Embassy HEADLINES Issue 345
AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
Lucy Haslam repulsed by medicinal cannabis laws, calls on nation to #FixDansLaw [Northern Daily Leader]
In a one-on-one interview with the Leader, Lucy Haslam reveals the pain this Sunday will bring, marking four years since her son’s death and why she’s retracting claims of victory on medicinal cannabis.
Desperate patients turn to black market for medicinal cannabis despite spike in legal prescriptions [ABC]
Earlier this week, the ABC revealed more than 3,000 medicinal cannabis scripts had been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) from March 2018 to January 2019. But conservative estimates suggested up to 100,000 Australians were still using it illegally to self-medicate. Advocates said this was an indication the system was failing.
Budding boom: All you need to know about Australia’s stake in the fast-growing cannabis industry [Smart Company]
To date, there are 58 approved practitioners across the country who can prescribe medical cannabis products to patients within a segment they’ve been approved to administer by the TGA. For other doctors, the TGA’s special access scheme requires an application form to be filled out for each patient, detailing their medical history and justifying why medicinal cannabis is an appropriate treatment. It’s an onerous process, however, Australia is unlikely to stray from it anytime soon, despite more open medicinal models being developed in the United States and elsewhere.
2 Canadian Cannabis Companies Expand Into Australia [Benzinga]
Australia is likely to legalize recreational weed in the not-so-distant future, and it could potentially become an important market for cannabis companies.
“Only a matter of time”: Greens to push Labor hard on cannabis legalisation, citing $2 billion opportunity [Smart Company]
The legalisation of cannabis will be front and centre of the Australian Greens’ campaign in this year’s upcoming federal election as the party urges Labor to lead the charge on pro-marijuana legislation.
Byron’s first legal cannabis crop on the cards [EchoNet Daily]
The $7.25million, 16-person, four-greenhouse operation will turn out two-to-five tonnes of medicinal cannabis a year, according to the DA. The proposed site at 955 Friday Hut Road, Binna Burra, is almost entirely surrounded by Byron Creek, the facility itself will be purpose-built and highly secure, and 24/7 security staff will be onsite. The proponent, Elixinol Global Limited, is an ASX listed company that already has a foot in the door of the international medicinal cannabis industry, including in the US and Europe.
San Francisco to expunge over 9,300 marijuana-related convictions [The Hill]
The move comes less than three years after California fully legalized recreational marijuana in the state, opening the door for expungement and re-sentencing for people with marijuana-related convictions. The 9,362 eligible cases identified with assistance from the nonprofit advocacy group Code for America date back to 1975.
Denver just made a big change on social-use cannabis: It will be permanent [The Denver Post]
On Monday night, the Denver City Council decided in a 10-1 vote that the city should permanently allow “social” cannabis use at certain businesses in the city. Until now, the city’s social-use laws were scheduled to expire at the end of 2020. The change is meant to give some stability to businesses where people can vaporize or eat marijuana legally.
Two New Mexico Committees Passed Bills to Legalize Marijuana [High Times]
In New Mexico, recreational cannabis is coming closer to reality. Two separate bills—one sponsored by House Democrats, the other by Senate Republicans—were recently approved by committees. The variations between the two pieces of legislature serve to illustrate a growing divide on how marijuana legalization should proceed. Home grow advocates need to check the difference between the two proposals.
Uh-Oh, California Could Run Out of Legal Cannabis by Summer [Leafly]
Right now, thousands of farms operate under temporary licenses from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Those 6,924 temp licenses are expiring faster than the CDFA can issue permanent annual licenses. Those temp licenses also can’t be extended unless existing law is tweaked.
California Only Made Half as Much on 2018 Marijuana Taxes as Expected [Civilized]
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration announced that in 2018 the state collected $345.2 million from marijuana taxes. While that is a huge number, it’s actually only slightly more than half of the state’s initial projections of $643 million in tax revenue that they predicted they would receive in 2018.
EU resolution’s medical cannabis definition too restrictive, experts say [Marijuana Business Daily]
While the European Parliament’s approval of a resolution to develop a European strategy for medical cannabis was well received by industry stakeholders, the business effects of the move may be less rosy for a rapidly evolving industry.
Portugal Rejects Recreational Cannabis, as Medical Becomes Legal [Talking Drugs]
The Portuguese parliament has rejected two proposals to legalise the cultivation and sale of cannabis for recreational purposes.
Belgian cannabis agency adopted almost unanimously in parliamentary committee [The Brussels Times]
Cannabis will now be able to be prescribed for patients for whom mainstream medicines have proven to be of little or no use. Such a prescription will be done through the creation of a specific agency.
Turkey hoping to cash in on the cannabis cow [The Jerusalem Post]
The Unstoppable Success Of The UK’s First CBD Restaurant [Ministry of Hemp]
The Canna Kitchen is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant that opened at the end of 2018 in Brighton, England. It’s also the UK’s first restaurant to infuse their dishes with CBD and other similar cannabinoids.
South Korea’s medical marijuana law to go into effect in March [Marijuana Business Daily]
A groundbreaking law legalizing medical cannabis in South Korea that takes effect March 12 will pave the way for the first import of certain THC- and CBD-based medications.
France’s Softening Stance On Cannabis Opens Up Huge Economic Potential [Forbes]
France is the number one European country for cannabis use. Between 2015 and 2017, according to Statista, just over 11% of the French population said they had used cannabis over the previous year, the highest of any European country. Until recently, France had some of the most onerous punishments for cannabis use in Europe, with offenders receiving fines of €3,750 and a-year-long prison sentence.
Cyprus Parliament legalises medical cannabis [In-Cyprus]
Following a trend in other EU countries, the House of Representatives voted by majority on Friday to legalise medical cannabis, opening up a potentially lucrative new sector while satisfying growing calls for legalisation, not least from the medical community.
BUSINESS & POLICY
Former dispensary operator sues Ontario over ‘arbitrary’ and ‘unlawful’ cannabis retail lottery [The Growth Op]
A former cannabis dispensary operator who owns a coffee shop in downtown Toronto is suing the Ontario government for $1.1 million in damages that he claims he incurred because of the Ford government’s abrupt December decision to cap the initial number of cannabis retail licenses at 25.
Legal in the State or Not, Some Cities Ban Marijuana [Governing]
In New Jersey, dozens of localities have outlawed sales or possession of the drug even before the State legislature legalizes it.
Lab Testing Reveals Banned Chemicals In Multiple Cannabis Samples In Los Angeles [High Times]
A television news investigation revealed that unlicensed marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles are selling products contaminated with pesticides that have been banned by state regulators.
CA marijuana distributors lose first fight in attempt to bar feds from seizing assets [Marijuana Business Daily]
A California cannabis distributor has lost the first round in what could prove to be an important test case in determining the role of the federal government in cracking down on marijuana companies. The injunction request was part of a lawsuit filed in December by a licensed distributor who claimed law enforcement officers called in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to seize more than a quarter of a million dollars in cash during a traffic stop. The plaintiffs, Humboldt County-based Wild River Transport, had asked for an injunction against the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in order to prohibit the involvement of the federal government in such cases.
You can now buy weed on Amazon. But is it legal? [The Growth Op]
You can buy pretty much anything on Amazon–and now you can add cannabis to that list. Cannabis enthusiasts who wish to buy their product through a giant corporation are in luck, as sellers on the site have seemingly decided to hawk their wares through the retail giant.
HEALTH & SCIENCE
Cannabis Does Not Cause Morphological Changes in the Brain, Two Studies Find [Medical Marijuana Inc]
Two new studies dispute the long-standing myth that cannabis use leads to long-term changes in brain structure.
THC more important for therapeutic effects in cannabis than previously believed [MedicalXpress]
Contrary to popular media-reports and scientific dogma, the psychoactive chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, showed the strongest correlation with therapeutic relief and far less evidence for the benefits of relying on the more socially acceptable chemical, cannabidiol, or CBD.
The Science Behind the $13 Billion Medical Cannabis Industry [Visual Capitalist]
From soil to sale . . .
Sugar high: the yeast that can be used to brew cannabis, not beer [The Guardian]
Scientists in California have developed a strain of yeast that can be used to brew cannabis extract rather than beer. With just the addition of sugar, the genetically modified yeast fermented to produce pure cannabinoid compounds including mind-altering THC and the non-psychoactive CBD.
Marijuana can help you feel less lonely and depressed: study [The Growth Op]
Could cannabis help combat the ‘chemistry of isolation’?
Cannabis could help pets with seizures or pain, research suggests [Business Insider]
Some evidence suggests cannabis could potentially help pets with seizures and chronic pain. A small, preliminary study out of Colorado State University (CSU) last year found that dogs with epilepsy who were given CBD orally had fewer seizures than dogs who were given placebos.
CBD oil: Can the cannabis-based product help with fibromyalgia-related pain? [Express]
CBD oil has taken the health world by storm over the last couple of years, with claims it can treat a variety of health conditions, from anxiety to epilepsy. There have also been claims the cannabis-based product can help relieve pain, even in conditions like fibromyalgia. But what do experts have to say?
Cannabinoid compounds may inhibit growth of colon cancer cells [Penn State News]
The researchers tested the effects of synthetic cannabinoid compounds on colon cancer cells in an experiment in test tubes. While the compounds most commonly associated with cannabis — THC and CBD — showed little to no effect, 10 other compounds were effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth.
Gateway to Good Health [Weed Billboards]
The war on drugs and in particular cannabis is well past its use by date in Australia and in an effort to keep the issue on the agenda we have started a weed billboards campaign. Excited that our first billboard is up just north of Grafton in NSW.
It costs $5K for a year, and we’d like to grow weed billboards all around the country. We’d love your help to spread the weed, so there is a gofundme site where you can donate.
Please send in billboard suggestions! We’d like this campaign to support messages from various cannabis and drug law reform groups around Australia, so it would be great to pool resources to create more and more new billboards. We are open to all creative ideas, and any size donations.
We just want an end to being criminals for using one of nature’s absolute gifts.
E-Petition: Legalise cannabis for recreational use [Parliament of Victoria]
Petition: For a Referendum on Recreational Cannabis Use during 2019 NSW Election [Liberal Democrats]
Cannabis as Medicine Survey: 2018 [The University of Sydney]
Support Tony Bower’s Legal Fees [gofundme]
Just Reform It! Let’s Get Real about Drugs [The Greens]
Survey: What’s the link between cannabis use and psychotic experiences? [The University of Queensland]
Medicinal Cannabis Symposium [United in Compassion]
22-24 March 2019, Tweed Heads NSW
Harvest Festival & Cannabis Cup [New Zealand]
20-21 April 2019, Dunedin NZ
27th Nimbin MardiGrass [Hemp Embassy]
3-5 May 2019, Nimbin NSW
Garden States – A forum for cultivating ethnobotanical plants & knowledge [Entheogenesis Australis]
12 May 2019, Melbourne VIC
Hemp, Health & Innovation Expo & Symposium [HHI]
18-19 May 2019, Rosehill Racecourse, Rosehill, Sydney NSW
‘Sex, Drugs and the Electoral Roll’: MP’s Memoir Goes On Sale [Reason]
Medicinal Cannabis & Hemp Tasmania & “the leaf” Newsletter [Facebook]
Nimbin Medican Workshops on YouTube [Hemp Embassy]
MardiGrass Hemposium 2018 Talks now Available on YouTube [Hemp Embassy]
DRUG WAR OVER! [Radio Documentary]
View five new EGA video presentations on ethnobotanical plants and psychedelics [Entheogenesis Australis]
To mark the anniversary of our special gathering and end the year on a high note, we’ve released five new videos of talks from the Psychedelic Symposium that are now available to watch online and can also be found below in this email.