Medicine to die for
Every RSL Club in Australia is an ideal venue for a Cannabis Seminar. Post-traumatic stress is just one of many conditions that Cannabis could provide relief for sufferers. Cannabis consumed in a licensed premises alongside alcohol is still a few years away.
The HEMP Embassy Headlines are a selection of recent articles from news services and media sources primarily concerning Cannabis issues, the consequences of prohibition and the challenges for law reform. Here are the selected headlines for this week.
Many El Pasoans would like to see marijuana legalised, or at least decriminalised – not so much despite the cartel traffic that ghosts through their city, but because of it. Or more precisely, because they believe the decades-long US “war on drugs” has militarised the border and put ordinary people under constant surveillance, disrupting lives and fracturing communities without achieving results that justify the emotional, cultural and economic costs.
Marijuana users substitute alcohol at 21 [Science Daily]
A recent study, at the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, looked at marijuana and alcohol use in people between the ages of 18 and 24. It’s probably not surprising that the results show a drastic increase in alcohol consumption in people just over 21; after all, that’s the minimum legal age to drink. What an economist-researcher found remarkable is that, at the same age, there was an equally dramatic drop in marijuana use.
Cannabis Construction: Entrepreneurs Using Hemp for Home-Building [New York Times]
“Who knew hemp would be the answer to what we were looking for?” said Mr. Savage, who started a company to create building materials derived from cannabis. Now that the forbidden plant is enjoying mainstream acceptance, Mr. Savage is hoping to put hemp to use not in joints but between joists. His first project has been his own 1850s farmhouse, though he says he believes hemp-based building materials can transform both agriculture and construction throughout New York. While cannabis has had a long history as a fiber used in ropes, sails and paper products — Presidents Washington and Jefferson both grew it — Mr. Savage is among a small number of entrepreneurs who have instead turned to a novel application known ashempcrete.
A campaign is under way to ask Denver voters about allowing marijuana consumption in bars and other places that only allow people over 21. Activists who campaigned for recreational pot legalisation in Colorado have launched a petition drive to allow what they call “limited social marijuana consumption” at bars. The activists need about 5,000 signatures to get the question on November ballots. It would allow bars or clubs to allow marijuana use as long as patrons bring their own weed and comply with clean-air laws. That means the pot they consume would have to be edible, or if smoked, consumed on an outside patio, matching the way cigarette smoking is regulated now. Outdoor smoking sites would have to be shielded from public view. “Marijuana is now a legal product for adults in Denver, and it’s really time that we give adults a place to use it legally and socially,” said Mason Tvert, who ran Colorado’s 2012 campaign to legalise recreational pot. “We shouldn’t be requiring that you sit at home if you choose to use marijuana as an adult.” Colorado law prohibits recreational pot consumption “openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others”. It does not, however, bar consumption in private over-21 clubs. The Denver measure would clarify what counts as a private club.
“A line this long that never ends and everybody is happy,” marveled Jim Leighton, a 30-year Oregon resident. “Isn’t that great?” He and some 1,300 others stood in a queue that snaked around the block in the sweltering Portland heat Friday afternoon, waiting for entry to an event where they could get up to seven grams of marijuana for nothing more than a smile and a handshake. Oregon is the fourth state in the United States, in addition to the District of Columbia, to legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults 21 years and older. But even after parts of the law went into effect Wednesday that legalized possession and growing of small amounts, marijuana still cannot be sold to the general public. So growers and medical dispensaries at Weed the People found their way around the law by giving away their weed for free, some hoping to use it as a marketing tool later. “We needed to throw an event to give away cannabis. I believe that no one has done this before,” said Rob Thompson, publisher of the local alternative weekly newspaper Portland Mercury, which organized the event.
The marijuana industry’s shady past and current illegal status at the federal level have kept most insurance companies from offering policies to the new industry. “Few and far between,” is the way Paul Warshaw CEO of GreenRush in California describes the options. His technology company works with more than fifty medical marijuana dispensaries and he says many of them do not have all the coverage they need. Slowly though, things are beginning to change. Insurance carriers are approaching the new marijuana landscape “with caution,” and are beginning to offer coverage according to Gerry Finley, Senior Vice President Casualty Underwriting, at Munich Reinsurance America. As insurance carriers begin to examine the industry, several “have indicated a willingness to provide a broad array of property and casualty coverages to those in the marijuana business, albeit with robust pricing,” Finley said. Risk factors associated with the legal cannabis industry include theft because many businesses deal mainly in cash, he said, as well as potential pollution if the customer is a grower/processor, and neighbor complaints.
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that will prevent doctors and hospitals from denying organ transplants to medical marijuana users just because of their pot use. Supporters say some patients who use medical marijuana have been denied life-saving organ transplants because they are treated by doctors as drug abusers. Marijuana is often prescribed to cancer and other patients to help with pain and side effects of treatment. Levine’s legislation ensures that medical marijuana users have the same right to access organ transplants as other patients by prohibiting a hospital or doctor from disqualifying a person solely because of medical marijuana use. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Charge another social problem to the weed game: It’s getting too high on cities’ energy supply. At least that’s the case in Denver, where the recreational marijuana industry is reportedly sucking up more of the city’s electricity than it may have bargained for. Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational weed use in 2012, and the commercial industry has grown exponentially ever since. But that blooming market has placed a huge burden on the grid that distributes electricity throughout the state, particularly in Denver, where the largest cluster of growing facilities exist. The city’s 354 weed-cultivation facilities sucked up 200 million kilowatts of electricity last year, up from 86 million at 351 facilities in 2012, according to The Denver Post. That large jump still makes up less than 2 percent of the total electricity Denver consumes right now. But the city’s electricity use has been rising at a rate of 1.2 percent annually, with 45 percent of that increase due to marijuana-growing operations.
Chicago cops give wide berth to pot-smoking Deadheads [Chicago Sun-Times]
On Chicago’s lakefront bike path, across the lawns of the museum campus and in the stands of Soldier Field, Grateful Dead fans toasted to the band’s farewell tour this weekend by lighting up. A pungent fog of marijuana smoke wafted throughout the arena packed with 70,000 Deadheads over three straight nights of concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But almost none of those fans needed to fear any repercussions for breaking the city’s ordinances prohibiting public weed consumption. Chicago Police officers made only one arrest for possession of cannabis on Friday and wrote only two possession of cannabis tickets Sunday in connection with the concerts, according to the police department. “While in most cases cannabis possession is a ticketable offense, as residents would expect CPD’s primary focus was on fighting violent crime and addressing the illegal guns that threaten our communities,” Anthony Guglielmi, communications director for the Chicago Police Department, said in an emailed statement. The department’s war on weed has been ebbing in recent years as the city has moved toward writing citations for possession of small quantities of pot instead of making arrests. Arrests fell from about 14,000 in 2013 to about 11,000 last year — while pot tickets rose from about 1,000 in 2013 to about 4,000 last year. But this weekend, the city’s unspoken message to pot-smoking Dead fans who visited from all over the world seems to have been this: Keep on truckin’.
Rand Paul gets highest marks in Marijuana Policy Project’s presidential voter guide [Washington Times]
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky received the highest grade among more than 20 declared and potential 2016 presidential candidates in a voter guide releasedFriday by a marijuana policy group, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania fared the worst. Mr. Paul, received a grade of “A-” from the Marijuana Policy Project. The group said his grade was based largely on his sponsorship of a medical marijuana bill, support for reducing marijuana-related penalties and support for allowing states to regulate marijuana for adult use. Mr. Christie and Mr. Santorum, meanwhile, two other GOP contenders, both received a grade of “F” “because they oppose reform efforts and they are the most vocal supporters of enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have made marijuana legal,” the group said. “Some of these guys who tout states’ rights, fiscal responsibility, and getting the government out of people’s private lives want to use federal tax dollars to punish adults for using marijuana in states that have made it legal,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the group. “They say using marijuana is immoral or just too dangerous to allow, but serve alcohol, a more dangerous substance, at their fundraisers. The hypocrisy is astonishing.”
My first reaction to the idea of trying cannabis to treat Sam was that it sounded crazy. I’d smoked plenty of weed in college and in my twenties. I knew the plant could have real medicinal effects; medical cannabis was legal to buy in California with proper documentation. But rightly or wrongly, the idea of controlling Sam’s seizures with cannabis—he was 10 at the time—alarmed me. I associated pot with partying, not treating my son’s serious illness. I hated having the two thoughts side by side. But the desperate can’t afford to be doctrinaire. And by the time another year had passed, we were desperate. Intravenous immunoglobulin hadn’t worked. And it was becoming increasingly less safe to control Sam’s seizures with high doses of corticosteroids. In May 2012 we wrote a $600 check to join the cannabis collective. We knew to expect uncertainty. Plants as medicine are by their nature variable in potency. The nurse was still trying to figure out which strains worked best and the optimal way to turn those strains into tinctures. And while some parents were reporting good results, no one was seizure-free. But over the previous year we had also learned that treating epilepsy with cannabis wasn’t crazy at all. A small but growing body of research suggested that CBD might be a powerful anticonvulsant. Evelyn took particular note of a 2010 paper in Seizure, the medical journal of the British Epilepsy Association, that she found through a Google search. With charts and tables sprinkled over eight double-columned pages, the authors said that extensive tests on rodents in their labs, along with previously published data, “point to CBD being of potential therapeutic use (alone or as an adjunct) in the treatment of epilepsies.”
National organizations release formal recommendations on marijuana use during pregnancy [Steamboat Today]
The legalization of recreational marijuana in states including Colorado has led national medical organizations to release formal recommendations on the use of the drug, specifically as they may affect pregnant women and mothers. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a statement in June denouncing the use of marijuana by pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics is expected to follow suit with similar recommendations this month. The recommendations provide support for physicians who already subscribe to the potential dangers of mothers using marijuana, including local physician Dr. Steven Ross of Sleeping Bear Pediatrics. They could also sway the recommendations given by OB-GYNs and pediatricians who are part of the national organizations, Ross said. “This represents a very large consensus,” Ross said. Ross said that there is no safe level of THC consumption during a woman’s pregnancy and concerns exist for the infant’s IQ, memory and overall cognitive development. The labels of retail marijuana products currently must include a warning statement saying that “there may be additional health risks” for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Why We Must Stop Comparing Alcohol to Cannabis When Driving Under the Influence [Green Flower Media]
With cannabis legalization on the rise, a critical dialogue continues to ensue about “stoned driving.” We all have a vested interest in keeping our roads safe, and the challenge with cannabis driving laws is that some lawmakers struggle to find sensible state-level legislation. Does cannabis consumption have thepotential to impair driving? Yes. The video above proves as much. The video also reveals that imposing a THC blood concentration limit on drivers does not make sense. Nor does it make sense to treat cannabis like alcohol. Washington and Colorado currently impose a 5 ng/mL THC blood limit on drivers, which is problematic because you have daily cannabis users like Addy in the video. Even with nearly 37 ng/mL of THC in her blood – seven times over the legal limit – her driving performance is just fine. The weekend smoker, Dylan, does okay even at five times over the legal limit. And Jeff, the occasional smoker, has a little trouble at four times over the limit, driving too slow. The deciding factor in cannabis and driver impairment hinges not on THC blood concentration but when each user has exceeded their own personal tolerance level. In fact, heavy marijuana users will usually have more than the legal THC blood limit even if they’ve gone the whole day without smoking. Unlike other substances, cannabis hangs around in the body for a long time.
Medical marijuana is a charade [Globe and Mail]
Last year, the federal government spent $5.2-million on medical marijuana for Canada’s veterans. This year it will spend a lot more. Marijuana is a popular way to relieve the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and some veterans swear it saved their lives. Now consultation services designed to hook up vets with pot are spreading across the country. Marijuana for Trauma, founded by former Canadian Forces member Fabian Henry, has already helped hundreds of veterans in Atlantic Canada and is now expanding to Ontario. “I’m expecting thousands to be coming through the door in the coming years,” he told the CBC. Personally, I’m fine with veterans smoking pot. I’m fine with people smoking pot for whatever reason they want, including getting high. The properties of cannabis, while not entirely harmless, are widely known and clearly beneficial for many. But is it medicine? No, it’s not. And it’s tremendously misleading to tell people that it is. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of us will soon be getting our medical marijuana approvals – not because it’s medicine, but because we’d rather be on the right side of the law. Marijuana shouldn’t need to prove itself as medicine to be legal. It should be legal because it’s relatively harmless, and a lot of people like it.
Promoting ‘Growing Your Own’ Has No Place In The Campaign For Medicinal Cannabis [Clear: Cannabis Law Reform]
We have to educate and inform those who have the power to change the law. We also have to adjust our aims and our expectations to be realistic in the eyes of those we need to persuade. It’s a big enough leap to convince people that cannabis can be a safe and effective medicine. In 2015, in the UK, the idea that we are going to convince politicians and medical policymakers that we “grow our own medicine” is fantasy. It is not going to happen.
Cannabis should be legal and tobacco illegal, under-30s tell new survey [The Independent]
Cannabis should be legal and tobacco should be made illegal, according to a new survey for young people. Student Money Saver (SMS) polled 1,000 people under the age of 30 to get their views on alcohol and drug use and found high numbers of people were saying substances currently against the law should be made legal. Over half said they know someone with an alcohol addiction problem and a further 250 people said alcohol should be make illegal. The main point drawn from the results was that over half of young people thought that cannabis should be legal.
A bill which will allow Chileans to grow small amounts of marijuana for medical, recreational or spiritual use has been approved by the country’s lower house of Congress. The measure will allow each Chilean home to grow up to six plants. Up to now, planting, selling and transporting marijuana has been punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The new bill will go before a health commission and then the Senate for approval. Members of the lower house approved the bill by a wide margin, with 68 in favour and 39 against. However, some lawmakers criticised the result, saying it would encourage drug use.
Spain decriminalizes the growing of cannabis [Prague Pot]
Starting today, July 1st, you can now legally grow cannabis in Spain. This is massive news for medical growers, patients and those looking for a healthy alternative to alcohol. Spain has always been a leader in this newly forming industry. The country has produced talented scientists and ground breaking cannabis research. While the new law has many more questions to answer, it is clear what the intentions are. The changes occur under article 36.18, stating that the cultivation of cannabis is only punishable “in public places”. Spain has a long love affair with the plant, even dictator Franco’s 1967 law forbidding the cultivation of cannabis was widely ignored. Punishment for small scale grows was often the destruction of plants and the confiscation of equipment. From today, growers and shops can sell seedlings once they are not openly on sale in a shop window. There is one restriction, and that is you still can’t openly grow in a place that is viewable from a public space. Praguepot has no problem with this small restriction and wants to congratulate the hard work done by the brave Spanish activists.
Seminar: Novel Psychoactive Substances: ‘The Low Down on Legal Highs’ What Are They? Who’s Taking Them? Are They Really Legal? Are They Safe? [Harm Reduction Victoria]
Harm Reduction Victoria has brought together four of Australia’s leading experts on novel psychoactive substances, to discuss: their prevalence, trends in use, the legality and effects. Featuring presentations by Dr. David Caldicott– Emergency Consultant & Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine at the Australian National University, widely published author, designed and piloted Welsh Emergency Department Investigation of Novel Substances (WEDINOS) project in the UK , and long time harm reduction and pill testing advocate; Fiona Patten, MLC– leader of the Australian Sex Party and former CEO of Australia’s national adult retail association, the Eros Association; Stephanie Tzanetis Coordinator of Harm Reduction Victoria’s renowned and highly successful DanceWize program and Dr. Stephen Bright– ethnopharmacologist, founding member of PRISM, published author and advocate of harm reduction and evidence-based AOD approaches.
Hear the latest research and find out whether these substances are an amazing breakthrough for mankind or a potential disaster. This seminar runs from 2pm-5pm Tuesday 28 July at the Supper Room, Melbourne Town Hall, 3rd Floor, 90/120 Swanston Street, Melbourne.
Australians should be able to buy a pure form of the drug ecstasy from their local pharmacy to curtail the harm caused by contaminated blackmarket pills, a Melbourne pharmacist and a leading doctor say. Thousands of people are estimated to use the illegal drug, MDMA, also known as ecstasy, every week because of its tendency to cause feelings of happiness, empathy, intimacy, and reduced anxiety. But Melbourne pharmacist Joshua Donelly and leading doctor Professor David Penington said many Australians taking the drug were probably swallowing contaminated versions that put them at greater risk of harm because it was manufactured illegally with no quality control. To reduce this harm, the pair said the Australian government should legalise the drug, and regulate its production and sale through pharmacies, so users can access a safer, pure dose of the drug with advance discussion about the risks. This would allow pharmacists to advise people at high risk of harm, such as those being treated for a psychiatric illness or heart problems, to avoid the drug. In an article published in the Journal of Law and Medicine, Mr Donelly said although no drug was completely risk-free, compared to other drugs MDMA caused “negligible” harm to users and people around them. His assertion comes after Britain’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs in 2010 ranked MDMA 17th – far behind tobacco at 6th and alcohol at 1st – on a list of 20 drugs according to the harm they caused. It also follows the British government’s former top drug adviser, Professor David Nutt, saying that taking MDMA was likely to be safer than horse riding.
The Victorian government is being urged to rethink its ban on smoking in prisons after a violent riot at Melbourne’s metropolitan remand centre. The premier, Daniel Andrews, and the corrections commissioner, Jan Shuard, insist that is not going to happen. “You don’t reward that sort of appalling behaviour by bringing about policy changes,” Andrews said after the riot was quelled on Wednesday. But an upper house MP, Fiona Patten, from the Australian Sex party, and a social work expert think prisons should have designated areas where inmates can smoke without posing a health risk to non-smokers and prison staff. “Considering current overcrowding in Victorian prisons, a situation that already contributes to violence, removing a form of stress relief and minor freedom borders on cruel,” Patten said. RMIT associate professor Jennifer Martin says people with mental health problems – and there are many in prisons – rely on smoking to cope with stress or boredom. “People do lose a lot of their rights when they go into prison, but it is important to help the person maintain their dignity, their self respect and their coping mechanisms in what is an extremely difficult environment,” Martin told reporters.
Owsley “Bear” Stanley was a diversely talented, iconic figure of the 1960s. Although he is often best known for his Grateful Dead patronage, for music lovers, his pioneering work on live concert sound may prove to be his most enduring contribution. Bear is considered by many to be the father of the modern rock and roll concert sound system—and he recorded virtually every artist who played through a sound system that he built. The Grateful Dead makes up a big part of this collection, but he also recorded shows by Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, Santana, Dr. John, Taj Mahal, the Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, and dozens more. Many of these shows haven’t been heard in public since the night they were performed – in fact, some of the tapes have never been played since the night they were recorded. Tragically, these analog tapes are decaying and approaching the end of their known shelflife. The lifespan of this media is fifty years if maintained in ideal conditions, and if preservation and digitization of the earliest of these recordings does not occur within the next five years, they will not be salvageable. All of them are continuing to degrade, and they could be lost forever. Time is of the essence.
Queensland Committee Meeting [HEMP]
To all Queensland Members.
The meeting to elect a committee for Queensland will be held in Brisbane at 3.00pm on Saturday the 1st of August at 57 Hayward St, Stafford.
Nominations for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Registered Officer for the Queensland Branch of the HEMP Party will be received by email via the website, on or before Saturday 25th of July 2015.
Currently, the HEMP Party Constitution only allows voting by those present at any meeting.
Elected committee positions are for a period of one year.
- Re-establishing the Branch
- State Officer appointments and responsibilities
- 2016 Election campaign and funding strategies
- Local Branch development
- General discussion
HEMP Queensland Meeting
- Hayward Street Studios
- 57 Hayward St, Stafford
- 3.00pm Saturday, 1st of August
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/6rpZN
Facebook Event & Public Notice
Nominate via the website; https://australianhempparty.com/contact