AUSTRALIA & NZ
Portugal’s emphasis on treatment instead of punishment has been a major success, providing other governments around the world with a model for more effective laws that reduce both direct and indirect drug harms.
This week, Australian medical marijuana company Elixinol launched their first ad campaign in Japan, with a billboard, located in the Tokyo subway. It’s a milestone moment for hemp in a country that has notoriously resisted medical marijuana legalization, and can be taken as a sign that the cultural tide in one of the world’s largest consumer markets is shifting towards legalization.
Barely a month after the Australian Capital Territory allowed pill testing at a music festival for the first time, police in NSW have gone in the opposite direction. On Tuesday the NSW police announced that people attending the Above and Beyond music festival in Sydney this weekend would be denied entry if sniffer dogs indicated they had drugs on them, even if a search did not reveal any illicit substances.
‘Abuse of powers’: Drug dogs to be used to deny entry to Above and Beyond music show [The Sydney Morning Herald]
A police spokeswoman confirmed that people whom a dog sits next to would not be arrested nor charged if they do not have drugs, only removed from the $130-a-ticket show. NSW Police on Wednesday did not respond to questions about the efficacy of drug detection dogs, which has long been in question. Statistics obtained from the state government show that, of searches conducted in 2011, a dog sat next to a person to indicate they might be carrying drugs in 14,102 cases. In 11,248 cases – approximately 80 per cent – no drugs were found.
Police in New South Wales face a legal challenge over plans to turn away concert goers identified by sniffer dogs as having been in possession of drugs, even if no banned substances are found. Sniff Off – a group opposed to the use of sniffer dogs – said on Thursday they would seek an injunction to prevent police from implementing the policy. Sniff Off is made up of NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge and members of the Young Greens. “To rip up someone’s ticket on that basis is a huge infringement of civil liberties [and] the idea is to say the police don’t have a legal basis for doing this. We want the court to step in and stop it happening before Saturday.”
“No specific movement is needed by the dog for action to be taken. It depends on the relationship with the handler. The handler and the dog have a relationship, and the indication may not always involve sitting down, but may be any change in behaviour which the handler can recognise. That is the starting point, and it is up to the police officer there to build a case of reasonable cause from there.” Mark Watters, Acting Commander, NSW Police Dog Squad, Mardi Gras Policing Forum, 19 March 2013
Family appeals to Government for change after medical cannabis costs plunge them into debt [NZ Herald]
A family which has begun dipping into its retirement savings to pay for their son’s medical cannabis treatment has made an emotional plea to Government to make the drug more affordable and accessible.
U.S. Marijuana Seizures Dropped 40 Percent in 2017 [Medical Marijuana Inc]
A new report from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reveals that seizures of indoor and outdoor marijuana grows in the United States fell nearly 40 percent between 2016 and 2017.
Oregon to Stop Processing New Recreational Marijuana Licenses After June 15th [The Marijuana Times]
Last week the Oregon Liquor Control Commission announced that while it will continue accepting applications for recreational cannabis business licenses, it will not process any application received after June 15th of this year until 2019.
Most Americans do not object on moral grounds to people drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana. Of the two, they are more likely to see drinking alcohol as an acceptable behavior, perhaps because it is legal in all states while smoking marijuana is not. Some states have recently legalized marijuana and many others are considering doing so, perhaps removing some of the stigma associated with the drug. But with roughly two-thirds of the public saying marijuana use is morally acceptable, it seems there will not be sufficient opposition to thwart attempts to make it legal.
Illinois lawmakers pass bill legalizing industrial hemp [Illinois Policy]
While state law currently allows for the cultivation of hemp to be overseen by some government bodies, the Industrial Hemp Act would make legal the commercial production of hemp.
Bill Nelson: Allow smokable medical marijuana in Florida [Tampa Bay Times]
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Thursday that Florida doctors should be allowed to prescribe smokable medical marijuana to their patients.
Glut of marijuana in Oregon is cautionary tale, experts… [Express Digest]
When Oregon lawmakers created the state’s legal marijuana program, they had one goal in mind above all else: to convince illicit pot growers to leave the black market. That meant low barriers for entering the industry that also targeted long-standing medical marijuana growers, whose product is not taxed. As a result, weed production boomed – with a bitter consequence. Now, marijuana prices here are in freefall, and the craft cannabis farmers who put Oregon on the map decades before broad legalization say they are in peril of losing their now-legal businesses as the market adjusts.
An alarming increase in the use of a highly toxic and banned pesticide at illegal marijuana farms hidden on public land in California is leading U.S. and state officials to team up on an issue that recently divided them: pot.
From crime to health to business, Canada’s decision to legalize marijuana is a grand progressive experiment that promises to answer a host of questions.
Canada is on the verge of legalising marijuana for recreational use. The BBC visited a huge cannabis farm in British Columbia, which the operators say is the largest facility of its kind in the world.
Where can you buy it? Can you grow your own? Can you smoke and drive? And will Canada legalize other drugs now, too?
The same authorities who hounded dealers are now investors in cannabis – and there’s still no amnesty for past convictions. The hypocrisy is staggering.
Like Ukip after Brexit, the Marijuana party won the very battle it was established to fight. But its leaders insist the resistance continues against ‘prohibition 2.0’. When Blair Longley considers Canada’s looming plans to reform its marijuana laws, it is with a degree of trepidation.
UK & EUROPE
The UK is the largest exporter of legal cannabis – now we just need to decriminalise it completely [Independent]
Over the years, the absurdity of cannabis being illegal has been decloaked as often and effectively as the silliness of retaining that alleged nuclear deterrent. As with Trident, it has nothing to do with logic, and everything to do with retrograde symbolism.
Governments around the world recognise the benefits of a regulated market. The UK should follow suit, says Labour MP.
Legalising cannabis ‘could earn Treasury £3.5bn’ [The Guardian]
Introducing a legal cannabis market to the UK could earn the Treasury between £1bn and £3.5bn a year in tax revenues, a new report suggests. Health Poverty Action, an international development organisation, claims that regulating and legalising cannabis in the UK is an “idea whose time has come” and that the windfall could be used to plug the gap in the NHS budget.
Cannabis: Regulate it. Tax it. Support the NHS. Promote public health [Health Poverty Action]
Regulating and legalising cannabis is an idea whose time has come. The UK public supports it too: in recent polls 47% of people support selling cannabis in licensed shops.5 Regulation also has the support of a range of groups from across the political spectrum.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
It is premature to expand access to medicinal cannabis in hopes of solving the US opioid crisis [Addiction]
There is very weak evidence to support the claim that expanding access to medical cannabis will reduce opioid overdose deaths in the United States.
Cannabis Showing Promise for IBD [MedPage Today]
Cannabis could be considered to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), investigators said here over the weekend, but the limited evidence on the plant’s efficacy and potential adverse effects necessitates much more research before cannabis becomes a mainstream medicine got IBD.
In a growing, national drugged driving problem, marijuana and opioids are the main problems. In 2016, 44% of fatally-injured drivers with known results tested positive for drugs, up from 28% 10 years earlier. More than half of them – 58% – had marijuana, opioids, or a combination of both in their system. Those are the highlights of new research that examined the impact of drugs on crash risk.
POLICY & BUSINESS
Cannabis is now a billion dollar business concern in America and with legal consumption comes best selling lists and ever higher grade products. However, these five cannabis strains appear on best selling lists in US dispensaries and global seed selling websites and can be declared the world’s popular weed strains: White Widow, Green Crack, Girl Scout Cookies, Gorilla Glue #4, and Skywalker OG.
How do you market weed when you can’t market weed? [The Guardian]
Canadian cannabis vendors are trying to carve out market share for a product they can’t legally sell yet … or advertise. So they’re getting creative.
There is Still Some Powerful Resistance to Medical Marijuana [The Marijuana Times]
If you’re like me and follow cannabis news on a daily basis, it’s easy to feel complacent and convince yourself that the fight for medical cannabis is over. After all, a constant barrage of overwhelming positive polls on the issue could make one think focus can finally be shifted toward recreational cannabis and changing federal law.
This week marks a historic turning point for cannabis as the World Health Organisation’s ECDD conducts its first ever review of the scheduling of cannabis. Both as a flower and is a concentrated resin. This has never been done before and in fact the scheduling and the single Convention from 1961 was based on assumptions from earlier international treaties, which were not evidence based.
Fortieth meeting of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence [World Health Organization]
The Fortieth meeting of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, 4-7 June 2018. The 40th ECDD will be a specially convened session dedicated to carrying out pre-reviews of cannabis and cannabis-related substances: Cannabis plant and cannabis resin / Extracts and tinctures of cannabis /Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) /Isomers of THC.
A heated debate is redrawing alliances in the tobacco control movement as federal officials wrestle with how to regulate the growing e-cigarette market. The players include researchers, smoking-cessation advocates and “vaping” connoisseurs. “It’s become very divisive in a community that was largely united against Big Tobacco.”
Why we need better, smarter, panic-free education on cannabis [The Conversation]
This week, the third reading and vote on the bill to legalize cannabis will take place in Canada’s Senate. As Bill C-45 was being studied by Senate committees on Parliament Hill, there was a frequent refrain of “we’re not ready,” “we need more time,” and especially “we need more education.” There seems to be a perception that if we don’t design and roll out massive awareness campaigns immediately, then all hell will break loose among a misinformed public post-legalization.
The success or failure of cannabis legalization comes down to one thing: beating the black market. So what do dealers think?
Medical cannabis and the challenge for regulation of medicines [The Conversation]
Medical cannabis is both an emotional issue and technical challenge. A plausible case can be made for changing the law and allowing patients access to medical products. However, this requires more than an act of Parliament and presents a fundamentally different way of thinking about what a medicine is, and how patients should get access.
Questions of Access Behind Legalization: Here and Abroad [The Marijuana Times]
Of all state programs tested, only 3 states – California, Illinois, and New Mexico – received the highest score, a B+. If even the oldest and most accepting states with medical cannabis programs can’t receive an A grade for patient access and program functionality, than cannabis regulations are doing more to harm than heal. The delays and decrees keep cannabis from adults and patients, rather than increasing access.
CULTURE & SOCIETY
Global Histories of Cannabis [Points Blog]
Ninety years after the UK imposed its own 1928 Coca Leaves and Indian Hemp Regulations, the Cannabis: Global Histories symposium at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow addressed a range of historical questions about the origins of attitudes towards, policies on, and markets for cannabis substances. After all, by understanding how countries have come to the laws and control mechanisms that they currently deploy, and the reasons that consumers and suppliers have often proven to be so resistant to them, contemporary positions and future directions can be clearer, better-informed and free of the prejudices of the past.
Don’t Smoke! Here is Why You Need A Wax Vape Pen [The Marijuana Times]
Knowing how to use a wax vape pen can dramatically increase your vaping efficiency. This means getting the same effects while using less material.
It is big corporations, not small independent producers, who will reap the benefits of cannabis legalization in Canada – but what will that mean for musicians and artists?
Ten perverse intellectual contortions: a guide to the sophistry of anti-vaping activists [The Counterfactual]
This puts it nicely: Life is short and shorter for smokers. Just legalise vaping. That statement is a plain-speaking and hyper-concise dissenting report from Andrew Laming MP, one of two dissenting reports from Australia’s recently-completed parliamentary inquiry into vaping (The other dissenting report provides a model of clear, concise reasoning too, and, unusually, the dissent came from the committee chairman, signalling a welcome fracture in Australia’s political support for prohibition).
Victorian police faked more than a quarter of a million roadside breath tests in what appears to be a deliberate ruse to dupe the system. An internal investigation has found 258,000 alcohol breath tests were falsified over 5½ years, The Age has learned.
Even non-smokers have had enough! How 86% of Australians believe cigarettes are too expensive [Daily Mail]
Most Australians believe cigarettes are now too expensive, a Daily Mail Australia poll has found.
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.
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.
JUNE 23/24 MEDICAN WEEKEND at the BUSH THEATRE, Nimbin [Hemp Embassy]
Entry by donation, beside the river at Nimbin’s Bush Theatre. Starting at 11 am and aiming to finish by 420! Learn how to make and use Cannabis as medicine! Speakers confirmed from the Nimbin Hemp Embassy, and The Hemp Club including Malcolm Lee, Rayman, Andrew Kav, Michael, Frances, Caroline, Radic Al, Zane, Gerald, Dr Deb; as well as Deb Lynch from the Medical Cannabis Users Association [MCUA], Steve Bolt on legals, and more for sure.
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 (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.