November 2018

With CBD, marijuana-based medicine gets its first greenlight from the FDA

In a news release today, the FDA announced its approval of a marijuana-derived drug called Epidiolex for the treatment of seizures in a subset of patients suffering from severe epilepsy. Epidiolex contains CBD, a cannabis chemical compound skyrocketing in popularity and driving what is estimated to have doubled into a $200 million market in 2018.

CBD is the common abbreviation for cannabidiol, a chemical derived from cannabis. In contrast to THC, the far more popular cannabinoid CBD does not produce strong psychoactive effects when consumed. The chemical’s use in seizure prevention is well-documented in reputable research, and now, after conducting its own trials, the FDA is on board.

As the FDA itself notes, “this is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana.” Epidiolex, produced by GW Research Ltd., is now approved to treat the conditions known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

The FDA news signals that the DEA will likely adjust its scheduling for CBD, which is currently a Schedule I substance, denoting high potential for abuse and no medical applications.

“The FDA prepares and transmits… a medical and scientific analysis of substances subject to scheduling, like CBD, and provides recommendations to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regarding controls under the [Controlled Substances Act],” the FDA stated, indicating that it will recommend that CBD be rescheduled but the act of shifting the substance’s legality is ultimately in the DEA’s hands.

Prior to the FDA decision, a press officer for the DEA confirmed to Leafly that the FDA decision will prompt action from the DEA. “If they on June 27 announce that they’re approving Epidiolex, absolutely we’ll go into a different schedule. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.”

The FDA notes that it will still “take action” against illegal CBD products making “serious, unproven medical claims.”

The medicinal acknowledgment of CBD should come as good news to marijuana startups eyeing the compound for consumer and medical consumption. Cannabis-derived CBD products are available where recreational marijuana is sold, though CBD derived from industrial hemp faces fewer regulations and is even stocked by some grocery stores.

By some measures, consumer interest appears to be moving away from traditional high-potency THC-based products and toward CBD. In February, even Bon Appétit magazine got in on the trend with a story titled “What Is CBD, and Why Is It in Everything Right Now?” Cannabis startups are likely tuned into that fact and keeping an ear to the ground for the DEA decision on what by most accounts is the next big thing in cannabis.

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Voters approve abortion restrictions and recreational marijuana in state ballot initiatives

(CNN)The midterm election was not just an opportunity to change the face of Congress and statehouses nationwide. Voters in 37 states also considered ballot measures on social and political issues such as health care, marijuana and election policies.

Some were initiated by citizens, others by lawmakers. The questions included whether to restrict abortion access, expand Medicaid, or change voting requirements.
Here are some of the ballot measures we’re keeping an eye on nationwide. We’ll continue updating the results as they come in.


    Three measures in three states concerned abortion access and funding.
    In Alabama and West Virginia, voters approved changing their state constitutions to say that they do not protect the right to an abortion or require funding of abortions.

      Abortion wasn’t always taboo in America

    Alabama’s Amendment 2 will also change the state constitution to say that it supports the rights of unborn children, giving them constitutional protections.
    West Virginia’s Amendment 1 also prevents state taxpayer money from being used to pay for abortions for those on Medicaid.
    Oregon voters rejected Measure 106, which would have prohibited publicly funded health care programs from covering abortion.

    Crime, justice and sentencing

    Voters in six states — Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina and Oklahoma — voted to approve some version of a measure often called “Marsy’s Law.” South Dakota passed one in June.
    The proposals varied from state to state, but each would add specific protections for victims of crime to a state’s constitution. Such protections include the right to be notified about hearings or the release of the accused, the right to restitution or the right to refuse an interview or deposition at the request of the accused.
    Supporters of Marsy’s Law say it gives victims more say in what happens in their cases. Opponents, including the American Civil Liberties Union, said victims already have these types of rights through state laws and warned that enshrining victims’ rights in state constitutions creates a false equivalency between them and the rights of the accused. They warn that Marsy’s Law could undermine the rights of the accused and divert resources from those in need.
    Washington state’s initiative 940 would change the legal standard for use of deadly force in officer-involved shootings. It would effectively lower the bar for prosecuting officers by establishing a good faith standard for opening fire.
    The measure would also require law enforcement officers to receive ongoing training in violence de-escalation and how to interact with people with mental health issues. And it would establish a duty for officers to render first aid.

    Election policies

    Florida voters passed Amendment 4,which restores voting rights for felons after they complete their sentences, including parole or probation, except for those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense. The law is expected to give the right to vote to 1.5 million people.
    Ohio voters in May approved a statewide measure to establish a new redistricting system. Four more states — Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah — weighed similar measures for their state legislatures, their congressional districts, or both.

      How gerrymandering got its name

    Measures passed in Colorado and Michigan. The Colorado initiative will create a 12-member independent redistricting commission instead of having the state legislature draw district maps. Michigan’s Proposition 2 establishes a 13-member redistricting commission and provides criteria for members and maps.
    More states considered measures related to voting requirements and ballot access.
    Voters in Arkansas and North Carolina approved amendments requiring voters to present a photo ID to vote in person.
    Maryland voters chose to authorize the general assembly to pass legislation that lets qualified people register to vote on Election Day. Ballots in Michigan and Nevada asked whether to allow automatic voter registration for those who interact with certain government agencies.


    Six measures on four state ballots concerned the legalization of recreational or medical marijuana.
    Voters in Michigan approved a measure that allows people 21 and older to use marijuana and changes current violations from crimes to civil infractions.

      Why weed is stuck in a legal limbo

    Missouri had three competing measures. All of them proposed to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, but with different proposed sales tax amounts and revenue uses:
    – 2% tax, with revenue to be spent on veterans’ services, drug treatment, education and law enforcement
    – 15% tax, with revenue to be spent on a biomedical research institute
    – 4% tax, with revenue to be spent on health care services for veterans
    Voters in Utah are deciding whether to legalize medical marijuana, and Michigan and North Dakota voters weighed citizen initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana.
    Oklahoma voted in June to approve medical marijuana.

    Minimum wage

      A tale of two minimum wages

    Two measures in two states proposed increasing the minimum wage to $11 by the year 2021 in Arkansas, and to $12 by 2023 in Missouri.

    Medicaid expansion and health care

    Four measures on four state ballots concerned Medicaid expansion or funding for Medicaid expansion.
    Voters in Idaho, Utah and Nebraska considered whether to require their state governments to accept the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. In Montana, voters had the chance to force the state to continue accepting the expansion.
    Nebraska, Utah and Idaho voters said yes to expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, including individuals under age 65 whose income is 138% or below the federal poverty line who aren’t eligible for other state insurance coverage.

      The debate over Medicaid explained

    The initiatives in Montana and Utah proposed a tobacco tax increase and a sales tax increase, respectively, to provide funding for the expanded coverage. In January, Oregon voters approved a measure upholding legislation to provide funding for expanded Medicaid coverage through a tax on health insurers and revenue of certain hospitals.
    In Nevada, Question 2 would amend the Sales and Use Tax Act of 1955 to remove taxes on feminine hygiene products, also known as the pink tax.

    More to watch

    Massachusetts voters chose to keep a state law that protects transgender people from discrimination in public places.
    Florida voters passed Amendment 13, which creates a prohibition on racing or betting on greyhounds or other dogs by 2020.
      More than 70% of Alabama voters approved an amendment to the state constitution authorizing the display of the Ten Commandments on state and public property, including schools, and to prohibit spending public funds to defend the constitutionality of the amendment.
      California’s Proposition 6 would repeal fuel and vehicle taxes passed by the legislature in 2017 for road repairs and public transportation.

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      Meet Permit Patty, The Newest White Lady Getting Meme’d For Calling The Cops On An Eight-Year-Old Black Girl

      Behold, we’ve got a BBQ Becky 2.0! An Oakland woman named Alison Ettel recently called the police on an eight-year-old girl who was selling water bottles outside of her apartment building on the grounds of her “not having a permit.” The internet immediately jumped all over the situation as a golden meme opportunity when it was released that Ettel is the CEO of a medical marijuana company for dogs. The most hilariously ironic detail of the whole situation is that she has reportedly been operating her business without the proper permit herself.

      Let the Permit Patty memes commence!

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