Cannabis as medicine and therapy could reinvent the health system. Complete protein and polyunsaturated fats are an essential part of our diet. The hemp plant can address environmental concerns on CO2 levels and soil reparation. Currently we waste millions of tax-payer dollars trying to enforce prohibition. A regulated market would redirect funding to education, health and harm reduction.

Better legislation for Cannabis will improve our health, nutrition, policing and the annual budget. Cannabis can provide a better solution for medicine, food security, the environment and social harmony. The Marijuana HEMP Party has a plan to integrate the whole plant into our everyday lives.

Fiona Patten: Why the back-pedalling on medical marijuana? [The Age]

Marijuana (HEMP) Party candidate and long-time advocate for medicinal cannabis Andrew Kavasilas says that there are tens of thousands of people in Australia accessing high-quality, medicinal cannabis right now. So someone’s supplying it and it’s not Monsanto or Chemist Warehouse. Personally, I know quite a few people who are buying and using medicinal cannabis to manage pain instead of going for opiates. So why are the Greens going soft on the issues of medicinal and recreational cannabis? The party that said they would legalise medicinal cannabis in the Federal Parliament a year ago has done little to actually make this fly. All they’ve done is change the voting laws to get rid of minor parties like Sex and HEMP who are all about legalising medicinal and recreational cannabis. Instead of gaming the voting system they should have focused on cannabis, marriage equality and getting an emissions trading scheme in place.

Marijuana Party Senate Candidate Finds Fertile Ground in WA [Marijuana (HEMP) Party]

“The state’s marijuana users want their own representative in parliament now. The Cannabis industry has grown to become twice the size of the wine industry. It’s that big and it’s that important”. –HEMP/SEX Party Senate Candidate, Michael Balderstone.

Gippsland grandmother avoids conviction for growing cannabis for medicinal purposes [ABC]

A Gippsland grandmother has been sentenced to a community corrections order for growing dozens of cannabis plants for medical purposes at her property near Sale. Heather Gladman, 58, was charged with cultivating a drug of dependence but argued she had only supplied cannabis for free to terminally ill people, including a nine-year-old boy with an inoperable brain tumour. She avoided a conviction at the Sale Magistrates’ Court but will have to perform 60 hours of community service. Police raided Gladman’s Stradbroke property in February where they found 46 cannabis plants. The case sparked an online petition in support of Gladman calling for an amnesty for users and suppliers of medicinal cannabis. Gladman also went on a hunger strike for 18 days as a protest against her charges.

Hunter Valley Trialing Cannabis Oil Production [NBN News]

A Hunter Valley company is among the first in the country to grow cannabis….legally.  The company behind the operation is pushing for the Baird government to change legislation to produce medicinal cannabis here in New South Wales.

A Life of It’s own: The truth about Medical Marijuana set to be released [HotDOCS]

In mid-2014, journalist Helen Kapalos was introduced to Dan Haslam’s story. She was so compelled to help Australia see the benefits of Medicinal Cannabis, she left her job with channel 7 and embarked on the huge mission to make a documentary around Dan, Deisha Stevens and many other ordinary Australians with severe illnesses who were using medicinal cannabis. She travelled to Israel and around Australia interviewing the important players from doctors to politicians and importantly patients. The documentary is extraordinary.

New law requires schools to adopt a medical marijuana policy [KKTV 11 News]

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law on Monday that would require school districts to adopt a policy to allow medical marijuana. The law only applies to students who have a license to use non-smokeable marijuana. With the governor’s signature, the new law requires all Colorado school districts to adopt a policy allowing medical marijuana on school grounds. The districts can opt out if they can prove that they have lost federal funding because of the policy or if they place an easy-to-find explanation on their website as to why they are opting out. The law also said that if any district loses federal funding, the state will reimburse whatever is lost. The law only allows non-smokeable marijuana to be used on school grounds. The medicine would have to be brought, administered, and taken away from the school by the student’s primary caregiver. No school employee would be required to give the student cannabis.

Surfer Dan Malloy Talks Filmmaking, Farming & Industrial Hemp [Modern Farmer]

“Harvesting Liberty” follows Mike Lewis, a passionate Kentucky-born-and-bred veteran and farmer who founded Growing Warriors, a nonprofit that helps transition U.S. veterans into farmers, and is an advocate for industrial hemp production. Last year, he was given permission to grow a small hemp crop that was used to produce—with the help of Rebecca Burgess of the regenerative textile advocacy organization Fibershed—an American flag that was flown in Washington D.C. last Veteran’s Day.

The unrepentant Sisters: Defiant nuns ignore ban on growing marijuana and insist their medicine is ‘Mother Earth friendly’ [Daily Mail Australia]

Two California nuns who make cannabis for medicine have continued to grow marijuana despite it now being illegal. Sister Kate and Sister Darcy, who go by the name ‘Sisters of the Valley’, have defied the ban because they do not believe it applies to them.  ‘We’re trying to do something that’s more activist-based, that’s more planet-based, Mother Earth-friendly’, they explained. The women grow cannabis in the garage of Sister’s Kate three-bedroom house in Merced.  Their organic products include salves, tinctures and oils which treat niggles like migraines and back pain.  They sell the merchandise through online shop Etsy, as well as their own website. Their ambitions were thwarted by legislation introduced last year when the state of California put a ban on cannabis commerce. Despite that the sisters have continued business as usual saying they have been ‘operating straight through the ban’. Sister Darcy, 24, said: ‘Our medicine is medicine and it’s non-psychoactive. We are dealing with what’s actually considered hemp but really we advocate for whole plant legislation.  ‘But this ban does not apply to us so we have been operating straight through it.’

Age of the edibles awaits Oregon cannabis lovers as state changes law [The Guardian]

These days, the “pot brownie” is as outdated as Betty Crocker, with cannabis edibles reaching new highs in innovation and tastes. At Portland dispensary Oregon’s Finest, cannabis-infused root beer, artisan cake bites, chocolate truffles, gummy candies and even cold brew coffee are among the delicacies. Recreational cannabis, in the form of flower (or “bud”), has been legal to purchase in Oregon since October 2015, but edibles have remained the forbidden fruit, available only to medical marijuana cardholders. From Thursday all that’s about to change. Oregon has approved the sale of marijuana edibles to recreational consumers and sellers are preparing to unleash everything from cannabis-infused ice cream and frozen pizza to beef jerky on to the market.

The month in drinks: Cannabis booze [The Drinks Business]

There are potent, herbaceous notes wafting over North America’s collective drink and it’s not the scent of botanicals from the gin micro distillery down the road. The cannabis revolution is in full swing while the alcohol industry appears to be morosely sitting on the fence, drink in hand, occasionally throwing crumpled cans in the general direction of the on-going legalisation debate. It will begin with micro-brewers/ distillers and hemp. The former will find it easier to experiment than sclerotic multinationals. The latter – naturally free from the controversial psychoactive components of marihuana – will provide an initial, flavourful embrace of the trend without risking legal repercussions. But as the cannabis industry is coming of age, the discussion will progress to different varietals, clones, tasting notes and terroir. While psychoactive cannabis Infusions and hybrid products would be the endgame bringing the two industries together, alcohol and marihuana pairings have the potential to benefit them both independently.

A Marijuana Land Rush Is Underway in Northern California [Alternet]

The voter initiative that would legalize marijuana in California isn’t even officially on the ballot yet, let alone approved by the voters, but the prospect of legal weed is already driving a real estate bubble from the San Francisco Bay on up to the state’s pot cultivation heartland in Northern California’s Emerald Triangle. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) would open up the nation’s single largest marijuana market, and investors with dollar signs in their eyes are moving fast to snap up rural properties up north, as well as Bay area warehouses and office space.

More Evidence That Britain’s Police Should Be Making Our Weed Laws [Vice]

More good news for rational folk. This week, the Police and Crime Commissioner of Gloucestershire announced that cannabis is no longer a priority for his force, and said he recognises that cannabis can have medical benefits – though suggested that “for others it can be the gateway to mental illness and dependence on harder drugs”. PCC Martin Surl’s statement makes Gloucestershire the fifth police force in the UK to make an announcement of this sort in the space of a year, which makes you think: the police, generally, seem to have a better understanding of how to deal with weed than the British government. “I think we’re going to see more police forces come out in this way,” says director of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) and former-undercover drugs detective, Neil Woods. “Durham, who started this more liberal approach to cannabis, is the only county out of the police forces in the UK that received an ‘outstanding’ measure by the HMRC in the last few years.”

Conference hears cannabis users ‘have more knowledge’ of drug than experts [Care Appointments UK]

Cannabis users seeking treatment often have an expertise about the drug which is leaving those trying to help them lagging behind, a conference has been told. A group of national experts was told about the “inverted expertise” seen in users at a meeting at York University to exchange ideas on effective treatment. Dr Mark Monaghan, a lecturer in criminology and social policy at Loughborough University, told the delegates: “There is this ‘inverted expertise’ around cannabis in which the users have all the up-to-date knowledge of the local markets and the service providers are lagging behind. “The providers are slightly lagging behind in terms of their knowledge base. Because they are lagging behind they don’t have intelligence on what the consumers are using; it creates this situation where they don’t really know what to do.” He added: “We need to know what people are using and we need to offer them evidence-based treatments.

Marijuana use and head and neck cancer risk [National Elf Service]

Head and neck cancers squamous cell cancers (HNC) are the 6th most common cancers worldwide. Major risk factors include alcohol, tobacco and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) contains more than 60 cannabinoids and smoke generated from these compounds is regarded as potential carcinogens. Previous publications have been contradictory with some suggesting marijuana use increases the risk of HNC while others have suggested a protective effect. The authors concluded “No association between lifetime marijuana use and the development of head and neck cancer was found. The different methods of collection/presentation of results in the selected articles prevented other analyses from being conducted. Additional studies are needed to assess for long-term effects.”

Study shows long-term marijuana use changes brain’s reward circuit [EurekAlert!]

Chronic marijuana use disrupts the brain’s natural reward processes, according to researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas.  In a paper published in Human Brain Mapping, researchers demonstrated for the first time with functional magnetic resonance imaging that long-term marijuana users had more brain activity in the mesocorticolimbic-reward system when presented with cannabis cues than with natural reward cues. “This study shows that marijuana disrupts the natural reward circuitry of the brain, making marijuana highly salient to those who use it heavily. In essence, these brain alterations could be a marker of transition from recreational marijuana use to problematic use,” said Dr. Francesca Filbey, director of Cognitive Neuroscience Research in Addictive Disorders at the Center for BrainHealth.

The normalisation thesis – 20 years later [Taylor Francis Online]

In the mid-1990s, a team of UK researchers developed a theoretical framework in which they argued that the use of some illicit drugs – specifically cannabis, nitrates and amphetamines, and equivocally ecstasy – had become “normalised”. The proponents of this thesis argued that the recreational use of these drugs had become an unremarkable feature of life for some young people in their pursuit of leisure and pleasure. They also argued that the use of these drugs had become socially and culturally accepted by many members of the non-drug using population and was increasingly culturally embedded in wider society.

Talking Point: Testing festival drugs can stop people dying [Mercury]

Police Minister Rene Hidding did himself and the Tasmanian community no good at all last week with his arrogant, dangerous dismissal of a sensible idea by the Greens for pill testing to be available at music festivals. Mr Hidding is hiding behind the discredited zero tolerance attitude to drugs that bedevils the world, but which is at last shifting in some key jurisdictions such as the European Union, the US and Latin America where drug-testing at festivals occurs.

The Human-Rights Case for Drug Legalization [The Atlantic]

Humanity is what Lisa Sanchez hopes to inject into the drug debate. The drug war, she argues, is really a war on people. Through her work at the Transform Drug Policy Foundation and Mexico Unido Contra La Delincuencia, the Mexico City-based activist campaigns for drug policies that prioritize public health and human rights. Sanchez is part of a budding reformist movement in the Americas—borne in part of a backlash against the militarized, U.S.-led “war on drugs” in the region—that has notched victories in countries like Uruguay and U.S. states like Colorado and Washington, all of which recently legalized marijuana. But for every movement, there’s a countermovement. Countries such as China, Iran, and Russia are simultaneously doubling down on punitive, law-and-order approaches to drugs. Divides between reformists and prohibitionists have opened up within many countries as well.

Is It Offensive to Call Someone a ‘Stoner’? [Vice]

“My issue is your use of ‘stoner’ as a rather pejorative term, whether derogatory or not, like the words ‘faggot’ or ‘queer,'” one reader wrote me in an email, while accusing me of “painting all enjoyers with the abuser paint brush” and setting back the legalization movement. Vancouver-based advocate Dana Larsen, who recently gave away 2 million pot seeds on a cross-country tour, told VICE the media does often “denigrate” cannabis users with these terms. “We don’t see regular beer drinkers being called ‘drunkards’ or wine drinkers being called ‘winos’ in media stories, but cannabis users get called ‘stoners’ and ‘potheads’ regularly,” he said, noting he’d prefer to be called a “cannabis enthusiast.” But he’s admitted he gets heat from “purists” who object to the word “marijuana” over “cannabis.” He uses both but said the former is more widely recognized.

Ayahuasca, Psychedelics and Marijuana: A Critical Look at the Psychedelic Movement [Wake up World]

Another interesting thing the curandero said was in regards to medicinal plants in general. He’s a botanist, and works with many different plants in the jungle, not only psychoactive ones. Every plant has a positive and negative side, and it’s all about context and application. He mentioned that it is important to truly honor the spirit of each plant and their intelligence, using them responsibly, so you are still the “master”, and you use it instead of the plant becoming the master and it is “using you”.