Embassy HEADLINES Issue 256
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
Government Defeated: Pot Now Available To The Seriously Ill And Dying [Australian Medical Cannabis Signpost]
Campaigners and advocacy groups were celebrating today after the Government suffered a major defeat in its efforts to stop terminally ill patients from accessing medical pot.
Cannabis rules loosened after Senate gangs up on government [The Sydney Morning Herald]
Terminally ill patients will get faster access to medicinal marijuana and be able to import their own personal supply after the Greens teamed up with Labor and One Nation to deliver a shock Senate vote to kill off government restrictions. The Senate vote means terminally ill patients with a doctor’s prescription will be able to personally import up to three months’ supply of the drug from regulated overseas markets.
Terminal Patients Can Now Get Medical Cannabis More Easily [Huffington Post]
The federal Senate has just voted to lower barriers for terminally ill patients to access medical cannabis, finally passing a Greens motion after a drawn-out and almost comical series of mistakes and backflips.
Greg Hunt warns ‘lives at risk’ as Senate eases imports of medical cannabis [SBS]
Greens leader Richard Di Natale says the new rules are good news for terminally ill patients, dismissing the Minister for Health Greg Hunt’s grim warning as ‘utter nonsense.’
‘You can’t make a father watch his daughter die’: Man who treats his little girl’s seizures with cannabis emotionally pleads for legalisation after he is charged with possession [Daily Mail]
The father of a five-year-old girl who used medicinal cannabis to treat his daughter’s severe epilepsy has been found guilty of possession and cultivation of the drug. Michael Lambert has vowed to continue to lobby for law reform following the decision in Gosford Local Court on Wednesday.
Love and other drugs: Family’s extraordinary journey to help Sam Goddard recover from strokes [ABC]
A series of catastrophic strokes at 23 left Sam Goddard unable to talk, walk or see. One day in 2012, Mr Goddard suddenly heard his son speaking clearly again. The reason? Cannabis. Sam had just smoked a joint with a friend. “I was a bit horrified at first but then I looked at the effect it had on him,” Mr Goddard said. There began a long, frustrating and ultimately unsuccessful battle to import a cannabis-based drug called Sativex from the UK, which is used for treating multiple sclerosis. “We worked hard to get TGA [Therapeutic Goods Administration] approval for Sam to get the drug but then were stonewalled bringing it into Australia,” Mr Goddard said. “We therefore chose to turn a blind eye to Sam’s friends giving him occasional joints.”
Medical marijuana Australia: Victoria’s first produce video surfaces online; Proud moment for cannabis legalisation supporters [International Business Times]
Never-before-seen footage of Victoria’s medicinal cannabis crop has been released. Using the drug for treatment is expected to change many lives. The video, released by Premier Daniel Andrews, shows forensic testers trimming and drying the crop before it is pressed into oil. Victoria is now the first state to legalise marijuana for medical purposes.
Support users, don’t punish them: Ex-AFP boss’ radical ideas to beat the drug trade [Brisbane Times]
The drug trade has just kept getting bigger and more dangerous, and we simply cannot arrest and imprison our way out of the problem.
Drug testing for welfare recipients slammed as ‘cheap, populist nonsense’ in Victoria [ABC]
The Victorian Government has said it will not cooperate with the Federal Government’s proposed plan to test welfare recipients for illicit drugs. “It simply won‘t work, and it’s cheap, populist nonsense designed to create a smokescreen as to what really drives disadvantage,” Victoria’s Mental Health Minister Martin Foley told 7.30.
Dunne says medicinal cannabis bill ‘unworkable’ [Radio NZ]
The Associate Health Minister, Peter Dunne, says he is hoping to persuade Green MP Julie Anne Genter that her proposed legislation on medicinal cannabis is unworkable. Ms Genter’s bill, which is due to be debated in Parliament in the next few weeks, makes it legal for people suffering from a terminal illness or debilitating condition to use cannabis or cannabis products with the support of a GP. It also allows doctors to permit qualifying patients to grow and possess cannabis. Mr Dunne has told the TV3 programme The Nation he has major reservations about it. Mr Dunne said the bill potentially legalised cannabis across the board, and he didn’t believe that was what the public wanted.
Legalising marijuana will boost California’s economy by $5 billion, study finds [Independent]
The economy of California – poised to create a market for legal marijuana – could see its economy boosted by as much as $5bn, according to a new study. The report by the University of California Agricultural Issues Centre, says that the legalisation of the drug will provide the state a further reason for tourists – or at least some tourists – to visit. Yet it also warns that around 30 per cent of people who use cannabis may remain in the illegal market, in order to avoid the financial impact of regulations that require marijuana to be tested, tracked and taxed at 15 per cent of its retail value.
How to Heat Your Cannabis Grow Room by Mining Cryptocurrencies [Heavy]
Right now, two of the biggest emerging markets in America are cannabis and cryptocurrency. Both of these industries were considered to be “shady” in the past, with marijuana being illegal until recently and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin being associated with black market dealings on sites like Silk Road and Alpha Bay. Both are emerging into the mainstream and exploding at huge rates of expansion right now, and it is the perfect time to get in on what could be two of the biggest industries of the near future. In this article we are going to explore an exciting way to combine these emerging industries at home, and save money in the mean time.
Not Up For The Sesh [volteface]
Jeff Sessions, the new United States Attorney General, voiced his opposition to cannabis legalisation on Monday and his arguments are… not based in fact. Sessions has argued that cannabis is linked to violence, that the potency of cannabis today is dangerous and that state-level regulation leads to increased youth consumption, despite evidence to the contrary.
Jeff Sessions Wants to Go After Medical Marijuana [New York]
Now it looks like the assumption medical marijuana was not going to be a Trump-administration target was premature. A letter Sessions sent to Congress last month has come to light, requesting elimination of a bipartisan appropriations provision prohibiting use of federal funds to interfere with legal medical-marijuana regimes.
Hurdles expected for Utah’s medical marijuana research law [MedicalXpress]
Utah lawmakers balked again this year at joining more than half of all U.S. states and passing a broad medical marijuana law. Instead, they gave state colleges and other institutions a green light to study the medical impacts of the drug with the hope of having comprehensive data by next year. The move, however, glossed over the fact that the studies would likely take years, requiring scientists to navigate layers of bureaucracy that can delay and even discourage research.
Medical marijuana dispensaries, patients wait through delays [MedicalXpress]
Medical marijuana dispensaries are beginning to open in Hawaii, but they’re not allowed to sell their products. Instead, the leafy medicinal greens they’ve harvested are sitting on a shelf unsold because nearly a year after dispensaries were legally allowed to open, the state has not yet certified any labs to run required safety tests. “For us it’s a little frustrating, having so many people on board, but it has to be done,” said James H.Q. Lee, CEO of Aloha Green. “I’m more concerned for the patients, because people have been calling: ‘We see it online, when are you going to open? We need our medical cannabis.'” Hawaii was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana 17 years ago, but dispensaries were only legalized in 2015. The state’s 17,000 registered patients have been left to grow marijuana plants on their own or buy it on the black market.
Marijuana use among college students on rise following Oregon legalization, study finds [Science Daily]
College students attending an Oregon university are using more marijuana now that the drug is legal for recreational use, but the increase is largely among students who also report recent heavy use of alcohol, a new study has found.
Why the marijuana and tobacco policy camps are on very different paths [MedicalXpress]
The differences can also be explained by examining who’s part of each group. The tobacco control community includes tobacco researchers, public health advocates, non-governmental organizations and government officials. The cannabis community is more diverse, Hall and Kozlowski point out, noting that it comprises civil liberties lawyers, civil rights advocates and supporters of reforming drug laws.
Boulder’s Stashlogix, maker of pot carrying cases, under fire as feds confiscate product [Daily Camera]
Federal officials have seized 1,000 bags from Boulder-based Stashlogix after identifying the product — lockable, odor-blocking containers used to store marijuana or other medications — as drug paraphernalia. Company officials said the decision will cost them tens of thousands of dollars and force them to bring manufacturing into the U.S. to avoid customs.
Southern High [Vice]
Canadian investors want a piece of the American weed pie. On Monday, the Vancouver-based cannabis investment firm, iAnthus Capital, announced the $17 million acquisition of Valley Agriceuticals LLC, one of just 10 licensed medical marijuana producers in New York State. The proposed acquisition, according to a press release from iAnthus, will expand their portfolio into “five regulated cannabis states in the U.S.”, making it the one publicly-listed Canadian company to have the largest footprint in the American medical marijuana industry.
UK gets first publicly available dedicated cannabis research facility [Independent]
Cannabinoid biotechnology company MediPen Ltd. is launching its own dedicated 1,800ft sq marijuana research facility this summer, which will also provide a platform for anyone looking to utilise its facilities for the purposes of driving innovation around the use of medicinal cannabis.
Imperial Brands: UK tobacco giant seeks medical marijuana expertise to help diversify [Independent]
As smokers quit the habit, British tobacco giant Imperial Brands is seemingly looking towards another plant to bring in the billions: cannabis. Imperial, which dropped the word tobacco from its name eighteen months ago, has hired medicinal cannabis expert Simon Langelier to join its board as a non-executive director. Mr Langelier, who spent thirty years at rival tobacco firm Philip Morris, is also chairman of Canadian firm PharmaCielo which supplies medicinal cannabis oil extracts. That experience could be valuable in helping Imperial maximise opportunities from a wave of marijuana legislation spreading across the US.
Synthetic cannabinoids in Europe [European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction]
Synthetic cannabinoids represent the largest group of substances currently monitored in Europe by the EMCDDA through the EU Early Warning System. Current knowledge on these substances and trends in production, availability, use and harms are presented in this analysis.
2017 Global Day of Action [Support Don’t Punish]
26th June 2017 will be the 5th Day of Action organised so far. In 2013, 41 cities from around the world took part in the first ever Global Day of Action. In 2014, 100 cities around the world held a huge variety of different actions. In 2015, 160 cities joined forces to call for drug policy reform, and in 2016, activists in 125 cities participated. 26th June is the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – a day that on which many governments celebrate their contributions to the global ‘war on drugs’. In the past, some governments have even commemorated this day by holding public executions or beatings of drug offenders. By taking part in the Global Day of Action, you can help to “reclaim” the message on this important day. 26th June is also the United Nations’ International Day in Support of Victims of Torture – an ironic coincidence given the widespread torture and abuse suffered in the name of the war on drugs.
A Day In The Life: The World Of Humans Who Use Drugs – The Full Movie [Drug Reporter]
We are glad to publish our documentary movie featuring one day in the life of people who use drugs from seven cities around the world! We had the idea for a long time to produce a movie similar to Jim Jarmusch’s “Night on Earth,” but focusing on how people who use drugs live in different cities of the world; to contrast the parallel realities of drug policy and how they affect their lives. It was our newly founded video advocacy network that created a unique opportunity for us to make this idea a reality. Traveling to all these places and filming on site would have required huge financial resources, as well as time. However, in this network we have fellow activists from other countries who are able to make high quality videos. So we realised that we can ask film makers to produce footage for us – and send it to us so that my colleague, István, as a director, can edit them into one single movie. A cost-effective, community-based method to produce a documentary!
Could Thailand, which gave world the bong, legalise cannabis for medicinal use? After failed war on drugs, attitudes have softened [Post Magazine]
In Thailand, cannabis is categorised as being among the least harmful illegal drugs. Even at the onset of the country’s war on drugs, Prime Minister Thaksin considered legalising it. The time was not right, he concluded. But it may now be, in light of the West’s reappraisal of the plant. For the past few years, a group of former US residents now returned to their homeland have been publishing the marijuana magazine Highland; musicians are performing songs about the plant; and, once again, bongs are being sold openly in Thailand.
Mothers in the drugs lab – women in Peru treating their sick children with cannabis [The Guardian]
Peru’s president has proposed legalising medicinal marijuana after two women found that cannabis oil helped their seriously ill children.
Why Vaping Weed Is Healthier Than Smoking It, According To Science [volteface]
For most of us, pleasure drives drug use. But regardless of whether it’s pleasure you seek, or therapeutic relief and treatment, typically the benefits come with a cost: some risk of harm or compromise of personal health and safety. And though doctors and scientists are increasingly coming to the conclusion that cannabis is often a safer alternative to opioids, for instance, marijuana is no exception. Whether you use herbal cannabis, oil or resin, and whether you use it medically or recreationally – but particularly for patients – the biggest risk of smoking weed is the smoke itself.
What Is Dabbing? And Should You Do It? [The Stranger]
The concentrate immediately turned to vapor and, as the bong bubbled away, I inhaled a surprisingly clean hit with an herbal and piney aroma. It tasted like that beautiful smell you inhale when you open a fresh package of weed, a smell that is often compromised during smoking because of the butane in your lighter or the ash from your joint’s rolling paper. And it got me high as fuck.
FDA requests first opioid removal from market after abuse sparks HIV outbreak [The Pharmaceutical Journal]
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested that a formulation of oxymorphone hydrochloride, marketed as Opana ER, be withdrawn from the market due to abuse, saying that the benefits of the product no longer outweigh the risks.
Common prescription drugs behind wave of overdose deaths [The Queensland Times]
Middle aged and older Australians are in the grip of an unprecedented drug crisis. New data obtained by the Herald Sun reveals a surge in deaths among older Australians, with almost eight in 10 accidental overdose deaths, from common prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and benzodiazepines, among men and women aged 30-59. The figures challenge the traditional image of drug deaths being young people overdosing on illegal drugs in inner city drug hot spots.
‘Mind-body’ healing: Success of placebo trials challenges medical thinking [The Sydney Morning Herald]
For the pain management doctor, that means the theatre of medicine is key, from the austerity of the consulting room, to taking the time to explain a treatment’s likely effects, even their decision to dress more formally. But behind the performance of healing is some strong science. Simply believing an analgesic will work releases the body’s endogenous pain killers and activates the same brain regions as the bona fide drug. “Part of the outcome of what I do on any given day is the way I interact with the patients and not necessarily the technology, or the tablets, or the anaesthetic,” says Finniss.
The Man who should be Dead [Creative Spirits]
Scientists are amazed by the skeleton of an Aboriginal man who lived about 1,000 years ago. The man survived a life-threatening fall from a tree or cliff suffering multiple leg and arm fractures, losing a large amount of blood. Studies of the skeleton which was found in a burial site in Adelaide suggest he recovered from his life-threatening injuries, and although deformities crippled him for the rest of his life he went on to live until the age of about 50. The scientists say that only “his outstanding fitness and the standard of care he received” contributed to the man’s survival and reflected “an impressive depth of nursing and social support in a community of hunter-gatherers”. The case also raises questions about the use of very effective herbal medicines and sedatives to control infections and ease pain.
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!!