Embassy HEADLINES Issue 277
Embassy HEADLINES Issue 277

Embassy HEADLINES Issue 277

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.”

Here’s Proof That Australian GPs Want To Know More About Medicinal Cannabis [BuzzFeed]

Any perception that Australian GPs weren’t interested in learning about and prescribing medicinal cannabis was silenced on Saturday, as doctors flooded into the International Convention Centre Sydney to discuss cannabis and its future in the country. On the last day of GP17, a three-day event hosting dozens of sessions on the future of medicine in Australia, standing room was the final option as the morning’s session on “hashing out the facts” about medicinal cannabis began. It wasn’t until self-professed “antichrist” of the event, Dr. David Caldicott, spoke that medicinal cannabis was heralded as a possible solution to health problems. Caldicott’s rapid presentation focused on the inaccessibility of the drug in Australia, despite its legal status, and claimed the country’s medical bodies were “laggards in the space”.

MGC Pharma to deliver cannabis epilepsy treatment to Aussies in early 2018 [Stockhead]

A medicinal cannabis treatment will be available to Australian epilepsy patients in early 2018 under a deal between cannabis developer MGC Pharma and specialist drug distributor HL Pharma. Starting with adult epilepsy, MGC Pharma’s orally-administered CannEpil treatment will be available to Australian patients with an authorised doctors prescription for less than $800 — significantly lower than competing products in the market. HL Pharma will manage approvals and distribution to hospitals and pharmacies across Australia. The move has been backed by Australia’s leading provider of epilepsy services, Epilepsy Action Australia (EEA), and an initial group of five doctors with a starting pool of more than 50 patients.

CannPal granted import authorisation [News]

CannPal Animal Therapeutics has been granted authorisation to possess and supply cannabis for scientific research by the NSW State Department of Health. CannPal has been working closely with Invetus, Australasia’s largest veterinary research organisation, to facilitate the importation of cannabis for scientific research in companion animals. The cannabis oils being imported are for the company’s pharmacokinetic and safety studies scheduled to take place in Q1 CY18. The University of Queensland will be providing bioanalytical services for the studies with results anticipated in Q2 CY18.

Veterans Groups Push for Medical Marijuana to Treat PTSD [The New York Times]

Among critics of the federal prohibition of marijuana — a diverse and bipartisan group that includes both criminal justice reform advocates and Big Alcohol — the American Legion and its allies stand out. For more than a year, the stalwart veterans group has been working to reframe the debate as a question of not only moral and economic imperatives, but also patriotic ones, arguing that access to medical marijuana could ease suffering and reduce suicide rates among soldiers who return from the horrors of war.

N.J. must recognize marijuana’s medicinal value, court says [nj.com]

The ruling says the state must revisit the matter in light of New Jersey’s nearly eight-year-old medical marijuana law, which enables patients to use cannabis to treat pain, muscle spasms, post traumatic stress disorder and other maladies as recommended by their doctors. There are now 15,490 registered medical marijuana patients in New Jersey, according to the state Health Department.

Cannabis task force considers possible tax structures for legalization [Delaware Public Media]

The state’s cannabis task force Wednesday heard presentations on how Delaware could tax the sale of recreational pot. States that have already legalized marijuana sales to adults are bringing in more revenue than they initially projected. Delaware officials and marijuana advocates say state could raise between $9 million and more than $70 million a year by making cannabis legal.

‘A very real danger’: U.S. attorney general’s views on marijuana create uncertainty over medical cannabis [CBC]

If Sessions does try to crack down on marijuana, he could run up against a formidable obstacle — his own boss: U.S. President Donald Trump. On the campaign trail, Trump said he was for medical marijuana, adding the issue should be dealt with by individual states. Since his election, though, Trump hasn’t spoken much about the issue. That leaves many people confused, Hudak says, over who will win the debate on medical marijuana: Trump or his attorney general.

California’s marijuana industry gets its first insurer [Reuters]

The state’s Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones approved on Thursday the filing of the first commercial insurance company to cover cannabis business. The insurer, Golden Bear Insurance Co, can now begin writing policies and offer coverage for cannabis business owners, spokesman Erik Olsen told Reuters. For long, big insurers have been avoiding the cannabis industry worried about action from federal authorities.

U.S. beer giant’s big investment in Canadian cannabis may be killing Jeff Sessions’ buzz [Think Progress]

The entry of major international food and beverage companies into the pot space is a significant sign of the market’s development, but it’s certainly not the first indicator of just how large an economic bear Sessions would be poking by going after pot legalization experiments. Investors have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the nascent cannabis industry inside the United States over the past few years. The money isn’t just going to one-off growhouses and dispensaries, either. Sophisticated business plans reflective of advanced capitalist treatment of a new product space are abundant — in particular with a company called Americann, which is building the largest cannabusiness campus in the country just outside Boston, and also plans to sell its branding and distribution systems to actual cannabis producers as legalization advances.

Domestic Hemp Production More Than Doubles In Past Year [NORML]

Domestic hemp production increased dramatically from 2016 to 2017, according to data compiled by the advocacy organization Vote Hemp. The group calculates that US farmers cultivated over 23,000 acres of hemp in 2017, up from fewer than 10,000 acres in 2016.

Ready or Not, Recreational Marijuana Use Is Coming to Canada [The New York Times]

Working out most of the details affecting consumers is largely up to the 10 provinces. But only three — Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick — have offered any idea of how they will operate and regulate their marijuana markets, and then only in the most general terms. The other seven are still in the midst of public consultations. Two of the most important questions for consumers — how much the legal product will cost and how much it will it be taxed — are still being debated by the two levels of government.

Ontario cannabis law would punish homeless recreational weed users [Vice]

Ontario tabled its law on cannabis legalization this week that would ban users from consuming the drug outside of “private residences,” a move slammed by critics as favouring “the elite” since homeless people, and many renters and condo residents could effectively be prohibited from consuming legal weed. The ban doesn’t make sense, drug policy experts say, and would unfairly target homeless people and others who don’t have access to “private residences,” while pushing other recreational cannabis users into risky situations.

How useful is marijuana as medicine? New research centre aims to find out [CBC]

As the use of medicinal cannabis grows, a new Ontario research centre says it plans to look into whether pot is actually an effective treatment for various ailments.

New developments in cannabis regulation [European Monitoring Centre for Drugs & Drug Addiction]

As more jurisdictions contemplate and pass laws to legalise cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes, the discussions about cannabis policy will likely become more intense in the EU. Member States can learn from these experiences and decide if they want to maintain their current cannabis supply policies or try something else. Those considering alternatives should remember that change need not be permanent; however, if profit-maximizing firms are allowed to produce and sell cannabis, they will have strong incentives to fight against regulations and policy changes that will negatively affect their bottom lines.

Here’s how to solve the NHS’s chronic underfunding: legalise cannabis [The Guardian]

In addition to generating a lot of cash, cannabis can help reduce costs within the NHS. Last year in the UK, a record number of anti-depressants were prescribed, costing the NHS about £260m. After Colorado legalised cannabis, there was a fall in prescriptions aimed at treating anxiety and depression.

Teenagers caught with cannabis can join the police after strict vetting rules are relaxed by the Home Office [Daily Mail]

Teenagers caught with cannabis will still be allowed to join the police after strict vetting rules were relaxed. The controversial new guidance means recruits will no longer be automatically rejected if they have criminal convictions or cautions. Even an applicant who had served time in jail could be allowed to become a PC under exceptional circumstances. The move comes after The Mail on Sunday revealed that Army recruits caught taking drugs during their basic training will be allowed to remain in the military.

The Future of Legal Weed Looks More Corporate Than You’d Think [Vice]

What makes this event stand out, however, is that all the products under discussion are derived from cannabis. Products here are discussed in terms of “revenue growth” and “developing human capital.” Outside, in east London, possession of some of these same products could land you in the back of a police car. This is Canna Tech, the leading conference for the global legal cannabis industry. Held at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in London, it’s a slick operation. There are Ted Talk–style presentations, individual stalls for cutting-edge companies, an open bar, and a buzzy international crowd of American, Canadian, Israeli, and European business folk. This event is aimed specifically at potential investors in the emerging cannabis market. It is sold out, with each of the 400 or so attendees having paid $390 to hear about potential opportunities ahead of the game. The organizers take pains to remind the audience that this is a strictly non-smoking event. You can’t score any weed here, but you can collect a lot of business cards.

EastEnders star Pam St Clement smokes bong on TV [Mirror]

The actress, who played Pat Butcher for nearly 30 years, smoked the drug as part of a documentary about the effects of cannabis legalisation in parts of the USA.

PNP chief admits using marijuana during college [SunStar Baguio]

Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa on Friday, October 6, admitted to using illegal drug weed twice during college. The confession came at the heels of queries on the possibility of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. Previously, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) together with the Food and Drug Administration issued a joint advisory to warn the public not to buy or use hempseed oil even if it is for medicinal use.

Danish medicinal cannabis scheme likely to struggle, doctors reluctant to prescribe: report [The Local]

Very few doctors in Denmark are willing to prescribe medicinal cannabis oil under a new trial scheme, according to a report. From January 1st 2018, Denmark’s Ministry of Health will allow selected patient groups to be prescribed cannabis oil by their general practitioners as part of a four-year trial. But very few doctors are actually willing to prescribe the oil, according to broadcaster DR, which spoke to every regional chairperson with Denmark’s Association for General Practitioners (Praktiserende Lægers Organisation) about the issue. Doctors are reticent to prescribe medicine that lacks studies proving its effectiveness and side effects, reports DR.

Jamaica Grants First Two Licenses to Medical Cannabis Providers [Merry Jane]

Jamaica’s medical cannabis program is finally underway after the country’s Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has granted its first two permits to medical canna-businesses. Epican Medicinals received a license to grow cannabis legally, and Everyting Oily Labs Limited received a license to process raw cannabis into oil. The two companies signed a tripartite agreement with the CLA in which Everyting Oily agreed to only purchase cannabis from Epican until other licensed cultivators are ready for operation.

Rotterdam may experiment with “municipal weed” in new cannabis policy [NL Times]

Rotterdam plans to soon start growing its own “municipal weed”, mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said on Wednesday. The Rotterdam mayor already spoke to new Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus about participating in the new government’s regulated cannabis cultivation experiment. “I was one of the first mayors to talk to Minister of Justice Grapperhaus. We would love to be the first test municipality”, he said when announcing Rotterdam’s new cannabis policy in the city hall, AD reports.

Will Germany Be The Next Nation To Legalize Marijuana? [Fresh Toast]

Among European Union nations, Germany has the largest medical marijuana market. But no country in Europe has allowed for full adult recreational sale or consumption of the herb. Will Germany become the first? Members of a potential German coalition government, including the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, are nearing agreement on a deal to legalize marijuana, reports indicate.

Italy says Rastafarians can smoke marijuana – so long as they use it for prayer [International Business Times]

A judge in Italy has acquitted a man who was found with 58 grams of marijuana after he said he smoked the plant as part of his religion. “Rastafarians are followers of a religion whose believers use marijuana for meditation”, the court explained.

Poland legalises medical cannabis [Independent]

Polish pharmacists will be allowed to treat people with cannabis after the drug was legalised for medicinal purposes. Under new regulations that came into force on Wednesday cannabis from imported plants can be processed at Polish pharmacies – as long as it has been logged with the country’s Office for Registration of Medical Products. Pharmacists are already prepared to make the drugs, according to the Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber (PPC).

Luxembourg moves further towards legalising medical marijuana [MedicalXpress]

Luxembourg, following a broader EU and global trend, took another step on Tuesday towards legalising medical marijuana by announcing plans for a two-year pilot project. The plan, which must be approved by parliament, would allow authorities to determine how many people in the tiny duchy will use medical marijuana and under what conditions. Health minister Lydia Mutsch told a press conference that the government aims to limit marijuana use to people with cancer, multiple sclerosis and other serious illnesses.

Study shows nearly 70 percent of cannabidiol extracts sold online are mislabelled [MedicalXpress]

A new study by a Penn Medicine researcher, published this week in JAMA, found that nearly 70 percent of all cannabidiol products sold online are either over or under labeled, causing potential serious harm to its consumers. Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD, an adjunct assistant professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and the lead author on the study, believes the mislabeling of cannabidiol products is a direct result of inadequate regulation and oversight.

CBD products are a rip-off for medical marijuana users, study finds [Vice]

The study, led by the University of Pennsylvania, tested 84 cannabidiol products purchased online from 31 companies and found that less than a third were properly labeled. Nearly 43 percent of the products — which included oils, tinctures, and vaporization liquid — contained less cannabidiol than their labels promised, indicating that they weren’t potent enough to give their users the medicinal treatment they sought. Another 26 percent of the products contained more.

Can cannabinoids be used to treat cancer? [MedicalXpress]

When cannabinoids activate signaling pathways in cancer cells they can stimulate a cell death mechanism called apoptosis, unleashing a potent anti-tumor effect. Yet cannabinoids, which have also shown strong activity against human tumor tissue grown in animal models, have undergone minimal testing in patients. Their potential use as antitumor drugs and/or to boost the effectiveness of conventional cancer therapies is examined in an article published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM).

Scientists prove nobody cares that cannabis cures cancer [Mooseclean’s]

“People have been conditioned by 40 years of cultural programming to have an aversion to cannabis. It doesn’t really matter what sort of evidence is presented, most people simply react emotionally to the claim rather than rationally evaluating the evidence for it. People confuse the ideal of science with how science actually operates in the real world, and then working from that assumption they assume this issue would have been conclusively proven and endorsed by the establishment if it were true. Unfortunately this is an overly simplistic understanding of how the system works” said Dr Lucifero. “When it all comes down to it, this isn’t a scientific issue, it’s a political issue. “

Here’s how much marijuana it would take to kill you [Independent]

With more people lighting up than ever (and nine states voting on the legalization of marijuana on Election Day), it’s important to remember how many fatally overdose on the drug. Zip. Zero. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which collects data on a range of other substances, both legal and illicit, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. For comparison, opioids, which include prescription pain relievers and heroin, killed more than 28,000 Americans in 2014. Nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year, which makes alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of the death in the US. It’s pretty impossible to ingest a lethal dose of marijuana.

Babies Need Cannabinoids [Zenpype]

Dr. Melanie Dreher studied women using cannabis during their entire pregnancy, and then evaluated the babies one year after birth. She focused on a group of Jamaican women who smoked cannabis during pregnancy and those who didn’t. She expected to see a difference in the babies as far as birth weight and neurological tests, but there was no difference whatsoever. The differences that the researchers did notice, that are as yet unexplained are that the babies of the women who had smoked cannabis daily during their pregnancy, socialized more quickly, made eye contact more quickly and were easier to engage.

‘Magic mushrooms’ legalization effort clears first hurdle in California [ABC7]

After the legalization of marijuana in California, “magic mushrooms” are moving toward the same status. A ballot initiative aimed at de-criminalizing mushrooms containing the hallucinogen psylocybin has cleared its first hurdle. The petition is currently garnering signatures. It needs 365,000 to be placed on a future ballot. If the measure were put on the ballot and eventually passed, California would become the first state in the nation to legalize such hallucinogens.

Dangerous Synthetic Drugs Now Banned Across Victoria [Minister for Police]

The Andrews Labor Government’s crackdown on dangerous drugs continues with a new blanket ban on synthetic drugs coming into effect today. While many of these substances were previously available for purchase over the counter, anyone peddling these substances now faces tough penalties, including up to two years in prison or more than $38,000 in fines.

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.

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