MedicanWorkhop30July

Nimbin crowd turns out to support ‘Lane Boys’ [Northern Star]

More than a 100 people turned out in Nimbin shouting ‘Free the Boys’ and calling on police to ‘explain’ themselves following the arrest of 11 people in Nimbin two weeks ago. A giant medicinal cannabis bottle was carried down the street following different speakers and speeches at the location where the iconic Rainbow Cafe used to be. Calls for a ‘cannabis revolution’, ‘the insanity to end’, and ‘time to take our town back’ were answered with cheers and further cries of ‘Free the Boys’.

Will big pharma lock ‘mum and dad growers’ out of medical weed? [Triple J Hack]

As Australia works to legalise medical cannabis, some hopeful producers are worried they’re going to be locked out of the industry by big pharma. Adam Pile, who runs Canna Pharmaceuticals, was hoping to get involved in Australia’s medical cannabis industry but now there might not be room for him. “Whilst it’s open to everyone it’s limited to a few. It’s very much pegged at corporate entites,” he told Hack. Canna Pharmaceuticals is only a small company and Adam says the limited demand expected by the Government, along with 12-month licence terms, will make it hard for anyone but the big pharmaceutical companies to afford the costs. Adam said the industry will be dominated by state and federal and big corporate bodies for the next few years.

Cunnamulla disheartened by ‘bureaucratic wall’ in front of medicinal cannabis industry [ABC]

Hopes of producing medicinal cannabis in south-west Queensland have been dampened after a meeting with the Federal Government. Paroo Shire Mayor Lindsay Godfrey this week attended a meeting with the Office of Drug Control to investigate domestic opportunities for growing the medicinal product. But he said the meeting had left him feeling extremely disappointed. “When you listen to a regulatory brick wall it certainly does dampen your enthusiasm a bit,” he said. “I think most people in the room went away disappointed because it is going to be very, very tightly regulated. “The hoops to get through to get into the production and manufacturing of it are going to be insurmountable. We were particularly disappointed, the quantities they were saying were quite small, like it was a few hectares a hot house situation could produce.”

Where The Presidential Candidates Stand On Drug Policy [Forbes]

The Democrats, after three decades of silence on the subject, have gone from advocating an escalation of the war on weed to facilitating more tolerant approaches, including outright legalization. What’s more, every presidential candidate you are likely to see on your ballot this November agrees that states should be free to legalize marijuana—a remarkable development attributable not only to the landmark 2012 initiatives in Colorado and Washington but to a concomitant shift in public opinion nationwide.

Democrats call for ‘pathway’ to marijuana legalization [Washington Post]

The Democratic Party endorsed a “reasoned pathway to future legalization” of marijuana and called for the drug to be downgraded in the Controlled Substances Act, in a tense and unexpected victory for supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

One of the big questions in marijuana research has been answered [Washington Post]

0.32 grams. That’s how much marijuana is in the typical American joint, according to a rigorous statistical analysis recently published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence by drug policy researchers Greg Ridgeway of the University of Pennsylvania and Beau Kilmer of the Rand Corp.The amount of weed in the typical joint is actually an important quantity for researchers and policymakers to know. Marijuana is often sold by the joint in both legal and illegal markets. If you want to know how much weed people are consuming — which is highly important for things such as tax projections and public health studies — you need to know how much weed is in those joints.

The Green Screen [Volteface]

The first thing ever bought or sold online was a bag of cannabis. The deal went down in 1971. The network was just two years old. The deal was struck between university students in MIT and Stanford, separated by thousands of miles, or a 46-hour drive across the US continent, but connected by a primitive internet connection known as ARPANET, a military-academic network created in 1969 that is the forerunner and basis of today’s networks. It is on these networks that the new cannabis industry will be built – by and for people for whom ‘digital culture’ does not now conceptually exist in any meaningful way, since everything many of us do is digitally mediated. We now source our food, accommodation, work, transport, friends and lovers with a tap and a swipe. Why would drugs, and in particular, cannabis, be any different?

Marijuana Legalization Without Racial Justice Risks Being Another Extension of White Privilege [Influence]

But the emerging legal marijuana industry appears to be mostly white, and legalization campaigns often ignore issues of importance to communities of color. The industry, the reform movement and policymakers need to focus more on racial justice—and consumers and activists should demand action and hold us all accountable. Marijuana legalization without racial justice risks being an extension of white privilege. Despite the fact that people of different races use and sell marijuana at roughly equal rates, most marijuana arrests are of black or Latino men. In Chicago, the ratio of black to white arrests for marijuana possession is 15 to 1. In Connecticut, 5 to 1; in Wisconsin, 10 to 1. And even though young white people in New York City use marijuana at higher rates, nearly 85 percent of the people arrested for marijuana possession there are black or Latino. Looking at national rates, a 2013 ACLU report, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White,” found that black people are almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite equal usage with white people.

One striking chart shows why pharma companies are fighting legal marijuana [Washington Post]

There’s a body of research showing that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws. These studies have generally assumed that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. But that’s always been just an assumption. Now a new study, released in the journal Health Affairs, validates these findings by providing clear evidence of a missing link in the causal chain running from medical marijuana to falling overdoses. They found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law.

Colorado pot sales: Almost $500M through five months [Cannabist]

Colorado marijuana shops have sold more than $486 million of cannabis flower and products in the first five months of 2016. The state’s cannabis industry very well could surpass $1 billion in sales by November, if the coming months’ sales keep pace with 2015 monthly revenue. Through May, taxes and license fees have contributed upward of $71.4 million in tax revenue, according to the data.

Report Shows DEA Deliberately Blocked Beneficial Science to Perpetuate War on Cannabis [Wake up World]

Though it probably comes as no surprise, a new report confirms the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) systematically thwarted research into both cannabis and MDMA for medicinal use and potential rescheduling. Additionally, the Drug Policy Alliance and Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) found in their report, the federal government maintains an “unjustifiable monopoly” on research-grade cannabis — preventing independent producers from contributing to any scientific studies. According to the report, bluntly titled “The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science,” a compilation of case studies “illustrate a decades-long pattern of behavior that demonstrates the agency’s inability to exercise its responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner or to act in accord with the scientific evidence — often as determined by its Administrative Law Judges.” In effecting inexcusably lengthy delays for cannabis research approval and refusing to reschedule the plant, the Drug Enforcement Agency has and continues to prevent countless people from obtaining crucial — in some cases, lifesaving — medicine they need.

Canada Report – Online Storefronts are the Future of Legal Cannabis [Volteface]

Myth: retail storefronts are the best way to age-restrict access to cannabis. In short, the assumption that retail storefronts can verify age more accurately than mail-order is not accurate; this objective is achieved far more effectively with software than by humans alone.

More Canadian cops than ever are using medical marijuana [Vice]

Medical marijuana use is taking root in Canada’s federal police force. Over the last year, the number of active and former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who got reimbursed for their marijuana prescriptions has more than doubled. According to government documents obtained by Montreal news outlet La Presse, 47 officers had their prescriptions covered by the insurance plan for RCMP officers who have suffered injuries on the job from 2015 to 2016. The total cost for the medical weed — which averaged about one gram per day per officer — came to $272,000. In 2014, 20 officers were reimbursed under the plan, for a total of $64,000. And the plan paid out only $8,000 for medical marijuana in 2013. According to La Presse, 5,200 current and former RCMP members are covered under that insurance plan. There are 28,461 members of the force in total.

Most UK MPs back legalisation of medical marijuana, poll finds  [Telegraph]

More than half of MPs want to see the legalisation of medical marijuana, a survey has found. The polling, which follows parliamentary debates on the issue, found that 58 per cent of MPs backed the use of cannabis for people battling health conditions. Those supporting the move include Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister, and Dr Dan Poulter, a former health minister and Tory MP.

Cannabis: The Grassroots Revolution [LEAP UK]

Given the title, you might have guessed what we’re discussing – but we certainly don’t all agree on the issue of drug law reform. With concerns for mental health and societal well-being, Joe Wells is far from convinced that we need to ‘legalise’ cannabis. So, we’re going to have a conversation and see if we’re able to find mutual ground. Can the case for reform alleviate Joe’s worries? Will Norman Lamb’s manifesto for reform win Joe over? And will Dale’s experience and film clips have an impact on Joe’s final decision?

Swedish cannabis cultivation hits a high [The Local]

Cannabis cultivation in Sweden has increased exponentially in recent years, to the degree that some parts of the country are now becoming self-sufficient, according to a report from radio station P1. While in the past, Sweden imported the majority of the cannabis sold in the country from places like Afghanistan and Morocco, in recent years there has been a shift. According to P1, the growth in home cultivation of the drug has made some parts of Sweden self-sufficient, and provided competition for imported Moroccan hashish in particular.

Japan Has Joined The Fight For Legalized Medical Cannabis [Herb]

Saya Takagi has lived her life as a popular Japanese actress, staring in a variety of television shows and movies. In recent years, Takagi has taken on an entirely new role as a politician, working towards cannabis reform for her entire country. Now, she’s hoping to reach her most challenging goal yet – a seat in Japan’s Upper House, a powerful level of the country’s government. Takagi decided to run for the Upper House because she believes it will give her the opportunity to finally bring cannabis to Japan’s forefront. Her ultimate goal is to sway other council members to see the medicinal benefits at hand and vote to repeal the cannabis control law.

Isis’ Brutal Drug War Reflects Global Prohibition Norms [Talking Drugs]

The international community has lambasted Isis for its distinctive form of brutality, yet remained curiously silent on Isis atrocities commited in the name of drug control, perhaps because they mirror so well repressive drug laws elsewhere around the world. Isis authorities regularly eradicate narcotic crops within their jurisdiction. A video filmed in 2014 in Akhtarin, a town in northern Syria, purports to show several Isis members uprooting and burning dozens of large cannabis plants. The International Business Times (IBT) reported that Syrian refugees are risking their lives by growing cannabis in the Beqaa Valley – a fertile valley region in Lebanon, just a few miles from Damascus; “if [Isis] knew we work with hashish, they would cut us”, described one teenage refugee. Trafficking illicit drugs. which in Isis’ territory, includes alcohol and tobacco, is strictly punished, often with death. In March 2016, IBT reported that Isis had executed five people in Syria for drug trafficking, “shot dead [after being described by Isis as] ‘spoilers on earth’”. Three months later, Isis militants publicly executed six men for selling cigarettes, according to the regional ARA News.

Medicinal marijuana – a gateway to increased illegal drug use? [MedicalXpress]

I analysed the number of drug possession arrests and substance abuse treatment admissions from 1992-2011, which gives a clear picture of drug use, before and after medicinal marijuana was legalised in the states that initiated a law change. I compare the changes in the states where medical marijuana is legal with changes in states without such laws. If medicinal marijuana truly is a gateway drug, then we would expect to see an increase in the rates of possession arrests and treatment admissions for heroin and cocaine. My research shows this is not entirely true. Yes, states that had legalised marijuana did see an increase in both these areas for marijuana by 10-15 percent after legislation was passed. However, it should be noted that the trend was evident only in adults—for teenagers, there was no discernible change. However, there is no evidence to suggest cocaine and heroin use increased. In fact, there was a decrease of up to 15 percent in the number of arrests for possession of these two drugs combined.

Cannabis Use Could Blunt Your Response to Rewards, Study Suggests [Huffington Post]

Cannabis dampens peoples’ response to rewards, according to a new study that sheds light on why some users become addicted to the drug and other substances. Scientists at the the University of Michigan Medical School found a negative correlation between how much cannabis a user reported taking and their sense of reward over time.

Research Might Benefit from Finding Cannabinoid Receptors in Muscles [Fibromyalgia News Today]

Receptors for the body’s own cannabinoid substances are present in muscle fascia — soft connective tissue surrounding all muscles and involved in several pain states, according to recent research from the University of Padua in Italy. In addition to casting light on disease processes in fibromyalgia, the findings might lead to better approaches for managing pain and inflammation in the disease, for which current treatments often fail to adequately treat symptoms.

How Marijuana Can Help Treat Lyme Disease [Green Rush Daily]

Marijuana has been known to relieve the symptoms of serious illnesses like cancer and Crohn’s disease. Now, it’s being used to help manage the pain brought on by Lyme disease, which infects nearly 300,000 people a year in the United States. The disease is contracted through a tick bite and can cause people to have health issues that interfere with their day-to-day activities. Regular antibiotics have not solved the long-term effects associated with Lyme disease, causing people to look at other options.

MGC beefs up epilepsy expertise [FinFeed]

MGC Pharmaceutical (ASX:MXC) has added intellectual weight to its fight against severe epilepsy as it ramps up stakeholder engagement with a focus on medical cannabis’ role in combating the disease. It told its shareholders this morning that Israeli-bases Dr Uri Kramer has joined the company as a member of its strategic advisory board – which will guide the company on establishing clinical trials using medical cannabis in the treatment of severe epilepsy. Dr Kramer is a highly regarded expert in the field of paediatric neurology and paediatric epilepsy — and he’ll join Australian cardiologist Dr Ross Walker on the design of trials and product development. MXC has focused its pharmaceutical efforts on treating epilepsy, entering into a research agreement with SipNose back in March, with the agreement around the development of a cannabinol (CBD)-based treatment to be delivered through the Sipnose device.

5 Ways Cannabis Can Revolutionize Nursing Homes [Green Flower]

1.) Cannabis Improves Quality of Life
2.) Cannabis is a Multidimensional Medicine
3.) Cannabis is Safer than Prescription Drugs
4.) Cannabis Supports a Sense of Community and Purpose
5.) Cannabis is a Revolution in Healthcare

Experimenting with Cannabis: Science and Reefer Madness [Points]

As Michael Pollan suggests in his recent work, The Botany of Desire, the meaning of cannabis was contested at the foundational level – of biology itself – as the plant was molded and shaped for a multiplicity of human uses. Taken together, the historical and intellectual approaches of these and similar studies can help us better understand how, during the first four decades of the twentieth century, cannabis was not merely transformed from an important industrial input to a dangerous recreational drug, but often held both distinctions simultaneously.

What is drug reform trying to achieve, and what might it deliver? [Julian Buchanan]

Paramount in any drug reform must be the restoration of the human right over our own bodies to ingest what we choose, without threat or punishment from the state. This must be central and non-negotiable to any reform strategy and I don’t think the broad notion of seeking ‘Regulation’ delivers that.

UK Petition: Patients not Criminals [EndOurPain]

It is estimated that as many as 1 million people across the UK rely on cannabis for medical reasons. Many of these people are suffering chronic and painful conditions. Currently available medicines don’t always work for them, cannabis does. These people are faced with a terrible dilemma – continue to suffer or take the risk of breaking the law, just like the character Izzy in the TV soap Coronation Street. This is morally wrong: they are patients, not criminals. All they want to do is lead a normal life. Medicinal cannabis is legal in many countries including much of the USA, Canada, Germany and Italy to list just a few. Sick people in our country deserve the same access to medicinal cannabis.

The hypocrisy of drug bans in a game backed by booze [Roar]

The NRL’s Illicit and Hazardous Drugs Testing Policy is based on a “player welfare model”. That means that the reason players are tested for speed, ecstasy, ice, ketamine, cannabis, cocaine, opiates, and synthetic versions of those drugs, is because the NRL wants them to be healthy. And that’s fair enough. The league does have a duty of care. But a ban? For doing something many Australians do every weekend? For something that’s so prevalent that it’s effectively decriminalised? Drugs, legal and illegal, are prevalent in Australian society. And over-consumption causes addiction, dysfunction and death. But the illegal ones – those tested for by the NRL – are, according to experts, less harmful than the legal ones that sponsor rugby league.

Police say dance party pill-testers risk arrest [The Age]

In a statement, Victoria Police said those handling illicit substances as part of a pill-testing service could be liable for prosecution, under current conditions. “In Victoria it is currently unlawful to use, possess, cultivate or traffic illicit drugs in any form,” it said. In some European countries pill-testing is common at clubs and festivals, allowing people to submit small samples of their substances that are then analysed for their chemical make-up. In Australia, campaigners for the introduction of pill-testing at events argue it could save lives by warning revellers about dangerous substances in drugs they plan to consume. Canberra-based emergency medical specialist, David Caldicott, has been calling for pill-testing trials at festivals in Victoria and throughout Australia. Dr Caldicott wants festival-goers to be granted an amnesty to use pill-testing services. So far about 25 forensic chemists around Australia had offered to volunteer if pill-testing trials did proceed, Dr Caldicott said.

Crowdfunding: Ayahuasca Defense Fund

Australian Government Department of Health and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) are considering authorizing DMT containing teas for religious purposes. Their expert committee is meeting next week, Monday 18 – 20 July, to discuss submissions. The Ayahuasca Defense Fund has been providing concrete assistance to the Australian ayahuasca community by lobbying the TGA to allow for religious use, to broaden the definition of “religious use” to include indigenous shamanic traditions, and also to rethink their criteria of precise concentrations allowable. All of these things are very beneficial to the community in Australia. Furthermore they are willing to provide legal support to any ayahuasca ceremony facilitator who meets their support criteria (on their website). And, by the way, they also support people working with San Pedro, Peyote and Iboga. Here are the support criteria FYI: http://ayahuascadefense.com/index.php/our-support-criteria/