AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand Will Put Legalization On 2020 Ballot [Ganjapreneur]

New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little said voters will get to decide whether or not to legalize adult-use cannabis during the 2020 general election, according to a New York Times report. New Zealand has demonstrated increasing support for cannabis legalization, having just last week expanded its restrictive medical cannabis program to allow for easier access. A recent news poll showed that 46 percent of voters favor legalizing cannabis, with 41 percent opposed. Audrey Young of the New Zealand Herald said that the movement was favoring legalization for two reasons: “the advancement in the medicinal cannabis regime and the law just being passed, and also just that gathering sense of global opinion that the war on drugs is lost and that the health approach is the one to take.”

Fiona Patten moves to legalise cannabis, predicts revenue of $205m [The Age]

Re-elected MP Fiona Patten has put drug law reform at the top of her political agenda by introducing a bill to legalise marijuana in Victoria, which she hopes will gain the support of the new Parliament.

WA woman’s sacrifice for medicinal cannabis [West Australian]

The 29-year-old, who has had epilepsy since she was 12, pays almost $600 for a month’s supply of Tilray medical cannabis — a cost she is struggling to afford.

Parents who gave cannabis oil treatment to son to treat autism have no convictions recorded [ABC]

A central Queensland mother and father have escaped jail time for administering home-grown cannabis oil to their five-year-old son with autism. One charge, supplying a dangerous drug to a minor, came with a maximum 25-year jail sentence. But neither had convictions recorded against them and they received a total of $900 in fines.

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Wanna buy some pot? [EchoNetdaily]

Thank God (or Goddess) for Nimbin.

Drug Summit Secord Media Release

NORTH AMERICA

Washington Approves More Reasonable Policy Changes for Edibles [The Marijuana Times]

Under the new regulations, cannabis companies will be expected to avoid bright colors. They will be allowed to work with a “standard pantone color book” and naturally-occurring colors. These color requirements will be applied to both the products themselves and the packaging. There will also be a full list of shapes for gummies and other candies – with exceptions for things like non-profit collaborations. The full list of allowable colors and shapes will become available in January.

Washington Adopts New Cannabis Investment & Packaging Rules [Ganjapreneur]

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) adopted new interim policies on investment rules, edible packaging, and product labeling on December 12.

How Florida’s $250M medical cannabis market could open up to new businesses in 2019 [Marijuana Business Daily]

More competitors would be a change for the Sunshine State’s large MMJ market, which currently is dominated by about a half-dozen vertically integrated operators.

Suit aims to keep California highway patrol from assisting federal marijuana enforcement [Marijuana Business Daily]

class action lawsuit filed in San Francisco County Superior Court is asking a California judge to block the state’s highway patrol from seizing and turning over cash and other assets from state-legal marijuana companies to federal authorities.

New York Gov. Commits to Cannabis Legalization [Ganjapreneur]

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Monday that he would push to legalize adult-use cannabis within a matter of months, The New York Times reports. The move is expected to generate some $1.7 billion in annual sales and, according to Cuomo, is representative of his administration’s efforts to “advance our justice agenda and particularly address the forms of injustice that for too long have unfairly targeted the African-American and minority communities.”

“The fact is we have had two criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy and the well off, and one for everyone else,” he said.

Pro-medical marijuana lobbies spent $95,000-plus in the South Carolina Statehouse [Palmetto Politics]

As South Carolina lawmakers begin debate again on medical marijuana in the coming weeks, there’s something everyone should know. Behind every cause there’s hired guns. A check of lobbyists with the State Ethics Commission shows leading supporters of medical pot hired boosters to push their agenda with legislators in 2018.

US Senator plans to pitch measure to resolve cannabis’ legal, financial issues [Marijuana Business Daily]

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner plans to introduce an amendment to a criminal justice reform bill that would fully protect state-legal marijuana programs as well as resolve banking and taxation issues that currently vex the MJ industry, his office confirmed Friday.

Virginia entrepreneur wants to start marijuana gifting business in Detroit [Detroit Free Press]

While legal weed may be hard to find until it becomes commercially available in early 2020, it was only a matter of time before budding entrepreneurs came up with a way around Michigan’s new recreational marijuana law. On High Road, a Boston-based online business founded and owned by Brandon Anthony, a 33-year-old Virginia native, plans to start a marijuana “gifting” service in Detroit this month.  Anthony will sell someone 21 or older a “munchie bag” filled with cookies or a muffin, candy or a T-shirt, for anywhere between $55 to $120. Along with the purchase of the bag: a gift of marijuana, no more than the 2.5 ounces allowed under Michigan law.  Under that law, the only way to get marijuana right now is to grow it, be a medical marijuana cardholder or have someone give it to you — not sell it.

Marijuana pesticide contamination worries Oregon farmers [The News Tribune]

Concerns about pesticide drift are nothing new in agriculture, but the issue has taken on new gravity for Oregon farmers with marijuana-growing neighbors. Due to Oregon’s pesticide testing regime for marijuana and its high value, growers of more conventional crops worry about getting blamed for contamination that renders the mind-altering flowers unsalable.

Colorado publishes latest statistics on impact of cannabis legalisation [EMCDDA]

In the US state of Colorado, use and sale of cannabis for recreational purposes has been legal since January 2014, and it has been commercialised for medical purposes since 2009. The main arguments for legalisation were that it would increase law enforcement efficiency, revenue and individual freedom. The state government instructed the state Department of Public Safety to report on key statistics of cannabis-related topics including crime, impaired driving, hospital visits, usage rates, effects on youth. A second biennial report was released in October 2018.

Canada warns citizens to buy legal marijuana with cash so foreign countries do not bar them from entry [Independent]

Canada is warning its citizens to buy legal marijuana with cash, in order to ensure their “sensitive” personal data is not intercepted by countries – including the US – who may bar cannabis users from entering.

 WORLD

UK’s Royal College of GPs sets out advice on prescribing cannabis [GP Online]

GPs should warn patients hoping to access cannabis-based medicines that the process is ‘unlikely to be fast’ according to guidance published today by the RCGP.

Briton ‘faces up to 15 years’ in Bali jail over cannabis oil [BBC]

A British man says he could face up to 15 years in an Indonesian prison after being found with cannabis oil which he says he needed for medical reasons.

Duterte willing to sign any medical marijuana bill [ABS CBN News]

President Rodrigo Duterte will support any bill that will seek the legalization of medical marijuana. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted Duterte has already made his stand on several instances favoring the legalization of medical marijuana.

Barbados to Legalise Medical Cannabis, Hold Referendum on Recreational Legalisation [Talking Drugs]

Barbados is preparing to create a domestic medical cannabis industry and will hold a referendum on broader legalisation, the prime minister has said.

South Korea Approves Medical Marijuana [US News]

In late November, however, South Korea’s National Assembly moved to ease laws and allow non-hallucinogenic doses of medical cannabis, making it the first East Asian nation to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, according to the Financial Times. Patients with epilepsy and several rare diseases will legally be able to get medical cannabis beginning as soon as early 2019, the country’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced, according to The Korea Herald.

Marijuana legislation for 2019 [Trinidad & Tobago Newsday]

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi says legislation on the decriminalisation of marijuana will be brought to Parliament in the first half of 2019.

BUSINESS & POLICY

Hemp is About to Be Legal. Here’s What You Need to Know [Medical Marijuana Inc]

At any moment, hemp will become legal in the United States. The 2018 Farm Bill, which includes provisions to legalize hemp federally, passed the Senate and House last week and now only needs Donald Trump’s signature. Here’s what you need to know as hemp nears legalization with the passing of this historic measure.

Marijuana Dispensaries Positively Impact Nearby Property Values, Study Finds [Medical Marijuana Inc]

The findings suggest that having a marijuana dispensary in your neighborhood could increase the value of your home.

How Water-Soluble Cannabinoids Could Change the Cannabis Beverage Market [Cannabis Business Times]

As the cannabis-infused beverage market continues to take shape, many companies are turning to nanotechnology to more easily dissolve fat-soluble cannabinoids into liquids. Trait Biosciences, however, is looking for another solution, developing technology that can create water-soluble cannabinoids that would mix easily into drinks.

A Gathering of Prohibitionists [The Marijuana Times]

This brings us to a recent gathering of prohibitionists in West Virginia. Organized by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia Mike Stuart – a man as about as hostile to the notion of cannabis legalization as someone can be – the gathering featured several speakers, all of whom are anti-legalization.

Brand development, scale drive cannabis dollars [Marijuana Business Daily]

Cannabis firms have raised more than $13.7 billion in 2018 as U.S.-based operators work to grow their domestic footprints and Canadian cannabis companies consider international opportunities.

‘The next major battle’: Sununu charges against marijuana legalization [Concorde Monitor]

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu came out swinging against the effort to legalize marijuana Friday, calling it one of the biggest policy fights for his administration next year and urging members of a prominent state drug and alcohol commission to rally against its passage.

Sweet Leaf cannabis business co-owners hit with $8.8M judgment [Denver Post]

The embattled owners of a once-thriving string of cannabis businesses along Colorado’s Front Range have been ordered by a Denver judge to pay $8.8 million after finding they failed to honor commitments to the owner of properties they were buying in Denver.

Congressional Democrats Release Report On Marijuana Legalization’s Economic Benefits [Marijuana Moment]

Titled, “The National Cannabis Economy,” the report finds that the marijuana industry brought in more than $8 billion in sales in 2017, with sales estimated to reach $11 billion this year and expected to soar to $23 billion by 2022.

Lawmakers In Two States Pre-File Bills To Allow Medical Marijuana At Schools [Marijuana Moment]

While the substance of the two pieces of legislation differ, the purpose of both is to ensure that students can continue to use cannabis in compliance with state law when they’re in school, on a school bus or at a school-sponsored event.

Canadian cannabis spot price launched with futures trading eyed [Bloomberg]

Cannabis moved one step closer to being a tradable commodity like wheat or oil on Tuesday after a U.S.-based group launched the first benchmark price to track Canadian wholesale cannabis prices.

Maker of Budweiser is partnering with medical cannabis company Tilray in a $100m deal to research cannabis-infused drinks for Canadian market [Daily Mail]

Anheuser-Busch InBev and Tilray Inc. said each would invest $50 million in the project to study non-alcoholic drinks containing cannabidiol, or CBD, which some claim has calming and healing effects, and Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the cannabis compound known for its psychoactive effects.

HEALTH & SCIENCE

More Americans Think Smoking Marijuana Is Safer Than Vaping It, Study Finds [Marijuana Moment]

The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that 53 percent of respondents didn’t think there was any safe form of consumption. But among those who did believe that some forms are safer than others, edibles topped the chart as the perceived safest at 25 percent. Interestingly, almost five times as many respondents said that smoking cannabis (16 percent) was safer than vaping flower (3 percent) or oils (3 percent).

Surgeon General Says Cannabis’ Federal Classification Hinders Research [Medical Marijuana Inc]

United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams believes there is a need to reexamine the federal scheduling system used to classify substances. During a national summit on police efforts to address the national opioid crisis this month, Adams called for a review of the way the government classifies substances like marijuana.

Teen Marijuana Use Remains Lower Than Pre-Legalization Levels, Federally Funded Survey Finds [Marijuana Moment]

Fewer young people are using marijuana now as compared to 2012, when the first states moved to legalize cannabis, according to a federally funded study that was released on Monday.

Marijuana Use Not Associated with Bad Behavior in Teens, Study Finds [Medical Marijuana Inc]

A common fear for parents of teens is that exposure to marijuana encourages patterns of bad behavior. New research suggests that those worries are unjustified.

Cannabis users who start by smoking skunk up to five times as likely to become dependent, study suggests [The Independent]

There is growing momentum behind national and state legalisation but little regulation or research of cannabis potency despite increasing availability of high THC strains.

Scientists search for marijuana’s holy grail — consistent highs [NBC News]

“No one ever knows what they’re getting, and it’s a huge problem,” one scientist said.

Exploring the Lesser Cannabinoids – The Happy Accident of CBN [PR Newswire]

With or without a working knowledge of cannabis, most dispensary consumers have a speaking acquaintance with the compounds THC and CBD. But scientists are flirting with lesser known kinfolk in the cannabinoid family, compounds which are for the most part non-psychoactive but have intriguing potential health benefits. One such cannabinoid is Cannabinol, known in the industry as CBN.

How smoking cannabis can affect your sleep for better or worse [Business Insider]

Here’s what INSIDER found out about the effect of cannabis on sleep.

Medical pot is the next draw for scientist behind blockbuster drugs [Bloomberg]

A medical pioneer whose research breakthrough on inflammation led to the creation of some of the world’s top-selling drugs is embracing medical marijuana. Marc Feldmann, an immunologist who helped discover a class of drugs that includes Humira and Remicade, has co-founded CannBioRex Pharmaceuticals, a Toronto-based company researching the potential medical uses of synthetic cannabis.

New Study: Medical Cannabis Reduces Opioid Use in 41% of Patients [Medical Marijuana Inc]

Findings in a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggest that medical cannabis can be used to manage pain while reducing opioid use intake.

Federal Agency Asks Public To Send Studies On Marijuana And Alzheimer’s Disease [Marijuana Moment]

While cannabis is not a Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment option for Alzheimer’s, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is open to reviewing studies on the effects of cannabinoids, it said in a new notice. It specifies that “medical marijuana” is one of several drugs that are “used for treatment” of clinical Alzheimer’s-type dementia.

Exposure to cannabis alters the genetic profile of sperm [EurekAlert!]

Whether genetic changes can be reversed or are passed on to children is still unknown.

Legalizing once-illicit substances can have a public health impact [The Conversation]

New research conducted by my colleagues and me suggests that cannabis legalization, like alcohol 85 years ago, is likely to have both unanticipated consequences on public health and significant cross-border policy spillovers.

CULTURE & SOCIETY

Russia’s Putin Thinks Censoring Rap Will Curb Drug Use In the Country [Marijuana Moment]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has a problem with rap music—particularly songs that reference drugs. And the solution, he suggested on Saturday, is government regulation.

12 Marijuana-Themed Gifts To Spread Holiday Cheer And Support Cannabis Reform [Marijuana Moment]

‘Tis better to give than to receive. But ’tis even better when you live in a state where marijuana is legal and you can pick up some cannabis-themed gifts to spread holiday joy.

OTHER DRUGS

Opioids offer little chronic pain benefit and wane over time, study says [CNN]

For adults with chronic pain, opioids offer narrow improvements over a placebo for pain and physical functioning, on average, according to a new analysis published Tuesday. And the majority of patients will experience no meaningful benefit.

FUNDRAISERS/CAMPAIGNS/PETITIONS/SURVEYS

Petition: For a Referendum on Recreational Cannabis Use during 2019 NSW Election [Liberal Democrats]

Cannabis as Medicine Survey: 2018 [The University of Sydney]

Weed Billboards [Hemp Embassy]

Support Tony Bower’s Legal Fees [gofundme]

Supporting Andrew Katelaris [gofundeme]

Just Reform It! Let’s Get Real about Drugs [The Greens]

Survey: What’s the link between cannabis use and psychotic experiences? [The University of Queensland]

EVENTS

NIMBIN MEDICAN WORKSHOP [Hemp Embassy]

19-20 January 2019, Nimbin NSW

Medicinal Cannabis Symposium [United in Compassion]

22-24 March 2019, Tweed Heads NSW

27th Nimbin MardiGrass [Hemp Embassy]

3-5 May 2019, Nimbin NSW

Hemp, Health & Innovation Expo & Symposium [HHI]

Rosehill Racecourse – Exhibition Centre – James Ruse Drive, Rosehill, Sydney 2019: Saturday 11th May, 9am – 7pm & Sunday 12May, 10am – 4pm

MISCELLANEOUS

‘Sex, Drugs and the Electoral Roll’:  MP’s Memoir Goes On Sale [Reason]

Medicinal Cannabis & Hemp Tasmania & “the leaf” Newsletter [Facebook]

Nimbin Medican Workshops on YouTube [Hemp Embassy]

MardiGrass Hemposium 2018 Talks now Available on YouTube [Hemp Embassy]

DRUG WAR OVER! [Radio Documentary]

Entheogenesis Australis Shop Now Open [EGA]