Embassy HEADLINES Issue 255
Australia’s Failed Drugs Policy [Sponsored by The Kurilpa Citizen & the Qld Council for Civil Liberties]
7pm Wednesday 14 June, Parliament House [NEW VENUE!!], Brisbane ~ Speakers: Mick Palmer [Former Commissioner, Australian Federal Police], Keith Hamburger [Former D-G, Qld Corrective Services], Desmond Manderson [ANU]
“What we now have is badly broken, ineffective and even counterproductive to the harm minimisation aims of Australia’s national illicit drugs policy,” said Mr Palmer. “We must be courageous enough to consider a new and different approach.” On June 14, the Kurilpa Citizen and the Qld Council for Civil Liberties sponsor a discussion on solutions to Australia’s failed drugs policy at Parliament House [NB new venue] by Mick Palmer, Keith Hamburger and Desmond Manderson.
Andrew Katelaris Arrest [BayFM]
Police raided the home of Andrew Katelaris wednesday morning where they allegedly seized cash and cannabis found in the residence of the former doctor. The 62-year-old was taken to Hornsby Police Station and charged. He spent the night in the cells after being refused bail. He has been charged with a number of offences including drug possession, having an indictable quantity of cannabis, and having proceeds of crime. For over 20 years Andrew Katelaris has researched the medicinal properties of cannabis. Despite being deregistered as a practitioner in 2006, Katelaris continues to prescribe, produce and distribute cannabis oil to a dozen families with children suffering from brain damaging and life threatening seizures.
Marijuana doctor arrested for helping children: The Australian underground is growing [Jon Rappoport’s Blog]
Medically speaking, Australia is on lockdown. The majority of citizens appear to be unaware or unconcerned. But those who are aware are looking for, and using, alternatives. They are forming a growing underground.
A Powerful Young Leader, Ben Oakley Fighting for Medicinal Cannabis in Australia [Greendorphin]
Ben has gone from at the worst 61 full body muscle spasm in a day to 3 spasms only lasting a few minutes each since commencing on Cannabis oil. And his condition has improved enormously, now he can walk longer and longer, he’s driving again and has become the most eager Medical Cannabis activist that I’ve ever seen.
Cannabis stocks endure sell-off as investors look through the fug [The Australian]
With the ASX-listed cannabis sector in a sharp retreat since late March, the next six months or so will determine whether the extraordinary interest in pot stocks turns out to be just another craze, or something of more substance (so to speak). Paradoxically, the sell-off has come as the pot companies position themselves with almost daily announcements about regulatory approvals, clinical programs or new tie-ups with offshore partners. Claims about being “sector first” — whether in growing or importing the stuff or developing specialist applications — abound. Frankly, it’s hard to see through the fug of claims and counterclaims, but some strategy trends are emerging, such as the “mission creep” from the medical to recreational markets.
Police diversion for cannabis offences: Assessing outcomes and cost-effectiveness [Australian Institute of Criminology]
Police diversion is widely utilised as an intervention for minor cannabis offending in Australia. This study compared the cost-effectiveness and outcomes of three kinds of diversions—cautions, expiation and warnings—with the traditional criminal justice system response of charging the offender. A sample of 998 people who had recently had contact with police for cannabis use or possession completed an online survey, with those who were diverted reporting reduced drug use and offending compared with those who were charged. The study supports previous findings that diversion for minor cannabis offences can save money and lead to better social consequences.
Smoke and mirrors cloud WA cannabis trials: Dr Joe Kosterich [WA Today]
WA premier Mark McGowan recently urged doctors to register to prescribe medicinal cannabis in WA as none had done so. A cursory glance at what hoops and forms doctors must deal with before being allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis might explain their apparent “reluctance”.
Was Cannabis the Real Reason Britain Colonised Australia? [National Geographic]
The first shipment of medicinal cannabis arrived in Perth earlier this month, but weed’s history in Australia stemmed from the arrival of the First Fleet. At Joseph Bank’s request, hemp boarded the first Fleet as cargo ‘for commerce’. His hope was to produce hemp commercially for the new colony. According to Dr John Jiggens, Britain was deep in the hemp trade. Banks saw the settlement of Australia as a way of expanding Britain’s hemp trade.
Kiwis will now be able to get a medicinal cannabis extract from their doctor, Government announces [Stuff]
A mother who’s fought tirelessly to have restrictions removed around medicinal cannabis following the death of her son says today’s a day to celebrate, but there’s still work to do. The Government has removed restrictions on medicinal cannabis meaning Kiwis will now be able to get it from their doctor.
Retired women are entering the medical marijuana industry [The New York Times]
The growing medical marijuana industry is seeing a remarkable trend: Women in their 50s, 60s and even 70s are starting pot-related businesses, inspired by their own experiences with the therapeutic use of the drug, according to a report by The New York Times. “A lot of women have this family recipe, or they were making a certain kind of tincture for a loved one who was suffering. Now that pot is legal, they’re like, ‘Wow, that thing you were making for Grandma could be a real product,’” said Troy Dayton, the chief executive and a co-founder of the Arcview Group, an investment and market research firm that focuses on the cannabis industry. He noted that the legal marijuana industry has grown by 34 percent in 2016, and is now worth some $6.7 billion. As it is still a fledgling industry, there is no “built-in institutional bias against women of any age,” 58-year-old Nancy Whiteman, co-owner of Wana Brands of Boulder, Colo., which sells marijuana edibles observes. “In a lot of other industries, there are hundreds of years of history of who is successful and who is not, and there are glass ceilings to be broken,” she said. “But there’s no norm here. Everyone is figuring it out together.” One such story is that of Frances Sue Taylor, a 69-year old entrepreneur and former Catholic school principal who has been teaching seniors about medical marijuana for six years and will open a dispensary in Berkeley, California, for people over 50 in the coming months. She said she used to believe weed was a “hard-core drug like crack or cocaine,” and would never have imagined herself in this business even 12 years ago. That changed, she said, adding, “I get so much gratification from this work, and it’s so rewarding to see people get healed. My life is better than ever. I’m healthy, and I’m starting a new business at 69.”
The Week in Weed: The Secret Service Chills Out on Weed, High Times Gets Sold, and Colorado’s Weed Tax Revenues Help Fight Opioid Addiction [The Portland Mercury]
The stigma around marijuana is changing—longtime subversive weed magazine High Times was just sold for a whopping $70 million, a famous “drug trafficker” who spent almost a decade in prison for smuggling weed to Bali is finally released, and the Secret Service no longer cares how many times you smoked weed—they need someone to guard the Donald (from himself?). Read on.
US dispensary selling marijuana pizza [Sky News]
A Massachusetts medical marijuana dispensary has created a culinary delight for patients who don’t want to smoke their pot or eat it in the form of sweets. Quincy-based Ermont Inc has been selling cannabis-infused pizza for about three weeks to rave reviews. Director of Operations Seth Yaffe says the company has a whole range of marijuana edibles, but he wanted to offer meals that patients could eat without a lot of sugar. The 15cm cheese pizzas sell for $US38 ($A50) apiece. The tomato sauce contains 125 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health calls for immediate decriminalization of recreational pot [CBC News]
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health says the federal government should immediately decriminalize recreational pot possession in advance of upcoming legislation to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis. “A significant number of young Canadians will continue to obtain criminal charges before cannabis is legalized,” Dr. Eileen de Villa warns in the report, which will be reviewed by Toronto’s Board of Health on Monday.
Why the Liberal Democrats believe a legal, regulated cannabis market would improve public health [BMJ]
This is a debate about the merits of regulation versus a system without any control, says Nick Clegg
Green dreams: the growing case for medical marijuana [The Guardian]
Should medical cannabis be legalised? It makes sense to the woman with MS who pays £500 a month on it, and the neurologist whose patients resort to street drugs.
So-Called ‘Skunk’ – What Does The Word Mean And How Much Of A Problem Is It? [Cannabis Law Reform]
The meaning of the word ‘skunk’ has changed. Today it has come to mean high potency cannabis that contains zero or very little CBD and this is a definition that is now in general use worldwide, including by scientists such as Professors David Nutt and Val Curran who are very much supporters of reform.
Why Is CLEAR Supporting Lord Monson In His Campaign Against So-Called ‘Skunk’? [Cannabis Law Reform]
CLEAR’s first and overriding objective is to end the prohibition of cannabis. The tragedies that have struck the Monson family demonstrate all too clearly that prohibition of cannabis is futile. Not only does it not protect people from harm, it actually maximises the harms and dangers of the cannabis market.
Changes in Europe’s cannabis resin market – Perspectives on drugs [European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction]
The European market for hashish is currently one of the world’s largest and most profitable. About 647 tonnes of cannabis herb and 641 tonnes of hashish were consumed in the European Union in 2013 and the retail market has an overall value estimated conservatively to be about EUR 9.3 billion in 2013. This analysis describes how the supply of cannabis resin in Europe is changing in response to competition and other market developments.
Performance evaluation of on-site oral fluid drug screening devices in normal police procedure in Germany [Forensic Science International]
There is a need for quick and reliable methods for rapid screening of drug-influenced drivers on the roadside by police. Because the window of detection in oral fluid is more similar to blood than to urine, this matrix should therefore be appropriate for screening procedures. The performance of the Rapid STAT® (Mavand Solution GmbH), DrugWipe5/5+® (Securetec Detektions-Systeme) and Dräger DrugTest® 5000 (Draeger Safety AG & Co. KGaA) on-site oral fluid devices was evaluated with random oral fluid specimens from car drivers in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Additionally, some drivers were checked using an on-site urine device (DrugScreen®, NAL von Minden). During a 11-month period, 1,212 drivers were tested. Both OF and urine on-site tests were compared to serum results.
Can Cannabis Bring You Back From The Dead? [Cannabis.net]
Sepsis occurs when there is a massive bacterial infection that enters the blood, resulting in a medical emergency. Sepsis is a serious condition because it can lead to organ failure, injury, or death. Sepsis affects 1 million Americans each year, leading to their hospitalization. It is also a leading cause of death in the United States, and is one of the top 10 conditions that leads to mortality.
Low-dose THC can relieve stress; more does just the opposite [MedicalXpress]
Cannabis smokers often report that they use the drug to relax or relieve stress, but few studies provide clinical evidence of these effects. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago report that low levels tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, does reduce stress, but in a highly dose-dependent manner: very low doses lessened the jitters of a public-speaking task, while slightly higher doses—enough to produce a mild “high”—actually increased anxiety.
Women in high places: The rise of the female stoner in popular culture [New Statesman]
Most noticeable of all has been the change in how stoner culture is gendered. Weed culture has moved away from a “stoner bro” stereotype towards a more feminised aesthetic. Thousands of young women use Instagram hashtags such as #stonergirl and #girlswhosmoke to share memes and images of themselves, joint in hand, with flower crowns and dog ears. Rihanna, the patron saint of lady stoners, often incorporates blunts in her photo shoots. Online journals such as Ladybud have emerged, combining lifestyle advice with drug reform activism and progressive commentary.
Why cannabis is often trickier to handle than major psychedelics [Psychedelic Culture]
Cannabis is considered to offer a mellower experience than the psychedelics, something which is also implied by its designation as a minor psychedelic. Yet my own experience had been fundamentally different. Over the years I have encountered many serious psychonauts who found that for them cannabis is more tricky to handle than major psychedelics. And here’s why. The difficulty which one might encounter with major psychedelic can be of many types, but more often than not it lacks the kind of confusion and incoherent thinking which is common in an overdose of cannabis, and people tend to overdose on cannabis much more than they do on major psychedelics. Moreover, it is easier to handle a psychedelic “overdose” than a cannabis “overdose”.
Cannabis reverses aging processes in the brain, study suggests [Science Daily]
Memory performance decreases with increasing age. Cannabis can reverse these ageing processes in the brain. This was shown in mice by scientists at the University of Bonn with their colleagues at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel). Old animals were able to regress to the state of two-month-old mice with a prolonged low-dose treatment with a cannabis active ingredient. This opens up new options, for instance, when it comes to treating dementia.
Cannabis-derived compound may help treat schizophrenia [Medical News Today]
New research paves the way for a new schizophrenia treatment, by testing the effect of a cannabis compound on rats. The study suggests that the cannabis-derived substance may improve schizophrenia-specific cognitive impairment, with none of the side effects that current medication has.
Cannabinoids used in sequence with chemotherapy are a more effective treatment for cancer [MedicalXpress]
New research has confirmed that cannabinoids – the active chemicals in cannabis – are effective in killing leukaemia cells, particularly when used in combination with chemotherapy treatments.
Why pot-smoking declines—but doesn’t end—with parenthood [MedicalXpress]
Adults who smoke marijuana often cut back after becoming parents—but they don’t necessarily quit.
CSIRO: Robo-debt and drug tests [InnovationAus]
It’s still unclear how informed Data61 staff were of their planned involvement with the drug testing of welfare recipients, or if the organisation knew the Minister planned to publicly announce its involvement. InnovationAus.com understands the proposed Data61 involvement in identifying welfare recipients for drug testing has caused some anxiety among staff, with some experiencing an “existential crisis” over the issue.
Why Amazon should keep prescription drugs off its voluminous shelves [MedicalXpress]
Amazon hit a milestone this month after the price of one share hit US$1,000 for the first time, giving it a total value of close to $500 billion. That makes it the fourth-biggest company in the U.S. in terms of market capitalization and twice the size of brick-and-mortar rival Walmart. The online retailer‘s incredible growth has come from expanding into more and more areas of the economy, providing its customers with speedy delivery of everything from socks and books to lawn chairs and computers. One category it has yet to enter, however, is prescription drugs. Amazon wants to change that and dispense drugs alongside its hundreds of millions of other wares. Would this be a good thing for consumers and the health care system?
Videos: Nimbin MardiGrass 2017 [YouTube]
Why I cancelled my scheduled LSD trip [The Sydney Morning Herald]
Just a few days before the scheduled Saturday, however, I experienced a major professional disappointment. A writing project to which I had devoted more than a year of work would not be published. My self-confidence was shaken to its core, and despite unerringly good advice and support from those closest to me, I entered a period of mourning wherein I found myself questioning everything, even the wisdom of taking drugs that had been helpful before.
Long-held alcohol study in NT finds social clubs can help reduce harm in Aboriginal communities [ABC]
A landmark study on alcohol in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities, which was kept under wraps, found well-managed social clubs can reduce harm associated with drinking. Those seeking access to the report under Freedom of Information laws had been refused, and NT taxpayers are now forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars on another alcohol review. The ABC recently obtained a copy of the review.
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!!