Weekly News in Cannabis and Hemp - June 1stFDA hears public testimony regarding hemp-derived CBD, Illinois legislation moves legalization bill to Governor's desk, Colorado makes major industry leaps through law changes, and technology solutions ebb and flow.
FDA Hears Public Testimony on CBD
Most FDA hearings come and go with little recognition, however, on Friday hundreds of people swarmed Washington hoping for a chance to air their perspective. More than 400 applied to speak to the board regarding the use of hemp-based CBD, however, only 120 were ultimately chosen to take the floor.
Advocates and opponents alike spent the day making their claims for or against the use of CBD. From active entrepreneurs and business owners to physicians and lawyers, these professionals presented a broad range of perspectives for the regulatory authority to consider. The Alzheimer’s Association, the Parkinson’s Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation, the NCIA, and many others were among those fighting for better access for consumers, as well as, policy change for research.
Sue Sisley, a physician of internal medicine at the Scottsdale Research Institute urged the panel to extend research materials for scientists, stating “Sadly, because of the limitations with the current drug supply, we are forced to import study drugs from a Canadian manufacturer and that is disappointing to us,” she said. “We would like to see our own domestic variety of domestic manufacturers. The point is that researchers need access to options. Scientists need options when it is to embolden scientific freedom.”
Legal Cannabis Passes Illinois House, Pritzker Vows to Sign
JB Pritzker, Illinois Governor, is going to get the opportunity to fulfill his campaign promises as the House voted 66-47 to send a bipartisan marijuana legalization bill to his desk. Outwardly vowing to legalize cannabis in his first year in office, most expect Pritzker’s signature to come quickly.
Once signed, the new industry is estimated to create $57 million in general revenue and $30 million for a cannabis business fund in the first year. The revenue will be divided up between several areas including general funds, community grants, mental health and substance abuse, paying off state debt, supporting law enforcement, and public education.
Colorado Governor Signs Numerous Changes to Cannabis Laws
There’s no question, 2019 has been a stellar year for cannabis advocates in Colorado. Newly elected Governor Jared Polis has shown support for multiple cannabis initiatives thus far this year. Most recently Polis signed bills which allow social consumption licenses, cannabis delivery services, as well as, opened the door for potential investors from publicly traded businesses and other states.
The Colorado Springs Gazette quotes Polis recognizing the potential of the industry by saying, “If we want Colorado, rather than Canada, to have the good jobs of the future in the cannabis industry, it’s critical that we make our state hospitable for raising capital, public and private, for cannabis companies.”
To the delight of Colorado cannabis advocates, in all, Polis signed six marijuana initiatives into law on Wednesday. Among them a medical marijuana expansion to include autism, as well as, allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis for any condition in which opiates might otherwise be prescribed.
Google Bans Marijuana Apps on Android Play
While Apple continues to take a hands-off approach to technology and apps geared towards the marijuana consumer, Google is taking a different stance. In a policy update on Wednesday, Google Play, the app store for Android users, specifically calling out marijuana buying, or acquiring, apps.
These revised guidelines state the following applications are no longer allowed:
- Those which allow users to order marijuana through an in-app shopping cart.
- Those which assist users in arranging the delivery or pick up of marijuana.
- Any apps which facilitate the sale of products containing THC.
A Google spokesperson mentioned the firm sees the popularity of such apps and they hope to work with developers to update the apps to be compliant. However, popular cannabis ordering and delivery services like Eaze, Weedmaps, and Greenlight, could be forced to downgrade their functionality.
North Dakota First State to Issue Digital MMJ Cards
As North Dakota continues to create the infrastructure for their medical marijuana program, BioTrackTHC announced working with state officials to provide an electronic card accessible from a smartphone. The electronic medical cannabis designation is available for all patients, caregivers, as well as agents of retail and manufacturing facilities, but patients will still receive a printed card for the time being.
Patrick Vo, CEO of BioTrackTHC is enthusiastic about the partnership and the technology stating, “We are excited to be working with the North Dakota Department of Health who has taken the initiative to implement best-in-class technology for its medical cannabis program, which will help innovate the legal industry and further validate its legitimacy.”
In a press release, Jason Wahl, director of the Division of Medical Marijuana in North Dakota, stated, “At this time, all newly registered individuals will continue to receive a printed registry identification card.” He continued, “In the future, individuals will be able to select whether they only want an electronic card or would like to continue receiving a printed card as well. We will monitor usage of the electronic card and, if feasible, will eventually move to producing only electronic cards.”