AUSTRALIA & NZ
This Can’t Go On [Australian Medical Cannabis Signpost]
Businessman Barry Lambert, the Chairman of hemp growing firm Ecofibre and a long-time campaigner for cannabis, greeted Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt’s recent edict with scorn. It was, he told the Australian Financial Review, ‘Fake News’ and companies here would be uncompetitive. ‘There aren’t any real Australian growers at the moment,’ Lambert said to AMCSignpost, ‘just a lot of licences and promises but there’s no domestic market at all. So there’s no basis to saying Australia’s going to be a world leader. It still lacks an industry here. Other parts of the world are much more developed; they’re not going to let a PR campaign like this dislodge their dominance. Social media and the internet is full of CBD / Hemp Extract and demand is growing very rapidly. In the USA, CBD will soon be as common as orange juice and no one will pay Big Pharma for what they can buy more cheaply‘.
Medicinal cannabis oil producer Jenny Hallam has pleaded not guilty to possessing and manufacturing a controlled drug in the Adelaide Magistrates Court [The Advertiser]
“I will stand in that courtroom proud and I will tell people that what I did was the right thing to do — the morally right thing to do.” These were the words that medicinal cannabis oil producer Jenny Hallam said from the steps of the Adelaide Magistrates Court, moments after pleading not guilty to possessing and manufacturing a controlled drug. She will now face a District Court trial and will elect for a jury to decide her fate. “I pleaded not guilty because I don’t think what is happening is right,” she said on Thursday. “I am a good person, a good decent person. I am not a criminal and I refuse to be treated like a criminal.”
Secrecy, security paramount as Queensland’s first licensed medicinal cannabis farm nears completion [ABC]
“I guess one of the reasons the licensing authority, the Office of Drug Control through federal health, liked what we proposed and awarded our licences is everything’s co-located,” Mr Benjamin said. “We cultivate, we produce, we manufacture, we bottle and then we distribute onsite, which I think for accountability is very important.
Sydney scientists get green light to sell cannabis products [Business News Australia]
MEDLAB CLINICAL has become the ASX’s newest licensed cannabis supplier after winning its regulatory approval from the Victorian State Government. The company, which is currently in clinical trials for its NanaBis and NanaBidial products, is now allowed to sell medical cannabis in several Australian states. Medlab produces its trademarked NanaBis drug in Melbourne, a buccal spray product which is designed to alleviate cancer pain and provide an alternative to opioid treatment.
A woman believed to be New Zealand’s first cannabis grower is set to become a saint. Suzanne Aubert is a name that may not be immediately recognised, but as Sister Mary Joseph or Mother Aubert she championed the rights of the poor and under-privileged in a life dedicated to her church. Much of her convent’s income came through the sales of Aubert’s medicinal formulations, including many cannabis-based medicines – Aubert is the first person known to grow cannabis in New Zealand. She also started a home for those less fortunate at Jerusalem on the Whanganui River in 1885.
Of the few people who have openly provided medical cannabis to patients in Australia, Tony’s approach has been the most confrontational. “I’ve always said, the best form of defense is attack. While I was attacking the government, what are they going to do to me? We used to carry the tincture into parliament house, tried to give it to some of the politicians.” With the help of his wife, Julie, who he married when he was 18, Tony created a supply that can medicate hundreds of patients. But I get the feeling this has all been a bit fun. “In some ways,” he shares. “But back then it was pretty serious. I was looking after a lot of people with illness. I was trying to make it all, send it out—just me and Julie. Trying to do it all ourselves. It was bloody hard work.”
Ducks In A Row: Where We Are Now And A Look Back At 2017 [Australian Medical Cannabis Signpost]
Released by the TGA three days before Christmas, the seven separate booklets claim to provide a basic overview of the subject, general information for patients and ‘guidance’ for the use of cannabis in treating multiple sclerosis, in palliative care, for epilepsy in paediatric and young adult patients as well as prevention or management of nausea and vomiting and chronic non-cancer pain. Within hours of the documents being released, Dr David Caldicott, who authored this country’s most detailed, highly regarded and authoratative ‘Medical Cannabis Course‘ – and which was offered to and turned down by the Government – said the following over four short bursts on Twitter:
‘There’s a place on the Interweb that catalogues the various iterations of what has been released in the past, which we can tease when we know better. In just a decade’s time, these guidances will be mocked as an example of the abuse of science.’
‘The choice to consider only published studies, while ignoring global demographic and prescribing data, as well as best practice guidelines – which they cite as having! – is political, designed to arrive at conclusions that suit parties other than patients. Shameful.’
‘The sad reality is that these ‘Guidances’ provide precious little guidance to either prescriber or patient, and will do next to nothing to change the status quo – an illicit market of uncertain provenance, accessed by desperate patients.’
‘These Guidances do not tally with the experience of tens of thousands of patients in Australia – millions worldwide – & so will simply be ignored, even by doctors who choose to educate themselves, overseas and online about the ‘actual’ pros & cons of medicinal cannabis.’
The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is rescinding an Obama-era policy that paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, creating new confusion about enforcement and use just three days after a new legalization law went into effect in California.
Sessions’s unwise move on marijuana may backfire [The Washington Post]
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pushing the federal government back into marijuana enforcement. This is an unwise and unnecessary move that may divert resources from more serious problems — and end up backfiring on those who want to restrain pot use.
Sessions Wages War on Natural Weed, As He Grants Maker of Fentanyl a Monopoly on Synthetic THC [The Free Thought]
Revealing the sheer hypocrisy and criminality of Sessions’ move—which vowed to uphold the archaic and despotic Controlled Substances Act of 1970 that prohibits the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana—Sessions’ DEA granted a company a monopoly on the sale of the synthetic form of the plant which contains the exact properties of cannabis. The active ingredient in cannabis, THC, remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug—meaning the government claims it is dangerous, addictive, and has no medical value. Coincidentally, over the Thanksgiving holiday, the DoJ’s Drug Enforcement Administration granted Insys Therapeutics—a rogue pharmaceutical company rife with corruption—a Schedule II classification on their synthetic form of THC, Dronabinol.
Trump’s Pot Crackdown Could Be Good News For Canada’s Cannabis Industry [Huffington Post]
A move by the U.S. attorney general to quash an Obama-era policy that allowed legalized pot to flourish south of the border dealt a blow to marijuana stocks Thursday, but observers and industry players say the crackdown is a boon for the Canadian cannabis industry.
In the first hours of 2018, Californians toasted with “Happy New Year blunts” and marijuana gummies, celebrating the launch of the largest legal pot market in the world. Three days later, Donald Trump’s administration announced a policy that could allow US prosecutors to target legal marijuana operations and undermine California’s massive cannabis movement. “There should be no doubt that President Trump has officially declared war on California,” state senate leader Kevin de León told the Guardian on Thursday after the US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, rescinded an Obama-era policy that opened the door for states to legalize marijuana.
How Marijuana Became Politicized [National Public Radio]
In 2013, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole laid out guidelines for the enforcement of federal marijuana laws. NPR’s Michel Martin speaks with him now that the Trump administration has rescinded them. And John Hudak, author of Marijuana: A Short History, explains how marijuana became politicized in the first place.
The Vermont House of Representatives voted on Thursday to legalize possession and home cultivation of marijuana. The move comes on the same day that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to rescind Obama-era guidance that has generally allowed states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal interference.
The Vermont Senate just passed a bill legalizing cannabis — a rebuke to Jeff Sessions’ crackdown on marijuana [Business Insider Australia]
The Vermont Senate just approved a measure allowing the possession and recreational consumption of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. The move comes as a sharp rebuke to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent announcement that the Justice Department will go back to enforcing federal drug laws in states that have legalised the drug. (The US government considers cannabis an illegal, Schedule I substance.)
Legal cannabis in California is a very big deal [Transform]
California’s model shows how policy thinking is evolving in response to failings and challenges that have emerged elsewhere. There are, for example, better regulations on edibles following some early problems in Colorado’s nascent market; there are efforts to support minority communities and populations most negatively impacted by drug enforcement historically – and help ensure they are not excluded from the emerging market; there is money set aside from the tax revenue for research and health education. There are welcome signs that other legalising states – notably Massachusetts – are continuing this positive evolutionary trajectory. Of course, we will have to wait for the evidence of how it all works out. As with any new policy, mistakes will be made, and particular vigilance will be needed to prevent undue influence of industry money on the shape of the evolving policy models. But even if inevitably imperfect, it will be a dramatic improvement on the disastrous historic failure that was cannabis prohibition. California’s reforms are a very big deal and set the stage for accelerating reform in the future – in other jurisdictions and of other drugs. Watch this space.
The Californian market opening is cause for celebration. One hopes that the Cole memo rescission can be dismissed as irrelevant grandstanding in the wider global context, but that doesn’t make Session’s actions any less disconcerting for those whose hopes, dreams and livelihoods are dependent on the industry. There will be plenty of hiccups along the road but the creation of the Californian market is the biggest step so far on the seemingly inexorable march towards the end of global cannabis prohibition.
Why it will be difficult for Jeff Sessions to put the genie back into the bottle on marijuana policy [LSE]
Lee Hannah and Daniel J. Mallinson write that Sessions’ policy about-face draws opposition from many of those in his own party, state US attorneys, interest groups, and state legislatures. Given that the federal government is dependent on state and local law enforcement for implementing drug prohibition, this opposition could well push Congress to change federal marijuana law.
California’s marijuana muddle – video explainer [The Guardian]
On 1 January, California became the latest state to permit the sale of recreational marijuana in licensed stores. But three days later, the attorney general issued new guidance calling on states to enforce federal drug laws prohibiting the substance. Despite the confusion, the new shops have been doing brisk business.
As Calif. legalizes marijuana use, it may be killing small farms [The Washington Post]
California is ending prohibition on recreational marijuana. It should be good for the cannabis industry, but second-generation cannabis farmer Chiah Rodriques warns new regulations may sacrifice her farm to big business.
As Vets Demand Cannabis for PTSD, Science Races to Unlock Its Secrets [Scientific American]
Curbs on studies have limited understanding of marijuana’s therapeutic mechanisms, but political pressure and a shift in research could soon shed light.
The Cannabis Industry 2017 Annual Report has revealed that sales of medical and recreational marijuana are going to start taking off in 2018. Sales of medical and recreational marijuana are going to reach $4.75 and $6 billion this year respectively. By 2023, both forms of the drug will be higher than $20 billion before hitting $24 billion in 2025.
UK & EUROPE
If cannabis can be legal in LA, why not do the same in Britain? [Evening Standard]
So 2018 is already a watershed in global drugs policy. Cannabis is partially legal in most US states; Canada will follow soon; Germany, France and Italy are all reviewing policy. The data is in on Portugal’s policy of decriminalising all drugs in 2001 — it now has the lowest drugs mortality rate in western Europe. Britain has one of the highest: our heroin problem is at epidemic levels; our prisons are full of the synthetic cannabis substitute, spice. But our governments have been stubborn.
A Canadian marijuana maker is set to sell cannabis in several European countries after striking a deal with Denmark’s biggest tomato producer. Aurora Cannabis is partnering with Alfred Pedersen & Son to produce cannabis for medical use in Europe. The greenhouses used for tomatoes can be converted to grow the drug as both plants have similar growth needs.
Medical cannabis makes small steps in EU [euobserver]
As of 1 January, Denmark now allows the use of medical cannabis for patients suffering from various illnesses. The four year-trial was authorised on 18 December by the parliament in Copenhagen, in a move which also licensed some companies to grow and produce the drug in the Scandinavian country.
You could be doing more harm than good if you express “extreme” views on drugs with teenagers, warns a health expert who says it’s better to talk openly through issues. Paul Dillon, from Drug and Alcohol Research Training Australia, says repeating the scare stories we read about in the media is counter-productive when it comes to trying to persuade young people not to take drugs.
Recent results indicate that the effects of recreational marijuana legalization on Oregon teens’ use depends on whether the teens were already using marijuana when legal sales began.
The researchers found that compared to marijuana, alcohol and ecstasy were more strongly associated with certain heightened perceived sexual effects, including attraction, sexual desire, and social outgoingness (which can facilitate meeting partners).
Study Connects Cannabis and Masturbation [Prohbtd]
Whether derived from cannabis plants (phyto-) or produced organically in the body (endo-), cannabinoids activate CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). According to a new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, masturbating and smoking cannabis both increase endocannabinoid levels and activate the same receptors in the ECS.
Sri Lanka is to allow women over the age of 18 to buy alcohol legally for the first time in more than 60 years.
The lives of more than 5,000 prisoners on death row in Iran could be spared as a change in the law abolishes capital punishment for some drug-trafficking offences. Iran is second only to China in the number of prisoners executed in recent years, the majority put to death for drug offences. More than 500 people were executed in 2017. The softening of drug-trafficking laws was put into force in a communique by the head of the Iranian judiciary to all judicial officials on Tuesday.
Nimbin Medican Workshop 20-21 January 2018 [Hemp Embassy]
The next Nimbin medical cannabis workshop with MC Michael Balderstone is over the January weekend 20/21 2018 at the Nimbin Bush Theatre: 11am to 4.20pm both days. Entry by donation.
Three Californian medicine makers will demonstrate various extraction methods [with legal herbs!], and talk about their experiences in North America. Saturday speakers also include: Dr Deb Waldron, Dr Teresa Towpik and CBD Luke on using medical cannabis in today’s climate; and Steve Bolt on legal advice. Sunday’s workshop includes Rayman on juicing raw cannabis, Radic Al on whole plant therapy and Andrew Kavasilas on the government’s latest.
Makers or users of medical cannabis who wish to share their stories, please email: email@example.com or phone 02-6689 1842.
Hemp Farming: Growing Renewable Economies OPEN EDUCATION DAY [Industrial Medical Food [IMF]
When: Friday 9th February 11 am to 4pm.
Where: 87/89 Cecil St Nimbin
Why: To educate and promote Hemp farming for:
Industrial: Building products, super strong plastics 3D printing.
Medical: Treating cancer, epilepsy, pain relief, etc etc etc !
Food: Twice the protein of meat. Omega 3, 6 & 9. Super Food!
Products made from Mining & Fossil Fuels can be made From HEMP grown by family Farmers
Cost $20 includes Hemp Tea and delicious legal Hemp Foods.
For further information contact Wadzy / Ph: 0407 895 569.
E: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.virginhempfarms.com
Nimbin Medican Workshops on YouTube [Hemp Embassy]
Thanks to Disco Sista for documenting the many medican workshops that the Embassy has hosted in Nimbin over the past 3 years. If you’ve missed these amazing gatherings, then you can still watch the speakers online.