South Australia welcomes cannabis industry leaders

Medicinal cannabis professionals are in Adelaide today for a conference exploring the industry’s future in South Australia.

The Future of Medicinal Cannabis symposium features a series of national and global speakers who will discuss the challenges and opportunities of the medicinal cannabis trade including regulation, launching a global business and defining the cannabis pharmacopeia.

Minister for Industry and Skills, David Pisoni who will be among the key speakers, said business opportunities for medicinal cannabis are significant and extend far beyond cultivation.

“It’s not just about growing cannabis but more about South Australia being perfectly placed to engage in the sophisticated production, processing, manufacturing and commercialisation of a pharmaceutical-grade product,” he said.

“Our state has the right blend of strengths in advanced horticulture, research and specialised manufacturing to have a real competitive advantage in this space.”

Minister Pisoni said South Australia should have access to an optimal range of treatments and services to promote the best health outcomes for patients and the community.

“There is significant public interest and support for the medicinal use of cannabis and cannabis-derived products arising from reports of symptomatic benefit in a range of medical conditions,” he said.

“Clinical trials are underway to further develop evidence about the use of medicinal cannabis across a range of health conditions that will contribute important knowledge and understanding of these medicines.    

“The Marshall Liberal Government supports the development of this industry within the existing Commonwealth regulatory framework and licencing regime.”

Event organiser LeafCann Group has also announced the launch of subsidiary Alchemy Bioservices to oversee the training and management of the emerging medicinal cannabis workforce.

LeafCann CEO Elisabetta Faenza says Australia is missing out on billions of dollars in export income by being slow to build capacity in the medicinal cannabis sector.

“Our vision is to establish South Australia as the centre of excellence for education, research, industry innovation and development for the global cannabis sector,” she said.

“LeafCann has plans to recruit up to 40 local people in its current facility before the end of 2019 and together with our partner operations, will require more than 250 employees by 2020.”

For more information on medicinal cannabis in South Australia, visit the Office of Industrial Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis website.

Trying cannabis for the first time

As cannabis stigma dissipates into a cloud of fragrant vapor, young adults to seniors are coming out of the woodwork to finally try, or in some cases come back to, marijuana. There was even a Utah senator who filmed himself consuming an edible gummy in Nevada (where cannabis is legal) as a precursor to the midterms, so that “at least one Utah state senator that actually has tried cannabis before we had this big debate.”

The senator had the right idea, not just to give something a try that he’d never experienced before, which takes at least a little chutzpah, but to start with a low dose edible to see how the herb would affect him without going overboard and being overwhelmed.

The key for new users is to start slow and level up from there. You could start with a 5 mg edible, a few puffs of flower, a half dropper of tincture or some other product you’re comfortable with. But choosing the right type of cannabis can be just as important. If you’re naturally an anxious person, a sativa-heavy hybrid with more CBD in it than average is your best bet. If you’re looking to really experience a high, go with highly concentrated forms of THC, but remember to go slow so you don’t overshoot your target.

If you have the privilege of being the person introducing another to the herb, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure the space you’re in is a comfortable one. Maybe incorporate some throw pillows, an afghan blanket and a good movie for the first round. That way everyone’s comfy, there’s a film that everyone can focus their high minds toward.

Music is just as good if not better idea than a movie, which could be hit or miss. Cannabis is nothing if not an enhancement drug, and hearing your favorite band high for the first time can totally change your perspective on the intricacies of music.

Remember to not outright laugh at any of the experiences the newbie is going through, unless a shared belly laugh is exactly what’s called for. Anxiety is a common side effect for first-time users, mostly because they don’t have the benefit of experimentation to see which cannabinoid ratios work best, or if sativas, indicas or specialized hybrids work better with their systems.

Be sure to have healthy, delicious snacks at the ready for when the munchies kick in. Also remember to relax into the experience, whether the newly initiated or the one doing the initiating. Just remember, it’s all good, even if someone gets a little too high. Cannabis is non-toxic and will safely wear off if one overindulges on their first time out the gate.

Source: The Growth Op

Growing Pot in Canada: What It Means For You

You can grow your own legal marijuana plants — so long as you can grow them from seeds that you bought legally.

And just at the moment, there aren’t any, so you can’t. Provincial cannabis monopolies would like to sell seeds, but licensed producers aren’t selling seeds to them.

Eventually, once seeds and young plants become legally available, it will be impossible to tell whether your plants were grown from seeds that started on the right side of the law.

But currentlyit will be obvious that they weren’t.

How long can that odd state of affairs go on? Not forever — Ottawa is issuing small-scale growers “nursery licences,” which will eventually be a source of seeds and plants for legal sellers, apart from the licensed producers.

Nursery licence holders are also allowed to buy seeds from grey-market producers, on a one-off basis — they have to declare them once when the licence is applied for, and not ever buy anymore after that.

So when will you be able to try your hand at pot gardening? Canopy Growth promises seeds by next spring, and an expert we talked to expects it to happen within the next three to six months. But right now, pot-growing is still another detail of legalization that has yet to be filled in.

American Pot and the Trouble with Driving

Americans now spend an estimated 15 billion hours under the influence of marijuana each year — rising numbers that worry health professionals who say the car-loving country mistakenly believes that stoned driving is much less risky than drunk driving.

In 2017, 13% of nighttime weekend drivers were found to have marijuana in their system, according to the Centers for Disease Control, up from 9% in 2007. In fact, active marijuana ingredient THC, and not alcohol, is now the most commonly detected intoxicant in U.S. drivers, according to a drug-policy study out this month.

And unlike alcohol, one challenge lies with stopping a potential pot-related accident before it happens: accurate, low-cost roadside marijuana tests don’t exist. THC is not really a detectable intoxicant simply by using a breath test.

It’s a development — one of the downsides to the expanding decriminalization and legalization of cannabis — that challenges policy-makers and health-care professionals who believe that drivers don’t consider the reaction-slowing and depth perception-altering effects of smoking pot to be an issue when operating their vehicles, argue Mark A.R. Kleiman, Tyler Jones, Celeste J. Miller and Ross Halperin in their study and policy proposal published in De Gruyter’s Journal of Drug Policy Analysis.

In that regard, policy emphasis may have to focus on convincing users simply not to drive at all when stoned as there’s little sign that cannabis consumption itself will ease. More than 30 states have opted for medical-use approval and a handful has embraced recreational sales. A national legalization campaign could also find traction in the wake of Canada’s own approval earlier this month. Some studies find that millennials prefer the mood effects and lower cost of marijuana over alcohol.

Still there’s a real challenge in limiting pot-and-driving behavior, in part because its impact is hard to measure. Marijuana affects driving-related skills but its direct link to the cause of any specific crash is hard to pinpoint.

“While it is certain that the risk of driving under the influence of cannabis alone is much lower than under the influence of high levels of alcohol, it is difficult to determine levels of impairment after cannabis use,” said study author Kleiman, a professor at New York University.

“A few facts are certain: stoned-driving adds to accident risk, especially in combination with alcohol and other drugs,” he stressed.

The Governors Highway Safety Association largely agrees, reporting earlier this year that drug tests of car drivers killed in crashes found that significantly more had marijuana and opioids in their system than just a decade ago.

For traffic regulators, practical, reliable testing of drivers may be a ways off. Oral-fluid testing can demonstrate recent use but not the level of impairment and thus a blood test must be carried out by health professionals at a medical facility. A further challenge is that blood THC levels drop very sharply even after minutes. A blood test is also a poor indicator of how recently the drug was used or the extent of impairment, Kleiman and the researchers found.

Marijuana can remain in the human body for days and weeks after use, depending on how much and how often a person uses, although its driving-impairment effects may have worn off much sooner. What’s more, laws on legal limits vary by state.

And if an accurate test is pushed into active use? Stoned driving, the Kleiman-led group argued, should be discouraged through legal means, but within reason.

“Even assuming that an acceptable test can be developed, stoned driving alone and not involving alcohol or other drugs, should be treated as traffic infraction rather than as a crime, unless aggravated by recklessness, aggressiveness, or high speed,” the authors said, stressing that an anti-stoned driving campaign could find the same legs that efforts to reduce drunk driving has had.

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