EMBASSY Headlines Issue 234
NEXT NIMBIN MEDICAL CANNABIS WORKSHOP SATURDAY JAN 21 [Hemp Embassy]
There is a big day planned for the Nimbin HEMP Embassy’s next MEDICAN Workshop on Saturday January 21, from 11 am in the village Hall. “It’s all about education”, says Embassy president Michael Balderstone,” and finally there are a lot of ears wanting to listen. The workshop is also a good opportunity to ask questions and meet people who have been involved with mediweed for decades.”
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH PROTEST RALLY [MCUA]
Parliament House Canberra ~ Tuesday 7th February ~ 10 Am – 1pm Bring a picnic basket and a placard and join the CannaWarrior Coalition for lunch on the green. Australians united for full legislation of cannabis.
Open Education Day: Hemp Farming for Renewable Economies [Health Farms International]
When: Friday 3rd February 10 am to 4pm. Where: Cecil St Nimbin – Follow Balloons. Why: To educate and promote Industrial, Medical and Food products grown from HEMP and other useful plants. If it’s mined and made from Fossil Fuels it can be grown by Farmers and made from HEMP! For further information contact Wadzy Ph: 0407 895 569. E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Police raids ‘take medicine’ from severely ill kids [Sunshine Coast Daily]
Families are having to ration their sick and dying children’s medicine after a police raid on a South Australian marijuana producer’s home yesterday cut off supply of medicinal marijuana oil to more than 150 Australians. Medicinal marijuana advocate Rebecca Bridson said at least four severely ill children on the Coast have been left with barely enough medicine to see out the week, including one eight-year-old girl suffering uncontrollable seizures and a ten-year-old with brain cancer. “Without the cannabis (oil), they will decline or die,” she said. “Every time they do this, we have to find more medicine to save people’s lives.”
Pauline Hanson makes plea over medicinal cannabis [The Courier Mail]
Pauline Hanson has directly lobbied Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to provide an amnesty to suppliers and users of medicinal cannabis. Her appeal to Mr Turnbull follows the raid on the house of an Adelaide woman who produces and supplies medicinal cannabis oil for free to terminally ill patients around Australia. Senator Hanson appealed to One Nation supporters to lobby the Prime Minister to support an amnesty for medicinal cannabis users and suppliers. “Most of you know I’ve been a long advocate of Medicinal Cannabis, due to its effective relief for so many ailments, conventional drugs can’t offer,” Ms Hanson posted on her Facebook page. “I can reveal yesterday, I appealed directly to the Prime Minister to intervene and give amnesty to users and suppliers of this vital life saving drug so many people and families are no longer forced to use this in secret.
Pauline Hanson Is Leading The Charge On Medical Marijuana [The Huffington Post]
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has become an unlikely hero for the marijuana community, throwing her weight behind a push to legalise medical cannabis and taking the fight to the Prime Minister.
Former MP to chair Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis [thepharmaletter]
Medical practitioner and politician Andrew Southcott will chair the new Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis. The Australian government has described the new council as a vital component of its Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, which was the result of extensive consultation between the federal government and state and territory authorities in the development of regulations and security protocols for the cultivation, production and manufacture of medicinal cannabis.
Medical marijuana adviser Southcott “stands by” cannabis criticism [InDaily]
The Federal Government’s newly-appointed medical marijuana adviser – doctor and former Liberal MP Andrew Southcott – insists he has an “open mind” on the use of medicinal cannabis, despite today standing by his previous assertion that the drug is “not safe”.
Police Against Drug Prohibition: An Interview with LEAP’s Greg Denham [Sydney Criminal Lawyers]
Mr Denham is a former police senior sergeant, who served on the Victoria police force for fifteen years and also served in Queensland for two. He now advocates for a different approach to dealing with drugs, one that doesn’t involve locking up those who’ve been found in possession of illicit substances for personal use. And Denham’s not the only former law enforcement officer questioning the punitive approach that authorities are taking towards drugs in this country. Denham is the Australian representative for the US-based agency Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). LEAP is an international group of police officers and other members of the criminal justice system that want to see an end to drug prohibition.
Queensland’s medicinal cannabis advocates plea for compassion, access to drug [ABC]
Medicinal cannabis advocates are pleading for compassion and urging Australian authorities to legalise the drug to help ease the pain and suffering of those who desperately need it. It follows the South Australian police raid on Adelaide supplier Jenny Hallam’s property last week that sparked an outcry from families who rely on her for the supply of cannabis oil. In Queensland, doctors will be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis for patients in March after laws were passed by State Parliament last October.
TW Holding closes takeover bid for medical cannabis company AusCann [Proactive Investors]
TW Holding (ASX:TWH) has obtained a relevant interest in 100% of the AusCann shares. TW Holding will be renamed AusCann Group Holdings. AusCann will have a focus on medical cannabis and is well positioned to take advantage of the developing market by bringing together a strong team with relevant and complementary skill sets. The team includes the largest legal producer of medicinal cannabis in North America, Canopy Growth Corp and Chilean medicinal cannabis grower Fundación Daya.
Researches test if medical cannabis can treat pancreatic cancer [Perth Now]
Perth researchers are to test whether medical cannabis can pave a breakthrough in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal diseases on the planet. Curtin University’s School of Biomedical Sciences is poised to start testing cannabis formulations against human pancreatic cell cancer lines grown in the laboratory. The project is in collaboration with Zelda Therapeutics, a Perth-based biopharmaceutical company, which will import the cannabis from Canada.
AA wants random drug driver tests [Radio NZ]
The Automobile Association’s spokesperson, Dylan Thomsen, said drug driving was a silent killer on the country’s roads because a lot more drivers involved in fatal crashes were found to have drugs in their system, than people thought. Blood samples taken from 1046 drivers killed in fatal crashes between 2004 and 2009 found that 1 in 3 had some type of drug in their system, mostly cannabis. Mr Thomsen said most people were aware of the dangers of drink driving and alcohol but there were a lot of people who didn’t see drugs, including cannabis, in the same way.
Two-Thirds Of Cops Support Some Form Of Marijuana Legalization [The Huffington Post]
A new survey of thousands of police officers from departments around the U.S. suggests that the majority don’t agree with the federal government’s stance on marijuana. Nearly one-third of the officers said weed should be legal for medical and personal use, while 37 percent said it should be legal for medical use alone. Just 30 percent said that weed should not be legal at all.
Is the US really ready to end its drug war? [The Conversation]
In recent years an international movement to reform global narcotics policies has been growing, with activists and presidents alike declaring that the United States’ “war on drugs” has failed. Now it seems the US has finally gotten the message – from Latin America, at least, whose nations have long borne the brunt of international drug prohibition. On December 16, president Barack Obama signed into law a bipartisan commission to assess four decades of US counter-narcotics policies and programmes in Latin America. The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act represents a potentially significant shift in American foreign policy towards its southern neighbours.
America’s $6.7 billion marijuana habit, mapped [The Washington Post]
According to one estimate by ArcView Group, a marijuana industry consulting firm, the legal marijuana market rang up $6.7 billion in sales in 2016. The latest data release from that survey breaks those numbers down even further, looking at marijuana consumption at the state level. It finds that there’s considerable variation in the prevalence of marijuana use by state.
An Open Letter To President Obama [The Huffington Post]
We hope you will use the final days of your presidency to commute even more prison sentences of low-level drug offenders.
No More Fake News — Obama Should Require Truthful Data On Medical Marijuana [The Huffington Post]
Since the day Obama became president, there have been rumors that on his last day of office he would somehow do a mic drop and make marijuana legal. This is not legally possible but there is something he could do before he leaves office to finally put an end to “reefer madness”: update the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) website and publications to reflect its own recent scientific findings on medical cannabis. Science that dispels four of the biggest myths about medical marijuana. Requiring scientific accuracy would allow Congress and the next Administration to have accurate information when discussing national medical cannabis policies that affects millions of Americans.
Jeff Sessions on enforcing federal marijuana laws: ‘It won’t be an easy decision’ [The Washington Post]
In his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Trump’s nominee for attorney general, declined to say whether he’d adhere to the more lenient marijuana enforcement guidelines adopted by the Obama administration’s Justice Department in states that have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana use. “I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law,” Sessions replied. “I think some of [the Obama-era guidelines] are truly valuable in evaluating cases,” he added. “Using good judgment about how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine. I know it won’t be an easy decision, but I will try to do my duty in a fair and just way.”
Donald Trump and weed [The Economist]
Because dope remains illegal under federal law, any pot shop is, in effect, a US attorney-general’s whim away from closure. Barack Obama’s administration, though opposed to legalising cannabis, ruled that this would be a waste of resources in states, such as Colorado, where dope peddling is well-regulated. Senator Jeff Sessions, whom Mr Trump has nominated to be his attorney-general, appears to take a different view. “We need grown-ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalised,” he has said—and also, “good people don’t smoke marijuana”. Mr Trump has taken seemingly contradictory positions on the issue. Campaigning for election, he said that whether marijuana should be legal was a matter for individual states to decide; his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, said the same. But he also called Colorado’s cannabis regime, which is considered a model of prudent regulation by stoners and investors alike, “a real problem”. His vice-president-elect Mike Pence has, as governor of Indiana, presided over one of America’s toughest anti-marijuana regimes.
Why Do Some Drug Dealers Get Off Scot-Free? [Mercola]
According to a recent report by the U.S. Surgeon General, more Americans now use prescription opioids than smoke cigarettes.1 These drugs also kill more Americans than car crashes. Over the past five years, drug overdose deaths have risen by 33 percent.3 As noted by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “We know of no other medication routinely used for a nonfatal condition that kills patients so frequently.” We also need to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in creating this (and other) health crises. The drug addiction epidemic is snowballing, yet drug companies still are not doing much to prevent people from dying from their drugs. Instead, some actually appear to be promoting and supporting drug addiction on purpose. These companies know their actions will result in addiction and death. Yet they do it anyway, and get off scot-free with nothing but a minor fine. Their actions may not entirely meet the legal definition of manslaughter or murder, but the end result is certainly identical. They are killing people and they know it. In my view, many of them should be in jail, rubbing shoulders with all the other drug dealers.
More older Americans using cannabis, underscoring need for research [EurekAlert!]
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has reported that cannabis use by persons over age 50 has outpaced recent growth observed across all other age groups. In 2000, about one percent of Americans over 50 had used it within the past year; by 2012, that number had risen to 3.9 percent. “Some older persons have responded to changing social and legal environments, and are increasingly likely to take cannabis recreationally,” said lead author Brian Kaskie, PhD, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. “Other older persons are experiencing age-related health care needs and some take cannabis for symptom management, as recommended by a medical doctor.”
Legal marijuana sales in US ‘bigger than dot-com boom’ [ABC]
New figures put North America’s legal marijuana “green rush” above the dot-com boom of the early 2000s in terms of industry growth, according to Forbes. North America’s legal marijuana market posted $US9.3 billion ($12 billion) in revenue in 2016 — a 30 per cent increase on 2015 — according to a report by ArcView Market Research, a leading cannabis research publisher. The report said the industry could post sales topping $US20.2 billion ($27.9 billion) by 2021, assuming a compound annual growth rate of 25 per cent.
Huge invasion of privacy to get a job in America [news.com.au]
Unlike in Australia, pre-employment drug screening is commonplace in America, and my first encounter with the practice took me by surprise. In my excitement for the job opportunity, I suppressed the unsettling feeling I had: the feeling of my privacy being invaded, of being shamed and distrusted, treated like a child even. Then the more I thought about it, I realised my frustrations were not just personal. They were political. For decades, the fear of drugs has been used for political purposes in America. From Richard Nixon’s declaration of a “war on drugs” in the 1970s to Ronald Reagan’s demonisation of crack cocaine as “public enemy number one” in the 1980s, drug use has been stigmatised so effectively that few question the rhetoric when it comes to pre-employment drug screening. If employers are concerned only with drug abuse like they say they are, then they have no business screening for low-level drug use. This is simply an invasion of privacy. So aside from generating revenue for laboratories that specialise in employer drug screening, what purpose does pre-employment drug screening have?
Cannabis confusion – the legality of medicinal CBD in the UK [Release]
Products used for medical purposes that contain cannabidiol (CBD) must now be licensed before they can legally be supplied in the UK, thanks to last year’s decision by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). After issuing in October its initial opinion on the medicinal value of CBD products, the MHRA allowed businesses until December 31, 2016 to voluntarily remove their current stock of CBD products sold for medicinal purposes. Now that the deadline has passed it is inevitable that the availability of CBD products in the UK will dry up whilst suppliers and manufacturers work towards obtaining the necessary market authorisation. If they ignore the licensing requirements and continue to dispense, they potentially face prosecution.
WARNING. So-Called ‘Indica’ CBD Products Are Illegal [Cannabis Law Reform UK]
Any CBD products marketed in the UK as derived from ‘indica’ cannabis are illegal and you could be prosecuted for possession, importation or supply as with any other form of prohibited cannabis. The situation which started last October with the MHRA trying to shut down marketing of CBD products arose because of irresponsible, cowboy companies making medicinal claims about their products. It was well understood by all professional CBD companies that this would cause problems and indeed it has. Only the intervention of CLEAR and the formation of the Cannabis Trades Association UK has saved the market from collapse. We are deeply concerned to see that at least one company is now advertising some CBD products as derived from indica cannabis grown in the Netherlands. This is unlawful. The only cannabis strains that may be grown as industrial hemp and therefore used to produce exempt products are on the EU approved list. There are no indica strains.
Marijuana Legalization In Europe: Is France Next? [Forbes]
With eight months to go until the 2017 French presidential election, marijuana – or cannabis, as the French prefer to call it – is an honored guest meme in the candidates’ discourse, and a subject of intense controversy among the French electorate. But hold on. The political debate is less about interdiction or legalization but, rather, about the nuances of what many are calling “an unavoidable course:” complete legalization or mere decriminalization.
When Grassroots Action Works: How Ireland Won Its Medical Cannabis Battle [Vice]
Ireland has become the latest European nation to approve a bill allowing for the use of medicinal cannabis. The bill, which was passed on the 1st of December after the government said it would not oppose it, is yet to become law (its ratification will be debated in the early months of the new year), but campaigners are confident it will pass and that much-needed cannabis products will be available through the health system for those in need.
Cannabis for epilepsy: is there enough evidence of efficacy? [The Pharmaceutical Journal]
Parents of children with treatment-resistant epilepsy are searching for something to help, and some are turning to cannabis to try to reduce seizure frequency. With clinical trials of cannabidiol-based drugs under way, evidence for this treatment option may soon be forthcoming. However, concerns remain about side effects, such as sedation, interactions with other drugs, and potential disturbances of brain development.
What’s The Risk Of Drug Use During Pregnancy? [Cannabis.net]
There’s no question that the issue of pregnant mothers using marijuana is a hotly contested issue. Most people would view using an illicit substance such as marijuana during pregnancy as a form of pre-natal child abuse- rendering the topic such a controversial affair that few are willing to openly advocate for it.
Testing breast milk for cannabinoids [EurekAlert!]
With the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana spreading across the country, the drug’s use is reportedly increasing among pregnant women. It stands to reason that many of these women will continue to use marijuana after they give birth. Now researchers have developed a new method to help determine what this means for infants’ potential exposure to the active compounds in marijuana in breast milk. Their report appears in the journal ACS Omega.
Survey: Marijuana smoker? Take our confidential Cannabis survey [Lyndon]
Lyndon’s research team are interested to know when and in what social setting you smoke Cannabis/Marijuana/Weed. The survey is completely anonymous and will help us inform health program development, policies and communications to Cannabis users. Thank you!
Petition: Grant Clemency to Jenny Hallam [change.org]
We, the undersigned, request that all charges against Ms Jenny Hallam, of Hillier, South Australia, relating to the supply of medical cannabis be dropped; and she be given exemption from prosecution so she can continue to provide her patients with medicine until the government can guarantee the supply of an affordable product that is deemed fit and proper by the people of Australia.
Petition: Decriminalize the herb known as Cannabis/Marijuana for medical treatment [change.org]
At present the government is making cannabis/marijuana oil legal for medical treatment of very sick people but not making it possible for them to get the oil they need in Australia. Doctors don’t seem to support the treatment even when it helps people who are dying. I would like to be able to take a natural herb preventative approach like cannabis oil as my treatment. Our government has a duty of care for the wellbeing of Australian people and it’s not hard to decriminalize a herb so people can purchase it from their local health shop like other herbs.
Do you like to party at festivals? If that’s you then read on, baby! [Unharm]
There’s a new concept on its way that’s all about doing festivals better. You know, partying safely and having a good time with your mates. It’s called Festival Friends. It’s about ending a culture of fear, mistrust and failure and replacing it with something fun, safe and responsible. Festival Friends is about doing festivals RIGHT – but it wont happen without you! Right now, the hunt is on for people who are the festival ringleaders. Ringleaders do what no one else can –take festivals from average to amazing! If you’re a ringleader (or if you have ringleader mates) and would like to join a closed facebook group to help provide feedback on concepts, that would be siiiiiiick. You could take this campaign from average to amazing. It’s all about joining a discussion, providing feedback and maybe, if you’ve got mad skillz, even helping to create some new ideas about how to make festivals an all-round better experience for you and your mates. If you’re one of these legends, hit us up on the big ol’ reply button and become one of our Festival Friends.
Greg Kasarik, an LSD user pushing for Victorian government regulation of drug [The Age]
Greg Kasarik is a drug user who is probably too honest for his own good. This week, when he had a charge dismissed by a magistrate after pleading guilty, he volunteered to Melbourne Magistrates Court that he was again breaking the law by possessing a drug of dependence. He was escorted outside the court by three police officers, arrested and charged again, and is due to return in three months. Far from trying to avoid the law, Mr Kasarik’s preparedness for repeat offending is based on wanting the drug LSD regulated by the state government, so he and others can buy and use it safely.
Sniffer Dogs: False Positives and Limits to Police Powers [Sydney Criminal Lawyers]
One of the most controversial tools in the armoury of police when it comes to enforcing drug laws is the use of drug detection dogs. These dogs were introduced after the 2000 Sydney Olympics to catch drug suppliers, but have failed dismally to meet their stated objective. Rather, drug dog operations have led to tens of thousands of innocent people being subjected to invasive searches, while failing to deter drug dealers or users. Indeed, government statistics suggest that more than two out of every three searches are ‘false positives’ – where the dog indicates the presence of drugs but none are found. Perhaps of even greater concern, the use of sniffer dogs has been linked to the deaths of several young people at music festivals – who have ‘loaded up’ on significant quantities of drugs upon seeing dogs in the area, or ‘pre-loaded’ before arriving at the venue to avoid detection.