17 November, 2017
It is hard to determine these days when journos “claim” look at a new story on Medical Cannabis in Australia if they are naïve, have an agenda, are bought and paid for by the government, the pharmaceutical industry, the black market, another industry, or worse. The saying if we ignore the past we are doomed to repeat it, has never been truer than when looking at Medical Cannabis in Australia. However looking at the past specific to laws around medical cannabis in Australia only require looking back 2 years in Australia, a few more to put this in context. Ironically it is the leaders of the Medical Cannabis community that are now protesting the loudest that they do not want it legal, a fact the media continues to ignore. But what got us here, and what are the FACTS?
In 1978 there was a royal commission into the non-medical use of drugs in Australia, let by Hon Ron Sackville. He would later write (ironically in 1984), that Australia had misinterpreted, and incorrectly enforced, the United Nations own Act on Cannabis use, and that it was intended to address trafficking, not medical use or personal use. He suggested it should be legalized and taxed as California would do in 12 more years (in 1996).
His suggestions were of course ignored, and instead, Australia has since (in consideration of his suggestions) reduced the benchmark since of what trafficking is. Making the amounts required less, and even increasing parameters for what trafficking is.
This all played out with gusto in 2016, but that was preceded in 2014 with a new momentum, parents with sick kids that were using illegal oil made from Cannabis called Rick Simpson oil or RSO. Legal around the world, RSO even had dosage parameters and became part of Australia government laws and bill discussions.
In 2014 mothers with sick kids did an ok job getting in front of politicians and the media. Though severely played by both, at election time politicians promised if elected or re-elected, that medical cannabis would be higher on the agenda. The politicians won, but when a survey http://bit.ly/Cannabis-Survey in 2015, disclosed that 94% of Australians supported the legalization of Cannabis for medical use, the government, pharma, the hemp industry, and the black market all freaked out.
It turned out that in the USA and Canada where there are 220,000,000 with legal access, as well as those in Germany, Israel, Spain etc 90% of patients using Cannabis for medical use do so for pain symptoms and many of those with arthritic pain.
The pharmacy guild Australia issues public data on over the counter (OTC) purchases and prescriptions purchases. Not so oddly 90% of both are for pain medication. Australia produces over 50% of the worlds legal NATURAL opiates but is at risk financially of the synthetic opioid market that is now a global plague. So with threats form synthetics, on one level and Cannabis on the other, then all things medical in Australia from the Australia Medical Association, (AMA), pharma industry (that is part of Australia Government), Department of Agriculture, Pharmacy guild etc. ALL were all of a sudden at risk, as well as the mentioned others including the black market and even patient advocate groups now at risk if cannabis for medical use was to be legal.
Note: How is Australia impact on Cannabis legislation different to the USA in 1996 – This is simple when Cannabis was legalized for medical use in California in 1996 pharma cannabis (Like GW Pharma UK) would not be legal until 2001. This the same year that Canada legalized for medical use, this made Pharma less of an impact then but giving them 21 years to prepare year on year for other markets that tried to go legal.
THEN WHAT HAPPENED NEXT IS BAD. – Then what happened was very defining to the landscape on legalizing cannabis for medical use today in Australia. in 2014 various governments in Australia announced when pushed they would be fulfilling their promise to legalize “medical Cannabis” in Australia. However multiple new laws in multiple states did something else, it redefined “medical Cannabis” from a plant as it is in the rest of the world to a bucket of “stuff”. This stuff depending on the bill and the new laws (there were 20 new laws, bills and acts in 2016 alone, all with months of notice, all gagged by the government to the media but all on public record and all debated in the various State and federal senates all losing out for Cannabis even in laws. What Australia did was introduce multiple USA style rider clauses to the bills.
A Rider Clause – In a legislative procedure, a rider is an additional provision added to a bill or other measure under the consideration by a legislature, having little connection with the subject matter or intent of the bill. Riders are usually created as a tactic to pass a controversial provision that would not pass as its own bill.
The rider clauses varied from bill to bill and got bolder, bill to bill. In the Australia state of Victoria, it culminated with what the Law Institute of Victoria said was, “The worst legislature they had ever seen in Australia” in early 2016 and on the government record as such. In that bill alone, it introduced new laws and penalties against Cannabis in a bill sold by the PM as a bill against the ICE / Amphetamine Crisis but was actually a bill against Cannabis, that was even edited for the media to hide any reference to Cannabis. The bill introduced 10 new laws against medical Cannabis without even using the word Cannabis in the bill. – http://bit.ly/twiw-ice-1 – The new bill did everything from changing trafficking charges from 15 within 300m of a school to kids to 25 years of selling to ANYONE within 500m of a school. It introduced 5-year sentencing to sharing an email, webpage, or book on Cannabis, to 10 years for their production, and it went on and on. –
The bills to redefine medical cannabis went largely un-noticed and media organizations chose to ignore the relevance. The government argued that medical cannabis needed to include other Cannabis products, that made sense on the surface to many, but others saw it as a chance for the government to do what they have done now, and prevent any cannabis use at all. This all took an odd turn in late 2016 when another bill took this further and defined that Medical Cannabis could also include synthetic opioids, like Fentanyl/Subsys that the singer Prince died off in 2016. A change that is still on the books today and now includes other synthetics. The end result that in 2017-2018, Medical Cannabis need not include Cannabis or even come from a plant, a fact the media has still not addressed though it is in multiple bills and all on the public record.
How this Changed EVERYTHING – The result now that EVERY story on medical Cannabis reference Australia has to address 1 simple issue EXACTLY WHAT MEDICAL CANNABIS PRODUCT ARE YOU REFERRING TO. Is it hemp, CBD, pharma, synthetic, GMO, or real Cannabis. The UN Act (used to hide behind by Australia) even defines Cannabis as being 10-15% CBD and low CBD. Yet the government and others ignore this. They also ignore of course that the USA, Canada etc all have legal Cannabis by amending the UN act (preventing legalization in Australia per the Government) or simply ignore it as the USA has done.
Why Cannabis is Still Illegal in 2017-2018 – Sadly this is because there is no Cannabis lobby in Australia. But what there is are patient advocates now making (they believe) more money with Cannabis being illegal than if it was legal. The patients are not even aware that their leaders are not supporting the bills to legalize. The media is not talking about the bills as they are introduced by the opposition government.
Cannabis Myths and more BS 2017 – As recently as August 2017, a bill in NSW made to be cut and paste state by state, protect patients, caregivers, growers, and even pharma and the black market itself, was not supported by ANY major Cannabis activist group, industry, or the black market, because they are making more money on it being illegal.
Some resulting questions –
- So any story about medical cannabis in Australia is a lie ? – Pretty much if not addressing what the exact product is then it is a likely a lie.
- Why are folks turning to the black market to buy Cannabis oil – (because there is no legal avenue) the activists and politicians supporting the recent government changes in the TGA in Australia was all a smoke screen.
- Medical Cannabis is Legal in Australia is it not ? – Yes as long as it does not contain Cannabis. As hemp, CBD, GMO, pharma, and synthetics are now all legally defined as Medical Cannabis then that is ALL folks are getting.
- But the government and some activists report over 100 people have legally got medical cannabis in Australia – Yes but non include real Cannabis only pharma, hemp, CBD, GMO, or synthetic (None Cannabis)
- Aren’t hemp and CBD are both Cannabis? – Nope another myth, The UN defines Cannabis as 10-15% THC and low CBD. This makes hemp and CBD something else. Botanically hemp and Cannabis share the plant genus Cannabis L, thati s a botanical labeling exercise viewed to be a mistake by experts, but that aside, the genetics and genome of Cannabis is different to hemp. – The Cannabis Genome – Hemp is NOT Cannabis
- Then is hemp with over 15% THC Cannabis ? – Doesn’t exist.. if Cannabis has over 3% THC then even if it is 88% CBD it is still Cannabis, crap cannabis but still Cannabis . Remember; Cannabis per the UN is typically over 10% THC.. and low CBD – That is why they made oil to increase the CBD to 1-5% (and it increases the THC to 50% or higher. Note: High CBD Cannabis is still Cannabis and is good stuff for many. A 65% CBD with a 10-15% THC even if GMO is ptenmtially amazing stuff, offering a 1:4 THC:CBD.
- Is the hemp industry supporting legalisation of Cannabis for medical use ? – Nope the exact opposite, the hemp industry took the government to court recently in a class action law suit, saying they (the Government) over stepped by saying some hemp products are Cannabis, killing the industry, and that Cannabis was effectively dangerous and bad and hemp was not. Those that suggested in the class action law suit that hemp should join forces to help legalise cannabis foe medical use as well were threatened and worse.
The bottom line – So the bottom line is no activist “leader” has supported ANY bill to legalise Cannabis for medical use in Australia. There has only been one and that was the Foley bill in NSW in August 2017 . I spoke to other MPs in other states all interested in the NSW framework. But as no activists even in NSW supported the NSW bill then it failed. Another bill is pending subject to public interest, it is being moth-balled due to lack of interest. Ask any activist leader, why they have not supported the bill to legalise Cannabis for medical use in Australia, I have asked all of them and they ALL quickly point out the squirrel in the room in Australia (note: there are no squirrels in Australia BTW just drop bears).
Loren W, is a Cannabis consultant to the Australian Government and others, and the only non-politician / activist to get an amendment in a Senate Cannabis bill (the amendment was on the risk of changing the definition of Cannabis in Australia’s bills and laws) – http://bit.ly/hansard-lw-senate