AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
Elixinol just bought land in NSW to grow pot and changed its name to the Australian indigenous word ‘Nunyara’ [Stockhead]
Elixinol Global Limited just paid $2.6m for 60 acres of land in northern NSW on which it hopes to grow medical cannabis. It’s so confident in the healing properties of hemp, it’s renamed its subsidiary, Elixinol Australia Pty Ltd, to Nunyara Pharma Pty Ltd. “‘Nunyara’,” Elixinol states, “is an Australian indigenous word meaning ‘to be made well again’.” The land also includes a 5000 sq m footprint on a block inside the property for the first stage of a “planned facility” – namely, greenhouses.
Labor frontbench to push for household limit on legal cannabis plants [The Sydney Morning Herald]
The Labor frontbench will flag plans to set a limit on the number of cannabis plants households can have, when a bill to legalise the drug returns to the ACT Legislative Assembly. It will also move to keep the number of plants an individual can legally grow at two and set restrictions to stop the drug being grown on verges.
The TGA has released its latest data on the use of unapproved medicinal cannabis products in Australia. Such products can be accessed through the Authorised Prescriber Scheme (AP), the Special Access Scheme (SAS) and through clinical trials. When products in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) are found to not be clinically suitable, the SAS provides a pathway for prescribers to access unapproved products for individual patients on a case-by-case basis, explains the TGA.
After years of unrelenting pain, Mr Read approached a local GP about possible treatment with medicinal cannabis and was offered a low dose. He said “within a week” he realised it was making a difference. “It’s been remarkable how quickly it transformed my day-to-day living,” Mr Read said.
Medical marijuana is on the rise in Australia, but we still don’t know a lot about how it works [ABC]
Thousands of Australians are now using medicinal cannabis to treat conditions like chronic pain and anorexia. Yesterday, the ABC revealed more than 3,100 medicinal cannabis scripts had been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) since the Federal Government relaxed restrictions in March 2018. According to experts, these people were just the tip of the iceberg. It has been estimated as many as 100,000 Australians self-medicate with cannabis they’ve acquired illegally.
Advocates of the drug say it offers a safe and effective solution to people with intractable medical conditions. But critics, and some of Australia’s leading medical experts, argue there’s limited quality evidence to support the use of medicinal cannabis in most conditions. So, what do we know about it? And why, in some cases, is it still so little?
It’s time to change our drug dog policies to catch dealers, not low-level users at public events [The Conversation]
In the early 2000s New South Wales became the first Australian state to introduce drug detection dogs for policing, with the aim of “targeting drug supply” and “attacking the root causes of drugs” in society. It gave police powers to use specially trained dogs to sniff for drugs in designated public places without the use of a warrant. Drug dog policies have since expanded across all states of Australia and many other parts of the globe.
But our new research shows it’s an ineffective tool for targeting drug supply because it catches low-level users rather than suppliers. We also show this is an inevitable byproduct of where drug dogs are deployed: public settings such as licensed premises and festivals. After almost 20 years of such policies, it’s time for reform.
The Government’s binding referendum on personal cannabis use at the 2020 general election has sparked speculation around how products could be regulated. However, what requires more immediate public attention is getting a good regulatory framework in place for the recent legalisation of medicinal cannabis.
The vast majority of Canadian cannabis sales will be made through the black market in 2019 [420 Intel]
The legal cannabis industry has been plagued with a number of issues since it was first introduced last October. Because of these problems, licensed cannabis businesses have failed to achieve one of the primary goals of legalization: overtaking the black market. In 2019, roughly 71 percent of recreational cannabis sales will be made through the black market, according to a recent industry analysis by Scotiabank. The Canadian financial institution said that numerous kinks in the legal industry need to be worked out before it can truly own the marijuana market.
It has been four months since cannabis became legal in Canada and, in that span of time, the City of Edmonton has only given out three bylaw violation tickets for cannabis smoking.
New Mexico Senate OKs Medical Cannabis in Schools [Ganjapreneur]
Approximately 175 students in New Mexico are prescribed medical cannabis. The bill would allow school officials to administer cannabis in the same way that other prescription drugs are currently given to students. Districts would be allowed to opt out locally if they decide they might lose federal funding due to the policy. With that in mind, however, there’s also an appeal process for parents in districts that have opted out.
BUSINESS & POLICY
Democratic 2020 Candidates on Cannabis and Other Drug Policy [Talking Drugs]
The push for drug policy reform, particularly cannabis legalisation, has become increasingly popular on the US left since the 2016 election. Many of the main candidates for President Trump’s challenger in 2020 have pledged progressive reform – but for some, their records don’t match up with their rhetoric.
In the 33 US states where the drug is legal for medical or recreational use, at least 10 fires or explosions have occurred in the past five years at facilities that extract hash oil used in edible products. Nearly all resulted in serious injuries for production-line staff.
Bodega owners want state politicians to allow them to sell marijuana in the city’s 15,000 stores if legal cannabis gets the green light. Workers at Anthony’s Mini Market bodega in the Bronx know the cost illegal marijuana had on their community. “It would be a good benefit because out of a 100, probably 90 get arrested – and not anymore,” said bodega worker Max Flanders. That is why social justice advocates say when recreational marijuana becomes legalized in New York, targets of criminal enforcement – low-income, minority communities should reap the financial rewards. “All this money should not go to white-owned businesses. It should not go to corporate America. It should be shared with the underdogs,” said Fernando Mateo of United Bodegas of America.
Critics argue that marijuana dispensaries are magnets for crime. A new study found an association between marijuana dispensaries and increases in rates of crime and disorder in neighborhoods in Denver, Colorado, shortly after Colorado commenced legal retail sales of marijuana. “But we also found that the strongest associations between dispensaries and crime weakened significantly over time.”
At the end of last year, the think tank the Centre for Social Justice published its report ‘Cannabis: The Case Against Legalisation’, a systematic take-down of why the UK should not follow the path of legalisation. While the CSJ’s entry into the cannabis debate should be welcomed, fundamental flaws in the report present a misleading picture of the potential consequences of legalisation.
A recent Business Insider article notes that the acres of farmland used for hemp production increased by 140 percent from 2016 to 2017, and USA Today notes that the CBD market — largely fueled by the wellness and cosmetics industries — is on target to hit $3 billion globally and more than $2 billion in the U.S. by 2021. Those three remarkable statements are all tied together by a common theme; since the federal government legalized hemp production for research in 2014, there has been an enormous burst of research and development focused around the use of hemp CBD in all sorts of products.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
Today, researchers announced that the first randomized controlled trial of whole plant (botanical) marijuana as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms has been formally completed, with all 76 veterans having been enrolled and treated. The data from the study are now being analyzed and prepared for publication later this year in a peer-reviewed biomedical journal.
Synthetic cannabis may slow the growth of bowel cancer, a new study suggests.
Women with endometriosis report that cannabis is most effective at self-managing their pain, according to data published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Half of dementia sufferers may be helped by a cannabis-based mouth spray, experts claim. British researchers want to test whether the peppermint-flavoured treatment can reduce agitation experienced by many with the disease.
Cannabinoids Could Help Manage EB-related Pain [Epidermolysis Bullosa News]
Oral use of cannabinoids — derivatives of cannabis — could help manage pain and the urge to scratch in epidermolysis bullosa (EB) patients, according to a study that evaluated three case reports.
CULTURE & SOCIETY
If this Sunday’s Oscars speeches are a little more bizarre than usual it may have something to do with what was in the nominees’ $100,000 gift bags. The legendary goodie bags, distributed to the 25 nominees in acting and directing, will include hand-made chocolate truffles infused with cannabis. California recently legalised the drug for recreational use. So if nominees feel like calming their awards nerves during the ceremony in Los Angeles, they can do so on camera without fear of arrest.
Tough cannabis policies do not deter young people – study [The Guardian]
Analysing data about cannabis use among more than 100,000 teenagers in 38 countries, including the UK, US, Russia, France, Germany and Canada, the University of Kent study found no association between more liberal policies on cannabis use and higher rates of teenage cannabis use.
Pot of gold: Brewers are racing to make weed as easy to drink as beer [The Sydney Morning Herald]
Companies are working to develop consumer-friendly cannabis drinks that can compete with alcohol. But there’s one problem: Pot is nothing like booze. Alcohol is water-soluble and cannabis is not, meaning alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream quickly whereas pot edibles and beverages are metabolised much later in the digestive process. This leads to the classic edible effect, when inexperienced users consume a weed bonbon, feel nothing, have a second, and then find an hour later that they’re far higher than they wanted to be.
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]
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
18-19 May 2019, Rosehill Racecourse, Rosehill, Sydney NSW
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.