AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

Embassy hosts first 2019 Medican [EchoNet Daily]

Whether you love or hate the idea, ever-controversial medical cannabis looks like it’s here to stay, and in Nimbin, the HEMP Embassy’s mission is to keep you well informed on the subject.

Ex-Qld premier Newman wants drug debate [The Australian]

A former conservative leader of Queensland says drugs and their use should be legalised.

Criminals eye medicinal cannabis [The Australian]

High demand for a stake in Australia’s medicinal cannabis industry — including from people with links to organised crime — has caught the regulator unprepared and under-resourced, an internal audit has found.

World first clinical trial will study impact of medicinal cannabis on Australians with malignant brain tumours [Endeavour]

The phase 2 trial will examine whether high THC medicinal cannabis* can be tolerated by people with glioma (a type of brain tumour) and if it can affect tumour growth when taken with standard treatment, according to lead researcher Dr Janet Schloss, the Clinical Trials Coordinator at Endeavour College of Natural Health. (*THC is the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis).

Moving beyond stigma: Australian firm releases ‘World First’ cannabis gin with eye on wider global market [Food Navigator Asia]

Melbourne-based The Cannabis Company has released what it calls the ‘world’s first ever gin distilled using cannabis terpenes’, which sold out its first batch within just three days.

Senator David Leyonhjelm will quit federal politics to contest NSW state election [News]

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm is keen on legalising cannabis in NSW as he quits federal politics to contest the state election.

WA hemp industry riding high with more growers [The West Australian]

WA is on track to have an important and profitable hemp industry, after big increases in the number of growers and hectares planted this year. According to HempGro, the recently formed WA hemp growers’ co-operative, active licensed growers increased from 39 to 70 in 2018, and hectares planted grew from 77 to 193 compared with a year earlier.

NORTH AMERICA

Bill Barr Says He’s “Not Going After” Marijuana In States Where It’s Legal [BuzzFeed News]

Bill Barr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for US attorney general, told the Senate on Tuesday he would not bust marijuana businesses that abide by state legalization laws. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to upset those interests,” Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a confirmation hearing, citing a policy of tolerance toward marijuana established under the Obama administration.

California collecting far less than expected in marijuana taxes [Market Watch]

Budget reveals diminished projection as illegal market still flourishes.

Legislator proposes bill in support of marijuana in Washington state schools [Sequim Gazette]

A bill proposed by Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, would allow marijuana on school campuses for students who require aid for medical conditions.

Rhode Island Governor Proposes Recreational Marijuana Legalization [Medical Marijuana Inc]

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo on Sunday announced she would formally propose in her budget this week to legalize recreational marijuana. Raimondo said it was “inevitable” that Rhode Island would soon be encircled by states with legalized marijuana, requiring that Rhode Island to do the same.

Illinois Governor Pledges To Legalize Marijuana In Inaugural Address [Marijuana Moment]

“In the interests of keeping the public safe from harm, expanding true justice in our criminal justice system, and advancing economic inclusion, I will work with the legislature to legalize, tax and regulate the sale of recreational cannabis in Illinois,” Pritzker said in remarks shortly after taking the oath of office.

Canadians Spent $1.6 Billion on Legal Weed in 2018: Report [Vice]

Canadians spent $1.6 billion (£938 million) on legal weed in 2018, more than double the amount that was spent on solely medical cannabis in 2017, according to a new report.

Legalization Included in New York Gov.’s Budget [Ganjapreneur]

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday outlined his support for adult-use cannabis legalization in the state, estimating it would reap $300 million in tax revenues which would be deposited into the “Marihuana Revenue Fund” after enforcement costs and funds for alcohol and drug abuse programs.

First medical marijuana sold in Ohio as dispensaries open [10 TV]

One of the first, if not the first, person to purchase medical marijuana in Ohio on Wednesday morning thinks the much-anticipated opening of dispensaries is a “great day” for the state.

Outrage after ‘microdosed candy’ placed on car windows following Vancouver cannabis conference [Vancouver Sun]

Liberal MLA Jas Johal is calling for pot enforcement now, after several small black packages with “microdosed candy” were placed on the windshields of cars parked outside a Vancouver marijuana conference over the weekend.

Former boxer Mike Tyson launched a marijuana-focused podcast.

WORLD

Trinidad and Tobago to Decriminalise Cannabis, Consider Legalisation [Talking Drugs]

As cannabis reform sweeps the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago has announced it will hold public consultations on the matter, prior to decriminalising the drug for personal use in June 2019.

Regulations being drafted in Thailand for growing medical marijuana [The Nation]

The Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing draft regulations to support the upcoming launch of medical-marijuana farming.

Finance minister Ncube open to cannabis exports as Zimbabwe battles forex crunch [New Zimbabwe]

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has backed calls for Zimbabwe to grow cannabis for export to take advantage of the growing global legal marijuana market.

Arroyo on medical marijuana: It works [Philippines Inquirer]

Speaker Gloria Macapagal–Arroyo on Tuesday vouched for the effectiveness of marijuana for medical purposes and admitted using a marijuana pain patch for her spinal condition when she is in a country that allows it.

Asia’s budding interest in corporate cannabis [Asia Times]

One after another, Asian nations are rethinking their stance on marijuana. Growing commercial acceptance and promised economic gains of legalization have spurred a wave of liberalization that has seen a rising number of industrialized countries allow the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. Pot has gone from illicit substance to up-and-coming commodity in the span of a few years as global investors, portfolio managers and high-ranking executives tread on what was once the turf of the neighborhood dealer.

European Union Laying Groundwork For Legalizing Medical Marijuana [the Fresh Toast]

Medicinal cannabis is creeping up the European Union agenda as legislators prepare to divert cash into research of the drug and begin laying the groundwork for a harmonized set of laws across the bloc. Health committee politicians in the European Parliament, the EU’s directly elected legislative, voted in late 2018 to approve a draft resolution on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, and now the proposals will head to the bloc’s executive to be turned into a concrete proposal.

Chinese Delegation Heads to Israel to Explore Cannabis [Caixin Global]

A delegation of Chinese entrepreneurs and academic researchers in the fields of technology and agriculture will meet cannabis researchers in Israel next week. The delegation is also set to meet with Israeli firms working in the field, including pharmaceutical companies and those developing technological innovations in the medicinal use of the plant.

UK MPs criticise NHS over failure to prescribe medical cannabis [The Guardian]

There is a “serious cultural block within the NHS around medical cannabis”, according to MPs. The criticism comes after it emerged that the family of the first child to be prescribed medical cannabis after its legalisation must pay almost £10,000 a year to access the privately prescribed medicine as they follow a bureaucratic “assault course”.

BUSINESS & POLICY

Canadian law firm launches cannabis newsletter [Legal Cheek]

Megafirm Allen & Overy is touting for business in the legal cannabis market, with its cannabis law team launching a new “legal and regulatory update newsletter” yesterday.

Top business lessons from 5 years of legal recreational cannabis sales in Colorado [Marijuana Business Daily]

Marijuana Business Daily surveyed several Colorado cannabis company owners of both plant-touching and ancillary businesses to suss out the lessons they’ve learned since 2014.

Sen. Chuck Schumer Welcomes Major Cannabis Company To New York’s Hemp Industry [Marijuana Moment]

Canadian marijuana giant Canopy Growth Corporation will enter the nascent U.S. hemp industry by building a massive farming and production center in southern New York, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced on Monday.

Weed firms are using Instagram influencers to dodge regulations [Wired]

Weed influencers use social media to post about anything weed-adjacent. Sometimes that’s discussing specific strains, recommending stores in their areas to get paraphernalia or products from, or reviewing equipment or edibles. They tend to be young women and mainly post on YouTube and Instagram. One reason weed influencers are on the up is the difficulty of marketing cannabis even in places it has been legalised, including Canada and certain US states.

Hemp Bets Grow After Crop Is Legalized [Wall Street Journal]

Farmers, food makers rush into potentially volatile market for products containing cannabidiol.

Shoppers Drug Mart lights up medical cannabis e-commerce sales portal [Ottawa Business Journal]

Shoppers Drug Mart’s e-commerce platform for medical cannabis launched Tuesday, a month after Health Canada licensed the company to sell the product online. Product information is available nationally, but Shoppers Drug Mart can initially only sell medical cannabis to patients in Ontario.

It’s time to look beyond cannabis and talk about how we regulate stimulants. [Transform]

The question of how we should regulate a legal market in stimulant drugs, including cocaine, MDMA and amphetamines, remains one of the most unexplored challenges in contemporary drugs policy. It is a void Transform’s upcoming book on stimulant regulation aims to fill.

HEALTH & SCIENCE

How Dangerous is Marijuana, Really? [The Marshall Project]

On Jan. 7, The Marshall Project published an interview with Alex Berenson, a former New York Times reporter and author of “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence,” which warns that the rush to legalize the drug has obscured evidence of its dangers. The interview stirred up a storm on social media, so we decided to enlarge the discussion.

Cannabis Use Linked to Reduced Risk of Alcohol-Induced Pancreatitis & Alcoholic Gastritis [Medical Marijuana Inc]

Those who partake in heavy alcohol drinking and also use cannabis are at a reduced risk of developing pancreatic gastritis and alcoholic gastritis compared to heavy drinkers who don’t use cannabis, according to a pair of new studies published in the journal Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research.

U.S. Surgeon General Believes It’s High Time To Think About Science-Driven Policy For Cannabis Research [Forbes]

Countries like China and Israel, where federal funds are appropriated for cannabis research, are seeing vigorous innovations that could shift the entire global market for pain relief within the world’s aging population alone.

What Is CBN? Cannabinol Is Said To Help With Sleep, But Here’s What Experts Have To Say About It [Bustle]

Cannabinol, also known as CBN, is a cannabis-derived compound that’s been linked to helping with sleep — and is also being hailed as the next big thing in wellness. While CBD is more associated with general calming and relaxation effects, CBN is being incorporated into new products like oils and sublingual strips as way to assist in getting a better night’s sleep.

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]

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

Garden States – A forum for cultivating ethnobotanical plants & knowledge [Entheogenesis Australis]

12 May 2019, Melbourne VIC

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]