In this weeks podcast we chat with Martin Lane and Rhys Cohen from Cannabiz and discuss publications on medicinal cannabis involving drug driving laws, terpenes and the opioid crisis.
1:33 – Martin Lane has worked as a B2B publicist in the traveling and marketing niches throughout his professional career. He got interested in cannabis industry for two reasons; one, when he saw a lot of publications on medicinal cannabis during his visit to New York for advertising week, and two, when his brother in law was prescribed medicinal cannabis for MS. These incidents broadened his vision beyond the associated negative connotations. At that time, he realised that there was no media platform covering medicinal cannabis ecosystem in Australia. Therefore, in order to cover this deficit, he started Cannabiz in July last year.
4:25 – There is a diversity of people including farmers, cannabis enthusiasts and general businessmen associated directly or indirectly with cannabis industry which is very similar to travel domain.
5:17 – Rhys Cohen has been involved in staffing cannabis individuals for the past years. For the last 12 months, he has been working as an editor in Cannabiz.
6:08 – Ever since his childhood, Rhys very interested in different dimensions of drugs including its impact on social relationships, drugs markets and regulations. Afterwards, he completed a university level studies relevant to the legalisation of cannabis industry in Australia.
7:08 – After completing his graduation, Rhys served for a year in a project management position regarding the lambdoid initiative in Sydney. While working there, he maintained good relations and wrote research papers asserting on equal rights for all drug users whether they were traditional medicines or recreational drugs.
8:09 – In his research papers, Rhys found a systematic and objective approach about legal aspects of medicinal cannabis in Australia. The main takeaway of the paper was that there was no reason to give discriminatory driving regulations for medicinal CBD users.
9:19 – Martin believes that the type of structural challenge required to stop the differential treatment received by medicinal cannabis user cannot be covered by rigorous research papers alone. For this, a mass campaign is required including the stories resonating with masses. Also, there is a lack of political will in this regard.
11:44 – Rhys agreed that it was not easy to change the perception of public especially with the bureaucratic and political hurdles involved. He praised the role of drive change campaign in raising awareness about medicinal cannabis.
14:42 – Rhys thought that safe injecting centre in the Cross was a mistake as it was the act of civil disobedience.
17:07 – Rhys explained the difference between alcohol and cannabis consumption by stating that unlike alcohol, no correlation was documented between THC in blood stream due to medicinal cannabis. He gave two options for resolving the issues. The short term solution, which he hoped to achieve in a few years was to allow the use of medicinal cannabis legally by discontinuing the roadside THC test. The long term option of coming up with an impairment test. He was of the view that upon random selection, cops must release the driver if he had a prescription of medicinal cannabis just like any other drug.
19:47 – Rhys reiterated that if a medicine was prescribed by doctor which resulted in no impairment, driver should be released.
20:15 – Martin was clear that baby steps for winning political will as politicians are deeply cynical people only interested in getting more votes.
22:03 – Martin rejected the notion that tax generation through cannabis could help ease the financial restrictions faced by governments due to successive Covid related lockdowns. Only unarguable public opinion could matter in this situation.
22:46 – Rhys agreed with Martin on this. He said that although the excise taxes on tobacco are huge financial generator for governments, however, it is being used to inhibit the excessive use of tobacco. Therefore, the money generation was only an accidental opportunity which had no role in enhancing access to tobacco products, thereby neutralising the efficacy of this argument for legalising the use of medicinal cannabis.
26:26 – Martin reiterated that the chances of legalising medicinal cannabis due to the change of government were pretty slim. He was of the view that individual and group conversations were required to implement bottom to top approach for making this massive change.
28:53 – Rhys expressed that medicinal cannabis was legalised in Australia since it was not framed as a recreational drug at all. Therefore, it was not bombarded by the emotional anti-drugs narrative.
30:10 – Rhys explained that in case states legalised the cultivation, production and usage of medicinal cannabis in the absence of federal law similar to Victoria model, there could be serious repercussions for breaking international anti-drugs legislations. He admired the progressive efforts of Queensland in legalising the medicinal cannabis.
33:46 – Rhys contributed to the sterility vs quality debate by saying that it was an open questions and required more research. He said that although there were reservations about stringent quality control in Australia, there is no objective evidence that these standards increase the sterility concerns in a therapeutic medicine.
36:57 – Rhys expressed his opinion that if the quality of therapeutic effects of medicine are enhanced by employing a change in techniques, then the quality standards must be improved. However, the jury is still out as there was no conclusive proof.
38:55 – Rhys explained the view of experts that terrapins were only lethal of they were inhaled, not consumed.
40:29 – Rhys elucidated that producing products to a sterile level was difficult and raised costs. However, much more research was required as the knowledge of microbial level could change the stance of many.
42:56 – Rhys stressed that there was no regulatory barrier for companies to bring a full spectrum oil based product in market. However, most people are not aware of CBT at all. Therefore, the concept of full spectrum is relatively new even for doctors.
44:16 – Martin expressed that the as the cannabis industry would progress, there would be a new of innovation, thereby renewing all the concepts present in market.
45:50 – In response to a question about emerging trends in cannabis market, Rhys said that owing to a recent dataset acquired, they are able to see the trends of consumer behaviours. He also stressed upon significant changes in the demographics of access across Australia.
48:03 – Martin explained that industry was highly fragmented in terms of PR prospective. He expressed disappointment that instead of serious discussion on collective goals, focus was only on advancement of personal objectives.
49:56 – Martin believed that since cannabis was a new industry, individuals could do a better job of asserting for collective goals instead of focusing merely on personal vested interests.
50:45 – Rhys agreed with this notion and added that social welfare should be the main goal of governments instead of centring on exports or employment opportunities.
52:19 – Rhys explained writing for publications on medicinal cannabis on how the industry could prove to be a huge financial turnaround for Australian government.
54:30 – While answering a question, Rhys confirmed that the data acquired was through TGA’s official account. However, he specified that the actual trick was to work on excel sheet and coding to actually understand its implications for future.
56:48 – Rhys dismissed the notion that cannabis was actually not as beneficial as usually projected owing to lack of concrete evidence by saying that cannabis provided the holistic healing model to chronic pain patients, comprising of a solution to their biological and psychological requirements.
1:00:30 – Rhys believed that instead of prescribing medicines, therapies must be implemented extensively to patients suffering from chronic pain.
1:01:45 – Martin expressed his view by saying that owing to disinterest of doctors and lack of concrete data, cannabis industry was suffering which would be corrected soon through publication of data driven policies on publications on medicinal cannabis such as Cannabiz