Big Cannabis, Priority Applicants, and Social Equity in the Budding Marijuana Industry

The city of Cambridge, Massachusetts recently passed an ordinance prohibiting existing medical marijuana dispensaries from engaging in the sale of recreational marijuana for two years.[1] Specifically, the ordinance gives priority to economic empowerment applicants, defined under the state’s Cannabis Control Commission as businesses that are owned by, serve, or reside in areas disproportionately impacted by high amounts of drug-related arrests, including businesses owned by individuals of Black, African American, Hispanic, and Latino descent.[2] For the first two years after the Cambridge ordinance’s enactment,…
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Cannabis Litigation: Where Are We Headed and What Have We Seen to Date

The cannabis industry is booming, including CBD companies, vaping companies, THC products, oils, hemp producers, manufacturers and so on. By all estimates, overall sales within the legalized United States cannabis industry are expected to reach $13.6 billion by the end 2019. That’s a 32 percent increase over 2018 totals that reached $10.3 billion. Total sales are expected to reach approximately $30 billion by 2025. So what does that mean? In addition to helping the industry continue transitioning into “normal” commerce, the amount of money being…
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FDA and FTC Continue to Warn CBD Companies about Unlawful Marketing Claims

Last week, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), issued a warning letter to Rooted Apothecary, LLC in Florida for unlawfully marketing products containing cannabidiol (CBD). The warning letter specifically addresses unsubstantiated claims that the company’s products treat teething pain, ear aches in infants, autism, attention deficit disorders, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Despite the FDA’s promises to explore potential pathways for the lawful marketing of various CBD products, it has yet to publish any specific…
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Where There’s Smoke, There’s … a Bonfire? Update on E-Cigarette and THC Vaping Related Illnesses

Previously on Life Science Matters, we discussed what appeared to be the sudden outbreak of vaping-related hospitalizations and illnesses sweeping across the country. Since that article, cases involving injuries to lungs associated with vaping products have been reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and one United States territory. To date, 28 people have died across 21 states. More than 1,250 cases of vaping-related illnesses have been reported. Every patient involved reported a history of using…
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Kenney v. Helix TCS, Inc.: Leveling the Playing Field in the Marijuana Industry and Beyond

Are employers in the marijuana industry excused from complying with federal law because their business practices are federally prohibited? In the recent case of Robert Kenney v. Helix TCS, Inc.[i], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit answered that question with an unequivocal “no.” The plaintiff in that case, Robert Kenney, was a former security guard for the defendant, Helix TCS, Inc., a private company that provides security services to businesses in Colorado’s state-sanctioned marijuana industry. Kenney alleged that he…
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The Delicate Web of the Pot-tent Gap — An Overview of the First Hemp Plant Patent

In the patent world, it is common knowledge that products of nature are not eligible for patent protection. Yet, patents for natural things do exist. In an ever-changing field to protect ingenuity and “inventor-ship,” the rules have changed. Combined with the questionable legality of cannabis, it was laughable for any cannabis-related plant matter to be considered for patent protection… until now. Using a combination of the 2018 Farm Bill and a judicious breeding process, the Stanley brothers of CWB Holdings, Inc., have secured the first…
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Up In Smoke: Where Are Potential New Illnesses Tied To Vaping Leading the Cannabis Industry?

In the cannabis industry the CDC recently identified 450 cases of lung disease in people who used vaping products. It indicated that many of the patients suffering from the disease used products containing THC, while others had used a combination of nicotine and THC. On Thursday, September 5, 2019, New York state officials said the illnesses may be related to Vitamin E acetate, but stressed that “No one substance, including Vitamin E acetate, has been identified in all of the samples tested,” according to Stephanie…
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What is THC (Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol)?

Many people associate cannabis with, “getting high” and in part, they are not wrong. The most commonly known active component of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica—two of the most common variants of herbal cannabis, is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. In its natural state, THC is not psychoactive! However, this is a slight chemical misnomer—THC in its natural state on the plant is actually THCa or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. Merely taking a bite out of cannabis plant material should not have an effect on the consumer aside from providing…
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Ketamine: Another Pandora’s Box or Viable Treatment for Pain?

In the wake of the opioid crisis, some physicians are seeking to utilize ketamine, a highly addictive drug, to treat chronic pain and depression. Ketamine is a generic name for Ketalar (ketamine hydrochloride) and belongs to a class of drugs known as dissociate anesthetics. Ketamine’s FDA label warns of the potential emergence of psychological issues with potentially dangerous drug interactions with barbiturates and narcotics. Ketamine has already proven its high potential for abuse and is well-known as a “recreational drug,” “club drug,,” and “date rape…
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DEA Breaks Silence on Marijuana Grower Applications

We previously reported on a unique lawsuit filed this summer by Scottsdale Research Institute, LLC (SRI) against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). By filing a petition for writ of mandamus, SRI sought to compel the DEA to take action on its application to grow cannabis for clinical research, which was filed in 2016. With a deadline to respond to SRI’s petition looming just two days away, the DEA announced on Monday that it is “providing notice of pending applications from entities applying to be…
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