Has New Zealand just Legalised Medicinal Cannabis?

Has New Zealand just Legalised Medicinal Cannabis?

  • New Zealand’s Government has removed restriction on CBD products
  • Doctors will be able to prescribe up to three months’ supply of CBD without needing approval from the Ministry of Health
  • Some barriers will remain, particularly regarding importing and exporting

New Zealand has taken its first step towards legalising cannabis for medicinal use. The government is lifting current restrictions on cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. The Associate Health Minister, Peter Dunne, made the announcement last week that New Zealand will reclassify CBD, removing it from the controlled substance list.

“In practical terms, the changes mean CBD would be able to be prescribed by a doctor to their patient and supplied in a manner similar to any other prescription medicine.”

“…another positive move forward to remove some of the barriers that patients are faced with…” – Ross Bell

Mr. Dunne explained that part of the reason for legalising the cannabinoid extract was to help ensure patients have access to higher quality medicine, rather than relying on street dealers, making sure “people aren’t getting junk, but are getting reputable quality products.”

The law change is part of a long term deliberate policy direction to broaden access to medicinal cannabis: “In the longer term as the international market develops and as more quality products come available, I think it will prove to be beneficial to New Zealand patients.”

The decision to reform the law can largely be thanked to the tireless efforts of campaigners in New Zealand, include hero mother, Rose Renton.

Rose made national headlines with her campaign to get her son, Alex, access to cannabis for his sever epilepsy. Unfortunately, the ruling comes too late for Alex, who died earlier this year, but Rose said she know her son will be proud of the reform: “His soul is lighter, knowing he paved the way to help people get relief legally, that’s what his life has ended up being about.”

While the move to finally provides desperate patients an alternative to dangerous and addictive prescription drugs, there will still be some restrictions, such as a total ban of production of hemp, with the Associate Health Minister saying: “Farmers won’t be growing cannabis for medicinal cannabis in New Zealand full stop.

“This is about products that are CBD-based that are manufactured being able to be prescribed to New Zealand patients. There is a very limited market at the moment.”

The director of the NZ Drug Foundation director, Ross Bell applauded the move. Speaking to The New Zealand Herald, he praised the a “very good decision” based on expert evidence.

“It represents another positive move forward to remove some of the barriers that patients are faced with in accessing medical cannabis products.”

What do you think of New Zealand’s decision to allow doctors to prescribe CBD products? Or is it too small a step? Let us know in the comments.

Grease Star Olivia Newton-John to use Cannabis in Cancer Treatment

Grease Star Olivia Newton-John to use Cannabis in Cancer Treatment

  • The actress has been diagnosed with cancer for a second time
  • Chloe Lattanzi, Olivia ‘s daughter, revealed the star will be trying CBD oil on her Instagram page
  • Chloe recently bought a cannabis farm with her fiancé to make medicine, especially for those with cancer
  • The 39-year-old daughter recently set up her own medical cannabis

Olivia Newton-John, the star of hit 70’s musical Grease, announced that she has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time.

Having beaten breast cancer back in 1992, the former actress took to social media to reveal that the cancer had now returned, spreading to her back.

It was her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, who announced that her mother would be using medicinal cannabis, as well as continuing her other treatments.

Chloe, Olivia’s only child, thanked fans in a reassuring message on her Instagram, writing: “My mom and best friend is going to be fine!

“She will be using medicine that I often talk about. CBD oil! (Cannabis has scientifically proven properties to inhibit cancer cell growth) and other natural healing remedies plus modern medicine to beat this.”

Olivia confirmed of her decision on her Facebook: “I decided on my direction of therapies after consultation with my doctors and natural therapists and the medical team at my Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia.”

Chloe, a businesswoman in her own right, owns a legal marijuana farm in Oregon with her fiancé James Driskill. This seems to have had an impact on the actress’s decision to add the cannabinoid CBD, and will probably be where Olivia will get her supply of the herbal medicine from.

James, Chloe’s fiancé and business partner, currently works as the lead garden manager at Crystal Farm Organics, another Oregon cannabis farm.

Explaining why she decided to pursue a career in medicinal cannabis, Chloe wrote: “My main goal is to help people with cancer. I’ve seen this plant’s properties heal and even cure forms of cancer. Can’t wait till our products are on shelves to help and make people happy.”

While there is no conclusive proof that cannabis can “cure” cancer, it has been shown in several studies to help treat some of the more severe side-effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea, loss of appetite, and helps fight depression and patients come to terms with the possibility of death which often affects cancer patients.

Cannabis oil has been making the national news recently after Callie Blackwell went on to ITV’s This Morning to talk about cannabis helped save her son from the brink of death.

Would you try cannabis oil if you were battling cancer? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

France will Decriminalize Cannabis by September

France will Decriminalize Cannabis by September

Is France about to decriminalize cannabis?

  • France has announced it will decriminalize possession of cannabis
  • The new measure is to be rolled out by September this year
  • There will be stricter measures for those selling the drug
  • 550,000 people in France between the ages of 15-64 use cannabis every day

The French government’s newly appointed Interior Minister, Gérard Collomb, has announced that the France is aiming to decriminalize the possession of cannabis by September.

Macron is aiming to do what most politicians find impossible: putting words into action.

The new measures would mean that someone found with cannabis will avoid prosecution or jail time, instead being issued a ticket and a €100 fine.

Currently, French law specifies three classifications of offences:

  1. Serious crimes referred to as “crimes”,
  2. Less serious crimes called “délits”,
  3. Non-criminal offences referred to as “contraventions”.

According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the previous French Government held some of the strictest penalties for cannabis in Europe. Those caught with the medicinal herb faced either up to 10 years in prison or an astronomical fine which could rise up to €7.5million (£6.5m).

Under French law, possession of illegal drugs is classified as the most serious criminal offence, and the law does not distinguish between possession for personal use or for trafficking. In some rare cases, possession was tried as a trafficking offence.

However, in practice, the prosecutor often based their judgement on the quantity of the drug seized and the elements of the act (i.e. intent to supply). So, realistically, those caught with cannabis were likely to face a less severe punishment of one year in prison and a fine of €3,000.

These new measures would see cannabis drop down into the third, “contravention,” section of classification, which cannot be punished with criminalisation or incarceration.

The newly elected President of France, Emmanuel Macron, focused on the decriminalisation of cannabis during his Presidential election. Having won the election, Macron is aiming to do what most politicians find impossible: putting words into action.

These new measures will have a positive impact on a large section of the French population; 1.5% (or around 500,000 people) are claimed to use the drug on a daily basis according to Terra Nova.

To combat the issue of drug peddling in France’s poorest communities, Collomb has stated that those who have been convicted of selling drugs will be temporarily banned from returning to their local area.

The aim is to reduce drug trafficking as well as reducing the chance of convicted individuals from engaging in gang related violence, such as retaliatory violence or intimidating behaviour. He also implied that stricter measures on drug trafficking can reduce terrorism, but this is not surprising given the current climate after Monday’s tragic events in Manchester.

Do you think this is a good step forward for France or is it not enough?

Cannabis use is prevalent in France, with around 550,000 people – or 1.5 per cent of the population aged 15-64 – using the drug every day, left-wing French think tank Terra Nova claims.

approximately 550,000 people in France between the ages of 15-64 use cannabis every day.

Where do UK Political Parties Stand on Cannabis Reform?

Where do UK Political Parties Stand on Cannabis Reform?

Where do our political parties stand on cannabis?

  • Only 2 parties openly support legalisation of cannabis
  • Left-leaning parties favour legalisation, while right-wing parties oppose any form of law change

With less than two weeks to go before we head to the polls, we have laid out where each party stand on the issue of cannabis legalisation. The prohibition of cannabis has been a plague on our society, leading to X amount of people being incarcerated for their choice of medicine.

However, new polls are suggesting more and more Brits are open to the idea of reforming the law on cannabis. The Independent found that 47% of the Brits they surveyed were in favour of cannabis legalisation, with a further 14% remaining undecided. That only leaves 39% of people who oppose the end of a failed war on cannabis.

“The honest and pragmatic response is to take responsibility for this situation and regulate the market.” – Liberal Democrats

Last year, a YouGov poll found that a massive 87% of people support legalising cannabis if it has medicinal value. That’s more support than Brexit received. If cannabis does have medicinal value, which we believe the volumes of scientific research into the plant have shown, then clearly it has the support of a massive

If nearly half of the country want to legalise cannabis for recreational, and nearly 90% for medicinal, then surely, in a democracy, we should listen to the voice and will of the people?

This guide will help you to make sure that your vote is not wasted on a party who opposes allowing people the freedom to choose their medicine or how they spend their free time.

  • Conservatives

The conservatives are currently in power and slightly ahead in the polls. It is more likely to see a Conservative majority than any other form of Government. What does this mean for those who use cannabis medicinally?

Well, Theresa May is entirely opposed to any notion of legalising cannabis, even for medicinal use.

Speaking to the BBC, a Tory spokesperson regurgitated archaic reefer madness nonsense: “There is clear scientific and medical evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people’s mental and physical health, and harms individuals and communities. We have no plans to change the law.”

That sounds like a resounding rejection of cannabis law reform. The current PM even went as far as spreading fake news by claiming cannabis can lead to heroin addiction and suicide (even though studies have found cannabis to be a great way to get addicts off hard drugs and an even better anti-depressant).

  • Labour

The Labour party have also seemingly rejected the idea of cannabis legalisation with a complete omission of the subject in their 122-page manifesto. A Labour Party spokesperson also claimed that the party still “remains strongly opposed to the legalisation of cannabis,” in a response to the Lib Dem manifesto launch.

However, Jeremy Corbyn’s personal stance on medicinal cannabis is far more positive. In 2016, the new leader of Labour excited patients across the country by saying he “would decriminalise medicinal uses of cannabis.”

The veteran left-winger added that there “has to be an intelligent approach to” the clearly failing drug-war, despite the fact he doesn’t take any drugs personally.

Corbyn has been consistently voted in a way which is coherent to what he says. While his party has made cannabis legalisation a priority in this election, it is safe to assume that if elected, there could be significant change in the UK’s approach to drug law reform.

How much control Corbyn would be allowed over drug reform if elected is unknown, but there is certainly a greater chance under Labour than Theresa May.

  • Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems have come out swinging with a powerful manifesto that directly addresses the fact that cannabis prohibition is damaging our society.

In the manifesto, the left-leaning party laid into previous Governments who have ignored one of the most damaging policies in the UK. The manifesto states: “Successive governments have ceded total control of a significant public health problem to organised crime.

“The honest and pragmatic response is to take responsibility for this situation and regulate the market.”

Their stance would be to allow and regulate licensed shops to sell cannabis to over-18s, the right to grow the medicinal herb at home, and lends it support to the UK Cannabis Social Club model.

Julian Huppert, a Lib Dem candidate explained to Buzzfeed, “The prohibitionist approach costs a huge amount of money, means we criminalise a large amount of people, and increases the harm.

“We spend a lot of money making people’s lives worse. That cannot be correct.”

This is a strong stance for the Liberal Democrats to take, although it is not a new policy direction for the party. They have consistently backed law reform surrounding cannabis, becoming the first party to officially support legalisation back in 2016.

However, memories of the Lib Dem betrayal of students in 2010 (campaigning nearly solely on the promise to oppose and remove university tuition fees, only to then jump in bed with the Tories at the first glance of power) are still fresh in many voters’ minds.

Can you trust the party to make good on their promises, or will they throw their voters under the bus again?

  • The Greens

The Green Party have been a strong and consistent supporter of the decriminalisation of cannabis, ever since they formed back in 1990.

Their official stance on cannabis is: “Cannabis would be removed from the 1971 Misuse of drugs act.

The party use case studies from around the world to support their position: “The possession, trade and cultivation of cannabis would be immediately decriminalised, roughly following the Dutch model.

“Small-scale possession of drugs for personal use would be decriminalised. The starting point would be advice to policing authorities to caution rather than prosecute for offences of drug possession for personal use and to refer offenders to the health-care service.”

There is no mention of cannabis law reform in their 2017 manifesto, although it is safe to assume that a Green Parliament would see cannabis legalised, at least for medicinal purposes, in the UK.

  • UKIP

It is unclear where the party stand on cannabis legalisation.

Nigel Farage, perhaps surprisingly, threw in his support for law reform in 2014, telling The Telegraph: ” I’ve never taken [drugs] myself, I hope I never do, but I just have a feeling that the criminalisation of all these drugs is actually not really helping British society.”

“I think we should look at it and if ever there was a subject where we needed a genuine Royal Commission – not to kick it in the long grass – but a genuine Royal Commission to examine Portugal, to examine perhaps what has happened in one or two sates in America and in Switzerland, this subject would be it.”

Paul Nuttall, according to The Mirror had previously estimated that “cannabis sales could raise up to £1bn ($1.3bn) a year in tax and would reduce the burden on prisons, the police and the NHS,” so maybe it’s not all doom-and-gloom in the right.

Whichever way you decide to vote, cannabis legalisation is only one element of our society. While it may be the most important issue to desperate patients, it is part of a tapestry of politics. But we can look to see if our Parties govern on unbiased facts, or whether they will ignore blatant truths to push their own ideology on us.

Which way will you be voting? Has a Party’s stance on cannabis persuaded you to change your stance?

Hero father Growing Cannabis to Keep his Son Safe from Criminals

Hero father Growing Cannabis to Keep his Son Safe from Criminals

A Nottingham father is facing prosecution for trying to keep his son out of the illegal black market cannabis trade.

  • Michael Reed told police that he was growing cannabis to keep his son away from dealers
  • Police estimate the value of his crop being between £12,320 – £36,790
  • Reed could face up to 14 years in prison for intent to supply a Class B substance
  • The UK currently spends £50m a year on policing cannabis

A Nottingham father is facing prosecution for trying to keep his son out of the illegal black market cannabis trade.

Michael Reed was found with 24 plants and a further 18 seedlings, with police estimating the value of the crop being anywhere between £12k – £36K, although there is some dispute over this figure, with some believing police are exaggerating the value of the crop.

Policing cannabis costs taxpayers up to £50m a year. The very same Government says it cannot afford to feed starving children.

The father of one pleaded guilty to producing a controlled drug earlier this year, on January 11. Magistrates have released Reed on unconditional bail until August 16, when they will decide on the motive behind the crop. Reed maintains that he was growing the medicinal herb to prevent himself and his son from contributing to the black market trade, which boosts the power of organized crime gangs.

However, a police “expert’ has claimed that the harvest’s size belies this argument, as the amount of cannabis grown was “beyond one person’s smoking capabilities” and magistrates must rule on the case.

The incident occurred back in January earlier this year when Nottingham police were called to Reed’s residence.

Lee Shepherd, prosecuting, said that when police visited Reed, they noticed a “strong smell of cannabis and officers were invited to have a look around”.

The prosecuting officer believes that the argument put forward by Mr. Shepherd does not add up: “The scale and sophistication of the grow suggest it is a commercial grow. The drugs expert says it is beyond one person’s smoking capabilities.”

Stephen Burdon, mitigating, said Reed, 57, had mainly produced it for his son with some for himself.

“This was not on a commercial basis – he wanted to protect his son.

“The police didn’t ask questions about the usage of cannabis by the son and Mr. Reed. His son is a cannabis user. He did not want his son going to dealers,” said Mr. Burdon.

Mr. Burdon is to appoint an independent drugs expert to examine the police report. The solicitor said it was “double-edged” to argue that Reed intended to provide the drug for his son because that was a form of supply.

Reed’s mobile phone and laptop were seized by police officers who were searching for evidence “to suggest that he had the intention of onward supply”.

In 2015, there were 87,247 police caseloads relating to the cannabis, with the average cost to the taxpayer per case estimated at £2,256.  The Liberal Democrats estimate that a total of £31m was spent on 1,044,180 police hours policing cannabis. Does this sound like a reasonable way to spend taxpayer money?

Policing cannabis costs taxpayers up to £50m a year, with 1,363 inmates currently in prison in England and Wales for cannabis-related offenses. You are being forced to house and feed these people because our Government refuses to accept they are wrong on cannabis laws.

The very same Government says it cannot afford to feed starving children. What is happening to the UK?

Do you think this is an effective use of police time and resources, or do you think the country should move forward and end the war on cannabis users?

Conservatives Refuse to Legalise Cannabis

Conservatives will Refuse to Legalise Cannabis, Despite Medical Evidence

Conservatives will Refuse to Legalise Cannabis, Despite Medical Evidence

Theresa May just confirmed that the Conservatives will refuse to legalise cannabis, despite medical evidence

  • Theresa May announced she will not support cannabis law reform during a Facebook Live event
  • The leader of the Conservative Party claimed she opposes legalisation due to the “gateway theory” and the pseudo-link to mental illness

Theresa May has just made the General Election a very easy decision for cannabis users in the UK. In an attempt to win over voters ahead of the election, the current Prime Minister went on a live Facebook Q&A hosted by ITV News to discuss her view on issues affecting the public. When asked a question by ‘Emma’ on cannabis legalisation, Ms May explained why she would refuse to even consider relaxing the laws surrounding the medicinal plant.

Robert Peston, the host of the Q&A, put the question from Emma to the PM: “Emma wants to know why you can’t support cannabis legalisation?

“She says it’s the only thing that helps her debilitating anxiety, but she has to be a criminal to get the only thing that helps her.”

Surely our head of State, whose sole job is to represent us and put our best interest first, would respond compassionately to a distressed citizen?

Rather than address the issue directly or discuss the plethora of medical research which confirms the bounty of ways in which cannabis can be used medicinally, the PM refused to commit to law reform.

Instead, the PM insulted the intelligence of the nation, and the concerned citizen who posed the question, by using out-dated theories from the “Reefa Madness” era to defend her totalitarian position:

“The reason I don’t believe in making cannabis use legal is because of the impact I see it having on too many people in terms of the drug use.

“What we’ve seen is stronger forms now being used – I think it can have a real impact on people in terms of their mental health.

“But it can also of course lead to people going on to harder drugs.”

“There’s a wonderful woman in my constituency, Elizabeth Burton Phillips who runs something called DrugFAM, which supports families.

“One of her twin sons – they both started on cannabis when they were at school and went on to heroin and one of her twin sons committed suicide. This has a huge impact on families.”

The gate-way drug theory has been proved to be wrong for a long time now. Does the fact that someone who wants to be head of the UK refuses to accept scientific fact not prove that we must remove her from any position of authority? You wouldn’t want a teacher who believes 2+2 = 7 in charge of your child’s math department, so why should the same not apply for the way our country is governed?

The PM even acknowledged that there is significant research disproving the lies she just peddled on national media: “There have obviously been some studies into the use of cannabis or derivatives for medical use,” she said.

We need to relax the laws surrounding cannabis research in the UK, or our knowledge of the plant will never expand. If we cannot expand our medical knowledge due to a law, then are we not putting our most vulnerable members of society at risk of serious harm?

The leader of the Conservatives made this General Election very easy for anyone who cares about cannabis legalisation, or indeed, for anyone who is compassionate about ending human suffering.

Who has your vote? Let us know in the comments!

Cardiff Cannabis March: Global Cannabis Day

Cardiff Cannabis March: Global Cannabis Day

Hundreds marched for cannabis legalisation in Cardiff on Global Cannabis Day

  • Hundreds of cannabis activists and medicinal patients marched through the streets of Cardiff yesterday
  • 6 May marks Global Cannabis Day, providing protestors the perfect opportunity to make their voice heard en masse
  • Speakers will include the head of the UK Cannabis Social Clubs, Greg de Hoedt, and the heroic Carrie Blackwell, the mother of “The Boy in 7 Billion”

“Since the global rally for cannabis began, 100,000s of people have attended in over 829 cities in 72 different countries.”

Cardiff’s Cannabis Social Club is hosted its 7th annual Cannabis March on Global Cannabis Day.

Hundreds of pro-cannabis activists marched through the city centre, rallying against the unjust prohibition of cannabis both for medicinal and recreational use.

The march set off from Cardiff’s Cathays Park at one pm. The procession of cannabis protestors will ended up in Hamadryad Park, where speeches from well-known activists and politicians took place.

Ahead of the march, we spoke to one of the event’s organisers, Jannette Clements.

Jannette told us that one of the main reasons for the march was to try and bring a real change in the way the UK views cannabis: “Well, the purpose of the Global Cannabis March this year is to highlight the need for Spanish-style clubs and associations.

“We’re also marching for the Right2Grow, in Cardiff, in Wales and across the UK, as this is a much safer alternative, in every way for cannabis consumers and the rest of society, than the black-market situation which currently exists under UK drug laws.”

One of the main roadblocks to cannabis legalisation seems to be a negative public perception surrounding the medicinal herb, something Jannette hopes the march could change: “Public perception matters enormously.

“There is a lot of prejudice when it comes to cannabis and cannabis consumers, and a lot of misinformation which has been used to mis-educate society.

“We want people to understand that there is nothing to fear about cannabis, that it is not a gateway drug, it is just a very useful plant.  We would like cannabis to be accepted and normalised in society as part of everyday life, just as alcohol, coffee and tobacco are.”

Another woman who has been campaigning tirelessly to change public perception about the medicinal benefits of cannabis is Callie Blackwell. After cannabis saved her son, the heroic mother has been on a tour of the UK , even popping up at Manchester’s 420 event to give a speech.

Callie joined a range of speakers on the day to try and reach out the public, whom we need on our side if we are going to move forward with legalisation.

The full set of speakers were:

Jeff Ditchfield from Bud Buddies

  • 3.20: Pippa Bartolotti, from the Welsh Green Party
  • 3.40: United Patients Allaince (Chris & Bea)
  • 4.00: Jeff Ditchfield (Bud Buddies UK)
  • 4.30: Callie Blackwell
  • 4.45: Bristol CSC
  • 4.55: Greg de Hoedt (UKCSC President)
  • 5.05: Cardiff CSC

Callie has certainly proved a popular figure of late, with Jannette billing her as one of the biggest highlights of the day: “I think what Callie Blackwell, author of ‘The boy in 7 billion’, will talk about, along with the legendary Jeff Ditchfield of Bud Buddies, will be very interesting

“But, I’m looking forward to hearing all our guest speakers, as they are influential in the cannabis community and all have valid points to make, and give a lot of strength to our cause.” 

The Global Cannabis March actually started all the way back in 1999, under the name Global Marijuana March (GMM). Each year the march moves location, with Cardiff chosen this year. Since the global rally for cannabis began, 100,000s of people have attended in over 829 cities in 72 different countries. No pressure then!

Jannette explained why Cardiff is a great location for the event: “Cardiff is historically an open minded, all embracing city, with many mixed cultures going back generations, so I hope local people will be curious and hopefully take the time to listen to our speakers and learn a little more than they know already.

“Thanks to some very notable activists, and a ton of scientific and medical research that has been done in recent years, cannabis is becoming well known for its benefits.  People are becoming more aware, and are beginning to question the laws on cannabis here in the UK.”

Cannabis Legalisation Ireland - Catching up With Vera Twomey

Cannabis Legalisation Ireland - Catching up with Vera Twomey

Cannabis Legalisation Ireland – Catching up with Vera Twomey

  • Vera Twomey, Irish mother of epileptic daughter, marched 260km earlier this year to demand Irish Government allows her daughter access to THC
  • Ava Berry, 7, suffers from Dravet’s Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, which had been giving the young girl thousands of seizures a year
  • Since being given CBD, the girl’s condition markedly improved, but Vera, believes that THC is necessary to help the worst of the remaining seizures

In March, we reported on the heroic actions of Vera Twomey, an Irish mother who was willing to do anything to get her epileptic daughter access to medicinal cannabis in March.

Ava Berry, Vera’s seven-year-old daughter, suffers from Dravet’s Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy. Ava’s condition had seen improvement once her mother started giving her CBD oil. The young girl, however, also needs access to THC, as several prominent studies have shown the cannabinoid to be beneficial in treating epilepsy.

“THC is there for people to be able to use it for their families all over Europe. I wanted to bring the medication back but I do not want to be charged as a criminal.” – Vera Twomey

The fiercely determined mother of three walked nearly 260km from Cork down to Dublin to meet with Simon Harris, the Irish Minister for Health, to demand that he grants the most vulnerable and desperate Irish patients the basic decency of allowing them to choose their own medicine.

Unfortunately for Ava and Vera, not to mention the countless medicinal cannabis patients in Ireland, the Health Minister refused Vera’s very reasonable demands, instead of Mr. Harris claiming that it was not within his power “to provide medicinal cannabis” in the immediate future.

Vera, being the fighter that she is, has refused to take this setback lying down. Here’s what she’s been up to since we last spoke to her:


Perhaps the most inspiring part of Vera’s story is her resilience. Despite being neglected by the man who is supposed to ensure her daughter has access to the best medicine available, Vera has not taken no for an answer.

No progress has been made with Ava’s case. Vera even received an email from the Irish Government telling her that there would be no point in meeting with Simon Harris again, as, according to them “he’s done everything that he can do.”

Despite this, Vera has refused to give up on her daughter. Ask yourself this: if your child was dying, and you knew there was potentially a way to save her, would you just sit there and let them die? Vera profoundly answered this with resounding NO.

Since her gruelling 260km walk, which left her temporarily wheelchair-bound, Vera has continued her public activism, attending various rallies promoting medicinal cannabis:

Vera’s activism has also been making the rounds on social media, with the mother regularly making impassioned pleas on her Facebook to Simon Harris and to the Irish public:

Vera’s story has been so moving that it has won the hearts and minds of the ordinary Irish public. The support she has been shown on her various marches and on her Facebook page shows just how powerful one woman can be in fuelling a movement.

Irish band, Billy’s Cinema, even wrote a song about the Irish hero:

She has even started a petition to get the young girl access to the medicine she needs. Make sure you show your support for Ava and sign the petition in the hyperlink!


What can you do if the people who represent you refuse to put your bests interests into their decision making? You take matters into your own hands.

Vera Twomey travelled to Barcelona last month, where she was able to legally procure THC for her daughter, after being prescribed the medicine in oil form by a Spanish medicinal cannabis clinic, the Kalapa Clinic.

Before returning back to Ireland, Vera openly declared on her Facebook that she’d be coming back to the country with the illegal medicine. Some claimed this as a “political stunt,” but was the mother left with much choice? Raising awareness for the benefit of your dying daughter should hardly be viewed as a political stunt.

Vera vehemently denied that this was a stunt, telling the Irish Examiner that her act of civil disobedience was not a stunt, as it should not be a criminal act to bring THC into the country: “If I came through the airport with the THC and left the airport, that is an illegal substance that I have on my person whether I was caught with it or whether I was not caught with it.

“THC is there for people to be able to use it for their families all over Europe. I wanted to bring the medication back but I do not want to be charged as a criminal.”

Vera could have kept the medicine a secret and would have been able to give the medicine to her daughter the same day, but that would bely who the Irish mother is at heart. If you could save your own child, or save countless suffering children, what would you choose?

By declaring to customs that she had cannabis oil containing THC, Vera made a statement: everyone who needs THC in Ireland should be able to have access to it. Vera stood up for every single desperate patient in Ireland who needs access to THC, representing the community-focus that the cannabis movement is based upon.

The only response that the Irish Government has offered is the following statement:

“I would like to state that I have provided a further update to Ms Vera Twomey tonight, following our most recent meeting on Thursday 23rd February and an email update on Tuesday 28th February, in which I informed her that the HSE has advised me that her consultant will be in touch to arrange a further consultation for her daughter, Ava. I also shared with her a statement by Dr Tony Holohan, the Department’s Chief Medical Officer, on the advice he has provided to me which stresses that the granting of a licence must come with the endorsement of a consultant who is familiar with and responsible for the care of the individual on whose behalf the application is being made.

(See: http://health.gov.ie/blog/press-release/advice-provided-to-the-minister-for-health-in-relation-to-the-use-of-cannabis-for-medical-reasons/)

I am extremely conscious of the long and arduous journey Vera and her family have made to arrive at the Dáil tomorrow and I have indicated my willingness to meet Vera and her husband Paul again tomorrow should they so wish but I have also honestly stated that it is not within my power to provide medicinal cannabis tomorrow. I believe the course of action is for this matter to be addressed with the medical professionals involved in Ava’s care. I remain fully committed to establishing an access programme for cannabis-based treatments in Ireland and, in that regard, I welcome the early consideration by the Oireachtas Health Committee of the recent HPRA report, following a request from me, which will now take place tomorrow and will hear from Department and HPRA officials.”


No one can be sure what the future holds for Vera and her daughter, other than the brave mother will campaign for her daughter till the day she dies. We need more heroes like Vera to stand up against unjust laws based on the denial of scientific evidence. We need more people who aren’t directly impacted by a disease or illness which can be helped with cannabis to stand up for their community. We are all in this together, just ask yourself: what would you do if this was your child?

References and further Reading

Scottish Cannabis Legalisation: Government Discuss with Activists

Scottish Cannabis Legalisation: Government Discuss with Activists

Scottish MPs to meet with medicinal cannabis activists to discuss legalisation

  • Thousands of medicinal cannabis patients and activists are holding a protest outside Scottish Parliament tomorrow
  • MPs from across the political spectrum will meet with protestors to discuss legalising cannabis for medicinal purposes
  • Speakers will include SNP’s Marie Todd, the Scottish Shadow Health Minister Anas Sarwar, medical patients and many more!
  • The event starts at 9am, but those wanting to attend are encouraged to arrive an hour earlier

Thousands of people are expected to attend one of the UK’s largest cannabis protests tomorrow.

Medical marijuana advocates from Scotland and all across the UK are holding a meeting with Scottish MPs to discuss legalising cannabis in Scotland. The protestors are hoping that the event will add to the growing pressure on Scottish MPs to permit the sickest and most vulnerable members of our society the choice in the medication they take.

The SNP has previously backed the decriminalization of medicinal cannabis, even requesting Westminster to devolve

The SNP already overwhelmingly voted to back decriminalizing cannabis for medicinal use at its last conference, demanding the UK Government in Westminster devolve powers to Holyrood (Scottish Parliament) so it can pass the reform.

There’s an impressive guest list for the event, with a wealth of politicians, activists and patients set to attend and speak at the protest.

The enigmatic Maree Todd from the SNP is sure to be a highlight. The Scottish shadow Health Minister, Anas Sarwar is also expected to give a speech.

Miles Briggs MSP (Conservative), Alex Cole Hamilton MSP (Lib Dems), Councillor Martha Wardrop (Scottish Greens), Bill Mair (Solidarity candidate) and Gill Stranock, a registered nurse and a SNP candidate make up the rest of the political line-up.

Eleven European countries and 24 US states already allow people to use the drug to alleviate chronic pain and other symptoms.

While it is important that such high-ranking Scottish politicians will be in attendance, the most important demographic of the event is the medicinal cannabis patients. The fact that Dr Fiona Watson, a consultant psychiatrist at the NHS, will be attending speaks volumes. Also in attendance will be Jim Murphy, a member of LEAP UK and a former Strathclyde police officer, proving that the gulf between police and patient can easily be bridged.

Lynn Cameron, a terminal brain cancer survivor, Johnathan MacLeod, a MS patient and

Harvey Leo, who uses cannabis to help her deal with her fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis and  coeliac disease, will also be making speeches to show that cannabis truly can be used medicinally, often proving more effective and safer than traditional pharmaceutical medications.

Speaking ahead of the protest, Harvey Leo told MMJ just how important this protest could be: “If Scotland can make the change, the rest of the UK will have to follow.

“This is very promising not just for people in Scotland but the whole of the UK.”

Harvey made clear that while many, if not all, of the attendees and speakers already agree that cannabis needs to be legalized for medicinal purposes, the main aim of the protest is to  help the medical marijuana movement grow: “Between the protest outside and the meeting inside we hope that they will finally listen to us.

“Everyone who is attending the meeting have already agreed that change needs to happen, this is to discuss how we take it forward.”

“The group’s main aim is to make real legislative change and to ensure Scotland get drug policy control in line with devolved health powers.”

The legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes has been a long-drawn-out issue, which Harvey was all too aware of: “This has been talked to death already, people are educated and aware and have been for a very long time.

“They [Scottish Parliament] will have no choice to take on board the points we will be making, I’m quite prepared to lock them all in the room till they have!”

For Harvey, it is not the politician speakers who are most vital to the protest, but rather the medical patients who will be there to share their story with the world: “Mostly the politicians will be there to listen.  We have 5 medical users each with their own story to tell.

“Damien Forest who is the young man who put forward the motion at the STUC Conference that was passed with amazing support from unite and Unison unions.”

For Harvey, as with most medicinal cannabis users, the issue is mainly about choice; their personal choice: “I should get to decide what’s best for me, not a bunch of corrupt men and women in suites who have never met me before!”

Cannabis remains a Schedule I substance in the eyes of the British Government, meaning it has no medicinal properties. The simple fact that so many speakers who treat their various diseases and illnesses with cannabis are attending the event should prove that this argument holds no water.

Maree Todd, for the SNP, Miles Briggs, for the Scottish Conservatives, Labour’s Anas Sarwar, the Lib Dems Alex Cole-Hamilton,and Councillor Martha Wardrop, for the Scottish Greens, are due to attend the event on 27 April.

Eleven European countries and 24 US states already allow people to use the drug to alleviate chronic pain and other symptoms.

The House of Commons all party parliamentary group on drugs reform last year recommended cannabis should be made legal in the UK for medicinal uses after it held an inquiry into its potential to help patients. Its report called on the UK Government to introduce a system that grants people access to cannabis for medical reasons and to decriminalise the growing of small amounts at home for the same purposes.

The group took evidence from more than 600 patients and medical professionals and commissioned a consultant neurologist, Prof Mike Barnes, to review published research.

His review found “good evidence” cannabis can help with chronic pain, muscle spasms often associated with multiple sclerosis and nausea and vomiting, particularly when caused as a side-effect of chemotherapy.

The inquiry heard scores of patients had sought out cannabis to relieve their symptoms but often found it impossible to get medical guidance as to how they should take the drug.

MSPs from across the political spectrum will hear demands to legalise cannabis for medical use when they attend a summit on the issue in Holyrood this month.

The event’s organiser Bernadette McCreadie hopes the meeting, which will also be attended by clinicians, will put pressure on the Scottish Government to move forward with plans to allow the drug to be used by patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and arthritis.

Delegates at the SNP’s autumn conference last year backed the decriminalisation of cannabis for medicinal use and called on the UK Government to devolve the power to regulate the drug to the Scottish Parliament.

Cannabis is currently a Class B drug and people in possession of it can be sentenced to up to five years in prison. Dealers can face up to 14 years.

McCreadie, 40, a former auxiliary nurse, told The National she has been using cannabis for around 18 months to alleviate the painful condition she suffers from, fibromyalgia. She said using cannabis oil as a salve or tincture helped make her illness more bearable.

However, she is angry the ban means she has to buy the substance illegally – a situation she says benefits criminals and exploits the sick.

“I have to get cannabis through illegal sources. By buying it off the street you are putting money into the hands of criminals. Sick and vulnerable people are in a situation where they can be absolutely conned by dealers,”

Maree Todd, for the SNP, Miles Briggs, for the Scottish Conservatives, Labour’s Anas Sarwar, the Lib Dems Alex Cole-Hamilton,and Councillor Martha Wardrop, for the Scottish Greens, are due to attend the event on 27 April.

Eleven European countries and 24 US states already allow people to use the drug to alleviate chronic pain and other symptoms.

The House of Commons all party parliamentary group on drugs reform last year recommended cannabis should be made legal in the UK for medicinal uses after it held an inquiry into its potential to help patients. Its report called on the UK Government to introduce a system that grants people access to cannabis for medical reasons and to decriminalise the growing of small amounts at home for the same purposes.

The group took evidence from more than 600 patients and medical professionals and commissioned a consultant neurologist, Prof Mike Barnes, to review published research.

His review found “good evidence” cannabis can help with chronic pain, muscle spasms often associated with multiple sclerosis and nausea and vomiting, particularly when caused as a side-effect of chemotherapy.

The inquiry heard scores of patients had sought out cannabis to relieve their symptoms but often found it impossible to get medical guidance as to how they should take the drug.

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “We will watch the debate progress with interest”.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Whilst the treatment and prevention of drug problems is devolved to the Scottish Government, the control of drugs and licensing for medical research is a reserved matter. As such, any decisions about the re-classification of cannabis for medicinal use, must currently be taken by the UK Government.”

The protest will begin at 9am tomorrow, although the organizers are encouraging attendees to arrive an hour earlier. For more information on the event, go to the official Facebook event page.

Will you be attending the event to show your support for the legalization of medicinal marijuana? Do you use cannabis medicinally? Let us know in the comments!

cannabis research

Australian Grandfather Donates $40million to Cannabis Research

Australian Grandfather Donates $40million to Cannabis Research

Hero Australian Grandfather takes CBD oil on national TV after donating millions to cannabis research to save granddaughter.


  • Barry and Joy Lambert donated nearly $40 million to cannabis research program at Sydney University
  • Their granddaughter, Katelyn, suffers from a rare and serious form of epilepsy, Dravet’s Syndrome
  • The donations have help set up The Lambert Initiatives at to the University of Sydney and The Thomas Jefferson University (USA) to explore the potential of cannabinoids in treating a range of diseases.
  • Barry took CBD oil on Australia’s Weekend Sunrise program to highlight how safe the medicine is
  • “This is a crime against humanity and something has got to be done about it”

What would you do if your granddaughter was suffering from thousands of epileptic seizures a day?

In the first of our HERO series, we saw an Irish mother walk 260km to help her epileptic daughter. This week we turn out attention to an Australian businessman who has donated nearly $40 million to research the medicinal potential of cannabis.

Barry Lambert, an Australian businessman, worth a reported £350 million, was faced with an impossible question: let his granddaughter suffer unimaginable pain, and potentially die, or, break an unjust law. Hero’s like Barry will always choose the latter.

Katelyn Lambert, Barry’s 5-year-old granddaughter, was suffering from up to 1,400 seizures a day. Katelyn’s seizures were relentless, despite taking a cocktail of pharmaceutical medications, including clonazepam, a depressant similar to valium. At one point, her doctors had to drill a large dose of the drug into the girl’s bones. If this had continued, there was a serious risk there could have been permanent damage to the young girl’s brain and mental functions.

This was before Katelyn’s father, Michael, came across CNN’s 2013 documentary on medicinal cannabis, Weed. After learning about Charlotte’s Web, a cannabis strain named after Charlotte Figi, a young girl who also suffers from Dravet’s Syndrome and famous for its high levels of CBD and low levels of THC (the cannabinoid which gets you high), the desperate father finally decided to turn to cannabis to try and save his daughter from a life of unimaginable pain and suffering.

Barry Lambert, the millionaire philanthropist in a field of industrial cannabis near hunter valley

Barry Lambert, the millionaire philanthropist in a field of industrial cannabis near hunter valley

The family began to see improvement immediately. Katelyn’s seizures became less frequent and less severe. She was able to start speaking again, and was finally able to return to preschool. After seeing the success that medical cannabis was having on his granddaughter, Barry decided he had to do something. Not just to help his granddaughter, but to help all those suffering from symptoms treatable by cannabis. Mr Lambert, and his wife Joy, donated $33.7 million to cannabis research at Sydney University establishing ‘The Lambert Initiative’, which ‘will explore the potential of compounds derived from the cannabis plant (cannabinoids) in treating a range of diseases.’ Speaking to the Australian Financial Review about his motivation for the donation, Barry said: “It’s about doing the right thing. There are all these uses for cannabis but, because it’s illegal, it’s never been researched.”

Barry Lambert, the millionaire philanthropist in a field of industrial cannabis near hunter valley

Michael, Barry’s son with life-saving CBD oil

However, after several years of The Lamberts became increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress that their donation, and the University’s research, was making, due to the extremely regressive laws concerning cannabis research in Australia. The Australian Government only recently took the unprecedented step of legalising the import of medical marijuana from overseas to help meet its supply shortage. Prescriptions are still on a case-by-case basis, making it difficult for patients to access the medicine of their choice, and more importantly, of their needs. Taking his plight to the national platform, Barry appeared on Australia’s Weekend Sunrise to make the case for cannabis research. The philanthropist used his moment in the spotlight to not only speak about his granddaughter’s open letter to the Australian PM and Premier but also to take cannabis, live on TV.

Watch Barry’s appearance on Weekend Sunrise:

Speaking about the lack of access to medical cannabis, Barry told the presenters that: “This is a crime against humanity and something has got to be done about it.”

Moments later, he ingested a drop of CBD-rich cannabis oil (not hemp oil), live on national TV, to demonstrate just how safe CBD is. Lambert told Weekend Sunrise, an Australian talk show, that since Katelyn started taking CBD oil to treat her Dravet’s Syndrome she hasn’t had a seizure, or been in hospital, for 18 months. In total, since Katelyn started her cannabis-based treatment, her hospital attendance is down an amazing 89%.

For a young girl who was suffering up to 1.400 seizures a day, this treatment could be life saving. So why won’t the Australian Government step up to their responsibility? He continued: “All we’re saying is that the rules aren’t working at the moment, give people a moratorium for using it for their own selves.” Speaking in defence of those who use cannabis oil for their illnesses, Barry said: “People are not taking [CBD oil] to be illegal. They’re taking it because it works for them, or their kids or grandkids.”

Making a compelling case based on the fact that cannabis is a natural herb, Barry explained to the presenters: “The Prime Minister and Premier probably have fruit for breakfast and at lunchtime and dinner they probably have vegetables for their good health.

“Our grandchild and lots of other people want to take this plant extract for their good health. That’s a basic human right.”

Katelyn herself has also gotten involved in the protest process. In an open letter to the Australian Prime Minister and Premier, the 5-year-old writes:  “Cannabis has improved my condition enormously and my doctors and specialists have documented this […] b“But no matter how hard we have tried we still cannot get a permit from the Health Department to obtain this medicine legally.”

An open letter from Katelyn Lambert:

“Luckily my Dad has been willing to break the law for me. He has been charged by the police and he promises that he will go to jail so I can have a better life.”

“Your Governments have not told the public the truth about what it has done and this is why my grandparents are making sure this letter gets published on behalf of the thousands of Australians who are suffering today.”

Read Katelyn’s full letter: http://www.greenlight.support/pdf/Katelyns_Letter.pdf

The Lambert’s became so frustrated with the lack of progress in Australia, that they decided to take their money across to America, where they believe research into medicinal properties of cannabis is taking genuine steps forward. The billionaire told Weekend Sunrise the Sydney University “hasn’t done any trials, they’re still paying with mice. “They’ve [Thomas Jefferson University] got the right approach. They’re going to be out there doing stuff immediately.”

Speaking to the Thomas Jefferson University, Mr Lambert explained why he had chosen the American University as his next benefactor: “We have directly experienced the miraculous life-saving benefits of medicinal cannabis derived from Hemp.

Barry with his wife, Joy, and Henry Vincenty (CEO of Endoca)

Barry with his wife Joy and Henry Vincenty (CEO of Endoca)

“We are confident that working under modern US regulations, TJU and its innovative, scientific approach will prove to the medical profession the benefits and safety of medicinal cannabis for a broad range of illnesses, not just childhood epilepsy.”

After seeing his granddaughter going from 1,400+ seizures a day to zero, is it any wonder that this wonderful family have spent so much of their personal fortune on funding research into the medicinal properties of cannabis? Wouldn’t you do the same if a member of your family was suffering?

The UK is years behind the developed world in terms of cannabis research. The only form of cannabis legal for medication comes in the pharmaceutical kind, from GW Pharmaceuticals’ Sativex, a prescription-only drug used by multiple sclerosis patients.

Neither the Conservatives nor Labour officially support legalising cannabis for medical use, although the Greens and Lib Dems have been calling for legalisation for years.

The world needs more heroes like the Lambert family, it needs more courageous people to defy long outdated laws which jeopardies their family’s health. Would you stand up to the UK Government to save your grandchild?

Follow MedicalMarijuana.co.uk on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to find out more about how cannabis could help you or a loved one, and stay tuned for our next HERO of the week!