The Australian Government’s track record for dealing with Cannabis is extremely poor. The announcement of a new scheme to regulate medical use is met with great concern over the details and rightly so. On the bright side, things can only improve from here.
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.
Health Minister Sussan Ley said on Wednesday that the government had drafted legislation to establish a single scheme for growers in all states and territories, which would be introduced in Parliament’s first sitting fortnight next year.
Tony Bower is the director of Mullaways Medical Cannabis. This federally registered company produces a non-psychotropic marijuana tincture for sufferers of cancer and epilepsy, among other things. He gives away his products without charge and at present is helping around 130 families, most of whom have children suffering seizures due to Dravet syndrome.
The Pallets, who are on disability pensions and use cannabis to self-medicate their respective health problems, plan to represent themselves at trial, “unless we have a QC step in and do it pro bono”. But they remain confident they can win. “I don’t think a jury of people here in Melbourne would consider that compassion is a crime,” Mr Pallett said.
Epilepsy Association of Western Australia chief executive Suresh Rajan said the news was good for the WA economy and for sufferers of epilepsy, which he said was the state’s most common serious neurological condition, affecting one per cent of the population. Perth-based MMJ PhytoTech, which made its ASX debut in January, is poised to enter the Australian market as an organisation which is able to grow, extract, refine and supply medicinal cannabis in pharmaceutical grade forms for controlled delivery.
Perth company joins medical marijuana rush [Sky]
Virtually every human society in history has got tipsy, drunk, stoned, high, or some combination of the above. For the significant minority of Australians who aren’t quite content with a glass of sauvignon blanc and a lie down on Friday night, that urge is strong enough to break the law for. It’s also worth paying quite a lot of money for. When you make taking drugs a crime, you make all drug takers criminals – that’s a truism. What’s less well-acknowledged is that you make a whole lot of other people criminals as well.
Australian police seize and destroy a crop of cannabis, measuring the size of a football stadium, after discovering the plant growing in a secluded area off Bundjalung National Park in New South Wales.
Mr Balderstone said police valued every small cannabis seedling at $2000 despite knowing that it was an inaccurate estimate.
‘How about considering male plants, wallabies, mould and disease and that a huge percentage of it will be consumed by the growers and their friends and never ever get sold,’ he said. ‘Reality is they just destroyed a truckload of good medicine as America is fast discovering the healing wonders of juicing raw Cannabis, which is exactly what the cops burnt last week, (and not in joints!). ‘If it makes it easier for them you don’t get any psychoactive affect at all from raw juiced cannabis.’ Mr Balderstone also took a swipe at the increased use of drug testing in the region, saying cannabis users were being put off the roads despite the tests having no regard for actual impairment.
Australian soldiers and veterans are calling for an immediate inquiry into the use of an antimalarial drug they believe scarred them with permanent psychological damage, anxiety attacks, vertigo, nightmares, suicidal thoughts and hallucinations. The group, which includes commandos and officers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, believe they have been incorrectly diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or depression and were ignored by the military after raising concerns about the drug. “At various times it was like living in a heavily armed lunatic asylum.”
Etheridge says that users — despite the presently fraught legal landscape — should be more vocal about their use in order to further constructive discussion.
“I think that people need to come out as cannabis users,” she said. “They need to explain, ‘Hey, I don’t do this to get high and drop out of society, I do this because I don’t want to take Prozac and I don’t want to take this pain reliever or this sleeping aid that’s going to addict me and become harmful — I’m going to take this plant that is healthy for me.’ “And when people see other people who are normal and like them choosing this path it normalises it, and that’s what going to bring about the change — when the fear comes out of it. I saw it happen with the gay rights movement, and I believe that’s what will happen with the cannabis movement.”
Mismanagement of forest resources accounts for up to a quarter of all man-made climate change, and healthy forests will be an essential component of any sustainable global solution to the greatest challenge of our times — an urgency which only underlines the glaring omission of any talk of a healthy industrial hemp industry as a key component of any global solution.
Quebec judge called out Canada’s “ridiculous” marijuana laws, noting that lawyers and others who work in the legal system are probably getting high themselves. The judge, Pierre Chevalier, then handed down a $1 fine to man who was prosecuted for owning 30 marijuana plants.
Colorado Juries Keep Letting People Go for Driving on Weed, Prosecutors and Cops are Furious [Alternet]
Instead of invoking her 5th Amendment right to remain silent, Brinegar—a licensed medical cannabis patient—answered the cop’s inquiry by saying, “No, I was medicating.” That gave cops the excuse to demand she perform roadside sobriety tests, at which she did poorly. This enabled them to commit a further intrusion by taking a blood sample, which showed that Brinegar was almost four times over the state’s legal limit. However, in court Brinegar said that she “drives better” and “is able to focus” after using cannabis. She went on to testify, “When I smoke I don’t get high.” The jurors believed her. What’s more, the sober jurors tried doing roadside sobriety maneuvers on their own, and some of them failed. They concluded that Brinegar, although “legally” high, was not impaired.
Lynn Lyman, CA state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said that the California voter initiative they have endorsed for the 2016 ballot includes a $50 million fund from the tax revenues earned in a legal market to help groups disproportionately impacted by the drug war, a pathway for people with prior criminal records to participate in the industry, and a way to expunge records. She urged people to get lobbyists into the State House, put money into grassroots organizing, and to work to get people out of office who don’t support reform.
The portable device is designed to help determine if a driver is impaired from recent marijuana use. The idea is to replace a complicated assortment of costly blood and urine tests that can take days to get a result and cannot distinguish between recent and chronic use.
The health department said Wednesday that about 29,300 people have started the patient registration process. Of those, almost 4,600 have submitted a complete application. Qualifying patients pay an annual fee of $100 for a marijuana card and need a doctor’s written certification.
The 25-year-old suffers from epilepsy so severe that she can’t drive safely or hold a job. When she found out she was pregnant, she went off her anti-epilepsy drugs – which have been linked to birth defects – and began using marijuana to prevent seizures. She was arrested a couple weeks after the December 2014 birth of her son because they both tested positive for marijuana. Alabama is one of a handful of states where mothers can be prosecuted for exposing an unborn child to illicit drugs under the state’s chemical endangerment of a child law.
Colorado physicians are barred from working out of dispensaries or having any financial stake in the marijuana business. As in other states, they’re required to examine patients in person once a year. The Colorado Medical Board says it has sanctioned at least six physicians since 2009 for violating pot regulations, though details of those cases aren’t public. In 2013, one physician received three years’ probation after being convicted of making an improper pot recommendation to an undercover police officer.
As with all start-ups, market lore prevails. Lore and language. No more Cheech-and-Chongs with reefers and doobies. Instead, company directors talk of “exciting new user demographics” and “the high-end luxury consumer package good” and that most magic consumer word of all – choice. The little bag of weed or lump of hash changing hands on the street has grown into a shop wall of dozens of varieties, quantities and strengths.
Smith says their plan will ensure that non-medical marijuana is sold through controlled channels in a socially responsible way across the province.
“Liquor stores provide the most strictly controlled system for accessing a controlled substance, and are best suited for the retailing of non-medical marijuana. (ED: The term ‘non-medical’ refers to the use. All Cannabis is medicinal and arguably, so too is all its use. Cheers.)
Marijuana may be legally sold in small quantities in the Netherlands via licensed cafes, known as coffee shops, but the supply remains a grey area and in criminal hands. ‘The current situation cannot continue,’ the report states. ‘As local officials, we are experiencing major social problems.’ ‘By turning a blind eye [to marijuana], the government is giving criminals free rein to sell their products. The cannabis industry is closely entwined with organised crime, which is also involved in ecstasy and human trafficking,’ the report says.
Paul contends the product should be allowed on the market because it offers many advantages over smoking pot. For starters, he says, patients won’t suffer the potentially ill effects of inhaling a burning substance. “As a pharmacist, how could I condone smoking? I’m a health-care person,” he says. He also claims medicinal users will be able to control their dosage because the pods will contain a standardized dose of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. Paul adds that the product will provide a more socially acceptable way to consume marijuana compared to smoking. “You could use it at work, at home, or in public areas,” he says
Marijuana tourism’s reach expands [Boston Globe]
For somebody who’s, say, in their mid to late 20s, who enjoys cannabis, the idea that they can go somewhere where they can do it legally and aren’t going to be treated as a criminal for doing something that’s demonstrably less dangerous than drinking alcohol — that’s appealing.
Please Note: The opinions and proposals within the information presented, in this and all previous issues of the headlines, are not necessarily the views shared by the Nimbin HEMP Embassy. Readers are advised to voice their opinions at the source of the article, comment on the HEMP Embassy and affiliated facebook pages, respond via email, phone, webcam or in person.