Embassy HEADLINES Issue 379
Embassy HEADLINES Issue 379

Embassy HEADLINES Issue 379


A Bill to allow medicinal cannabis patients to drive [Fiona Patten MP]

Last week in Parliament I presented a Bill to amend our road laws, so that medicinal cannabis is treated the same as every other prescription medication. No one is permitted to drive while impaired, or drive under the influence – however people taking medicinal cannabis should be allowed to drive as long as they are not putting others at risk.


On Friday 1st November at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Brisbane the court will hear an appeal by Mr Alex Dimitropoulos against his conviction in the district court for the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes.

Canberra laws legalising cannabis breach international law, United Nations warns [ABC]

The ACT Government has hit back at warnings from the United Nations that legalising cannabis will breach international law, telling the body to instead look at the United States and Canada where the laws go further.

Medicinal cannabis approvals surged in 2019, but the AMA says there’s still not enough proof that it works [ABC]

There has been a surge in approvals for people wanting to use medicinal cannabis in Australia, from 2,500 last year, to 16,000 this year. At the same time, a review has found there was much more commercial interest than expected and has recommended that licensing requirements be made less onerous. The AMA isn’t convinced, saying there is still not enough research to prove medicinal cannabis is safe.

NSW police strip-search data shows lowest drug prosecution rate in seven years [ABC]

More than two-thirds of strip searches carried out by NSW police fail to find any illicit drugs, according to data obtained by the ABC. The data also shows less than 0.5 per cent of drug searches undertaken following detection by a police dog result in drug prosecutions. It reveals officers conducted 5,362 strip searches during the 2018-19 financial year, from which 3,546 did not result in a prohibited drug, dangerous article or item being found. In the same period, 11,533 drug searches were undertaken following detection by a police dog, however, just 59 of those searches — or less than 0.5 per cent — led to drug prosecutions. It is the lowest prosecution rate in seven years, according to the data.

Drug laws not fit-for-purpose, world-leading drug experts warn [The Sydney Morning Herald]

Inhumane drug laws based on “vote-winning” moral prejudices are failing to keep up with the rapidly changing illicit market or help the people destroyed by dependence. A major series published on Thursday in The Lancet, co-authored by Sydney researchers, urges policymakers to dump morally-charged punitive measures and turn to science to curb the rising rates of devastating drug-related harms. “It is time to recognise the humanity of people who use drugs, and to offer them similar solidarity and protection from the worst excesses of populist politics,” The Lancet editors Dr Pam Das and Dr Richard Horton wrote in an accompanying comment piece.

Free and Equal: A conversation on human rights [Australian Human Rights Commission]

The Australian Human Rights Commission is taking submissions on ‘Free and Equal’ rights. We want to hear your vision for the future. Everyone is invited to take part. You can make a written submission to the Commission based on the questions included in any or all of the papers here. The deadline for receiving submissions is 5pm on 8 November 2019.



Marijuana has been legal in Canada for a year. So why are most users still buying it from criminals? [ABC]

In many ways, Dana is a typical Canadian cannabis consumer. She’s young, professional, and — despite the country legalising the sale of marijuana last year — still buys her weed on the black market. “It’s legal here, but it’s not legal elsewhere,” she says. “I travel to the US quite a bit and I need to be eligible for visas in other places. I just don’t trust that the information about me buying weed will not be shared and used against me in this era of insecure data.” Rather than buying from government-approved suppliers, she prefers to get her marijuana from friends, family members and an illegal dispensary near her home in Toronto.

Quebec raises legal age for cannabis to 21; critics say it will only drive illegal sales [CTV News]

After a year of being able to purchase cannabis legally from age 18, Quebecers will now have to wait until they turn 21. The provincial government has passed a bill changing the legal age to use marijuana, a move critics say will only drive the black market.

Recreational weed probably won’t be for sale in Michigan until March, April [Detroit Free Press]

Nearly a year after Michigan voters approved legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use, the state is getting ready to hand out the business licenses that will usher in the beginning of retail sales. But don’t pull out your cash just yet. Sales of marijuana for adult recreational use probably won’t begin until March or April of next year. That’s because the state is worried about a shortage of pot for medical marijuana users, and the first harvests for the recreational market won’t be ready until next spring.

Farmers with a license can grow hemp but cannot sell hemp products [Alabama Reporter]

Alabama hemp farmers complain that their state licenses are too restrictive. It is illegal in Alabama for a farmer to sell hemp material to the general public or to anyone without a hemp license.

Getting Hemp Across State Lines Just Got Easier [Green Entrepreneur]

The U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program helps producers expand into other states.

Hemp Regulations Will Be Issued Within Weeks, Top USDA Official Says [Marijuana Moment]

The department previously indicated that it would release the regulations in August, but that timeline has shifted, with officials recently stating that they’d be issued this fall, prior to the 2020 planting season.

As ‘Cannabis 2.0’ kicks off in Canada, industry strangled by limited retail outlets [Reuters]

A year after Canada legalized use of recreational marijuana cannabis stocks have lost half their market value.

Vaping Injury Outbreak Hasn’t Hurt Marijuana Legalization Support, Gallup Poll Shows [Marijuana Moment]

Two-thirds of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to a Gallup survey released on Wednesday.

Bernie Sanders released a plan to legalize marijuana (at 4:20 pm) [Vox]

The proposal is among the most ambitious from one of the Democratic presidential candidates. It would move to legalize marijuana within 100 days through executive action. But it would also address the potential downsides and criticisms of how several states have legalized marijuana so far — by trying to limit the size and scope of the marijuana industry and taking several steps to ensure that communities of color benefit from legalization while potential bad actors, such as tobacco companies, do not.


U.K. Minister ‘told mother to flout cannabis law’ for son with epilepsy [The Guardian]

A U.K. government minister appeared to suggest that the mother of a child with severe epilepsy should illegally bring medical cannabis into the country, it has emerged.

Future Low-Cost Cannabis Cultivation Leader Will Be China [CBD Testers]

China will emerge as the cannabis cultivating super power producing flower for as little a 10 cents a gram, a leading producer believes.

Cannabis Can Provide Big Boost For Tourism [Jamaica Information Service]

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, says the growing global market for cannabis provides the opportunity for Jamaica to become a first-choice destination for travellers who want to use medical cannabis.

The Polemic of Cultivation and Consumption of Cannabis in Costa Rica [The Costa Rica News]

According to official data, Talamanca is the region where cannabis is most grown in Costa Rica. Every year the country carries out massive eradications in the indigenous areas of “Alto Telire” and other nearby areas. Seizures of plants have been massive for decades, and go unnoticed without further national debate. It should be noted that very little has been reported on the importance that this area has played in preserving traditional, medicinal and psychoactive uses of the plant.

The Challenges of Medicinal Cannabis in Colombia [TNI]

In July 2016, the Colombian government enacted Law 1787, which regulates the use of medicinal cannabis and its trade in the country. Even though the law stipulates that 10 per cent of production should come from small- and medium- scale growers, the reality is that most of the business has been dominated by large local and foreign investors.

Former Portuguese Health Secretary Joins Cannabis Industry [Grizzle]

Former Portuguese Secretary of State for Health Dr. Eurico Castro Alves is the latest high-profile politician to join the cannabis industry. He has joined the board of directors at Symtomax, which owns a license to create one of the world’s largest production facilities. It has a site totalling 1.83 million square metres and it plans to build a large greenhouse there to supply the lucrative European medical cannabis market.

UK Parliament Committee Endorses Decriminalizing Drugs [Marijuana Moment]

“We recommend a radical change in UK drugs policy from a criminal justice to a health approach. A health focused and harm reduction approach would not only benefit those who are using drugs but reduce harm to and the costs for their wider communities,” reads a report issued on Wednesday by the Health and Social Care Committee. “Decriminalisation of possession for personal use saves money from the criminal justice system that is more effectively invested in prevention and treatment.”


For Cannabis Businesses Transitioning From Medical To Adult-Use, Planning Is Everything [High Green News]

Because cannabis legalization is currently a patchwork of state-level regulatory regimes in the U.S., every state’s cannabis market is unique. No one set of rules applies everywhere, and, in states with both medical and adult-use markets, the regulations are often different for each type of sale.

Cannabis Industry Lobbyists Set New Spending Record [Ganjapreneur]

Cannabis industry lobby spending in the U.S. has reached $3.77 million this year, a new high that surpasses the $2.76 million spent in 2018, according to Open Secrets figures. The Cannabis Trade Federation led the industry in lobby spending at $760,500.

Weedmaps, facing pressure to work only with legal cannabis shops, lays off a quarter of its workforce [Daily Democrat]

Two months after online cannabis directory Weedmaps promised it would stop listing illicit marijuana businesses, the Irvine-based company has laid off 25% of its workforce. Weedmaps says that the slow roll out of legal markets is to blame.

Feds Send Warning Letter To Another CBD Company Over Medical Claims [Marijuana Moment]

The U.S. federal agencies accused Rooted Apothecary of unlawfully asserting that their cannabidiol products could treat symptoms of conditions such as ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, ear aches, ADHD and autism. Those claims appeared on the company’s website and social media accounts, they said.

Aurora Cannabis Is Dumping Its Pot, Which May Be A Sign It’s All Over [Forbes]

Aurora Cannabis is actually dumping part of its harvest into “wholesale,” which means it is selling it for cheap… according to a line buried deep in the company’s Q4 financials. Last fiscal quarter, the company dumped $20 million worth of pot, a 869% increase from the previous quarter. It is doing this because there’s not enough demand from consumers.


University of Guelph to study cannabis as treatment for bladder cancer in dogs [Global News]

The university said it’s one of Canada’s first studies of the potential use of cannabis for treating animal cancer.

How to Meet the Nitrogen Needs of Cannabis: Nutrient Matters [Cannabis Business Times]

Of all the nutrients provided by growers to stimulate plant growth, nitrogen (N) is needed in the largest quantity. This article outlines the nitrogen needs of cannabis plants for each life stage, from rooting to flowering.

Purdue University Nets $1M Award for Organic Hemp Production Study [Ganjapreneur]

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Indiana’s Purdue University a $1 million grant to study organic hemp production. The research will be led by Kevin Gibson, a professor of botany and plant pathology who said understanding organic farming methods for hemp are especially important because there are, currently, no pesticides that can be used legally for hemp production.

US alcohol consumption falling as cannabis use increases [Health Europa]

The cannabis industry is directly correlated with US alcohol consumption decline; Investment-bank firm Cowen & Co. reported that as of 2016, legal adult-use cannabis US states witnessed binge drinking rates fall by 9% below the national average, and 11% below non-cannabis states.

Here’s What You Need To Know About Treating Joint Pain With Cannabis [The Fresh Toast]

While CBD and THC certainly can’t take over the entirety of a pain management regimen, studies on cortisone treatments are bringing the conversations of cannabis to greater light.

Most THC and CBD oil goes to waste in your body—here’s why [Leafly]

Bioavailability refers to the degree and rate at which a substance is absorbed into your bloodstream to be used where needed. Physiological processes and consumption methods can affect cannabis absorption, rendering its effects somewhat hit-and-miss.

The Most Potent Cannabis Flowers Revealed by Advanced Microscopy [SciTech Daily]

The frostier the marijuana flower, the more potent the cannabis: Advanced microscopy reveals internal structures of cannabis biochemical factories.

New marijuana breathalyser dubbed a ‘game changer’ [news.com.au]

“With alcohol, if you have over 0.08% in your blood, there’s the presumption that you’re intoxicated,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “There hasn’t been a blood test or a breath test that can determine if you’re impaired by marijuana.” But a device created by US company Hound Labs claims to have solved this problem. The Hound Breathalyser is able to accurately identify recent marijuana use by measuring THC in the breath.

Cannabis use and the immune system: white blood cell count [Health Europa]

A study has shown that the total white blood cell count in cannabis users is higher among heavy users when compared to non-users.

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