Australia

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Australia: Olivia Newton-John Advocates For Medical Cannabis Down Under

Olivia Newton-John

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Entertainer Olivia Newton-John has become an unlikely champion for the use of medicinal cannabis in Australia.

"I will do what I can to encourage it. It's an important part of treatment, and it should be available," the iconic singer, said.

Newton-John said she uses the drug – which is legal in her home state of California – and it's helped her during her second fight against cancer.

"I use medicinal cannabis, which is really important for pain and healing," Newton-John said. "It helped me a lot with pain, because, you know, I don't like taking prescription drugs, so it's kind of a no-brainer," Newton-John added.

Chile: Pharmacies Set To Dispense Medical Marijuana This Week

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Pharmacies in Santiago, Chile will begin selling medical marijuana products this week, as the nation's legislature is considering allowing patients to grow small amounts at home, according to a report in Reuters. The products will be imported by Canadian licensed producer Tilray in partnership with Alef Biotechnology, which is licensed by the Chilean government.

The Tilray products, T100 and TC100, will cost about $310 per month for individuals with a prescription. Medical marijuana was made legal in Chile in 2015, but mmj therapies were only available through a limited number of dedicated farms set up by a charity.

“By importing Tilray’s medical cannabis products to Chile we intend to ease the suffering of those in need by offering pure, precise and predictable medical cannabis products,” Roberto Roizman, Alef board president, said in a statement.

Chile's first medical marijuana crop was harvested in April by Australia’s AusCann Holdings and Chile’s Fundacion Daya. Those establishments must complete successful clinical trials before being registered with the Chilean Institute of Public Health and made available for patients, however.

Australia: Providers Can Now Apply To Grow Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana providers may now apply to grow medical cannabis in Australia.

New legislation passed earlier this year licensed cultivation and production of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes. A vote on October 30 opened up the cultivation of medical marijuana in Australia.

“Until now, it has been difficult for patients to access medicinal cannabis products from overseas sources,” Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said.

New medical marijuana cultivators will have to comply with a set of legislations and classify their harvest with the Therapeutic Goods Administration. States and territories will also retain control over licensing and product output.

In order to qualify, cultivators must also pass “strict fit and proper persons requirements and other legislative tests relating to security.”

According to spokesman from an Australian investment group, “the [Australian] domestic medicinal cannabis market could be worth more than $75 million a year.”

“The US has a well established cannabis markets and there’s no reason to suppose consumer demand or product pricing in Australian will be any different relative to the two countries population difference,” he also said.

Australia: Medical Marijuana Cultivation Legalized

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Australia has allowed “fit and proper” individuals and entities to cultivate medicinal cannabis crops under strict government license and guidelines in an effort to substitute imports with “domestic supply.”

The Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016 took effect on October 30, 2016. The new regulations allow for the licensing of cannabis cultivation and the production of cannabis and cannabis resins for medicinal and scientific purposes.

“Until now, it has been difficult for patients to access medicinal cannabis products from overseas sources,” Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said in a statement released 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.”

While the new law favors pharmaceuticals, recreational smokers are not affected, as consuming marijuana remains a criminal activity.

“I want to emphasize that the changes to the Narcotic Drugs Act do not decriminalize cannabis for recreational use,” Ley said.

Australia: Researchers To Study Marijuana For Treatment Of Melanoma

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Researchers at the University of Canberra (UC) in Australia are starting a new research project aimed at producing a cannabis-based combination therapy treatment for melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

International medical cannabis producer Cann Pharmaceutical signed a $1 million deal with the University to provide medical-grade cannabis for clinical trials on melanoma patients, a recent release stated.

The two-year research project will be led by UC professor of molecular and cellular biology Sudha Rao.

Existing research suggests several compounds in marijuana have the ability to ”switch off” uncontrolled skin cell growth, a major factor in the development and progression of skin cancer.

“Australians have the highest rate of melanoma in the world, with estimates of more than 13,000 new cases to be diagnosed in 2016 alone,” Rao said. “When you consider that melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australia and New Zealand, and almost 1,800 people will die as a result of this cancer this year, we need to work harder at finding effective treatments.”

Medical cannabis will be administered to melanoma patients along with standard chemotherapy. Scientists will monitor how melanoma stem cells respond to treatment with marijuana. Clinical trials are expected to begin in 2017.

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