EMBASSY HEADLINES Issue 204
How to Vote
There are a full deal of how-to-vote HEMP / Sex instructions and a list of candidates in your state on the HEMP website. You could print a flyer or two.
Every Day In Every Way, We Can Do Cannabis Better [Marijuana (HEMP) Party]
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.
Marijuana (HEMP) Party TV AD 2016 election
Allow Australian adults to grow their own cannabis 18+ [change.org]
Spark the conversation today and let your family and friends know about the benefits. The fact we have to break the law to care and give relief to our dying family and friends is just too much for some to handle. We want every Australian to have legal access to cannabis for medical and recreational use in Australia!.
Medical cannabis market is still pot luck [The Australian]
A useful white paper on medical cannabis science and regulation — devised by MGC Pharma and the University of Sydney — makes a useful stab at the likely size of the local medical cannabis market. The paper warns for a therapeutic good to be legally supplied, it has to be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. “This process requires companies to provide clinical trial data, followed by an approval process that can take up to a year to compete and costs approximately $250,000 per new chemical entity.’’ It should also be stressed the proposed local regime is far from a free-for-all and patients won’t be able to grow their stash. To the chagrin of outlaw bikie gangs eyeing their next rort, there’s also a fit and proper person test. While proponents downplay the THC link and its recreational connotations, THC is a confirmed treatment for nausea, severe pain and muscle spasticity. Ultimately, the risk is if there’s too much regulation and too many layers of expense, sufferers will do what they’ve always done: revert to the black market for an illicit reefer.
Medical cannabis: Partner of terminally ill woman criticises minister over trial delays [ABC]
“I think the Minister has done an awful job on this and it’s time the Minister be removed and that the Government actually put somebody in charge of this process that is truly committed to both medicinal cannabis law reform and truly innovative medicinal cannabis research,” he said.
More People Than Ever Say They Get Their Drugs on the Dark Web [Motherboard]
Even though the FBI has used extraordinary measures to seize dark web marketplaces, drug users are increasingly turning to them to buy narcotics, newly published results from the Global Drug Survey (GDS) 2016 suggest. “Despite all of the disruptions from law enforcement efforts and takedowns that have been successful, as well as the exit scams and all of this kind of thing, people are still using these sites to access drugs,” Monica Barratt, a researcher from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW Australia who is part of the GDS core team, told Motherboard. In all, 8,058 GDS respondents out of 101,313 (8 percent) said they had used the dark web to source drugs. That’s up from around 5,000 in 2015, and 2,000 in 2014, Barratt said.
Sprint star Private Zone banned after trainer fails drugs test [The Guardian]
Private Zone, one of the leading dirt sprinters in the United States, has added a bizarre and unfortunate footnote to his career after he was banned from racing in New York on Friday because his trainer failed a drugs test. Brian Lynch, who has trained Private Zone for only a few months after taking over the gelding’s preparation in November 2015, is believed to have tested positive for marijuana and has surrendered his trainer’s licence to the New York State Gaming Commission. As a result, he cannot be listed as a trainer on a race day, and Private Zone has been scratched from the Grade Two True North Stakes at Belmont Park, a $250,000 event for which he was expected to start favourite.
The activists helping illegal pot dealers turn into legit marijuana businessmen [The Guardian]
In California, where voters are expected to legalize recreational marijuana in November, there’s a small, but growing movement to eliminate barriers in the industry for people with pot offenses on their records. Some officials are now even promoting policies and programs aimed at directly encouraging current and former drug dealers to open businesses. Advocates say it’s an uphill battle – and an urgent one. By and large, the regulatory systems that are rapidly expanding across the US have rules that make it difficult or impossible for people like Weitz to become licensed operators. As a result, wealthy entrepreneurs, who are often white men, are dominating and profiting off of the sale of marijuana while those who continue to suffer the consequences of harsh pot laws – primarily people of color – are denied opportunities.
Politicians Suggest 5 Ways Obama Can Reform America’s Cannabis Laws [Civilized]
If there was ever a president that would reform America’s unjust and antiquated cannabis laws, you’d think it would be Barack Obama. He’s openly admitted to smoking marijuana in the past, and has been comfortable enough to joke about it in past speeches at White House correspondents’ dinners. He also has progressive values, so you’d think he’d recognize the medicinal benefits and the injustice of incarcerating ordinary citizens for the simple act of possession. And yet he resists calls for meaningful reforms. But that doesn’t stop activists, and indeed fellow politicians from trying. A bipartisan group of members of Congress recently sent the President a letter, setting out five things Obama could do before he leaves office next January.
Melissa Etheridge Consumes Marijuana During A Performance For The First Time [The Weed Blog]
At the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in Clio, Michigan, rock superstar Melissa Etheridge did something she has never done before- and it was all caught on camera! “This is my first time ever, smoking while performing,” Etheridge stated, then did just that. Etheridge, a well-known medical marijuana advocate, produced an individual joint case sometimes called a ‘doobe tube,’ complained about opening it (as we all do,) touted the benefits of a good sativa strain, then lit up and blew smoke into the air. The Cannabis Cup is in Michigan, which has a medical marijuana law and also has a reciprocity law which allows registered patients from other states to legally use medicinal cannabis. Attendance to the Cup event is limited to legally registered medical marijuana patients, who were able to openly join Etheridge in lighting up without any fear of reprisal. Michigan has more than 180,000 card-carrying participants in the Medical Marihuana Program.
Justin Trudeau may have made the best case for legal pot ever [Independent]
Speaking Wednesday at an economic conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made one of the more buttoned-down, straight-edged arguments for marijuana legalisation I’ve heard in recent years. It’s worth quoting at length so I’ve done that below.
Former government drugs advisor Professor David Nutt: Pro-cannabis rally in Glasgow is ‘peaceful protest’ [Evening Times UK]
A former UK government advisor on drugs policy has backed plans for a pro-cannabis rally in Glasgow next month. Professor David Nutt, an expert on how drugs affect the mind, said the event to be held at Glasgow Green on July 10 is a “peaceful protest against irrational laws”. Possession of the Class B drug can lead to a five-year jail sentence and similar pro-Cannabis demos in Glasgow have led to several arrests. Police, the council and the Scottish Conservative shadow justice minister have spoken out against the event which around 450 people are expected to attend. But Professor Nutt – who was dismissed as chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009 after saying that ecstasy, cannabis and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco – said: “Stopping this would be a waste of police time and taxpayers’ money. Let’s be sensible and allow a peaceful protest against irrational laws.”
Cannabis discovered in tobacco pipes found in William Shakespeare’s garden [Health Officials]
South African scientists have discovered that 400-year-old tobacco pipes excavated from the garden of William Shakespeare contained cannabis, suggesting the playwright might have written some of his famous works while high. Residue from early 17th century clay pipes found in the playwright’s garden, and elsewhere in Stratford-Upon-Avon, were analysed in Pretoria using a sophisticated technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry, the Independent reports. Of the 24 fragments of pipe loaned from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to University of the Witwatersrand, cannabis was found in eight samples, four of which came from Shakespeare’s property.
We’re Sowing 200 Cannabis Seeds Next Month [UK Cannabis Law Reform]
It’s happening. Right now, at a secret location in the UK under Home Office licence, final preparations are being made to plant the first crop of Finola cannabis for the production of low-THC cannabis oil (popularly known as CBD oil). An established glasshouse installation has been leased. Formerly used for growing flowers, it is being kitted out with GroGlo LED lighting units and blinds so that cultivation and control of vegetative and flowering growth will be independent of the seasons. The plants will be grown in a highly controlled environment using hydroponics systems in clay pebbles. A specialist feed mix will be used in a continuous irrigation system. We anticipate that each crop will take 13 weeks to grow and dry. For the first six months of operations we will sow 200 seeds each month. Approximately half of these will prove to be male and will be destroyed as soon as it becomes possible to determine their gender. The remaining plants will be flowered and the buds and trichome-rich tops will be processed for supercritical CO2 extraction to produce oil. Surplus plant material will be destroyed in accordance with environmental best practice.
Leading UK public health bodies call for decriminalisation of drugs [The Guardian]
The UK’s two leading public health bodies, representing thousands of doctors and other professionals, are making an unprecedented call for the personal possession and use of drugs to be decriminalised. The war on drugs has done more harm than good, say the Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health. They argue that drug misuse should be a health issue, not a matter for the courts and prisons, which have not succeeded in deterring people from taking drugs. More people than ever before are being harmed by drugs and then harmed again by the punishment meted out, instead of being helped to kick or contain the habit, they say. “We have taken the view that it is time for endorsing a different approach,” said Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society. “We have gone to our stakeholders and asked the public and tried to gain some consensus from our community and the public, because that is very important.”
Cannabis remains Ireland’s illicit substance of choice [Hot Press]
Cannabis remains the country’s illegal drug of choice. That’s according to the 78.6% of Irish respondents to the Global Drug Survey 2016 who report using it over the past 12 months.
Germany Plans to Legalize Medical Marijuana Next Year [attn.]
Germany plans to legalize medical marijuana in 2017, the country’s health minister said in May. Patients suffering from serious illnesses will be able to access cannabis, which will be covered by health insurance companies, if they’ve consulted with a doctor and “have no therapeutic alternative,” the German Health Ministry said in a statement. “Our aim is that seriously ill people are looked after to the best of our ability,” German Health Minister Hermann Gröhe said.
Results of Unprecedented Cannabis Study Unveiled at Jerusalem Health Conference [Medical Jane]
The Israel National Institute For Health Policy Research has provided us with a copy of the initial results from the study Health Utilization and Characterization of Patients Using Medical Cannabis in Israel. Israel is seeing a significant increase in the use of medical cannabis. The law approves its use for non-cancer and cancer pain, nausea and lack of appetite in cancer patients, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease and more. The number of licensed users in Israel currently reaches over 23,500 users. It was observed that no evaluation or follow-up of these patients was taking place. The objective of the study was to follow-up with new users of medical cannabis, and only those who were medicating for pain.
Cannabis serves as orphan drug for several rare medical conditions [Pharmaceutical Technology]
Online platform Medical Cannabis Declaration (MCD) has said that Cannabis serves as an orphan drug for several rare medical conditions. An ongoing worldwide campaign seeks to inform patients across the world that medical cannabis is used for treating diseases such as Tourette Syndrome, Stiff Person Syndrome, Achalasia, Dravet Syndrome and Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension. Only ten out of 200 countries worldwide currently grant their patients access to cannabis for medical use, while in another 20, cannabis is accessible as medicine only in certain cases.
Combination of marijuana and tobacco in pregnancy may compound risks [Reuters]
Smoking both marijuana and tobacco during pregnancy may create greater health risks than cigarettes alone, according to a recent U.S. study. “In co-users of both marijuana and cigarettes we noted an increase in smaller babies, earlier deliveries, asthma, and pregnancy-related hypertension,” Dr. Diana Racusin, an author of the study, told Reuters Health by email. As marijuana becomes legal in more places, more women are using the drug while pregnant, partly because they view it as less risky than other substances, said Racusin, a maternal-fetal medicine fellow at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Little is known about the effects of marijuana during pregnancy, even though it’s estimated that between 2 percent and 11 percent of U.S. pregnant women use the drug, the authors write in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Marijuana and Cannabinoids: A Neuroscience Research Summit [National Institute on Drug Abuse]
Marijuana and Cannabinoids: A Neuroscience Research Summit is being convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which will focus on the neurological and psychiatric effects of marijuana, other cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system. Both the adverse and the potential therapeutic effects of the cannabinoid system will be discussed. The goal of this summit is to ensure evidence-based information is available to inform practice and policy, particularly important at this time given the rapidly shifting landscape regarding the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana.
Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2014–15 [Australian Institute of Health and Welfare]
In 2014–15, around 850 alcohol and other drug treatment services provided just over 170,000 treatment episodes to around 115,000 clients. The top 4 drugs that led clients to seek treatment were alcohol (38% of treatment episodes), cannabis (24%), amphetamines (20%) and heroin (6%). The proportion of episodes where clients were receiving treatment for amphetamines has continued to increase over the last 10 years, from 11% of treatment episodes in 2005–06 to 20% in 2014–15. The median age of clients in AOD treatment services is increasing, 33 years in 2014–15, up from 31 in 2005–06.
US researchers call for re-evaluation of microbial testing of cannabis [EurekAlert!]
A new US study suggests that some of the medicinal benefits of dispensary grade Cannabis could be compromised because the flowers host potentially harmful yeasts and toxic molds, which cannot be detected by industry standard culturing techniques. The report, ‘Cannabis microbiome sequencing reveals several mycotoxic fungi native to dispensary grade Cannabis flowers’, by Kevin McKernan and a team from Medicinal Genomics Corporation in Massachusetts, has passed peer review http://f1000research.com/articles/4-1422/v2 The authors say that with the availability of medical Cannabis in some US states and in other countries, there is an increasing regulatory requirement for the microbial testing of Cannabis samples for both medicinal and recreational applications.