More than 6000 responses to the FDA’s request for comments about the effectiveness and experience with CBD have been filed with the federal government in response to a request from the United Nation’s World Health Organization.
Last week’s deadline appears to have garnered more than 5,000 “unique” comments, plus some exact wording suggested by proCBD activists, such as SaveOurCBD.org, which is funded by several industry leaders. While the WHO meets to review general issues, the report on CBD and 15 other scheduled drugs is expected to be delivered to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in early 2018. The FDA is not required to include the comments and may offer its own view of CBD efficacy and safety. Meanwhile, the 6000-plus CBD comments are expected to be posted to regulations.org later this fall.
Speaking to reporters in San Diego, Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeated his negative opinion on legalized cannabis, just days after his deputy suggested big changes could still be coming to the Cole Memo. “It doesn’t strike me that the country would be better if it’s being sold on every street corner. We do know that legalization results in greater use.” Sessions, a longtime legalization opponent, said, “Federal law remains in effect.”
And last week, speaking before the conservative Heritage Foundation, September 14, the No. 2 man at The Justice Department said his department is still reviewing possible changes to the Cole Memo. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein told the group, “I think there is some pretty significant evidence that marijuana turns out to be more harmful than a lot of people anticipated, and it’s more difficult to regulate than I think was contemplated ideally by some of those states.” Rosenstein gave no timeline for action to re-write or possibly remove the DOJ memo which guides MJ policy at the federal level. Rosenstein, speaking of the document, said, “That’s been perceived in some places almost as if it creates a safe harbor, but it doesn’t. And it’s clear that it doesn’t.”
Also in San Diego, the Cannabis Bar Association said it will file an Americus brief in support of attorney Jessica McElresh, facing criminal charges brought by the county district attorney. At issue is McElfresh’s attorney/client privilege being challenged in her dealings with a local MJ licensee.
Good news, bad news in Michigan. The state with the third highest number of patients is now looking to set up a formalized system of dispensaries, grows, and production companies. Michigans’ MMJ licensing board will open applications December 15, with expectations to select licensees next spring. Michigan authorities plan to crack down on some of the hundreds of un-licensed MMJ dispensaries that same day. Those who remain open will permanently lose their ability to apply to move into a legal, regulated market. The state is also expected to place a legalization votes on the ballot for November 2018.
California’s General Assembly called on the federal government to re-schedule cannabis off the CSA schedule 1 designation to pave the way for greater MMJ research. The vote was 60 to 10. Meanwhile, the Anaheim gathering of California Cannabis Industry Association and NCIA kicked off September 21 with an upbeat address from Bureau of Cannabis Regulation head Lori Ajax. Over 3500 converged on the Disneyland area Marriott and Hilton in Anaheim to attend the first major cannabis gathering ever held in Orange County.
It was a positive week as celebrities from Olivia Newton-John to Gweneth Paltrow chimed in through national media about the effectiveness and positive healing experiences from cannabis therapy. Another informed voice came from Dr. Mehmet Oz, appearing on Fox and Friends. He noted that the nation must talk about “the hypocrisy around medical marijuana.” As his Fox hosts remained stunned, Oz added, “People say marijuana is a gateway drug to narcotics; it may be the exit drug to get us out of the narcotic epidemic.” During the kickoff premiere week of his syndicated show, Oz will host Montel Williams and others to preview an entire show on opioids and MMJ. The show’s promo copy for Season 9, episode 5 (9/22) asks, “Is Marijuana a Secret Weapon Against Heroin Addiction?”
No new MMJ knowledge is being taught to med students. Of 258 med residents surveyed in a study published in Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 90% said they received no formal training and were not prepared to prescribe MMJ. Another question asked 101 medical schools about their MMJ-related coursework, and two-thirds said their med students got little or no information about cannabis therapy. 3rd-year med student and study co-author Anastasia Evanoff said it was important for future doctors to know MMJ risks and benefits.
Parents sharing their affection for cannabis with their young children. Is it smart preventive communications, or perhaps just “too much information” at such a young age? You decide. Watch, “Parents Tell Kids Why They Smoke Weed.”