Tag Archives: Johnny Green

From top: Velvet Swing lube: Johnny Green

Ireland currently prohibits qualifying medical cannabis patients from cultivating or purchasing ANY cannabis products in Ireland, they will be reviewed when they finally become available in your local FG/FF TD’s pharmacy.

There are three principal delivery methods, inhalation, oral and topical. Each method has its own unique experience and different effects.

Popular strains of medical cannabis flower include Bubblegum Kush, Trainwreck, Grandaddy Purple, Sour Diesel. Cult strains include Headbanger and G13 with THC levels above 20 percent.

Limited data is available but these are the top ten most popular ways in US to consume cannabis based on the Green Edge Retail sales tracker from Cali, Colorado and Oregon.

-Flower-1.1 Billion
-Vape Cartridges-476 million
-Pre-Rolled Joints-185 million
-Gummies-135 million
-Dropper-68 million
-Shatter-64 million
-Wax-63 million
-Live Resin-61 million
-Disposable Vapes-56 million
-Chocolate Bars-39 million

When cannabis is inhaled the gases enter the lungs before absorbing into the bloodstream, there are two inhalation methods, smoking and vaporisation.

Smokers have an incredible array of devices to work with from simple rolling papers to water pipes and hookahs.

Hand pipes are still used , they trap the smoke produced by burning cannabis which is then inhaled, bongs and bubblers are also regularly used with water cooling the smoke. Joints and blunts which are just joints rolled in cigar paper remain very popular and are often considered ‘old school’.

They tend to be favored by smokers who enjoy the combined effects of nicotine and cannabis.My own preferred method is still a hand rolled joint.

Vaporisers significantly reduce the odours associated with smoking cannabis, they have become the preferred choice for moderate and health conscious patients, as they reduce the  risks associated with smoking.

Vape pens are portable and very discreet, they also allow the patient more control over dosage.There is an incredible diverse amount of vaporizers available with the market expected to expand considerably as the technology improves.

If Ireland ever decided to get serious about cannabis it would be best to position itself in the extracts and vapor market, with edibles and extracts the future, while bud remains for now the most popular.

Fewer vaporisers are taking flower which requires a heating element to accomplish vaporisation, concentrates including oil in cartridges and wax are becoming more prevalent and popular.

Dabbing is a form of vaporisation in which extremely potent cannabis concentrates are dropped on a heated nail creating vapor that is inhaled-somewhat similar to ‘hash’ and hot knifes.

Edibles are any food or drink that contains cannabis, it’s significantly different from smoking or vaping, edibles tend have longer onsets and can be extremely powerful.

Cannabis infused butter (canna butter) is one the simplest and most common ways make infused cannabis edibiles. Butter is a delicious and extremely versatile carrier for THC,coconut and olive oil can be used.

The cannabinoids reach the cells by way the liver and edibles come in many forms, including sodas,snacks, chocolate,ice cream and mints.

As the onset is delayed this often leads to overconsumption,which can be overwhelming and in some cases leads to full body, psychoactive effects.

Cooking with flower is not as popular as it’s made out in movies or on TV as it’s extremely difficult, most people simply add tinctures to dishes instead of flower.

Tinctures are another oral delivery method often referred to as green or golden dragon-essentially it’s infused alcohol, administered through the mouth and are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream, unlike edibles or drinks.

These are associated in Ireland with medical cannabis and are fast-acting while allowing dosage control. Alcohol is the most common solvent with glycerol also used, generally a few drops are placed under the tongue which is then absorbed into the body.

Ingestible oils are also likely to be approved in Ireland,t hey are are swallowed like an edible product but come in capsules or taken as a rectal suppository.

Many people laugh at the idea of weed suppositories but one the pioneers of medical cannabis Rick Simpson lived in exile in eastern Europe from 2009 to 2013, popularising this method.

It appeals to many patients who want take extremely high levels of THC but avoid the psychoactive effects or ‘head highs’, RSO suppositories can be made with shea butter and coconut oil, avoiding the head high.

They work quickly as the suppositories exert systemic effects when they enter the rectal mucosa, spreading healing compounds quickly through nearby organs and into the bloodstream, very popular in Central Europe.

Topicals are most often associated with Full Spectrum Oil (RSO), named after Rick Simpson, RSO oil is high potency THC and CBD and available in most cooperatives, various recipes and formulas are online, with many YouTube videos on how make RSO oil for the DIY type.

This thick oil has been decarboxylated to activate the cannabinoids which are absorbed through the skin.Topical effects are different in that they do not get you high and are used for localized relief, muscle aces for example or as is frequently claimed to alleviate skin cancer.

Numerous articles have alleged that frequent cannabis use can cause vaginal dryness, the rectum is not a self lubricating orifice so for some people lube is a must, the ever innovative cannabis industry has numerous THC-infused lubes available with Floira Pleasure and Velvet Swing cannabis lubes almost impossible to get.

Not everyone enjoys or likes smoking weed and THC lube has been described many times as ‘mind blowing’, it’s really a pre-lube in that it should be applied about 20-30 mins before it kicks in.

You apply it directly onto the clitoris, inner and outer labia and inside the vagina, internal application provides the highest absorption, and it’s also edible. It works so well because the skin of the vagina and vulva are highly absorbent, these are know as ‘weed lubes’.

Many middle-aged and older people have commented that weed lubes increase sexual desire, experiencing mind blowing orgasms and vastly improving sex.

Women have found it empowering in that its a sexual enhancement product for them, placing the focus of pleasure and completion on women and is something that can be enjoyed alone, or with a partner.

Lots more ’sex’ based weed products are in various stages of testing, it’s going to be one the more fun medial cannabis areas, Velvet Swing also has a tincture called Velvet Kiss, which provides a. relaxed head high and increase in blood flow.

It’s highly unlikely that FG licenses medical patients to smoke or vape flower, as it does not involve pharmaceutical companies or pharmacies.

The minister has the power to issue growing licenses to patients, each patient should receive a growing license for 6-10 plants. These licenses could be transferred to a qualified caregiver, a neighbor say with a greenhouse or a green-fingered friend.

It’s however expected that the minister will approve a few tinctures,. I am looking forward to the day a minister announces that Velvet Swing and Floria are available in Ireland!

Next week its a deep dive into Spain, this article is a great starting point and a highly recommended read.

The Roll Up column by Johnny Green will attempt to keep Broadsheet readers up-to-date on the growing cannabis industry worldwide. Follow Johnny Green on twitter for even more updates.

From top: Brian O’Driscoll on Newtalk’s Off The Ball; Johnny Green

This is Brian O’Driscoll speaking to ‘Off The Ball; on Newstalk recently about codeine and pain killers:

“I’d have been part of teams where the doctor would have walked down the bus on the way to games inquiring who wanted what in advance [of kick-off].

“For me, for the last couple of seasons, part of my match prep would have been a Difene and couple of co-codamol.”

Pity really that BOD instead of also taking the highly addictive Diazepam, could not have legally smoked a joint to help get some sleep and counteract those caffeine tablets, after all it’s only a game.

Chronic pain is not a qualifying condition under Fine Gael’s bad faith medical cannabis experiment, yet it’s the number one reason by a long way for US patients.

Let’s start with a few US stats sourced from the recently published ASA State of the States Report.

Yearly deaths 2017:

0 deaths caused by Cannabis
47,600 deaths from opioids,over half from prescription
70,2000 deaths from prescription drugs

There are over 95 qualifying medical conditions in medical cannabis programs, Ireland has three. These range from epilepsy and seizure disorders to cachexia or wasting syndrome, with chronic pain the primary qualifying condition, accounting for over 60%.

Fine Gael decided it’s non qualifying in Ireland, but you can get Benzos and codeine just sitting on a bus.

Since California in 1996, 33 states and DC have legalised cannabis for medical reasons and ten for recreational use.

Over one hundred million Americans suffer from chronic pain, with increasing numbers reporting relief from cannabis, which patients have to pay for, it’s not covered by any insurance in US.

Medical cannabis is medicine and has shown to be effective in the treatment of many ailments, including Crohn’s disease, a condition that afflicts current Minister for Health Simon Harris.

The modern cannabis industry is a green job-creating machine and Ireland has it all to be a major player in the 100 Billion EU market, except the political nous.

Fine Gael is following the playbook of West Virginia, passing laws but failing to implement them resulting in lots of frustration in the slow roll out,

The following was reported in The Irish Mirror back in 2014, five years ago:

“The CEO of the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) Pat O’Mahony confirmed today that the Department of Health was working on legislation to allow medicinal cannabis to be made available for patients.’

The HPRA is not fit for purpose, it already covers all medical products/devices and veterinary things, now its also going to run, sorry slow walk, Ireland’s medical cannabis program.

It is long past time the minister used his powers to grant patients in pain the right to use medical cannabis.

He also needs to establish a Cannabis Board who can approve or fastback cannabis and cannabis based products in areas like, oh say, the treatment of chronic pain under the care of a doctor.

Next week we are going look at why this government decided that the most popular and effective ways take it, smoked,vaped, eaten are not options for patients in Ireland while under the care of their physician.

The Roll Up column by Johnny Green will attempt to keep Broadsheet readers up-to-date on the growing cannabis industry worldwide. Follow Johnny Green on twitter for even more updates.

 

From top: The ‘Seedo’ fridge allows for perfectly timed cannabis cultivation; Johnny Green

Last week, Politico rocked the cannabis world with the exciting news that Luxembourg has legislation pending to legalise recreational weed within two years.

With Luxembourg and Malta fighting for FMA (first mover advantage) in the cannabis space, all that’s left for Fine Gael is to arrange a rousing rendition of The Green Fields of Athenry, on some godforsaken ‘vast’ bog.

Luxembourg’s health minister did a great interview which outlined his country’s clearly defined policy objectives and strategic plan to achieve them:

“After decades of repressive policies, we have acknowledged that this policy does not work, that it did not meet expectations. So it’s time to change mindsets, change our concepts and try something else”

If Luxembourg succeeds – and I really hope they do – it will have a domino effect on the neighbors, with markets flooded with diverted product, forcing legislation..

Some estimate that Massachusetts recreational cannabis stores close to state lines are selling/diverting 40% of their product to NY/NJ residents,where recreational is still not legal.

Luxembourg unlike Mass. has stated it will only sell to Lux. residents, similar to post-Brexit, whereby UK residents will also be banned from Amsterdam’s coffee shops.

Fine Gael’s only strategy is to stock pharmacies with extremely expensive imported finished products, forcing patients and the State to buy that, instead of following the Canadian model like Luxembourg.

Ireland needs start growing weed, its getting out-positioned, one way to kickstart the industry, is to empower patients by issuing licenses to grow 6-10 plants.

Ministers Harris and Canney are currently issuing licenses for importing only expensive finished product, none for any type of growing or cultivation.

Luxembourg when announcing its intention to legalize cannabis within two years, did not provide for home growing.

This pull back from allowing home growing is driven by greed, with major cannabis companies aligning themselves with states to force people to buy expensive products and pay high taxes for a plant that can be easily grown at home.

Illinois was the eleventh state to recently complete what Luxembourg is now starting, it also did not allow recreational home growing but does allow its 65,000 medical patients to grow five plants.

Home growing also featured in New York’s failed efforts, with extensive lobbying by the cannabis industry to prevent home growing, a FOI exposed the highly misleading arguments used by the industry.

New York will try again next year to pass comprehensive recreational legislation, home growing for medical patients is expected to be included.

Instead of pursuing ‘vast’ fields of weed in environmental war zones with Bord na Mona, the Irish goverenment can take a giant leap and start issuing medical patients growing licences.

It also needs expand the qualifications for medical cannabis to include ‘pain’. Most of the disingenuous arguments about home growing involve public safety, this play for profits is often disguised as concern for the public good,

The Windy City joins ten other states who have fully legalised cannabis. These states have different ‘home grow’ rules, with Michigan allowing individuals to grow twelve plants and Washington State not allowing any.

Thirty one US states have medical access programs despite it being banned at the federal level, with Deep South Louisiana recently passing legislation.

Most states allow medial patients to grow a few plants, from Alaska which allows six plants to West Virgina, none.

Many allow a qualified ‘caregiver’ to grow or cultivate the medicine, it also acts as a incubator for developing skills, which can then be used to build home grown companies.

A great example of a new but very expensive home growing kit  “Seedo  which utilises AI and machine learning to grow. It includes a phone app that allows you look at your grow in HD and remotely monitor water levels, nutrients, light while also speeding up grow times.

It’s about the size of a mini-fridge and is close to what’s happening inside the new state of the art industrial grow houses. Next week we will look at home growing options and caregivers or micro grows.

Home growing is set up and thriving in many states and Canada, it’s not perfect but Irish growers would get some experience, it’s a viable alternative for patients while also empowering them.

Fine Gael should be issuing growing licenses to patients for Irish medical cannabis with every licence to buy imported finished products.

The Roll Up column by Johnny Green will attempt to keep Broadsheet readers up-to-date on the growing cannabis industry worldwide. Follow Johnny Green on twitter for even more updates.

From top:  turf being stacked for drying for domestic use on the Bog of Allen in County Offaly; Johnny Green

Bord Bia estimates Irish dairy exports at 3.4 Billion in 2016, with the EU and UK at 1/4 each or less than one Billion .

The EU medical cannabis market in 5 years is estimated at 100 Billion. For Ireland to grab that scale in the medical cannabis space it would only need to hit a 1% share of the EU market.

Malta is on track to smash its target of 1% or 1 Billion by 2020, with 46 cultivation applications received, 20 issued LOI’s creating 700 full time jobs.

Malta’s opportunistic government and PM passed medical research, cultivation laws last year along with its medical access program.

Fine Gael appears determined to sabotage any chance for Ireland at FMA (first mover advantage) in this 100 Billion new market, confining Ireland to importing expensive finished products, dispensed by pharmacists, Ireland needs to start growing.

With leadership and vision a target of 5% market share or 5 Billion is not overly ambitious for Ireland, dwarfing Ireland’s dairy industry which is about get a punch in the mouth from Brexit, but FG has a plan.

Given the widespread public support for medical cannabis in Ireland, it was decided that perennial loss-making polluter Bord Na Mona should be front and center.

It has  just reported additional losses of 50 million, while investing a paltry 10 million in new business, Malta has received over 100 million in capital commitments to kickstart its nascent medical cannabis industry.

Minister of State for Natural Resources Seán Canney with Minister for Health Simon Harris nodding along, claims with BNM…

“…the possibility exists that [Bord na Móna] could do it for other governments and other countries, This could create a lot of jobs.”

This would be comical except its the Irish state is losing in this latest FG omnishambles. The Irish government has no strategy, vision or a goddam objective and plan for the cannabis market, be afraid for Brexit, very.

The EU market will be 100 Billion in 5 years, BNM invested a pitiable 10 million into new ventures, it doesn’t have the expertise nor capital to design, build and cultivate ‘vast’ growing ops in environmental war zones.The Ministers are giving false hope to workers losing their jobs and those in fear, deliberating misleading people.

BNM can participate in this new industry, in the green energy end or a JV, but all this kite flying is crowding out, serious discussion about the lack of legislative progress, required to start growing and cultivation in Ireland, at either micro or industrial scale, deterring inward investment.

Malta, meanwhile, is leaving Ireland in the dust, with laws passed and a strategic plan involving multiple stakeholders to establish Malta as the medical cannabis capital of Europe. The Irish government’s plan involves new minister and rookie TD Canney advocating and lobbying for loss making BNM.

The plan is to convert state-owned, redundant peat bogs into ‘vast’ cannabis farms, this has never been done but that has not deterred Sean from his half-baked misinformation campaign.

Malta seized the opportunity when legislating for access to medical cannabis to pass laws allowing for research, cultivation, extraction and export of medical cannabis, Fine Gael and Minister Harris did not.

Fine Gael has not addressed the production of medical cannabis and products, Malta did while FG Ministers were meeting lobbyists flogging finished product and the board of Ireland’s biggest polluter and perennial loss maker BNM.

Canney and Harris have persuaded them to undertake a two year feasibility study, according to the Irish Times:

“Both Mr Canney and Minister for Health Simon Harris have met management at the semi-State company in recent weeks to discuss the possibility that Ireland could manufacture its own medicinal cannabis supply, and also export it.”

Any chance of a ‘ feasibility’ study on empowering patients by issuing them growing licenses for say 6-10 plants, micro growing? Thought not.

In March 2018, Malta passed ‘The Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Research Purposes Use Act’ which legalised the research, cultivation, extraction and export of medical cannabis, Ireland has no such proposed legislation, nothing going on.

The Malta PM has supported this green job creating-machine, approved projects will create capital expenditure of 110 million, ten times what BNM spent on new projects for a 1% EU share by 2020.

Last November, Malta hosted the Medical Cannabis World Forum, it sends government reps to international conferences promoting itself as an ideal EU headquarters, cultivation and research location, its engaged with the space.

As the law stands – per Arthur Cox – cannabis is listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, as amended, (the “Acts”), meaning cannabis products are subject to the strictest level of control.

Unless used for research, forensic analysis or as an essential material in an industrial manufacturing process, the manufacture, supply, distribution and/or possession of cannabis is illegal.

In other words you can not grow or cultivate medical cannabis in Ireland, no more than BNM can export it and create all those jobs in the midlands.

Harris has persistently stated that it makes sense for Ireland to have its own supply, but has done absolutely SFA, except encourage the fall guy Cannery who continues to frighten away inward investment, while also stifling domestic growing with all his BNM noise.

Malta is busy getting on with business, FG are turning cultivators/growers away with this nonsensical position of fully supporting medical cannabis cultivation and research, but not just yet…..

Simon Harris needs to grow up and really start the Irish medical cannabis sector with legislation allowing cultivation, before its too late.
.
‘Does it make sense to grow your own in Ireland rather than be dependent on importing a product?’ Harris was asked last year

“I think, quite frankly, it does,” he replied.

he Roll Up column by Johnny Green will attempt to keep Broadsheet readers up-to-date on the growing cannabis industry worldwide. Follow Johnny Green on twitter for even more updates.

Rollingnews


From top: A GW Pharma Indoor growhouse; Johnny Green

This week we are going take a look at the UK. and GW Pharma, whose controversial chairman is Geoffrey Guy, we will start with a few highlights from an interview Guy did with Pharma Board Room.

‘Through being part of the EU, the UK with all its capabilities, is tied down by Brussels. As long as it can break free, the UK faces a couple of decades of unbridled prosperity.

As a nation the UK is very industrious and very pragmatic; we can deal with change far better than most of the large European countries who are restricted by their institutional approach.’

GW Pharma in other news announced the cancellation of its London market listing, yet retaining its Nasdaq listing in order to ‘simplify trading and cut expenses of dual listing’.

They have opened offices in California, relocating Justin Gover the CEO since its founding to run the company from its US Headquarters, most recent capital has been all raised in the US.

To use a quote from Guy’s rather bullish Brexit interview, are GW Pharma simply maneuvering according to circumstances, or are they effectively a US company?

It is widely believed that GW Pharma will be receiving an import license for Ireland.

One of the reasons – besides some great products  – is the presence of Tom Lynch of Elan fame on its board.

Tom is somewhat infamous for his involvement with Tony O’Brien from the HSE, it was a Lynch vehicle Evofem that O’Brien became a director of while still director general of the HSE .

GW is probably best know for the involvement of Capital Group where Philip May is a relationship manager, they currently own about 25% the shares, this has resulted in accusations of hypocrisy regarding stalled government legislation for medical cannabis.

The grower for GW Pharma is British Sugar, where Victoria Atkins‘ husband is managing director, further feeding rumors and conspiracy theories.

It’s also indicative of the size and potential in this space, the EU market has been estimated at 50 Billion medical by 2028 and 100 Billion full legislation.

Last week in a joint statement from London and Carlsband, California GW Pharma announced that CHMP has recommended approval of Epidiolex, CHMP prepares the European Medicines Agency (EMA)’s opinions on questions relating to the marketing of human medicines.

The FDA had approved Epidiolex in June 2018, it is expected the European Commission will now approve  for the first time, a plant derived cannabis medicine in its centralised procedure for approving medicines.

Late in 2018, the European Commission started a harmonising process on the legal framework for medical cannabis in all member states, it’s non binding but is a great first step.

The legal framework is currently different in each member state, further steps in this direction will benefit patients and the industry.

In the event of a hard Brexit, the current GMP certification by the certificating body in the UK for example may not be recognised in other member states, most of the recent activity in the UK cannabis space may simply end up for the domestic market.I n the US there is also currently no interstate commerce in cannabis, hemp yes.

In my opinion there is a strong probability that the UK to offset the shock of a hard Brexit, legalises both medical and recreational cannabis within 3-5 years.

GW Pharma will pivot its UK business to domestic, it’s effectively a US company now and that’s where it will be focusing its rapidly depleting cash and resources, burn baby burn.

For a good description of GW Pharma and its quite excellent products including Sativex, here is a investor presentation from May. The business plan is to dominate the children’s medical cannabis space, then tackle the elderly demographic with specifically developed medical cannabis products.

So in summary, it’s highly unlikely there will be any inward investment in the UK cannabis space except for domestic, GW Pharma is for all intent and purposes looking to the US and if it continues develop world class drugs, should be just fine.

The conversion by British Sugar of tomato greenhouses into large scale cannabis grows is quaint and has a can do, Dad’s Army vibe to it. The reality is converting large scale older tomato greenhouses into state of-the-art medical grade growing operations is extremely challenging.

With a hard Brexit,there are simply too many more attractive locations in Europe for major international companies to locate growing, extraction facilities. Tilray  who recently exported some oil to the UK had chosen Portugal, Canopy Spain, Aurora Germany.

Ireland has been unable to develop any coherent strategy or plan for patients or international cannabis companies, who are actively locating multi million operations in other EU countries.

FG and the minister are on track to blow a once in a lifetime opportunity to position Ireland as a leader in a fast growing,job creating capital intense green industry, with a potential 100 Billion market and the UK. on its knees.

From the patients perspective, a recent House Commons report summarized it well.

‘The plight of children affected by intractable epilepsy and the efforts of the families of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell to access to medicinal cannabis led to a change in Government policy.

In November 2018 medicinal cannabis was changed from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulation 2001, allowing specialist doctors to prescribe it and for products to be available for further research to be conducted.

This rescheduling was widely welcomed but there was a failure to communicate what this would mean in practice for the availability of medicinal cannabis.

Expectations were raised that these products would become widely available and there needs to be far clearer communication that this is not the case.Very few prescriptions have been issued for medicinal cannabis since the rescheduling…

The Roll Up column by Johnny Green will attempt to keep Broadsheet readers up-to-date on the growing cannabis industry worldwide. Follow Johnny Green on twitter for even more updates.

From top Aurura cannabis products; Johnny Green

Last week we introduced Tilray who it was just reported had been lobbying the government for its license for over a year, according this piece….

While Tilray have had certain cannabis oils approved, the group had been building relationships with the Irish government over the last 12 months and other producers will likely experience challenges in getting their product to market .

Regarding the questions about Irish market size a recent report estimates it could be at full maturity a market worth 2.3 Billion,which somewhat explains the intense lobbying efforts by Aurora,who last week won a tender to supply medical cannabis ‘flower’ to the Italian government.

This week we are going take a look at Aurora and the Italian tender as it gives us some great pricing benchmarks.

The Irish Times in April this year outlined Aurora’s lobbying:

The company, which has 11 production sites in Canada alone, as well as operations in 24 countries internationally, has already held meetings with department officials, as well as the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

No minutes, no records of who attended and its only from the media reports arranged and facilitated by Aurora,that we even know these high level meetings have being taking place, this further confirms the calls on here for an independent and transparent cannabis regulatory authority.

It is widely expected that this intense lobbying by ‘Peppermint Paddy’ will result in Aurora receiving a license, which we may or may not find out about, as we had to rely on Tilray, a public company’s press release to find out about their license.

This cloak and dagger nonsense is extremely disingenuous by the government and has created considerable confusion with when these products will actually be available and how much they will cost, Tilray has stated that it has shipped products, are they sitting in a warehouse somewhere…

Aurora is a Edmonton, Canada based cannabis company listed on the NYSE (ACB), the second largest shareholder if he exercises all his options will be current strategic advisor and activist investor, Nelson Petlz.

It was Peltz that fully exposed the fake empire built by Lord O’Reilly, forcing Heinz into a merger with Kraft . In Europe Aurora has decided to locate its headquarters outside Leipzig, Germany and was just awarded a cultivation and distribution license there, it also has a greenhouse growing facility in Denmark.

It was announced last week by the Italian government, that Aurora had won all three lots to supply the Italian Govt with 400 Kilograms (880) pounds of medical grade cannabis flower over 2 years.

In January 2013 Italy legalised medical cannabis and in 2014 the Defense Minister announced that the army would be exclusively growing it.

This approach is quite similar to the the cross-party support and kite flying for Bord na Móna to grow cannabis in Ireland, the outcome for Italy has been extremely disappointing.

The army has repeatedly failed to meet govt output targets,it also considered very poor quality and low grade cannabis.

The facility situated on military land outside Florence has the only license to grow cannabis in Italy, Italy has had to rely on very expensive imports from Holland to fill domestic demand.

National consumption of medical cannabis is about 880 to 1,000 pounds a year according the military, with the military only able grow about 200 pounds a year.

The average price offered by Aurora was 1.73 euros per gram only slightly above the cash cost of sales per gram.

Aurora in a previous deal sold 100 kilograms to the Italian govt for 3.2 euros per gram and agreed in April to supply Luxembourg with 20 Kilograms for 2.5 euros per gram.

Aurora has reported cost of sales at about 1.40 per gram so this is not far above break even, Canopy and Tilray had also bid but lost out on technical grounds or paperwork issues and did not make it to the final round.

The pricing breaks down as follows, it’s just above cost andessentially Aurora is buying market share, Italy is a major European market for medical cannabis with a population of 60 million.

The decision to involve the govt (army) has been a failure as they have not been able to satisfy demand with a waiting list of 20,000 patients and should be a lesson for the Irish govt.

1.78 euros per gram for the first lot of 320 kilograms of high-THC flower, totaling 569,600 euros, a 56% discount over the tender reference price.

1.29 euros per gram for the second lot of 40 kilograms of THC/CBD-balanced flower, totaling 51,600 euros, a 57% discount over the tender reference price.

1.77 euros per gram for the third lot of 40 kilograms of high-CBD flower, totaling 70,800 euros, a 41% discount over the tender reference price. (

The Italian ‘green gold rush’ or cannabis light craze sweeping Italy since a law change to facility hemp production has been deliberately ignored, its basically junk or decaf weed.

It is however illustrative of the demand in Italy for recreational cannabis,even bad weed sells.

Italy by holding an open tender and publishing the pricing has laid out a path for Ireland, let’s hope the government follows this example.

The experiment with the army growing has been by any metric a disaster and perhaps some type of JV may be a better solution in Ireland with Bord na Mona.

The Roll Up column by Johnny Green will attempt to keep Broadsheet readers up-to-date on the growing cannabis industry worldwide. Follow Johnny Green on twitter for even more updates.

From top: Brendan Kennedy (left), CEO of Tilray and investor Peter Thiel; Johnny Green

On July 11 the announcement was made; meet Tilray (TLRY) your medical cannabis supplier, imported for distribution and sales, and dispensed in oral solution form on prescription.

Neither the bold Minister nor the HPRA made any announcement, nor are any details available at either’s web site detailing the decision process or the criteria applied that signed off this import licence.

Instead You and I, Patients and their Families, and everyone else must rely on Tilray‘s press releases and tweets; and since Tilray is a PLC (most of the time) their communications tend to be investor focused, and primarily aimed at nervous bankers and upstart analysts.

This should not surprise since Tilray’s CEO, Brendan Kennedy tBrendan Kennedy, is the same man that at the start of the equity fund that backed Tilray to get out of the ground.

Privateer Holdings as they say on the tin are equity specialist fund focused on Legal Cannabis start-ups, so Silicon Valley was as good a place as any to grow from.

Especially as the source of their own funds, the man behind their own curtains; Peter Thiel is no stranger to that community himself.

I can totally identify with Tilray communications policy mirroring the tone of a private equity fund.

But this is not how you inform the medical community who are required to accept responsibility for prescribing amongst other things, and as duly noted by the Irish Medical Journal themselves, and as pointed out here.

Likewise, for patients and their families and carers.

Is investor and analyst focus communications all anyone needs to know about the medicine being imported, without competition or alternatives for clinicians to treat Irish patients?

Meanwhile, we do know a few things about Tilray / Privateer and its biggest investor (and largest shareholder) Peter Thiel.

Before we go further, Peter Thiel has never really built anything, or designed anything, or even grown anything; besides money.  He is but a source of capital, undoubtedly one the most successful ones with an eye and a nose for start-ups that is rarely seen.

So you may not think anything of his funding of Hulk Hogan’s case against Gawker, it might have been clouded in secrecy but it catapulted this Ann Rand discipline onto the front pages along with its bankrupting Gawker.

For someone with a strong urge to protect and defend privacy rights, by litigious means if necessary (now who does that remind you of), he makes his donations to Donald Trump very public as well as his politics.

This post is really not about one of Tilray’s largest shareholders Peter Thiel, or his private life since there are servers of web pages, blogs and books dedicated to him; he’s even in today’s papers over comments suggesting that the FBI and CIA need to investigate Google for treason.   And supported with a Presidential seal;

Nor is he being introduced through his various investment funds and vehicles to suggest connecting dots with other funds close to the decision.

Peter Thiel being introduced here to further the point that Minister Harris and the HPRA need to approve other companies, and not just to have healthy competition but to provide patients and their care teams wider options.

Many people will find Thiel’s activities troubling, for example, one of his investments (Palantir) has significant contracts with ICE which has spurred on Facebook employees to have him resign from the board

If it is enough for employees of the company he was the first in with his $$$$$$$, then why shouldn’t anyone else, least of all the Country that hosts so much beneficial support for Facebook.

Tilray, in fairness, is a good company, and has funded research into Dravets syndrome.   Which you will be familiar with through the heroic efforts of Vera Twomey.

But when Tilray introduced this medicine in Canada it was ’sold at an introductory discount prices as well as in compassionate pricing program based on financial need’.

I am not going to incite any notion that the Minister or the HPRA didn’t negotiate any introductory pricing, besides, we can do a price comparison when the prescriptions start to get filled and judge for ourselves.

So, who will it get this onto those pharmacy shelves? Say hello to Novartis AG.

You will know them already as they have significant presence in Simon Coveney’s home ground in Cork.

But here’s how they will look like, and in the words of Tilray CEO and Privateer Founder Brendan Kennedy;

“If a product comes into a pharmacy with the Sandoz logo co-branded on it, or if a pharmaceutical sales rep is talking to a physician about a product that’s branded as Tilray and Sandoz, it lends credibility to that product.”

You would think that this big fat Greek scandal / may have caused the Irish Government to pause and consider the optics of awarding the first medicinal cannabis import license to a company controlled by Peter Thiel via a JV with this scandal ridden pharma company?  (Or even a journalist.)

Not a bit of it. It’s all right up their street with Big Pharma and Jobs for the Boys.

Have you noticed yet that this is the same company that was very kind to a Mr Cohen

He of the “U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen testified on Wednesday that Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG initially wanted him to lobby for the company when it retained him with a $1.2 million contract, but that Cohen refused.”

But what about the rest of us? Meaning you, well nothing actually.

Tilary has done a Websummit and chosen Portugal for its EU operations.  Ireland is good enough for Facebook and Paypal and all those Tilray big Pharma partners but not for Tilray’s EU HQ; anyone know why?

Far be it from us to know any better since Mr Kennedy is paid the big bucks to make those decisions, $250m last year as it happens. Beaten into second place for the year by Elon Musk; maybe next year Brendan.

No wonder Fine Gael Ministers are like teenage boys backstage at an Arianna Grande concert.

So, the good news is that medical cannabis should be in pharmacy drawers by the time Slade is back on in shops and elevators, but the bad news – your very typical Nothing to see here is being pulled over your eyes.

Ireland needs more to pick from than just Tilray.

Ireland needs to allow patients grow their own rather than service Big Pharma’s reps ‘commissions.

Ireland needs to roll out its own commercial producers.

Ireland needs an Independent Cannabis Regulator.

The Roll Up column by Johnny Green will attempt to keep Broadsheet readers up-to-date on the growing cannabis industry worldwide. Follow Johnny Green on twitter for even more updates.

Top montage: Joel Arbaje for Barron’s

Meanwhile

This afternoon.

Via Tilray:

The Tilray products successfully imported will be made available to qualified patients through the Access Programme once distribution approvals are provided by local regulators.

This will allow patients in Ireland access to a locally maintained supply of GMP-certified products, which they can receive in a reasonable time-frame.

Authorised patients are expected to be able to access Tilray medical cannabis products through the Irish community pharmacy network in the second half of the year.

Catherine Jacobson, Tilray’s Vice President of Medical and Regulatory Affairs, said:

“This development in Ireland represents an exciting turning point for patients. We’re proud to have the opportunity to provide patients in Ireland with access to Tilray’s standardized GMP-certified medical cannabis products, and we’re thrilled to see an increasing number of countries improve access to medical cannabis.”

Tilray® Imports GMP-Certified Standardized Medical Cannabis Oil into Ireland (Tilray)

Thanks Fweed

From top: The Health Services Product Authority (HPRA.) will look after cannabis policy in Ireland; Johnny Green

It’s 4.20.

Heeeere‘s Johnny.

Johnny Green writes:

This week (plus a day) is more than just a follow up to my soft promise  to take a better look at where your Government intends to plant the seeds for cannabis regulation, the Health Services Product Authority (HPRA).

While Government legislators seem determined to retain cannabis licencing within the walls of the Department of Health, what was once Part 2 of Gino Kenny’s Bill appears to have been mischievously co-opted by them for their own purposes.

Here is Minister Harris’ job description for the HPRA’s recent in-house promotion;

In exercising its function, the Authority shall seek to achieve the following 5 objectives—

(a) to regulate the supply and possession of cannabis and cannabis-based products for medicinal use,

(b) to pursue the development of a consumer-oriented licensing system and regulatory code for the users of cannabis and cannabis-based products for 10 medicinal purposes,

(c) to oversee the development of a professional, safe, and well-regulated service for the supply of cannabis for medicinal use,

(d) to have due regard to the needs of users of cannabis and cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes,

(e) to promote measures to facilitate increased understanding and awareness of the use of cannabis and cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes, and

(f) to facilitate the use of cannabis and cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes.

Nice work to win, nonetheless, even for a well-established Authority with a proven track record of delivering their mandate, this new legislation is a game-changer.

Yet it has been signed over to a one that is narrowly specialised, loss-making, and already known for sloppy strategic decisions with its resources.

This isn’t cynicism, I just have too many lingering doubts with an assignment that has all the trademarks of a done deal.

Rather than recognising that other jurisdictions have founded specialised agencies (see Blowback below), or that it was also included in Gino Kenny’s Bill, which by the way, was a Bill that they were still content with to pluck from, we really have to ascertain one thing.

What made the Irish Government think that the HPRA has the wherewithal to regulate a multibillion euro industry across a wide range of sectors from Healthcare, to Agriculture, to Tourism?

Since January 2017 this very same HPRA were already running ahead of themselves when they could barely walk straight with this statement;

“It is not the remit of this review to consider the recent Bill. However, it is noted that it is proposed to regulate cannabis outside of the existing medicines’ and Misuse of Drugs legislative systems. This proposal allows for greater access than recommended in the conclusions of this report and therefore is a matter of concern.”

Even a brief scan over the HPRA website yields some fault lines within their own house.

Last week I introduced you to their annual report, this week say hello to its Board.

Two particular appointments may be of interest; both were signed off by Minister Harris’ predecessor just as a General Election was called.

in his last days as a Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar appointed David Holohan, who at the time was Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at Merrion Capital and a Brian Jones.

The HRPA still lists this director’s day job as Merrion Capital, but Mr Holohan has since joined the Irish wing of former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi’s controversial Mediolanum bank, MAML.

Mr Holohan is no doubt a huge asset to the HRPA board and above reproach in every way but this is about perception.

How can you expect the HPRA to be fully transparent if they cannot maintain the records of their directors for the public at large to oversee; how can you trust that their Fitness and Probity procedures are fully compliant?

Mr Holohan, meanwhile, also chairs the charity One in Four which is annually assisted by €800,000 from the HSE.

This is all too close.

Brian Jones, whose profile published by the HPRA states; he has worked at senior level in Public Heath, It is not enough information to advise if he is either independent or suitable. You should know if he is qualified, if is he experienced, if he has other directorships, and be certain he is demonstrably independent.

Exactly by what select criteria was he short-listed for Leo Varadkar’s final say?

Meanwhile, in other news, your EU partenaire are preparing to Roll Out themselves;

“Think tank le Conseil d’analyse économique (Council of Economic Analysis, CAE) published a 12-page report stating a controlled recreational market would allow the country to “take back control” from criminal gangs.”

Should you be wondering, Yes, the report does call for a National Independent Regulator to be created to oversee the production and distribution of Le Cannabis.

The Roll Up column by Johnny Green will attempt to keep Broadsheet readers up-to-date on the growing cannabis industry in Ireland and worldwide. Follow Johnny Green on twitter for even more updates.

Blowback: If you think I am being too critical of the Minister and the decision to retain what I am naming Irish Weed with a dicey boffin-heavy quango, here is a string of links from regions that have independent regulators for cannabis, so just see for yourselves:
Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington , Massachusetts and Canada

Johnny Green illustration by Alan O’Regan
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