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Law Australia


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Australia's Green Revolution: Medical cannabis moves ever closer
Dec 26 2017


AusCann CEO Elaine Darby and her father, former MP Mal Washer. TREVOR COLLENS
by Carrie LaFrenz

Gloria Riley was a fighter. But after battling for a number of years, she succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2015.

Like millions of cancer patients, Gloria suffered pain and nausea from chemotherapy. The anorexia transformed her into a skeletal figure, as she was too sick to eat in the last few months of life. There was no medication to help her crippling nausea – except for medical cannabis, which was not legal in Australia.

It was a tragic death according to Mal Washer, a friend and her boss for more than two decades. Riley worked as his personal assistant, first in Washer's medical practice and later in federal politics, where he was a West Australian Liberal MP for the seat of Moore for 15 years.

Riley's death kick-started Washer's campaign to get medical marijuana legalised in Australia. He is co-founder and chairman of ASX-listed AusCann, which is focused on domestic sale and production of medical cannabis.


"Gloria had a terrible time … she was dying in a miserable way," he tells AFR Weekend. "The opiates and other drugs she was taking weren't working. The thing that frightens people about dying is they don't want to die in pain and don't want to die alone. I made sure those things didn't happen to Gloria.

"We had no drug that could treat the horrible nausea except cannabis and we couldn't get it except illegally. It was the wrong stuff and had some side effects she would not have had from medical cannabis. It was just a sad demise. We could help a lot of people, particularly in palliative care pain, with cannabis."

Washer adds not everyone will be suited, but many patients could be helped by a drug that is being denied by bureaucratic red tape.

Conditions that can be treated using medical cannabis include pain reduction and/or appetite stimulation for AIDS/HIV sufferers, improvement in mood scale for anxiety patients, joint destruction suppression for arthritis suffers and reduction in seizure frequency for those with epilepsy. Other possible treatments include reduction of insomnia for sleep disorders, reduction in psychotic symptoms for schizophrenia patients and improvements in tic severity for Tourette Syndrome cases.

With a potential medical cannabis domestic market estimated at $1 billion a year, and a global market estimated to reach $US34 billion by 2021, AusCann is just one of several local companies eyeing the opportunities in Australia and positioning themselves for a possible change to local laws.

ASX-listed Botanix is developing topical synthetically manufactured cannabidiol (known as CBD) for treatment of skin conditions. CannPal is a pet pharmaceutical company focused on medical cannabis products, while Hydroponics Co is focused on the provision of hydroponic equipment and greenhouse design for the industry.

Given the lack of success and expense of cannabis-inspired pharmaceuticals, the focus around the world has shifted to medical cannabis, which is dried flower bud that has a known and consistent concentration of key cannabinoids and is free from pathogens.The medical cannabis is put into formulations that are administered to patients via oil, gels and capsules and creams.

AusCann chief executive Elaine Darby says the oral capsules the company will produce have a low release action which is great for chronic pain.

"The Australian market is very significant," she says. "When you consider 20 per cent of Australians suffer chronic pain ... there are about 1.8 million sufferers of nerve pain there is a big opportunity."

Darby, who is Washer's daughter and worked as a winemaker for 12 years in Margaret River before joining the venture, says AusCann will be focused on getting its products on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods so that doctors will not have to go through a complex approvals process to gain access to prescribe the drug.

AusCann – which is backed by the largest legal cannabis grower in the world, Canada's Canopy Growth, and also has a partnership with global poppy grower and processor Tasmanian Alkaloids – is tipped to generate revenue the next financial year when it has its own Australian products and the local market is more developed.

The Department of Health regulates medicinal cannabis products through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Office Of Drug Control (ODC). Medicinal cannabis products are unregistered medicines and can only be accessed through the Special Access Scheme (SAS) or Authorised Prescriber Scheme.

But Darby and her father claim there are too many hurdles for doctors looking to become Authorised Prescribers, as they must get an endorsement letter from an ethics committee or from their specialist college. For various reasons this often is not happening.

"It is very onerous for doctors at the moment," Darby says. "In the area of pain, the college is not giving endorsement to doctors and the ethics committee is only for doctors in a hospital setting. But the turnaround is many months due to a backlog of work.

"So there are not many Authorised Prescribers. We need to reassess this. It needs to all be in the hands of the TGA. You can't put the decision with a specialist college who have various political and other reasons to be the gatekeepers."

According ot the TGA, there are only 30 doctors who had become Authorised Prescribers in 2017. It claims it is not "equipped to assess the ethical and professional practice matters" that are necessary to protect patients and are required for the scheme. The TGA is due to issue guidance on medical cannabis by the end of this year.

A spokesman for Health Minister Greg Hunt also denied claims that the current system is not delivering, pointing to a 10-fold increase in applications to nearly 380 in 2017.

"We are making it easier to access medicinal cannabis products more rapidly, while still maintaining safeguards for individual and community safety," he says. "We've legislated to allow for the first time pathways for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis, for domestic cultivation and manufacturing, and for importation. There are no barriers at federal level."

But a comprehensive report on the industry by Canncord Genuity analysts Matthijs Smith and Cameron Bell says that due to the restrictions in accessing legal medical cannabis many patients resort to the black market out of desperation.

The chief executive of ASX-listed CannGroup, Peter Crock, says there also needs to be harmonisation of laws across the states, which currently have their own frameworks.

"If there was a single body and it was simplified and we didn't have multiple layers of requiring clearance or approvals to prescribe, it would make a lot of sense."

Ancient history
For many people marijuana is seen as a drug used by rebellious teenagers or hippies. But it only developed this notoriety later in the 20th century after being used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

Today views are changing. In 2016, the Australian government legalised growing of cannabis for medical and scientific purpose. A year later the ODC issued its first licence to cultivate cannabis to CannGroup, which recently raised $60 million to support accelerated growth plans, including building a facility in Victoria which will enable the company to meet domestic and prospective export demand. Major shareholder Aurora Cannabis Inc supported the raising, increasing its holding to 22.9 per cent from 19.9 per cent.

Medicinal use of cannabis is now legal in 17 countries, and a handful of others have it under review. In the US, 26 states have legalised medicinal cannabis. Uruguay has legalised the recreational use of cannabis, with Canada set to follow in July 2018.

Perceptions about cannabis have been shifting, so much so that spirits maker Constellation Brands bought a minority stake in a Canada's Canopy Growth in October.

Tribeca Capital fund manager Craig Evans says the deal with Canopy Growth is significant for the medical cannabis industry.

"A big thing at the moment in the sector in Canada and the US is there have not been many banks in a position to finance any of these companies," he says. "There has not been any big-cap corporate support either. The Constellation Brands transaction is a starting point, it's a huge marker for the start of a bigger industry."

Evans already pointed to several products in North America like cannabis-infused ciders, taking on the traditional beverage markets which has been about wine and beer.

But in Australia it's all about the medical market. Evans compares medical marijuana to the Internet or car manufacturing boom.

"This is actually something that is a growth industry because there are products with purpose and cultural attitudes are changing," says Evans, who co-runs a $US300 million fund focused on energy, metals, mining, soft commodities and services companies.

Tribeca has bet big on medical cannabis, taking stakes in Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, AusCann, CannGroup and cannabis-focused financing and advisory firm iAnthus Capital Holdings. Last year Tribeca shot up to one of the top hedge fund performers, in part due to its investments in medical cannabis.

While attitudes are changing and the government has allowed imports of medicinal cannabis to help meet demand in the local market, it will not allow imports of cannabidiols made from hemp plants.

This has triggered a campaign for reform of Australia's laws by millionaire investor and philanthropist Barry Lambert. He is the founder of the Count financial advisory group, which was bought by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for $373 million in 2011.

Lambert and his wife Joy donated $33.7 million in funding for research at Sydney University into medicinal cannabis trials. They were motivated by their granddaughter Katelyn, who has a dangerous form of childhood epilepsy.

"We need some political change, otherwise Australia's just going to be left behind," says Lambert, who is now chairman of Ecofibre, which grows medicinal cannabis, and is also backed by fund-manager Chris Cuffe.

"We talk to politicians all the time, they say the right thing. But it's a political issue in Australia. The government prefers not to explain the difference between hemp and marijuana. We are in the hemp business, not the marijuana business. The government has not wanted to admit the difference between the two. There is zero THC in hemp seed."

Lambert and Ecofibre CEO Eric Wang in early December briefed a group of parliamentarians to push for a better regulatory framework to provide improved access of products like Ananda Hemp to Australians.

Lambert says the Australian government's legalisation of the consumption of hemp in November was good news, but argues it should have never been outlawed in the first place.

Ecofibre exited its Hunter Valley operations in March 2017, saying it was impossible to make money locally. It moved its commercial business to Kentucky the year before, investing $10 million into farmers, employees, manufacturing and marketing. It has planted 540 acres of hemp in the US.

A year ago the Lambert family made a $3 million donation to US-based Thomas Jefferson University to form Lambert Centre for the Research of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp.

As for Washer, he has brought over people from Canada to help educate Australia's medical community. He says it is a work in progress.

"It's taken a number of years working, travelling around and lots of time and effort (to set up AusCann). I don't mind that. To me it's a passion."
Painful Confusion: How most Australia media outlets were duped on a study of “Medical” Cannabis

On the 3rd of July, many major Australian news outlets published articles condemning medical cannabis by suggesting that it has no efficacy in treating chronic non-cancer pain, including: the ABC, the Sydney Morning Herald and news.com.au. The Sydney Morning Herald, for example, stated that “Cannabis’ medical benefits have suffered a serious blow, with a major study finding it does almost nothing to help people with chronic pain”. The article went on to say that the study “found cannabis does not cut pain, nor does it help sufferers replace opioids. And users seem to suffer higher levels of anxiety overall”. Meanwhile, the ABC also noted that the study was “one of the most in-depth ever done on the drug’s medical use”.

The study in question was published in The Lancet, a highly regarded scientific journal. This makes it easy to understand why Australian journalists would think that the information being presented to them was trustworthy. Indeed, the Sydney Morning Herald cited damning quotes from The Lancet, including: “We found no evidence that cannabis use improved patient outcomes”. The ABC, the Sydney Morning Herald and news.com.au all commenting that this was a big blow for the Australian medical cannabis industry.

However, the science underpinning the study’s claims is questionable. As noted by Hannah Southcott from SBS, “cannabis was not legal in Australia during the trial, which meant that participants were consuming illegally-obtained cannabis, not medical grade product”. This brings in to question the validity and relevance of the sample population, which in fact deals a serious blow to the data collected from the study. Questioning the validity of the study, Hannah set out to interview Dr David Caldicott, who stated:

“We have no idea what people were actually using. It could have been oregano! What [the study] does tell us is that an illegal market where you haven’t a clue what you’re taking and you’re not involved with doctors supervising your medication probably isn’t very useful. And that’s not really a surprise”
In a valiant display of investigative journalism, Hannah also questioned one of the authors of the study, who “pointed out that the quality and dosage of the cannabis obtained by the patients was not tested and that the method of using the cannabis varied across the group”.

Interestingly, many of the authors of the study also receive funding from opioid manufacturers such as Mundipharma. This introduces the possibility of confirmation bias, which occurs when a researcher intentionally or unintentionally has the desire to prove a hypothesis, assumption or opinion. In this case, it appears the authors of The Lancet study may have exhibited some bias in the way they have interpreted their data. Although a declaration of these conflicts of interest can be found at the end of the study, this information was missed by those reporting the story.

Unfortunately, most other major news outlets did not follow Hannah’s lead and opted to publish information directly from The Lancet media release, without seeking an interpretation of the data from experts in the field. We shouldn’t expect journalists to understand the intricacies of a scientific paper, and realise that since the study had no control group and relied on self-reporting, it was far from experimental in design, meaning causation cannot be drawn. However, some good investigative journalism, such as that done by Hannah Southcott from SBS, would have highlighted these issues to the public.

If journalists choose to report on scientific information and they do not have a background in science, it is important that they seek support in understanding what the research results mean; rather than regurgitating a press release. Certainly, when a press release comes from a prestigious journal such as The Lancet, one might assume that the information it contains is correct. A good journalist however, does not assume a thing.
A reprehensible "study" & I do use that in the loosest possible term. Essentially what the "researchers" (paid drug company shills) conducted was like doing a study on the effectiveness of opiates on stage 4 cancer patients. That is if you give one 20mg of Oxy a day vs 200mg. If you do not understand the strength nor control the dosage how can you possibly claim your flawed study is in any way, shape or form scientific.

Unfortunately the mainstream news services leapt all over it but the good news is the winds of change are on the horizon.
My name is dorkus, I live in nthn nsw australia & I have a medicinal cannabis prescription.

I have won some sort of lotto im sure.
So, I got raided, busted and sent to rehab. not the stay and cant leave kind of rehab. the sort of rehab where I have a case worker to meet once a week and I attended 2 group meetings a week with some old alcoholics and talk about going for long walks instead of smashing a case of beer.

now i wasnt there for alcohol originally, but i think they quickly decided i needed a full service as I was in crisis management.
My version of crisis management was staying drunk, all the time.

I was there because i was before the courts for possession & cultivation & the courts liked this particular program.

Due to being before the courts, being arrested etc, i had a small to mild breakdown. Therefore, i had a team of medical professionals.
one was a specialist GP (aka hippy house), I had a psychologist, a psychiatrist and my rehab case worker.

Over the next few months I convinced every one of them that I had a legitimate medicinal need for cannabis. Hell I convinced several coppers the day I was raided.

My specialist GP suggested i apply for approval for MMJ, he said he would support my application.

you need 2 doctors and one has to be a specialist. I applied because I had a faint hope my psychiatrist would support my application but at this point didnt know. All he ever said to me was he didnt think my consumption was abuse. (even at 10 grams a day lol)


I went to this website and applied.
They then schedule a skype type interview with one of their doctors to assess you & fill out the paperwork on your behalf. That costs $300.

Months went by, eventually the clinic call me and say the TGA (therapeutic goods association) wants a specialists opinion.
I then had to ask my psychiatrist if he would support me. He said he would look into it.

and then nothing for months again.

out of nowhere the clinic call and tell me Ive been approved. I needed to fill out some forms & book another skype type consultation. $120

I have the video consult, the dr tells me he has written a script for oral solution (sad face) thats 5%thc & 8% CBD.

I was fucking bummed. So a chemist in sydney calls, says they have the script can they have my credit card number?

$295 & a few days later a small bottle of ' jasper' made by a company called althea arrived.

Its 45ml & tastes like shit, but fuck me it works. .5 of a ml for breakfast & I have this nice tasty buzz going on & it lasts for hours. I need to stay at 1ml or less a day (too damn expensive)

There doesnt seem to be any concentrates available, its mostly oral solutions. However there are a couple of suppliers that do flower.

check out the list here.


I have another skype consult booked in 2 weeks to see how its going ($80).
Im hoping for something with less CBD next time, fuck im hoping for a half oz of flower lol. But im not currently complaining.

Is it taking care of all of my needs? no, not yet but im sure it will.

Hopefully I dont go broke getting there.

Btw- they really make a big deal about not driving and the fact you WILL fail a lick a stick win a prize stop
@dorkus_molorkus would you say this is accurate?

Getting Medical Cannabis in Australia is Apparently Pretty Complicated

Some experts aren’t sure how to make sense of this mess


Although Australia legalized the medicinal use of cannabis in 2016, accessing it remains a lengthy, bureaucratic ordeal that’s left many Australians frustrated. The introduction of a new online application was intended to simplify the process. But reports from Down Under have indicated that the road to acquiring medicinal cannabis in Australia might be bumpier than most people realize.

According to BuzzFeed News, a panel of industry experts had trouble explaining “the many layers and bureaucratic processes” involved with the application. The event, which took place at the University of Sydney on Monday, brought together government representatives, academics, and patient advocates. While the panel was “formally focused on addressing the experiences and challenges faced by all sides of the medical cannabis world,” the conversation quickly turned to “the country’s often criticized access pathway.”

John Skerritt, deputy secretary for health products regulation at Australia’s Department of Health, cited “the 48-hour turnaround online portals” as evidence of a streamlined application process. Lucy Haslam, a former nurse and patient advocate, said that her phone “would not stop ringing” with calls from people who experienced technical difficulties with the government’s system, reports BuzzFeed News. Some audience members shared their stories of resorting to buying cannabis from the black market, though one person in attendance “insisted that their road to legal access via the pathway had been easy.”

In July, one man avoided jail time for juicing cannabis to treat his daughters, both of whom suffer from Crohn’s disease. He told Australia’s ABC News that he turned to growing and juicing his own cannabis “after struggling to find a doctor” who would help him legally access medical cannabis. Stephen Taylor said that his family has considered going to the United States in search of an easier-to-navigate application process.

A recent SBS News report stated that “about seven people a day are being approved for medicinal cannabis” in Australia, but that it remains “severely restricted.” Patients are allegedly having to “jump through all kinds of hoops” in order to get the access they need.
yep, its utter bullshit.

check out this article from reader digest aust.


it says as of the end of sept 2018 only about 1500 authorities have been issued in total for the whole 24+million of us.

but that doesnt mean 1500 aussies actually have access to medicinal cannabis.

nope, it turns out that nsw health have only approved me for 3 mths. and it seems its pretty common, there are heaps of that 1500 people that are the same person having to apply multiple times.

so next month i have to reapply (and may not be approved) & the product im currently on isnt strong enough (to alter the product i have to reapply also)

Cannabis access clinic is a total gouge for money. each time they apply for me, its $300 & I have to have a monitoring appt every few weeks and its $80 each appt.
they are pretty clueless, i think they are using backpackers to answer their phones & they are hopeless.
you speak to someone new often and they are pretty poor at answering any questions.
But they always have their hand out for money.

The doctor I used isnt dealing with them any more. That particular dr has agreed to continue to see me without them. so thats pretty good.

the product im using is $300 for 45mls at 5mg/pml thc and 8mg/pml CBD. I could go thru this in 2 weeks or less, its just not strong enough.

its a total rort & lack of information nightmare.
there is no medicinal card so to speak, I have 2 X6 page documents, one from the TGA and the other from nsw health. both contain all my details and all the details of my prescription.
Im only to be in possession of that product, anything else I will cop a charge. If I dont have those documents on my person or the prescription bottle with all of my details on it, I will cop a charge. (sure it may be dropped later, but lawyers cost $$$ regardless.

MMj in australia is only for rich people. even then, you better have some good dr's.
I think the government should make recreational MJ legal in Tassie, just as an experiment like they did with the casino many years ago. Once it is shown that something does not kill everyone and they (the government) can make a shitload of money from it, all Australians can then partake.:smoke:
Australian Capital Territory votes to legalise cannabis for personal use

Possessing and growing cannabis for personal use will become legal in Australia’s capital. The laws, which don’t come into effect until 31 January, were passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly on Wednesday afternoon. They will allow Canberrans over 18 to possess 50 grams of cannabis and grow two plants.

But not so fast says mr federale

Peter Dutton: government may override 'dangerous' ACT decision to legalise cannabis

On Thursday Dutton described the new laws as unconscionable, comments interpreted as urging the attorney general to challenge or overturn the ACT law, passed on Wednesday.

“I think it might be trendy for the ACT government to go down this path, and they’ll say they’re enlightened and progressive and all the rest of it,” Dutton told 2GB radio. “But I think it’s dangerous … Christian Porter is having a look at it at the moment.”

I will refrain from making comment especially on a politician like Dutton but I am hopeful the winds of change are blowing across the Pacific. It is just a matter of time.
I didn't know we had this thread or would have posted here earlier instead of random thoughts thread
It's been decriminalised in Canberra for decades
This is a surprising move though and whether it sticks or not it sets precedent for the push to legalise
America had/has similar issues with federal/state legalisation too

Everyone needs to move to Canada lol
I thought it was going to be 4 plants, I could make that work, probably 2(outdoors with the help of artificial light) the 50g business is a different story.
One day, as I said previously, Tassie should have been the guinea pigs like with the casinos, it is not as if you could make us any worse.

I know he is not Tasmanian...but plays a banjo-like he is one!
I thought it was going to be 4 plants, I could make that work, probably 2(outdoors with the help of artificial light) the 50g business is a different story.
One day, as I said previously, Tassie should have been the guinea pigs like with the casinos, it is not as if you could make us any worse.
View attachment 13332
I know he is not Tasmanian...but plays a banjo-like he is one!
Earlier on the news it was 2 plants per adult, but a max of 4 plants per house
150 g fresh weed and 50 dry bud
You can't sell or share or give away weed or seeds either

And I think they said no hydro setups?
Not sure on the last point though
That would affect all year round growth
Has to be seasonal, but can't stock up for winter....

Yea I thought the same, 4 plants would be workable, but what do you do with all the weed, couldn't even give extra away and store at different 50g locations ....lol

Still loving the somewhat forward movement at any rate
Bush fires all over NSW
North to South
I know a few people who have lost entire houses
Half the state including where I am is under fire warnings with many schools closed

Fun times
I have some freshly squeezed rosin to keep me occupied
Straya - where the cops bullshit complain about climate change protesters supposedly taking up police resources during the fires yesterday (yet they've been doing fuck all)

Then today at a festival strip searching young people with sniffer dogs because that isn't a waste of resources and proven ineffective when there isn't bush fires let alone right now

Feckin dogs and I'm not talking about the canines.....

This is disgusting at any time let alone now when they should be helping in more pressing instances

Hypocritical bastards

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All while there is a thunderstorm and flash flooding warnings in Wollongong
9 police and two dogs at one station instead of being prepared for another possible natural emergency

At least we have some much needed rain ATMi don't know that it will last or be enough though to curb the fires
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Another from today, to n same area as Wollongong that has the flash flood warning
Going hard
Let's hope this gets through
Don't have loads of hope that it will pass, but it really should as should the FULL strip searching of CHILDREN under 16 be stopped as it is illegal
Feeling up kids instead of fighting fires
Yay Straya

daily sniffer/strippers out
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Too late for me to edit above post and add this one

And another
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