AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

Victoria has high hopes of becoming cannabis bowl of Australia [ABC]

Authorities have only granted 3,200 approvals for the legal use of the medicine in two-and-a-half decades, but with 2,500 of those coming last year, the sector is forecasting a year of big growth.

4 Reasons to Invest in the Australian Cannabis Market [The Green Fund]

Australia is building its’ own field of green. Increasing public support for legalisation, strong ties to the expanding Asian market, and its’ decades of experience as a large-scale agricultural exporter will ensure that the country’s ascension to cannabis-producing powerhouse is almost inevitable.

Greenfern Medicinal Marijuana predicts cannabis sales to boom [NZ Herald]

A new Auckland advertisement tips medicinal cannabis sales to be the next hot thing and has urged mum and dad investors to put their money behind the product. Greenfern Medicinal Marijuana today put up billboards across Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton and Christchurch, likening the future sale of medicinal cannabis to striking gold or oil. “We’ve struck oil in Taranaki. Want to invest?”, the billboards read.

Tightly regulated framework likely for 2020 vote on cannabis [NZ Herald]

The 2020 referendum to legalise cannabis looks likely to propose a tightly regulated framework, including strict rules on supply and possession, an age limit of at least 18, and a non-profit model where money from sales may be funnelled into health services.

NORTH AMERICA

Trump Attorney General Pick Puts Marijuana Enforcement Pledge In Writing [Forbes]

William Barr, President Trump’s nominee to serve as the next U.S. attorney general, made headlines earlier this month when he pledged during his Senate confirmation hearing not to “go after” marijuana companies that comply with state laws. Now, in response to written questions from senators, Barr is putting that pledge on paper, in black and white. He’s also calling for the approval of more legal growers of marijuana for research, and is acknowledging that a recent bill legalizing hemp has broad implications for sale of cannabis products.

Is Buying Marijuana Online Legal? [The Marijuana Times]

Interestingly, all over the U.S. people are starting to try – and in many cases, succeed – to buy their cannabis online. In fact, according to a recent study posted in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the number of people who look to buy their marijuana from online retailers has risen by 300 percent from 2005 to 2017.

Owners of Sweet Leaf dispensary chain sentenced to a year in prison for illegal marijuana distribution [Denver Post]

In a landmark case involving licensed Colorado marijuana retailers, the owners of the shuttered Sweat Leaf dispensary chain each were sentenced to one year in prison Friday for their role in selling large quantities of pot to the same customers in the same day.

Baltimore Will Stop Prosecuting Marijuana Possession Cases [Marijuana Moment]

“We need to get serious about prioritizing what actually makes us safe, and no one who is serious about public safety can honestly say that spending resources to jail people for marijuana use is a smart way to use our limited time and money,” Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a press release.

WORLD

New Russian bill may legalize importation of cannabis for medical research [RT]

The Russian Health Ministry has drafted a bill authorizing the importation of cannabis for the purpose of studying the drug’s “addiction-causing capacities.”

Thailand suspends patent applications for medical marijuana [ABC News]

Thailand’s military government on Monday suspended the licensing of commercial marijuana-based products for medical use amid concern that foreign pharmaceutical companies might try to monopolize the market.

Medical Marijuana Exports Get Approval From Israel Cabinet [Bloomberg]

The Israeli cabinet approved medical cannabis exports, opening up a new market for producers.

Germany is looking for its first-ever (legal) pot growers [Bloomberg]

The government is moving to assure a local supply of the drug by giving out grower contracts for 10,400 kilograms (22,928 pounds) of pot over the next four years. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices’s so-called Cannabis Agency will choose between 79 bidders from growers by the end of June, the agency said on Monday.

Philippines House of Representatives Approves Medical Cannabis Use, Production [Talking Drugs]

The lower house of the Philippines Congress has approved a bill to legalise medical cannabis consumption and production, which has the support of hard-line President Rodrigo Duterte.

BUSINESS & POLICY

George Papadopoulos Joins Medical Marijuana Startup After Political Exile [Observer]

Former Trump campaign official George Papadopoulos, who pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI, joined the advisory board of C3 International, a cannabis company.

Unionizing Weed Workers Are Reigniting the Labor Movement [Vice]

In an industry with a long history of sexual harassment, workers getting paid with drugs, and other rough conditions, unions see opportunity.

The Next GW Pharmaceuticals May be Emerging [Equities]

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. Every year it affects around 10 million people and about 75% of those are women. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, by age 80% approximately 8% of all adults qualify as having the condition. Tetra-Bio-Pharma Inc. is far and away the most advanced company in studying the effects of smokable cannabis on fibromyalgia. This morning the company filed for a patent related to its cannabinoid-based drug, PPP001.

As marijuana firms flourish, Canadian exchange will hold lottery for the stock ticker POT [Chicago Tribune]

The stock symbol POT is up for grabs on Canadian exchanges, and demand is so high that a lottery is being held for the first time ever to determine who gets it. POT, previously the ticker for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan before it merged with Agrium to form Nutrien, becomes available for use Friday. Not surprisingly, the cannabis-themed symbol has attracted “significant interest,” according to a staff notice published by the Toronto Stock Exchange.

HEALTH & SCIENCE

New Study Shows Cannabis Effective for Chemotherapy-Related Symptoms [Medical Marijuana Inc]

Patients diagnosed with advanced stages of cancer who use cannabis during chemotherapy experience greater improvements in treatment-related symptoms, according to the findings of a new study published in the journal Anti-Cancer Drugs.

New Cannabis Research Center to explore environmental, social impacts of legalization [Berkeley News]

UC Berkeley’s new Cannabis Research Center, announced today by a multidisciplinary team of faculty, will explore how cannabis production impacts the environment and society, and how these impacts will evolve under new regulations set in place by legalization.

Marijuana Study: CBD Can Actually Enhance, Rather Than Counteract, High Caused By THC [Marijuana Moment]

A team of Australian researchers recruited 36 individuals, some of whom were regular users and others who consumed infrequently, and administered vaporized marijuana in various doses to learn how different concentrations of the two ingredients affected the participants.

Cannabis cookies given to boy, 4, for temper tantrums [BBC]

A California doctor is fighting for his licence after he prescribed cannabis cookies to a four-year-old boy.

New study analyzes cost effectiveness of smoked cannabis to treat chronic neuropathic pain [EurekAlert!]

Smoked cannabis as an adjunctive second-line therapy to treat chronic peripheral neuropathy can be both effective and cost-effective. The results of a new study simulating its use in one million patients are published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Pain Relief, Cannabinoids, and Neuroplasticity With Dr. Michael Moskowitz [Leafly]

The most amazing thing about the progress in cannabis medicine is that most of it is being made by individuals. People are experimenting on themselves to find relief, create products, and discover remedies for a variety of illnesses and diseases. It’s 2019, we can go to the moon, we can create artificial intelligence, but we are still in the dark about the many miracles of medical cannabis.

New Hemp Analyzer Provides Fast, Easy Determination of Cannabinoid Content [Analytical Cannabis]

A Little Weed may Change the Teenage Brain [Analytical Cannabis]

Teenagers who report using recreational marijuana just once or twice display increased volume of numerous brain regions, according to a study of 14-year-olds from Ireland, England, France, and Germany. The research, published in JNeurosci, warrants further study of low-level cannabis use among adolescents amid changing societal attitudes toward the drug.

Cannabinoids could help manage spasticity in motor neurone disease [the Pharmaceutical Journal]

After six weeks, researchers found that patients using an oromucosal spray containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol had improved spasticity compared with the placebo group, in which patients found their spasticity deteriorated.

CULTURE & SOCIETY

Future Weed: Formulations, Patents and Where Cannabis Is Going Next [Rolling Stone]

As cannabis users embrace concentrates, companies are isolating chemicals to make reliable products — and it’s making weed products intellectual property.

OTHER DRUGS

I’m ‘coming out’ about drugs: it’s time get real about pill testing [The Sydney Morning Herald]

As lawmakers we won’t save lives by sticking our heads in the sand. We won’t save lives by telling the public things that don’t ring true with their own and others experience. It’s beyond time for an honest discussion about drugs if we are to keep young people safe who choose to take them. I know from experience just how many of them will.

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.

E-Petition: Legalise cannabis for recreational use [Parliament of Victoria]

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

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

EDUCATION

‘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]

View five new EGA video presentations on ethnobotanical plants and psychedelics [Entheogenesis Australis]

To mark the anniversary of our special gathering and end the year on a high note, we’ve released five new videos of talks from the Psychedelic Symposium that are now available to watch online and can also be found below in this email.