AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

‘Green wave’: Businesses look to medicinal cannabis [Sydney Morning Herald]

With cannabis legalised in some parts of Australia for medicinal use, businesses are positioning themselves for what is tipped to be a ‘green wave’ of opportunity.

Garden State hoping to bloom into Australia’s medical cannabis capital [Finfeed]

Last year, Victoria released Australia’s first-ever medicinal cannabis industry development plan, mapping out a framework for government support of the fast-growing industry. The strategy aims to have the state supply half of Australia’s pot by 2028, along with the creation of 500 local jobs.

Aussie Cannabis Company Pledges 50% Of Profits From New Hemp Gin To Indigenous Project [PR Wire]

Australia’s fastest growing purveyors of all things cannabis have just announced that they will be pledging 50% of profits from the first release of their new Jilungin Dreaming Hemp Gin to an Indigenous land and fire management project in the Kimberley region.

Medicinal cannabis gives comfort to toddler with extremely rare ‘lethal condition’ [NZ Herald]

An Invercargill toddler with a condition likely to cut her life short at the age of 4 is finding some comfort thanks to medicinal cannabis.

Rub of the Green: Six Kiwi cannabis firms to watch [NZ Herald]

Like the opportunist panners who rushed to gold-rich regions decades before, cannabis pioneers are also looking to strike it lucky.

NORTH AMERICA

Oregon’s regulated cannabis industry is so overstocked with product that it could meet consumer demand for the next six and a half years, according to the state’s analysis of the market.

WORLD

World Health Organization recommends rescheduling cannabis, provides clarity on CBD [Marijuana Business Daily]

In a historical statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced its recommendation to Governments to delete cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. bit.ly/2HP7Rjf

European Cannabis Market Grew More In 2018 Than It Did The Previous 6 Years Combined [The Marijuana Times]

According to The European Cannabis Report,“Over the last twelve months, the European cannabis industry has grown more than it has in the last six years. Six countries have announced new legislation and over €500m [$570.28] has been invested in European cannabis businesses.” This is the fourth edition of this report from research group Prohibition Partners, who specialise in explaining the latest legislative developments and key industry trends in the cannabis industry.

In Indonesia, One Group Fights to Reform Zero-Tolerance Cannabis Laws [Leafly]

While many nations are moving toward an acceptance of legal cannabis, Indonesia continues to enforce some of the deadliest cannabis laws in the world. The Southeast Asian archipelago is home to nearly 261 million people, and despite a harsh no-tolerance drug policy, cannabis remains the most widely used illegal substance in the country.

Can Legal Cannabis Curtail Mexico’s Cartel Activity? [Civilized]

Some believe cannabis is a miracle. Others view it as a commodity. For Mexico, it represents a soothing balm that could, in part, heal a nation in need, as citizens aim to rid their land of those who value profits above morals and lives. If — or more likely, when — the country decides to officially enact a federally regulated cannabis market, it will not be the final blow to cartels, but perhaps it can serve as a desperately needed first punch.

79 applications received for 13 contracts to cultivate medical cannabis in Germany [Marijuana Business Daily]

German officials report high interest in domestic cultivation, with 79 applications submitted for the 13 contracts to be granted.

Ukraine’s Acting Health Minister endorses legalization of medical cannabis [112 International]

Ulyana Suprun, Acting Health Minister of Ukraine urges for the legalization of medical cannabis in Ukraine. The official claims that access to certain medications based on this substance would help implement their right for medical assistance.

Medical cannabis is now in the UK, but nobody can get a prescription [420 Intel]

Three months later campaigners say that only handful have actually received a medical cannabis prescription since November 2018, and that the few who did manage to get a prescription have not actually been able to access medical cannabis – due to problems with persuading specialists that cannabis is the right option, obtaining licenses for cannabis-based products, and even transporting them once they’re in the UK.

Malta: a centre of excellence for medical cannabis [Health Europa]

Malta is a small country with big ambitions to reinvent itself as the medical cannabis capital of Europe. Speaking at the Medical Cannabis World Forum, Parliamentary Secretary Dr Deo Debattista explained how it will get there.

‘Make it legal and give us control’, Swiss pharmacies tell government [420 Intel]

In the shadow of Davos, while the world’s top movers and shakers were moving and shaking, the president of the Pharmacy Association in Zurich, Valeria Dora, said last week that cannabis use amongst Swiss residents is up and that legalization is the only sensible option.

Philippines Senate panel opens hearing on legalizing medical marijuana [Inquirer.net]

The Senate committee on health and demography, chaired by Sen. JV Ejercito, aims to tackle a House bill that seeks to legalize and regulate the use of medical cannabis (marijuana) and expand research into marijuana’s medicinal properties.

BUSINESS & POLICY

Pot without plants is the goal of new cannabis fermentation venture [420 Intel]

A US$255 million deal to convert sugar into cannabis-chemicals is opening the door to an era of pot without plants.

Federal Agencies Can Fire Employees for Accidentally Using Marijuana, Federal Court Rules [Government Executive]

American federal agencies can fire employees for failing a drug test, a federal court said in a recent precedent-setting ruling, even if the employees ingested the illicit drug by accident.

HEALTH & SCIENCE

Growth of legal pot farms drives smog worries [Science]

Researchers have long known that VOCs emitted by plants can contribute to smog. VOCs can mix with nitrogen oxides—produced by cars and industrial sources—in sunlight-driven reactions that produce ground-level ozone, a pollutant. Vizuete’s study confirmed that pot plants are a rich source of potent VOCs called terpenes, which give cannabis its dank smell. And it suggested the tens of thousands of plants in Denver’s indoor farms—which are mostly found along two busy highways—could, under a worst case scenario, double the city’s volume of smog-forming VOCs.

Unexpected results suggest a few joints may not harm men’s sperm [EurekAlert!]

Researchers investigating the effect of cannabis smoking on men’s testicular function have made the unexpected discovery that it is linked to higher sperm counts and higher testosterone levels among moderate users compared to men who never smoked it. The study is published in Human Reproduction, one of the world’s leading reproductive medicine journals.

Cannabinoid compounds may inhibit growth of colon cancer cells [MedicalXpress]

The researchers tested the effects of synthetic cannabinoid on in an experiment in . While the compounds most commonly associated with cannabis—THC and CBD—showed little to no effect, 10 other compounds were effective at inhibiting .

Cannabis may help relieve Autism symptoms, Israeli study shows [The Times of Israel]

Researchers record sharp improvement in measures such as quality of life, ability to dress and shower independently after 6 months of cannabis oil treatment.

Study shows 45% of patients end benzodiazepine use with cannabis [Digital Journal]

On Thursday, Canadian cannabis company, Aleafia Health Inc. released what it believes is the first study reporting reduced benzodiazepine use among patients initiated and monitored on medical cannabis.

Are Cannabinoids the Future of Dermatology? [The Dermatologist]

An increasing number of studies are addressing gaps in the understanding and use of these biologic agents. Although their efficacy in specific dermatologic applications requires further research, dermatologists are well positioned to be pioneers in using cannabinoids to understand and treat inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.

New study explores why women use marijuana during pregnancy [MedicalXpress]

The study, published this month in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found that pregnant marijuana users considered their habit to be relatively harmless, but they did have some reservations about potential effects on the developing fetus. Fear of legal action kept them from discussing these concerns with their .

Here’s the number one reason people use medical marijuana [420 Intel]

A new study from the Health Affairs journal found that the number one reason people use medical marijuana is to treat chronic pain.

Women and Baby Boomers Increasingly Turning to Cannabis, Market Report Shows [Medical Marijuana Inc]

The report also reveals that CBD was “the breakout star of the year” as more turn to cannabis as a wellness tool.

CULTURE & SOCIETY

Emergency calls for pets eating cannabis surge 765% over past decade [The Guardian]

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) poison control center operates a 24-hour hotline. Operators normally get calls about dogs that have eaten chocolate, or cats that have chewed at a potted plant. But they are increasingly dealing with stoned pets. In 2008, they received 208 calls about pets consuming marijuana. In 2018, they received more than 1,800.

OTHER DRUGS

‘It paralyses everything’: PM’s kava plan flies in the face of elders’ concerns and police evidence [ABC]

Mr Morrison announced his plan to ease the restrictions on kava imports during his recent trip to Vanuatu and other Pacific nations.

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

Harvest Festival & Cannabis Cup [New Zealand]

20-21 April 2019, Dunedin NZ

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.