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Rejoice, New Zealand, because we have cheaper and more plentiful cannabis! Although an ACT MP’s experience illustrates the ongoing dangers of cannabis prohibition, a ‘dak tie’ cannabis gala event, and a round-up of ganja news this week on Marijuana Media on 95bFM, with hosts Jonny from bFM Drive and Chris Fowlie from NORML – thanks to The Hempstore.

 

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Cannabis in Aotearoa is now cheaper and more plentiful

Responses to the New Zealand Drug Trends survey show cannabis has got cheaper and more plentiful, with an ounce now at $336 and a pound down to $3327, which researchers attributed to reduced police enforcement and growing social acceptance.

I think the price has also dropped because of legal medical supply, and as the licensed producers scale up and grow crops for lower overheads, I’d expect the illicit price to continue tracking down as grey-zone suppliers will need to remain cheaper than licensed supply or no one would want their product.

In Auckland, 43% of responders said cannabis was now “very easy” to get, compared to 52% in Tairāwhiti.

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The reduced market price means there is less harm, according to the Police Drug Harm Index. This ranks cannabis as the most harmful drug, because (a) it doesn’t include alcohol or tobacco, (b) cannabis is widely used, and (c) $300 million of the so-called ‘harm’ attributed to cannabis is actually the loss of taxation revenue because it is illegal.

But lower prices do mean lower costs of living – more money staying in your pocket – and less incentive for organised crime to get involved, and that’s got to be a good thing.

Act MP Simon Court was shot over cannabis when a teen

On the topic of harms from prohibition: Barry Soper in the NZ Herald reports ACT MP Simon Court has revealed being shot in the foot over a cannabis deal gone wrong, when he was a teenager.

The Auckland-based list MP told NewstalkZB he was aged 17 on a camping trip “up north” and one of the guys he was with wanted to buy some weed, however the seller then tried to rob them of their cannabis and car keys. Court said they had a “bit of a discussion with the people and they shot me.”

I went to Uni with Simon and remember when this happened in our first year. It was truly shocking, like out of a movie but for real, and one of the reasons my circle all got involved with NORML was to try to end the madness of putting NZ’s most popular herb in the hands of those prepared to operate outside the law and use violence and guns to rob and harm people.

Good on ya Simon for speaking up about this – and you’re completely right: no teenager should be shot for making a ‘bad decision’. We won’t stop until prohibition is over.

Two days and a night at the Cannabis Museum

Katie Harris in the NZ Herald covers the Cannabis Museum gala fundraising event, on this Saturday (Auckland cannabis museum opens with a bong, weed prescriptions and DJs set for opening) with a public open day following on Sunday.

With a “dak tie” dress code – first proposed right here on the show – the gala event features educational exhibits and vendor stalls, dancing, live music, DJs, an onsite cannabis doctor’s clinic, dispensary and consumption area.

“Think of like the opening of the film festival or the opening of the Rugby World Cup, but for cannabis and without alcohol, lots of cannabis, legal, medical cannabis,” said Gray, the former deputy leader of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.  

For anyone worried about adverse law enforcement affecting the event – legally prescribed medical cannabis is legal to use in public. Abe also checked in with the cops.

Police told the Herald on Sunday they were aware of the event and have been in contact with the organiser.

“The organiser has outlined plans which involve the legal consumption of cannabis. If any matters arise that require police, we will respond accordingly in the situation.”

I’m speaking on a panel at 3pm Saturday, on “the past, present and future of medicinal cannabis”. Tickets while they last, from Cosmic Ticketing. Spot you there!

NZ Herald: Medicinal cannabis industry gets the regulatory changes it craved – but will they stick post-election?

This came out the day after we lambasted our local media for zero coverage of the changes approved by the Medicinal Cannabis Agency, which had been reported overseas but not here.

Unfortunately, the article is paywalled as a premium feature which is a shame because Chris Keall has done a good job explaining the changes and how they will help our local cannabis industry, and in turn, benefit local patients with more products and cheaper prices.

The Herald article also raises the issue of what will happen if the government changes at the election – which we raised last week. It is not widely known that National’s health spokesperson, Shane Reti, is a solid supporter of legal medicinal access, and in many ways his Private Member’s Bill in 2018 went further than what Labour passed into law that year.

However, it remains to be seen if the changes will go through unchanged or if National would tweak them. On the show I sided with Keall’s conclusion that Reti, in a National-led government, wouldn’t change much. But then bFM received a text from Russell Brown, listening to the show, who reminded us Reti’s 2019 Bill excluded cannabis flower, which he termed “loose leaf”.

That would be a bad move if it happened now. Here and around the world around 80% of patients prefer botanical cannabis flowers over extracts, potions or pills. Excluding them would undermine the objectives of the scheme to promote safe and affordable access and could limit access to twenty percent of patients.

Ganja news roll up

Stuff: Hurricanes lock Isaia Walker-Leawere serves one-month ban for smoking cannabis after being “named and shamed”. See also: Drug Free Sport NZ CEO advocates for change around cannabis and sport.

The question many Kiwis probably asked when DFSNZ’s decision hit the news bulletins was whether Walker-Leawere’s name should have been made public, given cannabis is widely used for recreational purposes and doesn’t enhance performance on the rugby field.

DFSNZ chief executive Nick Paterson understands that, too. He said the DFSNZ has been campaigning for years to get cannabis removed from the prohibited list of substances set by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).

WADA also mandates that an adult athlete found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation can’t have name suppression.

Otago Daily Times: NZ doctor says psychedelics could be a trip to better mental health

Researchers from the University of Otago, the University of Auckland and independent provider Mana Health are currently investigating whether MDMA can help cancer patients.

Vanuatu Daily Post: Four cannabis and industrial hemp licences approved

Each licence issued would have an operational period of 10 years. The Act allows for the operation of at least two medical cannabis licences and at least three industrial hemp licences.

Currently, the regulations limit the cultivation and production of industrial hemp to only five islands Efate, Santo, Malekula, Tanna and Erromango while medical cannabis is limited to only Efate, Santo and Malekula.

Cannabiz: Legal growers in ACT still anxious they are law breakers, study finds

The CAN-ACT research, launched in September last year, revealed that most growers are exceeding the legal limits of fresh and dry plant material even though they are cultivating a legal number of plants.

Study: Plant-Derived Cannabinoids Effective for Anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress

Sydney, Australia: Patients diagnosed with anxiety and/or post-traumatic stress respond favorably to medical cannabis treatment, according to observational study data published in the Journal of Pharmacy Technology.

Study: Cannabis Use During Off-Hours Not Associated with Elevated Risk of Workplace Accidents

Employees who consume cannabis during their off-hours possess no greater risk of occupational injury than do those who abstain from marijuana altogether, according to data published this week in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.

NORML has long opined against the use of pre-employment and employment drug detection tests and has instead called for greater use of performance testing technology such as DRUID and AlertMeter.

Study: Police Unable to Accurately Determine THC-Induced Impairment via Field Sobriety Tests

San Diego, CA: Trained police officers are frequently unable to discriminate between those who are under the influence of THC and those who are not based upon subjects’ performance on field sobriety tests, according to data published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Consistent with prior analyses, police officers frequently misinterpreted subjects’ FST performance so that they deemed unimpaired participants (those who had smoked placebo cigarettes) to be under the influence. Overall, officers incorrectly classified 49.2 percent of the placebo group as impaired based upon their FST performance.

Coming up:

o   ALERT: Misrepresented MDMA linked to serious harm in Hawke’s Bay

  • Medicinal Cannabis Expo & Gala fundraiser for the cannabis museum 12 August at Hopetoun Alpha, Beresford Street, Auckland, followed by a public open day on 13 August. Tickets for both at Cosmic Ticketing.
  • NORML presents Cannabis Roadside Rallies in Auckland on Sat 9 Sept, Sat 23 Sept & Sat 7 Oct. Details here.

·       CannaPosium 7-8 October at the Surrey Hotel, Grey Lynn, Auckland. Tickets here.  

·       Auckland J Day Saturday 2nd December in Albert Park (postponed from May)

 

Marijuana Media airs every Thursday at 4:20pm on 95bFM, with your hosts bFM Drive’s Jonny and Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore. Stream or download the pot-cast for this show here or hundreds of previous Marijuana Media shows at 95bFM.com (or via iTunes / RSS feed). Thanks to The Hemp Store!


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