Embassy HEADLINES Issue 273-4
Next Nimbin Medical Cannabis Workshop Saturday November 11 2017 [Nimbin Hemp Embassy]
Another big crowd is expected for the Nimbin HEMP Embassy’s next MEDICAN Workshop on Saturday November 11, from 11 am by the river at the Bush Theatre in the old Nimbin butter factory. “These gatherings are important and mostly about education”, says Embassy president Michael Balderstone. “The workshop is a good opportunity to ask questions and meet people who have been involved with Mediweed for decades.”
Gov to oppose bill improving medicinal cannabis access for terminally ill [Radio Australia]
The Turnbull Government says it won’t back a bill to improve access to imported medicinal cannabis for the terminally ill, despite overwhelming support from Labor, the Greens and the crossbench in the Senate. The bill proposed by Greens leader Richard Di Natale gives terminally ill patients quicker, easier access to doctor-prescribed medicinal cannabis under Category A of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) Special Access Scheme (SAS). It passed in the Senate today with support from Labor and the crossbench including Jacqui Lambie, One Nation, Derryn Hinch, and David Leyonhjelm.
Medicinal cannabis research funding long overdue for sufferers like Ben [ABC]
Ben Oakley’s life would be far more challenging without the medicinal cannabis oil he is forced to buy on the black market. The 21-year-old suffers from a one-in-a-million neurological disease called stiff-person syndrome that causes excruciating body spasms that make him feel like he is being tasered and cause him to collapse. Mr Oakley is one of countless users of medicinal cannabis who will benefit from the establishment of a new, world-first cannabis research centre to help address an array of legal and access issues around medicinal cannabis. The Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence (ACRE) has received a $2.5 million grant from the Federal Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council to help coordinate research into medicinal cannabis use. Mr Oakley is a classic example of how blurred the lines are at present.
University of Newcastle gets $2.5 million to set up national medicinal cannabis research centre [Newcastle Herald]
Newcastle will lead the national approach to research into medicinal cannabis treatments. The University of Newcastle announced on Wednesday that it has been granted $6 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council for various projects. Of this money, $2.5 million was allocated to setting up a the Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence. Professor Jennifer Martin said the national infrastructure, governed from Newcastle, could “rapidly translate the [cannabinoid] research into practice and into policy”.
Unlearn medicine [The University of Sydney]
Your parents always warned you to ‘just say no’. Marijuana is a dangerous drug that is, we’re told, best left alone. But what if cannabis could be a remedy to the illnesses and diseases once thought incurable? In an Australian first, Professor Iain McGregor and his team from the Lambert Initiative are researching the use of medicinal cannabinoids to treat paediatric epilepsy, cancer, chronic pain, neurological and mental health disorders. They’re part of a global network of researchers exploring the possibilities of unexpected medicinal products. This is one of the ways we’re unlearning – examining the idea of good and bad, helpful and harmful, and viewing the world in unconventional ways to find new ideas, solutions and treatments.
How to get medicinal cannabis – Access for Patients and Medical Professionals [The University of Sydney]
Access to medicinal cannabis involves a much more complicated process than with most other medicines. A doctor must either be an ‘Authorised Prescriber’ or be prepared to make an application on behalf of their patient through the TGA ‘Special Access Scheme’.
Why so few Australians are using medicinal cannabis on prescription [The Sydney Morning Herald]
The most recent figures show that only 153 patients nationwide have been authorised to receive medicinal cannabis products under the Special Access Scheme. And only about 30 Australian doctors have been granted Authorised Prescriber status, prescribing cannabis products to a further 101 patients. In striking comparison, Canada has more than 200,000 officially approved patients, and Israel more than 30,000.
Less Teens Smoke Weed When it’s Legal [Sydney Drug Lawyers]
Countries which move towards legalising the recreational use of cannabis invariably face the conservative outcry that such a move will result in an upsurge in demand. However, there is a growing body of research to suggest that not only is the link between cannabis legalisation and increased use a myth, but legalising the drug may result in less young people being attracted to its mystique or using it to rebel.
Medicinal Cannabis for Chronic Pain: What do members think? [Pain Australia]
With little data about dosages and methods of administration to achieve a required effect, insufficient long-term clinical studies and limited knowledge of side-effects when used for medical purposes, there is reason to be cautious about the benefits of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain. This was the firm message delivered at the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recent seminar on medicinal cannabis, which was attended by representatives from leading health organisations and professional bodies, including Painaustralia CEO Carol Bennett and Policy Officer Louise Moes. The TGA is currently developing guidelines for medical practitioners on the prescribing of medicinal cannabis, which will be released by the end of the year.
The cannabis oil ‘healers’ preying on Australia’s sick and dying [The New Daily]
Seriously ill patients who are turning to medical cannabis for life-saving treatment are being sold fake, poisonous and intoxicating products manufactured in backyard laboratories across Australia. The unlicensed suppliers are sending cannabis oil that contains dangerous chemicals that could lead to cancer, and then charging people $6000 for up to three months’ supply. The unregulated products have put patients’ lives in serious danger with several reports of abuse and the leak of private patients’ details. During a six-month investigation, The New Daily was sent 14 different samples of cannabis extract from concerned customers of three different illegal suppliers. A top Australian research facility, which did not want to be named, independently tested these products for the amount of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the two most active ingredients in the cannabis plant. When that data was analysed by Safe Work Laboratories, 13 products were found to have no medicinal value, contained hazardous solvents or were heavily intoxicating. Among the tens of thousands of vulnerable patients online, many so-called ‘healers’ trawl cannabis Facebook forums for potential customers.
Eastern Suburbs on the nose [alt media]
Police have bowed to community pressure to include testing for cocaine in roadside drug tests. Previously mobile drug testing vans could only test for ice (methamphetamine), esctacy and cannabis. However by the end of the year the NSW police force could be rolling out a targeted trial of cocaine testing in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. According to the Bureau of Crime Statistics, after City of Sydney, Woollahra and Waverly are the highest council areas for cocaine use, closely followed by Bondi. The NSW police force fell under criticism for previously targeting poorer suburbs in Sydney’s west and only testing for drugs prevalent in lower socio-economic communities.
NZ Police block medicinal marijuana for 2000 illegal users [Newshub]
As many as 2000 terminally ill patients, amputees and cancer sufferers have been forced to go without their cannabis-based pain relief after two police busts involving so-called ‘green fairies’. Green fairies provide cannabidiol products either free of charge or for a small fee to those who say it helps ease their pain. Police say their role is to enforce the law, but officers do have discretion over cannabis offences on a case by case basis.
World Medical Association says laws on cannabis research should be reviewed [The Pharmaceutical Journal]
The World Medical Association (WMA) has called for laws governing research-grade cannabis to be reviewed to allow more research on using cannabis for medicinal purposes.
How a 12-Year-Old Girl Could Help End Weed Prohibition in America [Rolling Stone]
A federal lawsuit claims the ban on bringing medical marijuana across state lines violates an epileptic girl’s constitutional rights.
Lucky’s Market takes leap with CBD, now selling hemp extracts nationwide [The Cannabist]
Lucky’s Market, the Colorado-based natural foods chain backed by grocery giant Kroger Co. is now selling nearly a dozen brands of hemp-derived extracts rich in the cannabis compound known as CBD at its 25 stores across the nation. “We’re not afraid to be disruptive and pave the path and be pioneers,” said Sindy Wise, Lucky’s director of apothecary. The move is risky in the American retail market where the legality of such extracts has been called into question by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Colorado’s 2017 marijuana sales reach $1 billion in just eight months [The Cannabist]
Legal marijuana is a bona fide billion-dollar industry in Colorado. And it’s hitting the mark faster than ever. In 2017, Colorado eclipsed $1 billion in marijuana sales in eight months; in 2016, it took 10 months. Colorado’s marijuana retailers logged upward of $1.02 billion in collective medical and recreational sales through August, according to The Cannabist’s extrapolations of state tax data released Wednesday. Year-to-date sales are up 21 percent from the first eight months of 2016, when recreational and medical marijuana sales totaled $846.5 million. This year’s cumulative sales equate to more than $162 million in taxes and fees for Colorado coffers.
Next Year Will Be Huge for Legal Weed [The Stranger]
If 2012 was the year we punched a hole in the green ceiling, 2018 will be the year that whatever remains of that ceiling is burned to ash like a freshly packed bowl. Next year—provided bureaucrats follow their own schedules—adults in California, Massachusetts, and Maine will be able to purchase recreational cannabis. California’s massive economy will bring an unprecedented amount of cash to the legal cannabis market and further align the country’s business interests with legalized pot. And Maine’s and Massachusetts’s legal markets will likely quicken the normalization of recreational pot in America.
It’s Not Just Wine Country: California Wildfires Have Hit Cannabis Growers Hard [Huffington Post]
In a region famous for its wine, another cash crop grows as well: cannabis. And just like its vinous brother, it, too has been hit hard by the wildfires in Northern California, where raging flames in the last week and a half have destroyed entire farms ― and farmers’ livelihoods. So far, at least 34 cannabis farms in the region have seen substantial losses from the fire, California Growers Association Executive Director Hezekiah Allen told HuffPost on Wednesday. And the number of farms whose crops were damaged by smoke and ash but not burned directly is far higher, he said, in the “dozens, if not hundreds.”
DOJ Admits It Isn’t Legal To Keep Prosecuting Washington State Medical Marijuana Users [Huffington Post]
The Department of Justice has agreed with defense lawyers that five Washington state residents ― including members of the same family ― who said they grew and used marijuana for medical reasons had complied with state law and that the U.S. government shouldn’t have pursued federal charges against them.
Texas’ First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Set To Open In December [Houston Public Media]
In just two months, Texans suffering from intractable epilepsy will be able to purchase a type of medicinal cannabis approved by the state. The dispensary itself is located outside a rural Texas town better known for its dancehalls, polka music and kolaches. Knox Medical says registered patients with the state will be able to call in and pick up their orders at their Schulenburg location, but they anticipate most of their business will occur online. Registered Texas patients using the company’s website will place an order and then have it couriered to their location, which will begin happening by the end of December.
Eric Holder: Attorney General Sessions “Almost Obsessed With Marijuana” [NORML]
In recent remarks at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, former US Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about current Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ views on marijuana, saying “The Sessions almost obsession with marijuana I think is the thing that’s put the Justice Department in this strange place,” in regards to potential changes in current policy held up by what is known as The Cole Memo.
New $11 Billion Market Opportunity as World Anti-Doping Agency Removes CBD From Banned Substances List [Markets Insider]
Medical Marijuana, Inc. (MJNA), the first publicly traded cannabis company in the United States, today announced that it will move forward with market expansion efforts in athletics with recent announcement by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the foundation initiated by the International Olympic Committee to coordinate and monitor drug use in sports, that cannabidiol (CBD) will be removed from its list of banned substances in 2018. Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s Real Scientific Hemp Oil-X™ (RSHO-X)™ CBD hemp oil, which is the only product on the market to be recognized by international governments to be completely free of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the well-known psychoactive compound in marijuana, is an ideal option for athletes looking to safely incorporate cannabinoids into their regimen.
Watching the Canadian Cannabis Industry Evolve [volteface]
The GrowUp 2017 event was geared to those who are either already growing cannabis legally – one of the now more than 60 Licensed Producers granted that special permission by the federal government – or more directly, to those who are gearing up to grow cannabis at scale once the drug is legalised for recreational purposes next summer. And rather than your typical weed convention where tie-dyed t-shirts dominate, this event attracted more suited delegates and there were no signs of any of the usual freebies. Free chocolate bars – regular Hershey’s chocolate – in one law firm’s branded packaging, and the usual crop of free T-shirts, pens and USB sticks, just no pot.
Canada’s rocky road journey to legalising cannabis [Independent]
As the first major economy in the world is on the brink of legalising cannabis, is Canada ready for the drug to be commodified and sold as a named brand?
North American first: University of Guelph researchers publish scientific study on cannabis production [EurekAlert!]
University of Guelph researchers have published what is believed to be the first scientific paper in North America on improving medicinal cannabis plant production, helping move the industry into the realm of high-tech laboratories and evidence-based practices. “Growing marijuana has been illegal for so many years that there has been hardly any scientific research up until this point on how to produce this crop,” said Prof. Youbin Zheng. “There has been no science guiding this industry.” Zheng, along with Prof. Mike Dixon and PhD student Deron Caplan, investigated optimal fertilizer rates and soilless growing substrates required to grow cannabis plants that have higher amounts of medicinal components and greater yield. The study, which was funded in part by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, was recently published in the journal HortScience.
First ever ‘eco-Lego block’ energy-efficient home under construction in Sooke [Chek]
It’s been dubbed “The Lego House” – or perhaps more accurately, the “eco-Lego house.” Currently, under construction in Sooke, it’s the first home ever to be built from of hemp blocks, which stack together very much like the classic child’s building toy.
MPs join medical marijuana protest outside Parliament, with activists smoking joints and demanding legalisation [Independent]
MPs and activists gathered outside Parliament for a “cannabis tea party” demanding the legalisation of the drug for medicinal purposes. Organised by the United Patients Alliance, a group that hopes to legalise the drug for those suffering from chronic conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS), the Labour MPs Paul Flynn and Tonia Antoniazzi appeared alongside the Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran.
Joburg gets its first dagga coffee shop [Sunday Times]
In an ordinary building in an ordinary Joburg suburb is an extraordinary business. It’s a coffee shop, but not of the caffeine variety. This is the city’s first cannabis coffee shop trading in the open … almost. Owner Frank L doesn’t give his full name for print. The signs are neon but he’s kept the name cryptic, revealing enough for customers and vague enough for his detractors not to notice, he believes. Legal cannabis use in South Africa is still contested. The Western Cape High Court ruled in March that private use and private cultivation of cannabis in someone’s own home is constitutionally legal. Parliament, however, is still to amend the law.
Sorry Mom, According to Harvard, Smoking Weed Improves Brain Function [Herb]
It seems that the more science gets its hands on bud, the more it shatters all preconceived notions of what it means to get high. With research stacking up in support of the so-called stoner, marijuana prohibitionists aren’t getting any favors. According to new pilot study out of Harvard University, published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, medical marijuana use can increase patient’s brain function. The study, titled Splendor in the Grass? A Pilot Study Assessing the Impact of Medical Marijuana on Executive Function is the first of its kind, and its early results have proven to be quite promising.
Heating Up Marijuana Could Increase Cancer Risk [Healthline]
Researchers say the practice of “dabbing” marijuana may produce cancer-causing chemicals.
The New Landscape of Cannabis: Products for Recreational and Medicinal Consumers [Evolver Learning Lab]
Discover the many products and methods of consumption for both medicinal and recreational use in the cutting-edge scene of cannabis. STARTS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19. REGISTER NOW! Cannabis is one of the world’s most profound sacred plants. With its new-found legislative liberation in parts of the United States, the industry is exponentially growing, and the cannabis scene is being transformed by new science and social practices. It is medicine. It is transformational. It is a career. It is an obsession. And because it has been hidden from public view, it is also a scene plagued by wildly incorrect “facts” and woeful misinformation. Join Max Montrose for the 4-part live, interactive video course which will separate the rumors from the truth, and introduce you to the latest, exciting innovations.
Earth Expo [28-29 October @ Albert Hall Launceston, TAS]
Renewable energy and hemp have many synergies. Not the least of which is that they’re both 100% natural and part of the journey to building a sustainable Tasmania. Introducing: Earth Expo 2017: Tasmania’s own HUGE two-day celebration of everything EARTH. It’s all in the name: Energy – Alternatives – Renewables – Tasmania – Hemp. The hemp plant arguably has more uses than any other species under broadacre cultivation today. With Hemp foods becoming legally available for consumption in Australia from Nov 12th, 2017 and new simplified industrial hemp license requirements in Tasmania, come learn everything there is to know about the legal hemp industry.
Australia’s largest hemp & cannabis event heads to Melbourne [Hydroponics]
2-3 December, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre: The Hemp Health & Innovation (HHI) Expo & Symposium is everything hemp and cannabis. With a bigger venue and hemp foods officially legal for sale and consumption in Australia from Nov 12, HHI Melbourne will be Australia’s first large scale opportunity to sample, purchase and taste hemp foods.
EGA 2017 third program announcement plus the infamous raffle now up and running [Entheogenesis Australis]
Entheogenesis Australis 2017 Outdoor Psychedelic Symposium, 8th – 10th of December, Eildon Victoria It is our absolute pleasure to share with you Entheogenesis Australis (EGA’s) greatly anticipated third program announcement. We are also letting you know that the infamous EGA technicolour raffle is now open. EGA’s psychedelic symposium brings 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. There will also be a broad range of lectures, panels, a market space and an arts program to give balance to the content-heavy lecture and workshop programs. The third program announcement listed below has information about workshops, group-based healing modalities, PRISM research track and the bonus Monday programming at the EGA campground. To see the outstanding full list of more than 50 EGA lectures – Click Here – Tickets to the 2017 Psychedelic Symposium are strictly limited to 500 and are available as pre-sale only. With less than 150 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
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.