A huge week for Cannabis in Australia and even bigger in Canada.
Opinion is clearly moving in the right direction, toward a more rational drug policy based on science, compassion, health and human rights. Australia has access to more than enough hard evidence on the medical use of Cannabis. Name one other drug that is non-toxic with no real lethal dose and side-effects that are nothing to worry about,
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.
QUEENSLAND needs to act cautiously when it comes to trialling medicinal cannabis, says the Australian Medical Association. THE warning comes as severely epileptic children have been identified as the intended beneficiaries of the state’s first trial of the drug, which is expected to go ahead at Brisbane’s new children’s hospital next year. AMA Queensland president Dr Chris Zappala says he sympathises with parents and welcomes the trial but stresses there needs to be greater understanding of how medicinal cannabis would be used, as well as the potential risks.
NSW Fact Sheet
A Queensland woman who has regularly travelled to the US to treat her son’s brain tumour with medical cannabis says receiving the treatment at home would be welcome. Lanai Carter said the Federal Government’s move to legalise the growing of cannabis for medicinal purposes was a step in the right direction. She has been campaigning in favour of medicinal cannabis since she saw its positive effects on her 17-year-old son, Lindsay. Ms Carter said Lindsay was diagnosed with a brain tumour about two-and-a-half years ago and suffers epilepsy resulting from the tumour.
Medical Cannabis and the effect on glioma brain tumour. Lindsay story on YouTube.
“The quality of life is just amazing, I have my son back.” One such potential beneficiary is 11 year old Jai Whitelaw from Eatons Hill, who has been receiving medicinal cannabis oil illegally for almost a year to treat his epilepsy. In an interview with Ben Davis on Brisbane Live, Jai’s mother Michelle Whitelaw said the results of cannabis oil were astonishing. Qld. Ch 9 News. 21 Oct 2015
Medical cannabis scheme on the way [Yahoo7]
The government envisages that medical cannabis will only be available to patients through a doctor’s prescription or a medical trial. This does not mean legal recreational use of cannabis is any closer. “At the end of the day, cannabis is classified as an illegal drug in Australia for recreational use and we have no plans to change that,” Ms Ley said. Meanwhile, Labor says it will work with states and territories on national medicinal cannabis laws if it wins government. Party leader Bill Shorten said people who are terminally ill or have other medical conditions will have access to medicinal cannabis under the new Labor policy.
We welcome consultation [MCUA]
It appears that the Federal government plans to give pharmaceutical companies control over medical Cannabis products. and seeks to restrict use to the terminally ill and those people who the government determines have “extreme medical conditions”. We find this position unacceptable and we consider it to be a breach of human rights. It should not be up to politicians to determine who has a right to quality health care, who has a right to relief from suffering and who has a right to live. The MCUA will continue to advocate for the end of prohibition across the board and the right for the people of Australia, no matter what their medical condition or reason to consume whole plant Cannabis, to make informed decisions about their health and personal lives. MCUA Facebook
Cannabis, farm to pharmacy [NEWS]
According to Cancer Council NSW, medicinal cannabis can benefit patients in relieving nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, as a pain reliever and as an appetite stimulant for those experiencing weight loss and muscle wasting. For those reasons, the Turnbull government has done patients, doctors and researchers an important service by initiating a national scheme to regulate marijuana cultivation, under strict control, for medical purposes and research.
‘Our future, at the moment, looks more likely to be on Christmas Island,’ AusCann chairman, former Liberal MP Mal Washer, told AAP on Sunday. Dr Washer, who is a medical doctor, says Christmas Island, off Western Australia’s northwest coast, could be the fastest way for AusCann to get up and running. He says mainland states and territories would still have be pass their own enabling legislation to underpin any change to the federal laws. But because Christmas Island is under the direct control of the federal government, with only an administrator in place, that wouldn’t be required there.
Under the new laws, that will be easier, with Australia now allowing marijuana to be legally grown for medicinal use. Associate NZ Health Minister Peter Dunne says the market isn’t big enough here to do the same. “What it’s more likely to mean I think is that if Australia comes to the point, some point in the future, which could be two or three years away, of approving products for us, then we would be more likely to follow suit.”
‘Market isn’t big enough’ is untrue [Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party]
Peter Dunne has sunk to a new low by lying about the size of the medical cannabis market in New Zealand. Dunne told 3News that the market for medical cannabis was too small to be viable in this country so we would have to wait for Australia to produce it. This ignores the large domestic and global market for medical cannabis, which could easily be grown in New Zealand. “The market for medical cannabis is the whole global market because New Zealand could export it to the world,” leader Julian Crawford said. “Cannabinoid Pharmaceuticals NZ Ltd has already been approached by medical patients in Canada who want to purchase one tonne of raw cannabis.” Even Norfolk Island and Christmas Island plan to grow medical cannabis despite their local economies being tiny. “Peter Dunne has lost the argument over raw cannabis for medical use and is resorting to untrue statements to maintain the ban on cannabis growing.”
New laws aimed at simplifying the regulation of Tasmania’s hemp industry passed both houses of Parliament last week. The Industrial Hemp Bill recognises hemp as an agricultural crop, enabling new licensing arrangements for growers, but does not legalise human consumption. The association’s president, Phil Reader, said changing legislation to allow for the production of hemp food crops should now be a priority. “We’ve been trying to obtain approval in Australia for hemp products for human consumption, like they are around most of the rest of the world,” he said.
Roadside drug testing shouldn’t ignore the commonly used drugs that impair driving: prescription medication [SMH]
NSW Police are spending millions of dollars and countless hours of scarce police time setting up roadside drug testing that isn’t even checking for some of the most commonly used drugs that impair driving, like painkillers and anti-depressants. They only look for three illegal drugs, testing for trace elements of those drugs at levels that have no connection at all to impaired driving.
Mr Stone said legal hemp farmers were already growing the plant for industrial purposes across the state. “I would hope the government would follow the science and understand that if you put the plant in the ground, you get a more homeopathic result than if you grow it in a bucket of chemicals,” he said. “There are currently farms all over NSW, so luckily we’re already ahead of the game. “All we need is for more licences to be rolled out to get more people involved.” Activists at Nimbin’s Hemp Embassy hope the legalisation would eventually lead to the drug being decriminalised for recreational purposes.
Nimbin HEMP Bar volunteer Max Stone said it was “like winning a war” after so much campaigning about the benefits of Cannabis. “We have worked so long, so hard, we’ve been under-funded, under-manned, under attack the whole time, trying to tell one of these truths about the cannabis plant — that you can eat it, that you can make your clothes out of it, that it is the most beneficial and helpful plant to mankind,” Mr Stone said.
DRUGLAWED details how New Zealand got rolled up in the US-led Drug War along with 183 other countries. Over the past 100 years the US has forced its fatally flawed model of drug prohibition on almost every country on earth. Four decades since Richard Nixon declared the War On Drugs, 22 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana.
If marijuana were legalized in Canada, it would be a first among developed nations. In the US, four states and Washington, DC, have legalized pot, but it’s still illegal at the federal level. The only other country to fully legalize marijuana is the tiny developing nation of Uruguay. And although some countries — the Netherlands and Spain, in particular — have relaxed enforcement of their marijuana laws, none in the developed world have outright legalized it.
But this wouldn’t just be an important milestone for Canada and the world; it could also send ripples across the international system of drug policy. That’s because drug policy is tied not just to each country’s individual laws, but to a network of treaties that effectively make the war on drugs a global effort. Marijuana legalization in Canada would act as the most high-profile rejection of these treaties, sending an important signal of the changing times as the international agreements come under a critical review in a special 2016 session of the United Nations.
A Liberal Party majority in the lower house of parliament nearly seals the deal for marijuana legalization, experts say. Opposition is possible in Canada’s appointed Senate, which still has a Conservative Party majority, but the upper chamber rarely blocks legislation.
Shares in publicly traded marijuana suppliers surged in early trading Tuesday, with a Liberal election victory potentially vastly increasing the size of the market that is up for grabs. During his election campaign, prime-minister-designate Justin Trudeau made it clear that, if elected, one of his early objectives would be the legalization of marijuana – as long as the drug doesn’t end up in the hands of minors. In campaign literature, the Liberals vowed to design “a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution, with appropriate federal and provincial excise taxes applied.”
US States that have medical marijuana programs are gathering enormous amounts of data — we urge physicians and public health officials to examine this information carefully. As new evidence supports the use of medical marijuana as an alternative palliative therapy, the opportunity to reduce addiction and save lives makes this worthy of immediate and coordinated examination.
Weed not a gateway drug, says addiction psychiatrist [Independent]
A US addiction psychiatrist has said smoking marijuana* does not necessarily cause addiction to other drugs later in life, contradicting the common theory it is a ‘gateway drug’. Dr Kevin Hill, a director at McLean Psychiatric Hospital in Massachusetts and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University was answering questions about marijuana* on Reddit
Last year, Harvard Medical School Professor Dr. Lester Grinspoon called attention to a neuro-protective agent that has the potential to render concussions obsolete – Marijuana. According to Grinspoon, a National Institute of Health study from 1998 revealed the neuro-protective qualities of Marijuana’s two main psycho-active ingredients, Cannabidiol and Delta-9 Tetrahudrocannabidol (THC).
It is hard to keep up with all of the big stories about the disastrous war on drugs and the growing effort to end it. Here is a Huffington Post compilation from the incredible week.
New Gallup Poll: 58 Percent Support for Legalizing Marijuana. According to a new Gallup poll released today, a majority of Americans continue to say marijuana use should be legal in the United States, with 58 percent in support. In 2012, Colorado and Washington took the historic step of legalizing marijuana. Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. voted to legalize marijuana in 2014 and other states are likely to follow in the coming years.
130 Leading Law Enforcement Leaders Join Call to End Mass Incarceration. From the front page of today’s New York Times: “More than 130 police chiefs, prosecutors and sheriffs — including some of the most prominent law enforcement officials in the country — are adding their clout to the movement to reduce the nation’s incarceration rate.”
New Canadian Prime Minster Plans to Legalize Marijuana. This week, Canada voted in Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, which will have outstanding implications for drug policy reform there. The Liberal Party has promised to legalize and regulate marijuana in Canada and Trudeau has expressed support for harm reduction and the expansion of supervised injection sites across the country.
Federal Ruling Protects Medical Marijuana Dispensaries That Follow State Law. On Monday, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that federal drug law enforcers are forbidden to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries that comply with state law. The decision by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer is the first-known ruling by a federal judge to protect marijuana dispensaries under a budget amendment approved by Congress in December 2014.
Leaked United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Paper Calls for Decriminalizing Drug Use and Possession. This week, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) appeared set to call on governments to end the criminalization of drug use and possession, according toDPA Honorary Board Member Richard Branson — but in a dramatic turn of events withdrew its briefing paper under pressure, according to the BBC.
Obama Announces Criminal Justice Reform Tour. President Obama renewed his push for criminal justice reform on Saturday, when he announced a nationwide tour in the coming weeks fix our criminal justice system. “Much of our criminal justice system remains unfair,” Mr. Obama said. “Over the last few decades, we’ve also locked up more non-violent offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before. That’s the real reason our prison population is so high.”
In a scathing decision, a federal court in California has ruled that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s interpretation of a recent medical marijuana bill “defies language and logic,” “tortures the plain meaning of the statute” and is “at odds with fundamental notions of the rule of law.” The ruling could have a broad impact on the DEA’s ability to prosecute federal medical marijuana cases going forward.
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is speaking out against marijuana laws and calling for prison reform after spending a day in California’s San Quentin Prison. Zuckerberg took a trip to the Bay Area facility last week after reading “The New Jim Crow,” a book by Michelle Alexander that examines the ties between mass incarceration and racial injustice in America. In an impassioned Facebook post, Zuckerberg explained that he “wanted to see first hand what prison conditions are like for people.” He calls out US marijuana policy for being particularly racially unjust, and writes, “We can’t jail our way to a just society, and our current system isn’t working.”
“Mr. Speaker, advocates from the new emerging marijuana industry in Oregon are descending on Capitol Hill at a very critical time for this fledgling industry,” Congressman Blumenauer said. They have a report about the implementation of Oregon’s Ballot Measure 91, overwhelming approved by voters last year to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana at the state level. “Possession became legal July 1st, Retail sales were authorized in existing dispensaries on the 1st of October to significant interest around the state. The first week saw an estimated $11 million in sales. They are working hard to implement the spirit and the letter of the measure, working closely with the Oregon legislature to refine it – learning from the experiences of states like Washington and Colorado that have already legalized adult use.
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system in the last decade of the 20th century has provided the rational basis for understanding the therapeutic value of cannabis and its various components. Its role in modulating virtually every physiological system of the body to maintain homeostatic balance explains the myriad claims that patients around the world have made in relation to cannabis as an analgesic, sleep-aid, anti-inflammatory agent, anti-nausea drug, anticonvulsant, gastrointestinal remedy, autoimmune disease palliative, anti-spasticity drug, primary chemotherapeutic agent in cancer, antidepressant, anti-anxiety and even antipsychotic. While the primary psychoactive chemical of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is often vilified, fear of its adverse effects has been constantly exaggerated in perpetuation of a global political agenda based on an extremely shaky foundation based solely on ideology and a political agenda, rather than on science. Worse, it has impeded necessary research into cannabis therapeutics, especially regarding another key cannabinoid, the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD), whose analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity complement those of THC, but which also counteracts many THC side effects such as anxiety and tachycardia.
Ohio’s fastest-growing potpreneur calls Issue 3 ‘a recipe for disaster’ [COLUMBUS BIZ INSIDER]
The root of Joseph’s objection is not the expected free-market argument, though. He agrees with those who say a business monopoly should not be written into the state’s constitution – but his deeper worry is about law-and-order issues. “It’s like everybody has forgotten it’s still illegal,” he said. Joseph has a unique perspective, hearing from marijuana dispensary customers how their states’ different regulatory structures are working. Issue 3 has glaring differences, he said. Ohio would be the first state to rocket from no legal use to recreational use, instead of a slower rollout of just medical marijuana at first.
Delegates at an international drug-policy conference in Malaysia urged the UN drugs office on Wednesday to officially release a leaked policy paper in which it makes a landmark call for decriminalisation. British tycoon Richard Branson, a decriminalisation advocate and member of a global drugs commission, caused a stir earlier this week by leaking the document which proposes decriminalising drug use and possession “for personal consumption.” The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) had originally intended for its paper to be presented this week in Kuala Lumpur, but scrapped those plans and has since claimed it was “not a final document.”
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has responded to the ‘leak’ of its briefing paper calling for the decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use. Before considering this response, it’s important to be clear this wasn’t really a ‘leak’ in the classic sense. The document was to be presented by the UNODC at the International Harm Reduction Conference in Kuala Lumpur, and an embargoed copy had already gone to select media
One couple boldly fired up a blunt on East 13th Street in Union Square at 5 p.m. one day last week. “That’s why we smoke in public — because it’s decriminalized,” said a 21-year-old waiter from Astoria, Queens, between tokes. “Before, we would try to smoke indoors.” His companion, a 19-year-old restaurant hostess also from Astoria, says they deliberately pick busy spots because “the more open you are about it, the less obvious you are. “We’re not acting out. We’re just standing here smoking our joint, and if anybody comes up to us and happens to be an undercover cop or something, they can easily just tell us, ‘Hey, you’ve got to put that out.’ It’s very easygoing,” she said.
The last day of The Hemp and Cannabis (THC) Fair included a lecture by a former, local broadcast reporter turned cannabis activist after she was fired for using cannabis recreationally. Cyd Maurer … is a former KEZI news anchor who said she was fired for her personal cannabis use. She said she doesn’t blame her former station for following corporate law, but still, she advocates for a change. “I didn’t agree with it morally. So I thought, instead of just keeping quiet about it, I need to speak out because that’s the only way we’re going to see change”, she said.
For many people the word “terpene” is a strange and unfamiliar term, but it won’t be for much longer. As science and technology carry us to better understandings of cannabis, we’re beginning to see that there’s a lot more to marijuana than its cannabinoid content. To get a hint of the other therapeutic compounds in your strain, just give it a sniff.
MediCan Oil Extraction [YouTube]
A demo of extracting oil using a closed loop system with butane.
Dr Pot [Dr John]
Dr Andrew Katelaris’ talks in West End and the Gold Coast on medical Cannabis both went well with about 100-120 people attending each. Big thanks to Andrew and Nimbin HEMP Embassy! Thanks to all those who helped make the meetings a success! I have stressed this: we have to build momentum by keeping active and building public events. This was only our second West End event but it flowed well and we knew what we had to do to make the event better this time.
For the West End talk, Dr K asked me to organise a political discussion to follow the medical cannabis discussion: We met John Ransley, who spoke for the Civil Liberties Council, Dr Sandra Bayley for the Greens, Lanai Carter and Grace Sands for the Medical cannabis petition.and Dr K. Big thanks to all of them too! We tried to get a government spokesperson and invited the local member (and Deputy Premier) Jackie Trad, who passed our request on to the Health minister, Cameron Dick, who sent a staffer, Michael Riordan. Dr Riordan said he couldn’t speak on what the govt was planning in Qld, which was disappointing. Why couldn’t they tell us what their intentions were? The reason I suspect is that they don’t know what they are doing, which is pretty sad reflection on the ALP govt! Michael Riordan said his aim in coming was to meet and talk to people. I noticed Grace and Lanai availed themselves of this – Did anyone else???? At least he would have absorbed (and taken back to the minister) an impression of the strong support out in the community from the big turn-out and (with the ABC film crew showing up) the support the mainstream media is giving the issue.
Politically, Brisbane goes to sleep around the Ides of November and doesn’t revive till Feb/March, so I don’t think we will be planning much between then but if you have some brilliant idea, suggest it. I think all we can expect to do is a Christmas party and develop our hemp food capabilities. Should I hire the hall again for a Christmas party and fun(d)raiser??? Thanks again, everybody! Dr John Jiggens
(Video edited by Disco Sista and BushBashPromotions.com)
Dr Andrew Katelaris
Nikki Freeburn Medical Cannabis Workshop Gold Coast Nerang
Andrew Kavasilas President NR Hemp Ass Gold Coast Medical Cannabis Workshop.
(This Video also contains the remaining speakers to close of Workshop) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6pcS0dIJA