EMBASSY Headlines Issue 237

By Published On: February 2, 2017Categories: Cannabis


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!

Australia’s first medicinal cannabis clinical guidelines released [Queensland Government]

Queensland doctors now have access to Australia’s first medical practitioner guidance document which will assist them to safely prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients. The three documents now available are:

  • The Clinical Guidance: For the use of Medicinal Cannabis Products, which covers clinical topics such as treatment options for doctors to use in discussions with their patients;
  • The Medicinal Cannabis Access and Use in Queensland will clarify the process for access to medicinal cannabis, who can prescribe it, how to apply for approvals and monitoring and reporting requirements; and,
  • The Standard for Security of Medicinal Cannabis Stock, to ensure health care professionals are aware of the requirements for storing and securing their medicinal cannabis stock.

The guidance documents are available on the Queensland Health website https://www.health.qld.gov.au/public-health/topics/medicinal-cannabis/clinicians/prescribing

An Overview of Medicinal Cannabis: Current State of Place in 2016 [Queensland Government]

This paper provides an overview of the current state of play with respect to issues related to medicinal cannabis. It defines medicinal cannabis and explores the potential health benefits of medicinal cannabis.

This Man Used Hemp Oil On Live TV To Draw Attention To His Granddaughter’s Health [Huffington Post]

A millionaire philanthropist has taken hemp oil on national television to highlight his granddaughter’s struggle to get treatment for her epilepsy, as the five-year-old-girl begs prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and state premiers to make medicinal cannabis more accessible. Barry Lambert is so frustrated with the lack of medicinal cannabis treatment for his granddaughter Katelyn’s Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy, he’s funded medical trials in the U.S., Channel 7 reports. “This is a crime against humanity and something has got to be done about it,” he said of lack of access to the drug, before apparently using hemp oil on 7 News during an interview on the weekend.

Medicinal cannabis campaign demands better access to drug [ABC]

Federal legislation passed last year was supposed to give patients access to cannabis for medicinal use but Lucy Haslam and Barry Lambert said it was harder to get than ever before. They are asking Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for an amnesty on compassionate suppliers and for new Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to take this opportunity to fix the regulations.

The Greenlight campaign kicks off tomorrow with a full page ad in a major metropolitan newspaper featuring Mr Lambert’s five-year-old grand-daughter, Katelyn, who has a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome which causes developmental problems. The ad asks the Prime Minister and state Premiers to make it legal for Katelyn to eat cannabis extract which her family said greatly reduced the number of seizures she experienced.

Federal legislation came into effect in October which the Government said would “give patients and doctors access to a safe, reliable and legal source of cannabis for medicinal use”. But Ms Haslam said the Government had failed to consult broadly and it drew up the regulations before establishing the expert advisory council it had promised.

SA to look at cannabis, hemp changes [9 News]

The South Australian government will consider lobbying the commonwealth to change laws and regulations considered barriers to the development of a medicinal cannabis industry in the state.

Medicinal Cannabis in SA may produce lucrative jobs [International Business Times]

South Australia government has held a meeting to discuss the possibility of putting up cannabis and hemp industry in the state. The industry was considered as it could produce lucrative jobs for the state, which has the highest unemployment rate in the country. Manufacturing Minister Kyam Maher said that the government was eager to explore options.

Sick NSW mum must hide in the shadows to get ‘cloak and dagger’ medicinal cannabis [9 News]

Two of Australia’s largest compassionate suppliers of medicinal cannabis have been raided by police in the last two months. Campaigner Lucy Haslam, whose son Daniel died of cancer, fears the knock-on effect of those busts for people across the country. Haslam told Nine.com.au that although medicinal cannabis has been legalised, the government had put in place a bureaucratic system full of roadblocks. She accused Malcolm Turnbull’s government of making big announcements but not delivering for those in need. “Access to medicinal cannabis is actually harder than ever before,” Ms Haslam claimed. Medicinal cannabis campaigners plan to march in Canberra on February 7.

Petition: Give Dying Patients Back Their Right to Access Cannabis, and Stop the States from Putting in Barriers that Delay Access [change.org]

Please sign and take a Stand for Sick and Dying patients who need Urgent Access to cannabis TODAY! The media coverage that the Federal Government legalised or decriminalised cannabis across Australia in February is false and misleading. Furthermore the claim that from 1st November patients could go to their doctor and be prescribed cannabis is simply political spin and propaganda.

Unconfirmed truths and alternative facts – DRUG WAR DIARY [HEMP Party]

Medical Cannabis is currently being discussed all over the country in high places and behind very closed doors. Not only by stoners but by people in suits who are popping out some weird ideas. Like Queensland doctors have been warned not to prescribe “the strongest forms” (THC) of Cannabis to anyone under 25 years old. They also warned doctors will bear full responsibility for medical Cannabis they prescribe and emphasised that medican products are untested and their safety and efficacy are unknown. Trying hard to scare doctors away or what?

War on drugs — It’s time to change tactics [The Daily Telegraph]

Information is available to show how the price of illicit drugs is decreasing and purity is increasing no matter what record seizure is announced. The ongoing easy availability of the drugs is also well known.

The 2015/16 Annual Report from the NSW Crime Commission belled the cat about the futility of the law enforcement led approach to illicit drugs and the need for change. A quote from the report that matter-of-factly says — Methamphetamine (ice) and cocaine supplies are still high; prices for both drugs are considerably lower than five years ago and the detection and seizures are increasing both in number and volume.

It goes on to state — “According to statistical reporting, mainstream crime has been slowly reduced over time… however, the observed situation in relation to organised crime is considered by the Commission to be the opposite of the mainstream crime statistics. Organised crime is increasing and is at levels not seen previously in New South Wales.” And concludes that — “The growth of organised crime is almost entirely driven by the prohibited drugs market… ”

What is not mentioned is that, according to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the overwhelming majority of drug related arrests in this country continue to be for the possession and use of illicit drugs and primarily for cannabis.

Drug-driving charges climb in Canberra as fewer people caught drinking behind wheel [ABC]

Police are nabbing 12 times more Canberrans for drug-driving than four years ago in a trend experts say is sweeping the country. Almost 450 people returned positive drug tests on ACT roads in 2016, compared with just 37 in 2012 – the first full year of drug-driving testing after the ACT Government brought in the policy. Taking into account an increase in the number of tests administered by police, the proportion of positive results spiked from 2.1 per cent of drivers tested to 16.4 per cent.

More WA drivers charged with drug-driving as tests soar [News]

Ten people a day are caught drug-driving in WA, according to new police figures which show the number of people charged for driving while under the influence of illicit substances has soared. Police Minister Liza Harvey told The Sunday Times the latest police figures for 2016 showed more than 3200 drivers tested positive for cannabis or methamphetamine last year. That equates to more than 62 a week or almost 10 a day — up from 1855 drivers or five a day in 2015. Police have ramped up their drug-driving testing, from almost 20,000 tests in 2015 to more than 30,000 drivers tested last year. But the percentage of drivers who tested positive has also increased, rising from 9.6 per cent to 11.5 per cent.

Patent application suggests Apple might be eyeing the vaping industry [Yahoo! News]

Apple may be dabbling in cars, wearables, and other technologies outside its core smartphone and computers business, but here is an area few people would expect the Cupertino, California company to enter. A recently published patent application suggests the company may be eyeing the booming vaping industry with its own high-tech vaporizer unit. Filed in June 2016 and released on January 26, 2017 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the patent application describes a vaporizer that uses high temperature to convert a substance into a vapor.

Chill people, the pot law needs fixing [Boston Globe]

It’s reasonable for the state to push back on a timetable dictated by the marijuana industry and its anything-but-mellow effort to begin making millions off of Massachusetts weed. As of Dec. 15, marijuana was legal to possess in Massachusetts but illegal to sell until January 2018. The law — passed by referendum vote last November — was crafted that way for a purpose. Proponents deliberately created a legal gray period, which they cited as a reason why the state should not delay the opening of recreational marijuana stores in Massachusetts. However, a bill signed into law last week by Governor Charlie Baker does just that, by delaying marijuana sales by six months, from January to June 2018.

Minnesota’s medical marijuana program needs more money [MedicalXpress]

Minnesota’s medical marijuana program needs extra state funding to cover the costs of its patient database and inspections of drug manufacturers, just a few of the regulations that make it one of the most restrictive such laws in the country. It’s the latest reminder of the financial constraints on the program borne from the heavy restrictions on Minnesota’s 2014 law. The plant form of marijuana remains banned under the law, requiring the state’s two medical manufacturers to concoct marijuana oils, pills and vapors with routine state inspections and secondary lab testing. Just 10 severe conditions such as cancer and epilepsy qualify for the program, a number that has grown in recent years with a few additions.

Legal ‘CannaBillions’ Pour into North America [volteface]

A new report reveals that North Americans spent in the region of $7 billion on legal cannabis in 2016. An article in Entrepreneur details the findings, which show a 34 percent increase from revenue made in 2015. Arcview Market Research, a leading authority on the business of legal cannabis, have predicted a further growth of 25 percent through to 2021, making the North American market worth approximately $20.2 billion by that point.

Trump’s Supreme Court Pick On Marijuana [MassRoots]

Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, has issued a few interesting marijuana rulings over the years. But Gorsuch, currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, hasn’t ever given a clear indication of how he’d rule on big cases about conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws that might arrive before the Supreme Court in the coming years. In 2015 case, he ruled against a Colorado marijuana dispensary, saying that it must comply with IRS orders to disclose information about its operations.

Trump’s Marijuana Options [Rand Corporation]

No one knows what the Trump administration will do about marijuana, and Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general didn’t provide much insight. Will it follow Obama’s lead? Trudeau’s? Do something entirely different? The new administration will have at least six options:

  • Shut it down.
  • Shape the markets.
  • Maintain the status quo.
  • Reclassify marijuana.
  • Address federal-state conflicts.
  • Legalize it.

Marijuana use trends and health effects [Colorado Department of Health & Environment]

A report from reviewing scientific literature on the health effects of marijuana and Colorado-specific health outcome and use pattern. Presented by the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee to the Colorado State Board of Health, the Colorado Department of Revenue, and the Colorado General Assembly on Monday, January 30, 2017.

Evidence shows that marijuana works for pain, the medical reason most people want it — but doctors still have questions [Business Insider Australia]

The most common reason that people seek out medical marijuana is for chronic pain. According to a report released earlier in January by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), that makes a lot of sense. One of the strongest conclusions of the report, which provides basically the most comprehensive, up-to-date look at what all available research on cannabis tell us, is that there is conclusive or substantial evidence (in general, enough to make a firm conclusion) that cannabis or cannabinoids, found in the marijuana plant, can be an effective treatment for chronic pain.

Don’t call us junkies or addicts: people who use illicit drugs say lingo matters [Vancouver Sun]

Calling someone a junkie was once the norm, but many people who use illicit drugs and those who treat them say the word addict is just as stigmatizing.

For adults only: Evolving attitudes about marijuana among Gen X-ers [Basis Online]

As people age, their attitudes often change. Opinions can transform for many reasons. Circumstances evolve, people look at questions from different points of view, exposure to and knowledge about events and subjects changes. As multiple states legalize or consider legalizing marijuana, researchers have been surveying and studying changes in public opinion of marijuana use. This week, ASHES reviews a longitudinal study by Rick Kosterman and his colleagues on Gen X-ers’ views on marijuana use as they moved from adolescence to adulthood. The percentage of participants who approved of people their age using marijuana increased from 1% at age 10 to 52% at age 39. In the last wave of data collection, 19% reported that they either thought it was okay for their children to use marijuana or that the decision should be left to their children responses. By comparison, in a similar survey in 1991, only 6% of parents gave similar responses.

‘Medicinal cannabis could be made free of charge’ [The Journal]

The Oireachtas Health Committee [in Ireland] has recommended that medicinal cannabis be paid for by the State and that, pending approval from healthcare authorities, it should be made available to patients as soon as possible. Pending their approval, the committee has recommended that certain cannabidiol products, such as Charlotte’s Web and Epidiolex, be made available to patients as speedily and as cost-effectively as possible.

GPs and cannabis [Irish Examiner]

The majority of GPs support the legalisation of cannabis for therapeutic use, but not the Government’s policy on decriminalisation. A survey by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) found male GPs and those with higher levels of addiction training are more likely to support a more liberal drug policy approach to cannabis for personal use. Two in five male GPs support the legalisation of cannabis compared to 15% of female doctors. A majority of GPs — four in five — support the view cannabis use has a significant effect on patients’ mental health and increases risk of schizophrenia (77.3%). More than three in five agree that cannabis can have a role in palliative care, pain management, and treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Preston’s first cannabis club to challenge Home Office [Lancashire Post]

Preston’s newest club is taking the Government to court for the right to supply cannabis to its members. Former welder Mike Dobson, who served a jail term for growing the drug, has launched Preston Cannabis Club and wants to make it legal in the UK.

Cannabis Social Clubs: Community, Cultivation and Change-Making [volteface]

There are many different models upon which a regulated cannabis market could be based. Even in countries where cannabis is still prohibited, one of those models is already spreading fast. Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs) manage to exist in diverse legal regimes, and are centred on a small community cultivating just enough cannabis to meet the needs of its members, often also providing a safe and friendly space where the club members can socialise and consume their harvest.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte suspends violent war on drugs while police corruption is eradicated [Independent]

President Rodrigo Duterte has suspended his violent war on drugs, to allow police units in the Philippines time to root out corruption within their own ranks. Police chief Ronald dela Rosa confirmed his officers would no longer focus on arresting and charging suspected drug traffickers and consumers, and said specialised anti-drug units would be dissolved within days. More than 7,000 people have been killed in the campaign since Mr Duterte assumed power in June last year, many of them without proper trial, prompting outrage from Western nations and human rights groups.

Amnesty: Philippine police ‘planned’ drug war killings [BBC News]

Amnesty International has accused the Philippine police of “systematically planning” extrajudicial killings in the controversial war against drugs. The rights group also said in a report that the killings may constitute “crimes against humanity”. More than 7,000 have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte launched his “war” on the drug trade in July. He has always defended the crackdown, saying police were only authorised to open fire when threatened by suspects. But on Monday, the president suspended it and ordered a “clean-up” of the police force following the murder of a South Korean businessman by a group of rogue anti-drug police officers.

What do the French Presidential Candidates Think about Cannabis? [Talking Drugs]

The five leading candidates in the upcoming French presidential election, who hail from across the political spectrum, offer markedly different approaches to cannabis policy.

Israel acts to decriminalize small-scale marijuana use [Reuters]

Israel plans to decriminalize personal marijuana use, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Thursday, adopting an approach similar to some U.S. states and European countries. Erdan said that if the government approves his new policy, those caught smoking marijuana would be fined rather than arrested and prosecuted. Criminal procedures would be launched only against those caught repeatedly. “Police will be able to redirect resources … away from normative personal users and focus instead on dangerous drugs,” Erdan told a news conference in Tel Aviv.

Tunisia Lawmakers Reconsidering “Draconian” Drug Law [Talking Drugs]

As the Tunisian parliament considers a legislative revision to the country’s notoriously strict drug law, human rights organisations are urging lawmakers to reduce penalties. Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Avocats sans Frontières, and the Tunisian League for Human Rights sent a joint letter to the Tunisian parliament calling for an end to imprisonment as a punishment for “recreational” drug use and possession.

Chess players need checking for drugs, scientists say [The Telegraph UK]

Scientists have called for a crackdown on doping in chess after it emerged that players may be taking performance-enhancing substances. A study has for the first time identified two stimulants that significantly boost a player’s endurance and ability to concentrate during a match.

How the war on drugs has made drug traffickers more ruthless and efficient [Vox]

Sanho Tree, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies who focuses on the war on drugs, argues that the rules of evolution could have helped predict the drug war’s failures — and how the drug war can in fact make our drug epidemics worse. To understand why, Tree builds on the theory known as the “balloon effect”: Since drugs are always in demand and highly profitable, dismantling one drug trafficking organization doesn’t just extinguish the drug trade that group worked within. Instead, another drug trafficking organization replaces it, filling the same demand that the old group filled. This has happened time and time again throughout the war on drugs; it’s why the drug trade simply moved from Colombia to Mexico after a US-sponsored anti-drug campaign in Colombia, and why the end of one drug trafficking organization in Mexico just seems to spawn another. But it’s not just that drug producers or traffickers will pop up when one is taken down, but that the ones that pop up are actually more ruthless and efficient than the producers and traffickers they’re replacing.

How Australia is stubbing out smoking [BBC News]

Australia was the first country in the world to introduce mandatory plain packaging for tobacco products – and the UK will have followed suit by May this year. But will any country copy Australia’s plan to keep increasing taxes until a packet of cigarettes costs AUD$40 (£24)?

What Historians Wish People Knew About Drugs, Part I [Points Blog]

At the 2017 American Historical Association in Denver, several historians with relevant research interests participated in a roundtable discussion, What Historians Wish People Knew about Licit and Illicit Drugs.” Keeping with the spirit of the title, Points is delighted to publish some of the panelists’ opening remarks in a temporary new series over the coming weeks. First up is Miriam Kingsberg Kadia, associate professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of Moral Nation: Modern Japan and Narcotics in Global History (2014). Her piece critiques the sloppy and often simply false way “knowledge” about drugs is presented from “authoritative” sources, particularly the D.E.A.

Vic calls heighten for pill testing [News]

The City of Port Phillip plans to hold a vote this Wednesday on introducing pill testing at local dance parties and events, in a motion led by councillor Dick Gross. The Greens and the Sex Party have previously indicated their support for pill testing at festivals. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has previously indicated his opposition to pill testing of illicit drugs, claiming such practices can help normalise drug use.

Ben Barba: NRL player avoids drug ban with code switch to Toulon [BBC]

Australian rugby league player Ben Barba will be allowed to play rugby union in France despite an [Australian] drugs ban. Full-back Barba, 27, was given a 12-match ban by Australia’s NRL after testing positive for cocaine. On Tuesday he swapped codes to join Top 14 side Toulon – but will only face a sanction if he returns to rugby league. Barba failed a drugs test just days after winning the Grand Final with Cronulla Sharks in October. His contract with the club was terminated but he then agreed a new deal with Sharks in December. However, that deal has not been ratified by the NRL and now he is moving to France.

Open Education Day: Hemp Farming for Renewable Economies [Health Farms International]

When: Friday 17th 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: wadzywell@gmail.com

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH Cannabis March WA [WA Cannabis Awareness Network]

March from Supreme Court Gardens to Parliament House Perth WA ~ Thursday 16th February 10 am

Nimbin Medican Workshop 15 April [Hemp Embassy]

The Nimbin Hall is booked out so the next Nimbin Medican Workshop will be held at the old butter factory now Nimbin’s Bush Theatre alongside the Phoenix Rising Cafe and Bringabong, just north of the village and over the river, on April 15 Easter Saturday. From 11 am until 4.20 pm. We hope to promote the event on the coast and maybe get some visitors from down south who are in the area for Easter and the Bluesfest.