AUSTRALIA & NZ

Medical-cannabis producer again locked up [Echo Netdaily]

North coast medical-cannabis producer and campaigner Tony Bower has yet again been locked up after police raided his home on Wednesday and charged him with cultivating cannabis. Campaigners and supporters of the ‘Medicine Man’, as he’s widely known in the northern rivers, say they’re outraged at the latest targeting of Mr Bower, who owns the company Mullaways Medicinal Cannabis which supplies tincture to more than 150 people, many of them children. Australian HEMP Party and Nimbin HEMP Embassy president Michael Balderstone said ’this a big hit for Tony, the absolute pioneer of medical cannabis in Australia, he’s been to jail before for showing us how beneficial cannabis can be for epileptic children’. The arrest comes as the federal government tries to improve access to medical cannabis for people suffering life-threatening or terminal illnesses.

Australian cannabis companies are now allowed to export seeds, oil and raw material [Business Insider]

In January the federal government said Australian cannabis companies would only be allowed to export value-added products that had been made here. The first cannabis goods heading overseas are not manufactured goods but seeds. Medical Cannabis Ltd boss Andrew Kavasilas told Stockhead he will be exporting seeds to Canada as part of a partnership with CannTab, which is interested in some of the Australian genetic strains.

Soon, Kiwis Will Be Able to Get Qualified in Growing Cannabis [Vice]

From mid-year, New Zealanders will finally have the opportunity to get their degree in pot-growing. Or, at the very least, a 20-week course on growing hemp. As of June 2018 that dream seems a lot closer with a course run by Panapa Ehau, managing director for Hikurangi Enterprises, the company looking to be the first set-up to grow New Zealand’s medical cannabis. With only 15 spots in the course, and 500 plus people expressing interest online, it seems there will be a waitlist for some time.

Australian state to investigate legalizing recreational cannabis [Marijuana Business Daily]

Australia’s second-most populous state will explore international developments around “cannabis for adult use” as part of its investigation into drug law reform. In a 586-page report, a parliamentary committee in Victoria recommended the creation of a council to investigate global changes in marijuana usage, as well as several other considerations involving comprehensive drug law reform. “The development and implementation of cannabis regulatory models for adult use is an area of drug law reform worthy of exploration,” the authors wrote, “especially now that there are various models that can be monitored and reviewed,” including Uruguay, some U.S. states and Canada.

Extend medical cannabis decriminalisation to non-terminal patients and growers, Govt told [NZ Herald]

The Labour-led Government is being urged to extend a legal defence for medical cannabis to non-terminal patients and people growing cannabis for pain relief. As it stands, a law change before Parliament will ensure that patients with less than 12 months to live will not be prosecuted for having illicit cannabis. Public hearings began on the bill today, and several submitters told the health committee that it did not go far enough. New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell said the exemption should be extended to patients with “severe and debilitating conditions”.

DRUG WAR OVER! [Radio Documentary]

IF YOU WANT IT: When Phil Bromley moved from Sydney to one of Australia’s most famous and surprisingly largest tourism destinations, Nimbin he felt like he’d found home. Six years on, after observing and experiencing the
relentless police harassment and mainstream media victimization of his new hometown, Phil felt it was time to let the town tell their story in their own words. ‘Exposing The War On Drugs’ is an eight part radio documentary series that looks at how the war on drugs has affected Australia and the rest of the world. Broadcast around Australia on the Community Radio Network, from the 18th April and podcast at https://player.whooshkaa.com/shows/exposing-the-war-on-drugs . With the spotlight on Nimbin, Australia’s most famous “alternative” town, the team from NIM FM, (Nimbin’s local community radio station), explore drug prohibition, medicinal cannabis, addiction and Nimbin itself; and offer some solutions to the costly drug war that has raged since the early 1930s.

NORTH AMERICA

The Impact of Regulations on Price [New Frontier Data]

In the 16 months since California legalized marijuana, cannabis prices in some California market sectors have plummeted 75%, according to the Washington Post. This steep decline, paralleled in Colorado, Oregon and Washington, is a product of the number of newly-licensed cultivators and the regulations that guide them.

A Study of One Colorado County Finds Legal Marijuana has More Benefits Than Problems [Entrepreneur]

A study of one Colorado county has found cannabis provides a great economic benefit, even with the challenges it presents for social services and law enforcement. The study, done by the Institute of Cannabis Research at Colorado State University-Pueblo, dispels some of the concerns surrounding the legalization of marijuana.

Weedmaps: why ‘Yelp for pot’ is under fire for its Silicon Valley attitude [The Guardian]

With customers on both US coasts, Canada and Spain, it’s one of very few international marijuana brands. When a visitor lands in Portland, Denver or San Francisco, they might not know the local dispensary or product names, but they know to check Weedmaps to find out. However, Weedmaps recently came under fire from Lori Ajax, California’s marijuana regulator, who said the company could face civil or criminal charges if it doesn’t stop promoting 900 unlicensed dispensaries in the state. The move comes as part of Ajax’s effort to stamp out the state’s gray and black markets; of the roughly 13.5m pounds of weed grown in California in 2016, about 80% was consumed illegally out of state. Responding to Ajax, Weedmaps did something almost unheard of for a cannabis company: it politely told the regulator to get lost.

Main bank for Illinois’ medical marijuana industry is pulling out, leaving some operators to deal in cash [Chicago Tribune]

Bank of Springfield sent a letter to its cannabis clients late last month informing them that their accounts will be closed May 21. The decision is tied to the reversal of an Obama-era policy that discouraged prosecution of those operating under state marijuana laws. Taking away the bank accounts medical marijuana companies use to pay their employees, vendors and the government is another hurdle. It also eliminates some of the legitimacy and traceability of transactions that banking added to the industry, which had $8.5 million in retail sales statewide in February, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Medical marijuana gets wary welcome from older adults, poll shows [MedicalXpress]

Few older adults use medical marijuana, a new national poll finds, but the majority support its use if a doctor recommends it, and might talk to their own doctor about it if they developed a serious health condition. Four out five of poll respondents between the ages of 50 and 80 said they support allowing medical marijuana if it’s recommended by a physician. Forty percent support allowing marijuana use for any reason. And two-thirds say the government should do more to study the drug’s health effects, according to the new findings from the National Poll on Healthy Aging.

New study shows most unique US drug slang broken down by state [MiXMAG]

A recent study conducted by the drug education platform Project Know has broken down how drug terminology for cocaine, LSD, xanax, MDMA, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine varies from state-to-state.

City Of Calgary Staff Want Councillors To Ban Public Marijuana Consumption [Huffington Post]

City administrators in Calgary are recommending councillors adopt a ban on public consumption of cannabis when pot becomes legal later this year. The proposed bylaw would make exceptions for people with medical marijuana licences.

Your Cannabis Questions Answered [Government of Canada]

New web portal that enables people to enter questions about cannabis.

 

UK & EUROPE

Lib Dems call for legalisation of cannabis [Holyrood]

Cannabis should be legalised and regulated to ease pressure on police time, according to Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton. The call comes after latest figures from a Drug Seizures and Offender Characteristics report showed 60 per cent of drug possession crimes involved cannabis in 2016-17. A regulated cannabis market was part of the Liberal Democrat manifesto at last year’s general election.

Solving the Dutch Pot Paradox: Legal to Buy, but Not to Grow [The New York Times]

While the news of a marijuana raid in the Netherlands may have been surprising to the throngs of tourists who visit the famous coffee shops in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, it is illegal to grow more than five cannabis plants for recreational use in what has long been seen as Europe’s marijuana capital. And the Dutch national police actively seek out and shut down hundreds of operations a year. While licensed coffee shops have the right to sell small amounts of recreational cannabis and hash to buyers older than 18, they have to rely on the black market to acquire their wares in bulk.

Denmark Offers Free Marijuana To Patients With Certain Conditions [Civilized]

Medical cannabis will soon be a state-subsidized medication for certain patients in Denmark. When the agreement comes into effect, Danish patients who have terminal illnesses will be eligible to get free cannabis while patients with other, non-terminal conditions will receive a 50% rebate on their own medically prescribed marijuana.

German court stops tendering process for medical marijuana [DW]

In April, Germany’s Federal Agency for Medicines and Medicinal Products (BfArM), released an 18-page tender document, for which 118 companies applied. It envisaged the growing of up to 6,600 kilograms (14.550 pounds) by the year 2022.

In anti-drug Sweden, investors take shine to cannabis stocks [Reuters]

Growing numbers of Swedish investors are getting a buzz from trading in listed marijuana stocks even though the country has some of Europe’s most restrictive drug laws.

Thousands Languish in Prison for Cannabis Possession in Europe’s “Last Dictatorship” [Talking Drugs]

Belarus is an Eastern European country blessed with a rich cultural heritage and a scenic landscape, but its people are subject to some of the most repressive drug policies on the continent.

Home Office Denies FOI Request In Cover-Up Of All Information On Cannabis Production Licences [CLEAR]

On 6th March 2018 CLEAR submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the Home Office asking for full details of the licences accounting for the legal production of cannabis in the UK. This arose from the story which we broke on 4th March revealing that the UK is the world’s largest producer and exporter of legal cannabis, this according to data provided to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) by the government. The Home Office has refused the request. Its grounds for refusal are that disclosure “would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any person or would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection of crime“.

Cannabis oil plea mother to meet Shona Robison [The National]

Scotland’s Health Secretary Shona Robison has agreed to meet a campaigning mother who wants a cannabis-based treatment to be made available to her son the NHS.

WORLD

In a first, Africa exports medical marijuana to Canada [Marijuana Business Daily]

A company in southern Africa has sent the first-ever shipment of medical cannabis from Africa to Canada, a milestone that illustrates the increasing globalization of the MMJ industry in recent years. The medical cannabis was shipped from the landlocked nation of Lesotho on March 26 and is expected to arrive at its destination in Vancouver, British Columbia, in the coming days, Marijuana Business Daily has learned.

How Israel’s Inspired By Silicon Valley’s Billion Dollar Cannabis Industry [Forbes]

Israel is often called Silicon Wadi, home to tech innovation in the middle east, but its current round of exports is focused on the green dollar. Well, it hopes to be, that is if the Israeli government will give approval for exports of cannabis sooner rather than later.

 

HEALTH & SCIENCE

Yet Another Study Debunks the Myth that Marijuana Legalization Encourages Teen Use [Medical Marijuana Inc]

Evidence continues to reveal that legalizing marijuana has no adverse impact on the rate of cannabis use among teens. Most recently, researchers at the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found no link between legalization and use among adolescents after analyzing data from 11 separate studies dating back to 1991. Their findings were published in the latest issue of the journal Addiction.

Cannabis May Provide Hope For Parents With Autistic Children [the Fresh Toast]

A few years ago parents of children with epilepsy helped to create a media buzz when they showed the effectiveness of cannabis on their child’s condition. Now some parents of kids with autism are telling their stories as well.

Opioids prescribed less in states where medical marijuana legal, studies find [The Guardian]

The number of opioid prescriptions for the elderly and the poor declined in states where medical marijuana is legal, two new studies have found.

Studies examine relationship between legal cannabis use, opioid prescriptions [EurekAlert!]

Two studies examine the relationship between legal cannabis use and opioid prescriptions. One study examines state implementation of medical and adult-use marijuana laws with opioid prescribing rates and spending among Medicaid enrollees, while a second study examines prescribing patterns for opioids in Medicare Part D and the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

Medical cannabis safe and effective in older people, study finds [Pharmaceutical Journal]

In a paper in the European Journal of Internal Medicine (2 February 2018), researchers studied 2,736 patients aged 65 years and over who were prescribed medical cannabis at a specialised clinic in Israel. The most common indications were for pain (66.6%) and cancer (60.8%). After six months of treatment, 93.7% of questionnaire respondents said their condition had improved and pain was reduced from a median of eight to four on a scale of ten. Overall, 18.1% said they had stopped or reduced their dose of opioid analgesics. The most common adverse events were dizziness (9.7%) and dry mouth (7.1%). The researchers said the findings supported the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis in older people, and could allow reductions in the use of other prescription medicines, such as opioids.

Harvard University Finds Cannabis Cuts Tumor Growth in Half in Three Weeks [Health Times]

The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies.

POLICY & BUSINESS

Wine-related firms look to uncork opportunities in marijuana [Marijuana Business Daily]

A growing number of companies that service the wine industry are now pursuing opportunities in the cannabis sector, hoping to generate new revenue streams.

How marijuana entrepreneurs can outsmart black-market competitors [Marijuana Business Daily]

Whether you’re operating in a medical or recreational marijuana market, illicit cannabis sales are an ever-present threat to the legal industry. Marijuana entrepreneurs can’t control how the black market operates, but there are ways to encourage customers to buy from a licensed, regulated business instead.

The Hydroponics Company at the start of medical cannabis journey, says interim chairman [Proactive Investor]

THC aims to provide access to high-quality legal medical cannabis enabling many to lead better lives by relieving pain and suffering.

Toward a Regulatory Framework for the Legalization of Cannabis: How Do We Get to There from Here? [Policy Politiques]

It many ways, the key questions facing regulators regarding legalized cannabis are like those that plagued regulation of cigarettes and alcohol. Specifically, what method is best to ensure that the social costs from consumption are internalized while providing a legal good for which a significant demand exists in the population.

 

OTHER DRUGS

From addict to world champion, how Luvo Manyonga can inspire a Commonwealth Games host city [Independent]

Behind Gold Coast’s beaches and beneath the skyscrapers there is a troubling drug problem the city would rather keep quiet, but one longer jumper’s journey inspires hope. Queensland’s federal government have responded by pledging AUD$3m (£1.6m) to curbing the spread of the amphetamine. However, a greater impact could yet be made by the AUD$2bn (£1.095bn) invested in hosting the largest ever Commonwealth Games in April. The favourite for the long jump this year is a recovering crystal meth addict. He wants the allure of the substance to be better understood to reduce stigma and motivate others to seek the support he has benefited from.

National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program [Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission]

The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program provides leading-edge, coordinated national research and intelligence on illicit drugs and licit drugs that can be abused, with a specific focus on methylamphetamine and other substances. Wastewater analysis is widely applied internationally as a tool to measure and interpret drug use within national populations. The Australian Government has recognised the considerable benefits of wastewater analysis and has partnered with established scientific expertise within Australian academic institutions to introduce a national program based on international models.

FUNDRAISERS

Support Tony Bower’s Legal Fees [gofundme]

Tony of Mullaway’s Medical Cannabis has once again been arrested for growing his cannabis medicine! Tony makes cannabis tincture for children with epilepsy and countless others with cancer, chronic pain, ms and the list goes on. Tony Bower has dedicated his life to helping others and now needs your help. All Donations would be greatly appreciated.

 

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!

420 Demonstration at Nimbin Mardigrass 2017 [YouTube]

Max Stone and the MardiGrass crew put on a spectacular 420 protest at the 2017 festival in Nimbin. Nimbin was one of over 200 towns and cities across the world that participate in the Global Marijuana March. This is an outtake from Druglawed 2 Episode 4: Spokeswoman, featuring Australian MP Fiona Patten.

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.