AUSTRALIA & NZ

Why is carrying or holding under 50g of marijuana not a criminal offence in the ACT? [ABC]

If you’re caught with less than 50 grams of cannabis in Canberra, it’s unlikely you’ll end up with a criminal record. But just a few kilometres away in New South Wales, carrying the same amount of marijuana can mean a conviction or even jail time.

Australian state parliament due to table report on drug law reform [Mixmag]

The state parliament of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, is due to table a report on drug law reform this month. The committee conducting the official inquiry is set to report before March 29 on its findings on “the effectiveness of laws, procedures and regulations relating to illicit and synthetic drugs and the misuse of prescription medication in minimising drug-related health, social and economic harm.”

Medical cannabis users fear police arrest if they submit on Bill [NZ Herald]

There are concerns that people who want to make submissions to the Government’s medicinal cannabis bill are not doing so because they are “too afraid” the police will use the information to arrest them. With submissions of the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill closing today, groups are struggling to get their members to make submissions. Users are concerned that if their name and story is on the public record, it would be easy for police to find them.

Proposed law cracking down on synthetic cannabis passes first reading [Stuff NZ]

The father of a 22-year-old who died from synthetic cannabis use says harsher penalties are just one of the steps needed to stop the drugs killing Kiwis. A private member’s bill from National MP Simeon Brown, which calls for an increase in the maximum penalty for suppliers from two years’ imprisonment to eight years, passed its first reading on Wednesday.

 

NORTH AMERICA

Millions of Americans seek and find illicit marijuana online [MedicalXpress]

These days, Americans shop for nearly everything online—including marijuana. That’s the conclusion of a new study published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine led by San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health associate research professor John W. Ayers. Millions are searching for and finding online marijuana retailers across the country, the researchers find.

In California, Learning How Marijuana Is an Unlikely Divider [The New York Times]

This time, the story I ended up writing compared attitudes in Compton, where residents voted in January by a 3-to-1 margin to ban marijuana businesses from the city, with Oakland, Calif., a city that has embraced marijuana legalization as a way to generate tax revenue and help those who were disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. I found it fascinating that the two cities, both of which had struggled for decades with an illicit drug problem and some of the violent crime associated with it, had diverged so sharply. It was as if they had been asked the same question and come up with completely different answers.

Colorado cannabis workers are happy, but need better safety training [MedicalXpress]

The study, led by psychology graduate student Kevin Walters, is a snapshot of who works in the cannabis industry in Colorado. It outlines potential improvements in worker health and safety, and it delineates specific hazards for workplaces to take note of, from ergonomic concerns due to trimming plants to slips, trips and falls.

Hot ink: CBD makers hoping tattoo-care products will open new $1.6 billion market [Marijuana Business Daily]

A growing number of hemp companies are launching products aimed at the tattoo industry, from CBD patches marketed as pain relief to balms and creams designed to speed recovery, to expand their retail opportunities. “A tattoo, it’s basically just an open wound,” said Ali Munk, spokeswoman for Infinite CBD, a Denver company that makes hemp-derived CBD isolate and recently started selling two tattoo-related products – an antiseptic wash for use before the tattoo and a healing oil for use after.

How pot-smoking became illegal in Canada [The Conversation]

In 1923, when it became illegal to possess cannabis in Canada, very few Canadians would have heard of the drug, let alone tried it. So why did legislators target weed?

 

UK & EUROPE

Time to allow medicines made from cannabis [The Scotsman]

Useful treatments should not be denied to patients simply because cannabis is also used illegally.

UK Is The Only Country In the World To Criminalise Doctors Who Prescribe Cannabis [CLEAR]

It’s popularly believed that the obstacle to prescription of cannabis by doctors is that it is in schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations.  In fact, in 2001, the then drugs minster, Labour’s Bob Ainsworth MP, enacted a little known provision of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 UK specifically to make prescribing of cannabis a criminal offence.

Britain’s stringent rules on medical cannabis harm patients [The Economist]

Others hope for regulatory change, arguing that the road to market is too costly and unwieldy for a cheap herbal product. It requires approval by both the medicine authority and the Home Office. One policy adviser notes that GW Pharmaceuticals has an enormous first-mover advantage, having emerged from the process with a number of patents. Gavin Sathianathan of Forma Holdings, a firm that invests in medical-cannabis companies, says that Britain’s restrictive laws are hindering the growth of the next big biotech industry.

European Industrial Hemp Association Calls For “Rational” THC Limits [Hemp Gazette]

Industrial hemp growers in Europe have to contend with a THC limit of just .2 percent – it’s holding farmers back and their industry body has had enough.

Germany’s medical marijuana market poised for breakout year [Marijuana Business Daily]

Germany is on track to become one of the world’s largest medical marijuana markets this year as insured patient numbers soar, MMJ imports rise and the country prepares for domestic cultivation.

This sheep farmer is leading the push to set up Ireland’s first hemp co-op [The Journal]

A group of farmers have come together to form the Irish Hemp Growers and Processors Association, with plans also underway to establish a fully recognised hemp co-operative.

Israel first country to approve medical cannabis vaporizer [Israel 21c]

Israel has become the first county in the world to grant medical device approval to a vaporizer for the use of medical cannabis extracts and formulations.

Cannabis and Young People: A call for contributors [volteface]

Volteface is investigating how effectively UK policies around cannabis are safeguarding young people.

 

WORLD

UN Chief Touts Drug Decriminalization In Speech To Narcotics Commission [Marijuana Moment]

The head of the United Nations used a speech before the organization’s drug policy body to tout the success of a decriminalization law that Portugal enacted when he was the country’s prime minister. “Current efforts have fallen short of the goal to eliminate the illicit drugs market,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “We can promote efforts to stop organized crime while protecting human rights, enabling development and ensuring rights-based treatment and support. I am particularly proud of the results of the reforms I introduced in Portugal when I was prime minister almost 20 years ago.”

The International Cannabis Survey 2018 – Dr Musa Sami of KCL Replies [UKCIA]

Following the blog I posted on Sunday 18th March (The International Cannabis Survey 2018 – Kings College London), the researcher running the survey, Dr Musa Sami responded in the comments and I offered him the opportunity to explain in more detail.

Israel’s Marijuana Industry Forges Ahead Despite Government Stalemate on Export Plan [CTECH]

A new grower has cut a deal with one of Israel’s largest industrial companies to build a complex of greenhouses.

Colombia looks to become the world’s supplier of legal pot [The Washington Post]

Tens of thousands of Colombians died in the U.S.-backed war on drugs. But after an official about-face on marijuana, Colombia is looking to exchange gun-toting traffickers for corporate backers in a bid to become the Saudi Arabia of legal pot. “You are looking at history,” beamed Camilo Ospina, the lab-coat-wearing chief innovation officer for PharmaCielo Colombia Holdings, gesturing like a showman before a sprawling greenhouse of pungent cannabis plants. His company is one of a fast-rising number of corporations seeking to leverage the “made in Colombia” label in a new age of legalization.

 

 

HEALTH & SCIENCE

Medicinal cannabis is safe and effective—it’s time to reboot research [MedicalXpress]

Medicinal cannabis is safe and effective in pain relief, and researchers are calling for the treatment to be properly established in our modern medical arsenal. A new special issue of the European Journal of Internal Medicine provides a comprehensive overview of current evidence for the use of cannabis and derived products in medicine, and calls for more research to improve the evidence base for its use.

Cannabis oil: Meet the woman taking it for breast cancer recovery [BBC]

A breast cancer survivor says she is taking cannabis oil to help her recover from illness. Nikki Bednall, from Kilburn in Derbyshire, said she turned to using CBD oil through “desperation not recreation”, and claims it helps to control her anxiety.

Are There Risks From Secondhand Marijuana Smoke? Early Science Says Yes [National Public Radio]

Scientists are finding that, just as with secondhand smoke from tobacco, inhaling secondhand smoke from marijuana can make it harder for arteries to expand to allow a healthy flow of blood.

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).

Science: Mixing Cannabis And Alcohol Can Be Dangerous [Fresh Toast]

There are many things that can occur when mixing alcohol with other substances and cannabis is definitely one of the no-nos after you’ve been drinking. Sure, a casual cocktail or two with a puff or two isn’t likely to send you over the edge, head in toilet, unable to speak, but if you go a good four or five cocktails deep and then smoke a fat doobie, chances are you’re going to regret it.

The new chill pill — why cannabis is coming for sleeping pill poppers [GreenState]

Recreational cannabis laws are accelerating Americans’ switch away from sleeping drugs with addictive, dangerous qualities or painkillers that allow sleep to a non-toxic, herbal alternative. Cannabis is bringing relief to some who suffer from a variety of sleep disorders, with some doctors advocating it. But some mainstream medical practitioners, citing a lack of research and evidence, are reluctant to recommend the botanical as a pharmaceutical-type medicine.

Cannabis And IQ: What The Science Actually Shows [The Fresh Toast]

Does consuming marijuana actually make you stupid? That’s the Reefer Madness argument made by a doctor in an attempt to prevent Oklahomans from voting to legalize cannabis.

Consuming Cannabis During Pregnancy: Here’s What the Science Says [The Fresh Toast]

There are no easy or definitive answers when it comes to the relative safety or advisability of cannabis consumption during pregnancy. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are typically reticent when it comes to conversations about cannabis. They either don’t want to discuss it or sternly reject all consumption out of hand. Some immediately turn the conversation into a lecture on criminal behavior. With little to no information coming from their doctors, it’s not uncommon for pregnant women to turn to personal friends and acquaintances, or the internet, for answers.

The coffee cannabis connection [EurekAlert!]

It’s well known that a morning cup of joe jolts you awake. But scientists have discovered coffee affects your metabolism in dozens of other ways, including your metabolism of steroids and the neurotransmitters typically linked to cannabis, reports a new study from Northwestern Medicine.

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).

The new strain of cannabis that could help treat psychosis [The Guardian]

Although widely seen as a potential trigger for schizophrenia, marijuana also contains an ingredient that appears to have antipsychotic effects. Tom Ireland visits the UK’s only licensed cannabis farm and meets the man responsible for breeding a plant that might be of benefit to millions.

 

POLICY

‘Cannabis smokers are far less of a threat to society than drunks’ [Daily Post]

Arfon Jones recently came out and called for steps to be taken to control the sale of certain illegal substances.

He said: “I want to see drugs controlled and sold by responsible retailers similar to off-licences that sell alcohol. “I don’t see a difference between the use of alcohol and the use of cannabis.” The outspoken former policeman has also come out publicly in the past saying that the current war on “drug crime” has totally failed.

Regulating Cannabis in Accord with International Law: Options to Explore [TNI]

As a growing number of countries move towards legal regulation for non-medical cannabis, governments are pushing the boundaries of the three UN drug control treaties. At the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March 2018, TNI, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO) organised a side event to explore the issue, addressing the various challenges and opportunities involved. At the event a groundbreaking report on the issue was presented: Balancing Treaty Stability and Change: Inter se modification of the UN drug control conventions to facilitate cannabis regulation.

 

 

OTHER DRUGS

As U.S. opioid crisis grows, Trump calls for death penalty for dealers [Reuters]

President Donald Trump spelled out in new detail several steps he favors to fight a U.S. epidemic of opioid abuse, including the execution of drug dealers, a proposal that has gained little support from drug abuse and judicial experts.

We have a drug that’s effective against depression – now the government needs to let us use it [Spectator]

The case of LSD is perhaps the most compelling, for before it was banned in the late 1960s the US government funded over 130 separate studies on it, with positive outcomes in many psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression and alcoholism. The founder of AA, Bill Wilson, was enthusiastic about the potential of LSD to allow alcoholics to break free from the chains of their addiction. He campaigned for trials of LSD to treat alcoholism and six were conducted. These have recently been subjected to modern statistical analysis and it was found that a single LSD treatment is more efficacious than any of the currently available treatments for alcoholism.

Synthetic Cannabis Drug Trial Results in Hospitalization and Death [Fibrowomen]

Pharmaceutical companies have been trying to manufacture synthetic versions of cannabis for years. Recently, a Portuguese company named Bial produced a drug designed to treat anxiety and pain by blocking process by which the human body breaks down naturally-occurring cannabinoid compounds in the body. Biotrial, a French research organization, conducted the trial of the drug at its facilities in Rennes, France. So far, this resulted in one death and the hospitalization of five other participants.

 

 

EVENTS

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.

Chemo-Induced Nausea/Vomiting
11 Apr 2018

Chronic Pain
24 Apr 2018

Palliative Care
09 May 2018

Multiple Sclerosis
23 May 2018

420 Smoke In [Nimbin Hemp Embassy]

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.