Embassy HEADLINES Issue 266
Medicinal cannabis ‘red-tape’ pushing doctors and patients back to illegal products [ABC]
A mountain of red tape for legal medicinal cannabis is forcing the families of seriously ill patients back into the black market, according to doctors and advocates.
‘Harder to get than a gun’: Medicinal cannabis laws broken, campaigners claim [9 News]
A NSW father will keep breaking the law to get black market medicinal cannabis for his sick son because he claims Australia’s newly legalised system is too onerous and expensive. Former nurse Michael Oakley told nine.com.au medicinal cannabis oil has saved the life of his son, Ben, who suffers from Stiff Person Syndrome, a very rare neurological condition.
Addiction Experts Beg Government To Scrap Welfare Drug Tests [Huffington Post]
Some of Australia’s foremost experts on addiction have pleaded for the federal government to scrap its controversial plan to drug test welfare recipients, saying the program’s negative impacts far outweigh its benefits and that it will further swamp an already struggling treatment sector.
People who think punitive measures help drug addicts haven’t seen what I have [The Guardian]
Had the government consulted experts before unveiling their plan to drug test welfare recipients, they would have been advised to drop it – pronto.
Peek into marijuana farm [Rural Weekly]
The Sunshine Coast’s MediFarm, which is still under construction, is the first of its kind in the state and is expected to have product on the market by the first quarter of next year.
RMIT partner with MGC Pharmaceuticals [Budding Tech]
MGC Pharma has signed a strategic agreement with RMIT University to advance Medicinal Cannabis Research in Australia. Initially, the groups will establish a world first library of cannabis medicine where details on medical cannabis clinical research, cannabinoid sequences, and their treatments can be found. Additionally, MGC and RMIT will investigate the positive effects of medicinal cannabis derived formulations on several types of cancer and cancer side effects.
Medical Cannabis Meetup Brisbane [Budding Tech]
On September 4th, BuddingTech will be hosting its first Brisbane based meetup. We invite all to join BuddingTech and the Medical Cannabis Council Ltd. for a Q&A with industry experts and guests from the medical community.
Marijuana politics emerge as 2020 flash point [Politico]
Marijuana legalization just moved from the fringes of the last presidential campaign to center stage in 2020. Between a sweeping new package of legislation introduced last week by one of the top Democratic presidential prospects and, on the other end of the spectrum, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vigorous opposition to recreational use of marijuana, the debate over legalization of cannabis is about to receive a full airing on the presidential campaign trail.
Justice Department has ‘effectively shut down’ marijuana research at DEA [The Cannifornian]
The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has effectively blocked the Drug Enforcement Administration from taking action on more than two dozen requests to grow marijuana to use in research, one of a number of areas in which the anti-drug agency is at odds with the Trump administration, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said. A year ago, the DEA began accepting applications to grow more marijuana for research, and as of this month, had 25 proposals to consider. But DEA officials said they need the Justice Department’s sign-off to move forward, and so far, the department has not been willing to provide it. “They’re sitting on it,” said one law enforcement official familiar with the matter. “They just will not act on these things.” As a result, said one senior DEA official, “the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations.”
The Great Pot Monopoly Mystery [GQ]
Some very powerful people are trying to corner the market on legal weed and turn their company into the Monsanto of marijuana. Who are they? And can they be stopped?
HUD Secretary Ben Carson Spreads Marijuana Myths [NORML]
Giving remarks to the Native American Housing Association, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson strayed into the marijuana reform debate. Unfortunately, the doctor did not know his facts. “I’m not all that enthusiastic about marijuana because there have been numerous studies that show exposing a developing brain to marijuana can lead to lower IQs,” he said. “We already have enough people with a low IQ, and we don’t need anymore.”
Register for the Reform Conference [Drug Policy Alliance]
I hope you can join us for the International Drug Policy Reform Conference this October 11-14 in Atlanta, USA. This isn’t just a conference. It’s the convening of our movement that brings together people from around the world who believe that the war on drugs must end.
Oregon Pushes Back Against Jeff Sessions’ Marijuana Enforcement Letter [Huffington Post]
The state joins Alaska and Washington in rejecting the attorney general’s criticism of state pot regulations.
1st court date set for illegal Vancouver pot dispensaries [CBC News]
After more than a year and 53 injunctions filed in B.C. Supreme Court, the City of Vancouver finally has a hearing date set for one case against an unlicensed marijuana dispensary. But the injunction filed against Karuna Health Foundation — which will serve as the court’s ‘test case’ — still won’t be heard for more than a year. “It’ll be almost two years but better late than never,” said Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, who’s been frustrated by the slow court process as the city tries to enforce its relatively new marijuana dispensary bylaws. “It’s because we’ve heard nothing from the courts and the provincial government for so long that these bad pot shop owners figure they can get away with anything they want,” said Jang. The city reports that there are currently 64 shops operating without permits — 53 of them have injunctions filed against them. But unless the court grants the injunctions, the city has no power to shut them down. Only 11 shops have been issued a business licence, but many more have development permits and aren’t currently subject to enforcement. The enforcement strategy has been to issue tickets, but many of them are going unpaid. More than 2,000 tickets have been handed out, but of the $1.2 million in fines, only $160,000 has been collected by the city.
Medical cannabis giants eye UK for next ‘green rush’ ahead of the industry’s first conference in London [The Telegraph]
In October the UK will host what is believed to be its first medical cannabis conference, an international jamboree of weed-based therapies in London. It may seem like an eccentric choice, given cannabis is illegal in Britain. But Saul Kaye, the Israeli entrepreneur behind the event, is confident the country is on the cusp of decriminalising marijuana and ushering in a “green rush” of investment. It is a phenomenon that has already gripped his homeland, creating a multibillion-dollar industry and around 500 companies. It is also one of the fastest-growing industries in the US, where medical marijuana is legal in some states. Internationally the industry is worth around $20bn (£15.5bn) and is forecast to reach $100bn by 2020. The UK is a long way behind.
Legalising Cannabis [BBC]
Tina Daheley and Newsbeat reporter Jim Connolly take a look at the arguments for and against the legalisation of cannabis with a panel of expert guests and Radio 1 listeners.
Cannabis: Time for a Change? [BBC]
Newsbeat take a look at the arguments for and against the legalisation of cannabis.
Lib Dems under Vince Cable still want to legalise cannabis [BBC]
Vince Cable says the Liberal Democrats will keep pushing for the legalisation of cannabis. The party’s new leader believes it makes sense to “regulate and control the market” rather than let criminals “control the mixing of substances”. The government say it has “no plans to legalise cannabis”.
Israeli Health Ministry Approves Export Of Medical Cannabis [CannaTech]
The Israeli health and finance ministries just gave the potential green light for the export of medical cannabis from the Jewish State. The new initiative is being seen by many in the Israeli government as a move in the right direction for cannabis, as well as for Israel. Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon told reporters recently, “Medical cannabis is an industry with significant economic potential for the State of Israel. It will strengthen Israeli agriculture, and particularly in the Arava region.”
Bank boycott snuffs Uruguay’s legal marijuana sales [MedicalXpress]
Uruguay’s unique new marijuana industry has run into a hurdle as international anti-money laundering rules are forcing banks to close the accounts of pharmacies legally selling the drug. Uruguayan pharmacies started selling marijuana last month under a 2013 law that made the South American country the first in the world to legalize pot all the way from production to sale. But lenders such as Uruguayan state bank Banco Republica (BROU) now say they must abandon such businesses.
Smoking Versus Edibles [The Atlantic]
What is the lowest-risk route of cannabis administration? (Please don’t come at me with a vape pen.)
The science of high-potency cannabis [BBC]
What is in cannabis that can make it dangerously powerful? And what about claims of medical benefits? Newsbeat hears from two scientists who study the drug.
Cannabis use can lead to relapse in psychosis, partially because patients stop taking medication [Mental Elf]
There is some disagreement in the literature about causality (which came first: the spiff or the psychosis). There is also uncertainty around extent to which cannabis use can induce psychosis that would not have already happened: you are more likely to get psychosis from cannabis use if you are already high risk for psychosis (Henquet et al., 2015). There is also considerable interaction with other risk factors such as sexual abuse (Konings et al., 2012).
What happens when you smoke weed every day for 5 years [Indy 100]
A study by a team of researchers from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, published in 2016, found that people who smoked marijuana on a daily basis for a long period of time had poorer verbal memory in their middle age, than others.
Study: Single Dose Of CBD Shown To Reduce Blood Pressure [CannaTech]
A recent study discovered that just a single dose of Cannabidiol can effectively lower systolic blood pressure, which suggests it could be used to treat a medley of other cardiovascular disorders.
Episode 179: A Candid Cannabis Conversation With Dr. Bob Melamede [Cannabis Health Radio]
Every human being has an endocannabinoid system that regulates the health and function of the entire body. Cannabis works with this system like a key in a lock. We all have imbalances, according to Dr. Bob Melamede, who has a PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. In this episode he talks about our cannabinoid deficiency and what we can do about it to improve our health and fight or prevent disease.
Terpinolene: The Anti-Cancer Terpene That Fights Insomnia [Herb]
The cannabinoid THC gets most of the attention when it comes to topics related to cannabis, including its medical efficacy and psychoactive effects. However, when one considers the healing powers of this special herb, the powerful role of terpenes must necessarily be considered. Terpenes are the special molecules that are most noted for the sometimes pungent odor they lend to cannabis. One such terpene is terpinolene.
Daily e-cigarette users had highest rates of quitting smoking [Science Daily]
Among US adults who were established smokers in the past five years, those who use e-cigarettes daily were significantly more likely to have quit cigarettes compared to those who have never tried e-cigarettes. Over half of daily e-cigarette users had quit smoking in the past five years, compared to 28 percent who had never tried e-cigarettes. This is one of the first studies to reveal the patterns of cessation prevalence among e-cigarette users.
Historic Oregon Drug Legislation Signed Into Law: Penalties Reduced for Heroin, MDMA Possession [Talking Drugs]
Penalties for the possession of drugs in the US state of Oregon have been significantly reduced, as the governor signs two criminal justice bills into law.
The (Absolute) State Of Drug Education In The UK [volteface]
With drug-related deaths at an all-time high and new drugs entering the black market all the time, drug education for young people is more important than ever.
Unintended Consequences: Black-market Violence [Transform]
Almost ten years ago, Antonio Costa shocked the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) with a speech that lifted the lid on the ‘unintended consequences’ of drug prohibition. As the director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, this was unexpected to say the least. UN web pages outlining these negative side-effects have now been taken down, and the analysis is missing from contemporary UN documents and speeches. After briefly admitting to the harms created by the Single Convention, the UNODC promptly stuck its head back in the sand.
Silk Road: Drugs, Death and the Dark Web [BBC]
Documentary looking at the black market website known as the Silk Road, which emerged on the darknet in 2011. This ‘Amazon of illegal drugs’ was the brainchild of a mysterious, libertarian intellectual operating under the avatar The Dread Pirate Roberts. Promising its users complete anonymity and total freedom from government regulation or scrutiny, Silk Road became a million-dollar digital drugs cartel.
Illicit Objects [HiLi Brow]
You might have assumed that Timothy Leary’s Los Angeles home was quite a drug den. But from the 1980s onward, as I discovered for myself, after we became friendly, Tim rarely kept any serious stores of drugs of his own. There were always drugs in the house — because everyone who visited him came bearing gifts. People considered it an honor to offer Tim whatever exotic strain of chemical or pill they could access. If he wanted a joint, whoever was visiting would just roll one from their own supply.
‘Donald Trump-shaped’ ecstasy pills seized by German police [BBC]
About 5,000 carrot-coloured ecstasy tablets in the shape of Donald Trump’s head have been seized by German police in the north-western city of Osnabruck.
Entheogenesis Australis 2017 Outdoor Psychedelic Symposium 8th – 10th of December [EGA]
It is our absolute pleasure to share with you Entheogenesis Australis (EGA’s) greatly-anticipated second program announcement – containing the full and 100 percent confirmed – Psychedelic Symposium lecture program. Bringing together a formidable panel of experts in the area of psychedelic studies from Australia and around the world, the lecture program forms the backbone of what will be THE most comprehensive and exciting conference of its kind in Australasia. Tickets to the 2017 Psychedelic Symposium are strictly limited to 500 and are available as pre-sale only. With less than 200 tickets remaining, please secure your ticket soon, as tickets will sell out. We hope very much to see you in December for this unique conference gathering. Buy your ticket now – www.entheogenesis.org/tickets
New Druglawed film released! [Druglawed]
“Druglawed: Spokeswoman” has just been released. The production crew wants to thank all the fine Australians who supported this production! Special thanks go out to the good folk of Nimbin and the Nimbin Hemp Embassy. “Spokeswoman” is filmed on location in Sydney, Melbourne and Nimbin, featuring outspoken Member of Parliament Fiona Patten, the firebrand civil libertarian who is campaigning for an end to the War on Drugs. Also featured are Law Enforcement Against Prohibition campaigner Greg Denham, high-profile medical cannabis patient Ben Oakley, and the provider of his life-saving cannabinoid medicine, Jenny Hallam. Andrew Kavasilas, pioneering Nimbin hemp researcher, co-stars in the film, which showcases some of the celebratory scenes at Nimbin MardiGrass 2017. “Spokeswoman” can be downloaded for $4.20, all proceeds go towards funding post production of the final chapter of Druglawed Series 2, which was filmed in Uruguay. Click this link to download the film: https://druglawed.vhx.tv/buy/druglawed-2-episode-3-spokeswoman
Australia’s First Medicinal Cannabis Leadership Program [Cann10]
The Cann10 Medicinal Cannabis Leadership Program is Australia’s first training program in the field of medicinal cannabis. The program provides a comprehensive approach to cannabis education including historical, cultural, legal/regulatory, commercial, chemical and agricultural aspects. It is delivered by an array of world-class professionals and has been designed so that participants can have personal access to their expertise. As a result, the number of participants in this program is limited. Graduates of this program will acquire an in depth knowledge of the industry as well as practical tools to help build their commercial and scientific projects.
Petition: Please help desperate terminally-ill and sick patients — medicinal cannabis is blocked [change.org]
The laws are so broken that just 18 sick patients have managed to access medicinal cannabis in NSW. I need your help now by signing my petition. I’ve spoken with NSW Health Minister personally about fixing the broken medicinal cannabis laws. But the government still hasn’t fixed these laws blocking doctors and patients from accessing medicinal cannabis, in fact it has added to them.
Drugs, driving and policing: Byron Community Forum [Greens]
15 September 6 – 8pm @ Byron Community Centre, 69 Jonson Street Byron Bay NSW. Free Admission. Come along to hear Greens MP David Shoebridge talking about the evidence-free roadside testing regime. We will also hear from locals and experts about broader concerns about policing and drugs, particularly as they apply in Byron and surrounds. Come with a comment, a question or just to learn about what’s going on! Limited number of tickets available.