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Thousands of pounds worth of cannabis wash up on a British beach


By Keiligh Baker | February 17th, 2017

Look at all this seaweed!

  • Pictures show thousands of pounds worth of cannabis washed up on a beach
  • Haul was spotted by dog walker when carrier bags full of the plants came ashore
  • The Border Force crew said they did not think the cannabis had been imported

Thousands of pounds worth of cannabis plants have been discovered washed up on a popular British beach. The haul was spotted by a dog walker who called police after several carrier bags full of the plants came ashore in the tide at Slapton Sands in Devon. Twelve members of the Coastguard Search and Rescue Team and four police officers attended the scene around 10.30am on Wednesday morning.

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The haul (pictured) was spotted by a dog walker who called police after several carrier bags full of the plants came ashore in the tide at Slapton Sands in Devon. Estimates say the cannabis discovered on Wednesday was worth ‘several thousand pounds.’

A Border Force craft was seen patrolling along the coastline as police and coastguard officers combed the beach looking for further plants. Buds were still attached and officers suspect that they were dumped in a hurry Around five full carrier bags were located around the centre of the beach.

One officer said he suspected that plants had been home grown and had been dumped on the outgoing tide, only to resurface when the tide came back in.

The Border Force crew said they did not think the cannabis had been imported.

The National Crime Agency said a number of holdalls were found at Hopton-on-Sea and a ‘small number of packages’ were discovered at Caister-on-Sea on Friday.  Both locations are near Great Yarmouth.

Matthew Rivers, from the NCA´s border investigation team, said: ‘We are now working with Border Force, the Coastguard Agency and Norfolk Police to try and establish how the bags ended up where they did; however, it is extremely unlikely that this was their intended destination.

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It comes a week after cocaine with a street value of £50m was discovered on a Norfolk beach

‘This is obviously a substantial seizure of class A drugs, and its loss will represent a major blow to the organized criminals involved.’

A member of the public had alerted Norfolk Police to the holdalls at Hopton-on-Sea, and the separate find at a location near Caister-on-Sea forms part of the NCA investigation.

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Japanese Province Moves to Ban Cultivation of All Cannabis


 The Japan Times |

Tottori moves to ban cultivation of all cannabis, including hemp

The Tottori Prefectural Assembly approved a revision Monday to a drug control ordinance to place a complete ban on growing cannabis, including hemp for industrial use.

The move followed the arrests in October of the president and two employees of a hemp processing company on suspicion of marijuana possession. The company was licensed by the prefecture to process hemp. This was the first case in Japan in which workers at a licensed firm were arrested for alleged violation of the cannabis control law.

The company in the town of Chizu had been allowed to grow hemp, a variety of cannabis that contains negligible quantities of psychoactive components. In a program to revitalize the town, hemp is being raised for use in other products and for industrial use, as hemp fibers are known to be strong.

Under the revised ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the assembly and will be enforced within the year, the prefecture will no longer issue the license to any company.

Gov. Shinji Hirai, who earlier called a complete ban on cannabis growers the “ultimate way” to prevent a recurrence, told reporters Monday that the prefecture will “promote efforts to prevent drug abuse.”

 

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Medicinal cannabis crops now legal in Australia


Associated  Australian Press | October 30th, 2016

Australia will now allow medical cannabis growers to apply for licenses

Health minister Sussan Ley says changes to law give patients and doctors access to a safe, reliable and legal source of cannabis for medicinal use.

Budding cannabis producers can now apply for a licence to legally grow the crop in Australia, for medicinal use only.

World Cannabis News, medical cannabis

Changes to Australian law mean while recreational cannabis use is not decriminalized, producers can now apply for a licence to legally grow the crop for strictly medicinal purposes.

The Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016, which came into effect on Sunday, allows businesses to apply for a licence to cultivate cannabis or manufacture cannabis products for medicinal purposes, or to conduct related research.

The health minister, Sussan Ley, said the changes would give patients and doctors access to a safe, reliable and legal source of cannabis for medicinal use.

“Until now, it has been difficult for patients to access medicinal cannabis products from overseas sources,” Ley said in a statement on Sunday.

“These new laws change that situation by providing for a domestic supply of medicinal cannabis products that are not readily available for import.”

She stressed the changes do not decriminalize recreational cannabis use.

Licence applicants must pass a security test and meet strict requirements, and individual states and territories will still decide who can use medicinal cannabis.

 

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Cannabis Saved Our Granddaughter’s Life, so we Donated 33 Million to Research


Would you be prepared to break the law to save your child’s life?

That’s just what happened to the Lambert family from Sydney Australia, who decided to give Katelyn, then just a baby, a cannabis extract.

“Who do you love more than your children?  – your grandchildren,” says Joy Lambert, Katelyn’s grandmother. “So at 67 I  decided I could be civilly disobedient and just do what was right for the children with epilepsy. That’s how I see it.”

A Bleak Future for little Katelyn

Katelyn, now 4, was born with a rare genetic disorder called Dravet Syndrome, which at its worst saw her fitting over a thousand times a day. Starting when she was just 6 months old, Katelyn’s future looked bleak; despite taking a cocktail of antiepileptic medication, her seizures continued unabated, damaging her brain and mental function.
After a particularly harrowing two-and-a-half-hour seizure that saw Katelyn helicoptered to a specialist hospital, the family decided to look for alternative treatments. And before long Katelyn’s father Michael came across the CNN documentary about fellow Dravet sufferer Charlotte Fiji who, after taking high CBD/ low THC cannabis oil, had experienced an almost unthinkable improvement in her condition.
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In this Feb. 7, 2014 photo, Matt Figi hugs and tickles his once severely-ill 7-year-old as they wander around inside a greenhouse for a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web, which was named after the girl early in her treatment, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. A few years ago, Charlotte’s doctors were out of ideas to help her. Suffering from a rare disorder known as Dravet’s syndrome, Charlotte had as many as 300 grand mal seizures a week, was confined to a wheelchair, went into repeated cardiac arrest and could barely speak. Now Charlotte is largely seizure-free, able to walk, talk and feed herself, with her parents attributing her dramatic improvement to this strain of medical cannabis. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

 
CBD, otherwise known as Cannabidiol, is one of over 100 compounds in the cannabis plant called Cannabinoids and has proven to have particular efficacy in cases of childhood epilepsy.

Could Cannabidiol Be the Answer to Katelyn’s Seizures?

Spurred on by Charlotte’s improvement, Michael took to the internet, eventually ordering CBD Hemp extract from Danish company Endoca. The change was immediate.
 
“Katelyn has not had a seizure in a year,” says Joy, “and that is miraculous for Dravet Syndrome. It is untreatable by normal medicines.”  
 
“I’ve seen such a difference since she’s been on the CBD,” Joy goes on. “She’s happier, she’s more alert, she goes to preschool. We don’t fear when she’s there that she’ll have six seizures through that day, so we’re very happy with that. It’s a little step, but we’ve got to be grateful for that. She’s alive.”
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Couple donates 33.7 million to help research cannabis treatments.

Lamberts Donate $33.7 Million to Cannabis Research

This would be just another ‘medical cannabis miracle cure’ story if it weren’t for the fact that Barry Lambert, Katelyn’s grandfather, is a multimillionaire. Neither he nor wife Joy had ever smoked a joint in their lives, but they were so amazed by Katelyn’s improvement that they decided to donate $33.7 million to medical cannabis research.
 
The result? The Lambert Initiative at Sydney University, which ‘will explore the potential of compounds derived from the cannabis plant (cannabinoids) in treating a range of diseases.’
 
“Now there is a lot of anecdotal evidence around the world for the benefits of CBD for kids with seizures but there are also possible benefits for a whole range of diseases and that’s what the research is aimed at, not just epilepsy,” says Barry. “So hopefully before long we’ll hear how cannabinoids from medical cannabis can assist a range of medical conditions.”
 
The Lamberts hope that their unprecedented donation could be a real game changer in the world of medical cannabis research, especially at a time when, at least in Australia, the laws are changing to permit the use of cannabis for certain medical conditions.
“I think there’s a lot riding on this Sydney University research,” says Barry. “And hopefully the scientists will prove what we believe to be true beyond doubt. I think the cannabis plant will be proven to be the wonder plant of this century. I know it’s been around for previous centuries, but I think scientists will discover what a wonderful plant it is and it will be of great benefit to mankind.”
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New Zealand’s Weed Baking Grandmother talks about ACTIVISIM


By Laetitia Laubscher, September 22, 2016

New Zealand’s Weed Baking Grandmother Talks About the Stress of Marijuana Activism

Mrs J is a 50-year-old grandmother and one of the founders of marijuana activism in New Zealand. She’s been a primary school teacher, a drug and alcohol counsellor, and ran a clandestine marijuana café in West Auckland for three years. Police busted her High Tea Cafe in 2014 and she ended up with seven months home detention for cannabis possession. Now free of her ankle monitor, J hasn’t given up her crusade. She runs a weed baking delivery business, M’edibles, from her home in a small town a few hours drive from Auckland.

With freshly baked biscuits on the counter, we sat down with J to talk about her years of activism, the trick to running an illicit cafe, her new cookie venture and why the political mood towards cannabis use is changing.

Before baking with weed you have to decarboxylate it to release its psychoactive properties. If you don’t decarb the marijuana first your body can not effectively metabolize the psychoactive cannabinoids.

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Infused cannabis cookies

 

Reporter: Hi J. How did you get into cannabis?
J: Really early on I was involved in music and selling records in Christchurch, and I just preferred to smoke [rather than drink]. I preferred the way I felt. I discovered cannabis at 17 and I was going to bars to see bands. I wasn’t a groupie, but I wanted to be a part of that music scene—so I sold weed.

How has life as a decades-long marijuana activist been for you?
I think we [activists] live with post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s very, very hard to not lose your shit. If you’re fearful of going to jail, if you’re fearful of having police coming around and tip your place over again looking for more pot. I think all the activists have come from a background where they’re willing to take a bigger risk than people who may be employed and quite safe within their job and their income bracket.

If you look at most of the activists in New Zealand, it’s been done by people who’ve been arrested and seen the unfairness in New Zealand and who are compelled to not go away and say “Hey, I’m going to keep fighting this until it changes”.

Butter. The best part.

 

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Making infused butter to bake cookies

What do you think about the recent NZ Drug Foundation poll which said that 65% of New Zealanders favoured (at minimum) the decriminalisation of cannabis?
Well, there are a lot more cannabis smokers than there are police. We don’t have to listen to them, they have to start listening to us. Having a few plants and growing your own isn’t actually a major crime and they have to get their heads around the fact that we’re not hurting people.

Why do you think there’s been this tangible change in public opinion?
Two women have really brought it about —Rose Renton, her son dying—which is the ultimate sacrifice. And then Helen Kelly, she’s dying and she’s had the balls to say I’m dying, I’ve got cancer all over me I’ve got tumours breaking out of my back so I use cannabis. The men, Martin Crowe and [Paul] Holmes, they wait till they’re dead [before anyone finds out].

Any great recipe will do.

weed infused pot cookies baking grandmother new zealand World Cannabis News

 

Why did you start the High Tea Cafe?
We haven’t got any alcohol-free venues to go to. If you go out in the evening, it’s alcohol. You don’t have a choice. I mean, you don’t have to buy it, but you don’t have any cafes, they all close at four. I thought it was needed, somewhere upmarket, nice and inclusive of women, where people can hang out and drink a coffee, a soft drink—I sold loads of soft drinks—and have a cookie.

How did you keep it running for three years?
I didn’t advertise it as selling cannabis, I said it was an adult, alcohol-free bar, and I was only open very short hours. It was also an industrial area and it was word-of-mouth.

When did you get busted?
The first time the cafe got busted was in 2011, I think, and they only found 18 grams so they couldn’t prove any commercial operation. And then just bang on two years later I got done again, off the premises. I could have appealed the conviction. I was at another’s person address when they found weed at the [High Tea Cafe]. So had I said, “This isn’t my address, none of this shit’s mine. How do I know it hadn’t been planted in the cafe?” But the police wouldn’t give me bail and I’m not going to sit in a cell for three weeks, I’m not. [So I took the deal.]

How did you keep it running after the first bust?
Once I had been busted, we tried not to stop so we would do really sneaky things like tell people to go to the cafe and buy a ticket and then go somewhere else to pick up your pot. There was a really good, trusting relationship where people would hand over a $50 and know that you were down at the park. And they’d come join us and hand over a ticket or ten, and they’d get that many baggies. I didn’t want anyone to get arrested at my café.

So since you’ve gotten off home detention for the cafe you now you run your own marijuana cookie business. How do you make your cookies?
I take [the dry leaf] through a decarb process and when it’s dry I make the butter and then I use the [cannabis] butter to bake the cookies. I try not to make it too green so it’s all strained out. And then I package up the cookies very discreetly and ship them off.

“For sleep and relaxation.”

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How picky are you with your clients? Do you just send it to people you know or those with medical needs or…?
Nope. Anybody who asks for cookies gets sent some for free. And if they get benefit, they can pay for them. I’m not here to make money. I’m covering my costs—I have to buy the stuff—$100 to $150 will get me up to a pound of dry leaf product.

Do you miss running the High Tea Cafe?
Yeah, but all good things come to an end. It was going to have to have this happen – all three [cannabis] clubs are closed. But it was good, I had an income. I wasn’t on the benefit. I paid tax. I set up a company. I didn’t do anything that was unlawful except sell pot. The rest of my business was completely legitimate. So yeah, I do miss it, but I put my family through a fair amount of stress, which I regret. So now I’ve got a little business making cookies.

“Too many people are being fucked over, so I won’t stop.”

 

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You’ve said before that your marijuana activism has affected you personally and has affected your professional opportunities. Do you wish you had done anything differently?
There are too many people being fucked over, so I won’t stop. I’m proud of what I’m doing. The only person who I know who was a cannabis user and is dead now, it wasn’t because of cannabis but because he got so harassed by the police that he hung himself.

To be a cannabis activist you have to be quite staunch and it’s something where you do think, “Ah, I should really stop doing this.” But then I think, “If I don’t, then who will? I’ve spent 20 years getting this far. And we are close.

Do you think if cannabis was legalised in New Zealand that people would just misuse it and create the same culture we have around alcohol?
No, I don’t think they’d misuse it because it’s not a substance like alcohol. Basically, if you have too much pot you just fall asleep, you don’t become too aggressive or violent.

I think if we woke up tomorrow and cannabis was legal, there would be a huge amount of people putting their hands up towards the Ministry of Health wanting to make a resource about what safe use is. There’s no information for young people. When you talk about cannabis it seems to always involve sniggering and Snoop Dogg. You can’t have that conversation about why people smoke cannabis.

 

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Marijuana campaigner makes ‘history’ getting past Auckland Airport customs


Stuff Article, August 21 2016

Golden Bay woman Rebecca Reider has made history bringing the first legal raw cannabis flower into New Zealand, medical marijuana campaigners say.

A woman is claiming victory after bringing a bag of cannabis through customs at Auckland Airport – without so much as a raised eyebrow. Rather than concealing the drug supply, Rebecca Reider said she happily showed off her haul of one ounce of medicinal marijuana, which has now been hailed by cannabis campaigners as an historic precedent.

Reider, a Californian-born Nelson resident, said she was excited to be the first person to legally bring raw cannabis flower into New Zealand.
Rebecca Reider was cleared of all charges at the Nelson District Court in March 2016 relating to the importation of marijuana.

Rebecca Reider was cleared of all charges at the Nelson District Court in March 2016 relating to the importation of a medicinal marijuana product. “We’ve made history,” she said. I’m the first person to possess marijuana in its natural form since the Misuse of Drugs Act was passed. It’s huge.”

“It’s long overdue. It’s one small step on the road to a compassionate medical system here. I’m going to keep fighting for everyone else to have access because I realise not everyone can hop on a plane overseas.”

The cannabis flower and cannabis oil was prescribed to her by a doctor in Hawaii for her chronic pain, she said. She had hatched the plan months earlier and described it as a “relief” to get back through customs on Friday without incident. “It was all very straightforward,” she said.

Legally people are allowed to bring medicinal marijuana into New Zealand. The “loophole” law means anyone entering the country can lawfully carry with them a one-month supply of medicinal cannabis or cannabis-related product, as long as it was legally prescribed by a medical practitioner overseas.

Reider said her next step was working with others to set up a how-to guide for others going overseas to get prescription cannabis.

“We’ve got to keep fighting for a right to access it. Our ultimate goal is to make it legal and accessible right here on New Zealand soil for everyone who can benefit from it.”

Activist and documentary maker Arik Reiss posted photos of Reider getting through customs in a wheelchair, smiling and holding a jar full of cannabis.

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Reiss described it as “a huge victory for patients and progress as a whole for NZ”.

The head of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml) Chris Fowlie said the situation could help pave the way for more Kiwis to bring legal cannabis into the country.Fowlie said he was impressed that Reider took a stand on the issue.”This is the first time that someone has done it in an open upfront way,” he said.

“I’m sure others have brought the cannabis with them… I think it was very brave of Rebecca. Good on her. And good on Customs for not being dicks over it.”Associate Health Minster Peter Dunne said in March this year that it was “potentially possible” to bring a medicinal cannabis product prescribed overseas for their own use for a maximum of one month, without repeat.

He said he had no intention to change that “loophole”.”That has been in the law for over 40 years, and applies to all medicinal products, not just cannabis related products,” he said.Dunne said any importation of a cannabis-related product would be subject to border control requirements but that it will not be possible to bring in raw cannabis as it is prohibited by law.

Reider, 37, appeared in Nelson District Court in March facing criminal charges including importing medicinal cannabis products and another five charges relating to possession. However she was cleared of all six charges and received a discharge without conviction. Reider said at the time she was hugely relieved, and said it felt like a significant win for the right to medicinal cannabis

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Medical marijuana to be widely available as GPs are given permission to prescribe cannabis in NSW


By Sinead Maclaughlin July 31st

Patients in New South Wales can be legally prescribed medicinal cannabis by doctors thanks to regulations coming into effect on Monday.

Cannabis-based medicines have so far only been available to patients enrolled in clinical trials in NSW, but Premier Mike Baird said with regulatory changes the drugs could be prescribed for patients who have exhausted standard treatment options.

‘People who are seriously ill should be able to access these medicines if they are the most appropriate next step in their treatment,’ Mr Baird said on Sunday.

Patients in NSW can be legally prescribed medicinal cannabis by doctors thanks to regulations coming into effect on Monday

Patients in NSW can be legally prescribed medicinal cannabis by doctors thanks to regulations coming into effect on Monday

The Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Amendment Regulation 2016 will take effect on Monday.

However, even with the regulation doctors will have get approval from NSW Health to prescribe cannabis-based products not on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, the Daily Telegraph reports.

‘This change increases the options available for doctors as it means a broader range of cannabis-based medicines can be prescribed — while we continue our evidence-based research looking further into the role medicinal cannabis can play,’ Mr Baird said.

It’s hoped the regulation will prevent patients from turning to the black market or breaking the law to access cannabis-based medicine.

NSW will be regulating cannabis-based medicines the same way as any other emerging medicine, Medical Research Minister Pru Goward said.

‘There is still a lot to learn about safety and efficacy for different patient conditions and groups, which is why we are investing $21 million to further world-leading … research.’

Ms Goward added that patients wishing to use cannabis products for their health would have to speak with their doctor.

Premier Mike Baird (pictured) said with regulatory changes medicinal cannabis could be prescribed for patients who have exhausted standard treatment options

Premier Mike Baird (pictured) said with regulatory changes medicinal cannabis could be prescribed for patients who have exhausted standard treatment options

It's hoped the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Amendment Regulation will prevent patients from turning to the black market or breaking the law to access cannabis-based medicine

It’s hoped the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Amendment Regulation will prevent patients from turning to the black market or breaking the law to access cannabis-based medicine

Earlier this year, about 330 people in NSW took part in a clinical trial, testing medicinal cannabis for chemotherapy patients.

Premier Mike Baird said the drug, a cannabis tablet manufactured by Canadian company Tilray, was only for people suffering nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, the ABC reported.

‘Our hope is as it is proven, we have a position where this will be available to whoever needs it,’ the Premier said.

‘I think all of us who know people who are in the battle for their lives, to have some form of relief to give them strength, to give them energy, to stare down cancer and to take it on – well, that’s what this is all about.’

The trial, which was announced in February, was the third of its kind in NSW – the other two were for terminally ill patients and children suffering from severe epilepsy.

Earlier this year, about 330 people in NSW took part in a clinical trial, testing medicinal cannabis for chemotherapy patients.

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Should we decriminalize cannabis?


Otago Daily Times Thu, 21 Jul 2016

A 2013 document released by the New Zealand Treasury seems to show that the country could generate almost Half a billion in new financial revenue with cannabis legalization, as well as ease pressures on the criminal justice system.

Pat Brittenden and David Loughrey look at a 2013 Treasury document that showed positive benefits to the country from decriminalizing cannabis.

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Cancer patient faces financial ruin for growing cannabis crop


A former minister in the Keating government has thrown his political weight behind a cancer patient who faces losing his home after being declared a drug trafficker over a homegrown cannabis crop he used to ease his pain.

Warren Burns, 69, is preparing for a court hearing about the confiscation of three properties in between chemotherapy treatments.

But despite his chronic illness, the former panel beater is vowing to fight the State’s intention to seize his assets — and has been joined in his battle by former assistant treasurer George Gear.

Warren Burns with his property due to be seized. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Mr Burns was last year found guilty by a District Court jury of possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply after police raids in late 2014 found 100.81 grams of cannabis, and 73 plants.

He did not deny the drugs and plants were his, but says they were never intended for sale.

He says he has been “self medicating” with cannabis for more than 20 years after experiencing chronic back pain, heart trouble and arthritis.

Under WA’s drug laws, having more than 20 plants makes you liable to be declared a trafficker — and the State’s property confiscation laws mean you automatically forfeit all your property to the State, even if legally acquired.

In Mr Burns’ case that includes properties in Meerup, Pemberton and Manjimup, which will leave him homeless and take away his planned legacy for his children.

“I found when I had a smoke, the pain would disappear and I was able to get up, go out and do some work,” Mr Burns said.

“The cannabis was to help me live some sort of life, not make me money — there is no drug money.”

Mr Burns was sentenced to 12 months jail by District Court judge Laurie Levy last year, who noted during sentencing “your primary motivation for cultivating cannabis was to deal with your pain”.

Warren Burns at his property at Meerup, near Northcliffe, which is to be confiscated. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West

Mr Gear, an old schoolmate of Mr Burns, has met Attorney-General Michael Mischin to advocate his friend’s plight.

“I would like to see the legislation changed, and an ex-gratia payment made to Warren which would give him back the real value of the money he used from his own account and his mother’s estate to make the purchases,” Mr Gear said.

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Multiple sclerosis sufferer gifted $1000 worth of Medicinal Cannabis


By Monday 20 Jun 2016

A multiple sclerosis sufferer has been gifted an extra month of medicinal cannabis treatment thanks to the generosity of a young couple from central Otago.

Peter and Ashleigh Brown spent more than a year battling for access to Sativex for their son, Riley, who was born with the rare congenital disorder Zellweger syndrome. Tragically, Riley died in April on the very day he was supposed to begin treatment, meaning they never found out whether it could have relieved his suffering.

Peter, Ashleigh and Riley Brown with Ashleigh’s parents, who paid for Riley’s Sativex medication Mother Ashleigh says it was a heart-breaking experience.

“It was just so gutting that 14 months of hard work trying to get it for Riley, and then the day he was going to start it was the day that we lost him.”

Since then they’ve had the unused medicine sitting in their fridge at home while they’ve pondered what to do with it. They agreed it didn’t seem right to let it go to waste.

“We could either take it back to the pharmacy for them to destroy it, but $1000 is a lot of money to just put down the drain, or we could pass it on to someone who also has a prescription for it,” says Ms Brown.

That lucky person turned out to be Dr Huhana Hickey, whom they met through charity group MC Awareness, which advocates for people struggling to get access to medicinal cannabis. Desperate families get behind marijuana charity

Dr Hickey suffers from constant pain, and has been in a wheelchair for 20 years. She’s one of the few Kiwis who have been granted access to Sativex, but that was only the beginning of a steep uphill battle.

“Getting the approval was easy,” she says. “The difficulty of getting access is how much it costs. It’s $1200 each month, and that’s an awful lot of money just for the average New Zealander.”

Dr Hickey is grateful for the Browns’ generosity.

“I’m coming up now to a point where I can’t afford to buy any more,” she says. “I’ve been buying for four months; that’s $4800 that I’ve forked out in medicine. So this is just going to make a huge difference.”

When asked if she’d consider accessing cannabis on the black market as many other chronic pain sufferers do, Dr Hickey replies that she’d rather not.

“I’ve thought about it, but I have my job. I would lose my credibility if I turned around and went down the illegal road.”

But she won’t rule it out completely.

“It’s tempting. Maybe when I can’t afford it and get to that point I might do that, but for as long as I can I want to stay legal.”

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Jockey Chris Johnson could face months on the sidelines over failed cannabis test


By MAT KERMEEN  May 27 2016

Top South Island jockey Chris Johnson potentially faces months on the sidelines after failing a cannabis test.

Johnson was stood down with immediate effect by the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) when the results of the “non-negative” test became available and did not ride at Friday’s Oamaru meeting.

He was subject to a random drug test at the Rangiora trials on Tuesday.

A Judicial Control Authority (JCA) spokesman said on Friday they were unaware when a hearing for Johnson would take place but Fairfax understands it could come as soon as next week.

Starting points for cannabis penalties from previous cases on the JCA website range between two and three months.

Johnson could not be reached and did not return calls on Friday.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) has a zero tolerance approach to cannabis for jockeys but RIU general manager Mike Godber said it is possible to determine readings from cannabis tests as it is with alcohol.

That reading will likely be a critical piece of information at Johnson’s hearing. Johnson has been no stranger to brushes with racing officialdom. Johnson, who has 2103 career winners, renewed his riding licence in August 2005 after about seven years in retirement.

He was the first South Island-based rider in 40 years to win the national premiership, with 140 wins, in 1996.

Johnson, the most prominent jockey in the South Island and arguably one of the best riders in the country, has already kicked home 50 winners this season and was in the race for the South Island jockeys’ premiership with Terry Moseley.

Johnson currently sits in 14th spot in the national jockeys’ premiership but has been a regular in the top 10 over the last decade. Last season he finished fourth with 95 wins.

Moseley extended his lead with two winners at Oamaru to take him to 57 for the season, with his main danger now seemingly Sam Wynne, who sits on 48 wins for the season.

The TAB has removed their South Island jockeys’ premiership market from their website.

Lisa Allpress also picked up two winners in Oamaru to extend her lead in the national jockeys’ premiership to seven over Matt Cameron.

She heads to Trentham on Saturday with 131 winners for the season.

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Green hopes as Australia legalizes medical cannabis

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By Afp 22nd May 2016

Jai Whitelaw was 10 when he first took medical cannabis, given to him by his mother in a bid to treat the debilitating epilepsy that saw him endure up to 500 seizures a day.

Faced with the stark choice of breaking the law in the hope of soothing his chronic pain, or denying him possible relief, Michelle Whitelaw reached breaking point.

“I literally sat on (the) couch for two days, thinking ‘Do I end his life and mine? Or do I risk helping him’,” she told AFP.

She picked the latter, risking criminal charges. Now, almost two years on, things are set to change as Australia brings in new laws allowing the drug to be used for medical purposes.

“If it didn’t work, I wouldn’t be here and Jai wouldn’t be here,” Whitelaw said at the Mardi Grass festival, an annual celebration of marijuana in Nimbin in Australia’s east.

At his lowest point Jai had to be resuscitated, was unable to write or read at school or even play outdoors as he struggled with fits and the side-effects of pharmaceutical medications.

In the 15 months since he began medicinal cannabis, which he takes in liquid form, he has had only four seizures. In Nimbin, he seemed like any other youngster enjoying the annual party.

– Dope or medicine? –

While recreational cannabis is drawn from the whole plant, therapeutic forms are derived from extracting particular types of cannabinoids — molecules that are found in cannabis — from the plant.

“What we are starting to understand now is that different types of cannabinoids work differently for different kinds of health problems,” Nicholas Lintzeris, the clinical director at the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative, told AFP.

“You extract the cannabinoids from the plants and then you put them together again according to the specific profile you want,” he added.

Therapeutic use is legal in several US states and other nations including Canada, Israel and the Netherlands.

Support for the practice has grown in Australia in recent years, with 91 percent in favour of legalising it for the seriously ill, according to a 2015 Roy Morgan poll.

The national government has listened. While recreational use remains illegal, laws were passed in February permitting it for medical purposes, in a move Health Minister Sussan Ley said meant “genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals”.

In response, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria states are changing their regulations and trialling the drug on severely ill patients, with two states setting up cannabis farms.

– ‘Hemployment’ ahead –

The legislative shift is a vindication for people such as Aboriginal Australian Tony Bower, who has long given cannabis in oil and alcohol forms for free to parents of ill children after working out how to develop non-psychotropic medication from the plant.

“You can’t refuse people. I’m an indigenous Australian, it’s not in our culture,” Bower told AFP of why he continued to supply families despite the legal risks, which once saw him spend six weeks in jail.

Some 150 children are regular patients of Bower, and his drug is set to reach more people after Anthony Coffey’s Australian Organic Therapeutic firm obtained rights to it.

Coffey plans to sell the medicine at Aus$60 (US$44) per patient per month.

The budding industry has benefits beyond the medicinal, with hopes it could fuel “hemployment” in rural regions where jobless rates are higher, Nimbin-based HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) Party president Michael Balderstone said.

Coffey said his company has already attracted investment from China and the Middle East. Others are also looking to cash in on legal crops, with the University of Sydney estimating initial demand in Australia at more than Aus$100 million annually.

High-profile physician and drug reform advocate Alex Wodak told AFP there is growing evidence medicinal cannabis use can relieve symptoms in some severe cases such as the side-effects of cancer chemotherapy and chronic nerve damage pain.

A key factor slowing the pace of the so-called “green rush” is minimal trial data and the medical profession’s limited experience with a banned drug.

As such, side-effects and the long-term impact of therapeutic use are not fully known, with some doctors cautioning against making the herb legally available without completed trials and high quality control standards.

Many caregivers fear a legalized drug may arrive too late for their sick family members.

Cheri O’Connell, whose epileptic daughter and son are experiencing a new lease on life since taking medicinal cannabis, is calling for an amnesty from prosecution for all current users.

She is also worried government trials are being limited to certain types of cannabinoids that leave other products — such as the one her children use — outside the law.

“We’ve got something that works,” O’Connell told AFP. “Just because it’s cannabis doesn’t mean it’s all the same, there’s huge differences.”

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Farmers say they’re ready to grow medical cannabis in Southern Australia


FARMERS in the state’s South East have joined the push to allow medicinal cannabis use in SA, saying they are “ready, willing and able” to grow marijuana crops.

The Greens are introducing a motion to Parliament calling on the State Government to get medical cannabis in SA “from the farm to the pharmacy to the patient”.

Long-time campaigner Greens MLC Tammy Franks said leaders in other states, including Victoria and New South Wales, were “forging ahead” and South Australia needed to be more involved in the national debate about making medical cannabis legally available to more patients.

“Victoria’s begun growing — (Premier) Daniel Andrews’s crop is about a foot high now, South Australia’s is non-existent,” Ms Franks said.

“There is definitely an appetite for growing the crop in South Australia.

“(Farmers) want this opportunity to get jobs into the regions. There’s a financial benefit and of course a health benefit to be had here.”

Millicent farmer Garry Davies said the local council and economic development were supportive of exploring growing medical cannabis crops in the region.

“The economic benefits for the state would be substantial … Rather than bus loads of people going over the border,” he said.

“There’s probably a lot of misconception out there. People talk about marijuana and they think of sitting around, smoking bongs, smacking a tambourine and saying ‘Yeah man’ but it’s not like that at all.

“It’s a serious health benefit. It’s a no brainer really.

“Of course, we’ve got to do it legally so we’ve sort of got our hands tied at the moment.”

A State Government spokesman said it was “working with the Commonwealth as it develops a new licensing scheme that will enable cannabis to be cultivated and produced for manufacture into pharmaceuticals”.

“We will continue to work with the Commonwealth and the other states and territories to develop a nationally agreed approach to access to medicinal cannabis products for patients,” he said.

Teenager Tabetha Fulton suffers a rare, degenerative lung disease but has experienced significant improvement by taking medical cannabis.

However, to legally access the drug their family had to move to Canada for about 10 months.

“We saved our own health system a massive amount of money just by putting her on to cannabis,” mother Bobby Fulton said.

“We’ve come back here and of course she can’t have it.

“The amount of medication she was on before and the hospital says were horrendous.

“She hasn’t been in a hospital for her lungs since taking cannabis.

“Times that by how many kids are out there stuck in hospital on steroids when they just shouldn’t be.”

Mrs Fulton urged the State Government to get involved in the national debate to make cannabis available.

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Legalize Cannabis Supporters Protest in Queensland Australia


Associated Press May 7th 2016

Legalized cannabis supporters will argue their case for cannabis at a rally in Brisbane’s CBD on Saturday afternoon.

Members of the Medicinal Cannabis Users of Australia will join the SEQ HEMP Embassy and the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties groups to protest proposed changes to the state’s drug laws.

If changed, cannabis would be considered as dangerous a drug as heroin and cocaine.

A spokesman for Attorney General Yvette D’Ath said the minister accepted the recommendations of an inquiry into organized crime, which recommended all drugs be classified the same way.

‘It means courts can sentence on the basis of the quantity of the drug and circumstances of the offending rather than the classification of the drug itself,’ he said.

Canadian activists will also attend the rally to talk about the country’s decision to legalize cannabis in 2017.

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New Zealand Cannabis Referendum Up In Smoke?


By and May 5th 2016

Labour is rubbishing claims it is backing a referendum on decriminalizing cannabis, following a statement from the Cannabis Party.

Cannabis Party leader Julian Crawford says the vibe he’d got from Labour leader Andrew Little was that he “sounded positive” the idea of a referendum was being progressed by Labour.

Mr Crawford says he’d had several informal meetings with Mr Little including running into him in public places and during his recent trips to Oamaru and Dunedin.

“We came up with the idea to start with at the Cannabis Party AGM, and we looked into the idea of a citizens-initiated referendum, but realized it would require a lot of signatures and wouldn’t be binding, so we turned our attention to a Parliamentary-created referendum which can be binding. We passed that on to Labour,” he said.

He believes the issue of decriminalization and medical cannabis would bring a lot of “disenfranchised voters” back to Labour.

“He said he is in favour of the idea, but I’m unsure about whether he’s got the backing of his colleagues, certainly some of the meetings we’ve had with other Labour MPs they’ve been a bit reluctant so there seems to be a bit of a delay getting it to the ballot.”

The Cannabis Party was encouraging the party and also providing them with information on how the decriminalization law was working in the US state of Colorado.

Mr Little has been contacted for comment on the claim, but a spokesperson said it was “absolute rubbish”.

The idea of a referendum has been pushed by former CTU head and now by medical cannabis campaigner Helen Kelly who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

She has admitted to taking cannabis oil to relieve her pain, and is fighting for medical marijuana to be made legal.

She’s called for a referendum on the issue at the next election.

Mr Crawford says that would lessen the cost of holding such a referendum compared to it being outside an election year.

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