Embassy HEADLINES Issues 250-51
There’s a ‘buzz’ in Nimbin as MardiGrass turns 25 [The Northern Star]
Nimbin had a “buzz” as an estimated 10,000 people poured into the town for the annual MardiGrass which sees tourists and locals alike protest for drug law reform. Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the Saturday had seen a huge crowd but there were minimal disturbances and very few problems.
Make it medicine [The Greens]
The Senate has just held an important vote to overturn unnecessary government regulations that add time, stress and difficulty for terminally ill patients accessing medicinal cannabis through their doctor. Support for this motion ought to have been a no brainer, given it restores the existing rights of patients who are by definition suffering life-threatening conditions to access this type of medicine. But, disgracefully, the far-right and populist parties turned their back on dying patients (many of them children) by joining with the government to ban access to products which would offer relief. Shame on them both. We have to spread the word immediately if we’re going to reverse this decision: make marijuana medicine now!
Australia just received its first import of legal cannabis [Business Insider]
The first two commercial batches of medicinal cannabis in Australia have arrived in Perth and Melbourne. Both shipments originate from Canada and are to be held by Health House International in Western Australia and Pharmaceutical Packaging Professionals in Victoria. “Children suffering from epilepsy and patients dealing with side effects caused by cancer treatment are most likely to benefit from these products,” he said.
First legal, commercial medicinal cannabis shipment now in Australia [Triple j Hack]
How do you go about getting it? There’s two ways. Doctors can apply to become “authorised prescribers” of medicinal cannabis to patients with particular medical conditions. From this week, patients can go to pharmacies supplied by wholesalers such as Health House International to fill the prescription. In March, South Australian MPs called access to medicinal cannabis a “mirage” because, even though it was technically legal, the state did not yet have a single doctor authorised to prescribe. Hack reported in March there were only 23 authorised prescribers in Australia. The other way of getting access is for doctors to apply for medicinal marijuana on behalf of their patients through the “Special Access Scheme”. But these methods only cover federal approval to access the drug. In some states you need to get separate state approval. “At the moment access is difficult and quite convoluted,” Paul said. “It’s a real patchwork quilt of laws. Some of the state approvals are really a duplication of the federal approvals. In the case of Western Australia they’ve got really unfair hurdles that requires patients two months to navigate.” He hopes the approvals process will become more streamlined as more doctors become authorised prescribers and patients report the benefits of the drug.
Everybody’s life means something [Noffs Foundation]
Have a listen to David Caldicott, Alex Wodak and Matt Noffs discuss why the #JustOneLife campaign is important to them, why it is important for young people, and why it is so necessary we make it a success.
Pot luck [Sian Powell]
Lisa’s marijuana oil was supplied by that unlikely hero of Australia’s medicinal marijuana movement, Jenny Hallam, the 44-year-old resident of Hillier in Adelaide, who is due to face court on May 4, charged with manufacturing and supplying an illegal drug. Jenny admits she had been supplying as many as 200 people with medicinal marijuana oil and marijuana extract for free, because, she says, “they needed it”.
Victorian anti-drug driving ad backfires spectacularly [Dopamine]
A ridiculous anti drug-driving ad from the Victorian government has been slammed on social media. The ad depicts a man who refuses a glass of wine at a family dinner before testing positive to illicit drugs while driving his grandmother home. While the point of the ad is clear – that drugs can stay in your system long after their use – much of the public seem concerned that the man clearly wasn’t doing anything wrong, and doesn’t appear impaired. Calls continue across across all states for current roadside drug testing schemes to be revised with changes to medical cannabis legislation. Roadside drug testing merely tests for the presence of illicit drugs, rather than measuring impairment.
Drug testing welfare recipients is not about love, Malcolm Turnbull, it’s about punishment [The Guardian]
Instead of demonising welfare recipients, the government should put its resources into programs that would really help those struggling with addiction.
Drug-testing will demonise Australians on welfare, experts say [The Guardian]
Welfare advocates say the Coalition’s plan to drug-test welfare recipients undermines the fabric of Australia’s needs-based safety net, while drug experts are warning the trial could have “unintended consequences” on those in the throes of addiction, including driving them into criminality. The proposal has provoked an outcry from the welfare sector, which has labelled it a demonisation of those on social security.
No Mandatory Drug Tests [The Greens]
With the Liberals, you know there will always be something in their budget papers which is so awful that it takes your breath away. This year, they’ve sunk to a new low.Scott Morrison wants to punish people who are struggling to find a job and force them to take drug tests before they are given a cent of income support.This is real, it’s dangerous and all Australians should be horrified by the precedent being set. This type of policy will further marginalise extremely vulnerable people. Will you join us and shut this down?
An Australian tea tree farm just received $1.49 million to develop ‘medical cannabis honey’ [Business Insider]
An organic tea tree farm in New South Wales has received a $1.49 million investment to help develop medical cannabis honey. Jenbrook supplies raw tea tree oil and honey products to the US through Naturally Aust Product. The company has also been exploring a medical hemp honey, produced by bees pollinating on the nectar of medicinal cannabis plants. It’s working with Southern Cross University on research into its health benefits. EVE Investments has kicked in the $1.49 million to help get the product to market.
Should tobacco and alcohol companies be allowed to influence Australia’s National Drug Strategy? [Public Health Research & Practice]
Formation of Australia’s National Drug Strategy (NDS) included an extensive consultation process that was open not only to community and public health stakeholders, but also to representatives of the tobacco and alcohol industries. Australia is bound by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which requires governments to protect tobacco control measures from interference by the tobacco industry. NDS consultation submissions made by these conflicted industries are not publicly available for scrutiny. The NDS goals are at odds with the commercial agenda of industries that support regulatory stagnation, oppose and undermine effective action, ignore and distort evidence, and prioritise profits over health.
Cannabis reform done right, less harm, fewer criminals, claims Morgan [Stuff NZ]
Gareth Morgan has launched a stinging attack on politicians who slammed his call for cannabis law reform, calling their response an ignorant and knee-jerk reaction. The weed centred war of words kicked off when Morgan visited Rotorua on his Opportunities Party roadshow recently and said their research indicated cannabis reform would be a key issue to get young people into the ballot box.
Vermont could be about to legalise marijuana – and become first US state to do so without public vote [Independent]
Vermont lawmakers on Wednesday approved a measure to legalise recreational use of marijuana, which if not vetoed by the governor would make the state the ninth to legalise the drug and the first to do so by legislation rather than ballot initiative.
Chris Christie says ‘crazy liberals’ want to ‘poison our kids’ with marijuana [Politico]
Gov. Chris Christie on Monday attacked supporters of legalizing marijuana as “crazy liberals” who are willing to “poison our kids” for the tax revenue, even as he suggested the state’s next governor could make the issue a top agenda item. Medical marijuana was legalized in New Jersey eight years ago, and signed into law just before Christie took office. While there’s growing support for legalizing the drug altogether, Christie, a Republican, has long been against doing so and also killed some efforts to expand the medical marijuana program, which is among the most stringent in the nation.
States with medical marijuana laws see drop in prescriptions [MedicalXpress]
Medical marijuana laws are associated with a decline in the number of prescriptions filled for Medicaid enrollees, according to a study published in the April issue of Health Affairs.
Disney World Bans Marijuana From Its Florida Theme Parks [Fortune]
Walt Disney World has prohibited any marijuana on its grounds, including medical marijuana, which is legal in Florida. The change is reflected on the theme park’s website, where marijuana is included as a prohibited item along with alcoholic beverages and illegal substances.
State’s Medical Marijuana Licensing Panel Found to Have Little Expertise [The New York Times]
When the State of New York approved the use of medical marijuana in 2014, the applicants to dispense the drug were vetted and reviewed by a panel of experts said to have deep backgrounds in several fields. A September 2015 Freedom of Information request by The New York Times, seeking the names of the panel’s members, was delayed nine times. On Friday, the request was effectively denied, as the department said that it did not “maintain records” or contact information for the panel. On Monday, however, the department reversed course and disclosed the names of the panel’s 17 evaluators: all state employees, most with little or no prior professional experience in medical marijuana.
Jane is a new online market place that’s going to be the Amazon of weed [Metro]
Jane was launched yesterday and promises to be the easiest way to ‘discover and order cannabis online’ – a kind of pot Amazon.
Let’s Learn From The Mistakes Of Drug Reform Pioneers [volteface]
Many countries around the world are moving towards a legally regulated cannabis market. But what can we learn from them about the implications of cannabis legalisation? What are the different models available to those looking to draft legislation? What mistakes have been made by the pioneers in this area that we can learn from? These are questions that are addressed in the latest edition of the International Journal of Drug Policy, published last month. The journal contains a variety of articles and studies examining specific consequences of cannabis policy reform, from levels of consumption to pesticide regulations. The editorial, entitled ‘Advancing knowledge on cannabis policy, using evidence from North America’ gives background to the debate and offers a neat synthesis of the content of the journal, most of which were taken from research presented at a conference in April last year run by the International Society of the Study of Drugs Policy (ISSDP).
Too friendly? Donald Trump’s invitation to strongman Rodrigo Duterte stuns all [The Age]
US President Donald Trump has called his Philippine counterpart to invite him to the White House, in a move that surprised US officials and human rights groups condemned as signalling support for Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous drug crackdown. Mr Trump’s office praised Mr Duterte’s government for fighting “very hard to rid its country of drugs, a scourge that affects many countries around the world.”
Early marijuana sales ‘unbelievably high’ after legalization: U.S. consultant [The Globe and Mail]
A U.S. consultant hired by Ottawa to assess Canada’s eventual recreational pot market says jurisdictions that regulate cannabis should expect “unbelievably high” sales growth in the first few years as criminals are driven out of business.
Canada Dispatch #1 [volteface]
Canada is set to become the first country in the G7 to legalise cannabis for recreational use. As expected, the Trudeau government announced the plan before Easter and the new Cannabis Bill (C-45) largely reflected the recommendations of the taskforce report from last November.
Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act Becomes Law in Canada [Newswire]
The Act provides an exemption from charges of simple possession of a controlled substance as well as from charges concerning a pre-trial release, probation order, conditional sentence or parole violations related to simple possession for people who call 911 for themselves or another person suffering an overdose, as well as anyone who is at the scene when emergency help arrives.
Guernsey could legalise cannabis-based medicinal products [ITV]
Cannabis based products could soon be prescribed by medical professionals in Guernsey. The island’s Health Committee are meeting later to discuss changing current legislation.
Jersey could legalise cannabis-based medicinal products [ITV]
Jersey’s Health Minister says he is considering legalising cannabis-based medicinal products in a speech in the States today. He said cannabis for medicinal purposes could be made legal later this year after a new report found that the drug had therapeutic benefits. The move is a policy U-turn for the minister, who previously rejected calls to legalise cannabis-based pain relief in 2014.
Cannabis a ‘locked medicine chest’ [BBC]
The current rules on the medicinal use of the drug are too limited says a cannabis expert. Professor Val Curran, professor of Psycho-pharmacology at UCL told 5 live: “cannabis has no recognised medical use so research is very difficult to do on the drug. What we need is more than anything is a lot more research to tease apart this potential medicine chest that is the cannabis plant.” There is an estimated thirty thousand people in the UK that use cannabis for medicinal reasons every day.
Study looks at cannabis ingredient’s ability to help children’s tumours [The Guardian]
British scientists are investigating whether a compound found in cannabis could be used to shrink brain tumours in children. The study of the effects of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, was prompted by a growing number of parents giving it to children with a brain tumour after buying it online. The lead researcher, Prof Richard Grundy of Nottingham University’s children’s brain tumour centre, said in the last six months there had been a surge in parents administering it without medical advice in the belief it might help.
A Manifesto for Drug Policy Reform – Protecting Families, Reducing Crime [Transform]
It is time to re-prioritise health and care, over prisons and punishment, to reduce crime and protect the young and vulnerable.
A regulated online cannabis market in the UK? [Russell Webster]
Currently, the two main options for cannabis consumers in the UK are street or dark web dealers, who supply cannabis of varying qualities, along with other illegal drugs– and they don’t ask for ID. Could digital innovation in the legal cannabis sphere be an effective way to tackle the prominence of the black market, and the associated harms that come with such an unregulated marketplace?
How the Ex-Smuggler Caught with 37 Tons of Weed Went Legit [Vice]
For David Victorson, a job involving cannabis is nothing new. The 67-year-old social activist and speaker recently found himself in Miami on business, working with the local community to open a dispensary. But Victorson’s got more knowledge of the plant than many looking to join the country’s legal cannabis boom. In 1978, he bewildered authorities when he was caught smuggling what was then the largest shipment of cannabis—a staggering 37 tons—into the United States off the coast of Seattle.
There is legal marijuana in the UK – So why is it hard to get hold of? [Independent]
Seven years after the first cannabis-based pharmaceutical was made available in the UK – which helps Multiple Sclerosis suffers – it still costs more than £375 for around 270 doses. GW Pharmaceutical’s cannabis-derived prescription drug, Sativex, is popular with sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis, but it’s expensive. In 2014, NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) found it not sufficiently effective in treating muscle spasticity for its price.
Bob Marley, ganja and the green stuff – is selling Brand Jamaica just a pipe dream? [The Guardian]
Decades of debt are pushing Jamaica to cash in on its most famous exports, but small farmers fear losing out in the rush to market medicinal marijuana.
Potatoes, not pot for Vanuatu islanders [BBC]
Authorities on the island of Tanna are encouraging youths to grow vegetables instead of drug crops, Radio New Zealand International reports. The problem, according to police, is that the island’s volcanic soil is so fertile that all tropical crops grow very well, and young people appear to prefer growing and using marijuana instead.
More than 500 sign up to buy legal cannabis in Uruguay [MedicalXpress]
The state Cannabis Regulation and Control Institute said on its website that 568 people had signed up so far in the South American nation of 3.4 million inhabitants. That added to more than 6,600 registered growers and 51 authorized smokers’ clubs which already existed under earlier stages of a 2013 law. The legislation is the first in the world to legalize and regulate the production, sale and consumption of marijuana for recreational use.
Five Journalists Killed, Newspaper Closed, amid Mexico Cartel Violence [Talking Drugs]
A Mexican newspaper has closed down following the killing of several journalists, seemingly by drug cartels – highlighting the dangerous and volatile situation for the press in that country.
Researchers hope to recruit 25,000 Berlin weed-smokers for study [The Local]
A research initiative hopes to get approval for a study that would recruit 25,000 recreational cannabis consumers in Berlin – if it can get government approval. The group called the Research Initiative on Cannabis Consumption is hoping to get an application for a new study approved so that they can analyze the “consequences of cannabis for psychologically healthy, adult consumers”. The aim is to understand what effects cannabis use has after several years, according to the group, which was started by a Berlin lawyer and a clinical psychology professor at the Medical School Hamburg.
Mexico approves legalising medical marijuana [Independent]
Mexico’s Congress has approved the legalisation of medicinal cannabis. A bill proposing to allow its use for scientific and health purposes was passed easily in the country’s Senate last December. On Friday, the Lower House of Congress voted 371 in favour of the bill, with only 19 politicians voting against it or abstaining.
I became an expert in cannabis to treat my MS [BBC]
Chris, a member of the United Patient Alliance which campaigns for cannabis to be legally accessible to patient, described how using cannabis helps him with his condition.
Cannabis For Dogs With Cancer [Huffington Post]
There are countless papers published looking at the anti-cancer properties of cannabinoids in people and in dogs.
Cannabis quandary: Can pregnant women safely consume marijuana? [MedicalXpress]
On many mornings, with a few puffs of pot – and one cannabis-laced chocolate-covered blueberry in the afternoon – Richelle has been able to stop the severe nausea that has accompanied her third pregnancy.
A little cannabis every day might keep brain ageing at bay [New Scientist]
In some cultures, it’s traditional for elders to smoke grass, a practice said to help them pass on tribal knowledge. It turns out that they might just be onto something. Teenagers who toke perform less well on memory and attention tasks while under the influence. But low doses of the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, might have the opposite effect on the elderly, reversing brain ageing and restoring learning and memory – at least according to studies of mice. “We repeated these experiments many times,” says team leader Andreas Zimmer at the University of Bonn, Germany. “It’s a very robust and profound effect.”
Is it time for a different approach to dealing with drug use in the NRL? [The Guardian]
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then the NRL is mad as a hatter over its stance on drugs.
Australia wins landmark WTO tobacco packaging case – Bloomberg [Reuters]
A landmark Australian law on restrictive tobacco packaging has been upheld at the World Trade Organization after a five-year legal battle, Bloomberg news reported on Thursday, citing two people familiar with the situation. The news is a blow to the tobacco industry as such a ruling from the WTO has been widely anticipated as giving a green light for other countries to roll out similar laws. It could have wider implications if applied to packaging for alcohol and junk food.
The ACT Gov’t Has Acted A Damn Fool & Nixed Pill Testing At Groovin The Moo [Pedestrian TV]
National drug-use organisation Harm Reduction Australia approached the ACT government earlier this year, with a plan to trial pill testing for free at the festival in May. The government rejected the proposal on the grounds that it wasn’t “well enough formed“. HRA and its supporters are calling bullshit.
Synthetic Pot Use Poses A Big Problem For Bureau Of Prisons [Huffington Post]
Federal inmates get random urine tests for signs of use of drugs like heroin, cocaine or marijuana. But in the alcohol and drug rehabilitation web newsletter The Fix, former federal inmate turned-writer Seth Ferranti, who served time for an LSD offense, argues the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has yet to come to grips with the growing use of synthetic marijuana.
5 of the World’s Most Mind-Bending Drug Cultures [National Geographic]
Deeply rooted in tradition, drug practices in these places are nothing short of a learned art.
A Small Case in Spain Is a Big Victory for Smarter Drug Policy [Talking Drugs]
The legal approach to coca has been one of the most challenging topics in the current international drug control system, due to the plant’s connection to both commercial cocaine and ancient Andean traditions. Yet it’s rare for a case related to the coca leaf to come before a European court, in a region where those traditions are rarely discussed. That’s why a recent legal victory in Spain [link in Spanish] was so surprising—and welcome. The case, which took place in Girona, a small Catalonian city, involved the importation of coca leaf powder (also known as mambe).
E-cigarette companies fined over false claims about toxic chemicals [The Guardian]
In world-first case, Australia’s consumer watchdog finds three retailers claimed products did not contain harmful carcinogens, when this was not the case
Scientists are about to find out how Silicon Valley’s LSD habit really affects productivity [Independent]
No existing study has looked into the science behind microdosing — a gap a team of scientists and passionate fundraisers are hoping to fill.
‘My fear of dying was gone’: Former cancer patient says psychedelic drugs helped him cope with end of life anxiety [Independent]
When Rodrigo Nino was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, he turned to psychedelics to ease his anxiety around death. Now, he’s helping top scientists to research how hallucinogens helped him, and could help others.
Trumpcare Will Make the Opioid Crisis Worse [Mother Jones]
Millions of Americans could see disruptions to their addiction treatment coverage.
Trump budget would effectively kill drug control office [Politico]
President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget would cut about 95 percent of funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, effectively ending its mission as the lead agency in charge of combating the opioid crisis and other drug epidemics.
Trump’s Apparent Drug Czar Pick Would Double Down on Failed Drug War, Take Country Backward [Drug Policy Alliance]
The nomination of Marino would represent yet another about-face by President Trump. Earlier this year the Trump Administration signaled that it would seek to eliminate the drug czar’s office, determining that it was wasteful. On the campaign trail Trump said that marijuana should be a state issue and that he supports medical marijuana “100 percent,” positions that Marino holds the opposite views on.
Hemp, Health & Innovation Expo & SYMPOSIUM 2017 [HHI]
The Hemp, Health & Innovation Expo & Medicinal Cannabis Conference 2017 is taking place in Sydney 27th and 28th May 2017 at Rosehill Gardens.
Australia’s Failed Drugs Policy [Sponsored by The Kurilpa Citizen & the Qld Council for Civil Liberties]
7pm Wednesday 14 June, All Saints Anglican church hall, Ann Street, Brisbane ~ Speakers: Mick Palmer [Former Commissioner, Australian Federal Police], Keith Hamburger [Former D-G, Qld Corrective Services], Desmond Manderson [ANU]
The 1st Australian Medicinal Cannabis Course [Australian Medical Cannabis Observatory]
A 1 Day Course on 22 June to be offered as a Workshop on behalf of The UIC Medicinal Cannabis Symposium 2017 – Australia’s first medicinal cannabis course, designed for health care practitioners, by health care practitioners.
2017 UIC Medicinal Cannabis Symposium [United in Compassion]
23, 24, 25 JUNE 2017 • MELBOURNE, VICTORIA: The program will cover how clinicians can develop a Cannabis treatment plan, clinical applications and other considerations, application in Palliative care and rehabilitation, The ECS, Debunking myths, PTSD, Cancer, Epilepsy and also will tackle the complex social and ethical issues relating to poor patient access. We will also provide opportunity around the establishment of an Australian Chapter of Cannabis Clinicians and an Australian Cannabis Industry Association. Tickets on sale now through www.uic.org.au
Entheogenesis Australis 2017 Outdoor Psychedelic Symposium 8th – 10th of December [EGA]
EGA’s 2017 Psychedelic Symposium will be a botanical, academic and lifestyle conference – with a pinch of psychedelic energy. The program will span three days and three nights, featuring more than 50 lectures from diverse fields covering the botanical, academic, and philosophical, to arts and drug law reform. Accompanying the main program will be workshops, panel discussions, a marketplace, and much more!!