AUSTRALIA & NZ

Dad Pleads Not Guilty On Grounds Of Medical Necessity After He Was Arrested For Growing Cannabis For His Daughters [BuzzFeed]

An Australian father who was arrested for growing cannabis he says was for his sick daughters has pleaded not guilty in court today on grounds of medical necessity. Steve Taylor was arrested and charged with cultivation and possession of cannabis. His daughters say juicing the plant to treat their Crohn’s disease has changed their life. Taylor is represented by solicitor Sally McPherson and will also receive assistance from prominent human rights lawyer Greg Barns. McPherson has called for magistrates to receive dispensation to allow a stay of proceedings against people like Taylor, pending further changes to the state’s medicinal cannabis laws.

Australian drug law reform report: Explore sniffer dog use, recreational cannabis [mixmag]

The Inquiry into Drug Law Reform made 50 recommendations, including that a new Victorian governance structure be established to oversee a new drug strategy: a Ministerial Council on Drugs Policy and an Advisory Council on Drugs Policy. That Advisory Council should monitor the use of drug checking services around the world to inform a potential trial in Victoria and develop guidelines for such a trial. It should also investigate international developments in the regulated supply of cannabis and advise the government, the report states.

NSW Police Set to Harass Traffic Offenders at their Homes [Sydney Criminal Lawyers]

New South Wales police officers will be randomly “visiting” the homes of traffic offenders as part of a strategy which police commissioner Mick Fuller claims is designed to deter them from reoffending. Mr Fuller has directed officers to conduct “random” attendances at the homes of traffic offenders such as disqualified drivers and those with poor traffic records.

Best Food, Wine and Smoke Fests for Spring 2018 [PROHBTD]

Featuring Nimbin’s MardiGrass!

NZ North Island regions show higher rates of drug dependency [MedicalXpress]

Higher levels of methamphetamine and cannabis dependency, and need for help for substance abuse, were found in northern, central and eastern regions in the North Island.

NORTH AMERICA

The latest trend in online shopping: Marijuana [420 INTEL]

Americans are buying weed online in droves. This news comes courtesy of a study published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. It marks the first time anyone has analyzed online marijuana sales by looking at internet searches and the resulting links.

Here’s how much marijuana you’d need to be eligible for the death penalty under federal law [The Washington Post]

Federal law allows for capital punishment in drug trafficking cases involving murder or homicide. But the attorney general also specifically called out one provision that allows for capital punishment in cases involving “extremely large quantities of drugs.” There is a federal capital punishment on the books for large quantities of marijuana — a substance with no known lethal dose that is legal for recreational use in nine states plus the District. The threshold is huge — 60,000 kilograms, or 60,000 plants, enough to fill several shipping containers. The quantity-based capital punishment provision is of particular concern to state-legal marijuana businesses. The plant remains illegal under federal law, regardless of what state laws say. Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, a trade group, said in an email that “there are many state-licensed cannabis businesses cultivating 60,000 plants or more.”

Legal pot business owners ponder the possibility of death row after Trump administration policy shift [NBC]

“To not acknowledge the difference between a regulated cannabis business and a heroin kingpin is unfathomable.”

In the murky world of DC marijuana law, ‘pop-up’ markets thrive [Independent]

Marijuana pop-up events have emerged in the bizarre twilight zone of DC marijuana law, where it is legal to possess small amounts of cannabis – but it is not legal to sell it. The events occur nightly in the nation’s capital, advertised openly on social media. Some vendors believe they have found a workaround to the law, saying that they are only selling trinkets and that the cannabis is included. Police call it illegal drug dealing.

Trump Signs Spending Bill; Medical Marijuana Protected Through September [Leafly]

President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending measure Friday, averting a government shutdown at midnight and renewing critical protections for medical marijuana patients and providers. Yesterday the president said he was considering a veto, because the bill does not contain full funding for a border wall with Mexico and does not address some 800,000 “Dreamer” immigrants who are now protected from deportation under a program that he has moved to eliminate. He said he signed it in order to provide needed money for the military.

Gene Simmons “wrong” and “not informed” about cannabis [Ultimate Classic Rock]

Gene Simmons has said he was “wrong” and “not informed” about cannabis as he began his role as “chief evangelical officer” for Canadian cannabis company Invictus. The announcement last week took many fans by surprise since the Kiss star had always been outspoken about the use of any form of drugs, and has always insisted he’d never used anything other than prescription substances.

Legalization Advocates Go Viral with Jeff Sessions Rolling Papers [Merry Jane]

It just got a whole lot easier to get stoned with Jeff Sessions. No, the U.S. Attorney General hasn’t traded his federal status for a free dab booth at the Emerald Cup or admitted the glaring errors in his prohibitionist posturing. But thanks to one group of ingenuitive stoners, you can now twist up a joint with one of General Jeff’s “Old Rebel” Session Papers — novelty rolling papers emblazoned with a cartoonish, doobie-puffing portrait of the anti-cannabis Attorney General on every pack. 

 

UK & EUROPE

Mother in call for legalised medical cannabis [BBC]

A mother has called for the legalised prescription of cannabis to help people like her son who suffer from a rare form of epilepsy.

Talking Cannabis With the MHRA [Peter Reynolds]

In November 2016 I organised a meeting with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and a number of key players in the CBD market.  It was in response to the MHRA seeking to clamp down on sales of CBD oil and related products.  That meeting led directly to the formation of the Cannabis Trades Association UK (CTAUK) which now represents more than 80% by turnover of all CBD suppliers in the UK.

LibDem MSP says Scotland should ‘open regulated drugs market’ [The National]

Scotland should have its own “regulated cannabis market” to control the pricing and potency of the drug, a LibDem MSP had claimed. Alex Cole-Hamilton made the call after new figures showed the vast majority of police seizures involved cannabis.

Why prisons should give inmates marijuana [Herb]

One doctor in Scotland has proposed a novel idea to make prisons safer: give inmates marijuana. Dr. Stephanie Sharp believes that giving prison inmates free marijuana could prevent violence and overdose deaths resulting from makeshift prison drugs. In Sharp’s opinion, inmates are going to use drugs either way—so what drugs would we prefer they use? In the absence of marijuana, many inmates make drugs out of chemicals, prescription pills or other items they find inside the prison. Some inmates have even resorted to smoking coffee saturated paper for the caffeine high or snorting crushed up e-cigarette filters.

A centre of excellence for medical cannabis research [Health Europa]

The Czech Republic-based International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute is making an invaluable contribution to medical cannabis research worldwide, as Dr Ethan Russo tells Health Europa Quarterly.

Despite Increasing Support for Legalization, Cannabis Still Prohibited in France [Marijuana]

In France, nothing has changed since a 1970s law prohibited the possession and consumption of cannabis, including in a private place. This law was initially intended to redirect consumers toward the health care system while attempting to dismantle the networks of drug traffickers in the country.

Swiss Parliament Votes for Coffee Shop Trials, Pilot Projects [Marijuana]

The Swiss Council of States has unanimously adopted a bill allowing studies and pilot projects with cannabis. The Council of States is calling for an experimental article in the Narcotics Act that allows for scientific research projects such as Coffeeshop model trials or pilot programs. Five cities have requested such studies.  The bill will be presented to the Large Chamber, the National Council.

Will Malta Be Europe’s Next Major Cannabis Manufacturer? [dope]

Malta’s Economy Minister, Chris Cardona, recently admitted that three foreign companies were provided letters of intent by Malta Enterprise—the first step to producing medicinal cannabis in Malta—and three more businesses have expressed interest as well. It’s a bold move, and only the beginning. Malta may be positioning itself as a leading cannabis manufacturer and supplier for the entire EU.

 

WORLD

Uruguay’s cannabis law: Pioneering a new paradigm [Brookings]

Uruguay is the first country to legalize and regulate its domestic non-medical cannabis market. In light of this pioneering role, the choices and experiences of Uruguayan authorities hold important lessons for other jurisdictions that may consider whether and how to regulate cannabis. Uruguay’s breakthroughs and challenges related to banking, international treaties, access to the product, enforcement, medical cannabis, tourism, and research and evaluation in particular hold immense value to policymakers and analysts elsewhere. To this end, this report examines the conditions that led Uruguay’s government to pass its cannabis law in 2013, studies its progress so far, and identifies areas that policymakers should consider addressing in order to maximize the law’s potential benefits.

Israeli medical marijuana firms may flee if export ban persists [The Times of Israel]

Experts says country could lose out on becoming world leader in sector worth over $1 billion, ready to share know-how with foreign partners, if restrictive policies remain in place.

Philippines police kill 13 suspects in one day during drug raids [The Guardian]

Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war continues with more than a dozen deaths on Wednesday after officers fire ‘in self defence’.

 

HEALTH & SCIENCE

Cannabis ingredient ‘could help cocaine and alcohol addicts stay clean’, study finds [indy100]

CBD – or Cannabidiol – is the ingredient in cannabis which doesn’t cause a high. It’s the same ingredient used to treat diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, as well as some cancers. While anti-drug legalisation campaigners like to claim that cannabis is the gateway drug to more addictive members of the drug family, a new study undertaken by Friedbert Weiss at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, has found that the opposite might be true.

Secondhand smoke more dangerous from marijuana than from cigarettes: Study [The Washington Times]

One minute of exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke can impair blood flow in the body for about 90 minutes, worse than a half-hour of restricted blood flow caused by secondhand tobacco smoke, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Study reveals new findings on marijuana use among young men [MedicalXpress]

The social fabrics of their neighborhoods, including friendships and ideas about masculinity, have a powerful impact on marijuana use among young minority men, a new Yale School of Public Health study finds.

Could cannabis help treat eczema and psoriasis? [The New Times]

Scientists believe anti-inflammatory compound found in plant may offer hope to millions of patients.

New Study Targets CB1 and CB2 Receptors as Treatment for Suicidal Behavior [Marijuana]

A Spanish study examining the correlation between suicidal behavior and the body’s cannabinoid receptors could  provide hope for an unconventional treatment option for those suffering from mental pain and suicidal tendencies. Published in the March issue of Current Psychiatry Reports, a team of researchers from Madrid sought to show the “current serotonin-based biological model of suicidal behavior (SB)” was oversimplified.

Coffee and Cannabis – a Stimulant and a Depressant: What if They Work Together on Your Brain? [Newswire]

Coffee is a stimulant while marijuana is, mostly, a depressant. And although a mix of coffee and cannabis is gaining popularity as a super drug, some experts are wary of the confusing effect of the effective neuro-chemical reaction in your brain. But, here is another one, that is set to prove the skeptics wrong. Leslie Carr writes about Coffee and Cannabis and the research that shows otherwise.

If cannabis is getting stronger, why aren’t cases of schizophrenia rising? [The Conversation]

Although several studies suggest that cannabis users have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia, one key point remains hotly contested. Since the 1960s, cannabis potency and rates of use have risen in many Western countries with high-potency strains now dominating the market. If cannabis were a cause of psychosis, we would expect that, as this increased, rates of schizophrenia would increase alongside it. But this has not happened.

Cannabis use linked to increased initiation of cigarette smoking among non-smokers [News Medical]

While cigarette smoking has long been on the decline, marijuana use is on the rise and, disproportionately, marijuana users also smoke cigarettes. A new study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York reports that cannabis use was associated with an increased initiation of cigarette smoking among non-cigarette smokers. They also found adults who smoke cigarettes and use cannabis are less likely to quit smoking cigarettes than those who do not use cannabis. Former smokers who use cannabis are also more likely to relapse to cigarette smoking. Results are published online in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

A Stunning Small Home Made from Hemp [Living Big in a Tiny House]

When mixed with lime and water, hemp forms hempcrete, a wonder building material. Hempcrete is completely non-toxic and creates an incredibly high performance building. It’s a super insulator, has amazing acoustic properties and helps to perfectly regulate moisture content within a building.  It helps to dramatically improve air quality by reducing the airborne moulds and toxins which can lead to respiratory problems. It’s insect and rodent proof, and also earthquake resistant. Building with hemp sequesters a huge amount of carbon dioxide from the environment.

Part 1, The Latest in Cannabis Research: [Northern Hemisphere] Spring 2018 [Leafly]

In the first quarter of 2018, we’ve seen advances in our understanding of cannabis’ therapeutic benefits in a range of disorders, diseases, and cancers. Below are just some of the biggest cannabis research headlines we’ve seen over the last few months. The list is by no means exhaustive and only represents peer-reviewed research articles, but stay tuned for more emerging research this summer.

Hemp seeds: The superfood to add to your dishes [Canadian Living]

Seeds from the hemp plant—the stalks of which have long been harvested for clothing and rope—are celebrated for their high levels of essential fatty acids, protein and antioxidants. Here, what you need to know about this superfood’s good-for-you benefits.

BUSINESS

Will Marijuana Stocks Ever Pay Dividends? [The Motley Fool]

There’s absolutely no question that marijuana stocks are growing at an exceptionally fast pace, which has translated into triple- and quadruple-digit percentage gains for many of the largest pot stocks by market cap over the trailing two-year period. However, not all investors are necessarily comfortable owning high-growth stocks. Some prefer to pad their long-term appreciation potential with dividend income, which begs the following question: Will marijuana stocks ever pay dividends? The answer is more complicated than you probably realize.

Unit of big pharmaceutical firm Novartis partners with medical marijuana producer Tilray [Marijuana Business Daily]

British Columbia-based medical marijuana producer Tilray announced Monday it has formed a strategic partnership with Sandoz Canada, the first known affiliation between a marijuana producer and a major pharmaceutical company. Tilray signed a letter of intent with the Quebec-based affiliate of Sandoz International GmbH, an arm of global health care giant Novartis.

 

OTHER DRUGS

Call for pill testing at festivals to help emergency services treat overdose victims [ABC]

Pill testing should be introduced at music festivals to help emergency workers treat patients suffering adverse reactions like overdoses, according to an inquiry into Victorian drug law reform.

Former top cop calls on Groovin the Moo to allow pill testing at Canberra festival [ABC]

A former top cop who was instrumental in John Howard’s crackdown on drugs has written to the promoters of the popular Groovin the Moo festival, urging them to go ahead with a pill-testing trial in Canberra. A proposal to hold a trial at next month’s festival at the University of Canberra received the green light from the university. Late last week former Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Palmer wrote to promotors of Groovin the Moo, noting the university’s support was “very positive”. “I am delighted to see the progress being made towards improving the safety of attendees at the festivals and similar events through supporting drug pill testing in the ACT,” Mr Palmer wrote. “I sincerely hope that as promoters you allow a trial to proceed.” Mr Palmer said pill-testing purely armed young people with information about their drugs.

Have you had an encounter with a seemingly autonomous entity after taking DMT? [John Hopkins University]

We are researchers at Johns Hopkins University working on a research study regarding the experiences of people who have had encounters with seemingly autonomous beings or entities after taking DMT. This anonymous internet survey involves asking about your experiences, including the short-term and long-term effects.

 

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-Out [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.