June 2021 (updated October 2021) UPDATE PENDING
“We legalised Cannabis for medical then recreational use, for “Harm Reduction Reasons” The black market doesn’t check ID, and doesn’t care or protect patients or the public. ~ Justin Trudeau
- The Australian Government Federally legalised “Medicinal Cannabis Products” in 2016 redefining the word “Cannabis” in the process even different to other countries – this so they could regulate hemp and REAL Cannabis also, leaving states to address things further if they so chose to do so.
- Meanwhile, Australia also chooses to use the United Nations Single Use Act as a framework for international guidance on treaties for Cannabis, inline with how Australia controls opiates.
- However countries like Canada where Real Cannabis is legal for medical and recreational use, as well as Israel, Spain, Uruguay etc, AMEND the Act inline with country requirements.
- Australia has chosen NOT to do so
- The ODC (Office of Drug Control) in the TGA have said publicly, their biggest fear is, REAL Cannabis use for legal use medical or recreational. This is also the legislative impact and policy of the Department of Health, with NDARC.
- Resulting legalisation differentiated into 3 types of legal Cannabis channels in Australia, Real Cannabis based, All other pharmaceutical Cannabis Products (including pharmaceutical GMO hemp) and Synthetics
- Unfortunately with no product available this created multiple new black markets and grew existing ones virtually over night. Hemp CBD would be imported (90% being fake or people losing their money some dangerous.
- The government has never separated out discussions on Cannabis as real cannabis numbers vs synthetics or GMO Hemp CBD. this changes all narrative on Cannabis, as 99% of discussions aobut anything legal Cannabis is likely not Cannabis at all.
- The Government preferred products are CBD Hemp based from some suppliers like the former GW Pharma UK, the largest supplier of products like Epidiolex and Sativex distributed and invented with R&D from Bayer Monsanto for GW UK.
- The new black market in 2016 in preferred medicinal Cannabis products due to lack of legal product when legalised requiring importing products mostly for 5 years so far.
- Most legal REAL Cannabis is still imported with very little selection and 300% the price for same or better product on the black market.
- this increased new actors to the existing REAL Cannabis black market from international sources and domestic organised crime units offering much more than the original local hippy grower.
- As of 2021 – 90% of all Legal Medical Cannabis is not REAL Cannabis, the black market owns that.
- The 90% medicinal cannabis market is GMO Hemp or synthetics only distributed by the trillion dollar pharmaceutical industry like the $150B Novartis
- The Australia Medical Cannabis Bodies are all pharmaceutical controlled as they own 90-98% of the market.
“Before reinventing the wheel, “round” is always worth a consideration” What HAS worked and what has NOT worked, and how to fix Cannabis Law Reform in Australia?
WHAT IS THIS?
It really is a recipe or a cookbook on how to legalise Cannabis in Australia, for medical use and or recreational use.
Start Here: What Happened to Cannabis Law Reform in Australia in 2016
- Before considering Cannabis law reform in Australia, it is good to understand where we are exactly in 2021 . Many seem to treat Cannabis law reform in Australia as there is no history to address or consider, that is NOT correct, and a good reason petitions all fail today in EVERY state Government is not that smart they just know that people just ignore the simple process.
- 2021 CANNABIS LEGAL ASSUMPTIONS – In Australia 2021 as I will repeat, to legalise REAL Cannabis for medical or recreational use it requires a bill passing by the upper and lower houses in each state where there are both. For a bill to pass by 51% it requires Labor or Liberals support and perhaps independents as well. As in ACT where Greens and Labor legalised recreational cannabis kind of in the ACT only this year in Jan 2021. Therefore the voice larger or smaller independents, greens or others might make is very small. It only matters where independents control the voting majority. The upper house MLC seats in NSW is a good example Libs/Nats Coalition control it by 19-14 Labor but with 11 cross bench –
A bill to legalise REAL Cannabis for medical use could pass since 2017 in the upper house MLC NSW, but would fail in the lower house. This force a constitutional crisis and debate, but could only pass a debate if the currently lockdown down, apathetic, and fearful Cannabis users make it a priority.
So What Happened ? – Where do we go where have we been?
- In 1984 the lead on the ” 1977 Australian Royal Commission into Drug Use” was the Hon. Ron Sackville Wrote.. “Australia is misinterpreting the UN Single Use Act on Cannabis; it is NOT about medical or personal use ONLY about preventing trafficking. Cannabis should be legalised, regulated, taxed, & made available ASAP”. The suggestion was then ignored, penalties increased and the benchmark for what trafficking is, was lowered. South Australia got decriminalised Cannabis out of the deal.
- From 1996-2001, the USA and then Canada Legalised “REAL” Cannabis for medical use. ‘REAL’ is a needed word in the case of Australia that is important in understanding the uniqueness to Cannabis Law Reform in Australia as it is VERY different to most of the world outside Australia. ‘REAL Cannabis’ is the plant called weed, or marijuana that includes 400 other compounds in it and over 120 of them called “cannabinoids” This is where there are 2 main cannabinoids out of the 120+ one the dominant cannabinoid called THC and the less psychoactive cannabinoid is called CBD, an “antagonist” to the THC cannabinoid, think ying and yang.
The United Nations, World Health Organization, most of the USA, Canada and most countries legislate and typically define “Cannabis” as, “Having over 10% THC and a low percentage of CBD”. While high percentage CBD and low THC is typically from GMO Hemp plants.
- By GMO and other techniques, the 120 cannabinoids in Cannabis can also be separated and isolated as individual drugs but were not legal until Bayer-Monsanto R&D working with GW Pharma UK (now part of Jazz Pharmaceutical and distributed in Australia by the $150 Billion-dollar political lobbyist Novartis) were made legal in 2003. As of 2021 outside of Australia 90-95% of the medical Cannabis market is real Cannabis and the rest are pharmaceuticals, distributed by Novartis and similar others across the globe. Prior to Australia legalising “medical Cannabis” in 2016 vs “Real Cannabis for medical use” was redefining the word “Medical Cannabis” itself. This was done with the Australian Government, Department of Health, Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) and the new Office of Drug Control (ODC), working with all the states.
- As of 2021, outside of Australia 90% of those using Cannabis for medical use are doing so with REAL Cannabis. In Australia 90% of those using “Cannabis” for medical use legally are forced to use GMO CBD, synthetics, or other isolates like those created by Bayer-Monsanto R&D In 2003. All these new pharmaceutical drugs now fit into a bucket called Medical Cannabis, in Australia that need not come from Cannabis, need not come from a plant and 90-95% of the time legal medical cannabis doesn’t include REAL Cannabis. This also impacts the public narrative as 95% of the time medical cannabis in the media in Australia is really talking about something not including ANY Cannabis and with out any explanation. To complete the picture Australian Government working with, the department of health, CBD Pharmaceutical hemp industry funded guidelines to put patients off and dissuade GPs and potential customers away from using real Cannabis for medical by funding anti-Cannabis research, suggesting REAL Cannabis is not safe for medical use, and by large distributors and lobbyists like Novartis making it easy for GPs to offer pharmaceuticals and making it harder for the public to get REAL Cannabis for medical use, and when they can, it is then 300-400% more expensive than the black market.
Short View – Tips on Understanding Law Reform – Five Thoughts
1) What Model – What is the INTENT of the law reform you want? (protecting Pharma or harm reduction protecting people) – ZERO use is the preferred medical or recreational currently by the Commonwealth. Don’t consider failed models over mature working ones (warts and all) California, Colorado, and Canada are 3 good example. Portugal is a bad one.
2) The Status Quo – You have to understand current Cannabis law issues in Australia / status quo BEFORE addressing the future.
3) Law enforcement in Australia loses a lot of money and is opposed to law reform if funds are not addressed due to loss of revenue toys, overtime everything (fixed in 1996 in California and Canada with taxation)
4) How Messed UP Is Australia Law Reform in 2021 vs USA and Canada – It is important to understand why is it outside of Australia (eg. Canada, USA etc) 95% of all legal Cannabis for medical use is 10% or higher THC and low CBD (cannabinoids) hindering the black market – but IN Australia 95% is low CBD and even lower THC – and only 5-10% is high THC – Then ask how the Australia government created new black markets in 2016 and has grown the old ones.
5) Fear and Apathy – How do you address voter apathy and fear of raising the political real-estate need and value for Cannabis law reform while since 2015 over 90% of Australians support REAL Cannabis for medical use and 35% for recreationally use (Roy Morgan government referenced survey).
OVERVIEW & CURRENT CANNABIS SITUATION
- Cannabis & Hemp are a multi-billion dollar industry globally for medical use. The largest distributor of legal medical Cannabis in Australia is the anti-Cannabis Pharmaceutical $150B giant Novartis – they distributed only medical Cannabis with no real Cannabis inside. The main product being GW Pharmaceutical UK products (GW is now part of Jazz Pharmaceutical
- Australia is the world’s largest supplier of legal opium with 2 main competitors being synthetic opiates (like Fentanyl and Subsys) and REAL Cannabis.
- The main competitor to REAL Cannabis for medical uses globally are 1) All pain killers like opiates (synthetic and plant based) 2) THC & CBD extracts from GMO hemp and GMO Cannabis.
- THC & CBD extracts from GMO hemp and GMO cannabis are distributed globally by the multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry.
- REAL Cannabis for medical use is not distributed by multi-billion-dollar big pharma, making GMO hemp/CBD/THC a preferred product in countries like Australia.
- Globally where REAL Cannabis is legal for medical use, it tends to dominate the market with REAL Cannabis capturing 95% of the market and GMO THC and CBD about 5% of the market. In 10 USA states and Australia it is reversed where 5% of the market is REAL Cannabis and the rest is GMO THC and CBD products. This is largely because Australia is over 20 years behind the USA and Canada and the pharmaceutical industry has had 2 decades to address it.
LAW REFORM USA V AUSTRALIA – When we legalised “REAL” Cannabis in California USA in 1996 for medical use, it was done so with a view that if it went as expected, it might be legalised for recreational use later that was the INTENT. Unfortunately, the INTENT in Australia in 2016 was quite the opposite. How does Australia protect the troubled Australia pharmaceutical industry while legalising their biggest competitor, REAL Cannabis? It was simple Australia did not and has not legalised REAL Cannabis for Medical use. So it is all a little complicated, but intentionally to confuse and misdirect in many cases GMO CBD hemp – legally calling itself Cannabis in Australia happened in 2016.
CANNABIS PREJUDICE USA – Prior to California legalisation (1996) it meant legally 100% of those using “REAL” Cannabis were legally just 100% illegal stoner hippie types same as Australians. CANNABIS PREJUDICE AUSTRALIA – In my amendment in the Cannabis Access Bill in March 2016 – I was concerned then about how the Government was potentially wordsmithing the word “Cannabis” though my amendment was successful it was just worked around – http://bit.ly/hansard-lw-senate –
MEDICAL CANNABIS LAWS OUTSIDE AUSTRALIA – After legislation in California (1996) and later in Canada (2001) it was discovered 50% of those using new legal REAL Cannabis were NOT stoner hippies, but patients wanting to use it as the law intended, as medicine.
HARM REDUCTION IS LAW REFORM IN USA & CANADA – When it was discovered in 1996-2001 that 50% of those using new legal REAL Cannabis was for medical use, it meant more were buying legal REAL Cannabis and it greatly impacted the black market immediately. This became part of the mantra globally since, as it should. Protecting patients as they were, by removing the black market, or offering an alternative meant safer products, and knowing how the Cannabis is grown, taxing it that is worth billions.
FEAR OF LEGAL REAL CANNABIS BY LAW ENFORCEMENT GLOBALLY -– When asking police in the USA and Australia the main reason they are against Cannabis law reform, it turns to money. Where Cannabis is not taxed or regulated then law enforcement loses a HUGE source of revenue in overtime, new toys, it impacts police back pockets, hard to ignore. This was fixed early in the USA and Canada. But not in Australia. Law enforcement has, as a result supported Cannabis legalisation where those issues are addressed. Again, not in Australia as REAL Cannabis is not legal, this keeps many in law enforcement in Australia on the side of Government, the pharmaceutical industry and the black market that again do not want legal REAL Cannabis.
“REAL” CANNABIS, HEMP, CBD, GMO CBD ISOLATES, VS MARIJUANA
“Cannabis” – is a genus of a plant that includes (perhaps botanically incorrectly) Hemp and is part of the Cannabaceae family that also includes hops (thus a hoppy tasting beer is a great pairing in cannabis restaurants.
Botanists now believe – grouping hemp and cannabis is a mistake – they are different botanically as they are medically since they mapped the Cannabis genome in 2014. Hemp is even defined differently in different countries and in different states as is Cannabis. Hemp can have high CBD and still be called hemp (but not in Australia) but if high in THC, then it is Cannabis / Marijuana not hemp, pretty much everywhere. Cannabis Outside Australia – Most countries, & others like the United Nations, World Health, Canada, and USA (except for 10 USA states) consider Cannabis a variant that has THC >10%, and low CBD <1% most often. They are defined & legislated on this, though again states and countries can do it differently. THC and CBD – are 2 of over 120 Cannabinoids and over 400 elements in the extremely complicated Cannabis plant. THC is the dominant cannabinoid in REAL Cannabis and CBD is an antagonist to the THC (THC/CBD think ying and yang). In the world outside Australia and 10 USA states and some other countries, where Cannabis is typically >10% THC then Cannabis is split into a subset of either Indica, Sativa, Hybrid, and Ruderalis (the odd Cannabis uncle) genus / strains Each of them then has thousands of different strains or cultivars such as “Purple Haze’ a sativa strain made popular by Jimmy Hendrix etc. Indica Cannabis is mostly preferred for pain medication and sleep, while Sativa’s are more uplifting, creative typically.
It is often forgotten or over sold or both that somehow CBD is is not psychoactive but Cannabis with THC is. That is how the pharmaceutical industry likes it portrayed. The reason we know what CBD has mostly to do with Ethan Russo, he was the lead behind GW Pharmaceutical.
FULL SPECTRUM CANNABIS – Originally to differentiate Cannabis from hemp that included no THC, Cannabis was referred to as “full spectrum” meaning it has THC (over 2%) CBD and all other cannabinoids, while hemp is not full spectrum that way. Full spectrum Cannabis oil is referred to FECO or RSO. EVERYTHING IS FULL SPECTRUM – To compete with REAL Cannabis, the pharma industry uses the view quite often that EVERYTHING is full spectrum, So Cannabis is a different full spectrum to hemp cannabis full spectrum. Marijuana– is historically and often hysterically, a word that had anti-social and racist undertones in its origins unfortunately in 10 USA states, Australia and other places Cannabis can include hemp. While in the USA Cannabis is always marijuana. As a result, marijuana is a safe word otherwise in Australia, Cannabis can be anything so “REAL Cannabis” is what they call Cannabis/marijuana. GMO CBD Industry – did not exist really before 2003 when R&D from Bayer AG (now Bayer-Monsanto) working with GW Pharma UK (now part of Jazz Pharmaceuticals) launched a product called Sativex a 50/50 mix of GMO THC and CBD extracted from GMO Cannabis and GMO Hemp.
WHY / WHAT IS MOST LEGAL CANNABIS / CBD IN AUSTRALIA GMO – Cannabis is normally a heterozygote, which means it has two sets of chromosomes — one from the mother and one from the father, and they vary. Through a proprietary technique pharma developed homozygote cannabis, in which both sets of chromosomes are identical. They then mass-produced plants with just the one cannabinoid profile they wanted. Cannabis is not typically GMO; it is high THC and low CBD.
WHAT HAPPENED TO CANNABIS LAW REFORM IN AUSTRALIA? – In 1984 the lead on the Royal Commission into Drug Use South Australia Hon. Ron Sackett wrote that, “Australia has [intentionally] miss interpreted the UN Single Use Act on Cannabis”, it is not about medical or personal use only illicit trafficking, Cannabis should be legalised, regulated taxed, and made available as soon as possible”, that was 1984. He was ignored but South Australia got decriminalised Cannabis.
CANNABIS LAW IN AUSTRALIA IN 2014 – mothers with sick children stood up to demand REAL Cannabis for medical use in Australia with some high-profile cases. The media paid attention and soon politicians were promising to make it available. However, the black market, pharmaceutical industry and government were opposed, as it hurt their business models. The result for Government with pharma support was to re-define the word “Cannabis” & “hemp”.
PHARMACEUTICAL CANNABIS ALTERNATIVES 2014 TO 2016 – Prior to Cannabis law reform in 2016, patients could get the Bayer-Monsanto GW Pharma (now Jazz Pharma) product called Sativex. The government disclosed GW Pharma paid the government over $2m in product and book deals to support Sativex over REAL Cannabis – In 2021 GW Pharma still is Australia’s largest supplier of Medical Cannabis but with no real Cannabis inside.
THE NEW HEMP AND THE NEW CANNABIS – Until 2016 many hemp growers in Australia were state licensed and creating plants with random THC and CBD profiles that did not matter, as hemp is also high in omega 3-6-9 so many were growing and making anything from clothes form the fibre to or skin products from the hemp seeds, stems and leaves. In 2016 this changed, if hemp had > .3% THC or > 2% CBD (remember REAL Cannabis is 10% or higher) then it would now be considered the newly re-defined “medical Cannabis”. The Australian government with the TGA forced all Australia states to comply. This forced a legal hemp industry to shut down or invest millions of dollars to address the new laws.
HEMP IS CANNABIS, CANNABIS IS NOW HEMP – IN AUSTRALIA 2016 – this meant that the pharma industry could market GMO hemp, synthetics, or ANYTHING really, and call it cannabis. This resulted in a class action lawsuit from the hemp industry against the Australian Government in (EVE Hemp vs Australia Sept 2017 NSD 1048 Judge J Jagot presiding) – I personally consulted on the case.
HEMP VS CANNABIS VS AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT 2017– The case was interesting in that the hemp had to decide to side with Cannabis or agree with Government that Cannabis was bad and side with the pharmaceutical industry and hope for a reprieve on hemp laws and hope for pharma money. Overall, they sided with pharma, in that Cannabis was bad and hemp was NOT Cannabis – Hemp lost the case. Those in the hemp industry that supported the idea that hemp and Cannabis were mutually beneficial were overruled, shunned and worse.
PROVING A NEGATIVE – LEGALISING PHARMACEUTICALS AS CANNABIS – The next issue for the government was how to legalise Cannabis but not real Cannabis. Luckily for the government, a billionaire hemp grower stepped in, funded research that proved hemp (now called cannabis) was better than REAL Cannabis for medical use. Being that all global research for Cannabis was paid for by anti-Cannabis government or the pharma industry they were able to reproduce the research that mattered. As a result, in 2021 – all the training for GPs and patient information says CBD is better than REAL cannabis for anything. Since 2014, the United States sends letters to CBD companies for saying the same thing is a lie and threatening legal action warning letters and test results for cannabidiol-related products | fda
2016 AUSTRALIA MAKES MEDICAL CANNABIS AVAILABLE – REAL Cannabis not so much. – When Australia made “medical Cannabis” available they declared that states would have to legalise “marijuana” at state level on their own, (none have). “Only products that were “LEGAL AND SAFE” could be able to be available”. This made sense, however, “legal and safe” were not adjectives they had real definitions also. “SAFE” would mean passing the so-called Cochrane Gold Standard requiring 3-5 years of testing (there is none for Cannabis or GMO hemp), and LEGAL would mean per the Australian standard that they deferred to the incorrect 1961 UN Single Use Act. As a result, Cannabis in 2016 is neither safe nor legal. This meant there would be no production in Australia only imports. The federal government would limit and define all products imported. Therefore in 2021 – 95% off all legal Cannabis in Australia does not include REAL Cannabis and need not even come from a plant.
HOW THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT CREATED NEW BLACK MARKETS & EMPOWERED THE OLD ONE – As ALL Cannabis products that were now going to be available had to be imported, it was left up to the black market to step in. As 99% now 95% of the products would not include REAL Cannabis this created a need for a new black market for CBD all imported as it is from GMO hemp (high CBD hemp is rare in nature and in Australia) – Everyone was ordering from overseas, and over 90% being seen by patients or law enforcement was fake. For real Cannabis international teams moved in to set up grow houses all over Australia, that would be selling ICE, weapons, other drugs etc. For the old hippie growers, they were now in a multimillion-dollar business able to sell product $250-300 an oz, while legal Cannabis cost $500-$1000 for a prescription, and $800 an oz. At a raid in NSW one black market supplier had a list of 2000 patients that were paying $250-300 a month or more. This even funded elections with the black market capturing 250,000 votes in NSW.
MEDICAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY AUSTRALIA – The official organisation is supported by government and funded by the hemp / CBD / pharma industry and there are only 1 or 2 growers of legal real cannabis in Australia as of 2021. WHO IS HURT BY CANNABIS LEGALISTION IN AUSTRALIA? – LAW ENFORCEMENT- cannabis fines including road-side testing etc produces a lot of revenue for states. largely because Australia has zero- tolerance meaning cannabis impairment has nothing to do with detection, a practice that is illegal outside Australia in most countries. PHARMA – In Australia 90% of OTC (over the counter) drugs and prescriptions per the pharmaceutical guild say is for pain. In countries that have legal REAL Cannabis for medical use, like USA, Canada, etc, again 90% is for pain. UNIVERSITY GRANTS FOR BOGUS RESEARCH – research is big business and if REAL Cannabis is illegal, then Government grants to universities that keep producing anti-cannabis research. One product alone GW Pharma the number one selling anti-Cannabis product in Australia (called Cannabis) is distributed globally by 3 companies Bayer-Monsanto, Novartis, and Otsuka Pharma all worth over $650Billion Dollars combined. AUSTRALIA REAL CANNABIS BLACK MARKET – As mentioned the sometimes-political cannabis black market also do not support passable law reform as it hurts their business model. This was addressed in the USA in 1996 when they legalised REAL Cannabis for medical use, the black market became the supply network. Over 2 decades later the black market in Australia has not interest and only millions to lose.
THE INTENT OF CANNABIS LAW REFORM IN AUSTRALIA – Cannabis is regulated in Australia by the TGA and sister group the ODC (office of drug control) – Their intent is to prevent REAL Cannabis from ever being legal medically or recreationally and have supported paid for research that prohibits GPs from suggesting REAL Cannabis for medical use. The Department of Health even set up the NCPIC and NDARC to help produce negative information specific to REAL Cannabis for medical use, and campaigns such as the Stoner Sloth Campaign typify the problem there.
HOW TO FIX CANNABIS LAW REFORM IN AUSTRALIA IN 2021-2022. –
- SUBSIDISED MEDICINE – Australia recently saw GMO hemp extracts now legally called Cannabis by Bayer-Monsanto / GW Pharma UK – put on the PBS. The government hopes by ignoring and confusing patients that this will quell the desire for REAL Cannabis for medical use, it will work for some, and the rest are too afraid to speak up so buy from the black market instead or do without. Once addressing where Australia is on law reform, we must look at what is the intent going forward. Saying you support it but keeping it illegal is of no value.
- WHY LEGALISATION IS HARM REDUCTION – In the USA and Canada, it has been about HARM REDUCTION. If people are going to use REAL Cannabis for medical use, and the legal market is 300-400% more expensive, legalising still makes sense. Legalisation means knowing how the product is grown, offers selection, while technology sees new QR code type from seed to sale technology allowing the government to track, regulate and tax it. Where the issue is selection and choice, patients using Cannabis for medical use build up a resistance quickly so having multiple strains/cultivars is needed to avoid increased usage.
- TAXATION – Though harm reduction is more important if law enforcement and education funds are not available then the loss of revenue is prohibitive including RDT.
- PASSABLE LAW REFORM – Australians have seen children taken away for their own medical use so speaking up is at best dangerous. Passable law reform is a 51 percent passable bill in upper and lower houses or causing an issue if only one vs the other. This requires public support that is intentionally hindered by tough laws – In 2019 NSW law enforcement saw many arrests for people just discussing Cannabis law reform on facebook. In 2020 Labor ACT improved upon existing laws and semi-legalised REAL Cannabis for recreational use, but still no retail model making things still muddled. In 2017, 2018, Labor NSW offered the Medical Cannabis bill that would pass the Upper House / LC but not the lower, and with little public support due to the fear factor, it also has had little traction but offers many great ideas. No scripts, (to get pass the mess of red tape), allowing buying from the black market while access is addressed (that is what the USA did in 1996), etc.
THE ANTI-CANNABIS AUSTRALIA MEDIA – It cannot be over emphasized how integral media is and has been in anti-Cannabis agendas. Most Australians will not know of the 2017, 2018, and pending 2019, 2020, 2021 Cannabis because the Government is opposed the media is not interested. It is hard to ignore Murdoch Media impact and ownership and board participation in the pharmaceutical industry in and out of Australia and that they control most of the media in Australia in print, online and on air. This must be addressed for law reform to be successful – It has been an issue in the USA also.
LEGALISING CANNABIS IN AUSTRALIA – OTHER WAYS TAKE MONEY.
It would be naïve to ignore that many states and the country of Canada legalised Cannabis by being sued by their people. You need a law, a human/ legal defendable right, and lawyers.
LEGAL WAYS & REASONS – Australia has no bill of rights per se like the USA and Canada, however we do have the constitution. There is a view that C109 and c117 offer a legitimate legal avenue to sue upon, they have been loosely threatened with great success but that is hardly jurisprudence. In C109 and c117, of the Australian Constitution effectively addressing inconsistent laws “by the states” and based on discrimination. There is even jurisprudence (legal precedent) in C109 between Canada, the USA and Australia, dating back to early 1900’s.
THERE IS NO REAL CANNABIS LOBBY IN AUSTRALIA – The medical cannabis industry in Australia is 100% big pharma backed and REAL Cannabis suppliers are not. This means medical Cannabis via their multi-billion dollar big pharma distributors have major leverage WHY PARLIAMENT IS EASIER – For law reform to work you need an authored bill by the highest-ranking politician possible in a state that can help deliver 51% of the vote in their own upper or lower house. That is not an easy task – We have seen independents do it in Vic but getting very little support. It really needs to be a Liberal or Labor party lead initiative with the support of various independent parties. HOW MUCH WILL IT COST- Law reform would likely cost $1m in Australia. Mainly for PR to get past the Murdoch wall, and barristers would work on one end, (costs $150k for them to look further at this stage) and supportive politicians on the other, an Australian or global entrpanuer could easily fund it. The bill is already written for NSW other states admit would follow.
WHY REAL CANNABIS FOR MEDICAL USE BEFORE RECREATIONAL USE? As of 2021 no state or country has legalised REAL Cannabis for recreational use before medical use. This is no accident, part of it is popularity. In 2015 over 90% supported REAL Cannabis for medical use, and as of 2019 around 40% support recreational use per Roy Morgan Surveys. Also there is infrastructure, when states have legalised Cannabis for recreational use they have used the history and technical infrastructure of medical use to rationalise and process recreational use as being what it really is harm reduction. MEDIA IMPACT & TRICKERY ON CANNABIS IN AUSTRALIA 2021 –
NOTE: In Australia, and often others because Australia redefined the word Cannabis in 2016, so it need not include REAL Cannabis or even come from a plant, and as over 90% of all LEGAL Cannabis has no REAL Cannabis inside in Australia, and the Murdoch media controls most media and it is anti-Cannabis, this means EVERY story in Australia on Cannabis (other than arrests and confiscations) is usually is about anything but REAL Cannabis.
WHY PETITIONS FOR CANNANBIS LAW REFORM NEVER WORK ?
Every state politician in Australia has a copy and paste answer for Cannabis law reform deferring initially to their minister for Health. Something along the line of, “Dear MP, XYZ, Legalise Cannabis it is safe blah blah blah.. ” I have seen MPs answer like, ” I am answering you email here with others as it asks the same questions” I remind you Cannabis is dangerous, addictive and we follow guidelines and international Acts like the UN Single Use Act 1961. However we legalised medicinal Cannabis in 2016 and have given out thousands of prescriptions since. blah blah blah “The next petition says the same and again and again, ignoring that had they read the last 10 petitions they could do better by repointing to the questions raised.
Perhaps some highlights –
- Canada 2001 – “We legalised and regulated Cannabis for medical use for HARM REDUCTION reasons, to stop the illegal black market protect patients, and the public ” ~@JustinTrudeau – (his Canada cannabis czar is approachable)
- California 1996 – Regulated the black market (forcing testing of cannabis) allowing the black market to then legally supply a new regulated, taxed , market in 1996 – It was realised the best, safest products were the black market at the time when properly tested then sold in dispensaries
- When California and Canada legalised Cannabis for medical use – ALL Cannabis users prior to this were all illegal Cannabis smokers. When legalised it was discovered 30-50% were using it for legitimate medical use (90% of those for pain) This hurt made the black market sooner as patients had a regulated tested market to buy from
- Law Enforcement – Speaking to law enforcement on my global tours, and here in Melbourne the concern with law enforcement on law reform is greatly based on the negative impact on revenue generation if made legal RDT, etc. – A lot of money goes away if Cannabis is made legal. The USA and Canada addressed that from 1996 in taxation, – Melbourne police had the same concerns. If there is no new tax dollars or other income generation they lose money in hours, and other revenue.
- Why is Legal Cannabis Use Law So Messed UP – In the USA & Canada over 90% of ALL legal Cannabis is herbal Cannabis with THC >10% 5% is with THC<10%. Here in Australia over 95% of all LEGAL Cannabis has THC <1% and the other 10% is REAL Cannabis. Simply put in Austral due to the INTENT of our law reform, government and pharmaceutical power, 90% of all LEGAL Cannabis need not include REAL Cannabis or even come from a plant. – In QLD “cannabis” can include synthetic opioids.
- How Australia Accidentally Created Two NEW Cannabis Black Markets 2016 – When Australia legalised “Medicinal Cannabis” in 2016 this was intended to be 99% CBD and 1% of the market REAL Cannabis being >10%THC. However there was no legal CBD for sale. A new CBD black market seeing people importing illegal CBD oil from all over the world and 90% is still fake as of 2021. Prior to 2016, the main supplier for Cannabis was the local Nimbin type hippy. After 2016 they got rich became political and still do not support passable law reform. On the back of that foreign players entered the market, some domestic players, organised crime also as we are seeing edges of in Project Ironside etc. This means the local cannabis dealer could also sell you ICE, guns etc. Not the one stop shop patients should have to endure to get medicine.
- The Pharmaceutical Challenge – Australia produces 54% of the worlds legal plant grown opiates – Their biggest competition is synthetic opioids Fentanyl/Subsys and real Cannabis. Per the pharmacy guild recently report 90% of OTC and 90% of scripts are for pain – 90% of legal Cannabis use for medical use in Canada, USA, Israel, Uruguay, Israel, etc where tracked is for pain. One Vic MP told me in 2016 Victoria said he would not support Cannabis law reform until Novartis said it was ok, the $150b pharma super distributor.
- Law Reform Intent – one of the recurring comments tonight was what do you want in law reform? For Australia in 2016 there was and as of 2021 still is INTENT. The NCPIC, NDARC, ODC, TGA via the Department of Health prefers the irradiation of all REAL Cannabis use (>10% THC) and the stats prove it. This is why the black market thrives
- Medical vs Recreational Use – As of 2021 no state or country has EVER legalised Cannabis for recreational use before medical use. – This is no accident. The trouble is they legalised it for medical use and had an open vs closed mind regulatorily as to what medical could be. Australia has a similar model but per the ODC Gov web page supports ZERO real Cannabis and prevents the population from buying legally, and affordably. This forces the model a different way. All research documentation on the ODC/ Australia Cannabis government website is funded unfortunately by an anti-Cannabis hemp industry billionaire adding to the challenge for new patients and GPs – Medicinal cannabis – guidance documents | Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
- Moving Forward – For those using REAL Cannabis for medical use, they build up resistance requiring larger and larger doses, with 4000 strains of cannabis only having one causes the problem a wider choice as in the legal markets should not be ignore
- I like to remind folks – LAW REFORM is HARM REDUCTION ❤
THE CBD PROBLEM –
Road Side Testing
When you have laws made around testing versus testing made around laws you have illegal laws outside of Australia.
If a test showed you were drunk a week ago and you got a DUI for it, what would happen. That is RDT in Australia
But the revenue it generates CANNOT be ignored when thinking law reform
In 2014 California and Colorado USA, the number one issue law enforcement had with Cannabis law reform was possible loss of revenue (hours, new equipment etc).
CANNABIS ACCESS AND PRICING ISSUES
High quality REAL Cannabis from a plant in Australia costs around $250-350 an ounce on the black market in NSW per their often published price lists. To get REAL Cannabis legally for medical use, if you can find a GP that can help, it will likely cost you $500-1000 for a consultation / with a script fee. Then 750-$800 a month for product. So there alone you have a problem, as patients using a $300 product that is as good or better than a $800 product is part of the problem. Those using it for medical use will build up resistance to Cannabis education part of the problem for many. For medical use this is solved with having more selection. The problem with the Australia model is again government not really supporting Cannabis for medical use will also not suggest their model is flawed as there is little product choice. Meanwhile GMO Hemp CBD with zero THC is the preferred product by Government adding to the gaps in public awareness. Cannabis Choice – How do you Cannabis ?
One of the most ignored aspects of law reform is choice. The are 3-1/2 Cannabis types depending on which botanist you listen to. Sativa, Indica, Ruderalis, and Hemp. Genetically hemp is the odd one out and modern botanists say that hemp though referred to as a subset of Cannabis Sativa but is genetically a different plant. Hemp is low in THC and typically low in CBD also but recent GMO research sees hemp growing. When they mapped the Cannabis genome in 2014, they discovered genetically and medically hemp was different to all other Cannabis.
Terpenes (coming soon) – How patients choose their Medical Cannabis – Where it is legal
Terpenes are like CBD and THC in Cannabis 1 of 120 ish secreted cannabinoids. When Canadians sued the Canadian Government in 2013 to legalise Cannabis it was about choice. Choice of who and what they could buy and from whom.
How Does a Patient Choose Which Cannabis to Get and why they need a choice. –
In nature, terpenes are all around us. It is essentially the smell in plants and fruits also in sync with “Flavonoids” another cannabinoid. There are also over 100 different terpenes, and there are thousands of different Cannabis strains, each unique in smell, strain and plant subclass (Indica or Sativa) Indica Cannabis often is associated with relaxation and pain medication, Sativa Cannabis is more considered more arty, energetic, uplifting, used for depression and mental disorders.
California introduced an “STS (seed to sell) Strategy” on selling Cannabis in 1996. Every product would be tested, based on set guidelines to detect the THC and CBD levels and can have the terpenes tested also. Illegal black market local growers could then got approved, tested and could sell their own product to dispensaries legally.
Cannabis Cultivar Strain: Blue Dream – 13% THC 1%CBD – It is a mix of Sativa and Indica Genetics (Hybrid)
Blue Dream is a popular Cannabis strain globally, there are thousands of strains. Blue Dream is sativa dominant strain and a cross of 2 other well known strains called Blueberry and Haze. Terpenes are also known to boil at different temperatures – This can then be presented in the image below. A person using a digital vaporizer for Cannabis treating for pain can set the temperature at a desired setting, 168C would be the temperature myrcene would be released, offering optimal benefit.
Patients using Cannabis for a medical condition will need more quite often as a resilience is built up. This is easily addressed by having a selection of terpenes
Next steps in law reform – Now what .. #YouNeedABill
1) Intent – medical or recreational use? – If for medical use then that is the current failed model it has to change. Like the Labor NSW Medical Cannabis Bill 2017/2018 (mothballed for now) addressed many issues. Consider though it is possible to purchase a script for Cannabis for medical use it is still not legal like Canada or the USA has been for over 20 years. LAW REFORM IS HARM REDUCTION
ALL VIEWS MY OWN –
About the Author;
I began my internship into Cannabis Law reform in 1995 in California with mentors like Keith Stroup and others. Decades later I moved to Australia and in 2014 started consulting to government on Cannabis law reform issues. I was invited by Government to consult on the 1st and 2nd Australia Cannabis bills. My amendment in the 2016 Cannabis Access Bill was the only one by an individual that was accepted by Government. On interviews with the Author of the NSW Cannabis Bill, many hundreds got excited on the Adam Searle NSW Labor Cannabis Bill that is moth-balled now. I still write for or consult on stories for varies law reforms etc. and prior to COVID were giving Cannabis tours around the world, Amsterdam, California, and Denver for media, politicians, even law enforcement.