Grandma Who Supplied Cannabutter in Australia Sentenced

One grandma in Australia found healing benefits through cannabis-infused butter, but it backfired when her teen great-grandson used it to bake cupcakes and shared them at school.

Pam Annette Bickerton, 74, was sentenced May 4 after her teen great-grandson used her cannabis-infused butter to bake cupcakes and share them to classmates at school in South Australia.

The Adelaide Advertiser reports that Bickerton made the cannabis-infused butter to control her sleeping disorder, and it worked, the jury heard at an April 19 court hearing.

Bickerton says she was halfway asleep when her unnamed teen grandson asked if he could use some of the cannabutter. “Still in a state of tiredness and unfortunately … she said ‘go for it—just make sure that you clean up afterwards’,” her lawyer said in court.

When police responded to the incident and arrived at Bickerton’s home in the weeks after, she admitted that she still had three bags of cannabutter in her freezer and two bongs, which were immediately seized.

Magistrate Justin Wickens, however, was not impressed with the defense, saying that Bickerton should’ve known better.

“Police became aware of an allegation that a student was selling cupcakes laced with cannabis at [the school after the students] presented at the sick bay displaying symptoms consistent with cannabis consumption,” Magistrate Justin Wickens said. “Police spoke to two students who disclosed that [another student] was providing the cannabis-laced cakes.”

The judge asked her to consider the weight of her alleged crime. “This is very serious offending and supplying drugs to minors is a very serious offense,” he said.

Bickerton pleaded guilty to one count of supplying or administering a controlled drug to a child before appearing in the Adelaide Magistrates Court.

The great-grandmother was sentenced on Thursday. Bickerton faced a jail sentence of 3.5 years behind bars, but dropped in favor of pleading guilty and getting a good-behavior bond.

No charges were given to her great grandson for distributing the cupcakes.

Cannabis Reform in Australia

Medical cannabis is legal Australia-wide with a prescription and under certain restrictions. Cannabis is a scheduled substance in the county, regulated by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration).

Cannabis reform for adult use in Australia continues to push forward. A recent report has revealed Australia’s plans to approach cannabis legalization within the next few years.

The Australian Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) recently released a proposal exploring two options on how to approach cannabis legalization. It was commissioned to explore what legalization could look like through the request of Sen. David Shoebridge and the Australian Greens Party, also referred to as the Greens.

According to the PBO’s report, the first option would establish the creation of the Cannabis National Agency (CANA), which would act as the sole wholesaler between producers and retailers, set wholesale prices on cannabis, and issue licenses to potential cannabis business owners. The second option contains all provisions from the first option, except for the final recommendation, which would change the excise tax to 15% instead of 25%.

Grandmas and Infused Edibles

Another grandma made headlines for helping the sick with her cannabis-infused edibles. Mary Jane Rathbun, aka “Brownie Mary,” helped people suffering from HIV and chemotherapy with cannabis-infused edibles. At her peak, Rathbun was baking 600 infused brownies a week at $20 per dozen.

She helped to decriminalize cannabis as well. In 1992, Mary testified to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors about the benefits of cannabis, leading to a resolution to make medical cannabis possession the “lowest priority” in arrests and prosecution.

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What We’ll All Be Talking About in 2023

Responses to consumer desires, including product innovation, demands around increased environmental and social responsibility, and impressive progress in global legalization will continue to shape the cannabis landscape in 2023. Look out for these top five influential developments that just may be the buzz of the industry in the coming year.

CupCakes, a preformed bowl that’s ready to pop into a pipe or bong.

Exciting New Category: The Pre-Bowl by CupCakes

The hottest topic of conversation in 2023 could be the introduction of a brand-new category, the Pre-Bowl, a ready-to-light pre-formed bowl designed to fit perfectly in most cannabis smoking devices. Created by Colorado company CupCakes, the Pre-Bowl is an innovative new delivery method to eliminate the hassle, mess and inconvenience of grinding and loading flower into your pipe or bong to give the consumer the same experience every time. 

“Not only does our product deliver our consumer a better experience, but it provides cannabis manufacturers and cultivators a brand-new outlet for their flower,” says Jason Santos, CupCakes president and co-founder. 

Ciro, the environmentally-friendly bong cleaner.

Environmentally Friendly Tech: Ciro Bong Cleaner

In response to consumer demand, environmentally friendly cannabis products will surely become a focal point in 2023. Using patented proprietary technology, Humboldt County, CA-based Laura Costa and Cara Cordoni created Ciro, the fastest, easiest, most eco-friendly way to bring your dirty bongs, pipes and other glassware back to sparkling newness.

“The cannabis industry is loaded with waste,” Costa says. “We have created something that eliminates a lot of something else, like plastic waste and harmful chemicals.”

Ciro is a sleek and compact cleaning appliance made from recycled and biodegradable materials. No more nasty, weird-smelling chemicals and single-use plastics. Goodbye dirty chemicals, hello clean chemistry. 

Cannabis prisoner reform campaigner Craig Cesal (right) with RAW Founder Josh Kesselman.

Social Justice: Cannabis Prisoner Reform

Prisoner reform campaigner Craig Cesal served 18 years of a life sentence on drug conspiracy charges after being convicted of leasing vehicles to smugglers. While incarcerated in a maximum-security prison, Cesal used his time to help his fellow prisoners achieve freedom. And he continues to fight for them on the outside, too.

Since being granted clemency by former President Trump in his final hours in the Oval Office, Cesal has teamed up with lawyers and allies to form a nonprofit, the Second Chance Foundation. He’s currently working with more than 267 federal cannabis prisoners in the clemency process to extricate them from their cells to freedom—while also working to unify the cannabis industry. 

“I’m hoping to unite the cannabis industry,” Cesal says. “The industry needs to work together to get laws changed.”

Plantwise’s innovative formulations.

Hot Products: Category Growth & Innovative Formulations

Increasingly, cannabis consumers are attracted to infused products such as edibles and beverages. Mikey Beaudry Jr., vice president of business development at HERBL, predicts that beverages, while still a comparatively small percentage of the market, will continue to grow as a category in 2023. Additionally, more brands “will shift to or develop their offerings in affordable pre-roll and vape products to meet consumer desire for value and convenience,” Beaudry says. 

According to experts, cannabis brands will have more opportunities than ever as consumers shop for products to help them achieve their health and wellness goals.

Using innovative formulations, Plantwise has developed a world-first range of muti-path formulas that target specific issues, including sleep, immunity and focus. The ingredients list includes regeneratively grown, organic whole hemp plant phytocannabinoids along with a spectrum of additional proven nutrients, nootropics, adaptogens, herbs, vitamins and minerals.

“We focused our formulas on the core needs of top-performing individuals and delivered a convenient and efficacious supplement to allow them to show up at their very best every day,” says Plantwise CEO & Co-Founder Jimmy Brophy. 

Cannabis legalization continues around the world.

Legalization: Green Wave Will Continue

In a move that could start a domino effect for the rest of Europe, Germany looks likely to make it legal for adults to purchase and own up to 30g of cannabis for recreational use and to grow up to three plants privately. With some 82 million inhabitants, legalization would make Germany the world’s largest adult-use market and give rise to a wave of cannabis-related mergers and acquisitions, including businesses falling in the categories of production, distribution, real estate and retailing, among others. 

In the US, voters in Maryland and Missouri voted to approve ballot measures to legalize adult-use cannabis in the November midterms. Maryland’s ruling will go into effect on July 1, 2023 and allow possession of 1.5 ounces or two plants.

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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