AUSTRALIA & NZ

Brisbane father blames barriers to cannabis oil for daughter’s death [ABC]

A Brisbane man wants a public inquest into the death of his nine-year-old daughter, saying she died prematurely because she was repeatedly denied access to medicinal cannabis. Steve Peek’s daughter Suli had a complex neurological disorder and cerebral palsy.

Claim doctors ‘turn a blind eye’ to medical cannabis in hospital [The New Daily]

Doctors at a Queensland’s children’s hospital are allegedly “turning a blind eye” to parents administering illegal medicinal cannabis to their children. The ABC obtained a recording of a conversation in which Brisbane father Steve Peek tells a doctor he will be administering the drug while his daughter is in the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. The state’s peak doctors group says it is an indication of the huge amount of pressure clinicians face.

How Long Can Australia’s Broken MC ‘System’ Hold Out? [Australian Medical Cannabis Signpost]

So the system is failing, and will continue to fail because in Australia, unlike say Canada, Israel and The Netherlands where cannabis is successfully used as a medicine, no sensible or appropriate objective underlies regulation or the gathering of data. What ought to be the aim of maximising health benefits and wider health system improvement based on current international evidence (which is significant and growing by the week) is instead replaced with no more than the robotic and inflexible designs of a bureaucracy for which it is manifestly and painfully unsuited.

This Professor Wrote There Was No Evidence For Using Cannabinoids For Pain. Then He Said The Opposite. [BuzzFeed]

This is a problem for opponents of medicinal cannabis. They either don’t REALLY know the literature, or they do, and they’re prepared to lie about it anyway, in the hope that no one will catch on. Either option should rather disqualify them from the playing field, you’d think.

Medicinal cannabis not likely to be a big export for Australia, says major Canadian player [ABC]

A major player in the global cannabis market says Australia is not likely to become a big producer of cannabis. The Federal Government recently approved the export of medicinal cannabis products such as oils, sprays, tablets and patches. But Brendan Kennedy, president of Canadian cannabis producer, Tilray, said the potential for Australia to export the raw material was limited.

Man calls police after having his cannabis stolen [Echo Netdaily]

A 44-year-old Queensland man has been charged with break, enter and steal after a ‘victim’ called the police to report his cannabis had been stolen.

NORTH AMERICA

Legal Marijuana Is A Boon To The Economy, Finds Study [Forbes]

Researchers found that legalizing marijuana had a positive impact on the economy of Pueblo County, Colo. In a landmark report out of the Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Institute of Cannabis Research, researchers found that a taxed and regulated cannabis industry contributed more than $58 million to the local economy, reports The Denver Post.

Everything you need to know about Massachusetts’ new pot rules [The Boston Globe]

After months of debate, the rules for Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana industry are largely set. With sales poised to begin in July, what can consumers expect? Here are quick answers to some frequently asked questions.

Hollyweed: fledgling cannabis industry struggles to woo the stars [The Guardian]

While show business tolerates cannabis use more than virtually any other industry, stars remain wary of associating themselves with the drug. Here in the stars’ natural habitat, weed companies have begun to attract the most coveted “ambassadors” for their brands.

Racial Justice Drives Fight for, and Against, Legal Pot in New Jersey [The New York Times]

During his campaign for governor of New Jersey, Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, pledged to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, telling Democrats at a party conference last year in Atlantic City that creating a new tax revenue was not what was motivating him. “People ask me all the time, ‘Hey, are you sure you can generate $300 million from the legalization of marijuana?” Mr. Murphy said, citing a figure that his campaign had trumpeted. “I say, ‘You know what, I’m not sure, but that’s not the question. We’re not doing it for the dollars. We’re doing it for social justice.’”

Jeff Sessions says US prosecutors will not pursue small-time marijuana cases [The Guardian]

Federal prosecutors will not take on small-time marijuana cases, despite the Trump justice department’s decision to lift an Obama-era policy that discouraged authorities from cracking down on the trade in states where the drug is legal, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, said on Saturday. Federal law enforcement lacks the resources to take on “routine cases” and will continue to focus on gangs and larger conspiracies, Sessions told students after a speech at Georgetown law school.

California is cracking down on referrals to unlicensed pot shops [Independent]

California’s marijuana czar has warned a prominent cannabis referral company that invested heavily in legalisation to stop pushing customers towards illegal pot shops. Two months after legal cannabis shops opened in California, the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control said it has contacted more than 900 businesses operating without proper licenses. It has alleged WeedMaps is directing customers to unlicensed pot purveyors, sending a cease-and-desist letter warning the business to stop. “You are aiding and abetting in violations of state cannabis laws”, the February letter said.

100 Days to Cannabis Regulation: Are we ready to Guide the Conversation with Young Canadians on Cannabis? [Sixth Estate]

In approximately 100 days, Canada will legalize, regulate and restrict access to non-medical cannabis use. This transformation in our drug policy will require an intense educational campaign to inform Canadians, particularly young people, about the effects of cannabis use.

 

UK & EUROPE

Promoting ‘Growing Your Own’ Has No Place In The Campaign For Medicinal Cannabis [Cannabis Law Reform]

So we have to educate and inform those who have the power to change the law. We also have to adjust our aims and our expectations to be realistic in the eyes of those we need to persuade. It’s a big enough leap to convince people that cannabis can be a safe and effective medicine. In the UK, the idea that we are going to convince politicians and medical policymakers that we “grow our own medicine” is fantasy. It is not going to happen.

Stop and search harms fight against knife crime, Met officer says [The Guardian]

Stop and search for suspected minor drug crimes such as cannabis possession is hampering the Metropolitan police’s ability to tackle London’s knife crime epidemic by souring relationships with the public, the chair of the Metropolitan Black Police Association has said.

London cannabis seed seller Gypsy Nirvana faces extradition to US [The Guardian]

A British businessman known as Gypsy Nirvana is facing extradition to the US for allegedly distributing cannabis seeds, an activity his lawyers argue is legal in the UK. Nirvana, who escaped from what is alleged to have been a rendition-style deportation to Los Angeles in 2013, will be in the high court in London on Thursday to resist an attempt by US officials to extradite him. The 57-year-old, who lives in south-west London, was a roadie for the Clash, drove rock stars such as Ronnie Wood and acted in films in Hong Kong.

Sell cannabis in off-licences, says police boss [itv]

A police boss says cannabis should be sold in off-licences. The North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner says he doesn’t see why recreational drugs such as cannabis should not be sold in the same way as alcohol, over-the-counter in licensed shops. He also believes that hard drugs like heroin and cocaine should be available on prescription from pharmacies.

You can now buy cannabis oil-infused spring water from Ocado [Metro]

Love Hemp Water is the first CBD hemp-infused water in Europe, and Ocado is the first UK supermarket to sell it.

From ‘skyrocketing’ demand to scepticism: one year of medical marijuana in Germany [The Local]

Demand for cannabis has shot up since it was legalized about a year ago. Around 44,000 units of the plant covered by health insurance were distributed to patients in 2017, according to figures from the pharmacy association ABDA which were recently shown to the German Press Agency (DPA).

Amazon Bans CBD in Germany? [eCommerce Bytes]

According to Wortfilter, Amazon began banning CBD products in Germany on March 1st with no notice to sellers. Editor Mark Steier decried the lack of notice, writing that a timely announcement would have helped alleviate the pain sellers are now going through.

In EU First, Netherlands to Trial Recreational Cannabis Cultivation [Talking Drugs]

In a letter to the Dutch Parliament published on 9 March, two senior ministers – justice minister, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, and medical care minister, Bruno Bruins – outlined plans to allow the legal cultivation of cannabis for recreational purposes in several municipalities for four years. The document outlines that a specially-appointed commission will consider how the cultivation should be carried out and overseen, and report back to the government by the end of May. Following this, Grapperhaus and Bruins will decide how the scheme should be implemented, and select 10 municipalities in the country in which it will be trialled.

WORLD

Duterte goes to war with UN as he threatens to throw rights team to the crocodiles [The Telegraph]

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte fuelled an extraordinary war of words with the United Nations by saying that their human rights team should be fed to crocodiles if they came to investigate his controversial war on drugs.

Israel’s parliament unanimously votes to progress cannabis decriminalisation [Independent]

A bill to decriminalise cannabis use passed was unanimously in its first reading in Israel‘s parliament.  The proposal would mean those caught smoking marijuana would be fined rather than arrested and prosecuted. First-time offenders would be fined 1,000 shekels (£209), second-time offenders fined double and those caught a third time would face a “probation” period. Only on the fourth offence could individuals be subject to criminal proceedings.

 

HEALTH & SCIENCE

Blunt products more popular in states where marijuana is legal [EurekAlert!]

A study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health finds that cigars commonly used to roll blunts–hollowed out cigars that are filled with marijuana and smoked–dominate the cigar marketplace in states where recreational marijuana is legal compared to nationally. The findings, which could help direct tobacco prevention efforts, are published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Case Study Shows Potential Danger of Contaminated Cannabis [Marijuana News]

A recent study points to fungus-infested cannabis as the cause of Valley Fever in a California female, according to an article originally published in the British Daily Mail. The January study cited consumption of outdoor cannabis that contained Coccidioides Immitis fungus as the source of the infection.

Is cannabis the answer to older people’s booze problems? [The Guardian]

It’s a shame, though, that the Royal College of Psychiatrists report lumps cannabis in with prescription drugs as an evil to be combated. In America, for example, the liberal new weed laws seem to be making a change in drinking habits. My friends in California, where it became recreational last month, tell stories of how they’re now smoking instead of drinking, or how their mothers are happily using CBD (weed with the trippy bits taken out) creams and drinks for help with chronic pain or anxiety (a factor the report mentions as a reason for excessive drinking).

Sensing Big Bucks, Tobacco Companies Pivot Toward Marijuana [Observer]

After telling VICE that the company had “no plans to sell marijuana-based products” in 2016, later that same year, Philip Morris International sunk $20 million into Syqe Medical, an Israeli-based firm that makes 3D-printed cannabis inhalers. In the years prior, the company’s European subsidiary, Philip Morris Products S.A., applied for and received a patent for plants “producing terpenes of interest… including…. Cannabis sativa.”

POLICY

United Nations Report Scolds Countries for Cannabis Legalization [Leafly]

The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) recently issued its 2017 annual report, and the takeaway with regard to cannabis is clear: The INCB is deeply concerned with the spread of adult-use legalization. The Board, which monitors compliance with international drug control treaties, is made up of individuals, not U.N. member states. That’s meant to protect it from political pressure. The Board’s charter also stipulates, however, that it must include individuals with “medical, pharmacological or pharmaceutical experience.” That means Big Pharma is well represented, while advocates for cannabis legalization—whether medical or adult-use—have no seat at the table.

Don’t Legalize Marijuana, UN Drug Enforcement Board Warns Countries [Marijuana Moment]

A United Nations drug enforcement body is warning international leaders to keep marijuana illegal. Countries are supposed to prohibit non-medical use of cannabis under international drug control treaties that most nations signed onto decades ago, but a growing number of U.S. states as well as countries like Canada are moving to enact legalization anyway.

EU Calls On Member States To Find Alternatives To Coercive Sanctions For Drug Users [volteface]

Last week, the Justice and Home Affairs Council adopted recommendations on alternatives to coercive sanctions for drug using offenders. These recommendations were approved within the frame of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2017-2020 which requests member states to provide alternatives to coercive sanctions for drug using offenders “where appropriate, and in accordance with their legal frameworks”.

 

OTHER DRUGS

Why it’s not ‘enabling’ to make drug use safer [The Washington Post]

Opposing needle exchanges and insisting people with addiction must hit “rock bottom” flies in the face of reality.

It’s about us [Unharm!]

Unharm’s position is that criminalising drug use is out of step with how we deal with other risky behaviours and it does not work. The alienation of recreational drug use from ‘normal’ life promotes  riskier practice and can be a barrier to treatment for those who need it. These are serious problems, and there is another more fundamental one: criminalising drug use disenfranchises millions from legitimate membership in ‘the community’ and alienates us from being part of the solution to drug-related problems. Fiona Nash is right – real solutions will require help from the whole community. That is why drug use should not be a crime.

 

EVENTS

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.

Medical Cannabis Webinar Series [BuddingTech]

The Medical Cannabis Council is hosting a national medical cannabis webinar series. The first two webinars will cover essential background information, including the Endocannabinoid System, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics. Then, leading specialists from around the world with experience treating patients with medical cannabis will cover efficacy data, treatment, dosage, and contraindications. These free, 30-minute webinars will come with 1 CPD point each, and will include a Q&A session with each presenter.

Epilepsy
21 Mar 2018

Chemo-Induced Nausea/Vomiting
11 Apr 2018

Chronic Pain
24 Apr 2018

Palliative Care
09 May 2018

Multiple Sclerosis
23 May 2018

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.

26th Nimbin MardiGrass [Hemp Embassy]

The legendary Cannabis Law Reform Rally & Gathering, 4th – 6th May 2018, Nimbin Nth NSW. Gathering of the tribe! Protest! Educate! Celebrate!

HHI Expo & SYMPOSIUM 2018 [HHI]

Sydney, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May 2018. In May 2018 we will have the HHI Expo & Symposium. There will be a large array of speakers and like-minded individuals showcasing their products, to educate, enlighten and entertain an audience. This will be our third Expo in Sydney with a growing awareness of the diversity and benefits of HEMP.

Hemp & Cannabis Expo [Body Mind Psychic]

19-20 April, Adelaide Showground, Adelaide, South Australia.

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.