AUSTRALIA & NZ
Eighteen months after medical marijuana became legal, many people are still risking jail by purchasing it online or growing it themselves because of the red tape involved in access it through the proper medical channels.
Earlier this week, police laid two additional charges against medicinal cannabis advocate Jenny Hallam relating to manufacturing and possessing cannabis resin. SA Best Leader Nick Xenophon said he found it “curious and extraordinary” that Ms Hallam was being prosecuted. “Why is it that Jenny Hallam is being prosecuted for dispensing medical cannabis when there are ice dealers out there that aren’t being raided … despite that complaints are being made on a regular basis?” he said.
Patients in New South Wales will be able to access medicinal cannabis within days of a doctor prescribing it, in what the federal Health Minister says sets a national benchmark. Health Minister Greg Hunt said the State and Federal Governments had “taken a machete” to red tape in order to provide “direct and immediate access” to medicinal cannabis. Mr Hunt said the changes would come into effect in the coming weeks. The Medical Cannabis Council welcomed the move to harmonise the prescription approval processes, but cautioned access to medical cannabis for patients in NSW was still not guaranteed.
Greg Hunt is promoting the idea of Australia becoming the world’s leading supplier of medical cannabis. However, even medical cannabis is still nearly impossible to get in Australia. People who smoke are looked at as criminals for certain still. In 2016, medical cannabis was officially “legalized” in Australia. But it rarely is given out to anybody, and children are taken from parents for being treated with cannabis oil. Fathers are arrested for trying to treat their children with what is legal and obviously successful in the US.“We’d like to be potentially the world’s number one supplier,” Health Minister of Australia Greg Hunt said in January. Without much consideration to the citizens of Australia and cannabis, a director at investment firm Peak Asset Management Niv Dagan said this idea “opens the floodgates for further overseas investment into Australia.”
Medicinal Cannabis and the Tyranny of Distance: Policy Reform Required for Optimizing Patient and Health System Net Beneﬁt in Australia [Springer]
As Australia contemplates ‘baby boomer’ ageing, it can beneﬁt from reﬂecting on how the wider world is addressing medicinal cannabis. The rest of the world has not held its collective breath for trial results from Australia before pressing on with patient treatment. In the age of the Internet, immediate communication and a global economy, it is no longer a tenable option for opponents of MC to hope that Australian patients might somehow opt for a less compassionate approach to care than those of their overseas counterparts. A middle ground exists between those who believe that MC is a panacea for all ills, and those that believe that there is no role for MC for anyone; our ability to navigate the path between the two will be judged by history. If we are not compassionate and clever, brave and kind, history is unlikely to be kind with us.
Vaping is currently illegal in Australia and carries penalties of up to $45,000 and/or 2 years prison [Legalise Vaping]
In the US, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and in the EU, vapourisers are helping millions of people to stop smoking and improve their health. But in Australia, these life saving devices are banned from retail. This is unacceptable – and is putting hundreds of thousands of lives at risk. Make a submission & tell your politician to legalise vaping now!
Colorado is Finally Getting its First Cannabis Club [Cannabis Culture]
The city of Denver granted its first license on Monday to a business that will allow marijuana use on its premises. The Coffee Joint plans to charge patrons a $5 entry fee and permit them to consume their own cannabis in edible or vapor form. Denver voters approved a measure to create a social-use pilot program in 2016. Interested businesses like cafes and art galleries must jump through several bureaucratic hurdles to apply – including obtaining the support of a neighborhood group. The Coffee Joint was the first business to submit an application and received no opposition to its plan to allow cannabis consumption on its premises. Businesses that serve alcohol are barred from applying.
Across the country, as political candidates are gearing up for this year’s midterm elections, an unprecedented number of candidates are stepping up with promises to reform their states’ outdated cannabis laws. In Illinois, there are several candidates who have recently voiced support for cannabis reform, but none as boldly as Congressional candidate Benjamin Thomas Wolf. A former FBI agent and current professor, Wolf is branding himself as the “Cannabis Congressman,” and has circulated a press photo of himself smoking a joint in front of an American flag painting.
The rugged wilderness of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties, northern California’s “Emerald Triangle”, produces over half the cannabis consumed in the US.
Effective drug education should be ‘Just say know’ [San Francisco Chronicle]
Protecting children is the first priority as marijuana legalization has become a reality in California. Legal sales are strictly limited to adults, with dispensary staff vigilant about checking IDs. Still, as has been the case for decades, teenagers have found ways to procure cannabis.
Mr. Steves Goes to Washington – to Talk Drug Policy [RollingStone]
For years, PBS star Rick Steves has tried to persuade U.S. policymakers that Europe offers a superior approach to regulating weed. The affable host of Rick Steves’ Europe and prolific travel guidebook author is also a longtime anti-prohibition advocate who leans into his wholesome image and decades of European exploration. Meeting by meeting, he tries to persuade U.S. policymakers of the social and financial ways that Europe has thrived – or at least not slid into chaos – after legalization.
Nasdaq to Get First Pot Listing [Bloomberg Technology]
The Nasdaq Stock Market will list its first cannabis shares on Tuesday, marking a key milestone for an industry that has been rejected by the Trump administration. Cronos Group Inc., which already trades in Canada, will be the first marijuana company on a major U.S. exchange — right alongside Nasdaq stocks such as Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Starbucks Corp.
Internal NYPD files show that hundreds of officers who committed the most serious offenses — from lying to grand juries to physically attacking innocent people — got to keep their jobs, their pensions, and their tremendous power over New Yorkers’ lives.
International cannabis producers, with operations in South America, Israel and other jurisdictions are coming to Canada to raise capital, and benefit from the country’s scientific research in cannabis plant genetics, agronomy and medicine. As industry pioneers, Canada can leverage this to expand its market reach, its research base and its global impact.
UK & EUROPE
A new report from the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board has revealed the UK is the world’s largest producer and exporter of legal cannabis for medical and scientific uses. Yet proper access to medical cannabis is still denied to UK patients. The report – that includes data from governments around the world – reveals that the UK produced 95 tonnes of legal cannabis in 2016. This is more than double the 2015 total of 42 tonnes, at which point the UK leapfrogged Canada into the number one spot.
The UK Is The World’s Largest Producer And Exporter Of Cannabis But Its Citizens Are Denied Any Access At All [Cannabis Law Reform]
This is the astonishing fact revealed by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in its 2017 report on narcotic drugs. In the UK no one has any legal access to any form of cannabis except exempt products derived from industrial hemp, most commonly CBD oil. UK citizens are denied access even though their country is producing and exporting vastly more cannabis even than countries such as the USA, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and Italy, all of which have legitimate and well regulated medical cannabis provision.
A pop star has questioned the police’s use of social media after officers posted a tweet about discovering a cannabis farm in a house. Former One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson accused West Yorkshire officers of “gloating” over the raid. In a Twitter post the Doncaster-born star said: “Surely as law enforcement you should be rising above ‘venting’ to your followers.”
Jeremy Kyle vs Teesside Cannabis Club – airing this Monday [The Northern Echo]
In September last year, the controversy-courting chat show host and his camera crew were invited into the clandestine Club Exhale to film for the Kyle Files. The first episode of the documentary series will see Mr Kyle meet members of Teesside Cannabis Club as he investigates issues surrounding cannabis use and asks if it is time to consider changing drug laws. It is expected to feature a behind-the-scenes look at Club Exhale, a venue on the outskirts of Middlesbrough where people gather to socialise and consume cannabis.
Cannabis prohibition has failed on all fronts – the UK should follow Canada’s pragmatic example instead [Conservative Home]
For decades, drug policy has been a subject of taboo in British politics. Even David Cameron, who in Opposition became an impressively vocal advocate for liberalising our drug laws, when in office chose instead to focus on the easier option of reducing alcohol consumption.
Finding a new frame for cannabis reform [volteface]
“It is tempting to describe the government’s approach to cannabis as a spectacular failure. But that would be untrue: the government’s approach cannot fail, because the government has no approach. It has no goals, it has no aims, it has no policies.”
A former Home Office minister has appealed for a six-year-old boy with epilepsy to be given a special licence to use medicinal cannabis. The parents of Alfie Dingley want the government to let him use cannabis oil, a banned substance in the UK, to help with his symptoms. Ex-Justice Minister Sir Mike Penning said he had “huge” sympathy for the boy, who has 20 to 30 seizures a day.
Diane Abbott declares war on drugs a failure – but rules out Labour legalising cannabis [Independent]
Diane Abbott has described the war on drugs as a failure – but has ruled out Labour legalising cannabis. The Shadow Home Secretary also revealed that a Jeremy Corbyn government would crack down on Bitcoin, which she called a “gigantic Ponzi scheme”.
Samples showed huge rise in highly psychoactive strains, raising public health concerns.
Former airport search officer awarded over €9k after being sacked for ‘supporting medicinal cannabis’ [The Journal Ireland]
The worker had been fired from his role as a search unit officer, with the reasons given for the dismissal including “his support for the use of cannabis for medicinal use” and “his passionate advocacy of an illegal drug and his declared position as a cannabis activist”. The worker took a case believing that he had been sacked for his “political beliefs” on cannabis and sought redress.
On March 1, lawmakers voted in favour of the bill, which will allow licensed businesses to cultivate and process cannabis for medical purposes. Land for cultivation must be at least 4,000 square metres in size and secured by fencing. The legislation also stipulates that the processing of the cannabis must take place within the same grounds that it is grown, to avoid extra transportation of the drug, according to state-run broadcaster ERT. Once regulations are in place, people prescribed medical cannabis will be able to buy the drug from licensed pharmacies.
The PSD holds more parliamentary seats than any other party, but remains in opposition due to the ruling Socialist Party’s alliance with several smaller left-wing parties. At the PSD’s national conference on February 17, a majority of party members voted in favour of a motion for legally regulating the drug “from production to distribution to sale”. As TalkingDrugs reported in February, the motion was put forward by former MP Dr André Almeida and Dr Ricardo Baptista Leite, a current MP and member of the parliamentary Health Committee.
The Kanepi municipality in southeast Estonia was created last July through the merger of three previously separate districts ;and as a result of the local government shake-up, residents were given the chance to vote on a new symbol to represent the district, state broadcaster ERR says. The overwhelmingly popular choice among the people of Kanepi was a design based on the cannabis leaf. According to ERR, “kanep” is the Estonian word for cannabis.
President Emmanuel Macron has taken steps to reform drug laws amid concerns that France has seen a continuous rise in drug use despite having some of the strictest narcotics laws in Europe. But is the country ready for a radical new approach? A parliamentary report released in January noted that – since the law criminalising drugs was passed on December 31, 1970 – the number of drug arrests in France has steadily increased, to nearly 140,000 in 2016 (or 67.5% of all arrests).
Last Thursday, the German Bundestag debated three bills relating to cannabis. The first bill, introduced by the “Lefties” proposed considering small amounts of up to 15 grams no longer a criminal offense. The second bill, introduced by the FDP (Liberals), requested to create a legal basis for cannabis pilot projects in Germany, so individual federal states such as Berlin, Bremen, or cities like Düsseldorf and Münster, can implement corresponding plans. Meanwhile, the Greens have presented a 69-page draft bill on cannabis regulation to the Bundestag.
Meet the YouTube Stars Getting High So You Can Take Drugs Safely [High Snobiety]
Despite a recent fall in the number of Amsterdam’s famous weed-friendly coffee shops, the Netherlands remains a pretty liberal place as far as drugs are concerned. Probably the most internationally visible sign of this laid back attitude to narcotics today is the YouTube channel Drugslab: a “science and education” service produced by BNN-Vara, a public broadcaster in the Netherlands.
2018 Cannabis Price Index [Seedo]
Recently Released Study of Prices and Volumes of Cannabis Consumed around the World and the Potential Tax Revenue that could be made if the Cannabis Industry were Legal. Of Interest here is the inclusion of Sydney and Melbourne in the List of Top 10 Cities to Generate the Most Tax in the World from Legal Cannabis. The list below was extracted from the Global Price List, Tokyo being the Most Expensive. The figure following each country is the Metric Tons consumed in a Year in each City.
1 – Tokyo, Japan – 1.53
17 – Auckland, New Zealand – 9.28
35 – Adelaide, Australia – 6.72
37 – Melbourne, Australia – 21.58
38 – Sydney, Australia – 22.59
39 – New York, USA – 77.44
41 – Brisbane, Australia – 11.09
45 – Wellington, New Zealand – 2.5
51 – Canberra, Australia – 2
58 – London, UK – 31.4
96 – Vancouver, Canada – 5.25
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Philippines’ police and soldiers not to cooperate in any investigation into his bloody war on drugs, amid international calls for an external probe.
Israeli cannabis exports now in prime minister’s hands; Trump pressure denied [Marijuana Business Daily]
The Israeli Ministry of Public Security said it would drop its opposition to medical cannabis exports as long as budget financing is in place to enforce regulations and prevent “leakage” into the illegal recreational sector, according to briefing notes of the meeting obtained by Marijuana Business Daily.
Medical marijuana harvests begin in Jamaica [Marijuana Business Daily]
At least two medical marijuana companies have begun the first-ever legal harvest of their crops, signaling that the island nation is well on its way to becoming a full-fledged MMJ market. Kaya Farms reportedly started its harvest Feb. 20, the Jamaica Observer reported, while competitor Timeless Herbal Care said in a news release Tuesday that it had also completed a harvest. Both harvests took place under the observance of the island’s Cannabis Licensing Authority.
‘The tables have turned in favor of legalization across the world,’ report says. Global spending on legal cannabis will skyrocket to $57 billion by 2027, according to a report released this week by Arcview Market Research, in partnership with BDS Analytics. That’s a lot of marijuana.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
Raw Hemp Chocolates [Unconventional Baker]
Heads up: highly visual recipe post ahead. Largely because no words can describe how delicious these raw mini hemp-filled chocolates are. I think these are right up there in my top 5 recipes ever. Possibly even my numero uno. That’s how much I love these little chocolates and all their hempy goodness.
How does resolving cannabis problems differ from problems with alcohol or other drugs? [EurekAlert!]
Individuals who report having resolved a problem with cannabis use appear to have done so at younger ages than those who resolved problems with alcohol or other drugs, report investigators from the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). While study participants also were much less likely to use any formal sources of assistance or support in resolving problems with cannabis than those whose problems were with other substances, that finding was less common in those who resolved a cannabis problem more recently, which may reflect the increased availability and potency of cannabis in recent years.
Cannabis compound may help curb frequency of epileptic seizures [MedicalXpress]
A naturally occurring compound found in cannabis may help to curb the frequency of epileptic seizures, suggests a review of the available evidence, published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Trust Me I’m An Expert: The science of pain [The Conversation]
As many as one in five Australians suffer from chronic and recurring pain. But despite its prevalence, it’s not always easy to find the help you need to manage it. “When I went through medical school, we had about one hour on acute pain. And the whole concept of chronic pain and how it’s so very different from acute pain was not something that was ever on our horizon,” pain expert Professor Fiona Blyth says in the latest episode of The Conversation podcast Trust Me, I’m An Expert.
No link between current or previous marijuana use and kidney disease, say researchers [MedicalXpress]
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with an increasing trend of use among middle-aged and older individuals. However, potential health effects of marijuana use in the general population have not been extensively studied, and little is known about potential effects on kidney function. According to a new cross-sectional study of adults aged 18-59 in the US, there is no association between current or previous marijuana use and kidney function. The results are reported in The American Journal of Medicine.
Long before magic mushrooms became a way for hippies to turn on, tune in, and drop out, and well before ancient mesoamerican mystics employed them in religious ritual, they had their use as an insect repellant. Some 200 species of mushrooms naturally produce psilocybin, which, when imbibed by humans, can trigger “magic,” hallucinogenic effects. But obviously these mushrooms didn’t evolve to send humans on psychedelic trips. Psilocybin also affects insects’ minds, making them less hungry. Given that most magic mushrooms grow in environments particularly welcoming to insects—the mushroom’s natural predator—it’s likely the psychedelic compound developed as a tool for evolutionary survival.
Medicinal Cannabis: Debunking the Myths – Coffs Harbour [NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association]
Last year the NSWNMA held a forum on medicinal cannabis in Sydney. It was fully subscribed and there has been great interest in holding similar forums in regional areas. The first of these is on Friday March 9th in Coffs Harbour. This is open to NSWNMA members and also to non-members. We had a great cross section at the previous forum – which made for very lively questions and discussions. There were community members, parents, people using MC, medical staff – as well as a very broad range of nurses from many disciplines, mental health, D&A, gerontology, Practice nurses, palliative care, Nurse Practitioners and others. Future forums are scheduled for later in the year: Wollongong: 20 June and Newcastle: 19 October.
Australia’s First Medicinal Cannabis Leadership Program [Cann10 Australia]
10 March 2018, Western Sydney University Sydney, Level 4/255 Elizabeth St, Sydney: The program provides a comprehensive approach to cannabis education including historical, cultural, legal/regulatory, chemical, agricultural and commercial 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. The next program is running in Sydney across two weekends in March and further information can be found here.
Blue Moon Biochar and Cannabis workshop
$75 for the wkd ~ $50 a day 10-11 March, Nimbin NSW – The farm has been full of activity in all areas, we are back on track after a very busy end of year. In the past 8 years we have been offering these workshops for free, unfortunately due to new infrastructure we will be charging a low fee for our future workshops. Please RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org Any question, you can either email or call 0413919043 Raquel
Medical Cannabis Webinar Series [BuddingTech]
The Medical Cannabis Council is hosting a national medical cannabis webinar series. The first two webinars will cover essential background information, including the Endocannabinoid System, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics. Then, leading specialists from around the world with experience treating patients with medical cannabis will cover efficacy data, treatment, dosage, and contraindications. These free, 30-minute webinars will come with 1 CPD point each, and will include a Q&A session with each presenter.
21 Mar 2018
11 Apr 2018
24 Apr 2018
09 May 2018
23 May 2018
20 April at 14:00–18:00 The River Torrens Rotunda South Australia: Far too many of our alternative healers are being persecuted and held back from doing what they do best. This year we show our support for them and their magnificent work for the community at large, and of course to show our authoritarians how displeased we are with their perpetuation of a harmful law.
26th Nimbin MardiGrass [Hemp Embassy]
The legendary Cannabis Law Reform Rally & Gathering, 4th – 6th May 2018, Nimbin Nth NSW. Gathering of the tribe! Protest! Educate! Celebrate!
Sydney, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May 2018. In May 2018 we will have the HHI Expo & Symposium. There will be a large array of speakers and like-minded individuals showcasing their products, to educate, enlighten and entertain an audience. This will be our third Expo in Sydney with a growing awareness of the diversity and benefits of HEMP. Further information regarding this Expo and venue details etc, will be available on the website in the New Year. We look forward to seeing you there.
Hemp & Cannabis Expo [Body Mind Psychic]
19-20 April, Adelaide Showground, Adelaide, South Australia.
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.