Medical marijuana spray: A gift of hope for Taupo girl's second birthday

Mum Casey Johnson is hopeful for a cure for Elyse's inoperable brain tumour. She's pictured here with niece Maia. Medical marijuana is giving a Taupo two-year-old a new lease on life, but it comes with a hefty cost. At just three years old Elyse Johnson has become the youngest girl to be given Ministry of Health approval for Sativex to treat her tumours. It's an oral spray containing cannabis extracts in a metered dose. Elyse has an aggressive strain of brain tumour, the size of a golf ball, called diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas. It causes her nausea, dizziness and seizures and the tumour is too large to be operated on. Over the course of the year Elyse has lost the ability to

Reefer Madness review: Adaptation of cult parody leaves audience on a high

MUSICAL REEFER MADNESS ★★★½ Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney Chapel Off Chapel Until December 4 Reefer Madness was one of the first movies to be embraced as a "cult classic", and like all the purest camp, it began with serious purpose. Financed by a church group in the late 1930s and originally titled Tell Your Children, the film aimed to warn parents of the perils of marijuana (now legal for recreational use in eight US states). Ben Adams in Reefer Madness: The Musical. No one is saying cannabis is risk-free, but as anti-drug propaganda goes, nothing has ever come close to being as rabid and ill-informed as Reefer Madness. Smoking pot, if you take the film's risible plot at face value, lead

WARNING: Synthetic cannabis labelled ‘intense incense’ being sold at Off Ya Tree in Northland Shoppi

Synthetic cannabis products, marketed as "intense incense", on display at Off Ya Tree in Northland Shopping Centre SYNTHETIC cannabis is being sold over the counter in Darebin despite deaths linked to the mock pot. While police work to lessen the impact of drugs in Melbourne’s north, the Off Ya Tree store in Northland Shopping Centre has the imitation dope ready for sale in their front counter. Leader last month visited the Preston store where the product, labelled as “intense incense”, was on display. Marketed under names such as “intense incense” and often labelled “not for human consumption”, the open sale of synthetic cannabis was “very concerning” a pharmacology expert told Pres

Decriminalise drugs: Health experts slam Greens’ drug plans

Greens leader Richard Di Natale says “the individual use of illegal drugs should not fall within the ­criminal framework”. THE Greens’ official push to ­decriminalise a number of illicit and harmful drugs has been ­universally condemned for giving ruthless drug dealers the “green light” to peddle their deadly trade on our streets. Greens leader Richard Di Natale was condemned after his party agreed to remove their opposition to the legalisation of illicit substances from policy documents. The party’s policy says “the individual use of illegal drugs should not fall within the ­criminal framework”. Government ministers immediately ruled out the crazy proposal last night, declaring the

'Just say no': Australian Medical Association rejects Greens' new drug legalisation push

Greens leader Richard Di Natale wants to reopen the conversation about decriminalising drugs such as cannabis. The Australian Medical Association has distanced itself from a new relaxed drugs approach being pushed by the Greens, saying it underestimates the harm illicit drugs do to the community. Association president Michael Gannon told Fairfax Media he welcomed any initiative that shifted the public conversation about illicit drugs towards rehabilitation and treatment instead of policing and the justice system. But he said he was "wary" of any push towards decriminalising illicit drugs, including cannabis. "We should not underestimate the harm that illicit drugs do everyday in our

Crowdfunded medicinal cannabis education campaign mobilises in Tasmania

Photo: The Little Green Van was refurbished through a crowdfunding camaign. (Facebook: Andrew Irving) Two medicinal cannabis education trailers are operating in Tasmania in an attempt to encourage people to talk about its use. The crowdfunded project has been organised by a group called Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp Tasmania. The trailers will travel the state delivering educational material, with people available to answer questions from the public. Organiser Andrew Irving said the idea was based on one developed in Queensland. "I thought we could do something like that down here," he said. "One for the north, one for the south [of Tasmania] to try to help people understand cannab

Greens in radical new drug legalisation push

Greens leader Richard Di Natale says the "war on drugs" has failed. The Greens have made a radical change to their drugs policy which leader Richard Di Natale hopes will reignite the decriminalisation debate and pave the way for the legalisation of recreational drugs like cannabis. The party has officially ditched its blanket opposition to the legalisation of illicit drugs from its policy platform after members voted to support changes driven by Senator Di Natale at their national conference in Perth on Saturday. Senator Di Natale – a former drug and alcohol doctor – says the global "war on drugs" has failed and the time has come for a dramatically different approach. He says he's prep

Ex-big pharma executive behind OxyContin sells medical marijuana

Employees inspect plants at the Emblem production facility in Paris, Ontario John Stewart used to run the pharmaceutical company behind the narcotic painkiller OxyContin. Now he is banking on medical marijuana. Mr Stewart does not know which is more controversial these days, OxyContin or pot. He guesses the average person would give "a bigger negative" to the powerful and controversial painkiller that has been linked to the opioid overdose and addiction epidemic in the US and Canada. "There is a lot of anti-opioid sentiment," he says, delicately. "And certainly based on the social disruption that we've seen it's understandable." In the US, an estimated 1.9 million Americans were addi

Police allow dope-smoking Melbourne picnics, dubbing them ‘freedom of expression’

A man smokes a bong at the 420 picnic. The Herald Sun photographed drug kits in full view and revellers blatantly smoking the drug in blunts and bongs at the ‘420 picnic’, with dope-laced brownies also on offer. Police for years have turned a blind eye to the hundreds and sometimes thousands of drug users breaking the law at the events, run by pro-legalisation campaigners Free Cannabis Community. Victoria Police confirmed they were aware of the gatherings but no arrests were made at the last picnic. Spokeswoman Leonie Johnson said it was illegal to smoke cannabis, but police used discretion. “Police were not required to attend Flagstaff Gardens, however monitored the event as they

WA doctor says 'medicinal cannabis could help sick children at PMH next year'

A WA neurologist says 'medicinal cannabis could help children at PMH by next year'. ONE of WA’s most respected and senior neurologists believes there is potential for medicinal cannabis to help some of the sickest children at Princess Margaret Hospital from next year. PMH head of neurology Lakshmi Nagarajan, who is also the director of its epilepsy program, said there was evidence medicinal cannabis may be useful in treating children with Dravet syndrome, Lennon Gastaut syndrome and infantile spasms. Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic childhood illnesses but despite many advances in treatment options, including anti-epileptic drugs, vagal nerve stimulation, special diets and br

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