share from, but legalisation itself seems to be creating its own momentum,” the report stated, according to Reuters.

Celebrate Bob Marley’s Birthday With 5 High-Flying Products From His Cannabis Line [Maxim]

Bob Marley would have been 73 today if cancer hadn’t tragically cut his life short in 1981. But the reggae king lives on through his music and his trademarked line of cannabis and pot products, Marley Natural. As a devoted Rastafarian, the Jamaican legend loved weed for both its spiritual properties and its creativity-sparking high.

GW Pharma aiming for FDA approval for CBD drug this year, again [Marijuana Business Daily]

British cannabis company GW Pharmaceuticals is hoping the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will sign off on its CBD-based epilepsy treatment, Epidiolex, as soon as this year. According to The Washington Post, GW is hoping to get the green light from the FDA to classify Epidiolex as a prescription drug, despite the fact it’s derived from marijuana. To that end, GW released results this week from a scientific study, which, the company argues, proves the drug is effective in treating patients with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a form of epilepsy.

OTHER DRUGS

Application flagged for legal pill-testing at Groovin the Moo [The Canberra Times]

The consortium behind an aborted pill-testing trial at last year’s Spilt Milk music festival has given formal notification to the ACT government of a new trial planned for Groovin the Moo. A spokesman for Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris confirmed the wheels were in motion for a second attempt to legally pill-test in the ACT.

Nearly one in 10 Australians take antidepressants. Are there other solutions? [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Popping pills has become a panacea for depression across the Western world, in few countries more so than Australia. But what if the causes are societal rather than in our heads?

Is everything Johann Hari knows about depression wrong? [The Guardian]

The Observer has published an excerpt from Johann Hari’s new book challenging what we know about depression. But do his own claims and arguments stack up?

Catching the money man [ABC]

How Australian taxpayer dollars and a fake drug cartel helped bring down the world’s most wanted money launderer.

Scientists find magic mushrooms could help fight fascism [Big Think]

Researchers found unlikely heroes in keeping the world from authoritarianism  – magic mushrooms. Scientists from the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London showed that psilocybin, the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms, makes people less likely to embrace authoritarian views like fascism and more connected with nature.

Your Sloppy Bitcoin Drug Deals Will Haunt You for Years [Wired]

Perhaps you bought some illegal narcotics on the Silk Road half a decade ago, back when that digital black market for every contraband imaginable was still online and bustling. You might already regret that decision, for any number of reasons. After all, the four bitcoins you spent on that bag of hallucinogenic mushrooms would now be worth about as much as an Alfa Romeo. But one group of researchers wants to remind you of yet another reason to rue that transaction: If you weren’t particularly careful in how you spent your cryptocurrency, the evidence of that drug deal may still be hanging around in plain view of law enforcement, even years after the Silk Road was torn off the dark web.

When Beat Author William Burroughs Found Ayahuasca in the 1950s [Kahpi]

While ayahuasca tourism has become a popular industry in the Amazon, with prospective drinkers today finding a wealth of information at their fingertips, sixty years ago there was a scarcity of information beyond specialized collections like that housed in the Botanical Museum at Harvard University.

Rainbow Serpent Showed Sniffer Dogs Can’t Keep Drugs Out of Music Festivals [Vice]

Near the entrance gates police were set up with at least five squads of sniffer dogs. Handlers walked past the lines of the cars with their dogs, before selecting which ones would be searched. It was unclear why some cars were searched and others weren’t, as the sniffer dogs did not always make an indication before a car was pulled apart by the cops. The dogs sniffed both people and cars and, in some cases, pat down searches were conducted by the police.

 

FUNDRAISERS

Supporting Andrew Katelaris [GoFundMe]

Dr Andrew Katelaris is currently incarcerated facing severe penalties for prescribing and providing Whole Plant Cannabis to children with a condition formerly known as “Intractable Epilepsy.” Because of Andrew and others research he can confidently say that before “whole plant cannabis” there was no successful treatment for the hundreds of children with this supposedly untreatable condition.

Help fathers medical cannabis legal battle for sick daughters [MyCause]

We are hoping to be an example to show the Australian government that our laws need to change. If you want medical cannabis legalised we’re asking you to please donate to help us fight this battle.

EVENTS

Latest Developments in the Medicinal Cannabis Industry [BuddingTech]

Want to learn more about one of the most exciting emerging industries in Australia? Cann10 Australia and BuddingTech are joining forces to host a meet-up in Sydney on Thursday 15th of February. Come join us to learn about recent advances in the medical cannabis industry and what to expect from this rapidly evolving market in 2018.

Australian Industrial Hemp Conference [Industrial Hemp Association of Victoria]

Hosted by Industrial Hemp Association of Victoria. 28 February – 2 March, Geelong Victoria.

Australia’s First Medicinal Cannabis Leadership Program [Cann10 Australia]

10 March 2018, Western Sydney University Sydney, Level 4/255 Elizabeth St, Sydney: The program provides a comprehensive approach to cannabis education including historical, cultural, legal/regulatory, chemical, agricultural and commercial aspects. It is delivered by an array of world-class professionals and has been designed so that participants can have personal access to their expertise. The next program is running in Sydney across two weekends in March and further information can be found here.

2018 Freedom rally for the alternative healer [Facebook]

20 April at 14:00–18:00 The River Torrens Rotunda South Australia: Far too many of our alternative healers are being persecuted and held back from doing what they do best. This year we show our support for them and their magnificent work for the community at large, and of course to show our authoritarians how displeased we are with their perpetuation of a harmful law.

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.