Illinois Marks Historic Bill
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 Vol. 6, No. 40  -- June 7, 2019 --   Edited by Dr. Lloyd Covens, DBA
ILLINOIS' MOMENT IN CANNABIS HISTORY-- Lead bill sponsor State Representative Kelly Cassidy(blue dress) shares a victory yell (with Senate co-sponsor Heather Steans) as the May 31st House vote(66-47) passed their adult-use bill in Illinois.  With an assured signing by Gov. J.B. Pritzer, Illinois adults will see RMJ sales from current medical shops starting in January, 2020--- followed by hundreds of additional licensees bringing the country's fifth biggest state(and 12.73Mil. adults) a well-conceived policy.  After three years of debate and consensus, the bill will expunge nearly 800,000 past offenses, strengthen medical MJ programs, and a provide annual sales topping $2.5Bil.  The passage of the 632-page law looks like a model national bill for other states to examine. (Photo by Chicago Sun-Times).
May 31 Brings Step1 In Long FDA CBD Data-Gathering Exercise
(West 420 Analysis of the Hearing)
For all the anticipation over the May 31, full day FDA hearing on CBD, it is really just step one in a political dance which may help CBD clarity-- or just further muddy the works.  When 120-plus interested professionals spoke to the 12 gathered FDA bureaucrats in the Silver Spring(MD) hearing room, the common FDA response was "please send us more data to back up what you just said."  Those further enhanced comments(and all other written response) are due by July 2nd, but with such an immersive collection of data and opinion, its seems that new FDA action could extend into early 2020.  So, for many, the future of the North American CBD scene may remain a state-by-state solution.  Now in Connecticut and California (joining already-passed Colorado and New Mexico) it will be TOTALLY LEGAL to combine CBD with any food, beverage or animal supplement, assuming pending bills head to supportive governors.  Here are some highlights from the 8-hours of testimony:
1. The majority of witnesses believe the FDA has existing rulemaking tools, and should expedite designating CBD as a "dietary supplement". Some want expedited FDA action, or temporary emergency rules, citing the consumer "explosion" of interest.
2.  Everyone wants upgraded "truth-in-labeling" protocols, especially in support of dosing information.  Others would like a national testing regime for safety (and efficacy) helping to push out CBD "online fakers" and quick-buck "CBD private labelers."
3.  The extensive United Nations' WHO(World Health Organization) review of CBD verified the substance as  safe and non-addictive was  cited by 20-plus of the 130 witnesses, including  Dr. Philip Blair of Elixinol.  Blair confirmed his own years of careful patient feedback and concluded few side effects were observed.
4. Adverse effects cited: fatigue or sleepiness -- some headaches- stomach issues(constipation/diarrhea)-- GW Pharma cites some adult liver toxicity, apparent around averaging 70MG a day.
5.  A 2019 survey by Consumer Reports says about 25% of all US adults(64Million) have tried CBD, but that about 7% of that number,  or about 4.5Mil are current regular users.
6. Disagreement that CBD is a medicine: Drug ingredient giant  Noramco(white label supplier to pharma) thinks CBD is an ingredient, not a free-standing medicine on its' own. -  Several speakers stated bluntly, Epidiolex is not the same as CBD, and should not be placed in the same analysis category by the FDA.
7. On a FDA "
path forward",  many said a 2 to 5 year (clinical-trial) review is not practical. Several called for expedited approval for New Drug Ingredient  (or self designated GRAS) which would allow quicker research into safety and efficacy.
8. MJNA's Dr. Stuart Titus suggested that more than 2500 studies have been undertaken on medical cannabis or CBD, with more than 10,000 studies conducted on cannabis and terpenes in general.
9. Several spoke to allowing over-the-counter CBD at a lower dose (ie., red yeast rice, fish oil, Aleve) and higher dosing available only through a prescription.  FDA panelists express  concern for too much CBD coming from a potential of consumer different forms (ie., a gummy, oil, topical) on the same day.

With passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, one might ask why is the FDA involved at all in this CBD now-legal world.  Hemp political expert and Washington veteran Ben Droz offers the best answer in a comment written this week:
" The FDA is in charge of keeping the public safe, not to restrict natural plant extracts.  All CBD products should meet a baseline of requirements to be in the market, such as C-GMP manufacturing standards, and trackability of supply chain.  Anything more than that should only apply to pharmaceutical grade dosage{like GW's Epidiolex}, which could be in the hundreds and hundreds of milligrams per day.    Importantly-- and possibly to reflect the idea that the FDA knows that hemp derived CBD is in fact legal-- the FDA is not actually holding the meetings and comment period on hemp CBD.  Instead, it is “products containing cannabis or cannabis derived compounds”.  By using the word “cannabis” rather than  the 2019 definition of “hemp”, the FDA is taking comment on all cannabis products.  This would show that any testimony or criticism against CBD, would be relating to any “cannabis derived CBD”, not necessarily including legal, hemp derived CBD."
A new survey of consumers by The Nielsen Co. (chart above) asked why they would consider using cannabis in an "all-legal" US market.  While 48% replied "to have a good time,"  the overall response was directed to health and wellness benefits, and a large group considering replacing some prescription option.   Like former studies of MMJ patients, the "treatment of chronic pain" (85%) and aid to sleep(77%) was highly-cited, but new potentials were alternatives for "treating minor injuries",  helping mental health and "expansion of thought processes."  Overall, the Nielsen study said a legal environment would increase consumer consideration to try cannabis to 34% of all .US.adults.  Researchers added: " 67 percent perceive cannabis to be healthier than OTC/Rx medications, and 69% are influenced by the perception that cannabis is more natural than OTC and Rx alternatives."
New support from governors of Vermont and Utah were added to last year's  call for passage of the STATES act in a new letter to Congress.  The June 3 letter wants Congress to give states the right to set its own rules for the access to medical and adult-use policies.  The letter suggests, “Whether a state maintains its prohibition of cannabis or chooses a different path, the STATES Act ensures that the federal government is a partner rather than an impediment—an objective the federal government should always strive to achieve.”  The letter was signed by the governors of California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington State and Vermont.

The 2018 Farm Bill called on tribes and states wanting to set up local rules to submit a plan to the USDA, and expect to here a response within 60 days.  The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe lost a request for an injunction against USDA delay from a federal judge this week, noting that it has made extensive plans to plant a 2019 hemp crop.  The conflict lies in the USDA's plan to hold up a hemp policy until the end of 2019, effectively putting off reviewing of plans submitted by several states, including the states of Kentucky and Pennsylvania.  An appeal may be expected.  Rights of tribal nations to begin hemp plantings is uncertain given that no allowance was made for legal growing in the 2014 Farm Bill, which is in effect until USDA approves its rulemaking on the 2018 bill.

Are cannabis drivers less prone to serious accidents?  Or are the measures for calculating potential impairment just not reliable since THC stays in one's body for weeks?  A new Congressional Research Service suggests that little proven data can point to actual higher instances of crashes from MJ use.  Vancouver emergency physician Jeff Brubacher looked at crashes in British Columbia that injured about 3,000 drivers whose blood was tested for marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs. They used police reports, which were available in about 2,300 cases, to determine which drivers bore responsibility for the accidents. Among drivers with THC blood concentrations of less than five nanograms per milliliter, they report, "there was no increased risk of crash responsibility." Drivers above that threshold were 74 percent more likely to be responsible for crashes.  Other factors like alcohol, distracted driving, and driver health were also weighed.

Link-of-The-Week--  A critical industry question-- How long should we expect the gray/black market to continue to flourish?   Have decrim measures (like in California) only lowered the risk to illicit sales? Yes, says this interview on BNN-Bloomberg with Quill CEO Fatima Zaidi on "How legal pot retailers are competing against still-thriving black market."  Hear in all at:

 Social consumption clubs won't be coming to Nevada until atleast 2021.  While Las Vegas politicians were making progress in setting out consumption lounge rules, a State senate bill placed a late amendment on a "must-pass" bill which will place a two-year moratorium on any Nevada social club openings. --- Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) says he now has 206 co-sponsors, including 26 Republicans, in favor of immediate consideration for his SAFE banking bill. -
Americans for Safe Access have produced a comprehensive guide for parents offering answers for use and information about CBD:

-  The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board is being sued by the organizers of the annual mega-event, HempFest.  WLCB has told organizers they cannot allow signs, literature or handouts which refer to cannabis at the event.  But HempFest (and two major dispensaries) have filed suit saying the policy is a violation of their First Amendment free speech rights.
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