AUSTRALIA & NZ

26th Nimbin MardiGrass [Hemp Embassy]

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

Seven netted in Nimbin drug-dog operation [Echo Netdaily]

‘The dog walking the streets of Nimbin yesterday stirring everyone up was the perfect reminder of why we hold MardiGrass and we expect plenty of passion this year. Maybe that’s why they did it?’ he said.

Marijuana moguls optimistic about legalisation of recreational cannabis in Australia [ABC]

Canopy Growth Corporation, a $5.6 billion publicly listed Canadian company, has taken out Australian patents for a range of marijuana products including its global, youth-focused “Tweed — feel free” brand for medicinal and recreational cannabis.

Is Australia Ready to Legalize Marijuana? Not Yet, It Seems [The New York Times]

For a brief moment on Monday, marijuana users rallied around a proposal from the Greens party to legalize the drug’s use for recreational purposes in Australia. But those hopes were quashed the next day, as Greg Hunt, the minister for health, said the government would oppose the plan. Marijuana, he said, was a gateway to other drugs like methamphetamines. “Our job is to protect the health of Australians,” he said on Tuesday. “This action by the Greens risks the health of Australians.” Here’s what you should know about the marijuana debate in Australia.

Legalising cannabis adds $3.6bn to Australian economy, budget office says [The Guardian]

Legalising cannabis would reap the Australian economy almost $2bn a year, the Parliamentary Budget Office has found.

Concerned about The Greens — and even doctors — going ‘soft’ on cannabis? [Australia21]

The Greens want to legalise and regulate cannabis for Australians over the age of 18, claiming that taking it out of the hands of criminals will make our society safer. The policy announcement has set off alarm bells for many, especially those concerned about young people getting easy access to yet another dangerous drug. Maybe you’re also asking ‘Who needs that grief?’ But possibly more notable than the objections is the seismic shift in the drug debate. Australia21 Director Deborah Rice unpacks the arguments.

NORTH AMERICA

More older Americans are smoking marijuana [The Washington Post]

Researchers William Kerr, Camillia Lui and Yu Ye integrated 30 years of survey data from over 40,000 participants who reported on whether they had used marijuana in the past 12 months. Only two age groups showed a significant rise in use. Compared with older Americans 30 years ago, Americans age 50 to 59 and 60 and older today are a remarkable 20 times more likely to use marijuana.

New Poll: Older Americans Approve Medical Marijuana, But Still Oppose Full Legalization [Medical Marijuana Inc]

Four out of five older American adults support allowing medical marijuana if recommended by a physician, according to a new poll conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. The new National Poll on Healthy Aging, sponsored by AARP and Michigan Medicine, found that while 70 percent of older adults are open to discussing medical marijuana with their doctor if they were to develop a serious health condition, as of now only a small number are actually using cannabis.

Senator Chuck Schumer to Introduce Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana at the Federal Level [Medical Marijuana Inc]

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced today a plan to decriminalize marijuana. The New York Senator said on Friday that he intends to introduce a bill that would remove marijuana from the federal list of Controlled Substances, encouraging more states to legalize the substance and reducing punishments related to the substance.

6 Reasons to Celebrate This 4/20 [Medical Marijuana Inc]

Marijuana is currently enjoying its time in the spotlight in the U.S., with its popularity soaring among nearly all demographics. Here are just a few things to cheer this year while enjoying your 4/20 festivities, including new job creation, helping the opioid epidemic, lower marijuana prices, expanding legalization efforts, and more.

Binge Drinking Goes Down in States with Legalized Marijuana, Data Shows [Medical Marijuana Inc]

A recent report from Wall Street investment firm Cowen & Company has found that rates of binge alcohol drinking have dropped in states with legalized recreational marijuana.

Hemp Program in New York to Grow 75% This Year [Medical Marijuana Inc]

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced earlier this month that 62 new farms and businesses have been granted permits to grow hemp this year as part of the state’s research program. The three-year-old Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot program will expand to an estimated 3,500 acres throughout New York, a 75 percent jump from last year’s 2,000 acres.

Marijuana-related ER visits by Colorado teens on the rise [Reuters]

More visits to the emergency room by teens in Colorado are related to marijuana use than in the past, suggesting an impact of the drug’s legalization that needs closer attention, researchers say.

As marijuana goes mainstream, what’s happening to the way we talk about weed? [The Conversation]

As a linguist, I’ve been interested in exploring how legalization has changed the way we talk about the drug – specifically, how new dispensaries are marketing their product.

Growing pains: how Oregon wound up with way more pot than it can smoke [The Guardian]

The state’s glut of marijuana – over 1million pounds of unsold pot – is in many ways the result of an industry still finding its feet.

The 4 biggest barriers to marijuana legalization, according to Harvard [Herb]

Despite widespread citizen support for medical marijuana, which is now legal in some form in more than half of the U.S., cannabis remains illegal on the federal level. Some advocates believe that the end of prohibition is inevitable. But according to the Harvard Political Review, there still remains substantial barriers to nationwide legalization. Here’s what they are.

Celebs are jumping on the marijuana brand wagon [CNN]

“Legalization has opened the doors to all the celebrity branding,” said Steve Bloom, a former High Times editor who runs a web site called Celebstoner.com. “It’s not surprising that all the most likely celebrities are jumping aboard.”

Opening statement by Steve Rolles, to the Canadian Senate Foreign Affairs Committee – on cannabis regulation and the UN drug treaties [Transform]

It is, however, important context to note that the 1961 Single Convention on Drugs, the treaty that established the international drug control framework and prohibitionist paradigm still in place today, was being drafted in the 1940s and 1950s, consolidating the structures and philosophy of a series of multilateral drug control treaties dating back to 1912. This treaty therefore comes from an era in which the cultural, political and economic landscape was very different to the one we live in today. Our understanding of the impacts of different drug policies on public health and community safety have evolved considerably over the last century.

UK & EUROPE

Cannabis Oils [BBC]

There’s been a large increase in the sales of oils and creams containing a chemical found in cannabis, and It’s being claimed that the legal CBD market in the UK is now worth 50 million pounds.

Medicinal Cannabis Will Never Be Legalised In The UK [UNILAD]

It’s easy to view marijuana as a recreational substance, and while there is a valid debate as to whether it should be legalised and decriminalised for said purpose, there’s a legitimate counter-argument that it hinders the discussion in regards to its medical benefits.

You can now enjoy a cannabis-infused afternoon tea [Metro]

There’s a London-based cannabis-infused afternoon tea menu bringing a whole new meaning to the concept of high tea. When it comes to afternoon tea, most people think scones, pots of cream, a bit of jam and some cucumber sandwiches thrown in for good measure. But London-based Farmacy are changing all of that by introducing a cannabis element to their afternoon tea, appropriately named ‘high tea’ – so of course I had to visit and investigate further. Think of your traditional afternoon tea, but then reimagine it with the addition of Cannabidol-infused truffles and hemp tea. Sounds good right?

Isle Of Man Could Be The First Place In The British Isles To Decriminalise Cannabis Possession [Huffington Post]

Mick Jagger once suggested legalising all drugs in the Isle of Man, as a litmus test for the rest of the UK. “In England, they always try out new mobile phones in the Isle of Man,” said the former Rolling Stones frontman in 2010. “They’ve got a captive society. So I said… you should try the legalisation of all drugs on the Isle of Man and see what happens.”

Canada’s “world-class template” has set the stage for European countries [Financial Post]

The world was watching as Canada established a unique federal approach to the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis. That regulatory framework has allowed Canadian medical cannabis producers to develop world-class expertise in large-scale cultivation. It’s no wonder European jurisdictions are turning to Canadian experts as they begin to travel the road toward legalization of medical cannabis.

Cannabis Flowers Are Legal in Italy. You Just Can’t Eat or Smoke Them. [The New York Times]

The hemp flowers — with names like K8, Chill Haus, Cannabismile White Pablo and Marley CBD — are sold under the tag “cannabis light” because their level of the psychoactive compound that makes people high is a tiny fraction of that typically found in cultivated marijuana. But there’s a catch. The aromatic hemp flowers must not be smoked or eaten. Seeds, should there be any, must not be cultivated. As the jars’ labels sternly specify, the products are for “technical use” only and “not for human consumption.” Instead, they are sold — as countless salesclerks will explain with a nudge-nudge, wink-wink smile — as “collectors’ items.”

The Hague bans cannabis smoking in city centre in Dutch first [The Guardian]

The Hague has become the first Dutch city to ban the smoking of cannabis around its city centre, central railway station and major shopping areas, in the latest example of a wider trend towards reining in country’s traditional gedoogbeleid (tolerance policy).

WORLD

Sri Lanka to Open Asia’s First Medical Cannabis Plantation [Talking Drugs]

Health minister Rajitha Senaratne said he plans for cultivation to take place across 100 acres of designated cannabis plantation land in the north-central Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts. This is estimated to produce 25,000kg of the drug annually, which will be used for domestic Ayurveda – a South Asian system of medicine – and for export to North America.

 

 

HEALTH & SCIENCE

Could ‘one puff’ of cannabis ease depression? [Medical News Today]

Researchers from Washington State University (WSU) found that adults reported a reduction in depressive symptoms with just a single puff of medical marijuana that was high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Cannabis users can now test how high they are with a new app designed by scientists [Daily Mail]

Researchers developed a prototype called Am I Stoned which helps cannabis users understand how the drug is affecting them through a series of tasks.

New app could improve safety of cannabis use [News Medical]

Although cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been shown to impair memory, reaction time and attention, it is difficult to assess this impairment in a natural setting. Researchers have developed a prototype app called ‘Am I Stoned’ that could help cannabis users understand how the drug is affecting them through a series of phone-based tasks.

Med schools need to get with the times on medical marijuana, chronic pain, and more [STAT]

How to properly assess and treat chronic pain is another essential skill that has become increasingly important over the past decade but is inadequately taught in U.S. medical schools. A separate but related issue, the use of medical marijuana, provides a good case study of medical schools failing to keep pace.

Cannabis and psychosis: what is the link and who is at risk? [The Conversation]

It’s important to note most studies finding a causal link between cannabis use and psychosis examined the use of illicit cannabis, usually from unknown origins. This means the levels of THC were unrestricted, and there’s a possibility of synthetic adulterants, chemical residues, heavy metals or other toxins being present due to a lack of quality assurance practices. In the future, it’s possible that standardised novel “medicinal cannabis” formulations (or isolated compounds) may have negligible effects on psychosis risk. Until then though, we can safely say given the current weight of evidence, illicit cannabis use can increase the risk of an acute psychotic episode. And this subsequently may also increase the chances of developing schizophrenia. This is particularly true when high-THC strains (or synthetic versions) are used at high doses in growing adolescent brains.

Hemp shows potential for treating ovarian cancer [Science Daily]

Results from some of the first studies to examine hemp’s ability to fight cancer show that it might one day be useful as plant-based treatment for ovarian cancer. Hemp is part of the same cannabis family as marijuana but doesn’t have any psychoactive properties or cause addiction.

Could vaping lead teens to pot smoking? [MedicXpress]

Teens who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to try marijuana in the future, especially if they start vaping at a younger age, a new study shows.

Anxiety Relief Without The High? New Studies On CBD, A Cannabis Extract [National Public Radio]

As more states legalize marijuana, there’s growing interest in a cannabis extract — cannabidiol, also known as CBD. It’s marketed as a compound that can help relieve anxiety — and, perhaps, help ease aches and pains, too.

A naturalistic examination of the perceived effects of cannabis on negative affect [Science Direct]

Results from the present study indicate that medical cannabis users report a substantial and significant reduction in symptoms of negative affect shortly after using cannabis. Importantly, while acute cannabis intoxication temporarily alleviates perceived states of depression, anxiety, and stress, the repeated use of cannabis does not appear to lead to any longer-term reductions in these symptoms.

Marijuana Can Improve Emotional Well-Being If Used Properly [Medical Daily]

Scientists from Washington State University (WSU) tracked medical cannabis users to understand how smoking different strains and quantities at home impacted their emotional well-being. Their findings in the paper titled “A naturalistic examination of the perceived effects of cannabis on negative affect” was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders on April 6.

Why marijuana fans should not see approval for epilepsy drug as a win for weed [The Conversation]

A Food and Drug Administration panel recommended approval of a drug made of cannabidiol on April 19 to treat two types of epilepsy. The FDA is expected to decide in June whether to accept the panel’s 13-0 recommendation to approve Epidiolex, which would would become the first drug made of cannabidiol, a compound in the cannabis plant, to gain approval from the FDA. But weed is not cannabidiol, even though both come from cannabis.

Does Cannabis Affect Your Immune System? [High Times]

It’s a question that isn’t brought up often but still warrants investigation. Does cannabis affect your immune system?

Medical cannabis helps manage concurrent cancer-related symptoms [The Pharmaceutical Journal]

Medical cannabis has been shown to help people living with cancer manage their symptoms, with more than 95% of respondents reporting an improvement.

POLICY & BUSINESS

Will Regulations Create Big Marijuana? [Cato Institute]

I wrote last month that new regulations and taxes in California’s legalized marijuana regime are likely to result in a situation in which a few people are going to get rich in the California marijuana industry, and fewer small growers are going to earn a modest but comfortable income. Just one of the many ways that regulation contributes to inequality.

What U.S. drug policy might look like in a perfect world [SF Gate]

Say you were emperor for a day and granted the power to create a new, fully rational policy for regulating alcohol and marijuana. What would that policy look like? That’s the question a team of 13 drug policy experts set out to answer over the course of several conferences held in 2015 and 2016, the results of which have just been published in the International Journal of Drug Policy. The group included economists, criminologists, addiction experts and drug policy researchers, and was supported by the Research Council of Norway, a division of the Norwegian government.

Cryptocurrency and Cannabis: A Difficult Relationship [Canna Law Blog]

Combining cryptocurrency and the cannabis industry would join two extraordinary and rapidly changing industries. Although the federal government decided it would proscribe marijuana long ago, it has not decided how to manage cryptocurrencies. The underlying blockchain technology is also largely unregulated, and is overseen only by other users on the blockchain (see our articles on blockchain and cannabis here, here, and here). Both cryptocurrency and blockchain have been used by people for money laundering and evading taxes.

 

 

FUNDRAISERS/CAMPAIGNS

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.

Supporting Andrew Katelaris [gofundeme]

Andrew is behind bars again and may be there until the trial starts in November unless a Supreme Court appeal passes. Funds to date have gone to a legal team plus barrister. More recently a lawyer has been engaged to appear in court RE the current matter. 3 lawyers will now have visited Andrew in jail since the beginning of his first in Parklea and now in the Hunter Valley.

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.

Just Legalise It [The Greens]

Wow, what an incredible response we’ve seen to our plan to legalise cannabis for adult use! We knew support to legalise it was big and growing, but I’m so inspired by the positive response to our announcement from health experts, the law enforcement community and progressive Australians. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Liberal party and their cronies in the Murdoch media. Their campaign to spread lies and misinformation has already begun. Yesterday, Health Minister Greg Hunt span the lie that, “The risk of graduating to ice or to heroin from extended marijuana use is real.” Former Victorian Liberal Leader Jeff Kennett thinks our “Russian Roulette” policy will lead to more serious drug use (while proudly stating his support for medically supervised injecting facilities) and the Daily Telegraph today labels our campaign a “Loopy Green pot plan”. The conservatives are scared, and trying to shut this important conversation down before it begins. We can’t let that happen.

LEGALISING CANNABIS [The Greens]

Let’s get real about cannabis. The “war on drugs” has been lost. These days, millions of Australians choose to use cannabis and countries all around the world are changing their laws after realising prohibition does more harm than good. It’s high time we joined them and legalised it. That’s why I’m proud to announce today that the Greens are launching our national plan to legalise cannabis for adult use.

 

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.

Palliative Care
09 May 2018

Multiple Sclerosis
23 May 2018

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.

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.

Entheogenesis Australis Shop Now Open [EGA]

Entheogenesis Australis (EGA) would like to thank the psychedelic community for it’s ongoing support and attendance at our recent Psychedelic Symposium. Since the event we’ve had a lot of inquiries about obtaining copies of the new EGA Journal 4 and other special merchandise. To browse, please feel free to head to the EGA Shop online or click on the items below. This is also your chance to pick up classic and new T-shirt designs. Please keep in mind much of the stock is very limited so don’t delay!

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.