Marijuana Media on 95bfm: Vanuatu, horses and CBD may yet become OTC


Kia ora! Cannabis law reform in the South Pacific, cannabidiol for your horse (of course) and CBD may still become over-the-counter! All this and more on Marijuana Media on 95bFM, with your hosts Jonny from bFM Drive and Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore, beaming in live from the storm-hit Waitakere Ranges.


[click here to play the 95bFM pot-cast in a new window]

Vanuatu to allow medicinal cannabis and hemp for export.

Starting with some good news from the Pacific. Well, partly good news because when it comes to drugs policy there must always be some bad news too. For balance. It will soon be legal to cultivate medical cannabis and industrial hemp for export in Vanuatu (reports Radio New Zealand). But it will only for export so no locals will get to have any, although they might get a job working in the industry (sound familiar?).

The Vanuatu government had passed the Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Act in 2021, with new regulations signed off last week. According to Moses Amos, chair of Parliament’s Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Advisory Committee, cultivation will be for export only and not domestic consumption.

At least two medical cannabis licences and at least three industrial hemp licences are to be offered to foreign investors, with an annual licence fee of 10 million Vatu (NZ$123,000). Locals are not invited, yet. “The duration of a licence is 10 years. The scenario would be that after 10 years of working with a foreign investor any Vanuatuan would be in a position to engage in that activity.”

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Industrial hemp will be restricted to five islands – Efate, Santo, Malekula, Tanna and Erromango – while medical cannabis will be limited to just Efate, Santo and Malekula. Applicants must have relevant experience.

It could be a good opportunity for ethical investors to help kick start a legal cannabis industry there. When I visited Vanuatu many people proudly wore logos of weed, reggae or the All Blacks – or all three! – and their cannabis was pretty good.

Recent months have also seen cannabis laws change in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands.

Amsterdam to ban cannabis in Red Light District. Kind of, but not really.  

Officials in Amsterdam have announced plans, according to Stuff, to ban smoking cannabis in public spaces in the city’s famous red-light district. The ban would only be between 4pm and 1am, from Thursday to Sunday nights.

Use will still be allowed outside those hours, in private places, and anywhere not in the red-light district. Possession also remains legal. Other locations are also unchanged. This is a “ban” in name only, designed only to reduce the number of tourists heading there as the city has become overrun post-covid.

Medsafe wants CBD over-the-counter. This time!

As previously reported on Marijuana Media, Medsafe asked the Medicines Classification Committee to review the status of CBD, which currently requires a prescription in New Zealand for any dose in any format.

Medsafe wanted to harmonise with Australia, which is set to allow over-the-counter sales in pharmacies. We all thought it was in the bag, with only five submissions received (including from The Hempstore, which said “bolder change is required” and advocated for removal of all low-dose CBD products from the Medical Cannabis Scheme, so they would be regulated on par with hemp foods).

The committee however said it saw “no reason” to harmonise with Australia, and raised some concerns around the safety of CBD at extremely high doses (which are akin to the risks of grapefruit or liquorice).

Medsafe has this week written to those who objected to this finding, including The Hempstore, advising it is asking the committee to think again. As officialdom goes, that’s a very pointed directive. Expect CBD to become over-the-counter fairly soon.

CBD used in successful treatment of horse (of course).

An article this week on my favourite equine website, Horsetalk, discussed a case report published in the journal Veterinary and Animal Science on the use of cannabidiol (CBD) to successfully treat a 22-year-old Quarter horse mare with a long history of “crib-biting and wind-sucking”.

This is understood to be the first report on the successful therapeutic use of phytocannabinoids in equine behavioural disorders. The horse received the CBD treatment over four weeks.

Just an hour after the first administration, the mare showed an improved appetite and an increase in food-search behaviour. Between the first and second week of treatment, a significant decrease in the hours spent crib-biting and wind-sucking was observed, with an ongoing improvement in appetite. After 30 days, the horse’s body condition score had improved, as had her coat, and she rarely presented her stereotypical behaviours in the paddock.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a happy ending for the horse. The owners said the mare had been euthanised after a leg fracture. This was unlikely to be related to the course of CBD.

In happier Hempstore news – we just landed new shipments of Focus Vapes, Yocan Hit vapes, and a bunch of highly desirable Raw merchandise. Get in before they’re gone!

Kia kaha to everyone hanging in there and having a tough time from the floods and storms. We’re feeling it too. If you’ve got climate- or recovery-induced anxiety or need help relaxing, get yourself a prescription for legal weed. Check out The Hempstore’s blog, How anyone can access medicinal cannabis in New Zealand, for more info, or pop in and see us, and you too could have some healing herb delivered by overnight courier.

Marijuana Media airs every Thursday at 4:20pm on 95bFM, with your hosts bFM Drive’s Jonny and Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore. Stream or download the pot-cast for this show here or hundreds of previous Marijuana Media shows at (or via iTunes / RSS feed).


  1. Once again Chris I always appreciate knowing the latest info on the healing green stuff…..hopefully at least CBD will be much easier for folks to access and another option for pain etc.
    It is so frustrating that this country is so slow to move on this aspect.


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