Tag Archives: Australia

My Interview with Australia’s Sydney Criminal Lawyers

29 August 2017

INTERVIEW

A nice chat about Cannabis Law Reform issues in Australia

https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/redefining-medical-cannabis-an-interview-with-this-week-in-weed-tvs-loren-paul-wiener/

Want More: The Australian government announced (a few times) that medical cannabis is now legal in Australia. However, on redefining Medical Cannabis to not need to include Cannabis, even synthetic opioids like Fentanyl are now Cannabis. One impact is economic as the Cannabis gold rush for real Cannabis products outside Australia is heating up, it is creating a fake bubble for Australia’s government introduced fake Cannabis products redefined as Medical Cannabis that include no Cannabis or THC.

Why Australia’s New Pharma Cannabis Stock Bubble Will Burst in 2017 / 2018

Interested in legalising cannabis for medical use in Australia, lets chat.
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Safe and Legal – The Simple Misdirection by the Australian Government and Media in their war against THC and Full Spectrum Cannabis

Loren W
15 August 2016
Melbourne Australia (earth)

Safe and Legal – The Simple Misdirection by the Australian Government and Media in their war against THC and Full Spectrum Cannabis

In the English speaking world and beyond, the words “hemp”, “cannabis”, and “marijuana”
are well understood in their meaning. Australia never a country of conformity, choose via their government to do things slightly differently.
well very differently.

In Australia, according to a recent (2015) poll (1), 91-94% of the population support the use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes. Unfortunately, only 5% or less of the politicians agree with the people that they are supposed to be representing.

Also, the public do not have billions at risk in the pharmaceutical industry where Australia’s own opioid industry alone is the largest of its kind in the world, and a perhaps well servicing prime minister whose own wife is the chairman of a pharmaceutical company herself for almost 6 six years and is known to be “out of alignment” with his own party. Malcolm Turnbull is the richest prime minister in Australian history and the 2nd richest ever parliamentarian only being surpassed by billionaire Clive Palmer.

The result is the government then has a self-imposed challenge, how to follow the “will of the people, and legalise medical Cannabis but prevent anything that gets you “high” in medicine or worse recreational use.

Australia’s  War on Drugs Evolved for 2016

If you were to google “safe and legal cannabis” you would be very lucky to not pull up many articles on medical Cannabis in Australia. Australia has chosen to narrow the fight on Cannabis in Australia a few simple ways.

  • Refine the word “cannabis” in state and federal bills from a plant to a “suite of products and things”. Depending on the state this can be GMO, synthetics (not from a plant), and even opioids and “anything that acts like Cannabis”. All in the public record (Hansards)
  • Redefine “hemp” from cannabis below 2% THC to cannabis below 1% THC (so far in states, NSW and QLD) and force the eradication of all crops that do not meet this criterion
  • Make sure all licenses, bills, acts and legislature offer alternatives to natural cannabis products by introducing pharmaceutical alternatives with no THC and call it medical Cannabis in line with the new and improved definitions.
  • With media controlled by government sound-bites, maintain the gag order not letting press or the public be aware of the changes unless the public gets the word out themselves or are looking at the latest bills that are all public record.
  • Announce to the Country and many times that medical Cannabis is now legal or about to be legal ignoring that the “medical Cannabis” as some of the videos from the pharmaceutical company’s joke themselves, “Spending millions, on medical Cannabis trials, and testing, using “no Cannabis”.
  • Ignore that all the new pharmaceutical products being manufactured, or imported that are to be trialed or tested on mostly children, have a high failure rate, do not have THC, and have a high rate of SAE’s (serious side effects) and recently reported deaths during the trials. Something Cannabis has never had.
  • Reduce the benchmark of what trafficking is so as to include self-grows, and increase penalties for medical cannabis patients, growers, and caregivers and not tell the public (passed in state Victoria in Feb 2016) 33-6.

A recent impact of this was the recent bill that passed supposedly against 100% ICE, a real issue in Australia, was actually about Medical Cannabis and the video the journalist used was slightly edited, to make it appear it was about ICE and not Cannabis and the bill passed virtually undebated.  The journalist when asked why he lied in a story this week “It is not a lie even if the story is false, if I did not know it was false”. The journalist in question a senior political contact, Richard W in Australia, on being notified of the mistruth not only did nothing about it, but continued the trend of “mistruths” recently in another story. Journalists in Australia are not required to remember what they say in phone conversations, or remember facts if not addressed in a sound bite. Ethics it would seem is too “old school”.

How Would Australia Pull Off Such a Show that is Well Under Way Safe and Legal – The Governments gateway words to Australian Cannabis Prohibition

Ask any politician in Australia and if they have read the script their answer is very simple and they are spending millions on the outcome of the performances.

“Young Johnny, did so well on illegal unsafe, crude, black market, illegal cannabis, we are going to change the laws so this does not happen again and give them safe and legal medical cannabis”.

To the 94% of the public that support medical Cannabis most of them will take these words and stories in the media at 100% face value. Those that have followed the bills know what that really says and what has really happened. The new laws are steeper penalties and the new legal products have been promised for years but anything with THC still remains illegal.

The government has declared THC is illegal, so the only thing that is legal are pharmaceuticals. Mainly Epidiolex from GW Pharma, that are leading all the research in Australia and training and overseeing all the government research. GM is distributed by Novartis, a $174B (AUD) pharmaceutical giant. This combined with Bayer AG being the largest distributor of GM Pharma in the World, and about to purchase Monsanto, some of the concerns around medical Cannabis are embedded and old for Australia but new and fresh for other countries.

To those that understand the truth, seeing the state premiers pose with Cannabis that has no THC, and has little medical value

What Happened and Now What ?

Federally, Ten years later in 2006, the FDA legalised GMO Cannabis by GW Pharma with support from Bayer AG. Overall this had little impact at the time. Jump ahead another 10 years to 2016 and the pharmaceutical industry is long embedded in the Australian government.

Australia exports around $5billion in pharmaceuticals every year and trunsover around $23billion every year. – www.bit.ly/aus-opiates

 Medical Cannabis was legalised in California USA in 1996, it was not pretty, it was not perfect but it stuck. It has continued by various US states in defiance of the UN Single use act, and why Cannabis is still federally illegal in the USA. That illegality is how some countries such as Australia choose to enforce Cannabis prohibition under the banner global responsibilities.

Back in 1984 (ironic) there was a Royal Commission in the Australian aptly known state of South Australia also known as the Sackville Commission, it essentially said Australia was misinterpreting, misinforming, and incorrectly enforcing the UN Single use act specific to personal use of Cannabis. The UN though some say not clear enough, essentially said personal use was not the issue trafficking was. This left Australia with some suggestions, mainly to allow personal use and decriminalize Cannabis. Unfortunately, the suggestions were voted down and though Australia did slightly decriminalize Cannabis as a result in the state of SA, it created nationally an exercise that goes on today to lower the benchmark of what trafficking is.  This means though growing cannabis for medicine and with very few plants are guilty of trafficking. States have also made changes to bills and acts, to create new laws on encouraging trafficking. This means if you visited a website that talked about how to grow a single plant, and then sent a link in an email to a friend, you are guilty of 2 serious crimes with stiff penalties, 1) encouraging trafficking by viewing a story (a 5-year penalty) and contributing to trafficking by sending the email an additional 10-year penalty. It is not clear how the laws will be enforced but frequent arrests by those that use social media to sell or just discuss issues has risen sharply from 2015 to 2016

Pharmaceutical Industry Turnover in Australia

img 2

Source: Australian Government Department of Industry- Pharmaceutical Division

 

img2Pharmaceutical Exports from Australia

GMO depending on your view of the world is bad good or doesn’t matter.  Visiting a large superstore selling USA GMO strawberries, all identical all the size of a small lemon, and all tasting more like strawberries than you have ever tasted before may be viewed as not so bad by many.

Off on research to Germany, & Amsterdam I need to explain the messed up world of Medical Cannabis in Australia, as simple as possible as my German is “scheiße”.

Before I do I need to give mention to the US DEA, that recently rejected re-scheduling. Podcaster and UFC great Joe Rogan recently got it pretty spot on. Research in the USA uses primarily the gold standard or Cochrane test (no not the guy that discovered “Space Warp” on star trek).

The Cochrane standard is used to reference a series of tests over 3-5 years addressing

However it is worth noting the Cochrane test has passed serval drugs used for “Cannabis addiction”
They see no benefit in Cannabis but do so in treating addiction (starting to see a trend here)?

Cannabis and Schizophrenia –
There are 2 trails to this particular fuckery. In the UK at one time (2014) some folks in Liverpool England laced cannabis with PCP and heroin. Apparently these added “special ingredients” acted different to real Cannabis alone (DOH! ). http://bit.ly/laced-skunk . This gave the strain of “skunk” a new meaning to deadly weed in the UK. One story also came out said, “ Some folks that smoke cannabis also become paranoid” (did not say for a  for a short period of time). The story was then “Paranoia, is a mental disorder that includes psychosis and …. (wait for it) … Schizophrenia”. SO the story created a “bucket” of mental disorders, that they included paranoia,  Schizophrenia and psychosis.

The Ongoing Confusification of Australia Cannabis Law Reform and Processes – Licensing

Help us ODC – (Office of Drug Control) – Licensing  During the Australia War on THC – 

Road Trip

 

 Loren Wiener
Melbourne Australia
15 July 2015

UPDATE: 16 July 2016
As I speak to others that have attended around the country I am adding on a bit here at the top in 2 new sections  –

  • Questions I  Forgot To Ask or Forgot to Mention That were Asked 

One question asked was about driving as the ODC is meeting with law enforcement. Again the pretense is there until the question is asked, “How do the RBT tests that test for THC and not impairment.

Bill Turner Weed-Czar: First you have to abide by the state laws on RBT, second this might not be an issue if there is no THC. Exactly. The first part of the question is important as RBT test for the presence of THC not impairment, secondly with THC being illegal in all aspects of this so far it is not certain if a high CBD and 1% THC would register or not, as being impaired is not the issue.

  • Now What ?

A lot may come down to what products and what demand license seekers ask for. The ODC is only responsible for putting in a framework, based on what is currently legal, however they claim should natural THC products (above 2% THC be legal the framework would support that) Answers were awkard as he did not want to get drawn anymore by the, “Well there is no THC so isn’t this really about medical hemp and not medical Cannabis”.

 

 

 

 

500 help us odc

As a Government Agency, the outcome of the ODC tour is what I like to refer to as burying us in the “Rumsfeld Inspired Variables”

There are things we now know, that we did not know and are now public. There are things we now know we do not know, and some of those are known to the ODC but not yet shared. There are things the ODC do not know so we are told they do not know. Finally, there are things we know that the ODC know, but they choose not to discuss (e.g per below on demand, natural Cannabis etc).

The ODC leads on, the registering of unregistered products, and work to the department of health working to the line management with the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) under Professor John Skerritt and Susan Ley Health Minister.

Thinking about the ODC, as I write this my mind is “miss-hearing” Joan Jett’s 1981 “Bad Reputation” lyrics, with “Where’re just dealing with a bad situation”.

In my opinion the ODC has a job to do;

Reinventing the wheel on Medical Cannabis, licensing and leaving “round” off the table.

 

 download

The ODC Australia Wide Plane Trip Destinations– Where

Brisbane – Monday 11 July, 1.30pm at Capri by Fraser / Sydney – Tuesday 12 July, 1.30pm at Radisson Hotel and Suites Sydney / Hobart – Wednesday 13 July, 1.30pm at Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart / Melbourne – Thursday 14 July, 1.30pm at Mantra on Russell
Adelaide – Friday 15 July, 1.30pm at Adina Apartment Hotel / Perth – Wednesday 20 July, 1.30pm at Mercure Perth

 Top level

  • No exports, only for now domestic use for now. – exports might follow in the future it is in the framework
  • The framework is 100% for medicinal Cannabis with no THC so far (also addressed in demand below) and made to prevent it working for or ever evolving into a recreational model ODC Weed-Czar Bill Turner was asked,

LW: When we legalised Medical Cannabis in California in 1996 (over 20 years ago), the government foresaw the possibility medical might one day evolve into also including recreational, so put in a complementary framework, that would at least allow for that.  How does your model compare to that?

 Bill Turner: <perhaps jokingly> said (and I might be slightly paraphrasing) when asked on this – “”One of the things that keeps me awake at night is that and I might be collecting taxes in a recreational model, this is the wrong forum for that sort of discussion and nothing in this framework allows for that, nothing””.

Comment: It is the largest concern they have, part of the reason why they have tried to design it that way. This is contrary to the rest of the world where they foresee, are achieving at least the possibility of an evolution from medical to recreational, and out of common sense created models that allowed for this. Australia has chosen to avoid common sense in lieu of continuing the losing war against THC.

 The model is based on some aspects of the Canada model (Comment: perhaps one of the worst models in the world today as we are seeing the impacts of it in the media).

  • The model is broken up into Cultivators and Manufacturers.
  • Patient Access is a Focus so very little is discussed about it (cynical but true)
  • All the licenses and permits work around the Narcotic Act of 1967 that was put in place to align Australia with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961
  • A lot of the model depends on determining, fulfilling and not exceeding demand.
  • Demand can only be based of course on” what is legal to provide”. If they only offer products to unicorns, demand is going to be less than if they offer to sick people and let doctors determine the ailments, based on other working models. In reality the ailments and the demographics will be very limited, so demand is viewed as VERY low.

Bill Turner said, “The reports that we are limiting growers/cultivators, or manufacture numbers is 100% incorrect”. However, he said multiple times estimations on demand are very low. But did not quite go on to say that it is because they are greatly limiting who can get it and for what ailments.

Why Cannabis is a bigger concern than opium to the ODC and Government?
Mr Turner has mentioned a few times that diversion (losing product) is a bigger concern with Cannabis than opium as you can take cannabis and smoke it, steal it etc easier and to a larger audience but the process for making opium into something you would consume is secondary / more difficult.  More so than that there have been very few deaths reported in the media out of the Tasmania opium fields, and theft of poppies is supposed to be reported proactively and why local “thieves” are reported to be stealing plants less obvious and even leaving farmers cash for stolen plants per the newspaper story, so Cannabis would be on another level. This is why they also favor indoor vs outdoor grows, but not sure how to manage it on the security side.

 Note: So I do not over paraphrase more to the background to this update, I defer to the ODC email on where the background info is for this

It will be published on ComLaw at the following address: https://www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/C1967A00053 . Note Subject to requirements, access to medicinal cannabis products is available through existing mechanisms such as the Special Access Scheme: https://www.tga.gov.au/form/special-access-scheme
Subject to approval under the Special Access Scheme or Authorised Prescriber, your Doctor may apply on your behalf to import medicinal cannabis products. Details of the import process may be found here: http://www.tga.gov.au/importing-narcotic-psychotropic-and-precursor-substances-special-access-scheme-only

Office of Drug Control
Australian Government Department of Health
Email: mcs@health.gov.au

Licenses
Note: Licenses can only be legally issued for what is legal. Sounds simple, this was not discussed much. They said nothing is off the table for licensing but do not say that only full spectrum Cannabis with above 2% THC is available via an R&D license and all those are on an even closer case by case basis.

I recall the VLRC (Victoria Law Review Commission) a perhaps very ethical group assigned to essentially validate what the Victorian Government had told them to do and help create a scheme of offering Medical Cannabis to their selected few deserving but extremely low numbers and preferably with no THC. In the case of the VLRC they went beyond the remit and made other suggestions that were quickly discarded. The number one use of medicinal Cannabis globally is pain relief, the item missing off all Cannabis trials and product focusing is pain relief with natural Cannabis with THC. Currently states have issued licenses for growing products like hemp, but not Cannabis. Within the new scope of the new Weed-Czar at the ODC Bill Turner will oversee all licensing. Simply put the ODC is following aspects of the messed up some aspects of the current Canada model, that meets the Australian model of being controlled by the government, Here, there are there are Cultivators, and Manufacturers.

It is quite simple in concept for the ODC, manufacturers/ cultivators assess the demand cultivators must work with manufacturers and vice versa unless they are the same.

Demand
Based on the ODC rules to stay in line with UN prohibition, demand is an important thing to quantify. This is the entire basis of licensing and permits of which there are a plenty. Bill Turner simply put it that  no product; GMO, low THC, high CBD, high THC is off the table nor are the ailments that products will be allowed to be addressed, Unless they are illegal. Thus the first hurdle.

In no states is pain management (the number one use of medical Cannabis globally) allowed. In state Victoria it is an exceptional circumstance case and must be approved by a doctor, and with likely more paperwork than they should have to deal with. It is hinted doctors are not encouraged to prescribe or offer medical Cannabis but as a last resort. Keeping in mind they cannot offer something that is illegal either, Catch-22 number 1 of which there is plenty. So if say state Victoria only allows certain ailments to have medical Cannabis and that is 1% of demand yet the other 99% might have consideration then how do you manage demand calculations accurately. I asked Bill Turner that question.

LW: Mr Turner, a big aspect of all of this is managing and determining demand, yet in state Victoria pain relief (the number one use of medical Cannabis globally is only allowed by SAS (special access scheme). How would folks be able to determine demand if the demand is so restricted and unknown specific to the SAS.  It was acknowledged as an issue.

Other Maybe Relevant Things

  • The ODC sees a large demand for a matchmaking system as growers have not known manufacturers before and visa verse. I saw this first hand with money folks, growers, and manufacturers not know many of each other, and some are further down the path than others.
  • Also remember the license were recently controlled 100% by the states.
  • There is a separate hemp industry that is also impacted in all of this in that industrial hemp is NOT medical Cannabis and vice versa. This means separate licenses if doing both, different standards and different rules per state.
  • License Forms will be available by 30 October and they will start accepting them on 30 October.
  • Bill Turner is a nice guy but said if you are planning to apply for a license do not tell me of anything you do or have done that would cause you to fail to get a license. I cannot “un-hear” what you tell me. A true point that for many if they are doing anything illegal they would be hindered in getting a license.
  • Type of products offered – GMO is still on the table they have no issue with it, but not pushing or supporting it that is not their job.
  • Obtaining Seeds – Legal seeds are another issue, The USA as it is illegal federally cannot or will not issue export permits.

Summary
Does the new ODC processes, licenses, and departmnet “evolve” Australia in getting medical cannabis to sick people legally? No, not really, currently there are no legal uses for Cannabis with THC, this means there is no legal demand and no licenses. But this is not the ODC’s job, nor is it their job to tell people the truth on any issues that government policy does not want them to tell us. However they are quick to point out the framework does allow for product with THC in it when it is legal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death by Non-Cannabis Blamed on Cannabis

18 January
Melbourne Australia

The medicine involved is a so-called FAAH inhibitor that works by targeting the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is also responsible for the human response to many drugs such as paracetamol.

500 posion

Drugs such as paracetamol the worlds most common household medicine targets the human ECS (called the human endocannbinoid system or endogenous cannabinoid system) much ignored by the media, but poisons a person requiring hospitalization in Australia 150 times a week.

However, the world’s anti Cannabis brigade, (with a strong following by the Australia Government) and sloppy media are missing something in their souls of lies and deceit. Proof once and for all Cannabis kills, either directly or indirectly. Unfortunately it will never happen. This person killed this person and they were using Cannabis is the headline we have seen recently. “Yes but they were using PCP, alcohol, heroin, had a history of mental disorder, that likely Cannabis was the thing stopping them from snapping earlier”. That part was not reported.

inbi times

In 1968 when THC (a cannabinoid in Cannabis) was discovered, another thing was discovered at the same time, if you took all the elements / compounds in a natural plant like Cannabis, and used some not all of them.. unintended consequences happened. This lead to the discovery of the entourage effect, saying just that. Also it was discovered humans in our very DNA have receptors in our bodies making up the ECS (called the human endocannbinoid system or endogenous cannabinoid system)

A lot of money is being spent on research on drugs that target the human ECS, big pharma realizing Cannabis is a political issue, and hard to patent, they are focusing on other compounds that only have one thing in common, they work on the human ECS system. Even the team that discovered THC in 1968 and the ECS itself in 2011, are now focusing 100% on non cannabis foods that focus 100% on the ECS. http://www.phytecs.com/what-we-do/

Note: if anyone sees media reporting poorly on this story where  a non-relationship of  Cannabis is being highlighted as something to do with the French trials, please let me know here or on Facebook. I will let the 180,000 twitter followers decide if it is important 🙂

 

Australia Considers Legal Medical Cannabis – with a new “Cannabis Czar’

600 RCB Bill dummy dummies cannabis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Regulator Cannabis Bill 2014 (RCB) – Cheat Sheet

 10 August 2015

  • What a surreal day, perhaps the biggest in the history of medical cannabis legalisation in Australia, and the coverage and stories in anticipation of this are few and far between, old or very thin on details or facts.  This is not surprising as miss information is intentional by some in this crazy time of medical cannabis legal reform. However the Bill has now been deferred at least a day until 11 August, but it goes like this.
  • Currently Cannabis is considered a poison in Australia and deemed as having no medical value by the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) as it schedules poisons and drugs to keep folks safe and is run by the Australia Government. Likewise, herbs such as mint and thyme are not considered poisons cannot be patented so also are not in the TGA.
  • For Cannabis to be legalised there are only 2 choices, change or amend but work within the TGA, or bypass the TGA altogether.
  • Any Bills, laws, trials tests, initiatives, or research looking to provide medical cannabis (or extracts, or synthesis) have to adhere to one of those 2 scenarios, each with a major impact on the resulting framework of legalisation.
  • Last year a group of Australia Senators lead by now Greens leader Richard Ni Natalie introduced a new cross party bill called the Regulator Cannabis Bill 2014 (I call it the weed czar bill). In respect to the TGA it looks to bypass it stating that ‘Cannabis is not a poison, has no place in the TGA as it is ‘natural’
  • Due to the complicated nature of passing a bill in Australia there are various stages, (see picture below). This is a private members Senator bill so takes low priority in the Senate. The 1st reading has taken place already, today after 14:-00 the formal report into the Bill will be handed in (tabled) with little discussion expected.
  • Early in 2015, submissions were taken in respect to the RCB. It saw individuals, groups, politicians, universities, pharmaceutical companies etc. all offer opinions on why the Bill should or should not pass. The majority of the responses were quite favorable with very little opposition. The link to all those submissions is here http://bit.ly/RCB-subs

 

 

Short Overview of the RC Bill Itself

This Bill establishes a Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis (the Regulator).

The Regulator will be responsible for formulating rules for licensing the production, manufacture, supply, use, experimental use and import and export of medicinal cannabis. The Regulator has powers to monitor compliance with this Bill and also to investigate breaches. A number of provisions of the Bill make it clear that the TGA does not apply to things done in accordance with licences or authorisations issued by the new Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis. However, this would not prevent pharmaceutical companies applying to the Therapeutic Goods Administration to sell medicinal cannabis instead of using the scheme established by this Bill. They will effectively have a choice about which system to use (although the cultivation of medicinal cannabis will only be covered by this Bill).

In the bill Cannabis actually IS discussed as Cannabis not a pharmaceutical extract, or synthesis of Cannabis, those per above are covered also.

The Bill Addresses the Framework Only – The Regulator does the rest.

  • Being that the bill itself addresses the appointing of the Regulator and the framework of that role, it specifically does not look to address some other very important details leaving to the Regulator or is outside the scope of this Bill.

Distribution – To be addressed by the regulator

  • Will cannabis come from local Australia growers, or be imported
  • Will cannabis be sold in pharmacies (so with very little choice of product) or via a USA dispensary type model, allowing free enterprise, taxation, and more choice.

What ailments are covered and who decides who gets Cannabis? – To be addressed by the regulator

Decriminalisation – To be addressed by separate legislation

  • Not addressed in the framework of the Bill so the Greens have suggested separate legislation to address this preferring decriminalisation to legalisation.

 

Competing Bills That Might Impact on the RC Bill

  • Earlier this year in Victoria, the Premier for Victorian Daniel Andrews issued a mandate to the VLRC (Victoria Law Review Commission) to make recommendations that would result in their own Bill with a promise action by end of 2015.
  • The VLRC initiative included an interesting framework document that it then set up discussions across mostly rural Victoria (attended by mostly people not local to those meetings). It now has gone national and includes work by the ALRC as well. T
  • he questions asked by the VLRC were various but mainly around how the VLRC would work within the TGA, and what Submissions were taken on this project that included many form inside and outside medical cannabis support groups and they are here. http://bit.ly/VLRC-subs . The actual VLRC paper is here http://bit.ly/VLRC-Actual . The final report on the VLRC is due by 1 September 2015 with a bill promised thereafter.
  • The VLRC goes National –
    It was reported that as expected by the VLRC the (Victoria Only) suggestions are now going to the ALRC for national considerations. This might mean a rival Bill that might not be cross party may be written as well.

Difference between the VLRC/ALRC Potential Bills vs. The Regulator Bill 2014

  • Note: It is difficult to discuss a Bill that has not been debated or addressed by changes as a result of discussions (the RC Bill) with a Bill that has not even been written yet (The VLRC/ALRC) However, we have the RC Bill and we have the VLRC paper as a benchmark and many have had discussion on both.
  • The VLRC view is they must work within the scope of the TGA (see what that means above). The VLRC has said having exceptions on Cannabis in the TGA on a state by state basis is viewed as too controversial per the view of Labor Victoria (something that is already part of the TGA framework actually) so that is what I call a BS moment..
  • The RC Bill looks to offer much better blanket usage of Medical Cannabis, and covers real cannabis and pharmaceutical variants.
  • The VLRC looks to offer very little coverage of ailments perhaps limiting to;
  • End of life, (palliative care)
  • Child epilepsy,
  • Cancer and maybe
  • Chronic pain. All of which might be treated with pharmaceutical cannabis (easier via the TGA)

Other Things to consider

  • Though the Australia Medical Association (AMA) has come out against the RC Bill, (see submissions link) they will likely support the VLRC bill, many others considered to be anti-cannabis have supported the RC Bill, as it allows use of Pharma cannabis to be considered.

What Next?

The RC Bill will make its way through Parliament, as it does the VLRC bill will likely show up in September. The next battle for legislation will be trying to keep Pharma out of it and calling BS as it appears.

comments welcome

AUSTRALIA (TGA) TAKES STEPS TO LEGALISE (PART OF) CANNABIS FROM JUNE 2015

8 April 2015
Loren W
Melbourne Australia

In Australia in order for cannabis to get re-legalized / have the prohibition removed, even for medicinal use, the TGA (therapeutic good administration) needs to be addressed. The TGA are the ones responsible for keeping Australians ‘safe’ from poisons and medicines. These are all addressed in ‘schedules’ based on the drugs/ poisons in question. Cannabis and Hemp (industrial hemp) have to date remained in schedule 9.

However on 19 March 2015 (just before the Easter breaks), the TGA de-scheduled one component of cannabis (CBD) from schedule 9 to schedule 4. See the paper HERE  This leaves room to obtain it (CBD) legally from June 2015. However, cannabis is made up of 483 compounds, and at least 85 cannabinoids, (CBD and THC are 2) and these all work together, when taken by humans it helps to medicate / balance our own endocannabinoid system. Also, when the CBD is taken in high doses (with the rest of the cannabinoids) in cannabis via oils like (RSO) Rick Simpson Oil the CBD level is higher but so is the THC, shown to successfully treat skin and internal cancers (and many other ailments such as seizures in epileptics, PTSD, etc), the oil takes time to build up resistance in humans if taken orally. Unfortunately CBD alone (like hemp seed oil) is a nice product the medicinal effects are much less active and able to treat far fewer ailments. It is easy to be cynical to say this does not go far enough, (it doesn’t) and will not help cancer patients (it won’t), or seizure in children (it won’t) but it does open the door, to arguments around medicinal use that law enforcement will unfortunately have to contend with, as part of cannabis (CBD) has been effectively  decriminalized. Extracting the THC whilst maintaining the CBD levels is not an easy process, so medicinal users will have an argument (yet to be tested in court) that they needed the CBD (sch. 4) but also the THC  (sch. 9) for the CBD to work.

Victoria – In Victoria submissions are due soon for a paper by the VLRC (Victoria Law Reform Commission) looking specifically at how making medicinal cannabis available for patients would work especially within the scope of the TGA especially in view of the recent amendments to the TGA. Public submissions are open and the paper his publically available HERE 

NSW- In NSW, testing has been promised from December 2014 yet failed to being) on medicinal cannabis but this testing will take 5 years, there is controversy there as well as the cannabis being used for testing purposes is believed to be from China, raising concerns over testing and pesticides as well as why Australian growers (some already licensed in Australia) were not used. There seems to be some confusing as the TGA in this case are the ones allowing the cannabis to be used but nothing else. It is unclear what the next steps are to even get the testing started. ACT– the ACT is currently looking to be the sole provider of medical cannabis in Australia (much like Tasmania is for opiates) and in the meantime looking of the NSW trials. QLD- dealing with deaths of people taking fake cannabis are also looking to some movement of the NSW trials. Commonwealth – With 2 cannabis companies already on the ASX the commonwealth is being courted to relax some policies, so these and other pharmaceutical companies can access the Australia population sometimes exclusively and even (or especially)  if cannabis remains illegal.

Embassy Headlines, Issue 146

2015 April 10

Dealing in Health [Parasite]

There is an industry built on your health that is an attractive investment for the dealers in pharmaceuticals and insurance.

Mixing your health with business investment may be good in principle but it creates an opportunity to profit on the basic fear of being unable to live within your means due to your poor health. Either way you will pay.

Home grown health insurance provides peace of mind for the whole family.

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.


Chopper cannabis raids destroy life-saving medicine [EchoNet Daily]

Good on you Michael Balderstone from the HEMP Embassy for exposing the decades-long police exaggeration of the results of the cannabis-eradication helicopter raids in the northern rivers. As if any cannabis plant growing will turn out to be a heavy headed female, not eaten or stolen by animals. The helicopter raids have just destroyed potential medicine for epileptic kids, pain sufferers and all kind of cancer victims etc. The three medicinal workshops in Nimbin this year have been so well attended.


Medicinal Cannabis – Issues Paper [Victorian Law Reform Comission]

The Victorian Government has asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission to review and report on options for legislative change to allow people to be treated with medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances. The scope of the review is determined by the terms of reference provided by the Attorney-General, the Hon Martin Pakula MP, on 19 December 2014. The Commission has not been asked whether cannabis should be legalised for recreational purposes. The Commission has released an issues paper that provides background information about the benefits and risks of using cannabis for medicinal purposes, the experience of other countries that allow people to use it, and the interconnecting Commonwealth and Victorian laws that could be affected if Victoria introduces its own scheme.


Man Who Grows Marijuana Illegally To Help Sick People: ‘I Will Keep Doing It’ [Inquisitr]

A man from the NSW Central Coast near Sydney, Australia, who is illegally growing marijuana which he supplies to people with anything from cancer to epilepsy, said he will “keep going it” despite the risk he runs of prison time. “What is wrong with growing something that is helping people, we have a team of 15 growers, who supply those who cannot. It’s not about making money,” he said, “yes, I grow it but more importantly, I help set up people to help themselves.”


‘Conservative warlord’ Barry O’Sullivan backs medical cannabis [Sydney Morning Herald]

Self-described “conservative warlord” and Coalition Senator Barry O’Sullivan has thrown his support behind a push to legalise medical cannabis, and expressed confidence Federal Parliament would support the reform. Mr O’Sullivan, a former drug squad detective, said his “mind had opened up considerably” over the course of a Senate inquiry on proposals drafted by Greens Senator Richard Di Natale. Senator Di Natale’s bill would create an independent body of experts, the Office of Medicinal Cannabis, which would license commercial growers and determine how cannabis could be prescribed and dispensed.


A fresh outlook needed on ice [The Australian]

The ice problem could be reduced if we took seriously the task of reducing our growing inequality of access to wealth and resources. Poverty is an important risk factor in people turning to drugs. There are things we can do to reduce our ice problem. But these entail the community insisting politicians understand the need for a fresh and realistic look at the unacceptable costs of prohibition.


Alcohol a bigger problem than ice, says Jeff Kennett [Sydney Morning Herald]

Kennett and Wodak are spot on here, and have obviously made a dispassionate and rational case considering the statistics. Alcohol is by far the most dangerous drug, and education, as is the case with all drugs, is the key to reducing the harms it causes.


Australia’s drug policy led the world 30 years ago. Now politics holds us back [The Guardian]

On the 30th anniversary of a drug summit that led to the adoption of harm minimisation in drug policy, it’s disconcerting to note that this field is now more politicised than ever. Three decades after the drug summit we can be grateful for what was achieved. But with almost every family in Australia touched by someone with a serious alcohol or drug problem, there is an urgent need to revitalise the national policy making approach. The drinks industry is still powerful enough to be able to overcome almost every attempt to reduce alcohol’s national toll. The economics of the illicit drug market ensures steady expansion with new and more dangerous products. Meanwhile the politics of illicit drugs ensures that dysfunctional policies continue, overly focused on law enforcement accompanied by a languishing drug treatments system.


Marijuana Legalization Efforts in California Unify for 2016 [EIN Presswire]

Americans For Policy Reform (AFPR), the group behind the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2016 (MCLR), is pleased to announce a collaboration with the cannabis freedom lawyers behind the California Artisan Cannabis Initiative, constitutional and criminal defense attorneys Omar Figueroa and Heather L. Burke. “AFPR has been working hard to bring people together for 2016,” said the group’s director, John Lee. “We know the key to success in advocacy is group unity. The last thing we need is a repeat of Prop 19.” MCLR was developed in 2014 as the first “open-source” method for advocates and experts everywhere to contribute directly to the language of California’s marijuana legalization law. Thousands contributed to the first draft of the initiative. The draft was then “cleaned up” and formatted by the law firm of Churchwell White LLP, known for its focus on sound public policy. The MCLR team then worked with the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) for several months to ensure the language would have the intended interpretation.


Mature debate on cannabis use is long overdue [Belfast Telegraph]

Actuaries are not normally considered cool. The image is more of desiccated calculating machines – analysing risks, estimating losses, setting the levels of insurance payments. Which makes it all the more remarkable that the latest edition of Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries, carries an accurate and insightful article on cannabis. The magazine is concerned to correct a misunderstanding. It seems that many US actuaries dealing with life insurance have been assuming that the risk factors associated with tobacco and cannabis are broadly similar. Not so, says the official magazine of their profession, definitively. “Recreational marijuana users enjoy better physical fitness and get more exercise than non-users” and “have even been shown to have higher IQs… The tide is turning. Life underwriters would be wise to be at the front end of this curve, and not stubbornly digging in their heels to the detriment of their products.” These basic facts are reasonably well-known, if rarely acknowledged by anyone in a position to effect change. There is no evidence from any art or part of the world that cannabis is as dangerous as alcohol or cigarettes, products which the authorities are patting themselves on the back for discouraging but which are widely, legally available. Anybody out there who imbibes the occasional glass of wine or swallows a pint on a regular basis or smokes a rollie now and again is taking a bigger risk with their health than a regular cannabis user. Fact.


Egypt to Legalise Hash To Balance Budget? [Cairo Scene]

Spreading like wildfire across the news this morning is a statement by the Chairman of Cigarette Dealers Association, suggesting the legalisation of hash in Egypt. Egyptians are finally waking up to the realisation that Egypt would benefit from the legalisation of the use and trade of hash. Spreading virally online this morning is a statement made by the Chairman of the Cigarette Dealers Association in Cairo and Giza, Osama Salama, who believes that the legalisation would be a fast and effective way to reduce the state budget deficit within a few years.According to Al-Masry Al Youm, Salama claims, “The government spends LE 1 billion every year to fight it, only managing to uncover around 15 percent of the total traded amount.” Furthermore the illegal trading of hashish amounts to LE 42 billion annually, constituting 2.5% of the national income. Salama suggests a 10% tax on hash that will increase to 50% percent over 10 years. As it stands there are several scientific reports that provide evidence that there are health benefits associated with marijuana and its concentrated derivative hash, which is often used as a form of treatment for cancer patients struggling with chemotherapy. At the same time countries who have legalised marijuana have generated millions in state revenue, and if Egypt followed suit it would be able to combat the hash market monopoly held by countries like Afghanistan, Morocco, and Lebanon.


Discover Himalaya’s Outlawed Marijuana Fields [Time]

Nestled in the Himalayan foothills at an altitude of 10,000 ft. (3,000 m), entire villages and communities subsist on illegal marijuana production. These villages are far from any paved roads and are so remote that distances are measured in hours of walking. Across thousands of acres of public and private land, villagers grow cannabis which is then turned into a high-quality resin know as charas. “On the global market, charas is sold as a high quality hashish,” says Italian photographer Andrea de Franciscis, who has been documenting these communities for the past three years. “The farmers who produce the costly resin get very little in return and struggle to survive against always tougher legislation.”


Drugs squad accidentally gets locals high while burning marijuana mountain [Telegraph UK]

An Indonesian police force might want to rethink its drugs disposal policy after accidentally helping residents of one district get high as kite. Destroying tonnes of marijuana in a big bonfire proved to be as reckless as it sounds as those witnessing the event started inhaling the fumes. Journalists and locals began feeling dizzy as police officers, who were wearing masks, destroyed tonnes of marijuana stacked up in a field. The fumes drifted into homes located near to the police station in West Jakarta, Indonesian news website kompas.com reports. “I got a headache because I wasn’t wearing a mask,” said one journalist.


Is marijuana a gateway drug? [The Economist]

It will be years before the full effects of legalisation are known—after all, an academic debate continues about the impact of the prohibition on alcohol in the 1920s and 30s. But the bigger picture suggests that there is little reason to panic. In the past few years, the number of monthly marijuana users in America has steadily risen, from 14.4m in 2007 to 18.9m in 2012. If marijuana were a gateway to harder drugs, one might expect those drugs to become more popular too. Yet during the same period, consumption of most other substances actually fell. The number of monthly cocaine users dipped from 2.1m to 1.7m and the number of people using methamphetamine (“crystal meth”) fell from 530,000 to 440,000. Heroin use has been going up, but the gateway drug there seems to be prescription painkillers. Mr Christie’s worries are misplaced.


Common cholesterol drug stimulates the same receptors as marijuana [Science Daily]

If you want the benefits of medical marijuana without the ‘unwanted side effects’ of cannabis, new research should leave you on a high note. According to a research, fenofibrate, also known by the brand name Tricor, may benefit a wide range of health issues, such as pain, appetite stimulation, nausea, as well as immune and various psychiatric and neurological conditions.


Can Weed Really Help Addicts Recover from Alcoholism and Hard Drug Use? [Vice]

Weed is having something of a moment. It seems all of my friends who used to spend their weekends drowning themselves at the bar have given up the bottle for the kush. And although the renaissance may have started out west, it’s rapidly spreading to the east coast. Jersey already has a medical marijuana program, and New York just releasedregulations for its own slated to start next year. With pot’s rising popularity, many people are wondering if we will see a corresponding decline in binge drinking and hard drug use. A study published last fall in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that states with legal medical marijuana had a 25 percent reduction in opiate overdose deaths. As a strong proponent of alternative recovery methods, I was eager to investigate. The internet is rife with blog posts andmessage boards about those who benefit from marijuana as an alternative to alcohol, or credit medical cannabis in their recovery from hard drugs and alcoholism. But despite legalization becoming an increasingly mainstream idea, stigmas have stuck around, and saying you’re getting clean by toking up can catch people off guard as much as announcing you’ve gotten sober through Satanism. To learn more about weed’s use in recovery I spoke with Amanda Reiman, PhD MSW, author of the 2009 study “Cannabis as a Substitute for Alcohol and Other Drugs” in Harm Reduction Journal and manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance. After completing fellowships with the National Institute for Health, Reiman now continues her research on the effectiveness of pot as a replacement for hard drugs and alcohol.


There’s Good News for Couples Who Smoke Weed Together [Connections Mic]

Teens in their parents’ basements, gaggles of friends at music festivals, the stressed-out worker alone in their apartment — smoking weed has now extended to seemingly limitless environments, as the drug gains more and more acceptance and takes on an added sheen of medicinal respectability. But marijuana’s increasingly widespread use isn’t limited to solo acts. Turns out that partners who are both inclined to light up may find weed brings with it several relationship benefits. While companies race to find the next Viagra and singles turn to alcohol to act as a social lubricant, the ideal substance to help our connections along might be sitting right in front of us. Here’s why.


Hemp Based Batteries Could Change The Way We Store Energy Forever [Hemp for Future]

David Mitlin, Ph.D., explains that supercapacitors are energy storage devices that have huge potential to transform the way future electronics are powered. Unlike today’s rechargeable batteries, which sip up energy over several hours, supercapacitors can charge and discharge within seconds. But they normally can’t store nearly as much energy as batteries, an important property known as energy density. One approach researchers are taking to boost supercapacitors’ energy density is to design better electrodes. Mitlin’s team has figured out how to make them from certain hemp fibers — and they can hold as much energy as the current top contender: graphene. “Our device’s electrochemical performance is on par with or better than graphene-based devices,” Mitlin says. “The key advantage is that our electrodes are made from biowaste using a simple process, and therefore, are much cheaper than graphene.” The race toward the ideal supercapacitor has largely focused on graphene — a strong, light material made of atom-thick layers of carbon, which when stacked, can be made into electrodes. Scientists are investigating how they can take advantage of graphene’s unique properties to build better solar cells, water filtration systems, touch-screen technology, as well as batteries and supercapacitors. The problem is it’s expensive.


Government Declares Ice Most Dangerous Drug That Isn’t Alcohol [SBS Backburner]

The federal government has launched a new task force to counter the population health effects of methamphetamine addiction, which it says is the most dangerous drug apart from “good old-fashioned grog.” Truckies across the country have come forward to comment on the task force, noting that if delivery truck drivers didn’t use methamphetamine Australia would suffer a shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables. “How do you think all those healthy greens get to the friggen supermarket?” asked one frustrated driver. “It’s hardworking meth heads like me, driving them around at all hours so your precious kids can get their eight servings a day. “Getting rid of ice might lower one disease burden, but just you wait til this nation’s sleepy truckers get slack on hauling apples and broccoli. Scurvy’s gonna go through the bloody roof.”