AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

Australia needs to get with the times and follow New Zealand on recreational weed use, Larissa Waters says [News]

Australia faces being “left behind” from the rest of the world as New Zealand pushed to make marijuana legal for recreational use. Should we follow suit?

NORTH AMERICA

Colorado After Legalization: Statistics and What They Mean [Medical Marijuana Inc]

Colorado’s “great experiment” with marijuana drives the national debate on cannabis policy. Lawmakers, advocates, law enforcement, entrepreneurs and more are intensively studying the data showing what impact legalization has had. A number of studies, surveys, and statistics have been published that provide a view into the range of effects since the market launched. Here we take a look at Colorado after legalization statistics, and explore what they could mean for the future of the cannabis industry in Colorado and throughout the United States.

Washington state cannabis regulators will soon take up mandatory pesticide testing [Marijuana Business Daily]

The prospect of mandatory pesticide testing has been a cause for concern among smaller cultivation operations. They worry that any added operational costs could eat away at already slim profit margins.

An Oregon Bill Could Cause New Conflict with the Federal Government Over Legal Cannabis [The Marijuana Times]

There are a lot of cannabis related bills making their way through legislature right now – but one that is expected to be introduced soon in Oregon takes a leap that could lead to federal interference on a new level if it becomes law. The bill would make it legal for wholesalers to export dried cannabis to other states in the country where cannabis is legal – which is entirely illegal under federal law no matter which way you look at it.

Unlicensed medical marijuana shops face another deadline to shut down [Detroit Free Press]

More than 70 owners of unlicensed medical marijuana businesses in Michigan are once again facing a choice: shut down until they get a license from the state or jeopardize their chance of getting a license at all.

Applications open to enter lottery for 25 retail cannabis licenses in Ontario [Global News]

Ontario kicked off its application process Monday for the first 25 cannabis retail licences in the province, with the results of a lottery expected later this week. The government said the firm cap on the number of stores that will open this spring was needed due to what it called serious cannabis supply issues that had to be addressed by the federal government.

New York Bills Would Allow Medical Marijuana Smoking And Cannabis At Schools [Marijuana Moment]

There are two new pre-filed pieces of legislation on the table in the state Senate: one to allow patients to smoke marijuana and another that would permit qualifying students to have medical cannabis administered at school.

WORLD

UN Drug Commission Delays THC Rescheduling at 61 Session in Vienna, Austria [High Times]

The UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) failed to reschedule cannabis at the 61st Session in Vienna, Austria, last month, bucking the expectations of activists. Per an anticipated recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO), many believed the CND would remove tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from Schedules I and IV, and make the cannabinoid a Schedule II, or perhaps deschedule it all together. Fentanyl, tramadol, and synthetic cannabinoids were castigated by all, but cannabis containing more than one percent THC will remain a topic of debate until March 2019. That’s when the CND reconvenes to update UN narcotics conventions from 1961, 1971, and 1988 that guide drug policies for member states.

Joint Ventures: Greece Cultivates Business Opportunities in Cannabis [The Wall Street Journal]

European legalization trend sparks a boom for entrepreneurs in ‘the European California’ as medical use grows.

Over 120,000 patients use medicinal cannabis without professional supervision in Spain [EuroWeekly]

This is the finding of The Spanish Medicinal Cannabis Observatory, which has criticised the lack of regulation and expressed its ‘absolute perplexity to the current situation of therapeutic cannabis when there are thousands of preclinical and clinical studies that support its properties’.

Thailand approves medical marijuana in New Year’s ‘gift’ [ABC]

“This is a New Year’s gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people,” said Somchai Sawangkarn, chairman of the drafting committee, in a televised parliamentary session.

Germany delays roll-out of medical marijuana [DW]

Opposition lawmakers have rebuked the government for a “deliberate obstruction” of legal cannabis laws. Producers are likely to have to wait at least six more months to receive licenses.

How Britain became the world’s largest expert in medical marijuana [The Spectator]

The truth is that Britain has a thriving ‘legal’ cannabis industry, which exists alongside the black market. It uses Home Office permissions, as well as some legal loopholes, to generate hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue each year — with full support from the British government, which takes a cut from the proceeds. Last year, a UN report revealed that the success of this venture had made Britain the biggest producer and exporter of legal cannabis in the world. So when did it all begin? In 1998 a British biotech company called GW Pharmaceuticals was approved by the Home Office to conduct clinical trials on using weed to reduce seizures in patients living with the most serious types of epilepsy.

BUSINESS & POLICY

Here’s How the Government Shutdown Affects the Legal Cannabis Industry [Medical Marijuana Inc]

The US government shutdown entered its 17th day on Monday, as negotiations between Donald Trump and Democrats over funding for a border wall remain at a standstill. The shutdown has already impacted the nation’s legal cannabis industry. It has indefinitely paused the legal hemp industry because of closures at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It has also left state-legal medical marijuana patients and businesses susceptible to federal interference. Learn more about how the government shutdown is hurting the United States cannabis industry.

Study Finds Legalizing Marijuana Makes U.S. Southern Border Safer [Medical Marijuana Inc]

Changing state marijuana laws have led to significant reductions in marijuana smuggling at the U.S. border with Mexico. Expanding marijuana legalization in the United States has significantly reduced marijuana smuggling over the southern border, according to a new analysis from the Cato Institute. First reported by Tom Angell for Forbes, the analysis examined Border Patrol marijuana seizures between 2003 and 2018 and found that marijuana seizures started to fall sharply once Colorado and Washington became the first U.S. states to sell legal marijuana to adults in 2014.

The number of people testing positive for marijuana in workplace drug tests is exploding [Insider]

As more US states legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana, more people are using the substance. In fact, a new report from Quest Diagnostics found that more people are testing positive for marijuana in workplace drug tests, with 2017 being the fifth year in a row for increased marijuana detection in urine drug tests. In 2017, 2.6% of the general workforce tested positive for marijuana use.

Marijuana on a high as legalisation trend comes to a head [The Sydney Morning Herald]

The past year was a 12-month champagne toast for the legal marijuana industry as the global market exploded and cannabis pushed its way further into the financial and cultural mainstream. Liberal California became the largest legal marketplace in the United States, conservative Utah and Oklahoma embraced medical marijuana, and the east coast got its first commercial pot shops. Canada ushered in broad legalisation, and Mexico’s Supreme Court set the stage for that country to follow.

Get rich quick: Are cannabis products the new avocado on toast? [Independent]

CBD, one of the substances found in marijuana, has been lauded as the late 2018 hipster must-have. It’s a young industry and the smoke from its seedy past is disappearing, leaving room for  high-end marketing and money-making.

HEALTH & SCIENCE

New Study Suggests Veterinarians are Still Hesitant to Discuss CBD Treatments [The Marijuana Times]

Dog owners are increasingly interested in what CBD can do for their canine companions. But a recent study shows dog owners may have to find other avenues of information regarding CBD – avenues that do not include their dog’s veterinarian.

Epidiolex Loses Effectiveness Over Time in Stark Contrast to Real Cannabis Medicine [Rx Leaf]

It is almost five months since the Food and Drug Administration approved, for the first time, a cannabis-derived medication, called Epidiolex. This pharmaceutical,  primarily composed of extracted cannabidiol (CBD), targets the treatment of two forms of severe epilepsy: Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Unfortunately, ongoing clinical trials reveal that Epidiolex loses effectiveness within a year, for many patients. This is typical of epileptic medicines, but it is very disappointing for a drug that tried to be cannabis.

The Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Terpenoids from Cannabis [Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research]

Different chemotypes of cannabis have a distinctive composition of terpenoids. These essential oils do have anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities that vary according to their composition. None of the essential oils was as effective as CBD. We suggest that terpenoids may be used to diminute acute inflammation effect, whereas the cannabinoids to inhibit chronic inflammation symptoms.

Cannabis treatment for anxiety? It’s all in the strain [GrowthOp]

The study with GAD patients is one of the first to look closely at different strains and the medicinal benefits they might offer.

Feds To Spend $1.5 Million On Research Into Marijuana’s Lesser Known Components [Marijuana Moment]

The US federal government plans to award $1.5 million in grants during the 2019 fiscal year to researchers who study how components of marijuana other than THC affect pain. In a notice about the funding opportunity published on Thursday, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) said that it was seeking applications from researchers to conduct studies on “minor cannabinoids and terpenes.” The aim of the grants will be to learn how these components work—separately and when combined—as potential pain-relieving agents.

CULTURE & SOCIETY

Why 2019 Will Be the Year of Weed [Rolling Stone]

From more states legalizing to a boom of new kinds of products, here’s what to expect from the cannabis industry this year.

Study: Festival Attendees Use Different Drugs Based On Music Genre, But They All Love Marijuana [Marijuana Moment]

What the study revealed was close associations between certain styles of music and different drugs identified in wastewater. MDMA and cocaine were especially prevalent during dance and pop festivals, alcohol and tobacco were common at metal and multi-genre festivals and cannabis was used across the board “independently on the music genre preferences,” though it did increase at a higher rate during pop and rock events.

OTHER DRUGS

Rally in support of festival pill testing organized in Sydney [MixMag]

A rally has recently been organized in Sydney by the political party Keep Sydney Open and anti-lockout law advocates such as by Reclaim The Streets, Sniff Off and Unharm to protest the government’s decision to prevent pill testing trials from taking place at music events.

NZ to Implement Pill Testing, While Aussie MPs Bury Their Heads in the Sand [Sydney Criminal Lawyers]

“In a few years’ time, pill testing will be available in all states and territories and the politicians who held out for so long will seem as out of touch as the politicians who opposed marriage equality,” Dr Wodak concluded. “Once again, the ACT government will have led the way.”

The young deserve protection, whether they’re taking risks or not [The Age]

Governments are lagging behind on truly embracing safety-based strategies towards recreational drugs. Our young people are being killed with increasing frequency, but we refuse to change policy. They say stupidity is doing the same thing and expecting different results – are we displaying our stupidity, or do we simply not care?

FUNDRAISERS/CAMPAIGNS/PETITIONS/SURVEYS

Gateway to Good Health [Weed Billboards]

The war on drugs and in particular cannabis is well past its use by date in Australia and in an effort to keep the issue on the agenda we have started a weed billboards campaign. Excited that our first billboard is up just north of Grafton in NSW.

It costs $5K for a year, and we’d like to grow weed billboards all around the country. We’d love your help to spread the weed, so there is a gofundme site where you can donate.

Please send in billboard suggestions! We’d like this campaign to support messages from various cannabis and drug law reform groups around Australia, so it would be great to pool resources to create more and more new billboards. We are open to all creative ideas, and any size donations.

We just want an end to being criminals for using one of nature’s absolute gifts.

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

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

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: The Nimbin Hemp Embassy hits the ground running in 2019 with another of their popular Medican Workshops. Special Guest Leah Bisiani (MHlthSc/DipBus/RN1/Dementia Consultant/Learning & Advisory) will be a key speaker. Leah has 35 years experience within aged-dementia care establishing a highly skilled knowledge basis as a global leader in this field. In recent years she has become a popular and prominent speaker here and overseas at medical cannabis conferences and symposiums. “Potent opioid analgesics are widely prescribed within the aged care sector in Australia,” she says, “yet these agents are associated with the highest degree of drug related harm.”

Mind Medicine Australia [Prism News]

13 February 2019, Melbourne, VIC

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]

18-19 May 2019, Rosehill Racecourse, Rosehill, Sydney NSW

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]