EMBASSY Headlines Issues 223-226

By Published On: November 17, 2016Categories: Cannabis

“California was the first state to put civil rights and social justice first – this was not just about legalizing pot, this was about disassembling the largest justice failure our nation has seen in the past century.” Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform

California, Nevada and Massachusetts vote to legalize recreational marijuana [The Guardian]

Voters around the US cast ballots for a diverse range of initiatives that seek to reform laws on marijuana, the death penalty, climate change and more. Below are results in the marijuana contests.

Approved: California voters approved recreational marijuana, a huge victory in the fight for cannabis legalization, paving the way for the largest commercial pot market in the US.

Approved: Massachusetts also voted for recreational pot, extending legal weed from coast to coast.

Approved: Nevada became the third state to approve a recreational cannabis law, making the west an even stronger region for marijuana sales.

Approved: Earlier in the night, Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana, the first victory in a string of high-profile cannabis measures on Tuesday’s state ballots.

Approved: North Dakota was the second state to approve medical weed, with the approval of Measure 5, which approves the use of marijuana to treat a number of diseases, including cancer, Aids, epilepsy and hepatitis C.

Approved: Arkansas also passed a medical cannabis measure that would allow patients with specific conditions to buy medicine from dispensaries licensed by the government.

Rejected: Arizona was the first state to vote against its marijuana measure, with the news early on Wednesday morning that voters have rejected Proposition 205. The measure would have legalized recreational pot.

Approved: Montana residents voted to expand the state’s medical marijuana system with the passage of Initiative 182, which removes limits on the number of patients providers can serve. Proponents of the measure argued that the existing restrictions blocked patients from accessing care.

OBAMA APPRECIATION MISSION, from Nimbin to Canberra [Nimbin HEMP Embassy]

Nimbin’s HEMP Embassy is taking its infamous Obama banner and giant inflatable joint to Canberra for one more trip on what it’s calling an Obama Appreciation Mission.

Coalition will not renew cannabis research centre funding past 2016 [The Guardian]

A department of health spokesman told Guardian Australia that the government had provided more than $30m to the NCPIC. But national drug strategy household survey data from 2013 had shown the lifetime prevalence of cannabis use had remained fairly constant over the past 20 years, he said. The National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre at the University of New South Wales was funded by the federal government in 2007 in response to concerns about cannabis-related harms in the community. The federal government will not renew its funding for Australia’s peak national cannabis research and information body, citing a change in policy focus to other drugs, including crystal methamphetamine, more commonly known as ice.

SA to begin consultation on medical marijuana access [InDaily]

Last month, InDaily revealed the State Government had thrown its weight behind a medicinal cannabis industry for South Australia, and was helping a prospective business lobby the Federal Government for licences to grow and sell it.

Medicinal cannabis, a major new industry for Australia [Government News]

The Narcotics Drugs Amendment Act 2016 came into force last week giving the green light to cultivating and manufacturing cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes in Australia and offering chronically ill patients some relief, where previously they were forced to source cannabis illegally, often of dubious quality.

Using DNA to unlock the mysteries of cannabis and reduce the risk of dodgy ‘medical’ products [The Conversation]

The federal government will now accept licence applications for groups wanting to grow cannabis locally for scientific and medical purposes. Cannabis remains an illegal drug in Australia for recreational use and there no plans to change that. But the reforms are part of a broader effort to enable a sustainable supply of safe medicinal cannabis products to Australian patients.

Access to medicinal cannabis products [Australian Government Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Administration]

This guidance is for consumers, health professionals and sponsors that are involved in providing appropriate patients with access to medicinal cannabis products as an unapproved drug through the Special Access Scheme (SAS) or Authorised Prescriber Scheme.

How the $300 million put aside to tackle Australia’s ice epidemic was put on ice [Perth Now]

Not a single dollar of the $300 million the Turnbull Government promised to tackle the ice scourge has been spent a year after the government announced its national strategy to tackle the drug.

Queensland police refuse to say if fraud squad fundraiser paid tax [ABC]

The Queensland Police Service is refusing to say whether it has paid tax on one of its most lucrative private sector fundraising activities. “Project Synergy” is run by the police fraud squad. It holds fraud and cybercrime symposiums, and raises money by selling conference sponsorships to private companies for up to $25,000. The project has raised nearly $200,000 over two years from some of Australia’s biggest and best-known companies.

Pensioner cannabis growers fined $1000, escape criminal convictions [The Age]

A couple who grew cannabis in their home to help people treat chronic pain have been fined $1000 and escaped criminal convictions.

WA legalises medicinal marijuana [WA Today]

WA doctors will be able to legally prescribe medicinal cannabis from Tuesday after the state government threw its support behind changes to Commonwealth laws.

Medicinal marijuana to become legal to grow in Australia — but how will it work? [ABC]

It is about to become legal to cultivate and manufacture medicinal cannabis in Australia, which means people will be able to apply for a licence to grow their own cannabis crop.

‘Fit and proper’ people can apply to grow cannabis for medicinal use this weekend [ABC]

Growing cannabis legally will be a step closer on Sunday when federal legislation comes into effect allowing the drug to be grown for medicinal purposes.

Newcastle Medicinal Cannabis Seminar – Dr Andrew Katelaris talks to Aaron Kearney [1233 ABC Radio Newcastle]

Dr Andrew Katelaris is a long time campaigner for medicinal cannabis, and he joined 1233’s Aaron Kearney to talk about why he is such an advocate for this controversial drug.

First Kiwi approved for new cheaper medicinal cannabis treatment [Stuff]

An Auckland woman with multiple sclerosis is set to become a “guinea pig” for a new medicinal cannabis extract.

Marijuana legalisation: The unstoppable rise of California ‘pot capitalism’ [triple j Hack]

Here are some of the things that happen when marijuana – a plant humans have been smoking for at least 2,000 years – comes into contact with US-style capitalism: cannabis ‘cannoisseurs’, ‘budtenders’, vegan ‘dabbing’ concentrates, peanut-butter-and-jam flavoured THC candies, and friendly neighbourhood dispensaries with dozens of varieties.

Denver first US city to allow social cannabis use [SBS]

Denver has become the first city in the United States to legalize the social use of cannabis in businesses, including bars, yoga studios and art galleries.

Florida approves medical marijuana in landslide [Independent]

Voters in Florida approved an amendment on Tuesday, with more than 75 per cent of the vote, that will widen access to medical marijuana in the Sunshine State.

Marijuana legalization: Big changes across USA [The Conversation]

The trend toward legalization is sweeping the country, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing. This might lead some who support the movement to assume legal pot nationwide is a foregone conclusion, but that’s far from the truth.

California scrambles to implement new recreational pot law [The Age]

Trump said during the campaign that he would respect states that adopt their own marijuana laws, but some in his inner circle, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have pushed for tough enforcement of drug laws in the past, Nadelmann said. One concern is that Trump might make Giuliani attorney general, which oversees drug enforcement, the activists said.

The marijuana industry created more than 18,000 new jobs in Colorado last year [The Washington Post]

In 2015, the legal marijuana industry in Colorado created more than 18,000 new full-time jobs and generated $2.4 billion in economic activity, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis of the economics of legal cannabis in the state.

Santa Claus is trying to stop a North Pole marijuana ban [indy100]

Marijuana was recently legalised in Alaska, but communities across the country were allowed to vote on allowing marijuana businesses to operate locally. Voters in the North Pole (surprisingly, people do actually live there – it’s a suburb of Fairbanks) decided their town would be closed for this business.

Marijuana ballot initiatives could get people who’ve done time for drugs back on their feet [Market Watch]

As the cannabis industry grows and evolves, advocates and organizations are exploring ways to help those impacted by the war on drugs.

Colorado Hemp Farmers Are Turning to Bitcoin for Their Banking Woes [Motherboard]

It’s no secret that banks, credit card companies, and online payment apps like PayPal have no desire to work with businesses that traffic in legally nebulous goods (even though the Justice Department has gone on record to say that it’s chill). This leaves most canna businesses with two options: don’t have a bank account or lie about the nature of your business to the bank. Many dispensaries and cannabis cultivators in Colorado have opted for the latter option. These cannabis entrepreneurs are inevitably caught (it’s really hard to not raise a red flag when you’re depositing tens of thousands of dollars in cash into your account every week) and punished.

Alaska’s first retail marijuana store set to open at ‘high noon’ two years after vote [The Guardian]

A store in Alaska was set on Saturday to be the first in the state offering retail marijuana sales, with a grand opening scheduled for what the operators were calling “high noon”. The planned opening of Herbal Outfitters in Valdez comes nearly two years after voters approved allowing people 21 and older to recreationally use pot.

Pueblo Votes to Keep Legal Marijuana and Businesses Like Mesa Organics [Denver Post]

When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, in November 2012, Jim saw an opportunity. The Air Force lieutenant colonel moved home and started a dispensary with his wife, Pam. Since then, Pueblo County has seen an economic boom — all thanks to marijuana.

Why a Pot Farmer Opposes Legal Marijuana [The Daily 360]

A marijuana farmer gives his opinion on the downside of legal marijuana or growers.

Inside big pharma’s fight to block recreational marijuana [The Guardian]

Pharma and alcohol companies have been quietly bankrolling the opposition to legal marijuana, raising questions about threats to market share.

Weed Killers: Here’s who’s bankrolling the fight against legal marijuana [Vice]

Even by the usual standards of politics, this election’s campaign against marijuana legalization has made strange bedfellows. The largest donors to the various anti-weed political groups around the country include a billionaire casino tycoon, a woman who believes in reefer madness, a drug-crusading former U.S. ambassador, cops, prison guards, booze merchants, and a pharma company that sells the powerful painkiller fentanyl.

Colorado marijuana’s potency getting ‘higher’ [CNN]

More than two years after Colorado began selling marijuana for recreational use, cannabis consumers have access to pot that is more potent than ever.

High Prices [Vice News]

According to figures provided by Veterans Affairs Canada, the number of retired soldiers obtaining medical marijuana from the government saw a staggering 15-fold increase over just three years, with a corresponding 50-time increase in cost.

Study: Recreational Marijuana in Canada Could Generate More Money Than Booze [Time]

If recreational marijuana is legalized in Canada, it could generate a nearly $23 billion industry in the country, a new study suggests. Sales would surpass the combined totals that come from beer, wine and spirits purchases, according to the Toronto Star, which cited a soon-to-be-released Deloitte report on Thursday. The newspaper said the report found that the base retail market alone would be worth $4.9 billion to $8.7 billion annually, while the ancillary market would spike to about $22.6 billion.

From Vietnam to the UK: Child Slaves Producing Cannabis [volteface]

Vietnamese children are being smuggled from “the Jungle” in Calais into the UK to work as slaves on “cannabis farms”, according to the NSPCC. They say that cannabis consumers in the UK should be more aware of where their weed is coming from.

How the UK’s drug laws have created an underground medical marijuana scene [Independent]

The UK’s underground medical marijuana scene, where dealers give away tens of thousands of pounds worth of cannabis in order to offer relief to those in physical pain, has been exposed in a new documentary.

GW Pharmaceuticals hires investment bank following approaches [Reuters]

GW Pharmaceuticals Plc (GWP.L), a developer of marijuana-based epilepsy treatments, is working with an investment bank after other drugmakers approached it to express interest in an acquisition, people familiar with the matter said.

The revolution in cannabis law has begun, but Britain is stuck in the past [The Guardian]

How did the world change on 8 November 2016? No, it was not the election of Donald Trump. It was the passage of California’s proposition 64, removing legal controls on the production and sale of marijuana. A quarter of Americans will now be able to buy cannabis legally, from California to Massachusetts, from Florida to Colorado. It is inconceivable that a Trump presidency will intervene in states’ rights and overrule them. The dam has broken. As with alcohol prohibition in the 1930s, the irresistible force of public demand has overwhelmed the immovable object of prejudice.

High Society: Weed [Vice]

Cannabis is the UK’s favourite illegal drug. An estimated half a million people use it for medicinal purposes, and many more just to get high. In the past decade, many other countries have moved to decriminalise or even fully legalise smoking and growing weed, yet the UK’s government refuses to budge. When over 200,000 people signed a petition last year calling on Westminster to make the production, sale and use of weed legal, the government responded with a flat-out no. Yet in some ways, decriminalisation is happening through the back door, with many British police forces de-prioritising the policing of cannabis.

What Does Rescheduling Cannabis Mean? [volteface]

Most people will know that controlled drugs fall under difference Classes (A, B or C) in the UK, but what far fewer people are aware of is that drugs are also classified under different Schedules, which restrict their availability, how they are used and whether they can be researched or prescribed. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be exploring what impact the impact is of different schedules, and what could be gained from rescheduling drugs.

UK’s Cannabis Social Clubs Come of Age [volteface]

Last Sunday, around 150 activists, academics, and journalists, gathered in Leicester to attend the first Annual General Meeting of United Kingdom’s Cannabis Social Clubs.

Dutch Legislators Consider Cannabis Reform Amid Coffeeshop Violence [Talking Drugs]

Recent violent attacks on cannabis coffeeshops in the Netherlands highlight the urgent need for the country to regulate cultivation of the drug.

Berlin to trial legal marijuana scheme [Independent]

Berlin is on course to at least semi-legalising marijuana after a cross-party movement agreed on a ground-breaking pilot scheme.

High-CBD Cannabis Now Sold Legally in Switzerland as a ‘Tobacco Substitute’ [volteface]

An organic gardening company in Switzerland has managed to make high-CBD cannabis flower available to consumers by capping the THC content and registering the product with regulators as a tobacco substitute. The Fedora strain, cultivated by northern Swiss grower Bio Can, is advertised at 7.2 percent CBD and just 0.04 percent THC, which reportedly allows the buds to adhere to both the Swiss Narcotics Act as well as existing food laws.

Illicit cannabis farming thrives in Lebanon [BBC]

“It was the need to survive that forced me into it,” says cannabis farmer Ali Nasri Shamas. “When I was young I wasn’t for it or against it. All I used to think about was going to school, graduating and getting a job. But there is poverty in this part of the country, the state is non-existent.” The “it” Shamas refers to is the business of selling cannabis, something he first became involved with six years ago. He is now one of Lebanon’s biggest growers and most prolific traders, with 130 hectares of hash fields in the country’s Bekaa Valley and more than 50 employees.

Light-up nation [The Economist]

Israel’s right-wing government is adamantly opposed to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. But it is also rather lax when it comes to medical marijuana. The health ministry is currently licensing a new list of 100 or so doctors who will be allowed to prescribe the drug for a growing list of medical conditions, and is allowing regular pharmacists to stock it. In August the agriculture minister announced that local cannabis growers will soon be allowed to export medical marijuana.

Cannabis and Cannabis Resin

A document prepared for the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drug Dependence Thirty-eight Meeting Geneva, 14 –18 November 2016

Study reveals cannabis users age faster [MedicalXpress]

A study carried out by researchers from The University of Western Australia has found significant detrimental effects to the vascular system from smoking cannabis, including early ageing.

Cannabis Studies Called Into Question As Research Weed Is Too Weak [IFL Science!]

A team of scientists have questioned the validity of all existing research regarding both the harms and medicinal benefits of cannabis, after discovering that the strains of marijuana used in these studies tend to be considerably weaker than those that are sold commercially.

Marijuana could help treat drug addiction, mental health [MedicalXpress]

Using marijuana could help some alcoholics and people addicted to opioids kick their habits, a UBC study has found.

2 women test out ‘weed tampon’ that claims to relieve period cramps [The New York Times]

In a video for Buzzfeed, two women tried out the “weed tampon,” a new cannabis-based vaginal suppository aimed at relieving period cramps. Produced by Foria, a company known for its production of cannabis-based “therapeutic aphrodisiacs and healing products,” the Foria Relief suppositories are meant to serve as an alternative to painkillers by functioning as a muscle relaxant and pain reliever.

Teens’ beliefs about marijuana documented in new Stanford study [Scope]

There’s a good news/bad news story playing out around teen smoking: After years of public health education about the dangers of cigarette use, teenagers’ cigarette smoking is declining. But their marijuana use hasn’t changed, with around 20 percent of 12th graders reporting that they had recently smoked marijuana.

A look at the ‘marijuana’ receptor [EurekAlert!]

Researchers have the clearest picture yet of the receptor that causes the “high” associated with marijuana. The three-dimensional image of cannabinoid receptor 1, revealed October 20 in Cell, reveals how molecules like THC bind to cannabinoid receptor 1, which is found to be embedded in the surface of many nerve cells. This could explain how pain medications meant to mimic cannabis use without the “high” can cause unintended side effects and provide a foundation for future therapies.

Fiorello La Guardia’s Committee on the Marihuana Problem in New York [Points Blog]

I examined the La Guardia Committee Report on the Marihuana Problem in New York, published in 1944. The committee was tasked with investigating the validity of public hysteria surrounding marijuana use in New York City during the so-called Reefer Madness era, which galvanized political support for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.

Cannabis use during pregnancy: little known about impact on child or maternal health [The Mental Elf]

The use of cannabis during pregnancy is an important issue, especially in light of the known adverse effects of long-term use in adults. A report published in 2015 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that between 48-60% of existing female cannabis users continue to use the drug while pregnant. In addition to existing users, there are also reported cases where expectant mothers are using cannabis to reduce the symptoms of morning sickness as an alternative to prescription pharmaceuticals. Overall it is estimated that in the US between 2-5% of women use cannabis while pregnant, with this number rising to 15-28% in women from low socioeconomic backgrounds (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2015).

Trick or Treat? On Laced Candy and Other Drug Myths [Points Blog]

This year, medical marijuana is on the ballot in my home state of Florida, and it’s likely to pass: the latest statewide poll shows 77 percent of Floridians support the proposed constitutional amendment. But the remaining 33 percent aren’t taking this lying down. On Monday, some county sheriffs held a press conference ostensibly on Halloween safety. Instead, surrounded by costumed children for full effect, they warned citizens about the supposed risk of marijuana edibles being passed out to unsuspecting youth.

Cannabis may enhance night vision [The Guardian]

New research shows that the drug makes cells in the retina more sensitive to light.

Marijuana Appears to Benefit Mental Health [Time]

Looking for answers about marijuana’s potential mental health benefits, a team of researchers in Canada and the U.S. recently conducted a review of the science. In their report, published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review, researchers found evidence that cannabis can likely benefit people dealing with depression, social anxiety and PTSD, though it may not be ideal for people with bipolar disorder, for instance, for which there appears to be more negative side effects than positive ones. “This is a substance that has potential use for mental health,” says Zach Walsh, an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. “We should be looking at it in the same way [as other drugs] and be holding it up to the same standard.”

Tests, Not Arrests campaign launch [Unharm]

In 2015, Unharm teamed up with Melbourne mother Adriana Buccianti to launch a petition for pill testing. To date, more than 35,000 people have got behind it. To help build the pressure for change, Unharm volunteers have now built a website where you can email your MP about pill testing in less than a minute. Can you email your MP today? They are actually reading the emails and responding! Some of the positive feedback that’s come back from MPs is they want more clarity about the practicalities of implementing pill testing. To help with that, and build support for the campaign, we’re holding a campaign launch in Melbourne.

If you’re in Melbourne, please come along. It’s at The Wheeler Centre, 6pm Friday November 25.

Hear from international experts who are running pill testing services right now. Professor Fiona Measham (The Loop, UK) and Helena Valente (CheckIn, Portugal) will join us over Skype, to tell us about how their services operate and how they made it all happen. We’ll also be joined by local experts including Dr Monica Barratt, to talk about how pill testing could operate here in Australia. We’ll have a special guest called Bruker Alpha. He’s the kind of Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer that’s being used by The Loop for pill testing in the UK. You will be able to walk around a model pill testing service and see a demonstration of the Bruker Alpha. We’ll also be joined of course by Adriana Buccianti, our courageous collaborator in this campaign. Watch the new video where she explains why she supports pill testing, here.

Please join us for this event. It’s looking like it could be a game changer for the campaign. Your support can help make that happen. All welcome. Grab a ticket here.